Bears in Britsch Columbia and Alberta

Feb 7th, 2017, 02:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 176
Bears in Britsch Columbia and Alberta

Our Canada trip in August 2017 looks fun, but all the bear warnings begin to scare me off. My husband and I plan some easy hikes (we're not so young anymore) and we'll take bear bells and spray with us. I saw a Youtube video of a bear breaking up a car for food. What the heck? Will we be safe when taking food in our backpack when hiking? Is ziplock ok? The bear-thing gradually becomes a serious mood-killer for us. Will it really be so bad?
martinewezel is offline  
Feb 7th, 2017, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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You will be fine.

Yes, we have bears here. But they are rarely ever a problem for humans - almost always the bear is the loser. Most of us consider it a privilege to see bears in their natural habit - the times I've seen them on trail, it's been from a distance. The bear knows we're there - we watch from a distance, then move on.

Injuries are very, very rare -- bears want to stay away from you. Almost all the incidents with bad outcomes result from poor decisions by the humans - hunters who are trying to stay hidden so surprise the bear, people with dogs/dogs off leash, people who approach bears very closely to take pics, people who hang around carcasses/kills and people zipping along at high speed on bikes.

If you abide by bear safe practices, you'll be just fine hiking. The key is to make the bears aware that you're there - bears generally want to avoid humans.

So make human noise - talk, sing etc. Don't bother with bear bells - studies have shown that they can actually attract bears. We call them dinner bells around here. Carry bear spray. Check trail reports and pay attention to notices at trailheads -- warnings and closures will be posted.

Food is fine - we all eat on the trails. Just be tidy. You're more likely to be harassed by squirrels/chipmunks. DON'T feed them - it's not good for them, and overpopulation of little mammals attracts the bigger mammals who eat them.
kgsneds is offline  
Feb 9th, 2017, 12:04 AM
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I'm kind of reassured now. My husband and I will follow your advices and we don't plan mountainbiking anyway. Good you wrote about these bells! We bought one in the States last year, against our better judgement. Thanks a lot for your kind reply.You're so privileged to live in such a beautiful area.
martinewezel is offline  
Feb 10th, 2017, 04:18 PM
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Bears are most likely be be a nuisance, though rarely a danger, in areas where there is a ready source of food such as campgrounds and dumps and they become somewhat habituated to humans . As kgsneds suggests, remember they are wild animals and use common sense and you will be fine.

This year we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Glad you are coming to enjoy it with us.
eliztravels2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2017, 07:21 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,491
We were warned so much about bears in Whistler.. on the TV when we first arrived at hotel.. at the bike place.. at the boat place.. at the trails.. kind of ruined my desire to hike and when we did I had to turn around once we penetrated the woods and I felt afraid.

At a B+B MILES away ... very nice neighborhood along the sea, I wanted to take a morning walk while my husband was getting ready. The owner mentioned how her daughter jogged every morning and had run into a bear several times recently.

So.. just be prepared. We had no pepper spray nor bells and made so much vocal noise it was not a nice hike for me.
lincasanova is offline  
Feb 12th, 2017, 12:27 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Where are you planning to hike? It doesn't sound like you're planning on going into the back country.

Bears around towns like Whistler have become a nuisance because people don't take care to dispose of garbage properly, encouraging bears to look for an easy meal. This has led to more bears in the area, and makes a danger for tourists who think they are cute, or want to get up close to take photos or have a closer look.

Like anything in nature, you must respect the bear, respect the mountain, respect the water. Take precautions by educating yourself.

We do not see bears all the time, in fact extremely rarely, and from a distance. There's some good advice in the link from BC Parks.

Never mind the you tube anomaly.
Have a great time!
sundriedtopepo is offline  
Feb 13th, 2017, 07:05 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 176
Thank you all. We'll take care. In the meantime we'll start rehearsing the "hey bear, ho bear" phrase, for in case
Just kidding... we're not planning on going into the back country indeed. Hikes of 1 or 2 hours will do.
We were just worried about the food we'll be carrying in our backpack. And about the smell of sunscreen or mosquito spray.
Well, you all helped us a lot already. We cross our fingers. ;-)
martinewezel is offline  
Feb 26th, 2017, 08:12 PM
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there were bears seen on BIKE paths in Whistler village that summer..
lincasanova is offline  
Feb 26th, 2017, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I clarify that I am a total wimp when it comes to bears.. especially after another year when we were further up the coast.. listening to the radio of how a BEAR had attacked a young boy fishing from the shore. The campground owner tried to help.. and then the mother. I do not remember how many people died.. I think the campground owner for sure..

worst of all.. we had just hiked along the bank going towards that campground the day before and knew exactly where they were talking about. very, very scary
lincasanova is offline  

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