What a short hibernation means for our Black Bear

As heard on Outdoor Journal Radio

Earlier this month (March 2024), Ontario’s provincial government released a statement warning residents to be “bear wise” as officials have received reports of the animals coming out of hibernation early due to mild temperatures and a lack of snow.

As Annie Langlois, biologist, and co-ordinator of the Hinterland Who’s Who program at the Canadian Wildlife Federation reported to CTV News, bears waking up during hibernation is not necessarily uncommon. Not going back to sleep, however, is much more unusual.

What it means

Langlois states that the main issue with bears waking up earlier than usual is that “they’re met with conditions that are not the best for them.” Bears can feed on berries and even twigs in the springtime, but Langlois said that because trees haven’t started to turn, those food sources remain sparse at this time. As a result, animals such as bears may seek food elsewhere like garbage dumps or bird feeders.

This has led the Ontario government to put our a few recommended precautions to take to avoid your home being one of the places they choose to feed. These include:

  • Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids (indoors if possible)
  • Waiting until pickup day to put out garbage
  • Taking away bird feeders for the spring and summer (you can offer birds natural alternatives, such as flowers, nesting boxes and fresh water)
  • Cleaning food residue and grease from outdoor barbecue grills – including grease traps – after each use
  • Keeping pet food indoors

Additionally, it is important to always leash your dog because unleashed dogs can lead bears back to owners and cause defensive bear attacks on people.

The Ontario government finished by saying that bears entering your community are not necessarily a threat, but it is important to know who to call if you encounter one. The province operates a non-emergency, toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327). Because of the unseasonably warm weather this year, the line is open early, from March 1 to November 30, and is available 24/7.

Leave a Reply

As heard on Outdoor Journal Radio Despite initial reports from some mainstream news outlets, the CDC has officially announced…
As heard on the Outdoor Journal Radio podcast News from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that approximately…
IP address: City: Operating system: UnknownBrowser: UnknownDisplay: DesktopJavaScript Enabled: Cookies Enabled: 1Third-Party Cookies Enabled: Screen Size: Number of Logical CPU Cores: WebGL Renderer: