Be Wildsafe

This page has a few tips on how to keep your yard safe from wildlife and what to do if you encounter wildlife. The best thing to do is to try to avoid an encounter and we can do that by keeping our yards free of attractants, and hiking in noisy groups. Be safe, read some of the suggested links here and always be aware of your surroundings. 

Wildsafe Yard

Remove attractants

  • Don’t store garbage outside
  • Pick fruit from trees
  • Remove bird feeders
  • Do not feed pets outside
  • Keep barbecue clean

Manage compost

  • No meat, dairy or bones
  • Use equal parts brown and green material
  • Do not overload with fruit
  • Purchase a wildlife safe bin

Landscaping

  • Trim trees and shrubs so you are not creating shelter
  • Consider plants that are not also a food source
  • Design your yard with clear sight lines
  • Storing firewood, lumber or other materials in a way so as to reduce its attractiveness as a home or hiding place for smaller animals

Fencing

  • Solid fencing to deter deer. Deer will not jump fences unless they can see where they will land.

What to do if you encounter wildlife

Cougar

  • Keep calm.
  • Make yourself look as large as possible.
  • Back away slowly, keeping the cougar in vie.
  • Allowing a clear exit for the cougar.
  • Pick up children and small pets immediately.
  • Never run or turn your back- sudden movements may provoke an attack.
  • maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice.

Black bear

Avoid an encounter:

  • Make noise. Don’t surprise a bear. Call, sing, clap or talk loudly especially near streams and in areas of low visibility.
  • Be alert. Watch for bears or their scat and tracks, any strange smells or disturbed vegetation. Be aware of wind direction and speed. Extra caution is warranted when the wind is facing you.
  • Stay together. Hike and bike in groups and don’t let children wander. Larger groups (4 or more) are less likely to have a negative bear encounter.
  • Watch your pets. Keep your dog on a leash at all times. Dogs can provoke defensive bear behaviour.
  • Use officially marked trails. Travel during daylight hours. Bears are most active at dawn and dusk.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

If you encounter a bear:

  • Stay calm - If the bear sees you, talk in a low, calm voice.
  • Back up slowly - Never turn your back on a bear, or run. Running could trigger an attack.
  • Do not stare - The bear will see a direct stare as a challenge.
  • Give it space - Make sure it has a way to get away, and that you are not blocking access to a bear’s cubs or its food.

If a bear approaches you or charges:

  • Do not run!
  • Use your bear spray if it approaches
  • Play dead or fight back
  • Defensive attack - Usually, bears charge or attack because they are feeling threatened. Use your bear spray. If you don’t have bear spray and the bear makes contact with you – roll on your stomach, cover the back of your neck, remain still and play dead, they will lose interest and leave. Do NOT run!
  • Predatory attack - In rare cases, a bear may see a human as prey and stalk you along a trail. In these cases, try to escape into a building, car or up a tree. If you cannot escape and the bear charges, use your bear spray, lacking that, use anything at your disposal to fight off the bear (rocks, sticks, hiking poles).

For more information on encounters with bears go to Bear Smart.

Coyote

  • Make yourself appear large
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Speak in a low firm voice or shout
  • Wave your arms
  • If you have a walking stick or gardening implement such as a rake or shovel use it as a weapon against the coyote
  • Throw rocks or sticks and make noise with pots and pans, or tin cans
  • Do not run or turn your back on it, continue looking large and making noise while you slowly retreat.
  • Move towards more people or into your home or vehicle.