What to Do If A Bear Approaches You

Lisa C. Community, Newcomer Information

Nobody wants to be approached by a bear, but sometimes it happens. Getting prepared and knowing the correct thing to do are crucial and can be life-saving.

If a bear walks towards you, first of all remain calm, and prepare to use your bear spray. Learn how to properly use bear spray.

Assess the bear’s behaviour and try to determine why it is approaching.

The bear approaching you may appear defensive, because it may be feeding, protecting young or surprised by you. A defensive bear will appear stressed or agitated and may make noise. In this case, you should

  • Try to appear non-threatening.
  • Talk in a calm voice.
  • Whenever the bear is not advancing, slowly move away without turning your back to the bear.
  • If the bear continues to advance, stand your ground and keep talking. If the bear approaches to within 4 metres (12 feet or about a car length), use your bear spray.

* Note that some brands of bear spray can be used at a distance of up to 9 metres (30 feet) depending on wind and weather. Always check the instructions on the bottle when you purchase it.

If the bear does not appear defensive, you should
  • Speak in a firm voice.
  • Move out of the bear’s path.
  • If it follows you, stop and stand your ground.
  • Shout and act aggressively.
  • Try to intimidate the bear. Pick up a stick and/or raise hiking poles above your head to appear larger.
  • If it approaches to within 4 metres (12 feet or about a car length), use your bear spray.

Check the Advisories & Public Safety page by Alberta Parks for active Bear Warnings before you visit a park this summer.

For more information on bear safety practices and the latest advisories visit www.AlbertaParks.ca and www.Wildsmart.ca.

More information: Be Bear Smart – Kananaskis Country | Alberta Parks

Large animals sometimes wander into our city and can pose a public safety risk. If you spot bears, cougars or moose within Calgary, please call 9-1-1.