Anyone planning a summer vacation to Candle Lake may want to keep an eye out for bears.
The resort village has received numerous calls of bear sightings and interactions in residential and camping areas the last few weeks.
“There’s something drawing them in,” said village administrator Heather Scott.
It appears to be a search for food. Scott said the bears are getting into garbage and pet dishes.
Two bears were shot and killed and one that was charging people was trapped. All three were found in the campground on the west side of the lake.
“Since those have been removed and disposed of we’ve had other calls on the east side of the lake now, at least three in the last week,” said Scott.
While bears are known to be in the area, an increase in bears venturing closer and appearing to be less afraid of humans is not common, according to Scott.
The resort village has also issued a public notice about bears, prompted by conservation officers because of the increased number of sightings in the area.
How to prevent and survive a bear encounter
The only species of bear found in Saskatchewan is the black bear.
“There are some areas that are more prevalent than others but you can encounter bears pretty much anywhere in Saskatchewan,” said Greg Johnson with Conservation Officer Services at the Ministry of Environment.
Campers wanting to keep bears away can follow these tips from Johnson.
- Do not leave food out. Keep food stored and contained where bears can’t smell it, like in a vehicle.
- If you’re hiking on a trail, make some noise so the bear can hear you coming.
- If you do come across a bear, stay calm, speak in low tones and back away or make a wide detour around it.
- Drop a piece of clothing like a hat to distract the bear as you back away.
“Whatever you do, don’t run,” said Johnson, adding the bear’s predatory instinct may kick in and it could chase you.
If all else fails and the bear attacks, Johnson said there is only one simple, but scary tactic.
“Just fight. Fight as hard as you can. Defend yourself. Don’t play dead.”
Johnson explains if you fight the bear, poking it in the eyes and nose, it might not want to take a chance anymore and move away. If you play dead, there’s a chance it will see you as food.
He said the only scenario where he’s heard playing dead might work is when a mother is protecting her cubs and backs off when she determines you’re not a threat.