Spring is here and the bears are out

Sue Davies

Spring is here and the bears are emerging from their winter dens. The first bear sighting of the season was reported on April 28th so we need to start thinking about being Bear Aware. Revelstoke Bear Aware has begun its spring program and first up has been the hiring of a new Community Coordinator.

Sue Davies comes to the position with a strong background in the biological sciences and experience in coordinating various projects. Although born a New Zealander, Sue has lived in Revelstoke for several years and her understanding of bear behaviour and biology stems from wanting to understand how to live safely in bear country. “I am very interested in how best to live safely within the habitat of these large and potentially dangerous animals,” she said “and I am strongly in favour of education to minimize bear attractants within our community.” Sue is keen to take on the role of educating the public about the importance of managing bear attractants such as garbage and fruit trees to decrease human-bear conflicts in Revelstoke.

Garbage is always the number one bear attractant in our community. Having already recorded our first bear sighting, it is time to ensure your garbage is not accessible by storing it in a garage or shed with a securely closed door, or the interior of your house. A simple way to reduce odors is to place any smelly food articles in a Ziploc bag and freeze until garbage day. Remember not to put your garbage on the curbside until 7am on garbage day.

It is also time to take down your bird feeders. Bird feeders of all types, including hummingbird feeders, are an attractant to bears. If you want hummingbirds in your yard consider planting shrubs with red flowers to attract the birds without attracting bears. A birdbath can attract other types of birds without being a bear attractant.

Spring is the time for planting your vegetable garden. When planning your planting, think carefully about the amount of produce you will have and don’t plant more than you can harvest.

Fruit trees are a major attractant to bears and they require good management practices. A well-pruned tree will not only make harvesting the fruit easier and less hazardous, but will also improve the quality of the fruit. For information on pruning your fruit tree, attend the NCES pruning workshop on Wednesday May 16th, 7pm, at 205 7th St E.  If you don’t want your fruit or have more than you can handle, learn more about The Gleaning Project at or consider knocking off the blossoms with a hose during flowering.

If you have compost in your yard, maintain it by following the guidelines below.  Remember, if you can smell it, a bear can smell it and will come to investigate.

– Never add meat, oil, cooked food, un-rinsed eggshells, or large amounts of fruit to your pile.

– Only add small amounts of other kitchen waste and consider freezing all kitchen waste during the fall when bears are most active, then adding it to your compost during the winter months.

– Regularly add brown materials (such as aged leaves, yard waste, or straw) and layer these so your kitchen waste is buried.

– Ensure the compost is kept moist, like that of a wrung out sponge.

– Turn your compost regularly to maintain aeration.

Contact Revelstoke Bear Aware at 250-837-8624 or for more information on how to manage bear attractants, to take part in The Gleaning Project, or to view the Google Earth Bear Sighting Map visit To report bear sightings or problem bears please call the RAPP Line at 1-877-7277.

Revelstoke Bear Aware gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Columbia Basin Trust, the BC Conservation Foundation, BC Hydro, Revelstoke Credit Union, and the Revelstoke Community Foundation in 2012.  Revelstoke Bear Aware also appreciates the ongoing in-kind support from Parks Canada and the Ministry of Forests Resource Compliance Officers.

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