Our homes and cottages at Lac Bernard are also natural habitats for bears. There have been recent sightings of black bears around the lake. Bears have a taste for more than garbage: in at least two cases, a bear was spotted trying to get into bird feeders.

How to avoid attracting bears

Here is an extract from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources ( on what you can do to avoid attracting black bears:

  • Put garbage out on the morning of garbage day, and not the night before.
  • Do not leave pet food outdoors.
  • Thoroughly clean outdoor grills after use.
  • Fill bird feeders only through the winter months.
  • Do not put meat, fish or sweet food (including fruit) in your composter.
  • Keep meat scraps in the freezer until garbage pick-up day.
  • Pick all ripe fruit off trees, and remove vegetables and fallen fruit from the ground.
  • Use electric fencing to protect valuable trees, orchards, vegetable and berry patches.
  • When out walking, make noise and carry a whistle.

What to do if you encounter a bear

The Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources explains what to do should you encounter a bear:

  • Stay calm and assess the situation.
  • Don’t shout or make sudden movements. Talk to it in a soft voice.
  • Always leave it an avenue of escape. Never trap it in a corner.
  • Leave it enough space to turn around and run away.
  • Don’t run away unless you are within close reach of a safe place. By running, you may encourage the bear to follow you and see you as its prey. Remember, bears are excellent runners and swimmers.
  • Avoid looking it directly in the eyes as it can perceive this as threatening.
  • Back up slowly, keeping it in your sight all the while.
  • If it advances, toss objects in front of you to distract it.
  • Climbing a tree can be a solution as most adult bears will not spontaneously climb, except to find food in the fall.
  • It is not recommended to play dead with a black bear. Rather, stay attentive and be ready to face it in the event it attacks.
  • If it attacks, defend yourself with whatever is close at hand (rocks, sticks, branches, an axe, etc.). Raise your voice, shout, and gesticulate. The goal is to impress it into retreating.

If you have no other option, trying hitting, pinching or punching nose. This is a very sensitive part of the bear and this action has saved lives.