Bear Safety

One of Timmins’ most persistent residents is the common black bear. When bears come out of hibernation, they have about five months to eat enough food to sustain them for the year. That means they’re hungry and may search for food in garbage or waste discarded by humans.

Following Ontario’s Bear Wise tips and tools is a good way to prevent a bear encounter.

Do NOT attempt to feed a bear or leave food out for bears. Bears with access to food may lose their natural fear of humans. This could cause a bear to become more aggressive and a threat to public safety.

Make sure to keep your dog on a leash if our walking. Dogs off leash can cause a bear to try and defend itself.

At home, store your garbage in a secure location like your garage. Store meat scraps in the freezer until garbage day. Remove bird feeders in the spring. Pick fruit or pick-up fallen fruit from trees or shrubs on your property.

If you encounter a bear, don’t panic. Remain calm.


  • Slowly back away while keeping the bear in sight and wait for it to leave.
  • Throw objects, wave your arms and make noise with a whistle, air horn or yelling if the bear does not leave.
  • Prepare to use bear spray.
  • Get inside a building or vehicle, if you are nearby, as a precaution.
  • Leave a bear alone if it is in a tree. Leave the area. The bear will come down when it feels safe.
  • Play dead only if you encounter a mother bear with cubs.


  • Run, climb a tree or swim.
  • Kneel down.
  • Make direct eye contact.
  • Approach the bear to get a better look.
  • Attempt to feed a bear.
  • Let your dog off its leash.
  • Play dead unless you are attacked by a mother bear defending her cubs.

Not every bear sighting is an emergency. An emergency situation means that the bear poses an immediate threat to personal or public safety and is exhibiting threatening behavior.

Call 911 or Timmins Police Service if:

  • Enters a school yard when school is in session.
  • Stalks people and lingers at the site.
  • Enters or tries to enter a residence.
  • Wanders into a public gathering.
  • Kills livestock/pets and lingers at the site.

It is a non-emergency encounter if a bear is:

  • Roams around or checks garbage cans.
  • Breaks into a shed where garbage or food is stored.
  • Is in a tree.
  • Pulls down a bird feeder or knocks over a barbecue.
  • Moves through a backyard or field but does not linger.

You can contact the toll-free Bear Wise reporting like at 1-866-514-2327. The line is open between April 1 and November 30th, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.