Nuisance bear calls now funnelled to OPP

Over the years, Cottage Life has published lots of stories on bears, including last fall, when the magazine explored a number of theories for what appears to be an increase in bear-cottager encounters. According to a recent story in the Star, things haven’t changed much this summer. In fact, according to reports, the OPP spent 511 hours responding to bear calls in June alone and another 219 in July (recorded up to the 24th).

All of those nuisance bear calls are also starting to be dealt with differently. Until recently, cottagers could call the Ministry of Natural resources to come trap and relocate the bear, though the former practice is said to no longer be working. Regardless of how strong of a role the Ministry played, police continued to be called in to deal with emergency situations. Despite relocation, bears often seemed to remember where they found food to begin with, and would continue to return to the same places. While the Ministry’s Bear Wise program is still in place—aimed at educating the public on how to avoid bears, what to expect from them, and even how to handle the situation once they’ve encountered one—calls to the Ministry are now being funnelled directly to the OPP. Police will supposedly try other tactics to scare the bear away before resorting to shooting it, though according to reports, there isn’t a standard practice in place.

Of course you shouldn’t hesitate to call 911 if you find yourself in an emergency situation, but you can help prevent these encounters. From only filling bird feeders in the winter months to putting garbage out the day it will be collected, there are lots to things you can do to make your cottage less appetizing to a bear. Find out more from our expert tips on how to avoid bears, so you don’t have to worry about making that call.