Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Do bears feed only at night?
Answer: Bears tend to feed at dusk and dawn but it is not uncommon for bears to actively feed throughout the day.
Question: Why do bears hibernate?
Answer: Bears hibernate because of dwindling food supplies. Bears do not hibernate simply because the weather has turned cold or snow is falling.
Question: Do bears always avoid people?
Answer: Bears will not always try to avoid people. A bear may approach people because it is curious, testing dominance, habituated, food‐conditioned or potentially predatory.
Question: Why do bears stand up, are they getting ready to attack?
Answer: A bear may stand on its hind legs to get a better look or to pick up your scent if it cannot tell what you are.
Question: Will making direct eye contact make the bear more likely to attack?
Answer: It’s important to watch the bear so you can assess the situation. In non‐defensive situations, look at and face the bear, stand tall and maintain an air of confidence.
Question: Is climbing a tree a good way to avoid an aggressive bear?
Answer: Both black and grizzly bears can and will climb trees. Black bears are very comfortable in trees and mothers will often send their cubs up trees for safety.
Question: Is running downhill a way to avoid an aggressive bear?
Answer: Both black and grizzly bears can run just as fast downhill as they do uphill, and won’t hesitate to, and can easily outrun even the fastest human.
Question: Will ammonia or moth balls prevent bears from getting into garbage?
Answer: No, household products such as these don’t work and may provide a unique scent or attractant. Keeping garbage in bear resistant containers or behind locked doors is the most effective way to keep bears out of garbage.
Question: Are menstruating women in greater danger of a bear attack?
Answer: There has been no evidence linking menstruating women and bear attacks, but consider soiled menstrual products a potential attractant and keep secure from bears.
Question: Is the advice to fight a black bear, play dead with a brown bear, good advice?
Answer: Your response should be based on the motivation of the bear. You must pay attention to the bear’s behavior to know how to respond.
Question: So to be safe, should I just lie down and play dead if a bear approaches?
Answer: Lying down is a last resort and should only occur when a defensive bear makes physical contact with you. It is rarely necessary and could trigger a predatory response from the bear.
Question: Do bears defend territories?
Answer: Bears defend personal space. Your goal is to give bears plenty of space. Even bears habituated to human presence have spatial limits. Females with cubs, even more so.
Question: Have bears developed a better sense of smell because they can’t see well?
Answer: Bears have good vision similar to humans and can see in color. Their night vision is excellent and they are particularly sensitive to detecting movement.
Question: How can I rapidly assess how big a bear is?
Answer: You can rapidly assess the size of a bear by looking at its ears. If the ears are large (and close together on the head) then this is a small bear, maybe a juvenile. If the ears are small (and far apart on the head), then this is a big bear, maybe an adult.