When enjoying Ontario’s campsites, lakes, forests or hiking trails, remember you are in natural bear habitat. Bears have a keen sense of smell, and are attracted by the odour of all food and garbage. Avoid conflicts with bears while camping by being prepared and aware.


  • Plan your trip with safety in mind by learning how to avoid attracting a bear.
  • Teach children how to be Bear Wise and never approach or run from a bear. Keep children between adults while hiking.
  • Think about how to safely store your food and garbage while on the campsite.
  • Pack food with special care.

Be Bear Wise:

  • Look for signs of bear activity near your campsite.
  • Keep dogs on a leash. The bear may follow the dog back to its owner.
  • Follow the advice set out by Ontario Parks or the private campground
  • Use bear-resistant containers or sealed plastic bags to store food when camping or in back country.
  • Hang food at least 4 metres (13 feet) above the ground and 3 metres
    (10 feet) from tree limbs.
  • Never eat, cook or store food, cooking equipment or toiletries in your tent.
  • Clean up at your campsite:
    • Clean fish away from your campsite
    • Burn scraps and fat droppings
    • Drain dish water.


Packing checklist:

    • Long ropes for hanging food and garbage
    • Whistle or air horn
    • Bear spray
    • Long-handled axe
    • Dog leash
    • Garbage bags
    • Easily prepared food


Always call 911 in an emergency.

Call 1-866-514-2327 to report a sighting.

Visit ontario.ca/bearwise for more tips on being Bear Wise.