Families renting cottages in the Haliburton Highlands sometimes worry about what to do if they see a bear. Bear sightings are not common but they do happen on occasion, typically when food or garbage has been left outside the cottage. In order to avoid being visited by a bear, it is of the utmost importance that you follow the instructions left by cottage owners for disposing of garbage. Bears have an excellent sense of smell. If garbage is left outside of the cottage, they will find it and likely spread it all over the place making a terrible mess.
So...what to do if you see a bear.
1. Do not look directly at the bear. If a car or building is nearby, go inside and close the door.
2. Do not run away from the bear. Slowly back away from the bear while keeping your eye on it. Make yourself look as large as possible.
3. Keep your dog away from the bear. Dogs can excite bears resulting in the bear following the dog back to the family cottage.
4. If you are with other people when you see a bear, stay together and act as a group. Face the bear. Do not run or make any quick moves. Make sure the bear has an escape route and then yell and wave your arms to make yourself look bigger. Blow a whistle if you have one. The idea is to appear aggressive (without getting closer) to persuade the bear to leave.
5. If the bear is in a tree, remove dogs and people from the area. The bear will come down when it feels safe.