Bear Sighting Near Goderich

BEAR SIGHTING NEAR GODERICH

(GODERICH, ON) -  Huron County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is warning Goderich residents and those nearby to the south end of Goderich of a black bear sighting.  A witness reported seeing the bear around 11:50 a.m. south of Dechert Road.  The bear was described as being around 250 pounds.  It was seen wandering near a corn field.

In June a black bear was spotted north of Goderich on the Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail (GART). 

Given there is a possibility of encountering a bear in Huron County citizens should have some understanding on what to do and who to call.  The Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry and OPP offer the following advice.

Who to Contact

Not every bear sighting is an emergency situation. Here is who to call if you encounter a bear. 

Emergency Situations – Call 911 if a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety and exhibits threatening or aggressive behaviour, such as:

  • 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

Non-Emergency Encounters

Call the toll-free Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 if a bear:

  • 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

This line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from April 1 to November 30.

If you encounter a black bear

When bears are caught off guard, they are stressed, and usually just want to flee.

Stop. Do not panic. Remain calm.

Generally, the noisier the bear is, the less dangerous it is, provided you do not approach. The noise is meant to “scare” you off and acts as a warning signal.

Do

  • Slowly back away while keeping the bear in sight and wait for it to leave.
  • If the bear does not leave, throw objects, wave your arms and make noise with a whistle or air horn.
  • Prepare to use bear spray.
  • If you are near a building or vehicle get inside as a precaution.
  • Drop any food you may be carrying and slowly move away.
  • If a bear is in a tree, leave it alone. Leave the area. The bear will come down when it feels safe.

Do Not

  • 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.

Bear warning signs

Black bear attacks are extremely rare.

A threatened or predatory black bear will give off warning signs to let you know you are too close. A black bear standing on its hind legs is not a sign of aggressive behaviour. The bear is trying to get a better look at you or catch your scent.  This was the case in the bear sighting today on the GART.

When to Use Self Defence

If you have tried everything possible to get a bear to leave your property and you are afraid for your safety, you have the right to protect yourself and your property.

Killing a bear in self-defence must be an action of last resort.

Any action you take must be done:

  • according to applicable laws (for example, discharging a firearm by-laws)
  • safely
  • in the most humane way possible

For further information about bears in Ontario you can visit:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/prevent-bear-encounters-bear-wise