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Black bear hunting season sign of spring bear activity

With a black bear hunting season date set to begin in the region this Friday April 1st, it is a sign that it is the time of year when bear activity increases around the Grande Prairie region.

There is a BearSmart program put in place by Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch in the Grande Prairie region which indicates ways you can repel bears from the area you live in. In the program, using bear proof bins is a method to prevent bears from coming near your property as well as big emphasis on not feeding the bears. They explain that items like anti-freeze, grain or livestock, and scented candles are some of many smells that can attract bears or other wildlife to the area.

According to the 2011 Bear Hazard Assessment, locations south of Grande Prairie near Wapiti River had higher levels of black bear encounters due to garbage drawing them in. While agriculture attractants such as deadstock showed higher amounts of grizzly bear encounters near Goodfare and Rio Grande.

BearSmart also provides tips on avoiding encounters with bears when enjoying outdoor recreation like hiking. They explain that when on hikes to always carry a noise maker and bear spray where it is immediately accessible. They add that although bears can be around at any time of day, bears are most active at night, dusk, and dawn.

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If you come across a bear and it sees you, they advise not to run and to look around the area for cubs or carcasses and to back away from them to avoid the bear wanting to protect them.

If you want more information, go to the BearSmart portion of the Alberta Environment and Parks website.

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