Before heading out to go camping, be prepared by finding out what wildlife you can expect to encounter. BC Parks and Parks Canada will often have information on their websites and post any wildlife advisories. You can also find out more by stopping by local Visitor Centres.
Always assume you may encounter wildlife in BC and practice "bare" camping strategies to avoid inviting a bear or other animal to your campsite. Bring bear spray and learn how to transport it and deploy it safely.
While travelling along roads and highways, also be mindful of your speed and watch for wildlife that may be feeding along the road. Stopping to view and photograph wildlife should be avoided on busy stretches where highway speeds are in excess of 60 km/h, or where sight lines are poor. Always stay in your car and avoid disturbing or stressing wildlife. A startled animal may end up crossing the road and being hit by another vehicle.
If you are a campground operator, you are welcome to download our Camping in Wildlife Country Poster as well as our Bare Camping and other species brochures. If you would like high resolution copies, please contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Attracts Bears?
Bears have an incredibly acute sense of smell and can smell the smallest item of food at great distances. Bears are attracted to:
• Anything that we have cooked or are about to eat
• Dirty barbecues or camp stoves
• Any item associated with food prep or clean-up
(dish rags, scrubbers, pots, pans, etc.)
• Grey water pails and discharge
• Garbage, wrappers, empty bottles, cans, condiments, or anything that has been in contact with food.
• Containers for gas, oil, or other petroleum-products
• Pet food bowls
Bears have long memories, your campsite may be clean now but if a bear received a reward there earlier, possibly by another user, it may be back so always be vigilant.
If there is a designated campsite, use it and any bear-resistant storage options that are available. If you are in an undeveloped area, practice the triangle approach to setting up your camp. Your tent, cooking area and food storage areas should be about 100m apart and form a triangle.
Where possible, food should be slung up by a rope system in an area inaccessible to bears (at least 4m off the ground and 3m from the nearest tree).
Inspect your choice of camping area closely and make sure it is not in an area likely to be used by bears. It is best to camp away from waterways or other features that may be travel routes for wildlife. Check for signs of bears (scat, claw marks on trees, fresh digging or tracks).
For the sake of wildlife, your own safety and that of your family as well as the safety of other visitors, NEVER feed wildlife. This includes squirrels, birds, raccoons and other animals. The feed that attracts them is also a powerful attractant for bears.