How to stay safe in bear country

If you understand and apply a few basic principles, you can stay safe in bear country. This page is your “one stop shop” to access a wide variety of resources to help you keep Yukon’s bears wild and alive.

What to do if you encounter a bear

Bear encounters rarely result in an attack. Remaining calm is the most important thing to do. You should also:

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Keeping your property bear safe

Most incidents of human-bear conflict are caused by poor handling of attractants. If a bear gets an easy meal from improperly stored garbage or food, it’s almost certain to return, or seek the same food source elsewhere.

A bear’s sense of smell is 2000 times better than a human’s, and even 20 times better than a dog’s. Not all attractants are what we think of as food; bear are attracted to things that smell, including pet waste and fuel.

The best way to keep bears away is to make sure attractants are properly stored and secured.

Attractants include:

Audit your property for bear safety using these checklists:

Electric fencing can be an effective tool for keeping bears away from your chicken coops, beehives, storage sheds and gardens.

Bears that are conditioned to human sources of food can be dangerous. Conservation Officers may capture/relocate or put down bears that associate people with food, depending on the circumstances.

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Safe roadside bear viewing

If you see a bear while driving, check for traffic behind you before stopping. Ensure you slow down and pull over only when and where it’s safe. Don’t stop in the middle of the road, or close to a hill or curve – avoid creating a “bear jam” by:

If the bear retreats or seems to ignore you then it is safe for you to take pictures, watch for a minute, and then move on. Watching for only a minute will prevent the bear from becoming habituated to your presence.

If the bear approaches your vehicle then leave immediately. This bear may be conditioned to being around people and could be dangerous. Depending on how aggressive the bear was, report the incident to Conservation Officers using the TIPP line.

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Hikers, bikers and campers

Hiking or biking


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Hunting and fishing


The presence of meat and carcasses can increase the risk of bear encounters. Hunters should take the same general precautions as hikers, bikers and campers, as well as safety measures specific to kill sites.

At the kill site:

Returning to the kill site:


The chances of encountering a bear increase when you're near an active fish spawning area, especially a salmon-bearing stream. Anglers should take the same general precautions as hikers, bikers and campers, as well as safety measures specific to fishing.

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Industrial activity in back country

By ensuring that your industrial camp is properly located, designed, and maintained -- and your activities take bears into account -- you can help protect your camp and crew, as well as nearby bears.

Industrial activity can affect bear populations in several ways:

Guidelines for mineral exploration, placer mining, and oil and gas industries:

Guidelines for attractant management plans:

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Government publications

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Useful links



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Contact Conservation Officer Services
Phone (Whitehorse): 867-667-8005
Toll-free (in Yukon, NWT, Nunavut):
1-800-661-0408 ext. 8005
T.I.P.P. Line: 1-800-661-0525

Fax: 867-393-6206

Email: coservices@gov.yk.ca
Address: Box 2703 (V-18) Whitehorse, Yukon Canada Y1A 2C6

District Conservation Officers


Whitehorse 667-8005
Dawson 993-5492
Watson Lake 536-3210
Haines Junction 634-2247
Mayo 996-2202
Carmacks 863-2411
Old Crow 966-3040
Ross River 969-2202
Faro 994-2862
Teslin 390-2685