The CRD issued an warning on May 31 that bears have been sighted at the Sooke Potholes (which is bear country) between parking lots 2 and 3.
The go on to recommend that you report displays of threatening or unusual behaviour to BC Conservation Officer Service 1-877-952-7277.
The best bear encounter is the one you don’t have, so always be vigilant when you enter their territory. Here are some safety tips from WildSafeBC:
- Carry unexpired bear spray, have it instantly accessible, and know how to use it.
- Watch for bear signs:
- Bear scat (poop) varies in size, consistency and content depending upon the season. Typically high in plant content, the bear scat will become loose and runny the more the bear feeds on berries.
- Bear tracks will show all five toes and claw marks about an inch or so above the toe pads.
- Overturned logs and stumps torn apart should be checked for signs of freshness.
- Talk or sing. Bear bells do not carry as far nor are as distinct as the sound of human voices.
- Be especially vigilant alongside running water, in thick bush or if there is a strong wind blowing – in these circumstances a bear is less likely to hear you and a chance for a surprise encounter is greater.
- Carry out everything you carry in.
- Don’t hike alone.
If a bear charges, remember these safety bear-encounter basics:
- Hold your ground and pull out your bear spray and release the safety.
- Speak to the bear in a loud low voice “Whoa – you’d better back off.”
- If the bear continues its charge and closes to within 5-10 meters, deploy your bear spray in a short burst, aiming from the ground up to create a wall between you and the bear. When the bear retreats, head back to your vehicle and contact the Conservation Officer Reporting line as soon as possible. Alert others in the area to the presence of the bear.
- If the bear breaks off its charge before you have to deploy your spray – take a step or two back away from the bear. Continue to speak in a low voice. Do not make direct eye contact with the bear. Keep your bear spray at the ready. Once the bear knows you are not a threat it should leave or return to what it was protecting. Continue to back away and keep an eye on the bear. Return to your vehicle and alert the authorities and your co-workers as to the presence of the bear.
- Mountain bikers put themselves at greater risk for a confrontation with a bear because of the biker’s speed and relatively quiet mode of transport.
- Before heading out on trails, check the WARP program or trailhead signs to see if any bears have been reported in the area. If bears have been sighted recently in the area, consider a second trail. The best bear encounter is the one you avoid.
- Carry bear spray in a readily accessible (yet protected area) and know how to use it.
- Ride in groups whenever possible
- Watch for bear sign and keep your group closer together and talk loudly if you see fresh sign. Bears should give you lots of room if they know you are in the area.
- Learn from locals as to what trails have the potential for meeting bears at what time of the year and choose your rides accordingly.
- Never feed a bear to get the shot (it is illegal and very unsafe)
- Give the bears plenty of room, never approach a bear closer than 100 meters unless you are in your vehicle
- Never crowd, surround or follow a bear
- Watch for signs of the animal becoming stressed by your presence and leave at the first signs of such stress. Bears may ‘pop’ their jaws, woof, or stomp their paws. Increased head swaying, ears laid back and the bear no longer feeding are signs of imminent trouble.
- Bear photography is best done from a vehicle or a regulated viewing platform
- Report any inappropriate activity by others – it may save a life.
- Check out the discussion by professional photographers about the ethics of wildlife photography at
- The national park board also has some good guidelines for wildlife photography here.
For detailed information from WildSafeBC, click here.
- Reminder from Wild Wise Sooke: Manage your fruit trees, be bear aware
- Bear Aware Reminder: Garbage management, bylaws, and fines
- Fifth bear killed in Sooke
- Recent bear kills (4) attributed to human-generated attractants
- As fruit ripens, non-habituated bears will move into the forests
- Increased bear sightings, what you need to know, and how to keep bears alive
- Bear sightings at Potholes, between parking lots 3 and 2
- How bears communicate (Video)
- A sure sign of spring for residents of Sooke is the return of bears.
- Bear in Area signs emerge from hibernation