American Black Bear
American Black Bear | Bear Sign
If You Encounter a Bear | Sightings and Status
If You Encounter a Bear
Black bears are intelligent, adaptable animals that learn quickly.
It is our job to understand bears to avoid conflicts. Black bear attacks are
extremely rare. However, visiting or living near wild habitats has potential
danger. Bears are very strong and can damage tents, cars, and other
A fed bear is a dead bear.
By making food available to a bear, we train it to associate humans with
food. Once a bear learns this association, it will become a nuisance and
often must be killed.
A bear will follow its nose.
Don't attract bears with food or garbage. Keep your camp clean. Store your
food, pet food, and trash in bear-proof containers and away from your camp
or in a secure building. Toiletries have interesting smells and can attract
Don't try to touch or pet a bear!
No matter how cute and cuddly they look, bears are wild and powerful
What if I see a black bear?
Consider yourself lucky, but keep your distance! When a bear stands, it is
not threatening you, just surveying its surroundings.
- Don't run if a bear approaches you. Running may stimulate the bear's
- Make lots of noise and throw objects at it to distract
- Make sure the bear has a clear way for retreat.
- If the bear continues its approach, face it while slowly backing away.
- Keep your dog on a leash and away from bears.
If you are worried about a bear on your property or in your camp, don't
shoot! Call the California Department of Fish and Game, a ranger, or 911 if
there is an emergency.