Northern Bear 
Awareness Society

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Managing Attractants

Prince George is bear habitat.  Despite all the trees and roads, our city is situated along two major rivers and is rich in green spaces that serve as travel corridors for all sorts of wildlife.  Bears frequently pass through our neighbourhoods (just look at our bear sightings maps!), and most people are happy to have the chance to see them so close to home.  However, it is up to us to make sure that these wild animals do not become habituated (lose their fear of humans) or food-conditioned (used to seeking out unnatural food sources), for these situations lead to potential safety risks when bears come too close to humans.  Since we share the same habitat, it is very important to ensure that we properly manage all potential bear attractants so that our wild neighbours will not linger in our yards.

There are several key tips to follow to eliminate bear attractants in your backyard. 

Unnatural attractants refer to items that are not usually found in the wilderness and that attract bears into the city, such as garbage, pet food, bird-feeders, compost, fruit trees, etc. By eliminating or managing the unnatural attractants in your yard, you can reduce the chance of human-bear conflict.


  • Keep garbage indoors or in a bear-resistant closed shed. 
  • Garbage should only be put out by the curbside for pickup on the morning of garbage day. 
  • Cleaning your garbage can to reduce odors will also make the container less attractive to bears.
  •  If you have food waste that is particularly smelly (i.e. bones, fish, etc) you can put it in your freezer until garbage day, to minimize the odor of your garbage.
  • Use a ratchet strap to keep your can closed.


  • Make sure ripened fruit is picked from the branches of fruit trees and that all fallen fruit is regularly picked up off the ground. 
  • When landscaping, consider non-fruit-bearing trees for your backyard. 
  • Consider replacing fruit trees in your backyard with non-fruiting trees or use a fruit retardant to prevent fruit from growing.
  • Use our Fruit Exchange program to share local tree fruits!


  • Make sure birdseed is kept inside or in a bear-resistant closed shed. 
  • Take bird feeders down in March through November. They can be replaced in the winter.
  • Clean up seed under the feeder in the spring.
  • Install a bird bath in your yard to attract birds.
  • Grow plants that attract birds and not bears.


  • Ensure that your compost is turned regularly (once a week).
  • No meat, dairy, fish, un-rinsed eggshells or oils should be put into the compost.
  • Get composting help from REAPS!


  • Keep barbeques clean and, if possible, stored inside a bear-resistant, closed shed. 
  • If not possible, consider purchasing a cover or tarp to reduce odors being carried by the wind and enticing a bear into your backyard.


  • Pets should be fed inside, or, if they must be fed outside the food should be brought indoors immediately if pets do not finish it.
  • Bags of pet food should be stored inside or in a bear-resistant, closed shed.