BearWise helps people live responsibly with black bears

BearWise® is the black bear program you can trust for sound information and smart solutions that help homeowners, businesses and communities coexist with bears.

From the BearWise Article Bank

bear with paw on car door

The Two-Second Solution That Keeps Stuff Safe and Bears Wild

Lock It or Lose It. Have you seen news stories or videos featuring bears “breaking in” to homes and cars looking for food? What many stories don’t mention is that much of the time the bear isn’t breaking in. It’s just following its nose to something that smells like food, ...

bear safety: black bear on road, dog on a leash

Are you a BearWise dog owner?

If you own a dog and live in or travel to bear country, eventually your dog may encounter a bear. Understanding why some dog-bear encounters end peacefully and others end with dogs and people being injured or killed can help keep people, dogs and bears safe. Bears don’t like to ...

Black bear cub in a tree

What bears do in May

May at a Glance: All bears visit all the places where they reliably found food last year. Cubs learn how to climb up (and down) trees, and learn to “talk.” Cubs are still nursing, but start experimenting with bear food. Mother bears sometimes leave the youngsters alone and travel up ...

Six At-Home BearWise Basics

Never Feed or Approach Bears

Intentionally feeding bears or allowing them to find anything that smells or tastes like food teaches bears to approach homes and people looking for more. Learn More

Secure food, garbage and recycling

Food and food odors attract bears, so don’t reward them with easily available food, liquids or garbage. Learn More

Remove bird feeders when bears are active

Birdseed and grains have lots of calories, so they’re very attractive to bears. Removing feeders is the best way to avoid creating conflicts with bears. Learn More

Never Leave Pet Food Outdoors

Feed pets indoors when possible. If you must feed pets outside, feed in single portions and remove bowls afterwards. Store pet food where bears can’t see or smell it. Learn More

Clean and Store Grills, Smokers

Clean grills after each use and make sure that all grease, fat and food particles are removed. Store clean grills and smokers in a secure area that keeps bears out. Learn More

Alert Neighbors to Bear Activity

See bears in the area or evidence of bear activity? Tell your neighbors and share info on how to avoid bear conflicts. Learn More

Not all black bears are black. Black bear is a species; common colors include black, brown and cinnamon.

Do you spend time outdoors…

…hiking, walking, cycling, jogging, camping?

Read how to Be BearWise Outdoors.

A black bear sow and her two cubs stand in a forest clearing - Ontario, Canada

New BearWise Educational Materials

The Black Bear Comeback

Black bears once roamed over all of America’s forested lands. But after European settlement, their numbers and habitat dwindled. Thanks to new attitudes and enlightened conservation and management efforts, black bears are making a dramatic comeback over much of their historic home range. Now that bears are returning to areas they used to call home, it’s up to people and communities to learn how to peacefully coexist with these amazing animals.

BearWise shares ways to prevent conflicts, provides resources to resolve problems, and encourages community initiatives to keep bears wild.

logo BearWise, supported by AFWA

The BearWise® program was developed by black bear biologists and is supported by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. Read more About BearWise.

The BearWise® name and logos are registered trademarks of AWARE, America’s Wildlife Association for Resource Education. AWARE is Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ 501(c)(3) foundation dedicated to enhancing our conservation education and scientific programs.
Top photo courtesy of Pat Gaines