Bear Proofing

Bear Proofing Techniques by Celese Fletcher

We’ll soon be arriving to our cottages and doing the walk-about to see if we’ve had bear break-ins. While we’ve had a significant reduction in the number of bear break-ins, we should remain vigilant with our bear proofing techniques and removal of attractants.

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) provided cottagers with the following list of deterrents:

  1. Bear Boards – these are made from plywood with nails hammered through at 1” spacing. They are placed around windows and doors when you are away from the cottage. The size and position are key. If the Board is too small the Bear will step over it. DO NOT USE BEAR BOARDS WHILE USING THE COTTAGE—store them in a safe place until departure.
  2. Doors and windows – close doors and windows when not at or in your cottage.
  3. Food – keep all food inside the fridge and off counters so Bears can’t smell it. Freeze kitchen scraps while at the cottage. Take remaining food with you when you leave the cottage.
  4. Remove attractants including scented candles and humming bird feeders (anything with a sweet scent and sugar).

Devil’s Elbow Transfer Station

We enjoy living with wildlife and do not want to create more Nuisance Bears. A number of garbage bags are often left on the  Transfer Station docks when it is closed. Bears feed on garbage which deters them from feeding in their natural habitat, thus  creating more Nuisance Bears.  If you plan to leave the cottage when the Transfer Station is closed, separate your compost and freeze it so that it won’t smell when transporting it home. Alternatively, you can check the operating hours of other Transfer stations and if open, leave your garbage there. If you have other solutions, please share them with your neighbours.

Human-Bear Encounters and Removal of Nuisance Bears

MNR also encourages cottagers to be assertive in human-bear encounters. They said when encountering a bear “Ensure both you and the bear has a route of escape. Every person is different in their comfort level but folks must understand that bears are ruled by      their stomachs and live in a world of dominance. Tools such as a sling shot, a paint ball gun, air horns, pots and pans are all examples of non-lethal deterrents that can move a bear from your property. Understanding that not everyone will be comfortable with these techniques it is important that bears do not get food rewards from your property or feel “comfortable” loitering”.

The Township of the Archipelago assessed an additional tax of $55.00 per installment for residents on McLaren, Derbyshire and Louisa Islands to cover the cost of removing nuisance bears by a MNR approved company. Please report bear sightings to Councillor Rick Zanussi at or at 705.774.1777.

OPP Response to Threatening Bears

If you do encounter a threatening bear – that is a bear that refuses to leave your cottage area and/or is snorting, pawing the ground and popping its jaw, then immediately call 911. The OPP are required to and have assured us that they will respond immediately.

Read the Bear Wise information to understand more about Nuisance Bears. Once you open this page, scroll to the right hand chart titled On this Page and click on Lethal Force (dispatch a bear).


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