Sitting on the front porch, quietly enjoying an early-evening glass of wine, I noticed in the periphery of my vision something moving, looked up and saw a larger animal than the deer, raccoons, porcupines and wild turkeys that are not uncommon sights from my perch on the porch. Wow, first bear sighting on the property in the 9 years I have been here–which doesn’t mean they haven’t been around from time to time but quite a special treat to actually see one!
Given that it appeared well-fed, that it didn’t even bother trying to get into the composter, and that I haven’t found any bear signs (e.g., scats, overturned rocks) around the property, the likelihood is it was just passing through. Bear sightings in this area are quite rare… they tend to stay in the more heavily, and continuously, forested areas of the Bruce Peninsula… which makes it all the more an honour to catch a very special minute of time with this denizen of the wilderness.
Sightings are indeed rare, though they probably see (and smell!) humans far more often than we do them, but it is still prudent to know what to do if you encounter one. Black Bears are generally reclusive and wanting to avoid humans so the most important thing is to give it space and allow it an exit route. Or if you would rather not encounter one, the general noise that humans make is usually enough to alert them to steer a wide berth around you. See the Ontario government Bear-Wise web site for more tips on avoiding and safely managing bear encounters.