A bear and her cub seen near Fernie in late Fall 2020. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

A bear and her cub seen near Fernie in late Fall 2020. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Bears turn in for winter (soon)

Snow, longer nights and less food means the Elk Valley’s resident bear population will make itself scarce soon

There’s snow on the ground and the nights are getting longer and colder so don’t expect to see the resident bear population around for too much longer.

Kathy Murray of WildsafeBC said that “here in the East Kootenay bears go into hibernation around Halloween, give or take a week.

“Typically once the temperatures drop, there’s snow on the ground and food sources dwindle, that’s a nudge for bears to start looking for a den for the winter.”

Murray said locals should stay on the lookout however, as there was still evidence of bears around Fernie in the last few days.

“Bears will be on their last effort to find food.”

Murray reminded locals to remove anything that might attract bears to their properties – such as garbage and fallen fruit from trees, and to keep bird feeders in until later in November.

Given it’s Halloween, Murray added that locals should also remember to bring in their pumpkin decorations at night, as they are a tasty snack for hungry bears on their way into the backcountry to hibernate.

Just because the bears will be gone in a few weeks doesn’t mean adventurers shouldn’t keep a lookout – Murray said that going into winter, locals should be wary of wildlife like moose and mountain lions.

“If wildlife are responding to your presence – you’re too close.”

READ MORE: Elk Valley urged to be bear aware

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