Stomping groundsThe black bear usually lives in plush forest throughout North America. Known to be wanderers, some bears will travel more than 500 square miles throughout life.
Black bears can be found in northern Canada and Alaska, down to parts of northern Mexico.
DietAlthough you may have seen a black bear hanging around your campsite, they much prefer to feast on fresh nuts, fruit, greens and acorns. When food becomes scarce, they often make due with what they come across. This can lead to reproductive issues and other health concerns.
HibernationOnce a bear has put on about 30 lbs, it will hibernate for months beginning in October or November. A special hormone called leptin gets produced throughout this period to suppress their appetite through the winter months.
Unlike other animals that hibernate, bears do not need to awake to urinate or defecate. Instead, this matter is recycled into their proteins.
In some areas where food is plentiful throughout the year, some black bears will not hibernate at all.
Do not disturbAccording to Parks Canada, you should maintain a minimum distance of 100 metres from a bear.
Contrary to popular belief, a bear will not attack you unless you approach it or come within close distance. Black bear mothers aren't known to attack humans in defense of cubs. To avoid a potential attack, do not cross between a cub and mother. And more importantly, don't run; bears will always outrun a human.
Camping tipsBe sure to seal all food in air-tight containers as bears have a very strong sense of smell. There are food storage facilities available in some areas, but if you won't have access to one, consider suspending food between trees.
Always keep tents and sleeping bags free of food and lingering food odors. If possible, seal clothes the you wore while cooking away from sleeping area.
Be sure to leave your campground clean as many bears have found themselves in danger after getting their heads stuck in plastic containers. And remember, do not bury food, as they are great diggers. Buried food will still attract bears.