While the weather remains stubbornly cool, winter is over, and more and more we are venturing outdoors — to hike, to camp, to enjoy the outdoors British Columbia is famous for.
Therefore it’s a good time for WildSafeBC to offer a few tips and reminders for keeping a safe campsite and being prepared for encounters with wildlife.
First of all, if you are out hiking, even on trails close to or within town:
- Always being aware of your surroundings
- Make noise to avoid startling wildlife
- Do not wear earbuds that effectively hamper one of your key senses
- Always keep pets on a leash as they will be perceived by wildlife as a potential threat or prey
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it
As for camping, the advice is simple, keep a “Bare” campsite.
Never leave any item with an odour unattended or bring these items into your sleeping area as they can attract wildlife. This includes:
-Food and items used in food preparation
-Coolers whether empty or full
-Garbage and wrappings
-Pet food and bowls
-Bottles, cans and recyclables
-Deodorant, toothpaste, citronella etc.
- Keep all attractants in your vehicle or use storage lockers if provided – never in your tent
- Dispose of grey water (water used for dish washing) in designated areas or at least 50 m from sleeping area
- Dispose of garbage and recyclables promptly at designated sites
For the sake of wildlife, your own safety and that of your family as well as the safety of other visitors, never feed wildlife. This includes squirrels, birds, raccoons and other animals. The feed that attracts them is also a powerful attractant for bears.
In addition to trying to avoid wildlife encounters while out enjoying nature, WildSafeBC is warning residents that mid-May through June is fawning season, and deer within communities and in the wild will be giving birth.
Please follow this advice, if you encounter a fawn who appears to be alone.
Deer give birth to fawns from mid-May to June and they are born scentless to avoid attracting predators. Fawns are well-camouflaged and remain hidden while female does feed nearby.
During this time and into the summer, we need to take special precautions and give does with fawns a wide berth. Keep your dog leashed, and leave any ‘found’ fawns where you find them. If a fawn looks unwell and is making noise, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 to report it.
Do not try to capture the fawn or move it as this may cause more harm and it is illegal to do so without a permit and proper training.