Important Notice: With this page, I provide a partial list of some of the key resources that I refer to when I’m teaching people about safety in bear country. The best way to learn how to prevent undesirable interactions between people and bears is to learn from someone who is well qualified to teach you, typically via a course or courses, developed and delivered to fit to the context of your situation and your needs. The information provided on this page is not a substitute for a taking course from someone who is qualified to teach you how to stay safe around bears. This page was last updated 4 March 2020.
John Hechtel underscores an important message in Staying Safe in Bear Country: a Behavioral Based Approach to Reducing Risk, a DVD by the Staying Safe in Bear Country Society:
“The best way to minimize conflicts with bears is by practicing prevention. Though bears are forgiving of almost all human behavior by following some simple rules you can reduce your chances of encountering a bear, and just as important, of attracting one. But despite the best precautions, you still may occasionally meet a bear. Bears often display many of the same types of behaviors toward humans that they use with each other, therefore, the safest way to reduce risk during an encounter is to have knowledge and understanding of their behavior and motivation. You should be able to anticipate the most common situations where you might encounter bears and it’s a good idea to mentally practice how you should respond.This knowledge and preparation can empower you to act appropriately around bears and avoid an attack. You have control over most of the important factors that determine your safety”
Bear Awareness and Safety DVDs
Staying Safe in Bear Country: a behavioral-based approach to reducing risk. Revised 2008. Safety in Bear Country Society. Produced by Wild Eye Productions, Atlin, B.C. in association with AV Action Yukon Ltd. DVD is available for purchase for personal use here. Script for the DVD is available here.
Working in Bear Country: for industrial managers, supervisors and workers. 2001. Safety in Bear Country Society. Produced by Wild Eye Productions, Atlin, B.C. in association with AV Action Yukon Ltd. DVD is available for purchase for personal use here.
Living in Bear Country. 2005. Safety in Bear Country Society. Produced by Wild Eye Productions, Atlin, B.C. in association with AV Action Yukon Ltd. DVD is available for purchase for personal use here.
DVDs with a digital license can be purchased from Magic Lantern Media here.
The Yukon Territorial Government has a great brochure based on Staying Safe in Bear Country Society information. It’s also available in French and German.
Herrero, Stephen. 2018. Bear attacks: their causes and avoidance. Third Edition. Lyons Press. Lanham, MD.
Bear Research and Management Websites
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. Website:
- The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) has a bear-resistant productions testing program, including a bear-resistant products testing protocol.
- This website provides information on recreating in grizzly country, living in grizzly country, bear spray, bear-resistant productions, resources for bear safety, and bear viewing.
- It also lists websites with bear identification information and tests.
International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA). Website: http://www.bearbiology.com
“The International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA) is a non-profit tax-exempt organization open to professional biologists, wildlife managers and others dedicated to the conservation of all bear species. The organization has over 550 members from over 50 countries. It supports the scientific management of bears through research and distribution of information. The IBA sponsors international conferences on all aspects of bear biology, ecology and management. Many of the conference papers are published as peer-reviewed scientific papers in the journal Ursus.”
Here are some references for journal articles that might be of interest if you want to read about some of the research that has been done to support safety in bear country.
Bear Habituation to People
Herrero, S. T. Smith, T.D. DeBruyn, K. Gunther, and C. Matt. 2005. From the field: brown bear habituation to people—safety, risks, and benefits. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33(1):362–373.
Smith, T.S., S. Herrero, and T.D. DeBruyn. 2005. Alaskan brown bears, humans, and habituation. Ursus 16(1):1–10.
Smith, T.S., S. Herrero, T.D. DeBruyn, J.M. Wilder. 2006. Efficacy of bear deterrent spray in Alaska. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 72(3):640–645.
Smith, T.S., J. Gookin, B.G. Hopkins, S.H. Thompson. 2018. Portable electric fencing for bear deterrence and conservation. Human–Wildlife Interactions 12(3):309–321
Hopkins, J.B. III, S. Herrero, T.T. Shideler, K.A. Gunter, C.C. Schwartz, S.T. Kalinowski. 2010. A proposed lexicon of terms and concepts for human–bear management in North America. Ursus 21(2):154–168.
Human Impacts on Bears
Mattson, D. 2009. Human impacts on bear habitat use. International Association of Bear Research and Management 8:33–56.
Human Injuries Inflicted by Bears
Herrero, S. and A. Higgins. 1999. Human injuries inflicted by bears in British Columbia: 1960–97. Ursus 11:209–218.
Herrero, S. and A. Higgins. 2003. Human injuries inflicted by bears in Alberta: 1960–98. Ursus 14:44–54.
Smith, T.S. and Herrero, S. 2018. Human–bear conflict in Alaska: 1880–2015. Wildlife Societ Bulletin, 42: 254-263.