WLHOA Nature 000

Black bears are a fact of life in our mountain communities, we have moved into their habitat. It is in our best interest to learn how we can peacefully and safely co-exist with these native animals.


  • Bears are by nature shy and easily frightened. Do not startle or provoke them, especially if they are with cubs.
  • The bears are hungry and looking for food. It is harmful for us to feed the bears as they lose their fear of humans and become a nuisance, if this happens they will be put down. North Carolina does not relocate bears due to their strong homing instinct. Do NOTHING to encourage them into your yard. 

Be Proactive:

  • Bring your bird feeders in as early as possible.
  • Clean your barbecue grill thoroughly after each use.
  • Keep trash in your house until the day it is picked up. Bears will smell trash in your garage so spray ammonia around garage door and trash cans, it will deter bears.
  • Bear-resistant trash cans are available.
  • Keep vehicles locked with no food in them.

Protection: If you feel threatened by a bear:

  • Do not challenge the bear by looking directly into its eyes.
  • Do not run. Back away slowly allowing it a path of egress.

If the bear is not deterred by the methods above and is showing signs of aggression:

  • Raise both arms above head and make yourself appear as large as possible
  • Yell at the bear so it knows you are in charge
  • Back away, do not make eye contact
  • If bear charges grab anything available and hit bear across the nose.
  • Bear mace is very effective, however be careful in its use so it does not affect you also.