Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bear Watch

E-mail recieved July 9/07

Steve & I are concerned about a very large bear we spotted on the road two weekends ago coming from someone's cottage. It was a Sunday night around 7:30 and was on the south side of the lake. To say it was large was an understatement. To say it was in any kind of hurry would be a lie. Quite frankly it made me very concerned about walking around the lake as I like to do once the bugs die down.
To further add to this story, on Saturday night at around 11:00 pm my daughter, who was in a bedroom facing the road came into our room concerned about a noise she was hearing. We went to her bedroom and heard a huge crashing noise. We realized it was our neighbors' very large metal garbage bin being thrashed about (they had left in the afternoon so their garbage was inside). It was unreal. This bin was being tossed like it weighed absolutely nothing. This went on for about 10-15 minutes and then stopped. In the morning we went to investigate only to find the bin half way down our neighbors' drive, upside down, wide open and empty. The claw marks, dents, and scratches were unreal. Garbage was nowhere to be found at the scene. We walked up to the ski-do trail and found the bag open and the contents strewn about.
To be clear, this bin must weigh over 200 pounds. Steve and another neighbor struggled to lift it and put it back in its place. Steve could not believe that it could have been thrown about so easily the night before. We can only assume it was a very large animal (read bear) that could have managed this.
I am not sure what one does with this information. This animal is very aggressive and quite frankly we are worried about it taking on something a little more delectable than a metal garbage bin.
Would love to know if anyone has any suggestions as to how we as a lake can deal with this issue, if in fact we can do anything at all. Would it be possible to have someone trap it and move it elsewhere? We are open for any ideas that folks may have.

Joanne Leeder
1286 Lakeshore Rd South


At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some thoughts...

Take your garbage home or as a minimum take home contents that are likely to have strong attracting odours. Meat, fish, poultry scraps + containers, fruit, bread any sweets etc.

Invest in bear proof garbage containers but ensure they are firmly imbeded in a concrete base. This will require 5 or 6 bags of premix concrete. Bags are usually 66# each.

Burn off your barbeque after each use to ensure odours are reduced.

The bear population has increased significantly in all of Ontario. This is the result of the cancellation of the spring bear hunt a few years back and very favourable natural food for the last few years. Garbage is like a buffet, easier pickings for a bear.
We are not alone in this challenge.

Relocating the bear or killing it is only a temporary solution, they are territorial and another will move in shortly.

I beleive there is more than one bear as I have seen different sized tracks within close proximity to the lake.

Use bear bells and whistles when hiking or walking the roads, bears are most dangerous when they are surprised or feel threatened.

Educate yourself on how to deal with a bear encounter, if you should find yourself in this situation.

Any other constructive ideas out there?

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

verrrrrrrrry good answer...we are in THEIR environment...not the other way around.....to leave garbage overnite is asking for a bear to come for dinner.....

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Joanne said...


A very interesting and disturbing article regarding the bear problem.
I appreciate your suggestions but the challenge is getting all on the lake to participate. We see green garbage bags thrown out at the end of cottagers' driveways on Sunday night. Talk about a buffet!

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Leech Lake Cottagers/Residents,

I have received a few e-mails in the last couple of days about increased bear activity recently. This includes a cottage screened in porch that was broken into by a (the) bear and a “bear-proof” garbage bin that the bear decided to prove was not really bear-proof.

In response, I contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and was advised that they react to individuals reporting their experiences directly, not to an association representative with second hand information. They also advised that the number of contacts would influence their reaction.

If you have had any bear experiences please report it/them to the MRN at 1-866-514-BEAR (2327). This is not limited to actual bear encounters, but would also include the spotting of strewn garbage, broken or displaced garbage containers and other evidence of bear activity such as droppings (scat) on the road or on private property. Please note that this number is for reporting only, in any emergency (whether involving a bear or not) you should dial 911.

I am attaching a page from their website entitled “Bear Wise – What Cottagers Can Do”. I would add, in addition to their suggestion that garbage should be put out on the morning of pick-up, that we take our garbage home with us or take it to the dump when we leave if possible. Obviously on regular weekends if we put our garbage out on Sunday it will sit there until Monday morning (unless of course the bear decides otherwise).

I also encourage everyone to visit the MNR Bear-Wise website (http://bears.mnr.gov.on.ca/) which has a great deal of information on the subject including suggestions on what to do if you actually encounter a bear.

Ken Geller

President, Leech Lake Cottagers Ass'n

Office # 905-602-1474

Home # 416-977-1459

Cell # 416-580-7122

Cottage - 705-646-2955

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello all…this bear issue is really becoming a nuisance…to say the least…we’ve had our garbage bin ransacked and destroyed a number of times…so we stopped using it…Recycling only for us…garbage comes home.

We called the "Bear Hotline" yesterday on our way back to the city...expecting to leave a message...couldn't believe someone actually answered the phone on a Sunday night...

They reiterated the comments posted here... the main one being...bring your garbage home or put it out on the day of collection not the night before...bears apparently have a good memory for food and will continue to come back until they (to use the words of the ministry) “fail to receive a reward for their troubles”.

The person at the ministry did say that the more "calls they receive " from a certain area the more likely they are to deal with the issue...so let’s inundate them with calls in the hopes that they deal with the issue before we are calling for something far worse…(knock on wood).

On a side note...is this weekend weather going to get any better???...rain Saturday and cool on Sunday…it’s July right?!?


Mauro and Pia #1196

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen the bear at the end of my driveway a couple of times on the way to work. It was eating my neighbours garbage. The big issue is people putting the garbage out at the end of the driveway with out it being in any kind of container. I have cleaning up countless messes because of this. Also a wood box is no match for a bear. You need to have a steel bin that is cemented into the ground. This is the only way to ensure your garbage won't be eaten, or just take it to the dump.

At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last Saturday evening (July 14), I returned from a trip to town to discover that one of my neighbours on the lake had decided to use the end of my driveway as a garbage dump. They left behind several cardboard boxes plus a loosely tied shopping bag of kitchen waste and a rusted metal frame which, if I'm not mistaken, the Town will not pick up. Perhaps the person responsible is concerned about attracting a bear to their own driveway, but the solution to that problem is not to make it mine. In fact, at the time, my garbage bin was lying upside down several feet off the driveway, victim for the third time this year from a bear 'attack'. Interestingly, I have not been using the bin lately because of the bear problem, so perhaps my thoughtless and inconsiderate neighbour has been using my bin without my knowledge and was responsible for the latest attack as well - I've no way of knowing.

Let's be respectful of one another and each take care of our own garbage in a responsible manner. That means taking waste the town won't collect to the dump or back home to the city for collection there. Food waste and other household garbage is your own responsibility - not your neighbour's. Please be considerate of each other as we all try to enjoy the lake and deal with the bear problem.

Colin Wright
1107 Lakeshore Drive North

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since we have a bear proof bin, everyone thinks it is ok to put there garbage in your bin. When we go to use our own bin it's full. They even dump the recyclables in our blue box. Now we have to lock the garbage bin so that we can put our waste in it. People if you can not or will not put in a proper garbage container, take the stuff home with you. Do'nt dump it on your neighbours. People must be responsiable for there own garbage.

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TAKE YOUR GARBAGE HOME!!! Don't leave the cottage the afternoon before and sweep the issue under the rug. On Sunday morning (Aug5), there was a wood bid that was destroyed and there was BigMac & fry containers strewn everywhere. McDonalds!?!?! Think before you put something in your bin!

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