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What to Do If You See a Black Bear in Your Yard (9 Tips)

Black bears are one of the most common bears, and well-known bears in North America. They can range in size from 100-700lbs. Black bears are less aggressive than other species of bears. They, however, are still capable of being very dangerous. Because of their often close proximity with humans, Black Bears may wander into people’s yards sometimes. So in this articles we’ll discuss what to do if you see a black bear in your yard.

What to do if you see a black bear in your yard (9 tips)

You don’t want bears hanging around for multiple reasons. Bears can be destructive, dangerous to you, your family, and pets. So what we want to do is get the bear to leave, and also deter him from returning. To deter black bears, you can do multiple things.

Here’s a list of ways that can help keep black bears away, enjoy!

1. Invest in bear-proof trash cans

The first thing you should do to deter bears is removing access to outside sources of food. Trash cans are one of the biggest reasons a black bear will want to check out your backyard. Who doesn’t love free and easy food?

Now you can take care of your trash cans, a few tips to help.

  • You can look for bear-resistant trash cans.
  • Keep your trash cans in a locked building such as a shed or garage.
  • Double bagging. Double bagging your trash will keep Black bears out of your yard. They won’t be able to smell your delicious leftovers as easily.
  • Don’t take your trash out for pick-up until necessary.

This Bearicuda Stealth Bear-resistant trash can would do the trick, but it’s pricey.

2. Compost Piles

If you have a compost pile, you may know that your local neighborhood bear loves your home. They love compost piles, especially ones with fruit and other household scraps.

To best keep bears away from your compost pile and your backyard, you can do a couple of things. You can enclose your compost pile, preventing the bear from being able to reach it at all. If you can’t enclose it, you can move your compost pile to the farthest location on your property from your home. This will be the second-best and safest option.

3. Keep your grill clean

Bears can be drawn towards grills, Smelling them from afar. The food that falls to the bottom or left crusted on the grill will draw a bear. It’s always a good idea to make sure you clean your grill after every use and burn off any extra food. Keeping your grill up and covered will also help prevent a bear from smelling what he believes to be a tasty treat.

4. Keep Pet food up

Never leave pet food outside for a prolonged time. If you have indoor/outdoor pets or feed your pts outside, bringing it in the evenings is a great way to keep black bears away. Not only bears, but all sorts of wildlife that is attracted by easy food.

5. Bird Feeders

Bird feeders are a lovely addition to your backyard, and they bring in all sorts of pleasant wildlife. Birds are peaceful to watch, but your bird feeder can also be attracting bears. If this is the case, it’s best to keep bird feeders down or far away from your home.

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There are a significant amount of bird lovers and watchers in the world. For those bird lovers, we created a list of helpful tips to still draw birds to your home.

  • Add a water fountain or a birdbath. Birds are always looking for water sources. A water source is a great way to keep birds coming back without offering food.
  • Put up Birdhouses/ nesting boxes. Birds are always looking for safe places to build their nests.
  • Add plants to your yard, create a garden. Many plants produce seeds that birds enjoy eating. Hummingbirds enjoy a wide variety of flowers.

5. No Fruit Trees

Bears love fruit. If you want to keep them out of your backyard you might need to remove any fruit trees or plant/move them to as far away from your home as possible.

6. Scents to deter Black bears

A few scents have been known to discourage a bear from rummaging around your home and trash. You can use any of the following to deter Black bears, ammonia, Pine essential oil, apple cider vinegar, Lysol, and pinesol.

7. Protecting your animals and bees

If you are a beekeeper or keep small animals on your property like chickens, the best way to keep them safe or to be left alone is to keep them in a safe, secure shelter, or in cases where that’s not possible, electric fences work very well. Electric fences are the number one way to protect beehives.

8. Close off areas a bear could hide in during the winter months

Black Bears will look for safe, secluded areas to spend their winter months. Close off any such spaces around your property. Under decks, and patios are common places to find a black bear relaxing in the winter.

9. Clean up

I know this may be obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway because it’s easy to forget, If you’re busy or tired at the end of the day. Remember to always clean up if you eat outside, leave no food or leftovers outside, around your home.

Things you Should NEVER do around a black bear.

If you see a bear in your backyard, there are a few things you should never do.

  • Never Approach a bear
  • Do not run from a bear
  • and do not climb a tree to escape a bear

If you live in bear country, these are very important to know.

Bears do not typically bother humans, but they are bears and should always be treated with caution, especially if they become unaffected by human presence.

If you encounter a bear

If you ever find yourself outside when a Black bear approaches, a few quick safety tips to follow are

  1. Talk to the bear soft and calmly
  2. Slowly back away
  3. If they start to approach or once you are a safe distance, make loud noises using anything you can.
  4. If they keep approaching, make yourself look as big as you can.

Black bear and human encounters can happen within their range, especially in states with a higher population of black bears. So if you live in an area where bears are active frequently, you may want to buy bear spray. A helpful way to protect yourself from a close encounter if needed. You, however, should never use it, unless necessary. “Don’t poke the bear first”, as they would say.

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You can find some bear spray here on Amazon.


Food sources are the biggest reason a bear will ramble on into your backyard. Bears can remember previous food sources for up to months and even years later. If you have noticed a Black Bear in your backyard, it’s best to act as soon as possible to keep them from becoming a frequent visitor.