It seems more people need to be bear aware.

The BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) says that during patrols across central Vancouver Island recently, conservation officers handed out several violation tickets to people for having their compost and/or garbage bins out the night before pick-up day.

The service is reminding everyone that they must secure their attractants, or face fines. 

Garbage and compost cannot be put out until the day of pick up.

North Island Zone conservation officer, Brad Adams, said bear activity is always high this time of year.

“The fruit’s ripe and the fish are running, so we have quite a bit of bear activity,” Adams said. “They’re always being active, they’re always being seen.”

Across B.C., the service fielded 2, 915 calls for black bears last month, and 82 of them had to be destroyed by conservation officers.

Adams said there is a provincial effort happening right now to minimize human/wildlife conflicts, which means keeping insecure bear attractants in check.

“It can be anywhere from our garbage, our recycling, bird feeders, fish waste and fruit trees,” Adams said. “Our primary concerns always come from the garbage that is put out the night before garbage day. It’s a huge incentive for bears to get into because it’s not secure, it’s at the edge of the road, it’s easy access, and they can get into the garbage without having people around them in the evening hours and overnight.”

Conservation officers have many different options when dealing with people who leave their garbage cans out the night before.

“We can write a warning, we can write a violation ticket, we can write a dangerous wildlife protection order which gives somebody a specific amount of time to remove the identified attractants. That works well for fruit trees, as well. If we have bears that are accessing fruit trees, fruit plants, gardens, anything like that, we can give somebody 24 hours, or 12 hours, or whatever seems to be reasonable to remove the fruit from the tree or to remove the tree.” 

Additional patrols are planned in the coming weeks throughout Vancouver Island.