While white bears have been getting all the attention in Cochrane this week, it’s black ones in Schumacher.

Natural resources ministry regional outreach specialist Karen Passmore agrees that most of us would think the bears have gone into hibernation by now.

“Bears in Timmins and surrounding area have had access to mountain ash fruit and blueberries this fall,” she says, “and that can cause them to enter their dens two to three weeks later than in other years.”

It’s the very high calorie food like those berries that keeps them awake.  Hibernation can begin any time between mid October and late November.

The same precautions apply to bear encounters as any time of year: keep your distance and reduce the presence of things that lure them into your neighbourhood.

“Because there have been a few sightings in the area,” Passmore advises, “ just make sure that people continue to manage their attractants, which people have been doing and we really thank them for that.”

Those attractants are things like garbage, dirty barbecue grills and bird feeders.