Sudbury police have a very simple message for people who have been chasing bears with bats and sticks:
The reminder came as police reported an increasing number of bear calls this year over last, The Sudbury Star said Saturday.
A release quoted by the newspaper said "members of our community are attempting to take matters into their own hands chasing bears with sticks and bats. Bears will react when they feel threatened or cornered."
The report came days after the police issued a notice titled, "Preventative tips to Bear issues — 'Be Bear Wise.'" It didn't have any information about sticks or bats, but it did say police have fielded 720 bear complaints this year, an increase of 335 by this time in 2014.
It added that 110 bear complaints were filed between July 31 and Aug. 4, which led to 48 calls for service because people had safety concerns.
Black bears are feeling very hungry this year owing to a low berry crop, police said, and will seek food within the community "because food sources are made available to them by citizens."
The presence of the bears have left some people confused about who they should call for assistance, according to CBC News.
A spokesman for the union that represents conservation officers said government cuts mean the province's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is limited in how much it can help.
"We've seen it in forest firefighting, environmental services, and bear management," Jeff Arbus of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union told the network. "Our understanding from the ministry is that standard bear calls go to police."
But Sudbury police say bear calls are not considered a "core" part of its services.
They will, however, respond to emergencies, such as when bears enter school yards while classes are in session, when they try to enter a home, or when they kill pets and livestock and loiter near the places where the killings happened.
Otherwise, bear sightings should be reported to the Bear Wise number at 1-866-514-2327, they said.
These reminders come following the shooting death of a black bear in a New Sudbury residential neighbourhood in late July, the Sudbury Star reported.
Police are investigating that incident.
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