This camping season, be aware of the bears out there. 

The Sask. Ministry of Environment is encouraging people to remember that bears are now awake for the season, and they are hungry. This means maintaining the proper storage of food and trash, while also taking care of any pets while out camping. 

With the region relatively bear-free, there is plenty of ursine presence in the South Sask River Valley and other popular camping areas looking south. 

According to the official release, black bears are going to be the most common of the bears searching out food and will be the most likely to encounter. To mitigate the chance of a bear wandering into a campsite, the Ministry of Environment passed along a few key tips. 

First and foremost is the safe and secure storage of garbage, Making sure to keep it in a secure building or bear-proof container, and only taking it out to the curb on garbage day are great ways to reduce the risk of a bear rifling through the waste bin. 

The next tip was making sure pet food is kept out of reach of wildlife. If it tastes good enough for a cat or dog, a bear will also find it appetizing enough to steal. 

Compost is another, maybe less obvious draw for bears. If it contains fish, meat, fat, oils, unrinsed egg shells, or any cooked food, a bear may be tempted to sniff it out of the pile. 

The proper cleaning and maintenance of barbeque grills is also important. Any grease or scraps left on the grill may be mauled by a hungry passerby. 

If tenting, be that in a tent or tent trailer, keep any food stored in the trunk of your vehicle. The canvas siding of virtually all tents is not able to stop a hungry bear who smells snacks. 

Any pets should be closely monitored and kept on a leash. Wandering off into the woods, especially if a pet is friendly and likes to approach other animals, can be detrimental to the avoidance of bears. 

If anyone encounters a bear, call 911 if it poses a risk to safety. You can also report aggressive wildlife to 1-800-667-7561, or to the Ministry of Environment directly at 1-800-567-4224.