Dillingham Department of Public Safety


September 2006

Our neighbors the brown bears are busy looking for food as they prepare to go to bed for the winter sometime in late October. 

As days get shorter and kids are back in school, we would like to share a few tips on how to reduce bear problems and what to do if a problem exists.


Bears are naturally shy animals and prefer to avoid people. We share the same places to live and gather food. To avoid conflict most of the bears that live around Dillingham and other Bristol bay communities have shifted their natural patterns so that they sleep during the day and are active at night. Usually the only time there is a problem is when they are attracted to food or garbage or when we surprise them.


If, in spite of your best efforts, a bear is causing a problem here are a few things you can do to get rid of them.


You may kill a bear if you do not provoke an attack or cause a problem by leaving food or garbage lying around, and if you have done everything else you can do to protect your life and property. Property means your dwelling, means of travel, pets, or other valuable property necessary for your livelihood or survival.

If you have to shoot a bear, be sure you shoot to kill—wounded bears are much more dangerous than healthy bears. Also, be very careful of what lies beyond your intended target—stray bullets can travel over a mile and still be deadly.


People in Bristol Bay are among the most experienced folks in the world in living with bears. It will be challenging for the next couple of months, but with a community effort we can minimize bear problems. Let’s keep up the good work and continue to BE BEAR AWARE.

If you have questions, comments, or if you would like to discuss bears or bear problems in more detail call us at:

Phone: 907 842-5354 Fax: 907 842-5785