Avoidance ║  Encounters ║  Deterrents ║  Camping ║  Identification ║  Reporting 

Used properly, deterrents can be helpful, but they are not 100 per cent effective. Make sure you’re familiar with their use before you need them, and don’t let deterrents give you a false sense of security. It is better to avoid a bear encounter!

There are a number of tools that can help you deter a bear, including:

  • Bear spray
  • Air horns
  • Firearms


© N. Pritchett

Bear spray should only be used at close range on an aggressive or attacking bear. Learn how to use it before traveling in the backcountry. Carry it ready to use, not in your pack. Before using it, ensure the nozzle is pointed away from you. Exercise caution if you need to discharge bear spray upwind or in a confined space as it can affect or, in extreme cases, disable the user.

Keep bear spray close at hand, even in your tent.

Note: Bear spray should not be applied to property as a preventative measure.


Air horns can be an effective bear deterrent in some circumstances. However, be aware that loud, sudden noises can trigger some bears to attack. Before deploying an air horn, ready your bear spray and assess your situation carefully.


Visitors are NOT allowed to hunt in the Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve. However, in this National Park Reserve you may legally carry a firearm if you choose to for protection against wildlife. If you are a visitor from another country and want to bring a firearm with you, please be aware that you must follow Canadian laws.

If you are a Canadian, rules around transporting and safe storage apply.

Note: traditional harvest by Indigenous peoples continues in Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve. Lease holders within Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve with a NWT hunting licence (small game only), or holders of a Special Harvesters Licence, are permitted to hunt.

If a firearm is part of your emergency response equipment, be sure that you are trained to use it with precision under duress, and that it has a large enough bore (i.e., at least .30 calibre or 12-gauge shotgun) to be effective for large predator conflict. Wounding an animal can make a conflict situation much worse. Bear spray is a much safer deterrent for people and should be carried even if you have a firearm. Firearms should only be used as a last resort in a life-threatening situation.

If an animal is killed in defense of life or property, the entire carcass must be left intact. Do not remove any parts of the animal. Please be aware that you are legally required to immediately report the details and the location of the incident.

Plan ahead. Be aware that bear spray and other deterrents may not be available for purchase in smaller communities within the Northwest Territories. Like firearms, bear spray has regulations governing their transport and use in Canada. Be sure to check with air carriers for information about these regulations before you travel.

Avoidance ║  Encounters ║  Deterrents ║  Camping ║  Identification ║  Reporting 

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