What Do Bears Eat?

Like humans, bears are omnivorous, meaning their diets consist of both plants and meat. Both grizzly and black bears will eat roots, berries, meat, fish, insects, larvae, grass, and other plants. Bears can prey on mammals, most commonly young or injured deer, elk, moose, or other hoofed mammals.

Attractants are anything with an odor. Bears are very attracted to human garbage, livestock food or pet food, or other human foods like fruit trees. Bears are drawn to solid and liquid waste, recycling, and compost. They can smell these attractants from miles away.

When bears (and other wildlife) become accustomed to eating human food, from campsites, garbage cans, or otherwise, they quickly begin associating humans with food. Unfortunately, this leads to habituated bears and endangers humans. These bears must be euthanized. “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

Securing attractants is the single best way to protect people, prevent property damage, and avoid the killing of bears that come into conflict with people.