Black Bear-Resistant Products Testing

Bear-resistant products can be a great solution for securing items that attract bears to homes, ranches, campgrounds and other areas where they might find unnatural foods. However, not all bear-resistant products are created equal when it comes to their ability to deter bears.

A new program evaluates the effectiveness of a variety of commercially-available, bear-resistant products including trash cans, backpacking canisters and wildlife feeders. The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) provided start-up funding and professional expertise for the program.

View the latest list of approved bear-resistant products.

Why Test Products?

To prevent bears from learning to seek easy foods from humans. Testing achieves this is by preventing ineffective products from “training” bears in the wild to break into them. Testing can help break the cycle that can lead to human injuries and dead bears. Another contribution testing makes is preventing limited financial resources from being wasted on products that don’t work.

How Are Products Tested?

The method of testing depends on the type of product being tested. Products are either tested by captive black bears (bears that will never be returned to the wild), or in the field under very controlled circumstances. The chart below illustrates what types of products are tested under each method.


Captive Bear TestField Test
Residential Garbage CartsToxicant Delivery Devices
Backpacking CanistersWildlife Feeders
Outfitter Panniers 
Garbage Dumpsters 
Black bear getting into garbage bin
Photo by Mike Carraway,
North Carolina Wildlife Resources

Where Are Products Tested?

Captive black bear testing takes place at a WMI-authorized zoo or facility. There is currently one authorized facility

Field testing of toxicant delivery devices and wildlife feeders takes place at an approved location in cooperation with state wildlife agencies. Please contact us for more information.

How does a product "pass" testing?

To pass the captive black bear test, a product must withstand at least 60 minutes of rolling, clawing, biting and pouncing by the test bears. If the testing bear breaks into the product and gets food (i.e. bait) from the product, or if the product does not function properly after testing, then the product fails the test.

When are Products Tested?

Testing generally takes place between April 1st and November 30th of each year but these dates can fluctuate slightly based on weather and field conditions.

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Contact Us

For questions or more information, please contact Patti Sowka, WMI Black Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program Coordinator, at (406) 544-5307 or