Bear Attacks: While they don’t happen often; when they do, they can be quite horrific.
Awareness is the first step in Surviving a Bear Attack
The best way to survive a bear attack is never to put yourself in a situation where you are likely to be attacked. When traveling through bear country, that means keeping your distance and being aware that you are in their surroundings; so tread lightly.
- Always keep your distance: It may sound like common sense, but most people are attacked because they fail to give the bear room.
- Never seek out a Bear: Unless you’re hunting them, there really isn’t a good reason to seek them out. Every year people are killed because they thought it would be cool to get that picture of a wild bear. These are wild animals; go take your selfie somewhere else!
What to do if you come upon a Bear in the Wild
If you travel through bear country, there’s a good chance you may eventually come upon a bear.
- When hiking through bear country, you want to make noise. Making noise while hiking, will help make sure you don’t accidentally sneak up on a bear. Make noise, sing, talk loudly, or wear a bell when hiking.
- If you spot a bear, and the bear is unaware of you, back away slowly and quietly. Once you’re out of the bear’s line of sight, get the hell out of there!
- If you see a bear when hiking and it notices you, shouting is usually enough to scare it away. If shouting fails to scare it off, back away slowly. NEVER turn your back to a bear; doing so will kick in its natural predator instinct. Bears run faster than 30 mph; You will not be able to outrun it.
- Never come in between a cub and it’s a mother. This is a recipe for disaster.
Safety Precautions when Traveling Though Bear Country
- Carrying bear spray is always a good idea when walking through bear country.
- Wearing a pack, even when day hiking, can provide some extra space between you and the bear. (Keep in mind, I said space NOT PROTECTION). If the bear starts coming towards you, throw the bag onto the ground. Often the bear will become distracted long enough to allow you to slowly back away and escape.
- Check with the area Ranger Station for current bear sightings, locations, and any tips that they have.
- Bears are Wild Animals; they are unpredictable. Even the best tips may fail when it comes to dealing with a wild animal. In Bear Country, carrying a high-power handgun on your side is something I think everyone should do.
Safety Precautions when Camping in Bear Country
Bears and other wild animals have an incredible sense of smell, so cooking or eating any type of food at your campsite increases your risk of an encounter.
To lower that risk there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Bears have an impressive sense of smell. In general, dried and canned foods are going to have less of a scent than foods like fish, bacon, and sugary sweets. That being said, bears and other wild animals have an incredible sense of smell, so cooking or eating any type of food at your campsite increases your risk
- It’s not just food you should worry about. Deodorant, lotions, toothpaste and other scented products can all attract bears and wild animals. When camping it’s a good idea to lay off these types of products, and NEVER leave these products open or stored inside your tent.
- Your tent should be placed upwind, and at least 100 yards from where you are cooking and eating.
- All cooking equipment, food, and garbage should be sealed in airtight canisters, and if possible strung up high in a tree. If your campground offers bear-proof garbage receptacles use them.
- Pet food should never be left out in the open. People with pets often make the mistake of leaving their pet food out in the open; you need to treat this food in the same way you would any other type of odorous product.
- Don’t sleep in the same clothes you cooked with. Standing over a campfire can infuse your clothes with smells that wild animals love. Before going to bed, make sure you change into fresh clothes and store the old ones in an airtight container away from your sleeping area.
- Don’t try to mask the smell. Spraying air freshener products on your garbage does nothing to mask the smell from wild animals; in fact, it probably will cause them to investigate the new smell from the air fresher.
- Never eat inside your tent!