BE BEAR AWARE!Did you know that bear attacks are really not that common? Yep, it’s true, wild animals prefer to avoid people and stick to their own kind and bears are not an exception to that rule.
When you hear of bear encounters with humans it’s generally related to the following reasons:
1. They are caught off guard and surprised. Humans enjoy surprise parties, bears do not.
2. They are protecting their food. Unlike humans, bears were not raised to share. If they are in the middle of their meal time, they’re behavior might shift towards aggression.
3. They follow food and food-like odors. Does the smell of warm chocolate chip cookies bring you into the kitchen? Well bears have the same reaction when they smell something they think is yummy.
4. Your dog provokes the bear. If you are out on the trail with Fido and he happens upon a bear and starts to bark or growl, the bear will often become defensive.
5. Sometimes, the bear has become so comfortable around humans that they have lost their natural fear. This curiosity can become dangerous and it’s best to keep your distance if you have a bear sighting.
To avoid bear encounters, it’s important that you…
1. Make noise when out in the woods and on trails. This can include singing your favorite song, clapping your hands and talking loudly (even if it’s to yourself).
2. Keep Fido on his leash.
3. Hike or walk in groups.
4. Maintain a distance of 100 meters if you see a bear.
If you’ve done your best to avoid the bears but you still have a bear encounter, remember the following….
1. Try and stay calm and don’t startle the bear (remember point #1 they don’t like surprises!) with any loud noises or fast movements.
2. Talk to the bear. Have you ever got in trouble with your parents or a teacher? They speak to you in a calm yet firm manner. This is exactly how you should talk to the bear.
Of course, he won’t talk back but you want to let him know that you are a human and not prey.
3. Back away slowly and never, ever run. If you run this will trigger a bear to think that you are a prey animal. And, although bears seem large and possibly slow this is false. Bears are as fast as racehorses, both uphill and downhill!