Staying Safe Outdoors – Bears

Staying Safe Outdoors – Bears

Spending time outdoors is one of the world’s favourite past times. However, activities such as camping, hunting, and hiking have the potential to be very dangerous if you do not prepare yourself against what you could encounter. In this first part of a series of articles, I will tell you how you can protect yourself if you encounter a bear.

Bears have been given a bad rap in the news, movies, television, and such. In reality, bears try to avoid human contact as much as possible. This includes the feared grizzly, which so many people think are human killers. The reason we have heard about so many bear attacks is not their fault, it’s ours. Bears become the most dangerous when they get used to humans. This is because they learn to not fear us, so they get bolder. Towns that have open garbage pits near bear territory and take no action to prevent bears from scavenging are only making the problem worse. That being said, here is what you should do if you encounter a bear in the wild.

If you are hiking on some secluded mountain trail and you see a bear cross your path, the first thing to do is not panic. If the bear does not immediately run when it sees you, raise your hands in the air and start screaming at it. This makes you appear more threatening and has a good chance of scaring the bear off. If you have an air horn or something else that can make a really loud noise, this is the time to use it. Maintain eye contact and try not to appear frightened. Put on an air of hostility and confidence, and you have a very good chance of avoiding a direct confrontation. If the bear charges you, DO NOT RUN!

This could trigger a predator response and will cause the bear to chase you. Stand still and face the bear when it charges, most of the time it will be a bluff charge. The bear is telling you to back off. You should oblige. Start to back off slowly and maintain eye contact. However, if the bear starts to attack you, go into the fetal position and try to protect your inner organs as much as possible. If that doesn’t work, you are going to need to fight back. This is where you use your bear spray or hunting knife, or whatever weapons are available to you. If you survive, you have one kick ass story.