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Tips and Articles  Encountering a Bear

Encountering a Bear

Unless you’re hunting for bear, where you actually want to encounter these great beasts, here are a few tips if you come face to face with a bear.

  • Avoid surprising bears at close range: If you are going to go hiking where there can be bears, make your presence known, make noise, sing or talk loudly. Travelling in a group is the best. This way the bear will likely hear you coming and they will move away. Not doing this may cause you to come up on and startle a bear unexpectedly. Not only you will be scared, but so will the bear and they will more than likely try and protect itself, which is not a good thing for you.
  • Plan your hikes accordingly: Bears may be active at any time of the day or night, but they tend to be more active at dawn and dusk. Stick to established trails rather than walking through the bush.
  • Clues that bears are in the area: Some of the most easily identifiable clues include rub trees, diggings, scat, and tracks. Identifying these clues may help to prevent an encounter.
  • Pets and bears don't mix: Unless you are a hunter with an experienced hunting dog. Leave your dog and other pets at home.
  • Obey the rules of the wild: Learn and obey the rules and regulations of the wilderness you are camping or hiking in.

If you Encounter a Bear:

  • Try and remain calm. Avoid sudden movements.
  • Give the bear plenty of room. This will hopefully allow the bear to continue on its path away from you. If it changes its natural behavior (feeding, foraging or movement) you are too close, slowly try and move back.
  • If you spot a bear and the bear is unaware of you, detour quickly and quietly away.
  • ONLY If you are seen by a bear from a safe distance, try and make it known that you are a human before the bear is curious and begins to come closer. You would want to talk in a calm normal voice or waving your arms slowly to help to show you are human. A standing bear is usually just curious and not threatening. If you have not been seen, move slowly out of the area while keeping your eye on the bear.
  • Some bears will bluff their way out of a threatening situation by charging, then veering off or stopping abruptly at the last second. Bear experts generally recommend standing still until the bear stops and then slowly backing away.
  • Never run from a bear. Even if this particular bear is not aggressive, it will likely instinctively chase you. Since bears are extremely fast, you will have no chance of outrunning them.
  • Never feed or toss food to a bear.
  • Climbing a tree to avoid bears is not always the smartest idea. Remember all black bears, all grizzly cubs, and some adult grizzlies can climb trees.
  • If you are being pursued by a bear, throwing something onto the ground (like your bag) may distract the bear and allow you to escape.
  • Pepper spray should be a last resort, as it must be used at close range. If you carry pepper spray, be sure that you have been trained with it before using it in an attack as it may just irritate the bear more.