Spending long days hiking in the woods can be a lot of fun! However, it is vital to be aware of the dangers of spending time in nature. One of the biggest dangers is encountering a bear. While bears are usually shy and will avoid humans if possible, they can still attack if they feel you are a threat. Therefore, if you are hiking in an area known to have a bear population, you must be prepared. To help with your preparation, this article will give you some advice on what you should do when you see a bear.
Identify The Type of Bear
It is essential to identify the type of bear you encounter, as this will help you determine how to best behave around it. There are two common types of bears found in North America; black bears and grizzly bears. Black bears are the minor type of bear and are the most common in North America. They can be identified by their black fur, although they may have some brown fur on their chest and legs.
Black bears are usually shy and will avoid humans if possible. Grizzly bears are the second-largest type of bear, and you can identify them by their brown fur, distinct hump on their back, and large claws. Unfortunately, grizzly bears are also more aggressive than black bears and will attack humans if provoked.
Do Not Approach The Bear
If you see a bear, the most important thing to remember is not to approach it. Bears will often run away if they see or smell humans, but they may attack if they see you as a threat. Closing a bear will only increase shooting chances, so it is best to stay as far away as possible. Even more so, if you see a bear cub, you should never approach it as the mother may be nearby and see you as a threat.
Do Not Give The Bear Food
One of the most important things you should remember when encountering a bear is not to give it food. Bears are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any food source they can find. Unfortunately, this includes human food, so never try to feed a bear or leave your food unattended. Doing so may cause the bear to become aggressive and lead to an attack.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
When hiking in an area known to have bears, it is crucial to be aware of your surroundings at all times. This means making noise so that you don’t startle any bears that may be nearby and keeping an eye out for signs of bears, such as scat or claw marks on trees. If you see any bear signs, try to avoid the area or take a different route.
Stay Together As A Group
If you are hiking in a group, it is crucial to stay together. Bears will usually avoid people, but if one person gets separated from the group, the bear may become interested in them. If someone in your group does encounter a bear, everyone should try to make loud noises or throw objects at the bear to scare it away.
The best way to deal with any potential danger is to take the proper steps for preparation. This includes carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it. Bear spray is a pepper spray that is effective in deterring bears. It should be sprayed in the direction of the bear’s face, as this will cause them to stop attacking. Just remember using bear spray should only be done in a worst-case scenario as it can make a calm bear aggressive.
Do Not Run
If you encounter a bear, do not run. Running away may trigger the bear’s instinct to chase you, which could lead to an attack. Instead, try to slowly back out while keeping an eye on the animal. If the bear starts to come towards you, make loud noises or scare it away by throwing objects at it. Bears can run up to 30 mph, so there is almost no chance you will outrun the bear.
Avoid Eye Contact
Avoiding eye contact is another way to try and defuse a situation with a bear. Bears may see direct eye contact as a sign of aggression, so looking away will help show that you are not a threat. However, when avoiding eye contact, try to still keep an eye on the bear. You do not want to look away thoroughly and allow the bear an opportunity to attack.
Make Yourself Small
If a bear starts to approach you, try to make yourself small. This means crouching down and making yourself as small as possible. Bears are less likely to attack smaller prey, so this may help to deter an attack. Other things you can do to make yourself small include getting in the fetal position or hiding behind large objects.
Speak To The Bear Calmly
If you can, try to speak calmly to the bear. Speaking calmly may help show the bear that you are not a threat and could stop the bear from attacking. It doesn’t matter what you say; more so, talking in this way will help identify yourself as human and make the bear aware you are not their prey.
If you encounter a bear, it is essential to stay calm. This will help you think more clearly and make better decisions. Panicking or becoming agitated will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to remain as still as possible and avoid making sudden movements. This will help prevent scaring the bear and potentially leading to an attack.
Bears are large, powerful animals, and you should treat them with respect. If you encounter a bear, remember to stay calm and take the necessary precautions to avoid an attack. Bears can be dangerous, so knowing what to do when you see one is essential. While still being able to enjoy the natural beauty of these areas! By following these tips, you can help keep yourself safe in bear country.