Safety Tips for Bear Country

Safety Tips for Bear Country

( – The great outdoors is a wonderful place full of adventure and beauty. It’s also the home of many predators, such as bears. Each year, bear attacks take the lives of people seeking to enjoy some time in the wild. If you are hiking or camping in bear country, you need to know how to stay safe — and off the menu.

The experts at Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) have provided a helpful video explaining how to enjoy the outdoors while minimizing your risk of encountering a bear:

As tempting as it may be to see a bear while out hiking, this should be avoided if possible. Bears are most active at dusk and dawn, so don’t set out on a hike at these times. Also, bears are less likely to approach if you are in a group of four or more, so hiking in a group is a good idea.

As you go down the path, make as much noise as possible to alert any bears in the vicinity to your presence. You don’t want to whistle though, as this sound can be similar to that of an injured animal and can pique a bear’s interest.

Properly handling your food at camp is incredibly important to keeping bears away. Food should be stored away from your camp (at least 100 feet) in containers that conceal the smell. Additionally, cooking should be done away from your camp as well, so that if a bear does decide to come investigate, they will still be a good distance away from you.

If you do encounter a black bear, make yourself as big as possible — wave your arms, hold hiking poles in the air, or even sticks. Yell at the bear and back away slowly. Do not turn and run. This can trigger the bear’s chase instinct.

If you encounter a grizzly bear, however, the rules change quite a bit. You do not want to make any threatening movements or noises, as the bear will consider this a challenge. Back away slowly while speaking quietly and calmly. Do not make eye contact with the bear.

If you intend to hike, camp, or even hunt in bear country, it is a good idea to carry bear spray with you (if it is legal to do so in your area). Always keep it in an easily accessible location — it won’t do you any good if you have to dig through your pack to find it.

The first step in survival is to avoid an emergency situation when possible. The best way to do this is to equip yourself with knowledge beforehand. To see information on how to survive an encounter with another wild animal, check out the article on Modern Survival here.

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