Getting to know Bears : Be Bear Aware
If you are planning on going trekking this season then you are bound to fun into a bear or two. So we’ve asked our travel experts to put together a bear aware guide to keep trekkers and campers safe.
The Two main bears are the Black Bear and Grizzly bear, Black bears are around 500 lb andstand as high as 6 Feet Long. Look for Tall pointed ears, No shoulder hump, pointed straight face and Short Dark Claws. Grizzly Bears can grow as much as 8 Ft and weight 1000 Lb, They have short round ears, Notable shoulder hump Dish shaped face and long light colored claws. There are a few noticeable differences between black and grizzly bears, but color is not one of them; some black bear are light brown, while grizzly bears can range from light brown to dark brown.
When Camping in Bear country make sure to have your sleeping area and kitchen area 300ft form kitchen area and water source. Choose a kitchen first. It should be around 200 ft from any trail and 300 ft from any water source. Water can attack bears and the distance helps keep the water clean. Store all “smellable” items, like sun cream, toothpaste , and food wrappers in your kitchen to keep bears away form your tent. Store your food in a bear canister and keep it dangling at least 10 Ft off the ground.
If you See a bear Use your bear spray. Here are the steps to properly use one.
Step 1 : Keep your bear spray hoisted so that you can quickly grab it if needed. Practice grabbing your bear spray from the holster to avoid foundling when you need it. If the bear gets too close, remove the safety form the bear spray and close your group so that everyone is facing the bear while looking like a single unit.
Step 2: Extend canister and prepare to spray. Take note of the direction of the wind and keep in mind that it should cause the spray to disperse if its to far away from the bear.
Step 3: If the bear gets within 40 Ft and is charging, spray for 6 seconds. The cloud of bear spray should deter the bear and cause it to retreat. If the bear continues charging, hold your ground and keep staying.
Step 4: Even if the bear retreats, Keep the spray out and remain in your group formation just in case the animal charges toward you again.
How to handle a Bear attack.
If you encounter a bear, back up slowly from the direction you came. Don’t continue toward the bear, especially if there are cubs present. Speak in a soft monotone voice and move slowly. Avoid direct eye contact with bear. Do NOT run!
If the bear makes physical contact lay with your chest on the ground and your backpack on your back. Try to shield your beck with your hands. Playing dead has shown to be effective with grizzly bears. They usually only charge to show dominance.
Do not fight back, unless it’s a black bear. In case of a black bear attack, or an attack from a bear that is acting in a predatory manner its best to fight back. If charged, fight back Aim especially for the nose or other sensitive areas. Use rock/sticks if available. Let the bear be the first to run. Adding bells to your backpack will prevent many attacks form happening.
Bear Feel threatened if surprised – Always be bear aware when in bear country.
Hike in groups or make noise as you hike by talking loudly. Many use Bear calls like “hello bear” , or “I’m here bear” to let the bear know that you’re in the area. This is especially important when you are on a trail with restricted visibility and when traveling into the wind.
Lingering food odors attack bears, so ‘set up cooking, eating and supply areas at least 300 ft from your sleeping area.
Pug garbage and leftover in containers immediately after eating. Do not bury garbage. Bears have a very keen sense of smell
Its best to leave your dog at home or keep it on a leash. Curious dogs have brought bears back to their owner more than once.
Cache your food out of a bear’s reach by using trees, find a branch strong enough to hold your food, but not a bear. It should also be at least 12 feet high and at least 3 feet form the trunk of the tree.