I live right next to the amazing Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. I also live right in Bear Country.
As I was hiking last week I came across signs that a bear was around. Now I know that for the most part bears are timid animals and will usually avoid humans. In spite of the stats, encounters with a wild bruin can happen.
What would you do if you came face to face with a Bear?
Here are 7 reminders when wondering around in Bear Country
1. Look for signs
If you come across bear scat, bear prints or an animal carcass, leave the area. Bears will often feed on a carcass for several days and are very possessive of their kill. Kind of like my brother Jeff and his jelly beans.
2. If you encounter a Bear, RUN!
I am just kidding. DO NOT RUN – You will trigger the bear’s natural response to chase you. Bears are extremely fast and you cannot outrun a bear. Just so you know, you cannot out swim a bear either.
3. Remain calm
Do not turn your back to a bear. In fact, as you stand your ground, talk in a soft voice and retreat slowly, the bear will likely choose to leave you alone.
4. Carry Bear Spray
Bear repellent spray is a pressurized formula of cayenne pepper that can be sprayed up to 8 meters. Bears hate the stuff as it causes burning and tearing in their eyes. The affects of bear spray lasts for up to an hour but do not cause lasting damage
5. Don’t climb a tree
Black bears are excellent climbers. Grizzlies can be large enough to reach high in the tree or worse yet, are capable of knocking over a small tree.
6. A Charging Bear
If the bear charges, it may be bluffing. You will not know the intentions until the bear is within several metres of you. Be ready with your bear spray and aim for the face.
7. Playing Dead
If a bear does make contact with you playing dead may be an option. Some experts advise that you play dead if the bear is a grizzly and to fight back if it is a black bear. Others say play dead until the bear is feeding on you, then fight back.
Exploring in bear country is amazing and and an encounter with a bear is extremely rare. The key is to be prepared. Carry bear spray and use good common sense. For more information about bears and bear safety visit Parks Canada Website.