Hiking in Bear Country - Tips to stay safe
Summer is here, and it is the best season for exploring all the trails you can! Visiting or not, when you hike anywhere outdoors, it is important to be prepared and know your way around Bear Country.
Here are a few tips to be safe and have fun!
1) Always carry bear spray. Make sure that you have bear spray and know how to use it. This is your safety net.
2) Always hike in a group. Hiking in a group will decrease your chances of surprising a bear and it decreases your chances of a bear attack. A group of 3 or more hikers is more likely to deter an encounter, and bears will be able to see, hear and smell you more easily.
3) Be alert while on the trail and always be on the lookout for bears. Keep an eye out for fresh tracks, scat, other signs (torn up logs, digging, fresh claw marks on trees) and carcasse in the area.
4) Make noise while hiking. Making noise on the trail can alert a bear to your presence before you have the chance to surprise it. Talk to your hiking buddies and occasionally sing loudly, yell “HEY BEAR!” or clap your hands to let bears know you’re in the area. Make extra noise when you’re close to loud natural features such as flowing rivers and streams or windy days. Also, make lots of noise when approaching features that might make it difficult for a bear to see you (such as a crest in the trail or a blind corner).
5) Avoid hiking at dawn, dusk and at night. These are the time periods when bears are most active. Bears often forage or hunt during these times.
6) Never approach cubs. Never get between a sow and her cubs. If you find yourself in this situation, slowly and calmly move away from the bears in a non-threatening manner and watch the sow. Be ready to defend yourself if the sow becomes aggressive and have your bear spray ready to deploy.
7) Never surprise a bear. If you see a bear before it sees you, slowly and calmly back away from the area and keep an eye on the bear.
Most importantly, be aware when moving through Bear Country. It's always better to be prepared!