Stay safe while enjoying bear country with these tips.
Hiking and camping in the backcountry is an exhilarating and exciting way to spend a few days or even a month. Seeing wildlife is all part of the wilderness experience, but knowing what to do when confronted by a bear is extremely important.
Depending on where are you are hiking and camping will determine what type of bears you will be sharing the wilderness with, do a little bit of research before you start hiking or camping in the area to find out what types of bears are in the area and any notices of bear activity.
Bears of any type are extremely sensitive to human activity, always do your best to avoid encounters with bears for your own protection & theirs.
3 things to do before heading into bear country
- Pack bear spray and know how to use it.
- Check out the website for the area you plan on hiking or camping for any information about bear activity in the area.
- When you arrive at the campground or trailhead look for any signs that might have up-to-date information about bear activity.
Here are 14 tips on how to stay safe in bear country
- Always start by keeping two things in mind you want to invoice and counters and manage your food and garbage smells. Camp in designated areas when you can.
- Keep your campsite odor-free. Never cook, eat or store your food any closer than 50 m downwind of your tent. Make sure to keep your tent, sleeping bags, and sleeping clothes free of any food smells. Don’t go to bed wearing the clothes but you just ate in.
- Before shutting down your campsite for the night make sure to wash and store all your cooking utensils, and Cutlery used for eating. Disposed of the garbage at least 15 away from your sleeping area.
- Don’t wear smelly Cosmetics or perfume in the wilderness, leave this stuff at home. store any toiletries and personal items with your food storage. This would include things such as toothpaste.
- If you’re traveling with pets make sure to store their food with your food away from your tent. it’s a good idea to hang your items between two trees at least 13 feet off the ground and 5 feet from side supports.
- Some campgrounds will have designated areas with secured storage for both food and garbage, if these are available use them.
- If you’re camping in an area that does not have a designated garbage site, don’t burn it or bury it, pack the garbage out with you and dispose of in a designated disposal area.
- Bears don’t like to be surprised, stay safe by making lots of noise well walking out on the trails, call out, clap, sing or talk loudly especially if you are close to streams, dense vegetation, or berry patches. Bear bells are not loud enough and should not be relied upon as your sole source of noise.
- Actively look for signs of bears another Wildlife, this includes tracks, droppings, trees that have been marked up, turned over rocks. All of these are signs of bear activity and you should leave the area if the signs are fresh.
- Keep your dog on a leash at all times, dogs can provoke a defensive behavior in bears and further educating them can cause them to attack.
- There is safety in numbers, larger groups are less likely to have bear encounters due to the amount of noise we make and the intimidation factor. It’s a good idea to hike in groups of four or more and never let children wander far from the group.
- Stick to marked paths and trails, when possible always use officially marked paths and trails and travel during daylight hours only.
- Stay away from large dead animals. If you happen to come across a larger dead animal leave the area immediately and report it to the first part staff you encounter.
- If you are fishing make sure that you dispose of fish offal in fast-moving streams or the deep part of a lake, never do this along stream sides or lake shores.
Hopefully, this information will help you stay safe while enjoying the wilderness in bear country. Read part two of the series that will deal with bear encounters and bear attacks.