It’s all fun when you are kicking it with your friends and beers, but it’s never fun and when you are kicking and screaming with your friends and bears. So here are some basic bear safety tips.
I think bears are about one of the coolest animals in North America. The Grizzly and Kodiak bears are badass apex predators that put mankind in check. There is a majestic feeling that comes from being in their presence, maybe its because we’ve gotten too comfy at the top of the food chain and that reminder that there are other creatures that can rip us apart without hesitation excites us. Maybe it’s because most of us spent the first few years of our lives carrying around a Teddy Bear everywhere we went. I do not know the real reason but one must tread lightly when dealing with bears and respect them.
1) Make Noise: Do you like it when someone sneaks up on you and surprises you? Now imagine that you are an 800-pound creature who is guided by their amygdala. It’s fight or flight and your opponent is half your size. Making noise will tell the bears that you are in the area and typically they will avoid you.
2) Stop playing with dead things. Remember that time your sibling/roommate ate the last piece of cake that you were thinking about all day. Initially you probably thought of smashing something heavy over their head and then the rational side of your brain kicked in and you did not have time for a trial and lengthy prison stay. Well bears are not constrained by a penal code so when you impede on their food, they will defend it, but unlike an angry roommate you cannot talk your way out of this one.
3) Do not bait in the bears. Bears have a great sense of smell and will scavenge food. So pack out your trash. Also when in bear country, store your food in a bear bag and hang it away from your camp. Remember you are in the bear’s house, not your house.
4) Take Robert Rodriquez and Quentin Tarantino’s advice and be extremely weary from dusk till dawn. Bears are large, furry mammals so during the summer months they tend to be fairly inactive during the day and more active at night. So when in bear country attempt to do most of your traveling during daylight hours. This also improves your chance of spotting a bear before they see you.
5) STAY ALERT, STAY ALIVE! The problem with bears is that they live in some of the most beautiful areas of North America, so if you visit these areas you must tread lightly. Remember you are in nature to experience it so unless you want the latest album from The Weekend to be the last thing you ever hear, take out the headphones and pay attention.
6) DO NOT RUN! Seriously, move away cautiously, but do not run away. Bears are like cops in that way. If the police roll up and you run away you look guilty and in need of chasing.