What people need to know about bears
In general, the bear avoids people. If he has a chance to avoid humans, the bear will do the same. Therefore, you should appreciate the encounter with a bear in the wild as an extraordinary event.
Always remember, bears don’t like surprises. If you are in the natural habitat of the bears, you should give the bears a chance to hear you coming. Whether you sing, speak, make loud noises or even have a bear’s bell on your backpack, the bear will take note of your presence. It is therefore advisable to hike in groups, as bears can perceive the louder group much earlier. Bears, although they see and hear almost as well as humans, rely primarily on their sense of smell. If you are walking in regions you are unfamiliar with, you should go with tailwind if possible. Generally avoid areas where it smells like decay. The carcasses can be the prey of a bear. If the bear is in the area or is eating there, it will want to defend its prey.
Don’t be surprised if you come across bears on hiking trails and roads. The bears also seem to love the easier ways. If you camp in nature, be sure to set up your tent a little away from the paths and roads. Give bears enough space in their territory. A bear that is cornered and feels threatened by it will react accordingly aggressively.
If you see bear cubs, you should turn back immediately. The risk of getting between the young and the mother is great. As soon as the mother sees danger to her young, she will attack. For this reason, you should use a camera with a correspondingly long telephoto lens to take pictures in the land of the bears. So you won’t be tempted to get closer to the animals.
Do you set up camp in the wild? Basically, there are also a few points to consider. Store all food items away from your storage, either in airtight containers or high up in trees. Prepare your food at a distance from your storage space. Clean your dishes immediately after use. Avoid making your clothes smell like food. Odor-intensive foods such as smoked sausage and fish, ham and the like smells delicious even for bears. Do not leave food and waste leftovers. Burying food scraps is pointless, as bears also perceive the scent of food scraps through the earth. If you are fishing in nature and a bear detects you, you should gently put the rod into the water without splashing. The bear may well recognize the possibility of a light fish meal when it approaches the angler. Then the bear will always come back to capture more.
If you follow these rules, bears won’t get used to the fact that it can be easy to find food close to people. Bears are foraging around 6 months a year. During this time, bears need to build up their fat reserves for the winter. So why hunt complicated prey when civilization takes care of it?
You meet a bear
The first thing to do is keep calm. Bears rarely attack. Bears are interested in food, their young animals and your territory. If a bear does not feel threatened, it will move away.
You have to make yourself known to a bear as a human. If he cannot see what he has in front of him, he will stand on his hind legs. So it can better absorb weather. Standing on your hind legs shows more curiosity than aggression. Talk to the bear in a normal voice. Move your arms up and down. So the bear has a better chance of perceiving you as a human being. Move away slowly, facing the bear. If the bear follows, stop.
Running away is not recommended as the bear can catch up with you at any time. The bear is used to catching its prey. To simulate an attack, bears approach your opponent up to 2 to 3 meters without touching them. Keep moving your arms up and down, keep talking to the bear. If he approaches further, speak more aggressively to the bear. Rattle with camping dishes, pots, pans and the like. Do not imitate bear sounds and avoid shrill screams.
A bear is attacking you
If this almost unlikely event occurs and the bear attacks you, you surrender. Let yourself fall on the floor and stand dead. You should lie flat on your stomach or curl up. Put your hands on your neck for protection and keep still. The bear will surely end his attack, since the danger seems to be averted for him. Stay still, otherwise the bear will again perceive danger through eyes and ears.
In the rarest of cases, a bear regards humans as food. This can happen especially when black bear attacks occur. If the bear attacks you, even though you have long been in the protective position, it is very likely that it will consider you food. In this case, you must defend yourself with all your might. Remember, the nose and eyes are the most sensitive areas on the bear’s face.
During guided bear watching tours, the guide often has a gun with him that is only used in extreme emergencies. If you are traveling without guidance, you should get a bear repellent spray on site. These sprays achieve the best effect at distances of 5 to 8 meters. When using bear repellent spray, make sure that you do not spray against the wind and damage yourself. Read the instruction manual carefully before starting your adventure in the land of the bears. Keep the spray close at hand.
At a glance
- Make noise
- Respect the area of the bears, do not corner the bears
- Avoid careless handling of food and waste
- Identify yourself as a person, stay calm.
In most cases, bears are no danger to you! Show the necessary respect for these wild animals and you will be happy to observe these majestic animals in their natural habitat.