How to survive bear encounters.
Bears are associated with true wilderness and found in the wildest regions of Canada. These awe inspiring giants are top of the food chain and a special sight to see. People come from all over the world, paying thousands, scouring the countryside, waking up at god-only-knows-hours, just to catch a glimpse. Strangely, relatively few know what to do if confronted with a bear when out in the wilds. Fear not, here are the bearsics:
First, try to lower the risk of encountering a bear or at least make it as safe as possible. As you walk along, make noise. This will make them aware of your presence, and in most cases they’ll scamper off. If you find yourself on a camping trip, camp smartly. Don’t pitch the tent on a berry bush, camp with a good view to the surrounding area, and clean up after yourself. If you’re lucky enough to have food lockers, use them. If not, try to hang it in a tree 15 feet high. While the textbook says 15 feet, sometimes when camping in areas where no tree is larger than 1 Liam (who’s a towering 5’7”), you’ll have to use some creativity, such as cliffs and boulders. Or just eat everything (rationing is over-rated anyways).
Remain calm. Bears aren’t out to get you, they want as little trouble as possible. It’s survival of the fittest, and they won’t risk anything that jeopardizes that. Not even necessarily for a pudgy tourist with a cotton candy ice cream in a waffle cone. For all they know, that cone could be deadly and the tourist remarkably ferocious. Most likely, the bear is more bothered and scared than you are. Talk in a calm voice, no aggression. Let them know you’re no threat and that cotton candy isn’t too their liking. Leave the area immediately.
In some cases, the bear may charge. Usually it’s just a “bluff” charge to see how you respond. It will veer off when it’s just a couple feet away. It’s important that you hold your ground and not flee like prey. While this may cause a heart attack and the immediate need of a cheese platter to regain strength, the bears probably just curious.
If you’re one of the unfortunate few that experiences the bear not veering off – Hold onto your knickers. You have two choices: either play dead (lie on your stomach and protect your neck) or fight like it’s the last battle for middle earth. Please find more info here.
Studies indicate that bear spray is one of the best defences in a non-toxic and lethal manner. While you may think that guns provide better protection, research indicates that human-bear encounters that do not involve firearms are less likely to result in injury to the human or bear. Bear spray creates a mist that badly irritates the eyes and nose. Don’t know about you, but if some strange being squirted hot sauce into my eyes, I’d go screaming into the woods calling for mommy also. Bear spray can be bought at most outdoor stores, and is easy to use. Make sure you keep it readily accessible. I have mine on my backpack waist buckle, ready if needed. Hopefully I never will.