Tips for Avoiding Bears While Hiking

Tips for Avoiding Bears While Hiking

Most bears do everything they can to avoid contact with people and the reverse is true. Still, bear/human encounters do happen in bear country including while people are hiking in Yellowstone National Park. However, this potentially deadly situation – for both the bear and for hikers – can usually be avoided by using some common sense and by taking a few precautions. Reduce your chance of a bear encounter by following these six tips:·

Hike in a group: The more the merrier and the louder. Noise gives bears ample warning that humans are nearby and can keep them from being startled by our presence. Bring your friends with you when hiking and make sure that you make enough noise to alert bears of your presence. (They will usually shy away from such noises provided they have enough time.)

Be vigilant: Stay alert and remember that bears can be in places where you do not expect them to be. This means being aware of your environment. For example, running water, a curve in the trail or dense vegetation all may signal you may be entering an area where bears are present.

Avoid bear food: If you smell something dead or see birds circling it may be an indication that the food source for a bear may be nearby. You do not want to come between a bear and any food it may be feeding upon.

Hike during the daylight hours: Bears prefer to do their hunting in the evening and at night to get an advantage on their prey. Hiking at this time may increase the chance that you will encounter one of them.

Avoid wearing scented lotions or perfumes on the trail: Bears have one of the most sensitive noses in the animal kingdom. In fact, a bear’s sense of smell is 7 times better than a blood hound’s or 2,100 times better than a human. Therefore, try to avoid wearing anything that will produce a strong odor that bears might mistake for a food source.

Carry bear spray: According to a recent study in The Journal of Wildlife Management, people who carry bear pepper spray into the wilderness have a better chance at surviving a bear encounter than those who carry guns. Experts recommend that if you do encounter a bear try to yell at it and give it a warning before using your spray.

Using these tips on your hiking trip you can increase the chances that you will not encounter a bear and that neither of you will come to harm. Our adventure vacations are fun and exciting but that fun and excitement should be tempered with good judgment and a respect for nature.

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