It’s possible to camp or RV in the wilderness many times over the years and never encounter a bear, but there may be that one time when you’re walking along a trail and a bear steps out in front of you. Do you know what you should or shouldn’t do?
1. Do not run or climb a tree.
The worst thing you could do is start screaming and turn to run away. Don’t even think about climbing a tree. It’s important to stay calm, stand your ground, and slowly back away in a non-threatening manner. Speak softly to the bear, but don’t make any eye contact and don’t kneel down.
2. Do not get any closer to the bear.
Not everyone understands that bears are dangerous and can be unpredictable. It’s important to stay away from a bear as far as you can and do not attempt to get any closer.
If the bear does come towards you, use bear spray or something else that will threaten or distract it. They’re wild animals and you are the interloper in his territory, so be cautious.
3. Do not separate from your group.
If you’re in a group, follow the same rules as above and stay together. Keep your kids close and pick up and carry small children.
4. Do not let pets near the bear.
The first thing a dog may do is start barking and go after the bear. This will just make the bear mad and go after the dog, who won’t stand a chance of winning the fight. Keep your pets safe on a leash at all times and never leave them unattended.
5. Do not block the bear’s route.
Bears don’t like you any more than you do them. If you startle one while following a trail or come across one sleeping, back away slowly. Give him some space.
6. Do not feed the bear.
This is an important rule and for some reason, it’s sometimes not followed. These are not pets who need to be fed. They have an ample food supply in the woods and don’t need yours.
For that reason, don’t leave any food or garbage around your campsite that will attract them. Once they discover your trash or food, they will continue to come back and become a nuisance which may lead to the need of having them killed, all because someone left out something that attracted them.
Stay calm and remember what you shouldn’t do when faced with a bear. Remember the bear is probably just as surprised as you are when they step onto a trail normally clear for their own use.
They are undoubtedly not expecting to see you and will be looking for a way out of the situation just as much as you are. Read more about how to stay safe in bear country here.