Are you moving to bear country? Are you worried about bear encounters? Do you want to know how to stay safe while in bear country?
In the United States, brown bears are usually found in parts of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Although these species are said to be found in California, they are no longer in that state. In fact, they are also considered as a threatened species in South of Canada. If you are moving to any of the regions where brown bears or grizzly bears are said to be found, it is best to practice safety precautions to avoid possible fatal encounters. Bears are magnificent, amazing animals; however, they can also be dangerous especially if they feel threatened. Listed below are a few pointers for staying safe in bear country.
Know Your Bear
Bears are curious and intelligent animals. They also try to avoid humans; however, it is still important to respect and learn proper behavior to avoid possible encounters. Here are a few basic pieces of information about the most common types of bears you will see in bear country.
Grizzly Bears: These creatures range in color from black to light blonde, but most of them have a medium to dark brown coloring. Their average size is around 350-500 lb and they stand around 3.3 ft to 6.5 ft. at shoulder. If you see this type of bear, you will notice a distinct shoulder hump.
Black Bear: This type of bear also ranges in color from black to light blonde despite the name “black bear”. If you see this type of bear, you will notice a lighter patch on their chest. Their average size is around 110 to 300 lbs and they stand at 2.3 to 3 ft at shoulder. They are much smaller than grizzly bears. They also don’t have a hump on their shoulder.
Roadside Bear Viewing Safety Tips
- Yellowstone Bear World suggests keeping all your windows and doors locked when viewing bears from the roadside. Keep in mind that bears can and will climb through open windows, especially if you have food in the car.
- If you are driving through traffic, keep your eyes on the road and don’t stop to avoid possible road accidents.
- Don’t stop in the middle of the road if you see a bear. In addition, do not stop close to a hill or curve.
- If you spot a bear, always stay in your car. You should also remain a good distance from the bear.
- If the bear ignores you, you can take pictures and then move on.
- Never feed a bear
- If the bear starts to approach your car, leave immediately. This bear may have been fed by other people in the past and could be dangerous.
What To Do If You Encounter A Bear While Walking or Hiking?
Stay alert. You should always be on the lookout for bears or watch out for signs of their presence. Look for tracks, scats, tree scratches, claw prints, or fresh diggings. Make sure that you give these creatures plenty of room.
Choose a safe route. You should choose routes with excellent visibility. This is especially important when hiking through unfamiliar terrain.
Travel in groups. Although this isn’t practical, you need to understand that the larger the group, the lower the risk of bear attacks. Staying in a group will intimidate bears. This magnificent creature is more likely to approach one or two people instead of a larger group.
Stay away from bears. If you sight a bear a few feet away from your location, do not come any closer. Don’t approach this creature just to get a closer look or to get a better photo. Instead, you can use binoculars to look at them up close.
The author, Kris Lim, is an advocate for wildlife preservation. In this article, she lists a few bear safety tips for those who are moving to or are staying in bear country.
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