Well, it is not that simple…
I currently live in Slovakia, country that is heavily populated by brown bears and they are spread nearly across all over the country. With this come two important topics, what protection to carry so you’ll increase your chances of survival if an attack is ought to happen and what to do when you’ll meet the bear.
I personally had only one bear encounter so far, but thankfully for me once the bear noticed me it ran away.
What best practices I try to use ?
- avoid running or hiking during times when bears are most active, meaning early morning and late evening hours
- although it won’t protect you for 100 %, I ALWAYS carry a bear spray, and for me there are 2 main reasons: Bears. And dogs of owners who let them run freely around the forest, and if you’ll surprise one while running you might get in trouble
- if I’m going hiking I might carry a gun also (have a gun license of course)
- be very cautious if you spot bear with cubs, never put yourself between the bear and her cubs, that is extremely dangerous situation
- if there are reports of a bear that is injured avoid the area completely
- if you have company talk to each other, you’ll make some noise…
- if you’ll meet a bear identify yourself by talking calmly so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal
- remain still; stand your ground but slowly wave your arms. Bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.
- My favourite one for meeting a bear is to “stay calm” 🙂
- I’ve read also that you should start walking sideways if the bear is stationary as it is non-threating to bears
- don’t run or try to climb trees, bears can run as fast downhill as they do uphill and they can outrun the fastest human, they can also climb trees
- simple common sense, let’s not open a can with your best ham or fish in the middle of the forest heavily populated by bears and expect that bear will “ignore” that, same goes for trash, never leave food trash in the woods if possible, especially near places where people gather often
- there are different instructions for meeting Black bears, Grizzly bears, pls. check the instructions for your area or National park
- last one but the most important: ALWAYS tell someone where are you going, which route you’ll be taking and when you should be back home, this one is a MUST for any trip, not only if it is in the area where bears live
I came across this great article from “outsideonline.com”, which I advise you to read carefully, it is mainly focused on bear spray and gun protection against bears.
Don’t let it fool you that you’ll be invincible while carrying a gun or a bear spray, but it might increase our chances of survival and that is why I will always carry a bear spray and sometimes also a gun. Do your own research of what to do when you meet a bear, there are different instructions for different subspecies that live in your area.
Here are couple of great lines from the article I mentioned earlier about protection against bears:
So what’s the conclusion here? To me, this isn’t an argument for or against guns or for or against bear spray. It’s an argument that, despite the presence of deterrents, dealing with an aggressive bear encounter does not involve any sure outcomes. Rather than beginning and ending the conversation with a false statement about bear spray’s efficacy, we should instead acknowledge that recreating safely in bear country requires training and knowledge – not dogma.
Click on the picture below to get a bear spray protection.
(I’m currently carrying this one from Sabre)