What to do if you meet a bear?

Meeting a bear or a grizzly bear during a walk in the forest is the fear of any hiker who travels to Canada.

Who else can boast of knowing exactly how to react in the event of an encounter with one of these immense mammals?

It is good to remember some useful tips before your trip: here are the most important points for you to remember.

To avoid bad encounters

  • Observe the bear presence notices posted by park wardens and do not venture into areas that have been closed.

  • Try to hike in groups of at least 4 people and keep your eyes on the children so that they stay close to you.

  • Be as loud as possible by singing, speaking loudly, shouting and clapping. The noise will alert them of your presence and they will likely leave the area.

  • Be especially careful if you are walking against the wind because the bear cannot smell you or if you are walking near a watercourse because it can hardly hear you.

  • Avoid walking in the evening and follow the official trails .

  • If you see fresh tracks of a bear, whether traces, droppings, holes dug in the ground or stones that were returned, or if you find a dead animal carcass, immediately leave the premises .

  • If you meet a baby bear , its mother is probably not far away and will try to protect it. Do not stay put .

  • Avoid bringing your dog on a hike as it can anger the bear.

  • Dispose of your garbage in appropriate places, i.e. in bear-proof bins.

  • If you sleep on a campsite, keep your site clean and avoid leaving food, waste, dirty dishes or used water (from cooking or dishes), oils or grease, a cooler, a tablecloth, or scented items like sunscreen, mosquito repellant, toothpaste, soap, etc.

What to do if you meet a bear?

  • Be vigilant and above all, keep calm . Be careful not to drop anything so as not to distract it.

  • Stay together , take the children in your arms and do not run, the bear can easily catch up with you.

  • If you have cayenne pepper with you, take it in your hands.

  • Back up slowly to leave the premises, do not look him in the eyes and speak to him calmly. Never turn your back on it.

  • It is important to make sure that the bear has enough space to leave.

  • Watch for signs of aggression by the bear, for example: showing claws or teeth, growling, shouting, blowing hard, bending your ears back, staring at you, nodding, tapping on the ground or snapping jaws. All these signs tell you that it needs more space.

If the bear is just curious

If the latter seeks to test his domination or if he seeks something to eat, he will have his head and ears erect .

Then just keep talking to him in a firm tone and move away quietly backing away.

If he follows you, you must stop and stand up to him while trying to intimidate him. You can scream and get aggressive. Use your cayenne pepper by spraying it on his muzzle if necessary.

If the bear attacks to defend itself

If the bear is feeding, it is with its young or you have taken it by surprise and it feels attacked, it is possible that it wants to defend itself.

If the bear approaches and touches you, you must play dead by lying on the ground, face down, legs apart and hands behind your neck to protect your head .

Keep your backpack if you have one and stay calm. If the bear no longer feels in danger, it will leave you alone. Do not move until he has left the premises.

If the bear attacks as a predator

If the bear is aggressive, follows you, charges you or attacks you at night, defend yourself !

This type of attack is extremely rare, but you must take refuge in a vehicle or a building if possible. You can try climbing a tree, but don’t forget that the bear can do that too.

If you can’t get away, use your cayenne pepper and try to intimidate him by hitting him with rocks, a tree branch, a stick, a knife, shouting and showing him that you are not a prey.

Don’t play dead!

So much for these tips to adopt. It is important not to be prevented from walking in the forest because meetings can be rather rare.


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