This month, Coast published an interesting article about bear safety in the Pacific Northwest, called “Northwest Bear Safety Tips”. Most outdoor enthusiasts know that grizzlies and black bears inhabit many popular outdoor destinations in the Pacific Northwest, but not everyone knows what to do if they come across a bear. This useful, informative article details ways to avoid bears, how to tell if bears may be nearby, and what to do if you cross paths with a bear. Here are a few highlights from the article:
Where are bears most often found in the Pacific Northwest?
Wild bears like areas near fruitful vegetation, rivers and lakes. Luckily, bears are naturally shy animals and will avoid areas they know to be full of humans. Stick to well-populated places, and you will dramatically decrease your chance of a bear encounter.
How can I reduce my chance of encountering a bear?
One way to prevent a bear encounter is to keep a clean camp. Although they generally avoid interaction with humans, bears will have no problem coming into your camp if they smell food left out. Keep food away from the rest of your camping equipment – preferably in your car or, if that’s not an option, in a secure cooler. Don’t leave trash out in the open, as that can also attract bears and other wild animals.
What do I do if I see a bear?
Bears are smart and generally not aggressive in nature. If you encounter a bear, do everything you can to allow it a way to leave. If you see it from a distance, calmly move in the opposite direction while talking or making noise in some other way. If you stumble upon a bear close-up, don’t panic. Talk softly to it. Let it know that you’re a human and don’t mean it any harm. If the bear stands up, remain calm – it is simply trying to identify what you are. Whatever you do, don’t run. Running signals to the bear that you are prey, and then the chase is on.
Here’s a video of how bears can act when they encounter a camp with food left out – Yikes!