Monday, September 25, 2023
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What to do in an encounter with a bear?

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When crossing ‘bear country’, be sure to make sufficient noise – whether by talking, whistling, or stomping your feet – in order for bears to sense your presence from at least 30 meters away. If you move quietly, you may stumble upon a bear’s ‘personal space and startle it. Feeling under threat, the bear can react on an impulse and simply run over you before retreating. Usually you will get away with a bruise or two, some scratches and cuts and a big fright.

When scared, the bear will try to scare you back. It will stomp its paws, or break off branches form trees or uproot entire bushes to show off its strength. Then it will rear up on its hind legs, a tactic that makes it look taller, while lunging at you with its front paws, grunting and snorting and uttering hoarse threatening cries. If this also fails, the bear will give out a mighty deafening roar, bare all its teeth and snap its jaws at you, but will never attack you.

Read more: What to do in an encounter with a bear?


Reasons for Accidents


In an impending encounter with humans, it is usually the bear that first gets wind of the approaching person or group, which gives it plenty of time to retreat comfortably and avoid an unwanted face-to-face. Even if reckless actions by humans are geared to tease or provoke it, the bear typically proves to be the ‘smarter’ party in a potential conflict. The rare occasions where humans are indeed attacked by a bear can be due to one or more of the following reasons:

- a surprise appearance of a human at less than 10 meters’ distance;

- when protecting their young: a mother bear treats any human presence as a threat to her offspring;

- when guarding their meal, i.e. if surprised while eating.

Read more: Reasons for Accidents


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