Tuesday, 2 February 2016

If the bear is brown, lie down, if it's black, fight back and if it's white, goodnight.

This is a phrase used many times on social media when I said I was going camping in the wildness of Algonquin in Canada last summer.

On arrival at the canoe launch we were warned of a heighten risk of bears around the campsites and portages. 

We were given information leaflets on the storage of food and to remove all garbage and food from the campsite on departure. 


We gathered up a discarded black bag full of beer cans and other rubbish that some selfish visitors to the area had discarded in the area where a bear sighting had been reported.


I'm very grateful not to have seen a bear on our visit, however we believe we had a close encounter with one at the camp site when we found bear poo within 100 meters of the tent, officially answering the question 'does a bear shit in the woods?'

We didn't go anywhere without a can of bear spray, even the short distance between the camp fire and the tent.


So what do you do if you encounter a bear? There are 4 types of bear encounters you could experience.

A fleeing bear.

Enjoy the sight of it running away.

An habituated bear.

DO NOT RUN. 
If the bear is fishing or foraging for berries, calmly leave the area.
If the bear is approaching you, stand still, face it, yell, throw sticks and rocks, use a whistle, make yourself as big as possible, wave your arms and use the bear spray.
If that fails, depending on how you reached your campsite either get into you car or a building on into your canoe and paddle away.

A defensive bear may see you as a threat to it's food source and it will huff and blow air through it's nostrils and swat the ground and make mock charges. Talk to the bear and back away and leave the area.

A predatory bear will silently stalk you, leave the area by canoe or car but DO NOT TURN AND RUN. DO NOT CLIMB A TREE.

If you cannot leave, do EVERYTHING you can to fight back. DO NOT PLAY DEAD. Fighting back with noise, sticks and rocks is the only way to halt the attack.

I'm glad I didn't see a bear, I'm not sure I'd react all that calmly faced with a situation like that.

One thing to remember is to camp in in groups, there have been no reports of bear attacks on groups of 6 or more people, most attacks occur when there are only 1 or 2 people.




15 comments:

  1. I love bears. I've never seen one in its natural habitat only in zoos. I'd probably have a heart-attack if I see one out. Glad no bears appeared! #animaltales

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    1. As nice as it would've been to have seen one, i think i'm glad i didnt in reality

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  2. I loved walking through Canada and seeing the special bear proof bins! I remember something about the size of the bears feet helps you tell the different species but cannot remember what they said

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    1. I didn't see any info on this, i was more concerned about NOT spotting one....lol

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  3. Hmmm not so sure the do not turn and run, or the back away slowly would be easy to do if you have a huge bear approaching at high speed. Hmmm why not play dead, always thought that was advised?

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    1. I've no idea why not to play dead, i guess it's hard not to just turn and run, but i suppose you're a goner if you do

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  4. I'd love to see a bear ..
    My friend has told me many takes of bears .

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    1. i'd love to have seen one from the safety of the car

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  5. Bears are scary. I have seen a grizzly up close in the Northern Zoo in Norway and even though there were two fences between us I would not have wanted to get any closer. Mr EE has seen them in the wild when he was hiking in Denali - he said it was amazing to see them but he was glad it was at a distance.

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    1. at a zoo i can cope with but really glad i didn't see one close up in the wild

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  6. We stayed in a national park in the US with family, camping, and took the bear precautions very seriously, I remember. We were quite disappointed not to actually see one though! Useful tips!

    #animaltales

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    1. we had our car seared travelling through a national park in California and were asked to have our picnic at the gate and leave all food and drink rubbish at their bins

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  7. Well all I can say is that I am very glad bears are not a species found in Normandy. We do however have wild boar and these have, on rare occasions, been known to attack people. This tends to only be when a mother is with her piglets though. I have never seen any boar but guests in the gite saw a big male cross the road ahead of them and a friend met a Mum and piglets on a walk - luckily, as he carefully backed off she decided she was as scared as him and ran off in the other direction.

    Many thanks for adding bear care to #AnimalTales.

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    1. they have wild boar in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire where we used to live, but never saw them, just the damage they did to people's gardens. We encountered Wart Hogs, while camping in South Africa, I'll add that to animal tales for another week

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