Bear Attacks And How To Avoid Them by Kevin Gardner
With the approach of summer comes the inevitable encounter between humans and bears. The Memorial Day weekend can be a real challenge for the animals as there has been very little human disturbance for months and suddenly within the course of a few days there are millions of people encroaching upon the wilderness.Undoubtedly this will put humans and bears in direct contact with each other. Good or bad, there will indeed be reactions to these encounters. Awareness and preparedness will get you through unscathed if you know in advance what to be aware of. Here is a baker’s dozen of things to think about that should help keep you safer in the outdoors.
I will remind you that nothing is written in stone when it comes to wildlife, and bears can be the biggest exception to any theory’s or rules out there. So let good judgment guide your actions and always remember that the one thing you always know, is that you don’t always know.Mother bears will be breaking away from their second spring cubs and begin the process of being bred again. These young are juvenile bears learning to forage for themselves for the first time and trying to find their place in the system. These are often the most dangerous bears, simply because of their high strung and sometimes fearful responses to people or situations. Imagine taking an early teen and kicking them out onto the street to live. Juvenile bears are much like early teen children, they will make mistakes; they will be overtly brazen as they try to mimic what they learned from their mother the previous year. If that approach does not work, they will become more aggressive and hot headed.
If a bear looks like it has long legs, it is often a young and immature bear. As they age, bears barrel out around the belly and appear less “leggy”. Be more cautious of these bears.
Bird feeders should be reconsidered in high bear activity areas this time of year.
Lush spring green-up and fast, loud flowing streams and rivers will make those areas where water runs through thick forest especially susceptible to surprise encounters with bears. The noise from the fast spring waters and the dense vegetation insulate sound quite handily and allow very close encounters before either bear or human are aware of each other’s presence.
Bears will try to establish a home range this time of year and may be less transient than other times. Thus repeat encounters in the same area, perhaps even at the same time of day can be normal.
Bears use day beds this time of year. Porches, decks, camping trailers, deer stands, almost anything providing shade and proximity to food is a great place for them to nest under for the day. Keep this in mind when approaching these locations if there has been minimal human activity in the recent past.
Bear dens are often much smaller than people would ever suspect. Just like when spike camping in the wilderness, a small tent provides a small area to heat by the body, bears need very limited space to sleep or hibernate as well and select smaller areas to conserve heat. Be aware of this fact as the animals continue to emerge form denning.Boars will be on the search for sows and this can indeed be a dangerous time to encounter them. Make sure they know you are around if you see or sense them. Reprisal from a surprise encounter makes up the vast majority of attacks on humans this time of year.
Resist the urge to handle or closely monitor “lost cubs”.
Keep dogs on a leash. A loose dog can trigger a chase response by a bear and will likely bring that bear right to you as your pet returns to your provided safety and it’s leash.
It is believed that bears have poor eye sight and in contrast to their sense of smell this is true. But do not by any means underestimate the sight of a bear.
Bears can run at speeds of close to 35 mph over rough terrain. Like a dog, they trigger a chase response to running and even cycling humans. Do not attempt to outrun or out peddle a bear. Make sure it see’s you and identifies you as human.
The ratio of grizzly bears to black bears in the lower 48 states is very small. The chances of being attacked by a black bear are equal to the lightning strike and plane crash for humans. However when a black bear that is approximately 85% herbivore, and not designed physically like their relative the carnivorous grizzly, makes the decision to attack a human it is far too often a carnivorous or predatory act and the bears intention is on feeding. Grizzly attacks often end in the bear biting about the arms, legs and head (all things that move or make noise, posing a threat) until the bears perception is that the threat is neutralized. Only then does the bear relent and monitor the victim as it moves away. Thus the conclusion is that bear attacks by grizzly are often a utility response to a perceived threat and a black bear attack more predatory in nature.
Keep these tidbits of information in mind as you venture outside over the coming weeks to remain as safe as possible in bear country.
Enjoy your resources safely.
author website: http://todayswilderness.com