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Prevention of bear encounters is the best bear safety method in bear country. Be bear aware when camping. You are no longer in your neighborhood, you are now in bear country, in their neighborhood. This is the bears home, and you are a guest only.
When bears become acclimated to people (nuisance bears), they can become aggressive if there is food nearby (people food). To keep the park (and people) safe, the nuisance bear must be removed. The first ‘offence’ by a bear bothering people (non dangerous bear), the bear will be removed and driven to an area that is far away and unfamiliar. The bear will often try and return to where it found easy food. There is no second chance for the bear, he or she will then be killed. This is a waste of a beautiful life. To save bears lives, keep your food away from bears in bear country and be bear aware.
Gone are the days when you went to a Provincial, State or National park to feed wild bears. This is prohibited and not recommended - for your or the bears safety. Some parks have strict bear safety regulations and have gone out of their way to keep people and bears away from each other. For example, Banff National Park has a high voltage electric fence around it’s perimeter. This keeps the bears safe from people.
In fact, some trails in some parks, such as Banff, have a minimum number of people to keep people safe.
Although you may want to see bears when in the wilderness, for the well being of the bear, follow these easy tips for no-trace camping and you won’t see a bear when you don’t want to.
Bear Safety: Preventing Bear Encounters
1) Never leave food or toothpaste inside of your tent.
2) Make sure all food or smelly things are away from your tent. Cook away from your tent. Find out more ways to bear proof your food.
3) When hiking, wear bear bells , or sing, or chat or all 3. Bells are often not loud enough, so combine the bells with clapping, or singing. I always told my campers to sing on portages that had known bears. If a bear can hear you, it will generally avoid you. Even on busy trails, make sure to make noise, as the wind can hide quiet noises.
4) Hike with a group. Some parks have minimum numbers of people to do a hike to prevent bad bear encounters. (find out what to do if you see encounter a bear)
5) Be Bear aware. Do not hike in areas with berry patches or salmon runs when bears are around.
6) Avoid hiking in the dark, early morning or late evening.
NEVER approach bears.
Keeping food, garbage and smelly items away from bears. There are many bear proof canisters to keep your food scents contained and safe from bears.
If you fish when you camp, then you should dispose of your fish remains
Parks Canada recommends disposing of fish remains along a fast moving stream or at the middle of a deep lake, not near the shore.
If a bear has found your food and is into it, Do NOT try and fight the bear. Leave the area safely backing away from the bear. It is better that the bear eat your food instead of thinking you look tasty. Bears are bigger, stronger than you and they think their new-found yummy food is their food now! I have tried to scare off a fox that got into some of our food, and the foxes are very brave. I would not recommend trying to scare away a bear.
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