Bears can be a common problem while camping, so you need to be prepared. There are several precautions you can take in order to reduce the risk. Out of sight, out of mind – if you see a bear in the distance and it didn’t see you then you want to go the other way. Leave the bear alone and it will likely continue doing what it intended to. If you see bear tracks then you also want to avoid following them.
Bears are wild animals, but they are also curious. Don’t leave food out where they can smell it or get into it. Don’t try to lure the bears closer to your campsite with food either. Coolers should be locked and food that is placed into the trash should be secured as well. Bears have a great sense of smell so you need to keep your campsite free of garbage. Your food should be stored in an air tight cooler to prevent the smells from escaping. Use Ziploc bags too for foods that could be enticing to bears.
You can also hang certain foods at least 10 feet above the ground. Try not to do your cooking very close to your tent site. Don’t wear clothing to bed that you have cooked in or that you wore while eating. Those articles of clothing could end up attracting bears to your campsite while you are sleeping.
Many campsites offer fire pits, and it is a good idea to burn the garbage there. By doing so you will be eliminating scents that may attract bears to your campground. Make sure that children don’t go exploring on their own either. Always stay on marked trails when you are hiking. That way you are less likely to get into the path of a bear. When you go hiking you need to make some noise. That will reduce the chance of you accidentally surprising a bear along the way.
Bears are the most active at dusk and dawn. Try to plan your hiking and cooking activities around these common times. Then you will be less likely to have bears to contend with. If a bear does seem aggressive toss something away from you that it may pursue so that you can get away.
Only camp in designated areas too. Keep your vehicle doors locked as bears are extremely curious. They may be attracted by the smells in your vehicle. The interior of any vehicle has various scents and odors in it. There have been recorded videos of bears completely destroying the inside of vehicles due to this.
It can be a good idea to carry bear spray or pepper spray with you when you go camping. This can come in very handy if one does get close to you without you realizing it. This could be the difference to give you time to get away. Make sure you have practiced how to use the pepper spray in advance. Pay attention to the direction of the wind before you use it.
Should you see a bear, try to remain as calm as possible. Don’t scream or run as that can make the bear assume you are prey and pursue you. Pay attention to any posted warnings or information from park rangers regarding bear sightings.
Instead, talk very calmly to the bear. Move slowly so that you aren’t seen as a threat. Change your direction too because you may have accidentally separated cubs from their mom. If you can’t get out of the path of a bear, experts say you should play dead. This will result in the bear leaving you alone.