Unexpected dangers in the outdoors

geogeek

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Hey guys

I'm moving from South Africa to Ontario, Canada in a couple of months, and I wanted to find out about some general safety tips that I should be aware of?

For example, here in SA we don't really have poisonous plants (like poison ivy), but you always need to check your boots for scorpions or spiders before you put them on, there's a high probability that you'll pick up ticks if you walk in dense bush (and tick-bite fever is no fun - I've had it a couple of times), Cobras, Mambas, and Puffadders are the snakes you're most likely to encounter (the first two tend to flee when you approach, but Puffadders are nasty - they lie still until you're close, then strike), and although most spider bites / scorpion stings won't kill you, they hurt like hell.

What are the things I should be aware of when outdoors in Ontario?
 

Grandpa

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Biggest live dangers would be people, moose, and bears. Good food management solves MOST bear problems. Situational awareness solves MOST people and moose problems. The 3 biggest dangers in the outdoors in North America are falls, drowning, and lightening.
 

ppine

Forester
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Ontario can have thick woods and brush, flat terrain and lots of overcast conditions. It is pretty easy to get turned around. Be aware of your location at all times, especially off of established trails and waterways. Not many reptiles, much fewer predators. Do not underestimate moose. There can be lots of cold and wet conditions, even during the warmer months.
 

Pathfinder1

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Ontario can have thick woods and brush, flat terrain and lots of overcast conditions. It is pretty easy to get turned around. Be aware of your location at all times, especially off of established trails and waterways. Not many reptiles, much fewer predators. Do not underestimate moose. There can be lots of cold and wet conditions, even during the warmer months.
 

Pathfinder1

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Liberty, N.Y. Lower Catskill Mountains.
Hi...!!

You're right about the moose...hard to believe how big they are until they get too close (or when YOU get too close to them)...!!

I was almost run down by one at my cold-country camp outside of Fairbanks...but I heard it coming, and managed to 'hide' until it disappeared...!!
 

ppine

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Besides getting lost and dealing with predators, insects are a challenge. Black flies, mosquitoes, no see ums, gnats, etc.
Ontario is wet. Lots of lakes, rivers, beaver ponds and interconnected waterways. Learn to use a canoe. Be very careful about cold water. Wear a life jacket, dress for immersion.
 

Northern Dancer

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...interesting notes and based on true life experiences. There are a lot of "natural dangers" - drowning, having a tree limb crash through a tent, falling off a cliff, getting shot by a skunk, Beaver fever, catching a fishhook in your face, eating crappy food. [I didn't say "Cappy" food. :Smile2:] and other such shenanigans.

The three that I've noticed [in this neck of the woods] of recent date are:

MYSELF - I sure know how to get into trouble
BLACK BEARS - they seem to be more bothersome
COYOTES - they can be most dangerous

The only poisonous snake in Ontario is the Mississauga Rattler located in the region of Georgian Bay. There are no other poisonous snakes in Ontario. {Unless there have been another invasive species that has shown up that I'm unaware of.]

2833



 

ppine

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We have a lifetime supply of coyotes in Nevada. I do not feel threatened by them. They are a danger to my dogs.
I have been startled several times in the woods by large packs of screaming coyotes at wee hours while sleeping in the open with my dog. She is usually on alert but very quiet. Sometimes they have been coming right at me. I carry a revolver and find it in the dark and wait. Invariably the pack will catch my scent and that of my dog, and change direction and avoid us by a great distance.
 

Roybrew

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We have coyotes here, but I don't think there has been any attacks on humans. A friend of mine has beef cattle. He said he started to noticed that one small herd, that were in a separate field from the other cows, weren't gaining any weight, and would never lie down for long. He said they would graze, but stayed walking around. One evening he saw a coyote just outside the fence. He said that even after the coyotes were gone, he never said how they got gone, and I didn't ask, that the cows never did put on any weight, or lie down for long.

I think the only thing here to fear are poisonous snakes. There aren't to many cases of people getting bit, as far as I know. I think most times I let my imagination go a little wild. They just don't slither around looking for someone to bite. At least they don't here. Wife and I saw a copper head snake at our city park last month. I questioned whether it was or not, but I think she was right. It had a very thick body. I didn't get close enough to ask it.
 

ppine

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In general, people seem to have a lot of fear of mountain lions. They are increasing in the US, partly because few people hunt them now. They are stealthy in the extreme and you will likely not see them even when they are around. they are normally not much of a threat but one person alone running or on a mountain bike seems to trigger their prey response.

People seem to not have much fear (or respect) for black bears. I think this is a mistake. I have been stalked by them before for several hours. They always show up behind me. I like having dogs around as the first line of defense. Do not take black bears for granted.
 

Northern Dancer

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I haven't really had any bad encounters with wildlife or wild humans for that matter; some close calls with nature. I suppose I'm lucky. I like to think that I'm experienced enough to be intelligently conscious of my surroundings. I do not mean to say that I haven't any more to learn - I have. But I've taken my canoe courses, been an instructor of First Aid, and have taken a Working in Bear Country programme and photography course. Outdoor cooking classes have been fun as well as some of those wilderness survival sessions. I've taken into account the people I am with and have studied the areas I frequent. I never learned how to hunt. I know, I know, I know, I'm deprived - I never learned how to fish either. But I will clean them and cook the same.

 

Roybrew

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I've never had an encounter with a black bear. But being "Bear Aware" is a good thing to remember. Especially camping near the TN and North Carolina mtns. These are my normal areas. I guess I don't have to worry about the smell of fish attracting them to my camping site.... don't seem like I catch many any more
 

Northern Dancer

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I am happy to say I have had bears in camp. The first time that happened I sort of forgot the protocol and watched him sniffing out my dining shelter. He looked healthy and strong and was an excellent specimen. I then remembered, "Oh, ya, I'm supposed to make a lot of noise and hopefully scare him away." I did and he took off into the forest at the same time I thought "Camera, dumb-dumb, you should have taken a picture when you had the opportunity."
 

Roybrew

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Ha you supposed to stand up straight, puff up and look large. I tried that with my wife once, she smacked me, and I cried. I'm a wuss. A bear would mull me just for looking stupid.
 

ppine

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Photography and bears reminds me of an incident in Alaska a long time ago. I was working with a botanist from Los Angeles. We kept hearing this anguished cry but could not figure out what it was. We were in the river delta between the Keta and Blossom Rivers near the salt water on the Tongass NF. The understory was thick with large currants that were around 7 feet tall. I finally realized the racquet was coming from a black bear cub in a tree. I located him and started to leave, when my companion decided to change the film in his camera? I grabbed my associate by the collar of his jacket and dragged him out of there. I had the safety off my rifle and was pointing it down the trail where the visibility was about 15 feet. I knew Mom was coming and I just hoped she wasn't on the same trail we were on. We escaped and never saw the mother bear.
 

ppine

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The kind of experience that you know could be bad. The adrenaline was flowing and we were moving quickly to get out of there. After we were safely a long distance away I literally started shaking. It took a couple of minutes to calm down. By companion was not smart enough to realize the danger we were in. I tried not to get stuck with him in the bush ever again.
 

Northern Dancer

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...interesting. "I tried not to get stuck..." I've had some of those experiences and knew before the start that I would regret it - and I did. Like the time while on a canoe trip, a buddy's friend threw a garbage bag [with my number on it] into the forest without my knowledge. It soon became knowledgeable when the Ministry sent me a warning and advised me what the fine would be if they had pressed charges. Then there was the time a greenhorn left my brand new Kelty tent that I had loaned him for the trip back at a busy portage. And then...well, you get the picture. :Frown2:
 
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