Better bear smart than sorry

Photo credit: Rob Lucas on Flickr

Recent media reports have me feeling even more cautious about bear encounters than I was before.

One person was killed by a black bear in BC and others have been injured. CBC reports that people are encountering more bears this year because our cold spring delayed the snow melt, and bears are coming further down the mountains in search of food. Yikes!

Now I’m trying to keep this information in perspective as I prepare for my first camping trip of the summer. I won’t allow my fear to ruin my enjoyment of the woods, so I’m reviewing some bear safety tips that I’ll share with you.

Get bear smart

The Get Bear Smart Society is based in Whistler, and they educate people – including the general public, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and law enforcement officials – on how to co-exist with bears.

Dr. Lynn Rogers puts things in perspective by pointing out that “each year in the USA and Canada, 1 in 16,000 people commit murder, 1 in 35,000 grizzly bears kills a human, and 1 in 100,000 black bears kills a human,” she writes on the Bear Smart site.

While looking at it that way is a good reality check, I’ll definitely follow these tips offered by Bear Smart while enjoying my trip:

Photo credit: Joel Friesen on Flickr

1) Store food and garbage in a bear-proof container or hanging it in a tree

2) Avoid animal carcasses when out walking

3) Travel in a group during daylight hours

4) Alert bears by talking calmly and loudly or singing, especially in dense bush where visibility may be limited or around rivers or streams

5) Obey trail closures and information signs

More bear safety tips

Safety tips for travelling in bear country from Gadling, a travel blog

Bear Safety Tips for the Outdoor Enthusiast from Canada Trails

Bear Safety from BC Parks

Safe travel in bear country from Parks Canada

Beware of bears and be prepared from WorkSafeBC


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