Yes, on average 24 deaths happen every year due to bear attacks. This is a lot because only 3 species of bears exist in America. Namely- black bears, brown bears(grizzlies), and polar bears.
Everyone prays to not come face to face with one of these, but not all the prayers get fulfilled. Bears can be a bit too risky to tackle while you are in their habitat. They are as tall as humans or even bigger sometimes.
All species except brown ones tend to avoid human interaction as much as we avoid them. Even the brown ones won’t hunt humans to kill, they tend to attack only if they encounter you and feel threatened or surprised.
Bears visit camping sites because of the easy availability of food there. They also love interesting smells and can feel your presence just by your smell. We all know how much bears love anything sweet. Thanks to the creators of Winnie the Pooh!
Handling bear encounters can be risky but not impossible, especially with our very useful guide with all the points to keep in mind and what to do when we encounter them?
Let’s get started. Shall we?
How To Keep Bears Away From Campsite?
You can easily tell if you have bear around if you see their footprints in your area or their excretion around.
Bears are afraid of humans and always tend to avoid interactions but they cannot resist food. That is the reason why they visit popular campsite because of the food.
Bears naturally vacate your area if you are not with food and if they sense your presence, until and unless the bear is sick or prey is scarce. You should also do the same if you are unnoticed by a bear, vacate the area without getting noticed.
Bears are attracted to all human food, pet food, livestock feed, garbage, cooking pots and utensils, cooking oils, fuel for stove and lanterns, unopened canned beverages, cosmetics, lotion, toothpaste, birdseed, a hummingbird feeder.
These are some important steps to take to avoid your interaction with bears.
1. Know Your Campsite
This step should be your first in your pre-preparation checklist for camping. It is very important to know the whereabouts of your campsite to be prepared both mentally and supply wise.
If you are going to a very popular campsite and it has a bear in its habitat then you are very likely to encounter one of them, because they tend to repeat visit the places where they find food.
Investigate what type of bears are likely to visit. you have to be extra careful if you are in the area of Brown bear.
2. Set Camp At An Appropriate Place
You have to take extra precautions if you are planning to go to a campsite where beers exist. Set camp away from trails, berry patches, carcasses, or bear signs.
Usually, they are here in the search of food but your presence might fright them and they may attack.
3. Do Not Keep Food Inside Your Tent/ Sleeping Area
The last thing you want to do is invite them voluntarily to your sleeping area. You are inviting them to your sleeping area by keeping your food with you.
Never eat inside your tent or keep your food inside. The smell of food can be detected by bears from many meters away.
If they do get habituated to human food and garbage, they can become aggressive, dangerous, may break into cars, RV, and tents.
4. Don’t Keep Garbage Open
The smell of open garbage can be sensed very easily, therefore it would act as bait for bears. If something has a smell of food or similar to food bears will investigate.
Pack your garbage and dispose of it, never bury them.
5. Sleep Inside
Avoid sleeping out while you are in a bear prone area. Always sleep inside your tent, camper, RV. This will keep you protected from the direct attack of bears.
If you are sleeping inside, then it will spare you some time to realize their presence and to plan your activity to avoid them.
6. Keep Your Food Secured
Normal coolers all containers are not bear-proof, as they can sense the smell of food even if it is packed.
FUN FACT: Bears have a great smelling sense. They can easily smell factory-packed food.
If you do go to bear is a frequent campsite, secure your food with government-approved “bear-proof” containers. When not in use keep your leftover food suspended at least 10-15 feet off the ground and at least 4 feet from each vertical support.
7. Set Cooking Area Away From The Sleeping Area
This method is effective in keeping almost all wildlife away from us that are here in search of food.
The ground rule is you should set your cooking area at least 10 yards or 200 meters away from your sleeping area. It might cause you some inconvenience but it is a vital step.
8. Don’t Sleep In The Clothes You Cooked/Ate In
Always keep in mind that smell gets incorporated into your clothes when you cook or eat. Clothes smelling like food will mislead them into thinking you as a food source.
Always change your clothes before you go to sleep. Do not store clothes smelling like food inside your tent. It’s okay to leave your smelling clothes outside because bears do not have any history of destroying clothes.
9. Use Smells They Hate
Bears have an excellent sense of smell. Like every other animal or human, there are specific smells that they dispise.
FUN FACT: Bears love the smell of coffee. They are frequently found rolling in the coffee grounds like cats roll in catnips.
The smell of ammonia and cider vinegar and, pine sols are hated by bears. Ammonia and cider vinegar, soaked in cloth in trashbags can be hung on a tree near your campsite to deter bears away. The smell of Lysol and pines also repels bears.
10. Keep Pets Leased
Our pets are prey to the bears. If you are planning to take your pet along with you in a bear prone area you should always be careful of them.
Always keep them leased near your campsite. This would help you to keep an eye on them and they are also protected from the unexpected attack from the bears.
What To Do If You Encounter A Bear?
- If you see a beer visiting your Campsite the first right thing to do would be making random noises. This will scare them away from you. Wave Your Hands as high and as fast as possible. Stand Together if you are in a group.
- If you are noticed by a bear and you see them slowly vacate the area and move to a safer place. Do not try to get their attention or take a photo.
- If a bear noticed you from a distance always let them know that you are a human and not prey or any other animal. Start talking to them in a low tone and put your arms out to the side and move them slowly.
- Avoid direct eye contact but also keep an eye on him and observe what is he do going to do. It is important to assess his moves to act accordingly.
- They might ignore you and resume whatever they were doing. you should keep talking to them in low voice and do not turn your back to keep an eye on them and slowly vacate the area.
- If they run away you should move in a different direction to avoid the second encounter.
- If they start approaching you to stay calm and don’t move. Keep doing your movements and do not try to threaten them.
- Observe his behavior that will help you to know if it is going to attack or not. If bears woof, chomp their teeth, growl, moves its head back and forth, slap the ground with their front foot, smacks its lips, and salivate it means they are stressed by your presence.
- Continue to talk to them and wave your hands. If it stops you continue backing out without getting noticed. If it reaches again stop again and wait for the bear to back up a bit before you back up again.
- Gift attacks you playing dead is the best defense. they flat on the ground face down and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
- Keep your backpack on. It may offer more protection for your back. If the bear rolls you over continue rolling until you are face down again.
- Don’t make any noises and don’t know until you are sure the bear has left.
- If you move too soon you may bring the beer back for a renewed attack. It may perceive you are about to attack it.
Defensive bears do not attack first. They will only attack when they feel attacked. Keeping all these tips and facts in mind will help you take the right step. Even the smallest wrong step may lead you to measure danger.
I hope these tips and guides helped you.
Do share your stories of bear encounters in our comment section. we would love to hear them.
Until then happy camping!