Spring weather is certainly something to celebrate, but it also brings its own safety risks. For instance, as bears come out of hibernation, they’ll be in search of nourishment, which might lead them into your backyard, campsite, or hiking trail. A surprise encounter might startle a bear into acting aggressively. Here are 4 quick tips to help you stay safe during bear season.
1. Make noise.
As Estes Park News reports, “bears are generally shy and usually avoid humans.” (Remember that generally is the operative word there you can never be to prepared!) Bear bells or a safety horn help warn bears that you’re in the area and reduce the risk you’ll startle an animal into behaving aggressively.
2. Travel in groups.
“Groups of people are usually noisier and smellier than a single person,” instructs the National Park Service. This means bears will be more likely to know you’re near.
3. Contain food odors.
Food odors attract bears, so it’s important to minimize odors as much as possible. If camping, use a bear safe to hide your food from sensitive noses. At home, you can reduce your bear attack risk by having bear spray on hand when out grilling. You can also delay putting your garbage out as long as possible, so that it’s not out in the open for too long before the waste removal truck comes along.
4. Carry bear spray.
Bear spray has 90% success rate, whereas humans are injured in 50% of bear conflicts involving a firearm (KXLH 9 News). Backpacker Magazine Contributing Editor Ryan Van Duzer helps you decide which bear spray is right for you: