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Avoiding a black bear attack: What you need to know

 1x1 transparent pixel - Captured

Tuesday, November 19th 2019, 3:49 pm - Here's how you can stay safe around bears.

While in the woods, one of the last things you want to see charging at you is a black bear.

But for a hunter in northern Ontario, that nightmare scenario became a reality, as seen in the video above.

While black bear attacks are rare, they can and do happen.

Here are some bear safety tips.

HOW TO AVOID A BEAR ENCOUNTER

  • Make sure someone knows your plans. Before your trip, leave names, trip plans, and date of return with friends or family.
  • Carry bear spray and a noisemaker. Before leaving home read the instructions. Carry the bear spray in a belt holster or somewhere where you can access it immediately. Do not carry the bear spray inside your backpack.
  • Go with friends. Bears are less likely to approach people in groups. Check each other's position often and remember that the larger the group, the less likely a bear will hang around.
  • Keep young children close to you. Children can be particularly at risk because they are small and make erratic movements.
  • If you hike with a dog, keep it on a leash. Your dog should be leashed and under control at all times. An unleashed dog can lead an irritated bear back to you and your friends.
  • Make noise. Talk loudly, sing or let out occasional warning shouts. This will alert bears to your approach so you are less likely to cause a surprise encounter. Remember that other sounds, such as flowing rivers and streams and strong winds, can drown out the noise you make. Be extra noisy at these times.
  • Be alert when in wildlife travel corridors. Rivers and streams, trails and access routes, are common travel corridors for wildlife, including bears. Be cautious when you are in these areas.
  • Avoid areas with typical bear food sources. These include berry patches, grain fields, garbage pits, beehives and anywhere you can see an animal carcass.
  • Watch for fresh bear signs. If the signs look like they were made recently, quickly and calmly leave the area. Signs of bear activity include diggings, droppings, fresh carcasses, tracks, overturned rocks, scratched logs, torn-up ant hills,
  • Watch for crows, ravens, magpies or jays. These birds often indicate the presence of an animal carcass that may also attract a bear. Avoid being out at dusk, night or dawn. Although bear encounters can happen at any time of day, bears are most active at dusk, night and dawn.

Black bear/Getty Images Be alert when in wildlife travel corridors. Source: Getty Images.

WHAT TO DO IN AN ENCOUNTER

  • Do not run. Stay calm. Stay with your group and keep children close. Assess the situation.
  • Look around. If you see cubs or an animal carcass, the bear will want to protect them. If you see either, back away from them.
  • Don’t attract attention. Leave the way you came without calling attention to yourself. Retreat slowly while keeping your eye on the bear. Never run.
  • If you must move forward, give the bear a wide berth. If you have no choice but to move forward, give the bear as much space as you can.
  • Speak to the bear in a soft, low voice. Let the bear know that you are human and not a prey animal.
  • Watch for a place to hide. As you back away, seek out a place of safety, such as a car or building.
  • Stay quiet and alert. Even if you think you are a safe distance away from the bear, remain quiet, alert and calm. Continue watching for the bear until you reach your destination.
  • Prepare to use your bear spray.

HOW TO AVOID ATTRACTING BEARS

  • Never feed bears or any wildlife. Fed bears quickly become conditioned to food sources and will teach their cubs to approach people to get these inappropriate food rewards.
  • Manage bear and wildlife attractants around your house, worksite and campsite responsibly:
  • Keep all garbage securely stored until collection day. Store attractants in a sturdy building or place in, an approved bear-resistant trash receptacle.
  • Keep bird feeders down until December. Keep the ground free of seeds.
  • Keep BBQs clean and free from odours. Burn off the grill every time after use and clean out the grease traps. Store with other attractants such as livestock/pet feed and garbage inside a sturdy building.
  • Pick ripe and fallen fruit daily (consider electric fencing). Remove unused fruit trees.
  • Secure your gardens, backyard chickens and beehives (consider electric fencing). Store all your feed in a secure location and ensure feeding areas are clean and free of attractants.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • Manage compost properly. Don't add meat products or cooked food to compost, turn it regularly and keep it covered (consider electric fencing).
  • Install motion-detecting lights around entrances and walkways.
  • When camping, store food in bear-resistant containers or by hanging 10 feet off the ground.
  • Camp at least 100 yards away from your food storage and cooking area.

Tune in to full episodes of CAPTURED on The Weather Network, Sunday November 24 and Sunday December 1 at 7pm and 10pm ET & PT.

WATCH BELOW: BLACK BEAR INVESTIGATES BBQ

With files from Daniel Martins. Source

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