Bears in the Canadian Rockies

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Written by Madison Valois posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

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Tips on how to react if you meet a bear in the Canadian Rockies

Follow these guidelines to avoid any mishaps with bear in the Canadian Rockies.

Follow these guidelines to avoid any mishaps with bears in the Canadian Rockies.

ALBERTA, Canadian Rockies – There’s a lot of wildlife to see in the Canadian Rockies, but all of us at have to admit a special fondness for these majestic animals.

Which isn’t to say we recommend treating them like a pet. They are wild and  powerful, and deserve the utmost respect.

You could encounter three kinds of bears when you vacation in the Rockies: black bears, brown bears, and of course the renowned grizzly bear.

Never hike alone. That’s not just in case of bears, either. Hiking is fun but there are many things that can happen on even the simplest of trails. Safety first, always.

Now, should you come across a bear, remember to stay calm. Don’t run … in any direction. Don’t run away; the bear could interpret that as prey fleeing the scene, and I don’t care if you run track at the Olympics, the bear WILL be faster than you. And if you’ve heard that old wives’ tale about being fierce and driving the bear away by running at it and yelling? Ha! The only thing you’re less likely to do than outrun a bear is outwrestle one.

No. Be calm. Slow movements. Don’t try to interact with the bear. Do make noise, however. Not threatening noises, just human noises. Walk away. Chances are, the bear has no interest in you. It’ll probably be a lot more afraid of you than you are of it. Don’t give it any reason to change its mind. And if you happen to see a mother and its cub, absolutely DO NOT get between the mother and the youngster.

If a bear does attack you or maul you, it is almost certainly doing it out of surprise and fear. Humans just aren’t on a bear’s preferred menu. The bear doesn’t want to eat you, and if you don’t fight it, it really doesn’t even want to maul you. It just wants to leave you alone. So if you think a bear is going to attack you, don’t panic, don’t scream, and please don’t fight back.

If you are carrying bear spray, you could use it, but that really is a last-resort. The spray may well work to change a scared bear’s mind, though, if you spray it and then calmly walk away.

Here’s the bottom line: Bears want to leave you alone. If you see one, be on your way quietly and calmly, and you won’t give it a reason not to do the same.

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