It is safer to hike with a friend, most of the time.
As people start to swarm parks for some fresh air and sightseeing, park rangers thought it was time to remind people of what to do if they encounter a bear.
Just like previous years, National Park Service (NPS) posted a witty public safety announcement that is capturing the attention of visitors.
NPS wrote, “If a bear clacks its teeth, sticks out its lips, huffs, woofs, or slaps the ground with its paws, it is warning you that you are too close and are making it nervous. The bear’s nervous? Heed this warning and slowly back away.”
All of Yellowstone National Park is considered bear habitat, so visitors are bound to encounter one from time to time.
But do you know what to do if you encounter a bear?
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Park rangers provided the following tips:
- Do not immediately drop to the ground and “play dead.” Bears can sense overacting.
- Do not run, shout, or make sudden movements.
- Do not run up and push the bear and do not push a slower friend down…even if you feel the friendship has run its course.
- Running may trigger a chase response in the bear and you can’t outrun a bear. Bears in Yellowstone chase down elk calves all the time. You do not want to look like a slow elk calf. (Apologies to the elk calf.)
- Slowly putting distance between yourself and the bear may defuse the situation.
- Draw your bear spray from the holster, remove the safety tab, and prepare to use it if the bear charges.
- In most cases, climbing a tree is a poor decision. Bears can climb trees (especially if there is something up the tree that the bear wants). Also, when was the last time you climbed a tree?
- Running to a tree or frantically climbing a tree may provoke a bear to chase you. If the friend you pushed down somehow made it up a tree and is now extending you a hand, there’s a good chance you’re not getting up that tree. Karma’s a bear.
Visitors and fans praised NPS on their entertaining and useful post. One person commented, “I really love your page. Information mixed in with humor and sarcasm. It’s the best 😂.”
All joking aside, visitors should keep at least 100 yards away from bears and never feed them.
NPS created the “A Bear Doesn’t Care” Campaign to inform people how important it is to carry bear spray. It is 90% effective in stopping an aggressive bear when people combine it with other safety tips mentioned above.
“Yellowstone visitors care deeply about preserving bears and observing them in the wild,” states Kerry Gunther, the park’s Bear Management Specialist. “Carrying bear spray is the best way for visitors to participate in bear conservation because reducing potential conflicts protects both people and bears.”
Learn even more bear safety tips on NPS’s website.
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