Be Bear Smart! How To Stay Safe

black vs grizzSpring is here and its time to hit the trails!  But with the warming temperatures come the bears, freshly out of hibernation and very, very hungry.  Aren’t they so cute?!?  Well, most of the time – unless you happen to get too close, especially to a mother with her cubs.

There have been a lot of articles published about the various things to do if its a Brown Bear (Grizzly) vs a Black Bear.  In a moment of intense panic, who is going to remember all of those nuances?  Think you can climb or run?  Don’t even try.  They can scale a tree like a chimpanzee and run faster than a horse.  Use an air horn?  I’ve watched a bear have one fired off within 3 feet of the tip of its nose and just walk around the person holding it.   What should you do? Make noise, wear a bear bell, and carry bear spray – then know what to do when those don’t work.

The recipe for successfully surviving a bear encounter has become simpler thanks to The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  It comes down to only two key factors: Did you surprise the bear or were you being stalked? How close were you when you first saw the bear?  Knowing the appropriate response under each circumstance can save your life.

Use this link to see the official document from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for all the important details.  Share it with your friends and family, and by all means, KEEP YOUR GARAGE DOORS CLOSED AND LOCKED AND YOUR BIRDFEEDERS DOWN AT NIGHT.  Numerous people have been attacked in their own garages or homes after a hungry bear goes dumpster diving in the trash or looking for dog food in a bin, and nuisance bears are often put to death after misguided bird enthusiasts leave bird feeders hanging within reach of a bear.  (And if you don’t think a bear can get to a feeder, just do a quick YouTube search for video of just how agile adult bears can be.  They can climb just about anything.)

Did you know an average 7 pound bird feeder contains 12,000 calories of feed?  What bear going into or coming out of hibernation wouldn’t want an easy snack?  According to Colorado Fish and Wildlife experts, once they find one feeder they will search the surrounding area over and over looking for more.

Enjoy your summer, but be bear smart!  It could save both you and one of Colorado’s most beautiful creatures.