Bear in Mind: What to Do to Avoid a Bear Attack


Don't Cook or Eat Where You Sleep

Bears follow their nose, Zimmer said.

"If you are camping," he said, "make sure you store food and other potential attractants, such as toothpaste, deodorant, candy bars bear proof containers. And store them well away from where you are going to be sleeping or spending your down time."

Also, he added, "You want to avoid cooking where you are going to sleep. Food odors get on tents, sleeping bags. You now smell like that bacon you ate."

Do Not Poke Your Nose Where It Doesn't Need to Be

Do not investigate animal carcasses or other strange smells in the woods.

"Avoid getting inside their personal space,'' said Zimmer. "Bears defend their personal space, they defend their offspring and they defend their food sources."

Watch for telltale signs of bears. A bear's diet is 80 percent vegetation and the remainder is typically bugs. If you see rolled over logs, rolled over rocks or dug up meadows, those are indications that a bear is in the area looking for food.

"If a bear is in the area, it is probably not a very good area for you to be in," said Zimmer.

Bears are fascinating and fun to watch, Zimmer added, but "that's best done through binoculars or a spotting scope."

"You can avoid most conflicts with bears," he said. "Because all they really want to do is be a bear."

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