Thursday, June 13, 2024

Web exclusive: Recreating in Bear Country

by WildlifeMontana Fish
| April 7, 2009 12:00 AM

Following are suggestions from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on what recreationists can do to prevent conflicts with bears.

Tips For Recreating In Bear Country

• In Montana, assume bears are present whether there are reports of bears in the area or not.

• Carry and know how to use bear spray.

• Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

• Travel in groups of three or more people whenever possible and plan to be out in the daylight hours.

• Stay on trails or rural roads.

• Watch for bear sign such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks.

• Keep children close.

• Announce your presence with voices or whistles when you are near streams, thick forest or winding trails where visibility is low.

• Avoid approaching a bear, respect their space and move off.

• Follow all forest service food storage orders including keeping food stored securely and maintaining a clean camp.

Tips For Bear Encounters

• Do not run from a bear. Running may trigger a natural predator-prey attack response.

• Make certain you have bear spray at the ready.

• Immediately pick up small children and stay in a group.

• Move away from the bear, if it is possible to do so.

• Throw a kerchief or other object on the ground—but not food items or a backpack with food in it – a  as you move away to distract the animal’s attention.

• If a black bear approaches, try to scare it away by shouting or making noise.

• If a black or grizzly bear attacks at night while you’re in a tent, fight back aggressively with sticks or stones.

• If a grizzly bear attacks during the day, most experts recommend playing dead by curling up in a ball face down. Use your hands and arms to protect the back of your neck and face, and keep your backpack on for added protection. Do not move or make noise until you are sure the bear has left the area.