While depicted as friendly and harmless creatures on television, a bear can pose a tremendous threat to anyone who acts recklessly around them. As there was a recent warning and sighting of a black bear on the Blair campus, here are some pointers and ways to best avoid bear-based conflict:
- Try to remain calm and avoid sudden movements.
- Give the bear plenty of room and allow it to continue its activities undisturbed. If it changes its behavior, you’re too close, so back away.
- If you see a bear but the bear doesn’t see you, detour quickly and quietly.
- You want it to know you’re human, so talk in a normal voice and wave your arms.
- You can throw something onto the ground if the bear pursues you, as it may distract it and allow you to escape.
- NEVER FEED OR THROW FOOD TO THE BEAR.
- Remember that a standing bear is not always a sign of aggression. Many times, bears will stand to get a better view. In fact, many bears charge as a bluff. They may run at you, but abruptly stop. Stand your ground firmly and when it stops, slowly backpedal away. NEVER RUN FROM A BEAR. They will chase you, running at an average speed of 30 miles per hour. If there is a tree near you, don’t even think about climbing it, as both black and grizzly bears can climb trees.
If the bear attacks, try the following tips:
- Be loud, wave your arms, and stand your ground.
- Be aggressive. Fight back!
- If you are SURE the bear attacking is a mother who is protecting her cubs, play possum.
- If you have pepper spray, begin spraying when the bear is within 40 feet of you. That way the bear will runs into the cloud of spray as it chases you. .
Be(ar) careful out there, Bucs.
(Copyright 2019 Sean Um)