This article is sponsored by SABRE
I love bears, and while I’m aware of their presence and possible threat on the trail, the bears I’ve encountered have been more scared of me than I of them. Of course, I keep an eye out for signs that they are around, such as fresh tracks and scat, but I’m never afraid to get out and adventure in bear country.
As I read yet another headline about a fatal grizzly bear attack in my province, though, I made a mental note to double-check our bear spray before our next adventure.
While it’s exciting to see bears in the wild, most of us would prefer to see them at a distance. Luckily, most bears would rather see us from afar too, and this is a good thing, both for our safety and the bear’s.
There are several ways to avoid bumping into a bear on the trail. First, keep your dog on a leash. Besides your pet possibly getting hurt or killed when running after a bear, dogs often lead bears right back to their owners when the bear turns around to chase them.
Second, make some noise. Suddenly startling a bear can be dangerous. If a bear knows you’re coming because you’re making noise, it will usually skedaddle. Chat as you hike. When you are alone, sing or use a bear bell, which jingles as you walk to let wildlife nearby know you’re there. Frontiersman makes bear bells with magnetic silencers, which is handy for situations when you don’t need or want noise. This means you never have to remove the bell from your pack, and you’ll never forget it at home!
Frontiersman also carries a bear horn, doubling as a way to signal for help. This compact horn is loud enough to be heard half a mile away (about 0.8 kilometres) and is easy to use. Press one simple button to sound multiple short, loud bursts. Frontiersman also makes a bear horn with a locking top to prevent accidentally sounding the loud, attention-grabbing horn. Keep the horn in an accessible side pocket in your pack so it’s easy to grab when needed.
Third, be wary of inadvertently attracting and feeding bears with garbage or food at your camp. Not only does this increase your risk, but you’ve seen the posters in trailhead toilets about bears that were put down after becoming used to human food. These all-too-common tragedies can be prevented if human food is properly stored away. The bear safe container from Frontiersman is a great way to keep your food, camp and surrounding bears safe. It keeps odours in and bears out, is easy to pack, is brightly coloured so you don’t lose it, and has almost 12 liters of storage.
If, despite your best efforts, you still come face-to-face with a bear, let it know you’re a human, not prey. Stand your ground or slowly back away, wave your arms slowly and calmly, and talk to it. Have a can of bear spray handy, whether on your belt or somewhere accessible, to deter aggressive bears. SABRE Wild and Frontiersman bear sprays use capsaicin compounds, which are responsible for the heat in hot peppers. The canisters are easy to use and will spray a dense fog up to nine metres away. Keep your bear spray within reach when you’re out in bear country, and once you’ve used it, replace it with a full one! Remember to check the expiration date as well.
Each time we head outdoors, we are asking wildlife to share their homes with us. So, it’s our duty to be prepared to prevent encounters, as much for their sake as ours, and know how to protect ourselves if an encounter does happen.
Whether you’re a parent looking to keep your kids protected, looking to stay safe in the great outdoors, a college student wanting to stay safe on campus, just moved to a new city and are looking for some security, or anything in between; we’re here to help Make It Safe™.
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