If you love to hike or camp, chances are you’ll come in contact with a bear at some point. The important thing to know is how to avoid bears and attacks while enjoying your time outdoors. Use these ten tips to help avoid bears and protect yourself on your next hiking or camping excursion.

  1. Wear Bear Bells: One of the reasons bears will attack humans is because they’re surprised. If you make your presence known, chances are the bear will not come anywhere near you and you’ll likely not even see it. Some people wear “bear bells” on their backpacks, ankles or hiking sticks because many experts feel if a bear can hear humans coming, they will retreat immediately.
  2. Talk Loudly: Along the same lines as wearing bear bells, some experts feel it’s best to talk loudly, sing or clap as you’re hiking or in areas where bears might live. This is extremely important if you’re in dense vegetation where natural landscaping like waterfalls or rushing rivers might make bells a waste of time and energy.
  3. Don’t Get Too Close: Many times people are victims of bear attacks because they get too close to the bear or want to take its picture. Spotting a bear can be a beautiful experience but being attacked is certainly not worth a photo memory.
  4. Don’t Feed The Bears: Many parks have rules about food storage, but be sure you abide by them strictly. Bears will be drawn to campsites where food is not properly stored and you could be a victim, as a result. Never store any food in your tent! Even a piece of gum can provoke a bear to enter your campsite.
  5. Stand Still: If you do come upon a bear, don’t try to outrun it. There is no way you’ll succeed. An adult bear can outweigh you by two hundred pounds but can still run 30mph or more.
  6. Carry Bear Spray: Bear pepper spray is specifically designed to help hikers, campers and other wildlife lovers prevent bear attacks. It is non-lethal and will only disable the bear for a short period of time (30 minutes to 2 hours) so you can get away. However, if you do encounter a bear, it can save your life!  Our recommended bear products are the Mace Brand Bear Pepper Spray Fogger and the Alaska Guard Bear Spray.
  7. Know The Area: Before going on a hike or planning a camping trip, be sure you know the area you’re staying within. Research what type of wildlife lives there and what their routines and common lifestyles can include. This way you can try to avoid disturbing them and prevent attacks by them.
  8. Don’t Hike After Dark: To avoid accidentally surprising bears and making them angry, be sure not to hike after dark. There are many other reasons not to hike after dark, due to safety, but avoiding bears is enough to make it a rule.
  9. Avoid Carcasses: If you find an animal carcass on your hike, be sure to avoid them. A bear could be watching and if you touch the carcass or get too close it to, the bear might try to defend its food source.
  10. Don’t Wear Scented Lotions & Beauty Products: Bears are often drawn to scented lotions and perfumes, especially if they smell sweet or like food. So, be sure not to wear them while in the woods.