When bears hibernate, they lose up to 30 percent of their body weight so in the spring they wake up very hungry. It’s important for field workers to be aware of bear feeding patterns so they can attempt to avoid getting from a bear and its food.
In the spring, bears are mainly searching for roots, shrubs, berries, whereas in the fall, bears are more likely to be found near water looking for salmon to provide them with the fat and calories that they need for hibernation.
Bears coming out of hibernation may be more visible and competitive as they search for food. If they emerge early from hibernation or if their normal foods are less available, they will come searching for things like human garbage. It’s important that everyone does their part to remove bear attractant and properly dispose of all food waste on work sites or in the bush.
To prevent a bear encounter you want to make plenty of noise when working and be alert to your surroundings. Walk loudly at the bush and talk or sing often. If you’re working in a highly forested area or around creeks, often scan your environment.
Should you encounter a bear:
– Back away slowly and gently if the bear doesn’t acknowledge you.
– When the bear sees you, speak calmly and back away slowly – do not run.
– When the bear moves towards you, make yourself as big as possible, wave your arms or an item, and make a whole lot of noise.
– Do not stare directly into the bear’s eyes
– If the bear attacks you, fight back if it’s a black bear, and play dead if it is a grizzly
The best preparation to protect yourself from a bear encounter is to check for wildlife activity ahead of beginning work in the area by contacting local fish and wildlife officials.
– Take a bear/wildlife safety course.
– Have equipment like bear spray and bangers that are designed to scare off bears and know how to properly store and use them.
– Carry a firearm in high risk areas if licensed to do so.
– call Wildlife Removal for support.
– Carry a cell phone or communication radio is effective in the area.
– Store food and garbage in airtight containers.