Today I would like to focus on wild life encounters and steps you can take to avoid the encounter becoming a life threatening situation. Please note the information provided is from researching this subject and not from real life experiences. There is one exception more on that later.
Wildlife in general
When you enter the wilderness you are entering the home of some of natures most majestic and or potentially dangerous animals. Thinking along those lines will keep you safer.
Remember to keep your distance and view whatever you encounter from a safe way off. Never approach wildlife directly. Should the animal become startled it could turn into a fight or flight scenario and even a docile animal can launch a vicious attack.
A bear attack can be devestating and could result in severe injury and possibly death so use caution when in Bear country. I recommend the use of a bear keg or canister and in the case of black bears bear mace is not necessary.
Cubs are naturally curious and may approach you but Momma will not be far off and she can be easily agitated in matters concerning her cubs. Do not attempt to pet or pursue the cubs look around thouroghly especially behind yoirself and try to determine where momma is.
Male bears can be territorial and may stand or growl and bluff charge you, to avoid confrontation follow these steps. +Make yourself larger if in a group bunch together and stand tall while raising yours hands high to appear taller. +Begin to back away while loudly but calmly asserting your intent such as “OK OK I’M LEAVING” +Do not panic even if the bear charges it is natural for a bear to Bluff charge to attempt to scare you away +Continue to back away slowly never turn your back on a bear who is engaging you in any manner + DO NOT RUN!! Running will most likely trigger the chase mode and bears can quickly outrun you +Find a solid stick or good size rock nearby just in case
In the event it appears there is a full blown attack from a black bear you must fight with and for your life. Should a black bear attack you they are treating you like prey. Go for the eyes, ears, snout, and throat these are sensative areas you should target to ward off the attack. You can ward off the attack you may get injured but you’ll be alive.
A grizzly bear can be easily spotted by the hump on the back not found in Black bears and grizzlies are found more in the western part of the United States and Canada. Tips to avoid a grizzly attack are much the same as that of the black bear tactics listed above.
Bear Mace can be highly effective but the bear must be closer than 30 feet for it to work. Should you need your mace have it ready remain calm and aim carefully you only have one shot abd it has to count. Aim should be low and directed twoards the face which is why it is better to let them get into range for maximum intensity of the mace.
An actual attack due to misfire of mace or lack of any at all, your strategy is to survive the encounter. Play dead drop to the ground on your stomach covering your head with your arms and spreading your legs wide for stability. Do not allow the bear to flip you over the idea is to use your backpack as cover from the brunt of the attack. No matter how scared you are remain as silent as possible and if flipped over reposition and maintain a prone position on your stomach.
I surely hope you and I never need this information but if it can save a life it should be shared.
Snakes and other crawly critters
Lets talk about rattlesnakes which thankfully have an early warning system. I have personally hiked near (and Koko was inches away from) a yellow phase timber rattler in upstate New York, and they are very loud when agitated. The frequency was as loud as a whip crack and a sound I will never forget, very hard to describe in words but unique and distinct and it got our attention quickly.
Take a step back and if you must go forward then do so giving the snake a wide berth be sure to capture a decent photo for bragging rights but don’t do anything to further upset the snake eventually it will wander off.
Never kill snakes many species are protected and they are very beneficial to the enviorment. Timber rattlesnakes actually play a large role in the control of the tick population by eating small rodents that young ticks nrrd to feed on to grow.
Spiders will bite and can leave a nasty welt and should be avoided as much as possible. You should keep your eyes open any time you are in the back country avoid walking through webs as much as possible. Many species that bite you are harmless enough but a few like the brown recluse and the black widow have very powerful venom that can send you into anaphlactic shock.
As stated even the most docile of creatures can unleash a furious and devestating attack and animal encounters should not be taken lightly. These are just a few possible scenariosand I will try to cover more in the future.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and please feel free to comment below. Remember to follow along on my hiking adventures on your favorite social media outlet thanks for checking in with the Tipster