How to Prevent Grizzly Bear Attacks While Hiking in or Near Idaho

During the summer, many enjoy taking nature trips, hiking, and exploring. Hiking is one of the most enjoyable and natural sensations in the world. It puts you in touch with nature and often allows you to see places that many may never get the chance to see. Getting away from the city, work, technology and being in touch with all that nature has to offer may be what many need to release stress and get away from it all. When hiking this summer, be careful because sometimes undesirable events can happen and your fun and relaxing hike can suddenly turn into a scary and potentially deadly time.

A grizzly bear attacks a man east of Idaho

Credit: Anna Tremewan on Unsplash

Credit: Anna Tremewan on Unsplash

Last week, a man was hiking alone in the mountains of Wyoming when he came across a grizzly bear. Before he could reach out and spray his pepper spray, the bear had attacked. The man was airlifted to a hospital in Billings, Montana, where he is being treated for his injuries. Grizzly bear attacks are not common, but they do happen, especially in this part of the country. There have been no updates on the man since the attack, and Fish and Game called the attack a surprise interaction. When hiking, if you come across a bear, there are a few things to be aware of.

What to do if you see a bear

Grizzly bear portrait

Jeannette Katzir, ThinkStock Images

Although grizzly bear attacks are not common, it is always best to be prepared and know what to do if you ever encounter one. The worst thing you can do is run. The bear will likely view you as prey or a threat and a chase will likely follow. While running seems like an instinct, another instinct to avoid is trying to climb a tree. In theory, climbing a tree protects you and gets you off the ground, but bears can climb and the tree will trap you more than it protects you. The best thing you can do, which is easy to say behind a computer, is stay calm. Speak softly and calmly, instead of shouting and panicking. Try to make yourself look tall by reaching out, standing on higher ground, or naturally being a tall human if you are one. Walk away slowly, pick children up to calm them down, and don’t shout or make loud noises. The best thing to do is not to walk alone, as a larger group gives you more protection and is more likely to scare a bear away than an individual.

When preparing for your next hike, be sure to pack bear spray and have a plan in mind if you encounter a bear. In the best case, you never come across one. It’s easy to come up with a plan when the bear isn’t in front of you, but mentally knowing what to do can go a long way. Be careful and remember that even though he looks cute and cuddly, he doesn’t want to be cuddled like a teddy bear. He wants to hug you and eat you. Be smart and have fun hiking this summer.

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