Saturday, June 19, 2010
Tim bare's some facts on bear's.
One of the questions I keep getting from people is about bears and my safety.
Admittedly I had reached the point of "I don't care if I get eaten...tried my best not to and now its in the hands of mother nature and her appetite"
Just like Australian snakes they have a bad rap...have I ever been bitten by a snake...nup...ever been struck at...well yes but I was tormenting the snake with a stick at the time. My point is the same for bears...treat them with respect and they will/should leave you alone.
Strangely even Alaskans are funny about bears, personally I think it is more to do with an excuse to carry a gun around than anything else but they are always shocked that I haven't got a rifle or 44 magnum hand gun in my pack.
What have I got to defend myself against a bear...common sense (blowing my own trumpet a bit here), a bear bell, bear spray and hopefully luck!
Know your bears...what to do when you finally meet a bear and which type. There are x3 types but I wont see a Polar bear unless I make it way way north to the ice. Apparently it is OK to be racist when talking about bears so there are Black bears and Brown bears...both are big and have attacked/kill humans before.
Black are vegetarian while brown are just plain hungry!
So for a black bear I know I have pissed it off and it is probably something to do with cubs so back away slowly and get out of there...talk to you bear...let it know your human and then fight for your life if this doesn't stop the black bear's attack.
A brown bear is much bigger and nastier hence their nickname 'grizzly bear'...don't bother fighting back on these big fellows...back away again and if you get attacked play dead...protect the organs and hopefully once play time is over your are still alive. You are allowed to fight back if still alive after 10 min and being attacked...very complicated but it will never get to this stage if you have common sense!
They call a bear bell in Alaskan circles 'bear bait' and the old joke that you find them in bear poo...funny... but just like pink shirts Alaskans don't like wearing them...I don't like wearing it but it works! It jingles all bloody day...jingle jangle jingle jangle...if you don't hear me coming then Darwin's theory on natural selection doesn't give you good odds at surviving in the wild! They alternative is to sing...bear's don't like ABBA apparently...I don't like to sing while walking so bear bell it is.
Bear spray...the most use this will be is to season a steak at the end of my travels as it is capsicum spray...pepper spray...just in a 'bear size' spray pack...I personally think this is even safer than carrying a gun because if a bear attacks you have to be a mighty good shot to disable it and to not just piss it off further OR turn a mock charge into the real thing! The least bear spray can do is make me taste so bad that there is a body to for mum to come and get!
Common sense is watching for signs of bear, looking for clues of them being around recently and/or places where they might be feeding (rivers/berry patches). No rapid movements because apparently they like 'fast-food' also. Talk to them and back away, wait for them to move on and/or change your plans.
Lastly is at night when you have made camp...I hate having to pull my backpack up a tree...hard yakka but this way they wont be able to get my food or be tempted to get my food from my tent whilst I am around it. I even try to cook at a different place and wear different clothes than what will be in my tent at night.
Respect the bear, make noise and you will only see the back of it...if not then I have been proven wrong and unlike work (pharmacist) where if I am wrong I could kill someone else...if I am wrong then it is me who could be killed...much easier to LIVE with...lol.