Recreating in Bear
- Try to recreate in groups of
at least two people if possible.
- Always let someone know where
and when you’ll be hiking or biking and what time you plan to be
- Always carry an approved
brand of bear pepper spray when recreating in bear country.
- Stay on established trails;
make plenty of noise, especially when the trail you’re on goes
through areas of thick brush, or takes a bend and you can’t see
the path ahead.
- Avoid hiking at dusk or at
night; bears are very active during these times and it’s too easy
to startle a bear when the light is low.
- Watch for signs of recent
bear activity—scats (droppings), bear tracks, logs that have been
torn apart, large rocks that have been rolled over, trees with
claw or bite marks or areas of digging; if you see signs, leave the area.
- Avoid animal carcasses and
berry patches—these are potential food sources for bears.
- Keep children and pets close
at all times; either leave your dog at home or keep it leashed
while hiking. Kids and dogs can excite bears which could result in
a defensive or predatory response from the bear.
- Do not take odorous items
along on your hike. Bears have a great sense of smell and may be
attracted to items that have a strong smell, such as lotions,
deodorants, scented soaps, etc.
- Do not leave backpacks,
coolers or other gear unattended—hang packs using methods
presented in this guide.
you encounter a grizzly while hiking or biking, remain calm and
quiet. Keep watching the bear but avoid
making direct eye contact with the bear. Back
up slowly, and speak to the bear in a soft voice. Never turn your
back or run from a bear.
NOT APPROACH BEARS TO GET A CLOSER LOOK OR A BETTER PICTURE!
View bears at a distance using binoculars or
your camera lens. Bears can run as fast as 30 m.p.h., and can go
from being “far away” to “way too close” almost in an instant. In
addition, the bear you’re looking at may not be the only bear
around—it could be a mother with cubs.
If you plan to be
out overnight, follow the guidelines listed below in the section on
camping in bear country.
Camping in Bear
designated camping areas when they are available and follow all
Camp in open areas when at all possible.
not put your tent near any potential feeding areas such as: near
a carcass, near water or riparian areas, near berry patches, or
Store food or other odorous items (including toothpaste,
lotion, sun screen, bug repellent, etc.) in an airtight and
bear-resistant container; if the bear does get into your pack,
it won’t get a food reward.
If camping with pets, be sure to pick up any leftover or
spilled food immediately and dispose of it the same way you
dispose of your garbage.
Store pet food in a bear-resistant manner along with your
Hang backpacks and other gear
out of the reach of bears—at least 10-15 feet up from the ground and
at least 4 feet away from any vertical support (tree, post or pole).
Techniques for hanging gear and other bear attractants are
presented later in this guide.DO NOT STORE
FOOD OR ODOROUS ITEMS IN YOUR TENT OR SLEEPING
bury garbage since bears could smell it and dig it up; always pack
out discarded feminine hygiene products. Hang garbage at least 10
feet off of the ground and at least 4 feet away from vertical
supports while camping.
use or pack any scented hygiene items.
Do your cooking, eating and
dishwashing at least 100 yards from your sleeping
area.Keep your camp clean—do not leave garbage
or food unsecured.Never bury garbage. Pack all
food and garbage out when you
Disposing of Your Garbage
in Bear Country
Proper disposal of all garbage is critical when you’re
recreating in bear country. Please keep these important points in
DO NOT bury your garbage. Bears have
a great sense of smell and will dig it up.
Hang your garbage using one of the
methods described in this guide while you’re camping.
Pack all garbage out with you or
dispose of it in a bear-resistant trash container if one is
If you burn any of your garbage,
make sure it is completely burned before you leave. Dispose of any
unburned or partially burned garbage in a bear-resistant trash
container or pack it out with you.
Make sure your camp fire is
completely out before you leave your
If you see other recreationists being
careless with their food and/or garbage, please report the situation
to a ranger or other authority immediately...BEFORE the bears find
Hunting in Bear
Try to hunt with a partner or in
small groups if possible. Make sure at least one person not on the
trip knows where you will be hunting and when you will be
Be alert for signs of bear
activity—scats (droppings), bear tracks, logs that have been torn
apart, large rocks that have been rolled over, trees with claw or
bite marks or areas of digging.
Avoid hunting in berry patches or
near old animal carcasses.
Do not hunt in low light
Follow the guidelines listed above
under “camping in bear country” for food and garbage storage and
for storing and/or hanging your game meat while you’re in bear
country (this also applies to hanging your meat at home if you
live in or near bear country).
Comply with all regulations
regarding meat storage for the area you are hunting in; special
regulations may apply if you’re hunting in grizzly
If you’re using pack animals, make
sure that the livestock feed (grain, corn, oats, etc.) is stored
in a bear-resistant container.
Always have bear spray within reach
while hunting and butchering your game meat.
Gut, butcher and pack out your meat
as quickly as possible—always separate the gut pile from the rest
of the carcass while you’re butchering.
Pack out your meat—do not drag it
(dragging will leave a scent trail).
DO NOT BUTCHER YOUR GAME ANIMAL OR
DISPOSE OF THE CARCASS OR ENTRAILS ON OR NEAR ANY ROAD OR
TRAIL—THIS MAY ENDANGER OTHER HUNTERS OR
DO NOT SLEEP IN THE CLOTHES THAT YOU
WORE WHILE BUTCHERING YOUR GAME!
If you must leave your game carcass
in the field overnight, mark the carcass well and leave any
unattended meat at least 50 yards away from the gut pile. When
retrieving your meat, check your meat cache from a safe distance
using binoculars to make sure that a bear isn’t feeding on the
carcass. Make lots of noise as you approach the
If a grizzly bear is feeding on the
carcass when you return, leave the bear and the carcass and vacate
the area immediately. Report the location of the carcass and bear
to the nearest game warden or wildlife official.
Consider erecting a portable
electric fence around the carcass to discourage
There is some evidence that bears
may be attracted to gun shots or congregations of ravens after a
game animal has been taken—if a bear investigates, stay calm. In
most cases the bear will remain at a distance until you leave the
area. Pack out as much of the animal as you can in case the bear
does approach the carcass after you leave the site.
It is NOT recommended that you shoot
at a bear that approaches you or charges you. In many cases the
bear is wounded and before dying or leaving the area, it attacks
Report any incident with a bear to
the nearest authority as quickly as possible.
Please report any wildlife poaching
to the nearest authority.
leave fish entrails on shorelines of lakes and streams.
Sink entrails in deep water. If you don't properly dispose of
entrails you increase danger to yourself and to the next person to
use the area.
Securing Food, Garbage and
Other Gear In Bear Country
While you are recreating in bear country, it is vitally
important that you properly store your food, garbage and any other
items that have an odor. Bears have a very keen sense of smell and
could be attracted to anything that smells interesting to
them—whether or not it’s food-related. Items such as toothpaste,
soap, lotions or bug sprays, deodorant, and any food or garbage
items should be stored in a bear-resistant container.
If you will
be visiting a national or state park, a national forest, or a
wilderness area, please consult with the appropriate regulatory
agency to find out what requirements for food and garbage storage
may apply in that area. For instance, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and
Glacier National Parks all have regulations pertaining to the
storage of food and garbage in grizzly country. Many of the parks
have compiled a list of approved bear-resistant products that can be
used in that particular recreational area.
Some products are more bear-resistant
than others. Please visit the bear-resistant products testing page
for more information.
Women in Grizzly Bear Country
no evidence that grizzlies are more attracted to menstrual odor
than to any other odor.
careful hygiene—use pre-moistened unscented towelettes.
tampons instead of pads.
Information, visit the Living with Wildlife Foundation website at http://www.lwwf.org/index.htm