If I haven’t told you until now, my second favorite place (except Europe) is Alaska.

Not only the beautiful landscapes that I caught your attention with, but also the healthy air, the clean streets, the people, the wildlife and the unique activities like whale watching, hiking and backpacking experiences, walking on the glaciers or just enjoying the Alaskan craft beer.

But going back to the bears… They have been in Alaska for centuries. A lot of the bears live here but surprisingly very few people ever see bears; even fewer people are ever threatened by a bear. This is because most bears tend to avoid people.

Bears are curious, intelligent and potentially dangerous to other animals, but when people are unreasonably fearful, both bears and people are endangered.

If you choose to go hiking in the mountains of Alaska, you also choose to risk the possibility of encountering a bear. To reduce these chances, follow these simple advices:

* stay on the trail and in groups.

* do not leave your pack unattended at any point along the trail.

* when ready to leave camp, take a visual sweep to ensure that no garbage food or personal belongings are left behind for bears.

* hiking at dawn may increase your chances of meeting a bear. Use extra caution in bushy areas, berry patches or where trails round a bend.

* bears have extremely good hearing so be loud and make a variety of noises.

* usually, bears will not approach a group around a campfire, but if it’s sensing the smell of food or garbage they may come while campers are sleeping. Cook away from your tent and keep a clean camp packing all your garbage.

* if you do see a bear, talk to it calmly and remain still; help the bear recognize you. If he doesn’t and he comes closer to sniff your odor, he is usually curious, not threatening.

* never imitate bear sounds or do high-pitches sounds, never scream or make a sudden movement; these may trigger an attack.

* back away slowly if the bear is not moving. Never run or climb trees, they will win in both.

* if you are attacked by a grizzly or a brown bear, leave your pack and PLAY DEAD. Spread your legs to make it hard for the bear to turn you over. Remain still until the bear leaves the area. If he starts eating you, hit the bear in the face with whatever you have at hand.

* if you are attacked by a black bear, DO NOT PLAY DEAD. Try to escape to a secure place such as a car or a building. If this is not possible, fight back using anything available aiming at the bears face.

Most bear encounters end without injury, BUT each of those encounters are unique and there is no single strategy that will work in all situations.

Your safety depends on how good you are in calming the bear 🙂

 

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