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             26 October, 2020
 

    
Category:  Articles » Recreation & Sports » Running

 

How to Prevent Running into a Bear

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2007-12-11 04:14:53     
Article by Nina Schnipper

Some runners risk a greater chance of having a run-in with a bear than other runners. Knowing bears' habits, and your own running habits, can prevent a grizzly experience.

First, determine the likelihood of bear contact in your running environment. Do you prefer to trail-run in the woods? If you run on streets, is your neighborhood near wildlife or forest areas? If you run in known bear habitat, your chances of a bear encounter are highest.

Understand bear habits. You should have no fear of being eaten by a bear. Bears spend most of their waking hours gorging themselves on plant-foods such as fruits. They have no interest in snacking on you.

Bears avoid human contact. Incidences of bear attacks, especially in urban areas, are often related to a mother bear being startled with her cubs nearby. Mother bears, or sows, will fiercely defend their cubs if they feel threatened. In other cases, bears became habituated to eating human food, such as that found in unsecured dumpsters. They have been known to strike restaurant staff that surprised them.

Several characteristics about the typical run may make a runner vulnerable to a surprise encounter with a bear. This is when a bear is likely to defend themselves: when they are startled.

Enjoying your runner's high while in bear country may make you less attuned to your surroundings. Despite their size, bears move slowly and quietly. You may not see or hear a bear that is dawdling just around the corner. Tuning into music with earphones also disconnects you from your environment.

Just because you are a runner does not mean you can every outrun a bear. Never attempt to outrun a bear! Climbing a tree is also futile! I recently watched a big bear galloping along. Then, suddenly, it fled up a phone poll lightning-fast and gracefully, like a lumberjack with trapeze skills!

Here are a few more actions to avoid. Never approach a bear. As cute and cuddly as they may appear, they are wild animals and they can act unpredictably. Do not take pictures of them, and never, under any circumstances, feed a bear!

Avoid running at dusk or at night when bear activity has been reported in your running area. Look for their presence in your area. If you see piles of bear scat (filled with berries, crushed apples, and other plant-material) in your neighborhood, be vigilant of nocturnal activity.

Avoid dark alleys and mysterious places. When in secluded areas, on forested trails, or running around a curvy bend, make noise. Sing, shout, and clap.

Make extra noise if you are by a river where bears might drink. The water can drown you out, so be extra loud.

What should you do if you see a bear when you are out on a run? Several organizations offer varying guidelines, so you are safest to ask your local forest service officers.

Here are some general tips that seem to be universally accepted by wildlife officials. First, keep your distance. If you are running, stop immediately and do not run in another direction! If the bear does not see you, and if you are a few blocks away, slowly turn and walk away.

If you are close to the bear, determine if it has cubs. Slowly back away, but attempt to look large and powerful by waving your arms in the air. If you have whistles or bells, use them.

A bear may bluff-charge you. Again, never run or climb a tree. Continue to back away. If you fear the bear is close enough to harm you, there are two steps of action that are encouraged. One tactic is to flatten yourself onto the ground, with your hands clasped over your head to protect it. The other tactic is to curl into a ball on the ground with hands protecting your head. Both ways involve protecting vital organs from harm.

Remember: bears should stay scared of humans. When bears become fearless, they become a greater hazard. Like mutant rats, they invade trash bins and enter homes. When bears interact with humans, they are removed and tagged by local wildlife authorities, then taken far away. But bears will instinctively "return to the scene of the crime", at which time the local authorities recognize their habits. Troublesome bears are killed, so as to avoid human harm.

If you plan to run in bear country, protect your safety and your local bears' safety. Beware, and be bear-aware.

Nina Schnipper is an avid runner, who lives in the town of Basalt, Colorado, amidst a healthy bear population and abundant apple trees. When she is not in her favorite sneakers, she offers pain relief with massage therapy and fitness training at Higher Spa & Studio.

View her articles about fitness and injury recovery, plus VIDEO, at http://www.PainFreeU.com

Specialized in: Prevent Running - Bear
URL: http://www.higherspa.com
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