Wild Animals – In the Country of the Bear

Bears are usually aware of humans and therefore, generally avoid them.

Nevertheless, it may happen that a bear may threaten or even attack a human. To reduce your risk, you should keep this in mind: Hike only during the daytime and in groups on well marked trails and paths. Keep children close by. Bears will usually avoid humans when they hear them approaching - so make noise. It is better to shout or to clap your hands as the use of bells is not suitable. Always watch for bears and their tracks (droppings, freshly dug holes, stones flipped over, etc.). If you find fresh tracks, leave the area immediately. If you find a large dead animal, leave the area without delay and inform us. Some trails and paths make it difficult for the bear to hear a human approach so be particularly attentive at rivers, blind spots, dense vegetation, or if you walk against the wind.

If you, nevertheless, encounter a bear, try to adhere to the following: bears are intelligent and complex animals. Each encounter with a bear takes a unique course and there is no overall strategy which will work in all situations. Although a bear may be standing on his hind legs and it appears that he may attack, he may turn around at the last moment.

Bears show their agitation by swaying their heads, huffing, and clacking their teeth. They show aggression by lowering their head and laid-back ears. Pick up small children immediately and stay in the group. Keep your backpack on your back to protect yourself. Back away slowly and speak calmly and firmly. Most animals feel threatened when you have direct eye contact so try not to look him in the eyes.

If you surprise a bear and it defends itself, try the following: If the bear attacks you and you have pepper spray, use it! Wait until the bear is close enough until you start to spray. Consider wind and distance. If contact with the bear is imminent, play dead. Lie down with your legs apart. Use arms to protect your face, your neck and your head. If the bear continues fighting, fight back!

If the bear stalks and then attacks you or if he attacks at night, try to escape to a building or a car. If you cannot escape or if the bear follows you, use pepper spray or shout. Try to frighten the bear with a branch or a rock. Show him that you are not an easy prey. If the bear attacks, fight back as aggressively as possible!!!

Cougars

Cougars are seen very rarely as they are mainly active in the night. They may be more active near towns or campgrounds where deer are habituated. Avoid an encounter with a cougar by hiking in groups and making noise. Keep children close by. Pets left alone outside or roaming off-leach, may be attacked by a cougar.

If you encounter a cougar, pick up small children immediately. Face the animal and back away slowly. Try to appear taller than you are by holding your hands or objects above your head. Be aggressive by shouting or waving a stick or throwing rocks. This could avoid an attack. If the cougar attacks fight back!

Moose and Mule Deers

These animals are shy and will usually take flight from humans, but they can be more dangerous than a bear when they have cubs. Be careful, especially in the spring, when encountering a moose or a mule deer.