When travelling in the forest or taiga it is most probably that you can come across a wild animal. In particular, it is often a case to meet a bear. The largest wild animal of the Russian forests and foothills is a bear and it can be dangerous. The bear of up to 600 kg has huge paws with long nails, sharp teeth that can even make one defenseless with a shotgun. It may seem clumsy but the bear in a dash can reach the speed of 60 km per hour.
In spite of the fact that bear is an animal, all its actions as well as human does can be explained by logic. So, there are some reasons why the bear can be aggressive to humans. In most cases negative reaction of the bear ca be caused by three factors:
• violation of private space
• confined conditions
Reasons for bear’s aggressiveness
Often bear’s aggressiveness is connected to willingness to protect young ones against «imaginary» enemy. It can be just negative reaction to active actions that is attack.
However, the bear itself can initiate the meeting. Careless curiosity and wishing to eat some food with relish and it is brave to come close to camp to spy out. If an animal lives close to communities and gets accustomed to meet humans, it is often not aggressive and can hold at bay. But one should be careful and check if a bear is friendly or not.
Generally there is an idea that there is an «approaching threshold» - permissible boundary of approaching wild animal by human. When the human violates it the animal treats human as aggressor and react due to this. In spite of defending its youngers the animal can attack in case of being wounded, protecting its catch or being frightened by accidental encounter with human.
Risk of unfavorable consequences after encountering the predator can e different based on season, time of the day. So, most probably that bear will attack after a long sleep, rutting season or sleep disturbance during winter time. Often bear feel more relaxed during night time. If you have to move on at night time, don’t forget to take lighting devices.
How to escape from a bear
Trying to understand the reasons of bear’s aggressiveness let’s discuss the ways to escape it. First of all, you have to show the bear that you are located nearby. Make noise, sing, talk loudly - therefore you will exclude accidental encounter.
In order to increase the chances not to face a bear, try to travel in groups. You will make much noise, and the bear can understand that there is a fitting rebuff. Whatever the case, try to avoid dense bushes, travel across open terrain where the beast can be recognized in advance.
When you think about overnight accommodation try to arrange it away from paths or roads. Bear like a human does not like to move through thick forest, it prefers the well-trodden paths. Moreover, if you see animals not far away and they are scavenging or you will feel unpleasant smell, be aware there is bear’s bed or the place where it left the kill. But do not check if it is so or not.
As it has been stated above, try to keep the distance and avoid actions that can frighten the animal. Keep food away from the camp or hang it on the tree. Remember that if you travel with dogs, their meal can be of interest for bears as well. Try not to take strong-smell products, and in particular, avoid smells coming from your cloths. After eating thoroughly wash the dishes.
In general, follow the «signals» of the environment. Flat grass, strange noise, squawk of birds implies that there is a danger nearby.
Rules of conduct when encountering a bear
If one can’t escape the encounter and the animal id close to you, try to make the following:
• keep calm
• make clear you are a human (wave with hands, talk, behave like human) otherwise being unrecognized as human the bear will come to you to see and smell
• move back slowly by diagonal direction in case bear stop approaching
• by no means do not run (do not turn your back) and cry as animal will treat you as a prey
• in case of attack lay down the ground and pretend dead, do not move until the animal goes away
Be careful using weapon as a means of defending against bear. If you have no experience, abandon this idea. In case you decided to shot the bear, aim at brain or spine bone. So, you will exclude minor injuries and exposure to danger of your life and life of others.
Be unexpected! The bear are afraid of any noise, unexpectedness. So, sudden put-off the coat, falling of rucksack, clap or laud curse can make bear to refuse from actions to human.
Do not play with little bears! Life is more important than curiosity.
If you are able and capable, try to climb the tree. Heavy-weight bear won’t climb after you.
These are the basic methods of protection against bears. It is not a panacea but the advice above can help you to avoid facing the bear or at least «turn» the situation in your favor.
Funny story about hunters
Two hunters experienced one and a beginner, the beginner asks the experienced hunter:
- What shall I do if I meet a bear?
- First of all, do not start to panic and spread shit, from head to foot in order to put the bear off you by disgusting smell …
- Where I can take so much shit?
- Be sure as soon as you meet the bear you will have a lot of shit ...