Basic safety and precautionary tips for dealing with bears and other wild animals


The mystique of camping is overwhelming. Wide-open woods away from modern life's sights and sounds, just you, a camp and nature that exist as one. It might sound great in theory and on TV advertisements, but proper research needs to be done to ensure you approach it from the right angles. To enjoy and appreciate a camping trip, you should do your homework and prepare yourself for the hazards of camping – especially regarding wild animals.

Although camping is a pleasant experience, there are many ways to ensure your safety on a fun-filled holiday or even a week-long ambitious vacation. Choose your campsite wisely, and always pitch a tent during the daytime. You don't want to wake up shocked that you have pitched your tent next to a terrifying cavern or a precarious cliff. Understanding where the pathways are, where water is found, and where there are any dangers will help you stay protected. Make sure you don't put your tent upon an ant colony or snake den.

Pack your torches and bear spray in your bags to keep them in the tent at nighttime. Flashlights will also be handy while traveling at night, to help you find stuff and guide you in the appropriate direction. On the other hand, the bear spray is a product that you will most definitely and hopefully never use but is worth buying for that extra peace of mind when you hear fluttering in the forest.

It may sound a bit odd but just being loud will keep out of range a lot of animals. That said, don't cause a flat out commotion for your neighbors. Campfire crackling noises, voices and other man-made sounds such as vehicle engines generally do the job of scaring off creatures.

To prevent animals from being drawn to your camp, put all your food in a locking container and tie it up with rope or string for added protection. Place the cooler outdoors at a reasonable height of 7 feet. Another choice is to put the cooler in your car's trunk if it's not too far away. And never store food inside your shelter.


Many animals despise the aromatic smell of certain sheets of fabric softeners that you throw into the dryer, which can even conceal the smell of food. Carry a few boxes along and place the sheets in your tent, cooler, backpacks and sleeping bags and anywhere else you want.

All bears are hazardous, but if you scare the bear or get between a mother and her cubs, no matter what species you are at serious risk. Even the less harmful bears, while starving, can strike unscrupulously. So if it seems like you are vying for their food supply, or if you corner them and they feel threatened, they will attack. A black bear is not known to be a great danger to humans, but they can scare you when they stroll into the camp for a free meal. Contrary to their largely innocuous profile, however, in the last hundred years, the black bear has been responsible for over fifty human deaths in North America.

Most creatures will quickly be scared off from a fair distance. In the possibility of being too close to a bear or other species, however, you can study up on what to do in case you are in a face-to-face encounter. Although certain situations are extremely unlikely, being ready is safer than making a wrong decision. Continuously making an effort to clean utensils and sweep up garbage during the day's activities would work well in making your site pest-free.

If your campground does not have a way to dispose of your garbage, you may need to resort and put it in trash bags. For additional protection, use the strongest bags you can find, and double bags. Hang the bags high above the ground or place them in the trunk of your car, just like with your food cooler.

You have to bring the right things if you want to keep wildlife away from your campsite reliably. Firstly, make sure that you have sealable, airtight containers for all the stuff you carry with you. Tupperware, coolers, and resealable containers also restrict wildlife from detecting and stealing food. Also, bring airtight plastic bags with all your clothes. After you cook, you will have to change clothing and put your "cooking wear" in the bags. Most notably, you would need to carry resealable plastic trash bags with you. Preferably, you are always going to carry an airtight container to place these trash bags in.

If a bear enters your camp, do not run as this will prompt an attack response. Keep steady and deliberate on all your movements. Don't approach the animal, and pick up little kids so that they're not treated as prey. To scare the animal off, strike pots and pans, or make other noisy sounds together. To make yourself look bigger, raise your arms above your head. Keep an escape path available to prevent the bear from getting trapped and being forced to battle its way out of the problem.

If you have no way to scare the animal, stay still, slowly walk away while speaking in a soft voice. You want to reassure the bear that you are submissive and give in to his territorial dominance. Don't turn your back on the bear or run as that's going to provoke an attack. Avoid clear eye contact, since this is known as an act of aggression. If it approaches you, submit and lie face down on the ground, protect your head with arms and play as lifeless as practicable. You might get scratched or clawed and then maybe the bear will leave.