Bears live in the woods. Humans who encounter bears can surprise them, which is a bad thing. Bears will attack if startled, or if a maternal instinct to protect the young is triggered. You can avoid interactions with bears:
- Always use a noisemaker (bell, whistle, your voice) when hiking -- use it nearly constantly when moving quickly (running or cycling)
- Never leave food out at your camp site, hang food far from camp, and high up with a rope
- Carry pepper spray (the special bear sized cannister, not the people kind)
If you do encounter a bear, you should be extremely cautious. If you encounter a rare predatory black bear
(one of the more common kinds of bear in eastern North America).
- Make lots of noise. Back away slowly. Do not run or climb a tree. Bears are excellent runners and climbers.
- If the bear approaches you, throw a rock, try to look as tall as you can (e.g. hold a canoe paddle over your head), make noise, and try to scare the bear. Black bears are risk averse, and may decide you are too much trouble
- Leave your backpack on. In a bear attack situation it can save you from injury.
s are more aggressive and less predictable. You have no chance of scaring away an attacking grizzly bear, and no chance of outrunning it. Lie down and play dead