Hiking in bear country

Last year I was lucky enough to spend some time on Canada’s amazing Great Trail. I’ve always wanted to do some walking and hiking in Canada, but there’s that thing about hiking with bears. Us Aussies may have our infamous Drop Bear, along with plenty of other things that can kill you, but none of them are as big, hairy and ferocious as bears.

I had the opportunity to ask an expert ranger in this video, whilst walking a section of the trail in Manitoba.

YouTube video

One thing is for sure. If I am going to be able to relax, breathe in and experience the amazing scenery and hiking that Canada has to offer, I want to do it knowing that I’m not on something’s lunch menu.

How to avoid bears when hiking

Prevention is always better than treatment… or let’s face it, death. So here’s some tips to bear (ahem) in mind:

  • Making noise as you are hiking, like chatting with your mates is a good idea and many people also choose to wear ‘bear bells’ on their pack to alert bears to your presence.
  • Don’t encourage bears by poor camp craft. Make sure you use bear bins and other methods (eg. hanging food in trees) when camping in bear territory

What to do if confronted with a black bear

  • Don’t run
  • Speak calmly to the bear
  • Keep your eyes on it
  • Slowly walk away from the bear
  • Try to climb a tree if possible if threatened
  • Use bear mace (pepper spray) – but this is only effective at close range, eg. 5m or less.

There’s loads more tips and advice about camping and hiking in bear country available on the Parks Canada website. It’s best to read up and be prepared!

Writer, producer and content creator by trade, search and rescue volunteer by passion, Caro Ryan started LotsaFreshAir.com to inspire, teach and encourage people to get into hiking and the outdoors safely.

It’s all about connecting people to wild places in meaningful ways, so they can look after themselves, their mates and these precious places we visit.

She teaches wilderness navigation, authored the book, ‘How to Navigate’ and hosts, ‘Rescued - an Outdoor Podcast for Hikers and Adventurers.

In the bottom of her pack you'll find coffee grounds, instant noodles past their used by date and an insatiable curiosity.

Bushwalking & Hiking Tips from an Unexpected Outdoors Chick

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