Thursday, November 11, 2010

Playing for Keeps in Black Bear Country by Heather Burke

Rating: ***

I enjoyed this article as it clearly and in an interesting manner, teaches you how to prevent black bear confrontations, and how to properly react to a black bear, whether in a defensive situation, or predatory. The author clarifies the proper reaction, and ensures us that the best tool that can be used towards warding off the unwelcome guests is our brains. And she importantly points out that we should show respect towards those whom we share the woods.

This article is about avoiding confrontations with black bears, and how to protect yourself if anything were to happen. Avoiding areas that show signs of bear will serve you well. And you can relax knowing that the chances of an aggressive black bear attack in Ontario are less likely then you getting killed by a dog. It also shares several facts about storing and maintaining food around your campsite. Keep all food stored at least 100m away from your tent. If you come in contact with a bear, you must remain calm, and never run. If it is making vocalizations, and scuffing at the ground, you know it is acting defensively. If it isn’t vocalizing, and circling you, you know it is looking for its next meal. The best thing to do in either of these occasions is make yourself look big, and make loud noises, as you back away slowly. And remember if a bear attacks, you should fight back with anything that could make a weapon. Lastly, remember to enjoy your experience in the outdoors, if you are cautious and respectful, it should make for a safe and enjoyable trip for all.

This article has made me think about the choices I make, even when I feel pressure in an unnerving situation. It taught me to be cautious when in nature and use common sense because one dumb move could cost you your life. But most importantly, it taught me to enjoy the outdoors, and be courteous and respectful to those who share it with you, be they furry, or feathery, big, or small, we should respect them all the same.

Burke, Heather. ‘Playing for keeps in black bear country’. Ottawa Outdoors. Spring 2004

Posted by Ariana

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