If you see a bear this can be one of the most memorable experiences of your
hiking trip. Remember this is the bears home not yours.They are to be respected.
B.C. has a black bear population estimated at 120,000-160,000 , or about 1 bear
for every seven square km.The population for grizzlys is at 10,000-13,000 , but
you will find few if any in the lower mainland . Human -bear conflicts are
relatively rare , with 4 deaths and 25 serious maulings in the last 3 years . This is
not much when you consider the number of people heading into the outdoors
every year. Most problems can be prevented by following some simple
1.Some people wear bells. What ever you do be heard ! It doesn't pay to
surprise a bear.
2.Stay away from dead animals. Bears may attack to defend such food .
3.Be careful near feeding areas such as berry patches or salmon spawning
4.There is no safe distance from a bear , the further the better.
5.Keep children close at hand and in your sight.
6.If you see a bear don't run : back out of the area immediately talking in a
7.Avoid direct eye contact with a bear. This may be taken as a threat if you
8.It's best not to hike with dogs . They can antagonize bears and cause an
9.Do not get between a sow and her cubs.
10.Be aware of what bear scat looks like and look for signs of it on your trail.
* If you are Attacked by a black bear : Curl up into a ball and protect your neck .
If the attack persists, fight back with sticks , rocks and yelling . Black bears have
been known to make " False Charges " to scare off threats . You don't ever want to have them close enough that you have to use your pepper spray . This should be your last line of defence.
The Cat Facts
If you are out hiking and see a cougar consider yourself very lucky . It is with
good reason the first nations people called them the "Ghost of the Forest " . Most
British Columbians will never see a cougar in their life time.Confict between
cougars and humans is extremely rare . In the past 100 years a total of 5 people
have been killed by cougar attacks in B.C. All but one of theses attacks occurred
on Vancouver Island. During the same period there were 29 non-fatal attacks (20)
on Vancouver Island . The majority of these attacks were on children under the
age of 16 .Your best defence is awareness, cougar attack is highly unlikely . The
cougar or mountain lion is at the top of the food chain .An adult male weighs
between 140-200lbs , the female between 90-120lbs . The biggest cougars are
found in the kootenays and in the interior of B.C. Their primary prey is deer . It
will also feed on wild sheep , elk , rabbits , beaver , raccoons , grouse , livestock ,
and the occasional roaming pet . Cougars are most active at dusk or dawn , but
they can roam and hunt at any time of the day or night and in all seasons . During
late spring and summer , 1-2 year old cougars become independent of their
mothers . While attempting to find a home range , these young cats may roam
widely in search of unoccupied territory . This is when cougars are most likely to
conflict with humans . Below are a few tips from the B.C. Ministry of
Environment , Lands and Parks .
1.Keep children close at hand and under control.
2.Never approach a cougar
3.Always give a cougar an avenue of escape
4.Do not run as this will trigger the chase response.
5.Pick up children off the ground immediately.
6.Stay calm . Talk to the cougar in a confident voice.
7.Do not turn your back on a cougar,face the cougar & remain upright.
8.Do all you can to enlarge your image,pick up sticks or wave your pack.
9.Hike in groups of 2 or more . Make enough noise to prevent surprising a
10.Carry a sturdy walking stick to be used as a weapon if necessary
If a cougar behaves aggressively : Arm yourself with a large stick,throw
rocks,speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat , not
prey. If a cougar attacks : Fight back , many people have survived a cougar attack
by fighting back with anything , including rocks ,sticks ,bare fists , and fishing
poles . *** My goal is prevent any harm to you or the cougar *** These beautiful
animals can be a rewarding and exciting experience if you are lucky enough to see
one . Again common sense is the rule here .