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Useful little tips on what to take and how to avoid problems
with bears & cougars

I very seldom give plugs for businesses but for those of you in need I highly recommend you stop by Boothill Juntion in Port Moody. He is located on Kyle Street just off the Barnett Hwy.
having problems with my "high tech" Asolos I decided to go back to my old boots however they had seen some miles and one of the soles was coming apart.
> Enter Steve & partner... We can do a number on that. Extra sole + a vibram sole + Glue , nails and double stiching.No problem have it ready for you in 5 hours.
 " your kidding right  ? "
> No they will be ready for you.

I have to tell you guys he does fantastic work !

Useful Trail Tips & Other Stuff :

1.For a warm dry seat find an old blue foam(closed cell)sleeping mat.Trim it
into a 2'x2' square . Low weight & rolls up to tie on your pack.
2.Next time you order take-out or go to your local fast food place . Save those
little packets of mustard , ketchup , soy sauce , or vinegar . They are great
for adding to freeze dried food .
3.A good place to find a small inexpensive First Aid kit is your local drug store
. They generally have a number of different sized pouches and you can add
what extra things you need ... your personal medication .
4.Invest in a good set of trekking poles . Four legs are better than two and
your knees will love you .
5.Fire Starter : Stuff lint from your dryer into the compartments of a paper
egg carton . Melt candle wax and pour a thin layer over the lint and let it set
.To use break up the sections and light . Depending on the mixture this will
burn from 5 to 15 min.
6.Moss will grow on the North Side of your compass
7.Trail Food : Try Lipton's SoupWorks Minestrone or Knorr brand hearty
Soup Collection . Both are excellent and taste like real food . The broth is
great & they are filled with vegetables and pasta . Eating cheap was never
so good !
8.Bandanas: These are very versatile . They can keep the sweat out of your
eyes . Used as a sling or bandage , prevent sunburn , fend off bugs ,or used
as a pot holder .Take 2 with you you'll be glad you did .
9.Do not use belly button lint to start fires . See # 5
10.Take a bar of soap (un-scented) and rub on your zippers to keep them
working free and easy .

Essential Equipment :

Small first aid kit
Survival blanket
Map of where you are going
Poncho or a green plastic garbage bag
Small flashlight (mag-lite) and extra batteries
Waterproof matches or a disposable lighter ...or both
Insect repellent
Candle or magnesium fire starter
Water bottle ... Better yet are the bladder packs (with tubes) sold at most
bike shops or outdoor stores.
Knife ... I prefer the Sog Seal Pup.

Outdoor Safety " Come Back Alive "

1.Wear Proper Footwear : Invest in a good pair of hiking boots ... Your feet
have to get you in and out again .
2.Map & Compass : Carry a map of the area you plan to be in . Get yourself
a compass and learn how to us it . I suggest you get Bjorn Kjellstrom's book
- Be expert with Map & Compass-
3.Never Hike at Night : This is a great way to fall off a cliff !
4.If you Get Lost : Stay put , someone will find you. The old expression " hug
a tree " is true . It keeps you in one place . Panic can get you killed . Light a
fire if you have to , sit down & have something to eat . You will be easier to
find .
5.Use your Whistle : If you are lost the sound of a whistle will carry farther
than the human voice + it saves valuable energy .
6.Hypothermia - Panic- Exhaustion : These 3 are the real dangers not wild
animals . Be aware of the signs, in yourself and others .
7.First Aid : Saint John's offers an emergency 1st. aid course that is one day .
Take it or a wilderness 1st. aid course . It may save your life one day
8.Be Prepaired : It could happen to you ! In B.C. the weather can change
quickly . You can twist ankle or fall . Expect the unexpected .
9.Never Hike Alone : Tell someone where you are going and at what time you
will be back.
10.Be Prepared to Spend the Night : Take extra food , a warm jacket or
sweater , a small tarp or green garbage bag , and a flashlight


Pictured below is one of the fine members of the Mission Search and Rescue. Don't let the good looks fool you. She will not be amused if she has to pull your body from the woods. Carry your safety gear, use common sense,and be safe.It is a comfort knowing people like my friend here volunteer their time should the worst happen and you do get lost, many thanks " C " for your efforts.




The Bear facts

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 ,
you will find few  in the lower mainland .There are some on the local trails in spring time so use caution and pay attention to any posting that Parks Board may have posted.
 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
precautions .

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 . If you smell dead or rotting flesh leave the area quickly !
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
calm voice.
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 following was provided to me by Len Webster of Sea to Sky Expeditions.
Len has many years of wilderness experiance and his advise could very well save your life.

I have attended a number of seminars with some of western Canada's leading bear biologists. I understand why hikers carry bells. They fulfill a psychological need we have as humans to be doing those things necessary to our preservation. There is a comfort that comes with feeling that we are in command. Experts play down their value, but if it gives people some peace of mind [while realizing that more effective means of avoiding bear contacts are recognized], then why not. Tinkle on.

Hopefully the following will give you greater insight into bear encounters. I have culled all this from my guiding experience and seminars with bear biologists.

Most fatal/serious grizzly encounters are defensive attacks, while with black bears it is predatory. Your response should reflect the bear's behaviour and circumstance rather than the species. Most bears have had some previous experience with humans and this will dictate its behaviour.

A defensive situation is one in which you have entered a bear's personal space, surprising or crowding it, i.e. mother and cubs, protecting food. It most likely will appear agitated or stressed. The closer you are, the more likely that it will react in a defensive manner. Most defensive attacks stop short of contact, but sometimes result in attack. Other reasons why bears may approach you are that they are curious, used to humans, testing its dominance, or, on rare occasions, predatory.

Unaware Bears: you see a bear that has not noticed you. Remain calm but stop. Don't yell or bring attention to yourself. Move away while keeping an eye on the bear. If it moves in your direction, look for change in behaviour. Either way make a wide arc around the bear or leave the way you came. Don't ever shout at a bear you have surprised. It may be viewed as an aggressive intent and provoke an attack.

Aware Bear: bear has seen you. Calmly, in a non-threatening voice, identify yourself as human. Wave your arms slowly and try to position yourself upwind so bear can catch your scent. Safest thing is to leave area. If not possible then wait some time and proceed with caution. Bear vocalizations or cubs on the ground or in a tree are a definite sign to leave the area.

When a bear is aware of you and seems unconcerned means that you have not entered its zone of comfort. Take this as an invitation to leave.

Bear Approaches: best response initially is to stop and remain calm. Don't run unless safety is near and you are absolutely sure you can reach it. Climbing a tree is an option but no guarantee of safety. Prepare your deterrents [bear guard, field howitzer, bangers]. Now, comes the time that you must assess the bears intent as this will determine your response.

Defensive Bear: the bear is stressed [vocalization, head movements] as you have entered its comfort zone. If it approaches or charges [its ears will go back] you must stand your ground [yes I know this can be terrifying but contact is rare] as most charges stop short. Try to appear non threatening by speaking firmly to the bear. This may calm it. Don't shout or throw anything as this can provoke an attack.

If the bear stops moving towards you begin slowly backing away, all the time watching the bear. The idea is to increase your distance from the bear and thus recreating its comfort zone.

If the bear seems intent on contact then your first line of defense is your bear guard. I am totally amazed at how many hikers carry it but have no clue how to use it [removing the safety and spraying is only one part of it]. If you don't, ask someone who does to demonstrate its use. It may mean your life one day.

Fall to the ground at the last possible moment. Lay on your stomach with legs spread slightly apart. Lock your fingers behind your neck. This protects the neck and head. Defensive bears usually concentrate their attack on the face. If flipped continue rolling back into the defensive position so that vital organs are always protected against the ground. If you have a pack, keep it on. Do not struggle or cry out.

Typically a defensive bear will end the attack once it thinks you are no longer a threat. Don't move until you know the bear has left or it will otherwise return and attack. If the attack is prolonged or the bear appears to view you as a meal, the fight is on. You must do all you can to save your life.

Non-defensive approaches: these bears may be curious, habituated, asserting dominace or predatory. Best response for all these [as you yet know its motivation], is stop, remain calm, talk firmly, and try to move away. This may be all it wants you to do. Watch the bear. If it follows and is directed to you, then stop and hold your ground.

All but an aggressive or predatory bear would have abandoned its advance. There is real danger at this point. Time to be aggressive yourself. Shout at it. Look it in the eye. Challenge it. Try to make yourself appear bigger [maybe stand on a rock or log], stamp your feet, step towards bear. Use any deterrent [bear spray].

If it does attack, then you must fight. Kick, punch, hit it with whatever is available to you. Concentrate on face, eyes, nose [always fight any bear that attacks you in your tent].

This is however a very rare situation where a bear will attack in a predatory manner.



Bear Guard can be found at most sporting goods and outdoor suppliers in the lower mainland . Priced around $40 it is  a good investment.



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 .


Vancouver Hiking