Having lived almost all of my life in nature or in Alaskan cities, which is almost no difference since the bear and moose still wander through and disrupt life on a daily basis, I can understand how some people come to think that wild animals pose little to no threat to them. They keep hearing over and over that if you respect them, they will respect you. They don’t hear however that the people who say this most of the time are those who live in that environment.
They live with those animals and know to stay away from them. They’ve come to realize that the best way to respect those animals is to generally try to avoid them and let them live their lives. That means if you see a calf on the side of the road; don’t go picking it up because you think it’s cold. Its mother could have been close by, and decided that it wanted to be protective. Human pate‘ anyone?
Fortunately, that didn’t happen, but the kind people got the calf killed because its mother wouldn’t accept it back and the rangers didn’t want to look for a zoo to take it. That is an honest, yet foolish mistake. Sometimes, the mistake can be avoided altogether and sometimes it can’t. My greatest pet peeve is people who want to approach bears because they think they want to be the new Grizzly Adams.
I have lived a lot of my life around bear and for the most part, they aren’t too dangerous as explained by this ranger. Give them space and realize they are WILD animals and don’t want to be your friends. Please don’t feed them, because then they become comfortable around people and associate people with food. If you didn’t know this already about bear, they are omnivores and will eat anything especially when they are about to hibernate. That means you can be on the menu.
Don’t believe me? I would like to point out the case of Timothy Treadwell who thought he was some sort of bear whisperer. He believed that he had earned the trust of the bears around him. His absolute idiocy ended up getting himself and his girlfriend killed and eaten. You can learn more about his stupidity by watching Grizzly Man, which unfortunately casts him in a better light than it should.
I know some people would like to point out that there haven’t been all that many people killed by bear in North America, so maybe I am being a little too harsh? In a way I probably am. I am not worried about the bear because I don’t blame them. There have been a rise in the attacks by bear though, and some of that can be because people don’t know what to do in bear country or when they encounter one in their own neighborhoods.
There are different ways to defend against each type of bear, but some helpful tips when walking through the woods are to carry a stick with bells to alert bear and other animals you are there. That way you won’t surprise them, and accidentally cause what happened to a recent bear attack survivor in Alaska. Also, don’t attempt to run from any of them. You can’t do it. They are all faster than you. Here is a video just so you can see it for yourself.
Even after all this talk of bear, I would never want to discourage anyone from venturing into the woods. There is nothing like walking through the primeval forests listening to the birds and critters or sitting upon a promontory overlooking a muskeg where the white tail deer or black bear cross. There are few places where one can find such peace.
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