Framed by snow-capped peaks, dotted with placid glacial lakes and carpeted with thick forests, Canada’s most popular outdoor summer activities are hiking and camping. But the natural landscapes are also home to wildlife, and whether you’re camping in full-service front-country campgrounds or exploring the backcountry, you might encounter bears. Equipping yourself with knowledge and products to prevent wildlife encounters protects both you and the animal. It also allows you to explore Canada’s wild spaces with confidence. Here are tips for avoiding wildlife while hiking and camping in "bear country."
Tips for avoiding bears & wildlife while hiking
Make some noise
Clapping or talking loudly on the trail can alert bears to your presence. Or, secure this Frontiersman bear bell to your backpack with its Velcro strap, which jingles as you move. In situations where you no longer require noise, the handy magnetic silencer makes it easy to quiet the bell.
Carry bear spray
Effective from a distance of 5.5 to 10.5 metres, Frontiersman bear spray releases 32 grams (~1.13 oz) of spray per one-second burst and uses capsaicin as an effective deterrent for bear encounters. The entire cannister can be rapidly deployed in approximately eight seconds.
Remember: Don't keep bear spray in a bag or pack. Rather, store it on your hip, on a belt, strapped to your chest or in an accessible pocket – like a water bottle holder on the side of a pack.
How to use bear spray: Aim downward, pointing at a 45-degree angle and deploy a one-second burst. Spray again if the bear does not retreat. If the bear has retreated, slowly back away – don’t run. Regain your composure and then carry on in the opposite way.
Know when to hike
Bears are generally most active during dawn and dusk and can be nocturnal. Consider hiking during the daylight hours to avoid encounters in bear country.
Hike in groups
Decrease your chances of encountering a bear by hiking in groups of four or more, being mindful to keep children close and any dogs on leash to prevent them from wandering ahead and surprising a bear. Hiking in a larger group means bears are more likely to hear and see you coming.
Tips for avoiding bears & wildlife while camping
Keep food safe and secure
Whether you are car camping or roughing it in the backcountry, it is important to keep food safe and secure from bears. This 11.86-litre Frontiersman food storage container is ideal for families and multi-day camping trips, and its ability to seal in odors means bears aren’t likely to sniff out your food. Plus, the canister is crafted from sturdy polypropylene and secured shut with three screws to ensure your food supply is safe, should a bear get a hold of it.
Camp in an open space
Though it may be tempting to camp next to a scenic river or in a secluded spot in the shrubs for some shade, these blind spots make it harder to spot a bear approaching. Set up camp in open spaces where you are able to visually detect wildlife activity.
Don’t leave your belongings unattended
Whether you're running into the river for a quick dip or to the bathroom to brush your teeth, don't leave personal items unattended, especially scented toiletries like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo. Bears are naturally curious about their surroundings and can be tempted to investigate a campsite while users are gone – no matter how brief.
Cook and clean at a distance from your campsite
Plan to barbecue burgers, roast s'mores and clean dishes at least 100 metres downwind from your campsite to prevent smells from lingering close to your tent. Before settling in for the night, change out of the clothes you cooked in to prevent the odors from attracting bears.
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