When bears emerge from hibernation in the spring, eating is their number one priority. When bears hibernate, they lose up to 30% of the body weight so in the spring that they wake up very hungry. It’s important for field workers to know about bear feeding patterns so they can try and avoid getting from a bear and its food.
In the spring, bears are mostly searching for roots, shrubs, berries, whereas in the fall, bears are more likely to be found near water looking for salmon to provide them with the fat and calories that they need for hibernation.
Bears coming out of hibernation may be more visible and aggressive as they search for food. If they appear early from hibernation or when their typical foods are less available, they’ll come looking for things like human garbage. It’s important that everyone does their part to eliminate bear attractant and properly dispose of all food waste on work sites or in the bush.
To avoid a bear encounter you want to earn loads of noise while working and be alert to your surroundings. Walk loudly in the bush and talk or sing frequently. If you are working in a highly forested area or about creeks, often scan your environment.
If you encounter a bear:
– Back away slowly and gently if the bear doesn’t acknowledge you.
– When the bear sees you, speak calmly and back away slowly – don’t run.
– When the bear moves towards you, make yourself as big as possible, wave your arms or an item, and make a lot of noise.
– Don’t stare directly into the bear’s eyes
– If the bear attacks you, fight back if it’s a black bear, and play dead if it is a grizzly
The ideal preparation to protect yourself against a bear encounter is to check for wildlife action ahead of beginning work in the area by contacting local fish and wildlife officers.
– Take a bear/wildlife security program.
– Have equipment like bear spray and bangers which are intended to scare off bears and understand how to properly store and use them.
– Know Wildlife Control to call for help.
– Carry a mobile phone or communication radio that works in the region.