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Posted: May 15, 2020

Wildlife encounter and bear spray safety tips

As B.C. is one great big playground, we enjoy some of the world’s best mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, backcountry skiing, and the list goes on. It is very important to be mindful of the fact that we share the outdoors with all types of wildlife.

It is our responsibility to ensure that our recreational pursuits do not contribute to human-wildlife conflict. Click here for more info on Wildlife & Playing in BC

For the most part, real wildlife wants nothing to do with humans, but there are times when wildlife may react defensively to your presence. Additionally, if wildlife has become habituated to humans or food conditioned, the risk of human-wildlife conflict will increase.

  1. Plan ahead – the more you know the better you will be able to react.
  2. Know the wildlife’s timetable – Often, mid-day is a good time to avoid many types of larger predators and conversely, dawn and dusk, are inopportune times to be in specific areas.
  3. Wildlife avoidance is better than heading to deal with it directly.
  4. Take wildlife training seriously – specific knowledge about bear, cougars, ungulates will allow you to carry out your job/recreational activity safely.
  5. Carry Bear Spray with you at all times – it is very effective against all large mammals and should be your first choice as a deterrent. Make sure it is easily accessible!
    1. Click here to WildSafeBC Website – Bear Spray
  6. Certain sports, like mountain biking or running may increase your rise of encountering wildlife (due to your speed and lack of sound).

There are many things to be informed about when it comes to wildlife, Bear Spray is a big one!

Bear spray demo. WildSafeBC photo

Here are five things you need to know when it comes to Bear Spray:

  1. Bear Spray is effective at reducing the risk of injury or death in the case of a bear/predator attack.
  2. Carry Bear Spray where it is easily accessible and be ready to deploy it in less than 2 seconds.
  3. Use an approved Bear Spray (225ml – 500ml) and check the expiry date. The propellant in bear spray cans lose it potency over time.
  4. Learn how to use Bear Spray – take an in-person Bear Spray Demo & for more information, or to pass along to anyone who missed the Demo, watch our short S.P.R.A.Y. video.
  5. Know before you go. Learn about what wildlife you encounter and how to react if you do.

Remember, if you need to report a human-wildlife conflict, call the BC Conservation Officer Service hotline at 1-877-952-7277. You can also follow WildSafeBC Kimberley Cranbrook on Facebook.

Lead image: Grizzly cub in a tree. Momma was about 20 metres away. e-KNOW file photo

WildSafeBC Kimberley Cranbrook

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