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Polarman

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PostSubject: Bear Watch   Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:36 pm

I was thinking that we have posts on how to handle the heat the bugs and water but nothing about BEARS In Canada They are the most wide spread and Dangerous animal to meet with They are attracted by the smell of garbage and food and will raid anything that they can if they are hungryIf you spot a cub Back away slowly so as not to startle it or the mother who is somewhere near by and retrace your steps to lessen the chance of meeting the mother If a bear comes into your camp Dont Panic Group together and make as much loud noises as you can to scare it away but do not let the bear try to challenge you You cannot win if you try to fight the bear If you dont have noise makers bang pots and pans together and scream as loud as you can Some places allow you to fire blank shots from your gun into the air or over the bears head if you have to to get him to leave Keep your food well contained and do not leave any garbage lying around In the arctic where there are no trees you can bury your food under a large pile of rocksto hide the smell of it and to disgourage the bears from lookng for it The best way to enjoy seeing the bears is from a good distance with a long range camera and plenty of room to move it if he decides to head in your direction



Remember you are in their home They will see you as an intruder first and formost
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Jack Shadow

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PostSubject: Re: Bear Watch   Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:47 am

Good stuff. One of the most important things to learn is to look for bear sign; scat, foot prints, fur on plants, etc. Also, bears have a pretty distinctive, musky scent that tends to hang in the air after they have passed. If you can smell it, you're probably in the wrong area. A lot of the attacks we've had up here in Alaska have happened because people surprised the bear; one of the keys to avoid this is to make a lot of noise or wear bear bells when you're out in the bush.
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Bearman

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PostSubject: Re: Bear Watch   Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:36 pm

I'm just curious... which bears are we talking about here? Polar? Black? Grizzly?
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Jack Shadow

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PostSubject: Re: Bear Watch   Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:42 pm

I think the one up here was a brown bear aka "grizzly."
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Bearman

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PostSubject: Re: Bear Watch   Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:14 pm

It's important to note that bears have very keen senses. Grizzlies can smell food up to 18 miles away. That means even though you don't see a bear, it might know exactly where you are and be on its way there at any moment. If you're going camping, keep your food in bear canisters if you can. I'd also suggest purchasing some bear mace. If a grizzly is starving, no amount of noise will dissuade it from mauling you. But attacking its senses directly with this stuff might have a chance of curbing it's appetite temporarily.
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Jack Shadow

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PostSubject: Re: Bear Watch   Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:33 pm

Best way to tell what kind of bear is chasing you? Climb a tree. If it climbs the tree and kills you, it's a black bear. If it knocks the tree down and kills you, its a brown bear.

Old Alaskan joke.

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Polarman

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PostSubject: Re: Bear Watch   Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:48 pm

About Polarbears

Nanuq The Polar bear is the largest land carnivore in North America An adult Male typically weighs 300-450kg stretching 3 metersfrom nose to tail They are very strong and fast Agile on land or ice and are expert swimmers and divers There sence of smell is exceptional their eyesight is comparable to a human's Polarbears are naturally curious not fearless as they have been lablled They are shy and prefer to avoid confrontations with humans and other poarbears Their primary prey is the ringed seal but they will also prey on birds eggssmall mammlesand even humans They also scavenge anything from beached whales to human garbage In the heat of summer Polarbears may appear slow and docile but they are capable of moving swiftly and with porpus


Avoiding an encounter

In the event of a bear attack or encounter if youre in a national park

1 Stay calm call for help by radio or satilite phone (Get contact numbers at your orientation to the park)

2 Report location and time of incident

3 report number of people involved

4 Report extent of injuries (if any) and property damage

6 report numbers and last locations of all bears in the incident

7 Report reason for the attack if known (Female protecting cubs surprise Defending food scorce ect)

8 Report discription of bears (Male Female size markings ect)

If Camping Ask Parks Canada staff about current bear activity
Some areas may be closed due to bear activites follow and obey all written and oral warrnings

Be alert and aware of your surroundings
Scan all around with your binoculars at regular intervals Be vigilant watch for signs such as tracks droppings diggings wildlife carcasses and dens

Travel in daylight and avoid areas of restricted visibility
Be especially careful along the coast where a bear may be hidden behind boulders pressure riges(pushed up sea ice) driftwood or vegitation

Travel in groups and STAY TOGETHER to increase your safety
The larger the group the greater the chances of deterring a bear

Never approach a bear for any reason
Every bear defends a critical space which varies with each bear and each situation It may be only a few meters or ahundred meters Intrusion within this space is considered a threat and may provoke an attack

Never approach a fresh kill or carcass as Polarbears will defend their food
Adult Polarbears may only eat the fat of seals and other kills but other bears may scavenge from theese carcasses

Never feed the bears
A bear that finds food from a human scorce begins to associate humans with food This can result in a bear losing its natural tendency to avoid people and becoming persistant in its search for human food The consequences for you and the bear can be serious A bear that associates food with humans is more likely to injure or kill people and theese bears have to be relocated or killed

Pack out all garbage and use sealed bags and containers or bear proof containers to store food and garbage Eliminate or reduce odours from yourself and your camp

Avoid using scented soaps and cosmetics and avoid bringing strong smelling foods

Consider hiring a guide if you are uncertain about your ability to dal with bears
ASk about their experience how they will avoid encountering a polarbear and about plans of action should you encounter a bear A larger group can also increase saftey Ask about the size of the group



Polar Bears are predators primarily hunting seals while grizzlies brown and black bears mostly eat plants As predators Polar Bears will investigate humans their camps and may even consider humans as a food scorce

Handling an encounter

If youre surprised by the bear Stay Calm and assess the situation What is the bear doing What is the behaviour?

Back away slowly in the same direction you just came from DO NOT RUN OR PANIC

If the bear doesnt know you are there quietly back away and leave the area either in the direction yo just came from or take a wide detour around the bear Do not run move quickly or make motions that may attract the bear's attention

Stay downwind as much as possible so the bear cannot smell you or detect your presence

Keep an eye on the bear

If a bear knows you are there and shows signs of being curious such as

Moving slowly with frequent stops
Then Help it to identify you as being human

Standing on its hind legs and sniffing the air
Then Wave your arms and talk in low tones

Moving its head from side to side or trying to catch your scent by moving downwind and apporaching from behind
Then Move slowly upwind of the bear so it can get your scent

If the bear has been surprised at close range or shows signs of being agitated or threatened such as

Huffing panting hissing growling or jaw snapping
Then Act non-threating Do not shout or make sudden movements which might provoke the bear Never huff or hiss as this can cause the bear to charge

Stamping it feet
Then avoid direct eye contact

Staring directly at a person or lowering its head with ears laid back

Back away slowly DO NOT RUN Be prepared to use bear deterrents

Note Pepper spray will not work in cold weather

If the bear charges

Stand your ground and be prepared to fight
Bluff charges are rare

Never get between a bear and her cubs
If a female is surprised at close range or seperated from her cubs she will likely attack to defend her cubs

Leave the area immediatly Stay in a group Fight back if she attacks


DETTERENTS

Reducing the threat caused by a polarbear durring an encounter may be difficult Non lethal detterents have been developed for black brown and grizzy bears but they have not been thorougly tested on Polar bears and therefore cannot be depended on to ensure safety The best way to live safely with bears is to avoid contact with them Any potential weapon should be considered such as skies poles rocks blocks of ice or even knives

Stay together in a group This can be a deterrent and actions such as jumping waving arms throwing things may help drive the polarbear away

Commercial Deterrents

Noisemakers such as airhorns pistoland pen launched bear bangers Clapping pots and pans togetherand turning up the portable stereo may scare a bear away

Pepper spray may work on polarbears but has not been thoroly tested Be aware that pepper spray does not work when its cold Also be aware of wind direction to avoid having the pepper spray blow into your own face

Know how and when to use theese deterrents and practice before hand

Avalibility of commercial detterents is limited in the north and most will have to be perchaced elsewhere and transported as dangerous goods

Contact Parks Canada for more information
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