“Bear sightings are not unusual but due to the unpredictable nature of bears the public needs to understand that some caution should be taken whenever they are in bear country,” said Coeur d’Alene River District Ranger Chad Hudson. “Awareness of your surroundings is the first step in bear safety, so we’re urging visitors to the area to keep an eye out for wildlife and give them plenty of space.”
Although black bear attacks on humans are rare, such attacks can be deadly. Forest visitors encountering bears can discourage attacks by following a few simple guidelines:
· Do not panic! Group together, pick up small children and assess the situation. Prepare to use your bear spray.
· Do not run or make sudden movements, it may instinctively cause the bear to charge you.
· Give bears a chance to identify you as human, and not a threat. If the bear stands up, it is trying to see, hear and smell you better. Talk firmly in a low-pitched voice while backing away. Avoid direct eye contact as bears may perceive this as a challenge or threat.
· Continue to back away slowly and cautiously, retreating to a place of safety. Monitor the animal’s response, and adjust your actions accordingly.
More information about safety in bear country can be found on the non-profit Center for Wildlife Information or by contacting your local Forest Service office.