Travel Tips for Grizzly Country
Bear literature is confusing and contradictory. Inaccurate assumptions masquerade as biological axioms, and conventional wisdom about bears is often just bad advice. The same books and brochures that advise you to climb a tree to safety to escape a charging grizzly insist that you should never run from a bear. They tell you not to run because flight can trigger pursuit and you won't win a race with a bear; they say climb a tree instead, because adult grizzlies can't.
Whoa. Hold on. Before you start climbing, ask yourself two critical questions. First, if flight is likely to trigger pursuit, won't grizzlies chase tree-climbers and track stars with equal abandon? Second, how much time will you have to squirrel up a tree when you startle a grizzly at 60 yards or less?
Bears aren't stupid. Nor are grizzly bears territorial, but it's a lot easier to say"grizzlies attack humans to defend their territory" than it is to look for the real reasons why bears injure people. From the modern myth that menstruating women should stay out of bear country to the old misconception that bears have difficulty running downhill, bear literature is rife with erroneous information and self-serving facts.
The chances of being charged by a black bear are zilch unless you're a biologist working closely with bears or a ninny feeding roadside bears in a national park. On the other hand, most skirmishes with grizzly bears occur when people inadvertently startle a grizzly at close range.
How do you avoid a too close encounter with a grizzly? Let me offer four tips.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication