Outdoor recreation is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand, you’re outside in nature enjoying all it has to offer. On the other hand, however, you’re outside at the mercy of mother nature and need to take the necessary precautions to avoid dangerous weather or potentially deadly wildlife encounters.
If fishing is on your list of outdoor activities you enjoy, take a look at the area you plan to cast your line. You may find that you’re planning to fish in the heart of bear country. If that’s the case, here are some safety tips on preventative measures to take before you leave, and things to keep in mind while you’re on the water.
Before You Leave
Skip the Shower
Potent, heavily scented soaps will attract bears, especially if you use a sweet or floral scented soap. So, leave the shower for after your fishing trip so your natural scent is stronger and isn’t masked by any scent that will attract them.
Travel with a Group When You Can
We understand the appeal of a solo fishing trip. On the water alone, it’s quiet, you don’t have to talk to anyone, and you can move throughout your day on your own timeline. However, if you are planning a fishing trip in the middle of bear country, it’s a good idea to have at least one other person with you, especially if you are fishing in an area where there have been known bear sightings.
A bear is less likely to take on a group of people compared to just a single person. You’ll also have a back-up in case something does go wrong.
While You’re Fishing
Use Your Voice
If you do find yourself fishing alone, it’s a good idea to intermittently make a loud noise. While you’re fishing, you can randomly shout “Hey bear!” so as to alert any bears that might be close by that you can’t see. The best way to deter a bear is by using your voice and being loud, and it’s better to alert them before you both take each other by surprise.
While your voice is one of your best defenses of choice against bears, you can also carry bear spray. Keep in mind, bear spray is a last resort that you can use to defend yourself against a charging bear. That is why your voice is a better alternative to try and keep the bear from advancing in the first place. Bear spray also needs to be readily available to use on your person. It will do you no good buried in a bag or left in the car.
Encountering a Bear
If you do happen to encounter a bear while you are fishing, stand your ground and use your voice. Do not turn around and run away as fast as you can. Running away is prey behavior and the bear is more likely to charge after you.
So, stand your ground and be loud. Shout continuously at the bear while you stand in one place. As soon as the bear loses and turns away, you can start backing away slowly towards a safe place.
Keep Your Eyes on the Bear
Even if you’ve successfully deterred a bear’s interest in you, do not ever turn your back on a bear. Keep your eyes on it at all times while slowly backing away. Bears are faster than you think and if it doubles back on you with your back turned, you have no way to defend yourself.
Some of the world’s best trout fishing can be found right in the heart of bear country, and don’t let the possibility of an encounter keep you from experiencing it. As long as you stay alert while you’re on the water, and do your research and prepare yourself before you leave, you are in for a spectacular fishing experience, most likely bear-free.