The Six Outdoor BearWise Basics
Stay Alert & Stay Together
Pay attention to your surroundings and stay together. Walk, hike, jog, or cycle with others when possible. Keep kids within sight and close by. Leave earbuds at home and make noise periodically so bears can avoid you.
Leave No Trash or Food Scraps
Double bag your food when hiking and pack out all food and trash. Don’t burn food scraps or trash in your fire ring or grill. Leaving scraps, wrappers, or even “harmless” items like apple cores teaches bears to associate trails and campsites with food.
Keep Dogs Leashed
Letting dogs chase or bark at bears is asking for trouble; don’t force a bear to defend itself. Keep your dogs leashed at all times or leave them at home.
Set up camp away from dense cover and natural food sources. Cook as far from your tent as possible.
Do not store food, trash, clothes worn when cooking, or toiletries in your tent. Store in approved bear-resistant containers OR out of sight in a locked vehicle OR suspended at least 10 feet above the ground and 10 feet from any part of the tree.
Know What To Do If You See a Bear
If you see a bear before it notices you, don’t approach. Stand still, enjoy, then quietly move away.
If a bear sees you, back away slowly. Never run; running may trigger a chase response.
If a bear approaches, hold your ground, wave your arms and yell “Hey Bear” until it leaves. Always stay with your group. If it keeps approaching, use bear spray.
If a black bear makes contact with you, do NOT play dead; fight back aggressively.
Visit Bear Encounters to learn more.
Carry Bear Spray & Know How To Use It
Bear spray is proven to be the easiest and most effective way to deter a bear that threatens you. It doesn’t work like bug repellent, so never spray your tent, campsite or belongings.