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The Six Outdoor BearWise Basics

Stay Alert & Stay Together

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

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

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.

Camp Safely

Camp Safely

Set up camp away from dense cover and natural food sources. Cook at least 100 yards from your tent.

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

Black bears are seldom aggressive and attacks are rare.

If you see a bear before it notices you: stand still, don’t approach and enjoy the moment; then move away quietly in the opposite direction.

If you encounter a bear that’s aware of you: don’t run; running may trigger a chase response. Back away slowly.

Visit Bear Encounters to learn what to do if a black bear approaches, charges or follows you.

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 repellant, so never spray your tent, campsite or belongings.