Bear Safety in Western North Carolina

I call them “My Bears”, just as I would my dogs or cats.  I name them and talk to them when they come to visit.  The four cubs you see here are Penelope, Phoebe, Pistol, and Ping.  All of the pictures and videos in this post are taken from my iPhone at my house or in our shared driveway.

4 cubs still shot with mama

 

Now that spring is here and summer is approaching, it’s good to remember the “rules” as far as bear safety in Western North Carolina.  As cute and fascinating as these animals are, we must remember they are NOT pets.  We should not feed them, approach them on foot and take pictures in close vicinity, shoot them with any type of gun or sling shot.  We can bang pots and pans, blow whistles, wave our arms and shout, and even throw rocks if they become in any way threatening.  (I have never been personally threatened here at the house or while trail running.)

 

 

 

Romantic Asheville website listed several good tips with bear safety especially with camping.  Always lock food in the car!  Never eat your nightly munchies in your tent and fall asleep…

  • Avoid camping and hiking alone in the backcountry.
  • If camping in national forest or parks, check with the ranger’s office for any bear advisories. All food and food-related items should be stored at campsites in a hard-sided bear-resistant canister, or in the trunk of a vehicle, except when preparing and consuming food. Bear canisters are required in some areas in Pisgah National Forest.
  • Do not leave food or garbage inside fire rings, grills at campsite or cabin. Wipe tabletops clean.
  • Never store food inside of a tent.
  • Items that are not considered bear resistant include ice chests, coolers, boxes, cans, tents, soft-sided campers and passenger areas of vehicles.
  • Never leave food or coolers unattended, even in developed picnic areas.
  • Make noise to avoid surprising a bear.
  • Never approach a bear or other wild animal. Mama bears are very protective of her cubs.
  • Do not hike in the dark.
  • Carry EPA registered bear pepper spray.
  • If a bear is observed nearby, pack up your food and trash immediately and vacate the area ASAP.
  • If necessary, attempt to scare the animal away with loud shouts, by banging pans together, or throwing rocks and sticks at it.
  • If a bear approaches, move away slowly; do not run. Get into a vehicle or a secure building.
  • Never run away from a bear—back away slowly and make lots of noise.
  • If you are attacked by a black bear, try to fight back using any object available. Act aggressively and intimidate the bear by yelling and waving your arms. Playing dead is not appropriate.

One final piece of advice from personal experience … if they stand on hind legs, I have found they are just curious.  Even moms with cubs are not typically aggressive if you do not move forward and approach them.   Back away slowly as they run off in the other direction.

I had to add one more video this morning to remind everyone to take trash out just before the trash man comes!!!

 

Wow!  Another day with bears in my yard…so I warmed up leftover pizza and took it outside to work at my laptop during my lunch hour.  Hans & Hazel are patiently sitting and awaiting the crust when all of a sudden Hans goes ballistic!  He runs to the fence and is barking ferociously.  There are 3 bears, one of whom is still sniffing and walking forward to my table even with Hans going crazy!  So, one last warning, the bears are hungry and are not afraid to find food wherever they smell it!  They will visit you any hour of the day!

 

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