How to Deal With Bears and Mountain Lions in the Wild

dealing with bears and mountain lions while hiking

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If you plan on being out in the wild, a piece of advice often given is to learn how to deal with attacks from wild animals.

They rarely happen, but it is better for one to be on the safe side and know what to do if a mountain lion or bear attacks you instead of panicking and doing something you should not do.


Be Aware

When hiking in the wild, be very aware of your surroundings. If you do see a bear and he does not see you, you need to be slow and cautious. Back away in a slow manner, and then get away from the bear as fast as possible.

Now if the bear does see you, you can usually shot loudly and it is enough to scare the bear away. However, this may not work for all bears. If it does not work for you, I propose you back away slowly. Turning and running will not work, so I suggest you never try it. Bears can run fast at a rate of 30 mph. You will never win in this race, so do not even try!

You should also know that mama bears are very protective of their young. If you see a cub, know that its mother is very close. I advise you to never get in between these two, as the full-grown bear will not have you being that close to her cub.

Mountain lions are known as ambush predators. This means they often sit and wait for their prey, launching themselves at unsuspecting victims. Chances are very low that you will stumble upon a mountain lion in the wild, but it has happened before.

When it comes to mountain lions, you need to really pay attention to your surroundings. I always listen to other animals in the area. If the birds are singing and the squirrels are running about, it is a good sign. However, if it gets quiet, you should wonder if there is anything watching you.

Looking for new mountain lion prints is something I always do when hiking. You must do this especially if you explore an area again. If you see the tracks a second time through that were not there the first time, chances are high that the large feline is pursuing you.

When you are in the wild, it is important to steer clear of certain activities. Studies have shown that mountain lions believe people are four-legged animals when they bend over. Under no circumstances should you bend over for any reason in the wild.


Give the Wild Animal Space

Should you come upon a bear or a mountain lion in the wild, I suggest you give both of them space. Chances are they will not see you as a big threat if there is enough room in between you and them.


Make Noise

When in either bear or mountain lion territory, you should make noise. I advise you to never be silent under any circumstances! Some people feel that if they are quiet, they will be able to better protect themselves from both bears and mountain lions. You most certainly never want to sneak up on either of these animals. When hiking, talk to your group or sing songs. You can also wear a bell if it helps. Chances are, if a mountain lion hears you approaching, he will turn around himself and go back into the brush.


Safety Precautions

The following tips are safety precautions that I feel are worth remembering if you like to explore in the native areas of bears and mountain lions.

First, never hike solo. Always go with a partner or in a group. Even if you are a seasoned hiker, I recommend finding someone to go with you just to be safe.

If you are camping in the wild, stay in partners. This means for every activity. If you have to go to the restroom, take a buddy. Need water? Go in pairs.

Taking a dog can also protect you better. Chances are, if you notice a mountain lion, it will be more engrossed in the dog at first. This will permit you to run to get away from the large feline.

The sense of smell is amazing in bears. They can smell foods and products that humans use. One tip that can help to keep you safe from bears, and possibly other animals is to avoid using any scented products when in the woods. This includes tubes of toothpaste, mouthwashes, deodorants, lotions, and other items. If you must take these products with you, never store them inside your tent.

I always tell people they need to consider what foods they are taking if they are venturing into the wild. Canned foods and those that have been dried will not smell as much as sugary foods like candy bars or granola bars. Fish and bacon also have a distinctive scent, so it is best to avoid these foods if possible. Know that any cooking or eating that is done within the campsite will increase the chances of having wild animals visit your site.

If you are going to be cooking at your campsite, make sure to seal all food, garbage, and cooking utensils in airtight containers. I have also strung these up in trees to better protect the campsite. Many campsites offer bear-proof garbage cans. If you have these in your campground, be wise and use them!

I recommend never leaving any pet food outside after your furry friend has eaten when out in the wild. Feed them and then store their food and food containers in airtight containers. Leaving your pet’s food out is the same as leaving food out. Wild animals will catch the scent of this, thus drawing them to your campsite.

Change your attire before your head hits the pillow for the night. Fresh garments will not only feel better, but they will keep you better protected from bears, mountain lions, and other wild animals. Place your soiled clothes into airtight containers that are stored away from your sleeping quarters. This is especially crucial if you have been preparing food over the fire. The scents of the food linger on your clothing and can draw in the wild animals.


What to do When a Bear or Mountain Lion Attack

I highly suggest using a handgun as a way to protect yourself should a bear or mountain lion charge at you in the wild. I also carry bear spray just in case for this purpose. This spray can be used on a mountain lion as well. Just be sure to spray it in the eyes and nose of the animal for it to work.

Launch your backpack at a bear if he decides to attack you. This will rattle the bear, even if it is only for a short time, allowing you more time to escape.

If a mountain lion is attacking you, I strongly recommend fighting with all your might. Find anything that you can to jab them with and try to remain on your feet. If a mountain lion pushes you to the ground, their main goal will be to disassemble you with their claws.

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