Bear Awareness

Bear Awareness

As an ATV/OHV rider you are a participant in the great outdoors. While most of your events may be day trips, you may join the rest of us out on the trail for those special weekends and other overnight events. This will of course involve some camping.

May I see a show of hands of those who would like to see their ride spoiled by a bear attack? Looking around the room here, I see no hands. That being the case, perhaps we should discuss the simple things we can do to PREVENT bear involvement in your activities.

  • Food storage at your camp can have everything to do with your safety.
  • Bears are very intelligent animals. Any positive reinforcement, such as finding food, will cause the bear to repeat the activity on every occasion possible.
  • Bears are very powerful, even food in an unopened can can be accessible to a bear and though there is no scent, once they find food in a can, even an empty can, they will target such items in the future.
  • All food should be stored in cars for the night. This includes all utensils and garbage. Improper storage of food is an offense that is punishable by law. It is a class B misdemeanor. This has been a law for several years. Warnings were issued in the past, but the USFS is now prepared to begin issuing citations.
  • Food scraps and fat drippings should be sealed in air tight containers, not in the camp fire.
  • Do not cook in the same area that you sleep. Your sleeping area should be at least 100 feet from where you cook. Don’t cook in your tent. Don’t wear the same clothes you cook in to bed. You wouldn’t want a bear to mistake you for a hamburger.
  • Clean up your camp before you leave. Do not leave cans in fire pits. All trash should be carried out. Make sure your fires are completely dead out, and all evidence of your camp area covered and returned to its original natural looking condition. Do this even if the camp area you have chosen was previously used by someone who did not practice no trace camping.
  • If you are not near your car while you camp you should hoist your food into a tree suspended from a branch no less than ten feet off the ground and five feet from the trunk of the tree.
  • Do not leave food on tables during the day when the camp is left unattended. If the bear has targeted your camp, it will simply patiently wait until you have gone out riding then come in for the feast.
  • A fed bear is a dead bear. In all reality, Yogi Bear from Jellystone would not last in the real world. This is because real bears will escalate their activity going from one food source to another. Bear attacks are always serious and frequently fatal. Even if the damage from the initial attack may not be serious, the infection that can follow can also be deadly to the victim.
  • Campers that encounter Bears in their food supplies should report the incident to the USFS or BLM in the area where they are camping. Please refer to the phone number on the area map for the area that you are riding. Such bears represent a material danger to themselves and others. The bear will be captured and removed to a more remote location where they are less likely to forage from forest visitors. If the bear cannot be captured, it may be put down.

What to do if you see a bear:

  • Stay Calm
  • Make as much noise as you can, bang pans, start your ATV, yell, clap.
  • Never make eye contact with a bear. A bear considers this an aggressive behavior.
  • Don’t approach a bear or let it approach you. Retreat slowly or climb a tree until it leaves.
  • If you are attacked by a bear and cannot get away fight back, kick, scream and yell, be as aggressive as possible.

All bears are potentially dangerous and should be treated with respect. If you see aggressive behavior in a bear you should report it to:

The Division of Wildlife Resources
1594 West North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6301
801-538-4700

Categories: ATV Safety

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