Stay Safe around Wildlife
How to practice wildlife safety
Wildlife safety is vitally important both for you and for wildlife. You should be concerned not only about your own well-being, but the preservation of the environment wildlife calls home. It is true that most wildlife prefer to avoid humans; however, wildlife will attack when they feel threatened. Before we talk about precautions for specific types of wildlife, there are a few general rules of wildlife safety to follow.
Keep your distance
Coming home with that perfect may be enticing, but when it comes to wildlife it’s important to maintain your distance. When you’re exploring, stick to trails, especially in the early morning, evening or at night. Wildlife typically understands trails to be high human traffic areas and avoids them.
Distance is especially important if you run into young wildlife. Mothers tend to be terribly protective of their young, and even if you don’t see an adult around, an approach of young wildlife can lead to serious injury.
Keep your food to yourself
Yes, that chipmunk is mighty cute. However, it’s still not smart to give him those nuts he seems to be begging for. Even feeding seemingly small, cute and furry wildlife can lead to unwanted bites and interaction.
When camping it’s important not to leave food on the ground, on picnic tables, or easily accessible, as this can attract wildlife to your campsite during the night.
These measures with food protect not just you, but the animals as well. If animals begin to rely on food from hikers or campers, they lose vital survival skills that keep them alive and healthy in the wild.
Protection from Specific Wildlife
- Bears: Bears are one of the more frightening animals to encounter in the wild. When exploring in heavily bear populated areas, it is wise to carry bear spray. If you encounter a bear, talk calmly and slowly wave your hands above your head while making yourself seem as large as possible. Do NOT run or climb a tree or make loud noises. Walk sideways as this is non-threatening motion to a bear. If the bear starts to charge, use your bear spray or play dead. Lay on the ground chest down with your elbows by your face and hands on your neck.
- Moose: Moose will in most cases not attack, especially if you keep your distance. However, if you find yourself close to a moose talk softly and walk slowly away. The moose is not likely to charge unless it feels threatened.
- Deer: Once again, deer may not seem very dangerous. However, a deer charge can lead to serious harm! If deer do not run away when they see you, climb a tree or play dead.
- Snakes: When encountering a snake, maintain as much distance as possible. Back away as slowly and quietly as possible while avoiding sudden movements. If bitten by a venomous snake, immediately seek medical attention.