The Craftsman Lodge lies in the heart of bear country. While the chances of meeting bears are relatively low, largely because of bears’ disinterest in most people, you must know how to avoid, recognize, and deal with bear encounters.
Bears are strong and agile wild animals that will defend themselves, their young, and their territory if they feel threatened. All bears are potentially dangerous; they are unpredictable and able to inflict serious injury. NEVER feed or approach a bear.
Tips for Safe Camping
Put away food and garbage, strong attractions to bears. Keep your campsite clean and never leave food, garbage, coolers, cooking equipment or utensils lying around.
Lock food in the trunk of your vehicle or hang it at least 12 feet off the ground between two trees.
Do not cook or eat in or near your tent or tent trailer.
The lingering odors of food invite bears. Clean utensils and put garbage in containers immediately after eating.
Do not get food odors on your clothing or sleeping bag. Sleep in different clothing than what you wear for cooking.
Use a flashlight at night. Many animals feed at night, and a flashlight may warn them away.
Tips for Safe Hiking
Bears feel threatened if surprised. Hike in a group and make loud noises. Whistle, talk, sing, or carry a noise maker (e.g. bells).Most bears will leave if they are aware of your presence. Stay in the open as much as possible. Keep children close at hand on trails.
Be especially alert when traveling into the wind. A bear may not get your scent and be warned of your presence. In dense bush and near rushing water, the animal likely won’t hear your noise-maker.
Stay away from dead animals and berry patches, important food sources for bears. You’ll often see crows and ravens circling over dead animals.
Watch for bear signs, tracks, fresh diggings, and droppings.
NEVER approach a bear, especially a bear cub. A protective mother is usually nearby and may attack if she thinks her cub is in danger.
Make a wide detour or leave the area if you see a bear at a distance. If you cannot detour or retreat, wait until the bear moves from your path. Always leave the animal an escape route.
Do not run. Most bears can run as fast as a racehorse. A scream or sudden movement can trigger an attack.
Don’t throw anything at a bear; it may provoke an attack.
Watch the bear for aggressive behavior–snapping its jaws together, making a “whoofing” sound, or keeping its head down with ears laid back. Consider any bear that moves toward you aggressive. If the bear does not seem to be displaying aggressive behavior, talk softly in monotones and slowly back up. If a bear rears on its hind legs and waves its nose in the air, it is trying to identify you. Keep still and speak in low tones.
Keep calm. Assess the situation. There is no guaranteed life-saving method to cope with an aggressive bear, but calm behavior has proven the most successful. Sometimes bears will bluff their way out of a threatening situation by charging and veering away at the last second. Back away quietly; never run!
If a climbable tree is nearby and the bear shows aggressive behavior, speak softly and back slowly toward the tree. At the same time, slowly remove your pack and set it down to distract the bear.
Climb a tree as high as you can. Stay in the tree until you are sure the bear has left the area, then make your way quickly back to the trailhead. Black bears are agile climbers, so a tree may not offer an escape from them.