See a black bear while hiking? Don’t panic; follow these steps

  It might be easy to think you won’t run into a bear while on a hike – but it can happen, and it’s important to always be prepared.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife gave a few tips for what to do if you run into a bear on the trail.
If you surprise the bear, you should:

stay calm
stay still
let the bear identify you before leaving the area

When leaving the scene, back away from the bear and avoid turning your back to it. Running from the bear can make you appear as a threat. Talk in a normal tone of voice if other people are present and make sure the bear has a way to leave the area too.

If the bear doesn’t leave you, CPW recommended you wave your arms slowly overhead to appear larger, and speak calmly. You can also step off the trail and slowly back away from it. Make sure you maintain a visual of the animal as you do so.

If the bear approaches you, yell and throw small rocks in its direction. Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends using bear spray if the animal comes within 40 feet of you. If you are attacked, you should fight back with anything you have.

CPW officials said bears can become aggravated by dogs, so it is important to keep them leashed if hiking the trails with you. A loose dog can get itself into trouble, and could lead a bear back to you.

Black bears typically run away from danger, so another way to avoid an encounter is to wear bells on your hiking bag. This will allow the bear to hear you long before you come into contact with it.



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