Eating is their number one priority, when bears emerge from hibernation in the spring. They lose around 30 percent of the body weight so in the spring they wake up when bears hibernate. It’s important for field workers to be aware of bear feeding patterns so they can attempt to avoid getting from a bear and its food.
In the spring, bears are searching for roots, shrubs, berries, whereas bears are likely to be found near water looking for salmon to provide them and fat that they need for hibernation.
Bears coming out of hibernation may be competitive and more visible as they search for food. If they emerge from hibernation or if their normal foods are less available, they will come searching for things like human garbage. It is important that everyone does their part.
To avoid a bear encounter be alert to your surroundings and you want to make loads of noise. Walk and talk or sing often. If you are working in a area or around creeks scan your surroundings.
If you encounter a bear:
- Back away slowly and quietly if the bear doesn’t acknowledge you.
- If the bear sees you, talk – don’t run.
The preparation to protect yourself is to test for wildlife activity by contacting local fish and wildlife officers ahead of beginning work in the area. Other things you can do to equip yourself include:
- Take a safety course that is bear/wildlife.
- Have equipment like bangers and bear spray which are intended to frighten bears and understand use and how to properly store them.
- Carry a firearm in high risk areas licensed to do so.
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- Carry a mobile phone.
- Store food and garbage in airtight containers.