This is the time of year when people’s minds turn to getting out, shaking off winter, and exploring the new season in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, humans aren’t the only ones with spring fever. Bears are waking from their hibernation and venturing out into the wild in search of food. It is important for us to remember that we are visitors to the bears’ habitat, and we are responsible to practice bear safety.
Outfitters Seeking Change (Original Story)
With that in mind, we were heartened by the news that Wyoming outfitters and guides are trying to establish OSHA regulations for bear awareness and safety. This push is a direct result of a hunting guide being mauled and killed by a Grizzly last September while he was preparing a client’s elk for transport. While OSHA found no fault with the company for the death, outfitters are hoping that establishing regulations for the training of outfitters, guides, and even the general public, can prevent another tragedy. We applaud these employers for being proactive with their employees’ safety.
While there aren’t specific OSHA standards governing bear awareness and safety, the U.S. Forest Service does offer some valuable guidelines about safely sharing the great outdoors with wildlife.
When you Encounter a Bear:
- DO NOT RUN
- Stay calm
- Group together (if you’re in a group)
- Pick up any small children
- Back away slowly, still facing the bear; talk calmly and confidently to let the bear know you are human (not food)
- If the bear continues to approach, make yourself big by stretching your arms above your head and making loud noises.
- Always carry bear spray and know how to use it
Good luck and stay safe!