If you’re traveling around Alaska in your summer Alaska SUV rentals, you’re likely going to see a bear. While many people speak of bears as scary creatures, they’re beautiful and, if you know what to do, will do you no harm. Unfortunately, there’ve been a great number of incidents of bear deaths by those who are scared. However, we want to stress that bears don’t need to be a threat. They’re part of our wildlife, and should be loved and protected.
That’s why we’ve put together a little list to keep both you, and our bears, safe from harm this summer. As long as you do everything right both you and our bear population should be able to co-exist peacefully! After all, if you want a truly Alaskan experience, that comes with living alongside these animals.
Remain calm. That is the most important thing to remember. If you have kids, this is the first thing you should stress to them before setting off in the wilderness. Remain calm, don’t run. Stay still and stay relaxed.
If you can, begin to back up slowly. But if the bear follows, don’t begin to run. Just stop, hold your ground, and avoid seeming threatening.
Let them know what you are
It’s good to let the bear know you’re human. This may sound silly, but speaking calmly to a bear can actually put the pressure off. That first moment of contact can be startling, but a calm voice to remind the bear you’re human may actually relax them enough to set them off in the opposite direction. Many bears in Alaska are more used to humans than you may think, and, hopefully, understand that we won’t hurt them.
Give them some space
If you see a bear while in your summer Alaska SUV rentals, and waiting for them to clear off your campsite, give them a minute. Just remain in the car, or find a new spot.
If you’re out and about, just give them some space. Bears will only attack if they feel threatened. They have no desire to attack humans. So if you see a bear, keep your distance (but you probably don’t need that reminder!) and let them do their own thing. Female bears and cubs need a little extra space. Mama bear doesn’t want her cubs to feel threatened, so show you’re no risk by leaving them plenty of personal space.
If you see a bear at the side of the road, some people will stop to take a picture. While this may be tempting if you’re just visiting and have never seen a bear, it’s best to move your summer Alaska SUV rentals along. Heavy crowds can be agitating and frightening – imagine how you’d feel!
Remember also to keep an eye out at night. Turn your lights up around bends with low traffic, and be aware of the shoulders. Any movement on the sides of the road should activate further response, like slowing down.
Avoid areas with animal smells
Fish and animal carcasses, areas with lots of berries, and areas with large, round balls of dung (bear dung most likely!) are best avoided. While it may seem appealing to camp near a berry patch, you’re also more likely to have a visitor at night.
Other areas to avoid are those with thick brush. In here it’s a lot harder to see bears or for them to see you.
Make noise and walk with the wind
When walking through the woods, make noise. Bears will be less startled if they know you’re coming. Speak loudly, sing, tromp on the twigs – whatever you need to let nearby animals know you’re on your way. Walking in groups is always best to help alert bears, as well. More likely than not, they’ll clear out to get their space and give you yours.
If possible, walk with the wind. When the wind blows across your back, it carries your smell in front of you. This helps alert the bear to your presence.
Keep your food to yourself
First, don’t feed bears. This only gives them reason to come back, and could cause protectionist behaviors around food. This means also that you should never give bears in the river any of your food. If you see a bear coming, stop fishing, or give your line slack in case there’s a fish on it.
Second, invest in a bear-proof food barrel. These can be found in most outfitter shops, perhaps even for rent, and will protect your campsite from unwanted nighttime scavengers.
In the case of attack, if bears come close despite your calm and assertive stance, make some noise. Bang pots or speak loudly. Always drive the bear away from you rather than run from it. If a brown bear looks ready to attack, play dead. Black bears are often scared off. If you’re really concerned of attack and playing dead isn’t working, finally you may bring out bear deterrent.
Bears are beautiful creatures, who are, generally, quite harmless. Don’t threaten them and they shouldn’t threaten you! Our summer Alaska SUV rentals clients rarely have close encounters with bears, and bear attacks in Alaska are quite rare. Remember, stay calm, and when in doubt, stay inside.
Reserve your summer Alaska SUV rentals today!