MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

Crossing paths with a predator: Idaho wildlife safety

“One of the benefits that we have in Idaho is that these animals typically are hunted and they have a very healthy fear of humans.” (KBOI photo)

It’s an all too common scenario in Idaho: you’re camping or on a long hike in the mountains, when a bear crosses your path.

What do you do? Run? Hide? Climb?

Roger Phillips of Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game says none of the above.

“Don’t run from it," Phillips said. "Back up, keep your eyes on it, move slowly, kind of watch what the bear is doing.”

Idaho’s hunting laws can be an advantage in a dangerous scenario.

“One of the benefits that we have in Idaho is that these animals typically are hunted and they have a very healthy fear of humans.”

Predators like bears, mountain lions, and wolves aren’t limited to the Idaho wilderness.

Sometimes, they are right here in Boise’s backyard.

“Bears can be all over but you know occasionally they can be spotted in the foothills on the lower trails.”

While Grizzly bears are mostly in eastern and northern Idaho, Black Bears are common everywhere.

“Black bears are most common in Idaho, they’re the ones you would act a little differently around than you do around grizzly bears. Grizzly bears you kind of just give them your space and move out of the area.”

If you see a bear when you are hiking or camping - when it comes to a fight or flight reaction - choose something right in the middle.

“The key thing to remember with any predator is don’t run from them because that could trigger a chase instinct and that could make the situation worse.”

And make yourself look as big and scary as possible.

“Moving your hands, waving something in the air, yelling, just making sure that that animal knows that you’re there and that you’re not an easy meal and you’re not something they can just come up and take advantage of.”

If you’re camping, always put away all of your food so no bears stop by looking for a free snack.

“And the other time is if they’re food driven, that will overrule their fear of humans and if there is an easy meal then they may go for it when they’re trying to fatten up for hibernation.”

There is also bear spray, a kind of mace that can be used on bears and is very effective and can be purchased at most outdoor retailers.

Trending