Hiking and camping are two beloved pastimes that let people get in tune with nature, get exercise while breathing fresh air, and best of all, relax. Some campers also fish or hunt while they enjoy the great outdoors. Additionally, taking the family on camping trips is a great way to teach children survival skills and other lifelong lessons in a fun learning environment.
Preliminary planning and safeguards make the difference between a remarkable camping trip and one that goes awry. An ounce of forethought is worth more than a ton of cumbersome camping gear. The smartest hikers and campers carry as little as possible yet have everything they could conceivably need, should any situations occur.
Spending time in the natural outdoors means that you are entering the home of wild animals. When caught off-guard or frightened, some animals are dangerous, or even deadly. Other times, animals that are protecting their food supply can become aggressive. Thankfully, wild animals almost never attack humans without a good reason, and they are predictable, which makes it easy to prepare for ahead of time.
Prepare For A Bear
The chances of meeting a bear while hiking are slim as long as you stay on a hiking trail and make noise as you go. Talking to another hiker is enough to alert a bear in the area, which gives him a chance to hide. Except for the grizzly bear, most types of bears shy away from human contact. However, if a mother bear is protecting her cubs, you happen to hike near a bear’s latest kill, or if the bear feels cornered, they may react by charging you and attacking.
Bear-spray is a product that all hikers and campers should carry if they are in bear country. This is similar to pepper spray but it has a higher amount of the active ingredient, which irritates a bear’s nose, throat and lungs. Remarkably, studies show that people who use bear-spray instead of a firearm have greater success at escaping, unharmed. Shooting a gun at a bear is quite dangerous, because it may only make the animal more hostile.
Most bears that enter camping areas are in search of food. Human food, pet food and even smells from deodorants and perfumes attract bears, because they associate these smells with people. This is why it is crucial to keep food well contained and as scent-free as possible. Shelf Reliance food storage is a handy way to pack food for camping, and their freeze-dried food pouches take little space and have no odor until opened. Always pack out all empty food containers or dispose of in animal-proof receptacles along the trail.
Other Dangerous Animals To Avoid
Before you hike or camp in any area, research the types of animals that call it their home. Mountain lions, also known as cougars, prefer mountainous areas but, sometimes, live in brushy lowland areas as well. They are carnivores and may attack small children or pet dogs. Since cougars attack from behind or above, keep children between adults or ahead of them. Remember, a greater number of hikers in a group appears more fearsome to most dangerous animals.
Wild pigs are a growing concern across the United States, because they are invasive and can attack hikers who enter their territory. Wild boars, which have large tusks, have gored hunters in several states. Being aware of previous sightings in the area, as well as carrying a walking stick to use as a weapon is a good idea. Bear-spray also works on wild boars.
Enjoy The Wilderness But Be Safe
Never underestimate the fury that any wild mother animal may unleash on a person who she thinks is a threat to her babies. If you see baby animals, leave at once, because the mother is not far away. Additionally, almost every dangerous animal will think twice about attacking if you make yourself seem larger by raising your arms or pulling your shirt or coat out at the sides.
Any wild animal can be dangerous if it is surprised or provoked, so it is best to make noise as you travel and stick to trails. Touching a wild animal brings with it a potential risk for rabies, which spreads to humans through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. If confronted by a hostile animal it is rarely a good idea to run. Move slowly backwards while facing the animal. Remember, wild animals are usually more afraid of you than you are of them. Furthermore, it is their home, so please be respectful of it.