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MyBoyPuck 01-17-2010 10:32 AM

Da Bears
Okay, so new animal in the mix. I just found out that the town my horse is now stabled in has a large black bear population. My horse is already not fond of coming across wildlife on the trails. Deer, cows and llamas have made me an expert at the one rein stop. After about 27 of them, I usually can get him past the offending wildlife.

That being said, I know nothing about bears. Someone told me if I can across a black bear, it's in my best interest to go the other way, and might as well do it at a dead run if there are cubs involved. Can anyone with actual bear experience give me the 411 on bears?

thanks in advance.

MIEventer 01-17-2010 12:03 PM

I grew up in the Cariboo Chilcoltin - that is dead smack dab in the middle of Beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

I grew up with waking up to see Black Bears in our yard munching on my Mom's Berry Tree's. I grew up hiking and coming across Wildlife of all sorts, and trail riding and camping and canooing and all those outdoor jazzy activities.

Trust me darling, a Black Bear will hear you before you hear it and smell you before you even know it is around. Majority of the time, the Black Bear will be gone before you even get to the area it once was.

IF you do come across a black bear, I guarantee you that they are far more scared of you, than you are of it - and once it realizes you are there, they will skidaddle.

The only time to be worried about Bears, is if you come across them with their Cubs, but again, most of the time the Mamma's will scurry their kids away to safety - but you get inbetween them, then you have something to worry about.

Black Bears are piddly compared to other species of Bears. Like the Grizzly - now there is a species to be worried about, but Black Bears are nothing.

Now IF you do get into a situation - and this will be a VERY rare occasion if any at all - DO NOT RUN!!! BIG #1 mistake. STAND YOUR GROUND. IF the bear stands up on it's hind feet, they do this to make themselves appear bigger, you - do the same. Make yourself look as big as you can - the tricky part, is your horse. BE LOUD, if you can, carry an Air Horn with you, in a fanny pack or a small backpack - and blast it. Scream, roar, wave your arms. BUT DO NOT RUN. NEVER RUN.

IF you are worried, do what we all did back home - put bells on your saddle. Not little rinky dinky bells, but those big one's. Go to an Outdoor's store - where they sell camping gear and bear spray and outdoor gear tech, etc, etc, etc - and ask for Bear Bells and they will know what you are talking about.

The bells are your best bet to keep people who are not accustomed to seeing Wildlife, mentally sane.

MyBoyPuck 01-17-2010 12:33 PM

Thanks MIE. We usually yap the whole time we're riding, so I'm guessing the bears would hear us a good mile away! If I see cubs, is mom most likely in front of them or behind them?

MIEventer 01-17-2010 01:07 PM

If you see Cubs, Mamma is DEFINATELY near by. If you see Cubs, turn around quietly and head back to where you came from - slowly and quietly. I wouldn't necessarily say BEHIND her babies, but she is near by. She could be infront, beside, behind, to your left, right - doesn't matter - she is there.

Do not over react. Do not allow your body odor to change, your breathing change - just turn around and walk away.

I came inbetween a Black Mamma Bear and 2 of her Cubs once - and only once.

My Father is a Miner. He owns Gold Mining Claims all over British Columbia where the Fraser River Flows. He and my Grandpa are outdoors all Spring, Summer and Fall - and I remember joining them on occassions to stake claims.

That means almost a whole day out in the wilderness hiking to the river bed, and back to the vehicle - and I was always taught Bear Awareness by my family.

Once, the 3 of us came out of the forrest onto a dirt road, where we saw 2 Black Bear cubs to our right. We quietly turned around, and headed back into the Forrest - sure enough, there was mamma up on the road on our left. She stood up and started roaring, but because we were calm, quiet and just went back from where we came, we luckily had no issues.

Carry a Whistle around your neck. Put bells on your saddle or crown piece of your bridle, or on your spurs, carry an air horn - and you'll be just fine.

Painted Horse 01-17-2010 01:22 PM

If you are in an area where bears are hunted. They will have a natural fear of man. and they will stay away from you. If you are in an area where bears are not hunted, or if they have become accustomed to getting food from peoples garbage etc, Then they don't always run.

Most of the bears I've run into. usually leave as soon as they are aware that we are in the area. When you are on a horse, you wil appear very big to the bear. And if given the opportunity, they will avoid the fight, unless they thing the cause is worth fighting for, ie cubs or a food source they just don't want to leave.

MyBoyPuck 01-17-2010 01:28 PM

No hunting takes place where I ride. It's a very residential area. I'm told a lot of people ride those trails, so hopefully the bears will stay off the beaten path. That's good that the bears usually choose to leave. My horse is just coming into his own as far as bravery. If he thinks he chased it off, that should help his convidence a lot. So with cubs, just quietly go away. Works for me!

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