Captain’s Log: Don’t tempt the bears | Outdoor

The camps are like a free market for a curious bear. They are usually full of garbage and food… much more than a poor bear can resist.

These critters are often unable to ignore their noses. They sniff out food that smells good, and their curious little hungry brains seem to follow where those noses lead. They occasionally provoke conflicts with people, which is sad for both the bear and the people.

Bears are one of the creatures in our area that need to be taken seriously due to their power and ability to maim or kill a human being. Our game managers take little risk with people’s lives and safety, so once a bear has had a run-in with people, it’s very likely to be hunted down and destroyed.


During the summer, people are trying to take a few camping trips before school starts, and that’s when the chances of a scary bear encounter are greatest. It can be preventable.

How can we avoid life-threatening encounters (for the bear or for people)? The DFG offers words of wisdom, good advice.

“In our judgment, almost every public safety issue involving bears starts with people improperly handling garbage and food,” Doug Updike, senior wildlife biologist at DFG, once said. “You can take all the proper precautions when you’re in bear habitat, but if someone else hasn’t been diligent, you can still be the target of a troublesome bear.

“The last thing we want to do is issue a permit to kill a bear or take one for public safety reasons. And if humans don’t clean up their act, the problem isn’t solved, and another bear will come and take it.” its place.”

Our estimated population of over 30,000 black bears in California is carefully managed through hunting; however, human encounters will almost certainly occur in the camping areas. For anyone living in bear habitat or encountering a bear, here are some rules to follow, according to the DFG:

“Keep your campsite clean and never feed a bear – People should never feed bears, even unintentionally. It is also against the law (various local ordinances). When camping, hiking, or backpacking, be sure to keep a clean campground, as bears are much more likely to visit a campground if there are attractions, including dirty cookware.

“Also dispose of all trash properly and use bear-proof trash cans whenever possible, or store trash in a safe place with food. Don’t bury or burn excess food because bears will still be attracted to the smell.” Trash should be bagged outside the camp if trash cans are not available.”

“Never go near a bear – most black bears will avoid confrontation given the chance. If a bear encounter occurs, be sure to give the animal plenty of room to escape. Most human injuries associated with black bears occur when approaching a bear.

“If a black bear approaches, try to show that you can be a danger to them. Get bigger, stand up, raise your arms and open your jacket. Yell, bang on pots and pans or any object you have that creates a commotion. ”

“Don’t run from a bear: Running from a black bear can stimulate its chasing instinct. No human being will be able to run faster than a bear. Instead, stand up and face the animal. Make eye contact, but don’t stare. If you have small children with you, pick them up so they don’t run away or panic.”

— Captain David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides boating opportunities to those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are yours.