Huckleberries and Bears

 (ok, not lions or tigers)

Remember, out in the wilderness, you are out of your element and in the element of other predators.  When hiking, remember to be aware of your surroundings.  In our area there is always a threat from bears, mountain lions, wolves and bobcats.

Bears are a viable threat when encountered.  You have a higher chance of encountering one of these predators when huckleberry picking as this wonderful fruit is a staple to their diet as well.

If you see a bear before he sees you, leave the area quietly and give the bear its space.  Try to retreat downwind to lessen the chance of the bear noticing you.  If the bear has seen you but is still a good distance away, talk normally and wave your hands in the air.  This will give signs that will identify you as human.  Back away and in this instance move upwind so he can get your scent and knows where you are and where you are going.

If the bear shows signs of aggression, do not run and try to retreat slowly.  Bears will often bluff charge you.  This is a defense mechanism designed to let their enemies to back down before actually making the attack.  The last resort if the bear charges and is at a very close range is using pepper spray.  Hopefully this will slow the bear down or stop him from attacking long enough for you to get away.

In the event of an attack:

Grizzy Bear

  1. Description
    1. Medium to dark brown
    2. Distinct hump between shoulders
    3. Average height of 6 to 6 ½ ft
    4. Long claws that can be seen from a distance
    5. Mostly found in Canada but there are populations in western states bordering Canada
  2. Surviving Grizzly attack
    1. Use bear pepper spray
    2. Bears can run up to 30 mph….you can’t so don’t try to outrun one
    3. Drop down to fetal position and cover your neck with your hands
    4. Play dead, when the bear stops playing with you, continue to play dead until you know for sure the animal is gone.  Grizzlies will often wait to make sure their prey will get back up


Black Bear

  1. Description
    1. Black to light blond in color
    2. No hump like the Grizzly
    3. Smaller than grizzlies
    4. Shorter claws than grizzlies
    5. Are the most common in North America populating 41 of the 50 states in the US
  2. Surviving a black bear attack
    1. Use bear pepper spray
    2. Stand your ground and make as much noise as you can.  They are more timid and if you show you mean business, they are more likely to leave you alone.
    3. Black bears have claws that make them excellent climbers….you don’t so don’t try to out climb them
    4. Fight back with anything you have.  Try to hit them in the snout and eyes particularly.  A black bear will usually give up if they see their victim is willing to fight to the death.


Visit our post Preparing for your huckleberry adventure for other tips on a safer huckleberry adventure