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Bear Safety in Yellowstone-Teton Territory

Posted On
Jul 01, 2016
Yellowstone Teton Guide
Animals near Yellowstone


Bear Safety in Yellowstone

In Yellowstone Teton Territory, we are in the heart of bear country. Our area is home to both black bears and Grizzly bears. Tourists often visit and see bears from the safety of their cars, but that is not always the case.

When spending time in Yellowstone Teton Territory, campers and hikers might find themselves face to face with a bear. If you do encounter a bear, it is important to understand how to keep you and your family safe.

First, if you know you will be hiking or camping in areas populated by bears, it is important to have bear spray. Bear spray is a form of pepper spray with added chemicals designed to affect bears. If a bear runs towards you, begin to spray the bear repellent when the bear is at least 25 feet away.  When used correctly, the bear spray will affect a bear’s eyes, nose, throat and lungs, which will stop it from attacking or charging.

The second most important factor for your safety is the size of your group. When hiking, especially early in the morning or late at night, it is important to travel with as a group of three or more. In addition to having safety in numbers, traveling with more people will create more noise, which will let any bears in the area know you are nearby.

Lastly, if you happen upon a bear at a distance, do not run. In most cases, a bear will only attack if startled. The bear might be protecting a carcass or its cubs. Strangers running will only scare the bear into confronting you. If you see a bear, slowly back away and continue on your way.

Most bears will go out of their way to avoid interactions with humans. It is not uncommon to travel through bear country without seeing a single bear. The danger with bears arises when individuals travel alone or are ill-prepared for encounters.

When camping and hiking in Yellowstone Teton Territory, be sure to remain safe and bear aware. For more bear safety tips, visit the Bear Safety page on the National Park Service’s website.

This article is sponsored by Challenger Pallet, manufacturers of wood pallets in Idaho.