Tuesday, October 5, 2010

They're Back!

Many trail runners probably already know this. Black bears are back in North East Ohio. Personally, I've seen a lot of evidence of it, from poo to paw prints. Never a direct sighting, but sometimes you just know something deep in your bones. This I know.


Anyways, what's a trail runner to do if they happen to round a corner and make friendly with a black bear?

1. These aren't the bears of lore. These bears are affectionately known as Pennsylvania Shy one state to the east. Typically, you won't have a problem. In fact, you're incredibly lucky if you do actually see one.

2. As soon as you've made contact, make yourself as big as possible. Do nothing that seems threatening, like yelling and making eye contact. Also, don't make yourself look like food. Don't cower, don't bend over, and don't run away.

3. Back away slowly, talking, looking big, and don't make eye contact. 99% of the time this works.

3. Black bear are different than grizzly. If they do charge, most likely you're food. Run. Drop your pack as a sacrifice. Assuming all this doesn't work so well, fight like hell. I can't describe anything better than that. You're goal at this point is to injure the bear, this way you won't die.

4. Most of charges are because of people splitting a mom from cubs. Don't do this.

Seriously, your chances of dealing with a bear are significantly less than dealing with dogs. I've had to ward off dog attacks thrice on the trails, never dealt with a bear. Enjoy your run!

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