I spend an abundance of time hiking in the woods, getting to experience many wonders of nature, including a variety of wildlife scat, tracks, and animal sounds. In September, my dog and I were following a narrow animal path through the thick woods, and although we didn't see the bear, he/she verbally warned us that we were too close the bear's comfort zone. Because I have the utmost respect for wildlife, and worried what the bear may do to my dog (leashed), we turned back. I have no desire to encroach upon someone's space, or make the bear feel threatened.
In late October, I came upon a bear track in the woods. What was great about this early snow, was being able to track, and feel it's presence before hibernation. Risks to humans from a bear is relatively low, and that is why it is smart to follow these tips:
- Make sure the bear knows you're there. Do so by making noise, talking to the animal, waving your arms, or yelling. According to the DNR, bears normally leave a space once they know a human is around.
- Make yourself appear larger by holding a jacket up or holding your arms over your head.
- Ensure the bear has an escape route.
- If you surprise a bear at close range, back away slowly.
- Don't approach a bear. Respect them and enjoy them from a distance.
By the way, my shoe is about 12 inches in length, to give you perspective on the photo.