Black bear

Black bears can sprint at speeds of 40-50 kilometres per hour, so humans can't outrun them. (Guy Chamberland)

Following an incident in which a La Ronge man was chased down the street by a black bear, the Saskatchewan government is offering some safety tips including the recommendation that you not try to run away from bears.

The tips are mostly aimed at people who encounter black bears while camping or hiking.

But they also apply to people like the La Ronge man who was taking a walk around town a week ago when he came across a bear. It started charging at him and he made a run for it. 

Things worked out for the man — the bear stopped chasing him — but according to the government's tip sheet, fleeing from a bear is not a wise strategy.

"Do not run — you can’t outrun a bear," the environment ministry said in a news release.

One of the most important tips is to never feed or approach a bear, including cubs.

Other tips include:

  • Calmly back away, speak in low tones, and do not look directly at the bear.
  • Move toward a large structure such as a tree or a rock.
  • As a last resort, dropping a backpack may distract the bear.
  • In most cases black bears will threaten but not attack. If attacked, people should defend themselves and not ‘play dead’.
  • In a campground, never cook or eat in a tent.
  • Store food in airtight containers in the trunk of the vehicle, not in tents or tent-trailers.
  • Don’t leave garbage, scraps, or pet food lying around. Place all garbage in the containers provided and do not burn or bury scraps.
  • Clean fish only at designated fish-cleaning stations.
  • Keep pets on leashes or inside vehicles. An unleashed dog may aggravate a bear.
  • At night, use a flashlight and do not move around the campsite unless necessary.