Saskatchewan

5 tips to stay safe around black bears

Environment officials in Saskatchewan are offering tips to stay safe around black bears, after a woman in the province fought one off last week.

Do not run or 'play dead', say environment officials

If you are walking in bear country, make noise. Bears have poor eyesight, so if you are silent they may not see you until you are in close proximity.

Environment officials in Saskatchewan are offering tips to stay safe around black bears, after a woman in the province fought one off last week. 

1. Do not run

"A bear can outrun you, anyway," advises Rich Hildebrand, a conservation officer with the province's environment ministry in Prince Albert. 

Instead, back away slowly.

2. Back away slowly

Get as much space between you and the bear as you can and back slowly away if it is approaching you. Hildebrand recommends speaking in low tones and avoiding eye contact.

3. Drop articles of clothing, backpacks

Bears can smell better than they can see. Dropping something may distract it while you continue backing away.

4. Do not play dead

"You definitely do not want to play dead with a black bear," said Hildebrand.

He says while that advice may work in some situations with other bears, don't try it with the bears in Saskatchewan.

5. Fight back if attacked

As a last resort, fight back. Stand up tall, hit and kick and punch the bear as best you can. 

For more safety tips, as well as information on where to report an encounter with an aggressive bear, check out the environment ministry's fact sheet.

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