The Bear Essentials Essay

897 words - 4 pages

The "Bear" Essentials Whether in the Appalachian Mountains or the Nevada sierra, many American forests are home to one of nature's most fascinating animals, ursus americanus, or "American Bear," according to the Encyclopedia Britta nica. More commonly known as the black bear, this animal's passive demeanor often disguises its potential to be threatening, and even deadly, to their human counterparts. Unfortunately, most attacks occur because the black bear remains one of the most misunderstood mammals in the forest.There are many misconceptions about black bears and about how a person should handle an encounter with these creatures. Knowing what not to do during an encounter with a black bear is as equally important as knowing what to do. The following list of "do's" and "don'ts" could prevent a fun day in the forest from turning to tragedy.First of all, don't run. If you come face-to-face with a black bear, your first instinct will probably be to run. However, bears have been clocked running at speeds up to thirty-five miles per hour, according to Discovery Channel Online. Running from a bear may only encourage a chase, and a chase will most likely end in an attack. The fastest human cannot match a bear's speed, much less an average hiker or hunter.Second, don't play dead. Black bears eat meat, including carrion (dead things). Even if the bear is not hungry, they are so curious they may rip a person open simply to see what is inside. In one documented attack, a woman played dead while her husband ran for help. He returned to find no trace of her or the bear (Discovery Online). Playing dead only encourages aggression in a black bear. Third, don't climb a tree. Although black bears are bulky animals and may seem clumsy, they are actually nimble tree climbers. Black bears are often observed sleeping in high tree branches. In fact, bear's claws grow in excess of one inch which allows for excellent traction in climbing. Hence, trying to escape a bear by climbing up a tree may simply leave you cornered.Fourth, don't detour from marked trails. The US Scouting Association advises that only the most skilled hikers and hunters should ever detour from marked trails. Bears tend to stay away from trails that are frequented by humans. A common misconception is that black bears hibernate in caves the entire winter season. Black bears often forage in the wintertime, and can often be found sleeping in shrubs or thickets.Fifth, don't wear colognes or perfumes. Bears have a very sensitive sense of smell.Most people...

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