When we go on camping trips, hikes or any other outdoor adventures, we have to stop and realize that we are the ones intruding on the wildlife, and not the other way around. At the same time, while all we may want to do is enjoy a nice weekend away from the technologically dominant world, maybe with a beer or two with close friends and family, we need to know what to do when we see dangerous animals.
Why am I saying all of these obvious things? Well, because a recent story from Massachusetts leads me to believe that not everyone knows this. Police from this state caught an intoxicated man chasing after a bear with a hatchet. The police turned the man into protective custody, and were rather confused by the man’s actions. There was no information disclosed on if he was camping with a family. However, even if he was, would the man have been doing more harm than good by chasing after it when the bear could have at any time turned around and then started chasing him back?
I know that some people refer to alcohol as “liquid courage”, but I would love to know what on earth was going through this man’s head when he decided to pick up a hatchet, look at the bear and think “this is a good idea”. The police also disclosed the fact that this hatchet was not very sharp as well. I guess the whole idea of “it is more scared of you, than you are of it” applies to this situation since the man was the one doing the chasing as opposed to the one being chased, but my thoughts are more revolved around what would have happened to this man had the bear felt trapped and needed to attack. There are not too many stories on bears in the news, but some people fail to realize the size and strength that a bear has on its side. The average statistics on the American black bear are that they can reach anywhere from five to eight feet tall, and weigh anywhere from the mid-high five hundred pound range, to the low – mid six hundred pound range. Needless to say, when something of those measurements gets scared or angry and feels the need to attack, the results are not going to be pretty for many things, human or not, going up against it face-to-face. Maybe some of you are thinking that out running a bear is possible, since it weighs an enormous amount. Well, you may be able to get away from it by using a car, but on foot, even Usain bolt would not have much chance. When their top speed is reached, a bear can run at up to 30-35 miles per hour, and sustain that speed for quite some time. Usain bolt at his top speed for a mere 100 metres is 27 miles per hour. Think about that the next time you think you can escape from a bear on foot.
Police recommend that if a bear is spotted, the best thing to do is make contact with nearby officers via mobile phone, and to try and remain invisible to the bear as best you can.