A sign seen during our short evening hike to the Window, the drainage of the whole Chisos Basin at Big Bend, TX. Rangers track, study and report the few actual attacks and study animals response to people’s actions. The information seems like good advice: pick up small children (or better yet-don’t bring them), don’t run (cats like a good chase), don’t crouch down (or put your face in their slashing range), Throw sticks and rocks (how do you reach down to get them without crouching?).
We’ve read and heard similar strategies for Black Bears, but acting docile for certain other animals. How to keep it all straight? How to act the right way when what is more likely is an instant reflexive reaction?
On another trip in Jackson Hole, WY, we walked right up to a Black Bear on a trail about 100 ft past a warning poster. I stood tall, held my knapsack above my head, yelling, “I’m bigger than you” “I’m bigger than you”. Within 6 or 8 seconds, as the bear cowered a bit, wrinkling his or her nose at us, the cameras were out as we backed slowly away. The bear left the trail gradually, avoiding those noisy creatures. We never did pick up any rocks, but were pretty vigilant the rest of that day!