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Avoiding problems

As in health care, prevention is better than cure. The best way to minimise problems is to avoid them. That's why saftey is mostly about avoiding close encounters with bears and, equally importantly, of not attracting them. There is a wealth of information available on this subject, not only from North America but also from Europe.

If you do not want to meet a bear, be vigilant in or near forest. Look out for tracks and other signs of bear presence: if they are fresh, increase your vigilance. Be particularly cautious in dense vegetation, in areas with abundant forest fruit, near carcasses, in bad visibility or when hearing is impaired, or if you are walking into the wind. Be especially careful in the early morning, in the evening and at night, when bears are more active, but also during the day in dense vegatation or near food sources.

If visibility is limited, it may help to talk, whistle or otherwise warn bears of your approach: bears will usually avoid you if they know you are there. To avoid attracting bears, food and refuse should be stored so that bears cannot get to them. Do not approach or feed bears, even if they seem to be tame or calm.

In the following sections, we offer advice which is based on practical experience and that can greatly reduce the risk of conflict with bears:-





Cycling and running


Foresters and forestry workers

Holidaymakers, hotel staff and rural residents


Livestock breeders

Mushroom and berry pickers

Hikers and tourists