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UPDATE ON THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

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Police Column

Bear encounters: know what to do when hiking

Autumn, with its stunning colours, fresh-smelling air and its absence of mosquitoes is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and devote some time to hiking in Mont-Tremblant. However, you just might encounter some surprising animals.

There have been 9-1-1 calls recently about the presence of black bears in the woods bordering downtown Mont-Tremblant. Here is some advice about what to do if you meet a bear when you are hiking. 

How to react

Don’t scream and don’t run. Remain calm and speak in a regular but firm tone as you back up, adopting an imposing stance by lifting your arms in the air. Use a coat or jacket if necessary to be as big and impressive as possible in the eyes of the bear. Don’t panic if the bear goes up on its hind feet. It often does this to analyze new smells or to let you know that you are in its personal space. 

Among the urban legends is one that indicates that your best move is to “play dead”. While this tactic might work with a grizzly, you should be aware that a black bear is probably as afraid as you are; it would definitely prefer to avoid a confrontation and let you leave the area. “Playing dead” will only make the bear more interested in you. 

If a confrontation or fight is inevitable, the black bear’s nose has numerous nerve endings and is its weak point. Keep that in mind!

Avoid…being inviting!

From the end of summer until its hibernation, the black bear consumes about 20,000 calories a day (say farewell to that tiny waist!). It particularly adores the seeds in bird feeders. Be sure to place your feeders as high as possible and far from trees so that they are inaccessible to the bears. Avoid, as well, placing your trash and compost bins out by the road too long before the collection trucks pass. 

Maxime Dorais
Spokesman
Ville de Mont-Tremblant Police Department

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