Bears

Black bear
Jul15

What to do if you see a Bear

 

If you go hiking, you may one day encounter a bear. Therefore it is really important to know about how you should behave when this happens. BC is home to both black bears and grizzly bears. They tend to behave differently in a given situation, so first you need may want to know the differences between these bears. The protocol for bear encounters is different depending on the type you see.

Differences between Black Bears and Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears are also called Brown bears. Don’t be deceived by their name! Both of these bears can be anything from blonde to dark black in color. You can’t identify a bear based on its color alone. The easiest way to tell if a bear is a black bear or a grizzly bear is to look for the shoulder hump.  Grizzly bears have a very distinct hump on their shoulder area which black bears do not. Black bears are the most common type of bear near BC’s largest cities. Grizzly bears generally live in rural and remote areas of BC and thrive in undisturbed habitats.

What to do if you see a bear

  • Do not run/climb a tree

These Behaving in this way might cause the black bear to chase after you. Bears are good climbers.

  • Talk in a low, calm voice

Let the bear know you’re there so it can see you’re no danger to it. However if the bear is 300 feet away and hasn’t noticed your presence, making a quiet exit is probably your best course of action.

  • Back away slowly

Back away without making any sudden movements and hopefully you and the bear will go your separate ways.

What to do if a Black bear charges at you

  • Stand your ground

If the bear is still with you even after you have followed the above, slowly put your arms up around you or move to higher ground to make yourself look bigger. Black bears are generally timid animals. 

  • Always leave the bear an escape route

  • Fighting back

As a last resort, you may want to fight back with all your strength, aiming direct blows at the bear’s face while using any weapon or object available to you. If you have bear spray with you, this would be the time to use it.

What to do if a Grizzly bear charges at you

Grizzly bears have an aggressive nature, and if you behave the same way as you would when seeing a black bear, you could make the situation worse.

  • Use Bear pepper spray

  • Play dead

Lay flat on your stomach with your hands clasped behind your neck. Spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to turn you over. It is likely that the bear will try to flip you over or play with your body. If this happens, instead of resisting, you should allow the bear to flip you, but roll all the way over so you end up face-down again.

grizzly bear

Make your Kelowna vacation wonderful by staying at one of our beautiful cottages! Call our reservations line on 1 888 226 5566 or email rentals@lacasacottageresort.com. 

 

Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

Deer Okanagan
Jun25

Wildlife to watch out for whilst hiking in the Okanagan

 

Spring in the Okanagan brings out more wildlife.  Bears come out from hibernation, rattle snakes bask in the sun and birds become more adventurous.  Though unlikely, it is possible to come face to face with several animals.  Here are the top six to watch out for when hiking in Kelowna and surrounding areas:

  • Bears –

    Black Bear

    The most likely bear that you would encounter near Kelowna is a Black Bear. Black bears can come in all shapes, colours and sizes.  Though the bears feast mainly on berries, insects, fish and grasses, they can develop an appetite for human food. Because of this, it is important to not leave food scraps or trash on any hiking trails or campsites!  If you encounter a bear, you should never try to run away.  Instead raise your hands above your head, act big and talk to the bear whilst you begin to back away.

  • Deer –

    Deer Okanagan

    There are plenty of deer in and around Kelowna, so this would be the most likely animal that you would spot on a local hike. There are three types of deer that are prevalent in the Okanagan areas: Mule Deer, White-Tailed Deer and Black-Tailed Deer. Though Deer are not dangerous animals, it is still best to leave them alone (especially their young), give them space and keep dogs close.

  • Big Horn Sheep –

    Big Horn Sheep

    Keep your eyes peeled for Big Horn Sheep. These sheep are spread out in small flocks across the Okanagan regions.  They are rarely spotted in well populated trails and urban areas, but they are great animals to see if you get a chance! The males have large, curled horns which distinguish them from other types of sheep – and these horns act as a sign of the ram’s status, as well as being used as weapons in battle.

  • Western Rattle Snake –

    Western Rattlesnake

    You won’t usually find a Western Rattle Snake on a well-established hiking trail, but never say never! You could encounter snakes under rocks or logs so be careful. Watch where you are treading or putting your hands – you don’t want to accidentally disturb a sleeping snake!  In Canada, only found in the warmer climates of the Okanagan, and small parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Western Rattle Snake is venomous and carnivorous.

  • Cougars –

    Cougar Okanagan

    Cougars, or Mountain Lions, are the second most powerful predator in Canada (after bears). The Okanagan is prime territory for cougars due to its mountainous, rocky terrain.  Because they are most active between dusk and dawn, it is unlikely that you will see a cougar on a day hike.  However, if you do spot fresh tracks or warning signs that a cougar is in the area, it is best to turn back!

Always be on the watch for wildlife when out on a hike, and always travel in a group.  If you are unsure what to take with you when hiking, please refer to our Okanagan Hiking Packing List.  There are so many trails around Kelowna to enjoy – Do you think you will encounter any of these animals?  Have you seen any interesting wildlife on your adventures?

 

Written by Hannah Poaros