When you're camping and backpacking in the wilderness, you'll be among other living creatures who make the area their home: wildlife. Wild animals are entertaining and fun to watch but they're best left alone.
Depending on your location and season, you may encounter various species of antelope, bears birds, coyotes, deer, opossum, raccoons, and squirrels. Staying safe means keeping your distance and curiosity in check.
- Set up camp only in authorized areas.
- Never feed or approach wildlife.
- Avoid all contact with bears.
- Watch for tracks and signs.
- Don't corner or harass wild animals. They're most dangerous when provoked.
- Make your presence known by making noise while hiking. This gives the animals a chance to flee.
- Seal all food up tightly and use a bear-resistant trash receptacle.
- Minimize food odors by cleaning dishes promptly and always wash your hands.
- Change your clothes after cooking and never sleep in those clothes.
- Do not pitch your tent or sleep near food.
- Do not store food in your tent.
- Report animals that appear sick or aggressive.
- Hike in groups and stay on the trails.
- You can use pepper spray in an emergency situation but only as a last resort.
- When threatened, never run. Slowly back away.