When things get wild out there

Black Bear

Black Bear

Do: Wave arms slowly, speak calmly and walk away; Drop a non-food item to distract it; If charged, stand your ground, use bear spray.

Don’t: Shout or make sudden movements; Run or climb a tree (it can do both faster); Play dead (it will investigate—with claws).

Cougar

Cougar

Do: Try to look big (stand tall, open jacket, wave arms); Make eye contact, and slowly back away; If attacked, fight back hard as possible, protecting your head and neck.
Don’t: Run or turn your back; Crouch, hide or play dead; Cause it to feel trapped.

Coyote

Coyote

Do: Assess its behaviour and check for others; Make yourself appear larger, make noise and slowly back away; If attacked, stand and fight back—hard.

Don’t: Turn your back or run away; Unleash your dog; Let your group spread out—a straggler may get attacked.

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

Do: Stay calm and slowly back away; Climb at least four metres up a tree; If attacked, lie face down, spread legs and clasp hands over back of neck.

Don’t: Turn and run (that can trigger a chase); Shout or act aggressive if it’s close by; Threaten or agitate it.

Rutting Moose

Rutting Moose

Do: Watch for signs of a charge (lip licking, ears back); Run and take cover behind anything large; Curl up in a ball and protect your head.

Don’t: Approach to within 25 metres; Try to overtake it on a trail; Get anywhere near the hooves.

Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake

Do: If you hear a rattle, head in the opposite direction; If bitten, immobilize the affected limb and keep it below heart level; Flush bite with soapy water, then get to a hospital.

Don’t: Pick up, move or harass it; Stick hands or feet into dark crevices; Apply a tourniquet, ice or suction to a bite.

Wolf

Wolf

Do: Maintain eye contact and slowly back away; If it advances, lunge toward it, yelling and clapping; Throw rocks and sticks at it. If it attacks, stand and fight.

Don’t: Approach dens or fresh kills; Turn your back or run away; Try to break up a fight between a wolf and a dog.

Wild ones

Wild ones

For backcountry run-ins with aggressive animals, knowledge is the best defence—especially if you’re unarmed. Here are some dos and don’ts for handling nature’s nasty side.

Please note: This gallery is not meant to provide complete, definitive advice for handling wild animal encounters. To learn more, contact your local wildlife office.

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