I’m in Jasper in Jasper National Park.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of the largest protected areas in the world.
When you drive in here – you need to pass through a toll booth and pay your way in, declaring how long you intend to stay there. The site’s enormous, so you have to factor in how long you’ll be driving through as well.
In exchange, you get a sticker for your windscreen (like a pay and display ticket) and a guide brochure. Here’s what the brochure has to say on the exciting subject of bear attacks:
IF THE BEAR BEHAVIOUR IS DEFENSIVE
You surprise a bear. It may be feeding, protecting its cubs or just unaware of your presence. It sees you as an immediate threat and feels that it must fight. This is the most common attack situation.
- If you have bear spray, use it (according to the manufacturer’s instructions)
- If the bear makes contact with you, play dead! Showing submission will probably end the attack.
- Lie on your stomach with your legs apart, so the bear cannot easily flip you over.
- Cover the back of your head with your hands.
- Keep your pack on to protect your back.
Defensive attacks seldom last more than two minutes. If the attack continues, it may have shifted from defensive to predatory.
In this case, fight back!
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t expose my family jewels to a big hungry bear. Nor would I just lie there and allow him or her to claw at me for a full TWO MINUTES before deciding to fight back.
I recently had a pretty cowardly encounter with a bear, whilst on a bicycle. I’m no expert, but I know enough about life to be pretty sure of one thing: I’d soil myself and run like hell!