Know your bear signs: even if you don't see bears, they may still be around.
Bears are generally shy and not agressive. They could be in the area and you might not know it! Bears signs can be found year-round on trees, trails, and other soft walking surfaces. Learn to identify the different types of signs that bears leave behind!
Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. If you see a bear:
- 1. Stay calm and do not run!
- 2. Avoid eye contact with bear.
- 3. Make yourself known: yell, blow whistle, and wave your arms.
- 4. Back away slowly, facing the bear.
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- Broad footprints ~4-7 inches long
- All 5 toes and claw marks typically show
- Triangular hind tracks
- Largest toe on the outside
- On trails, soft/wet soil, mud, or sand
- Dark brown but varies by diet
- Contains grass, seeds, fruit skins
- ~1-2 inches in diameter
- Usually tubular and sometimes coiled
- Along trails, at base of trees and plants
- ~1-4 inches long
- Coarse gaurd hairs are all black
- Underfur may be dark brown
- Sun exposure may lighten color
- On tree trunks, thorns, telephone poles, wire fences
- Parallel claw marks on tree trunk
- Bark often peeled back to show inner cambium
- Saplings broken partway up trunk
- On tree trunks, telephone poles, downed logs
Photo credits: John Adamski, DJ McNeil, Matt Merchant, John Van Niel, M. Colter Chitwood, Wikimedia.