Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Bear Spray

When I first arrived here, I was really naive. I thought I would just go outside and discover the wilderness by myself, alone, and go wherever I wanted like I did at all the simple touristic trails that I have been on in nature. But here at the ranch, I am in the real wilderness in a remote place which means I might actually encounter some wolf, cougar, bear... or even get lost. So better be well equipped and prepared to react if you want to avoid a big misadventure. There are several preventative measures to take: let know where you go, with who and for how long, take a bear banger and a bear spray.

What is funny about the bear spray is that some people just buy it and take it with them, feeling safe but do not even know how to use it. Some even forget to take out the security packaging which means that if they need it on the trail they would first have to understand how to open it and then how to use it. I can tell you the bear is not going to wait for you to figure that out!

So one thing we learn here is to be prepared and to learn how to use a bear spray. Lets have a demonstration and practice! We all went in the back pasture and listened to the explanation of an experienced guide. First thing to do : check the direction in which the wind is blowing. You do not want to have it blow back into your face otherwise you will just blind and suffocate yourself and basically offer yourself as a snack for the bear, which is not really what you want! So if the wind is blowing in your direction: down on one's luck. You better find another quick solution to face the bear. I do not think that if you yell “freeze, don’t move I need to get around you so that the wind is blowing in the right direction” he will really listen to you.

Anyway in every situation the bear spray is one of the last resources you have as it will only be effective on very short distances (a few meters)... The very last option being to roll into a ball and try to hurt the bear with a knife. Our guide suggested to offer him your foot to eat to give you more time to get your knife and injured him. But I am not sure that having one foot gone in the middle of the wilderness will allow you to survive longer anyway.

Then we each had a chance to practice the bear spray use. It was fun when the guide doing the orientation was showing the position and getting ready to use the spray: people where slightly moving behind him, not really sure about how the spray will spread in the air. We also had a big laugh when one of the interns, really excited to try it, was pressing the trigger but nothing came out, the spray bottle was empty! I liked to see the spray vanishing in the air. We could actually see the air movements for a few seconds thanks to the surprising orange dye. We had a good moment testing to use it!

In summary be prepared in bear country!

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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