It's that time of year again when the critters are waking up after a long winter's nap. We hear recent news of mountain lion attacks in Washington and a grizzly attack in Montana already this season. Like flipping through Bruce Tremper's "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" every fall before ski season, it's a good idea to refresh your brain on what to do if you happen to cross paths with a big ol' bear or mountain lion while out riding in our backyard.
See a Big Cat?
Remember these keys:
DO NOT RUN OR SPRINT AWAY ON YOUR BIKE
If you are with small kids, pick them up without bending over or turning your back on the lion
Remain facing the lion and slowly back away. LEAVE THE LION AN ESCAPE ROUTE
Try to appear as large as possible (lift your bike over your head, wave your arms, etc.)
Yell at the lion, throw rocks at it, wave a fallen branch, etc. if the cat will not leave
IF THE LION ATTACKS
Fight back with all your might
Try to stay on your feet
Use sticks, rocks, your bike
If you have bear spray, use it!
Have a look at these from Idaho Fish and Game:
What about the Grizz?
Identification is important. We’ve got both Black and Grizzly bears in areas where we ride. Regardless, both should be treated with extreme caution.
Carry bear spray with you on your rides and make sure it’s stashed in a place where you can retrieve it and deploy in less than 4 seconds. I carry one of these Bear Cozys in the bottle cage on my bike.
Above all, make noise, heed warning signs, be aware, ride with others and carry the spritzer with you all the time. You never know when you’ll need it.
What to Do if a Grizzly Bear Attacks
Put your bike between you and the bear if possible.
Make as much noise as possible
If deploying bear spray, use it when the bear is within 40′ of you – the bear will be running into the fog of pepper spray. Aim for the face of the bear.
IF YOU ARE ATTACKED
Lie face down on the ground with your hands around the back of your neck.
Stay silent and try not to move.
Keep your legs spread apart and leave your pack on to protect your back.
Once the bear backs off, stay quiet and still for as long as you can. Bears will often watch from a distance and come back if they see movement.