Yup, the bears are waking up after long winter naps. Same story different day….
According to the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) twitter feed, around 6PM, March 19, 2016, Search and Rescue crews responded to the Cherry Creek Trail east of Duvall to rescue two hikers who became lost after seeing a bear and leaving the trail.
According to KOMO News, the hikers ran into the woods after getting scared by the bear. KCSO stated that crews safely escorted the pair out of the area around 8PM Saturday night.
On Friday, March 18th, SAR crews responded to Mount Si to bring four lost female hikers down from Mount Si when they became lost after encountering two bears.King County Explorer Search and Rescue also reported a bear sighting on Saturday during a mock search on Tiger Mountain.
Spring is the time when bears begin emerging from their dens. It’s important to note that black bears (most common in Washington) very rarely attack humans. It is recommended that hikers carry bear spray, which is different from pepper spray used to deter humans – and must be sprayed directly into the bear’s face.
Here are some tips from the Washington State Department of Wildlife for bear encounters:
- Stop, remain calm, and assess the situation. If the bear seems unaware of you, move away quietly when it’s not looking in your direction. Continue to observe the animal as you retreat, watching for changes in its behavior.
- If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking to the bear in a low voice. (Don’t use the word bear because a human-food-conditioned bear might associate “bear” with food . . . people feeding bears often say “here bear.”
- Don’t throw anything at the bear and avoid direct eye contact, which the bear could interpret as a threat or a challenge.
- If you cannot safely move away from the bear or the bear continues toward you, scare it away by clapping your hands, stomping your feet, yelling, and staring the animal in the eyes. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to shoulder and raise and wave your arms to appear intimidating. The more it persists the more aggressive your response should be. If you have pepper spray, use it.
- Don’t run from the bear unless safety is very near and you are absolutely certain you can reach it (knowing that bears can run 35 mph). Climbing a tree is generally not recommended as an escape from an aggressive black bear, as black bears are adept climbers and may follow you up a tree
REI offers many bear spray products, which can be ordered online HERE.