Safety Tips for Wild Animal Encounters Atmore AL

When it comes to staying safe in the backcountry, remember that your drinking buddies are not the only wild animals to watch out for.

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Safety Tips for Wild Animal Encounters

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Wild Animals

Staying safe where the wild things are

Statistically speaking, you are 300 times more likely to be killed hitting a deer on the highway than to die in the clutches of a mountain lion. Even if you stumble upon a wild cat, chances are it won't be seeking human prey, despite what the writers of 24 thought when they penned the much-mocked "Kim and the Cougar" episode.

While bears can pose a real and immediate threat, most wildlife encounters involve non-aggressive elk, deer, moose, sheep, goats and wolves. But don't make the mistake of thinking these animals are like the ones at your local petting zoo. Treat any encounter with a wild animal like coming face to face with James Bond on a bad day - they're armed and dangerous and have a license to kill.

To prevent close encounters of the wild kind,

  • Look from afar: Never approach or entice wildlife, no matter how gentle it appears. Want a closer look? Use
    • binoculars
    • a telephoto lens.
  • Keep your distance: Even docile vegetarian animals have horns that can gouge. To make sure you don't get caught off guard by a sudden attack, give
    • predators (bears, cougars, wolves) 100 yards or 10 bus lengths
    • grazers (elk, moose, deer, mountain goats) at least 30 yards or about 3 bus lengths.
  • Lock it up: Store your food in bear-proof containers. Not only will this discourage bears, but it will foil other pesky wildlife, like raccoons.
  • Keep a clean camp: Wild animals of all descriptions are attracted to
    • food scraps or leftovers
    • dishwater
    • dirty dishes
    • barbecues
    • empty bottles or cans
    • food wrappers
    • toothpaste
    • soap and other toiletries
    • pet food dishes (full or empty).

If a Wild Animal Becomes Interested in You

If a wild animal notices you, back away, making sure you face them. They'll probably lose interest as you retreat. Even if they ignore you, don't resume the path. Instead, change your route to avoid them.

If a Wild Animal Approaches

While all ...

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