There are thousands of encounters between bears and humans every year in Manitoba alone. Hundreds of which happen inside the Riding Mountain National Park. That means the next time you drive through the park, there's a good chance you could encounter one.
When you're in a car, you're completely safe. There are some tips to keep in mind when you go camping next time.
"You should always make sure attractants are secure, so in your vehicle, a sturdy building, or a bear-resistant container," said Janine Stewart, Human-Wildlife Conflict Biologist with Manitoba Sustainability. "Bears are very motivated by their stomach and attracted by their nose."
If you do encounter a bear and you're not in your vehicle, it's very important to remain calm at all times.
"We always tell people to stop, remain calm, and assess the situation. If a bear isn't even aware of your presence, you can just back away and go the other way," continued Stewart. "If a bear is aware of your presence and it's showing signs of aggravation, like swatting at the ground or something like that, it shows they're stressed by your presence. At that point, you should talk quietly to the bear and assure them that you're not a problem."
If a bear does approach you, there could be a reason. You may be wearing strong smelling cologne or you may have something in your pocket with a scent. The bear may also be curious, or even predatory.
"A black bear being predatory is very, very rare. In that case, you want to step to the side and allow the bear to just pass you," said Stewart. "If the bear continues to follow you, you have to get more assertive and aggressive and basically, assure the bear that you are a potential threat and someone they shouldn't pursue."
If the bear continues to show aggression and even starts to attack you, you should go for his vulnerable spots. Those spots include anywhere on the face.