Bear Encounters Are Rare, But Be Prepared!

Thinking about potentially coming across black bears while hiking or exploring outdoors in Nevada shouldn’t scare you; instead, it should motivate you to prepare yourself in the eventuality of a meeting of a lifetime!

The chances of running into a black bear is very low, as the state’s population is only about 400, and most of Nevada’s black bear population is concentrated around the Lake Tahoe/Reno area. The rest are scattered along the western side of Nevada as it borders the Sierra Nevada mountain range, though black bears are reportedly spreading east into their historic range.

You can prepare yourself before going camping or hiking by carrying bear spray and properly securing your food items, as a black bear has a sense of smell 7 times better than that of a bloodhound’s and won’t hesitate to raid a campground for a snack. If you ever do come across a bear, remain calm; it’s easier said than done, but remember that a bear just wants to be left alone to move along.

Speak at a conversational level to keep it aware of your presence and move sideways slowly, making yourself look as large as possible by spreading your jacket or standing on a log/rock. Make sure not to run; black bears are almost as fast as racehorses and can climb trees! This all sounds scary, but even spotting a bear in the wild is quite rare; heart-pounding, sure, but it’s likely not just on our end!

Aaron Huelsman

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