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How to Keep Bears Away

Learn your black bears from your brown bears then figure out how to keep them away from your camp.

Tell black from brown: A black bear has a light-colored muzzle, and is generally smaller and lacks the muscular shoulder hump and dish-shaped face of a brown bear (grizzly). Browns can be found only in remote areas of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and western Canada.

Cook wisely: A bear’s sense of smell is 7 times greater than a bloodhound’s. Prepare meals at least 100 yards from camp. After your meal, change clothes and secure food in a bear bag or a hard-shell canister.

Discharge pepper spray: Aim for the bear’s eyes and face, and pull the trigger when a charging bear is within 40 feet. Most canisters create a visible 30-foot cone of spray. Once the bear is disoriented, leave the scene as quickly as possible and report the incident to local authorities.

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