This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
SURVIVE THIS! by josh pi v en Escape Claws How to handle a close encounter of the ursine kind.


EMERGENCY SITUATION: After another perfect day hiking Philmont’s trails, you’re fast asleep. Suddenly, you hear one of your Scouts screaming at the sight of an enormous black bear pawing at his tent. Apparently the Scout forgot to hang the dinner leftovers in your crew’s bear bag. What should you do?


SOLUTION: ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF PHILMONT treks include some type of unplanned bear


encounter, though dry conditions have increased those odds in recent years. So your chances of seeing one on your next trek are decent. The good news, though, is that bears prefer to dine on plants, berries, and bugs—not human flesh. But that doesn’t mean a prowl- ing bear won’t seriously injure you if its smells food nearby. Just something to, um, chew on. Since 1985, bears have caused just


10 injuries at Philmont—two that were serious. Most incidents were the result of Scouts or Scouters bringing food into their tents and suffering puncture or scratch wounds. That’s a good reminder for you and your Scouts to keep “smellables” out of


your tents in bear country—a lesson covered in the bear-safety course you take prior to every Philmont trek. At Philmont or not, bears rarely


attack Scout units. Encounters, though, happen all the time. So learn the best actions to take when you see one. First, do not run. A bear is the linebacker of the animal kingdom: big, tough, and fast. Bears can run up to 35 miles per hour for short bursts. They also have a highly developed sense of smell. So hiding isn’t a good option, either. Second, do not climb a tree. Black


bears make excellent climbers (inter- estingly, most grizzlies do not). In fact, a mother bear might chase her cubs up a tree just to defend them. Speaking of, next you should


determine whether there are cubs present. If so, you’ve likely encoun- tered a mama bear (fathers never care for cubs). React by slowly and quietly backing away, giving the mother her space. She might paw at the ground and even pretend to charge, but— statistically, at least—you’re less likely to be attacked during such behavior. Continue backing away until the bear loses interest. Male bears typically grow larger


than females, and they hunt alone. If you’ve encountered a so-called “preda- tory” male bear that is searching for food, do not back away. Instead, stand tall and hold your ground. If you’re with a group, gather together to appear larger and make a lot of noise. Next, pick up rocks, sticks, or any-


FIND MORE ADVICE on keeping your campsite bear-free at scouting magazine.org/bears.


42 S COUTING ¿ MAY•JUNE 2013


FRANK STOCKTON


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60