Protecting Yourself From Local Wildlife While Camping (2022)
To ensure that your next trip to the woods doesn’t turn into a nightmare, it’s important to consider possible wildlife encounters. When humans head out on a camping trip, we are entering the domain of the wild, and should respect the dangers that are all around.
Enjoying the wilderness takes experience and preparation for every potential situation. This includes the possibility of a wildlife encounter. You may come face to face with any number of wild animals on your camping trip, and you need to be prepared and educated to ensure your survival.
You may not want to take an AR 15 rifle with you in your backpack, but it’s important to have the necessary gear to protect yourself when you are camping or hiking. Let’s take a closer look at a few tips for protecting yourself from wildlife while you are camping.
Know Your Region
Before you head out for your next camping adventure, you need to educate yourself about the region. You will want to familiarize yourself with the terrain, the availability of water,and what types of wildlife you could encounter. Depending on where you are heading you could come in contact with anything from an alligator to a Grizzly bear. It’s important to know what types of animals are out there in order to properly prepare your camping gear.
No one wants to end up in a life-threatening situation with a wild animal, but it can happen when you are out in the wilderness. When you are packing your camping gear, it’s crucial to include items that can be used defensively against predatory animals. Your camping gear should always include these items:
- Bear spray
- Emergency whistle
- Ax or hatchet
- Belt knife
- Gun or rifle
- Electric taser
The best way to attract animals to your camping site is being careless with your food and gear. The smells of food can be picked up by animals from miles away and draw them towards your site. It’s crucial that you store your food and gear properly to avoid attracting dangerous animals. If you have a vehicle, you should store your food inside the trunk. If you are hiking in the backwoods and have no vehicle, you need to rig a tree sling using rope and hang your food pack up in the trees. NEVER keep food in your tent.
Most animals are afraid of fire. The best protection you can give yourself at night at your camp is to keep a good fire going. When it’s time to go to bed, make sure that you put enough hardwood on the fire to keep it going until the morning. If you don’t have a campfire at your site, you can try hanging lights around your site or posting charged solar lamps around your perimeter.
If you encounter a wild animal, knowing how to react can save your life. While each animal has slightly different behaviors, there are some common strategies that you should use if you come face to face with wildlife. The worst mistake that people make in a wildlife encounter is to be too aggressive. Most animals are wary of humans, but if they feel threatened they may attack.
- Don’t run away
- Slowly back away from the encounter
- Don’t make direct eye contact
- Shout and make noise
- Wave your arms and try to make yourself look bigger
- Prepare your weapon or spray
While it’s rare to encounter wildlife during the day, many animals will be more curious to approach your site at night when it’s quiet. To protect your campsite at night you can create a safe perimeter around your tent. Here are a few perimeter protection strategies:
- If you are in an area that may have predators, you can use your urine to create a perimeter. Most animals will pick up the scent of your urine and treat it the same way as any other animal marking their territory.
- Use trip wires around your site by hanging low-level rope around your site. Most predators will not cross this barrier. To create an alert, you can hang empty cans or something that will make noise on your rope. The cans will make noise when the rope is touched and scare off any animals. The noise will also act as an alert for campers that there is an animal nearby.
- A solar charged motion light placed near your tent will activate when predators are near. The sudden flash of light will usually scare away any animals.
When you head out into the woods on your next camping trip, make sure that you consider your safety and how to pack for a wildlife encounter. The gear that you take with you and knowing how to react in an encounter can save your life.