Although we are experiencing another wonderful snow-filled winter in Deep Creek Lake, it will not be long before spring is here and our friend the ‘Black Bear’ is coming out of hibernation! I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some bear safety and do’s and don’ts from what I have read, and from personal experience living here on Wisp Mountain.
Hiking or Camping: First of all, most attacks are mother bears defending their cubs. I know that baby bear cubs are very cute, but if you see a cub you need to distance yourself calmly and immediately because the mother cub is always close by. Mother bears are very defensive of their cubs so be respectful of their family; do not underestimate the mother’s fury. The old saying, “you attract what you fear”, comes to play when dealing with any wild animal. Remain calm! Slowly back away from a bear confrontation until the bear ignores you. At your campsite, bang pots and pans & yell and clap loudly to try to keep the bear moving away from you. Wave your hands as high as possible to appear larger. Never turn your back on a bear and never run. Running attracts any animal to pursue you. Always cook and store your food at least 100 feet from your camp. Store your food in Tupperware and keep it in a tree 30 feet off the ground and 15 feet from the tree trunk. Remember, bears are very agile tree climbers. My husband and I witnessed a mother and cub grazing through our front yard a few summers back and the playful cub climbed every other 60 foot tree in seconds. The mother occasionally will do the same. It’s hard to comprehend the lightning speed that the bears possess.
Vacationers at Deep Creek Lake- The Department of Natural Resources were called in to help us a few summers back to deal with a bear problem in our neighborhood. Reason being….food in trash cans. People have to understand the importance of keeping trash cans away in their garages or securing them tightly in outside containers. Bears can be huge scavengers if there is a steady food source. Too many mornings going to work or driving around the lake I see trash heaped up improperly outside and you can bet you will find trash littered from dozens of homes all the way up and down the roads of DCL when this happens. First of all, it becomes a huge littering problem for the lake but more importantly it could put your family and children in harms way. Also, some locals think it’s nice to set out food so they can witness the bears eating it. It’s never a good idea to feed the bears; they will become reliant on humans to supply their food source and it quickly becomes habit-forming, creating bear problems within our neighborhood. Lets all be respectful of the bear’s natural habitat and the safety of local and out-of-state residents. Deep Creek Lake is a very special place where we are lucky to interact with a massive amount of wildlife so let’s take a few precautions to respect and enjoy the bears presence in our lives.