Although snow threatens to fall on Lander today, there are places where the sun shines warmly and bears are starting to wake up. They wake up hungry. And even though humans remain way down on the list of choice items to break a bear's fast, numerous questions related to staying safe in bear country have flowed onto my screen in the past week. Here are several:
If food has spilled on a sleeping bag, could the smell attract a bear? Answer: Yep. Don't eat in or near your bag, wash it when food has spilled on it, and don't even sleep near the clothes you cooked and dined in.
Can you outrun a bear by running downhill? Answer: Nope. They are more clumsy and slower going downhill than up, but they are still a lot faster than a human, even a really scared human.
Does the odor of DEET attract bears? Answer: Nobody knows for sure. No bear has ever been seen showing interest in DEET products. DEET does not smell like food, so the chances of it drawing a bear to you are slim.
Will bear spray repel snakes? No snake repellent has ever been licensed as a product, but people report bear spray drives snakes, even venomous snakes, away. If you feel threatened, shoot for the snake's face. For more info: www.peacemakerpepperspray.com.