A new show called “Something Bit Me!” has recently aired. The many episodes tell the story of people getting bit, attacked, stomped, and mauled in the outdoors. After watching some of these shows, most folks would never venture into the outdoors again. ￼
As a lifelong educator, Environmental Scientist, Scout and Scoutmaster, hunter, fisherman, and outdoor adventurer, I have yet to be bitten! My adventures have taken me to some pretty remote areas, dangerous places, and risk filled locations. So why have me, or the thousands of my students, friends, students, Scouts, and I not been Bitten? As the Boy Scout motto proclaims, “Be Prepared!”
When you watch the shows, the same realities are evident. Most of the Bitten people are unprepared, naive, ignorant of their risky behaviors, and are not anticipating any problems. DUH!!!
Bear attacked victim have no bells, awareness, bear spray, or weapons. They are hiking alone, quietly, in bear country. Mountain bikers are flying down trails, in Mountain Lion country, mimicking escaping prey. Snakes are biting victims jumping off logs, wearing no foot and leg protection, without looking for obvious, potential snake lairs. Campers are setting up their fragile, thin tents along feeding trails, beaches, and areas with no realistic protection. Hikers are venturing into areas to look at the cute critters with no protection or plans to prevent or defend themselves.
In one episode, a group of paying customers were placed on a remote wilderness beach in Canada. Help was hours and many miles away. Their 2 guides had no guns because they are not allowed in the National Park. No one had bear spray. For protection, they had an electric fence powered by 2 D batteries! Sure, it was 3 strands high but… During the day, they were charged by a Polar Bear. The ice on the lakes and waters were melted, so all the local, and hungry bears, were on the beach where they camped. The” experienced guides” used a flare gun to chase off the bears, The bear was not hit, just surprised. That night, he fearlessly came back and stepped through the flimsy electric fence to grab a camper. The bear dragged its prey up the beach. There was no fire and no one on guard. ￼
Canadian officials suggest that a native hunter escort these groups with a rifle. This tourist company did not enlist their help. They did shoot more flares off. The bear finally dropped the injured prey and the campers retreated into the safety of their electric perimeter along the bears buffet route. Now they built a big fire and put out guards. Their first aid kit was small and almost worthless. Bandages were made from torn clothing
The attacked victim nearly died before a helicopter arrived. An armed native hunter also arrived and spotted 17 polar bears in the visible area. Several were along the trail where the tour group was supposed to hike the next day.
After the attack and obvious danger, the guides and tourists were, “Well the bear was just doing what bears do!” I am curious to see what any lawsuit presented.
The good news is that animals rarely attack. The number of actual deaths caused by bears, sharks, snakes, and other critter encounters are miniscule. Many are preventable. When they do, it is more than regrettable. People can quickly die. After the bear, mountain lion, moose, snake, or… attacks, they end up getting shot or eradicated. The naïve and ignorant humans, that were unprepared to be in danger, survive to make a show, or have a story to tell, and show off their scars, but at the expense of the critters that were just being critters.
No one needs to get bit!