“It’s been said people in sleeping bags are the soft tacos of the bear world…FALSE. Hammocks are the soft taco of the bear world. Sleeping bags are the burrito.”
The NPS issued a rather dark warning in a facebook post comparing people in hammocks as soft tacos to the bear population and those in sleeping bags simply as “bearritos”. While the message may unsettling, when it comes to bear safety you shouldn’t mince words lest you become mincemeat. Here’s the official Bearrito statement:
It’s been said people in sleeping bags are the soft tacos of the bear world…FALSE. Hammocks are the soft taco of the bear world. Sleeping bags are the burrito.
Don’t become a bearrito. Be bear aware. Seeing a bear in the wild is a special treat for any visitor to a national park. While it is an exciting moment, it is important to remember that bears in national parks are wild and can be dangerous. Once a bear has noticed you and is paying attention to you, additional strategies can help prevent the situation from escalating.
🐻 Identify yourself by talking calmly so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal.
🐻 Remain still; stand your ground but slowly wave your arms. It may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.
🐻 Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Bears may also react defensively by wooﬁng, yawning, salivating, growling, snapping their jaws, and laying their ears back.
🐻 Continue to talk to the bear in low tones; this will help you stay calmer, and it won’t be threatening to the bear. A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack.
🐻 Pick up small children immediately.
🐻 Hike and travel in groups. Groups of people are usually noisier and smellier than a single person.
🐻 Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground).
🐻 If the bear is stationary, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping.
🐻 Do NOT allow the bear access to your food. Getting your food will only encourage the bear and make the problem worse for others.
🐻 Keep a flashlight and your bear spray in the tent at night. In a backcountry camp, place sleeping areas at least 100 yards away from cooking and food storage areas.
See more bear tips at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/bears/safety.htm
Image: A grizzly bear looks up from a siesta in Denali National Park and Preserve. Possibly dreaming about a burrito. NPS/ Emily Mesner
images from nps fb