Over the past several weeks, we've had schools on lockdown because of bears that have were seen in the area. National Geographic recently posted an article "How To Not Get Attacked By A Bear". If you're a native, you may already know these tips. But, it's good to refresh your memory on what to do (and not do) if you encounter a bear on a trail or in town.

1. Don't try to attract bears

You would think this would be obvious, but most people don't realize they're attracting bears. One big no-no when hiking is to carry food with you. As the article mentions, even chewing gum can be a trigger for a bear to decide he/she wants to get closer.

2. Bear spray is your friend

Carry it on the front of whatever vest or belt you're wearing so it's easily available without fumbling. National Geographic claims that 92% of bear encounters where bear spray was used resulted in no injuries. As for the other 8%, well, thoughts and prayers are with them.

3. Know what type of bear you're dealing with

Brown and black bears will react in a completely different way than a Grizzly. Black bears in our area MAY retreat if you act bold and aggressive. A grizzly will have you for a quick snack if you try that with them, though.

4. Never ever run and know when to play dead

Rule of thumb - don't play dead unless the bear has already made contact with you. And, know this only works with certain bear species. Most of the time, slowly backing away while speaking in a loud, calm voice and keeping the bear firmly in your sights is a good idea.

Highly advised that you read the full article at National Geographic even if you think you know it all. We love bears and are thankful to live in an area where they are common. But, it's never a good thing when direct contact is made especially when injuries and loss of life occur.