Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Temperate forest leadership skills

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Fire[edit | edit source]

Small fires are better than large ones as they require less fuel and make less smoke. Sit close. Less fuel means less work in gathering fuel. Review the answers in Camping Skills IV to refresh yourself on how to build a fire in wet weather.

Water[edit | edit source]

When travelling for extended periods of time in the wilderness, it is not practical to carry all the water you will need. Happily, it is not necessary to do that either if you know how to make the water that is available suitable for drinking. There are generally three ways to purify water: chemically, by boiling, or by filtering. The most reliable method of purifying water is by pumping it through a filter. Chemically treating the water is also easy and convenient until you run out of purification tablets. Boiling water requires that you stop long enough to build a fire and bring the water to a boil. Then you are faced with the problem of carrying boiling water. For these reasons, filtering is the preferred solution. Be sure to refill when water is available, and think ahead to when water may not be plentiful (such as near the summit of a large hill or mountain), and make adequate preparations.

Bear Danger[edit | edit source]

Bear danger is the risk encountered by humans while interacting with wild bears.

Although some bears are alpha predators in their own habitat, they do not, under normal circumstances, hunt and feed on animals of their own size (including humans). Therefore, the most important cases of bear attack occur when the animal is defending itself against any possible threat. For instance, bear sows can become extremely aggressive if they feel their cubs are threatened. Any solitary bear is also likely to become agitated if surprised or cornered by a threat maker, especially while eating.

Dealing with bear encounters

Before backpackers are allowed to enter an area with bears, they may be required to watch a video that teaches how to avoid encountering or agitating bears. Experts emphasize keeping your distance and making noise to avoid startling a bear as the best ways to avoid a bear attack. If a bear does become confrontational, the usual advice is to raise the arms above the head so as to appear larger, and to yell at the bear. Running away can activate the bear's hunting instincts and lead to it perceiving the human as prey. If a bear does charge, persons are advised to hold their ground, as most bear charges are bluffs. Finally, if a bear does attack, the usual advice is to curl into a fetal position so as to shield vital organs and appear non-threatening. If this is not effective in stopping the attack, the only option left is to fight the bear in any way you can. The ideal place to punch a bear is the snout or eyes. This advice applies to omnivores such as brown and black bears; the best way to avoid being attacked by the completely carnivorous polar bear is not to enter any area where polar bears live, or at least remain inside a hard-shell vehicle or building.

Food storage and garbage disposal

Bears have an excellent sense of smell, and are attracted to human and pet foods as well as refuse. Improper storage of these items can allow bears to eat human food and become dependent on it, increasing the probability of encounters with humans. Most brown and black bear encounters in human-populated areas involve so-called "trouble bears", usually young males who have just left their mothers and do not yet have a territory of their own. If they wander close to human settlements, the smells of cooking and garbage can cause them to ignore their usual instinct to avoid humans. Many parks and persons in areas with bears utilize bear-resistant garbage cans and dumpsters for this reason, and many areas have laws prohibiting the feeding of bears, even if unintentional. Campers can access bear-proof containers from many parks to store their food and trash. The containers are then buried or strung on a rope between two tall trees, out of bears' reach. They are also instructed to put their containers, campfire, and tenting 90 meters 100 yards away from each other, forming a triangle.