The Dangers Of Training In The Wild
The dangers of training in the wildernesss and what to do if you have company out there
Imagine for a moment that you’re out training and suddenly a cougar is coming right at you. Do you know what to do to give yourself the best chance of fleeing unharmed? What about a bear, a snake, a coyote, a dive-bombing bird, an angry dog…
Many of the sports we enjoy involve hitting the trails and backcountry. As beautiful and serene as these places are, there are numerous potential hazards that we must be prepared for and one such hazard is the wildlife that reside in these places.
Here’s a look at what to do if you encounter unexpected company on your next outdoor adventure.
BEARS: First off, make yourself heard if you are in bear country. Generally if they hear noise they will head away from it. If you do happen to come across one, stop and try to stay relaxed (yeah, right!) and slowly back away. Give it an escape route and if possible keep your eyes on it. Attempt to make yourself look bigger. And lots of really bad words probably won’t help you.
COUGARS, WOLVES, COYOTES: Don’t run from them, instead face them and make yourself look big. Move away slowly while creating lots of noise and waving your arms about as this may well scare them off. Pick up any children. Consider carrying an air horn or whistle if there have been recent sightings in the area. If that’s the case, you could always resort to training route B.
DOGS: This is a familiar one for many of us. If a dog is aggressive, stop and don’t run or it will likely chase you. Speak to the owner if possible. If not, try to remain calm and stand your ground. If it continues to be aggressive pick up a stick or something to create a divide between you and it. Don’t yield the stuck at the owner either. This won’t help.
SNAKES: Some snakes make enough noise that you can hear them, and of course stay well back from them. If you happen to come right up on one, negotiate it as best you can while paying attention to its movements. Do not be aggressive toward it. Remain calm as some snakes can sense disposition. If you must move it, give it a very gentle prod with a long stick and hope it decides to move along by its own accord. Don’t stick around for a photo opportunity, keep moving right along.
DIVING BIRDS: Often in defence mode due to new offspring, some birds can be particularly aggressive toward humans. Often this can occur in heavily populated areas. There really is nothing you can do to stop being swooped if the bird is in that mood. Keeping an eye on their movements and getting out of there quick smart is the best advice. On your way, tell other passers-by of the situation rather than say nothing and watch to see if they meet the same fate.
MOOSE: Usually they will pay humans little attention as they’re typically placid creatures. However, if mothers have offspring in tow they may go into defensive mode. Don’t get between mother and calf and back away from them calmly.
BEES, WASPS AND OTHER STINGERS: Quickly remove the stinger with fingernails but try to be careful not to squeeze it. Get home as quickly as possible and once home ice and elevate the area and remove tight fitting jewellery. For pain relief, consider taking ibuprofen and for itchiness consider an antihistamine. If allergic to stings, always carry an Epipen and call 911 immediately as this can well be a life-and-death situation.
Of course, it’s beneficial to have some idea of what to do if confronted by an animal while outdoors. Combine this know-how with a good dose of luck and you should escape the situation without issue. And hope the trail gods are smiling down upon you.