How to explore the outdoors while keeping safe from wildlife

Local News

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (ABC4) – A Yellowstone National Park guide died after being mauled by a grizzly bear while fishing. This tragedy sends the reminder that wildlife can attack even the most experienced outdoor enthusiasts.

Erik Pearson spends his time outdoors teaching survival techniques and documenting his experiences on YouTube.

With the weather warming up and Utahns taking to the outdoors, Pearson said people may encounter a variety of wildlife.

“Most often, the creatures you’ll find in Utah are gonna be the smaller ones. Squirrels, occasionally a badger, trash pandas, or raccoons, mule deer. I’ve seen one black bear,” he says. “More often than not, if you see a moose, that’s the one you should be very wary of. Stay away, give it plenty of room, and just leave it be.”

For those who spend their time in nature, Pearson said to always be alert and aware of surroundings.

“If you’re out in a wild area that’s not trafficked a lot by people, if you’re on your phone, or distracted, or just lost in your thoughts looking down at your feet, you can run into dangerous situations,” he says. “It’s best to just keep your head up and keep your eyes moving around.”

A report suggests every year, more than 47 thousand Americans seek medical attention after being attacked or bitten by wildlife. And about eight people succumb to their injuries.

If someone comes into contact with an animal, Pearson says not to spray it with any kind of mace.

“The best way to handle any wildlife you run into in the outdoors is make noise. Make noise, make your presence known,” he says. “I wouldn’t try to spray things at them that might hurt them, because they may interpret that as a sign of aggression.”

Snakes are also common in Utah, and Pearson said if one appears on the trail to back away slowly.

If going on a camping trip, Pearson said to know the weather, bring water, have wood and be prepared to light a fire, and be aware of wildlife.

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