The four W’s for surviving Utah’s wilderness: Wildlife

Local News

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (ABC 4) — Have you ever wondered if you could survive in Utah’s wilderness? What if you came face to face with some of the Beehives State’s predators? The third W of surviving Utah’s wilderness is wildlife.

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We love to see them on the trails, but from a far.

“I think here in Utah, most wildlife will avoid you, but if you startle something,” Erik Pearson said.

As survivalist Erik Pearson walks this trail in Pleasant Grove, he is always looking down.

“Rattlesnakes, if you leave them alone, they are not going to bother you,” Pearson said.

While on our hike, we came across a baby rattlesnake.

“Go around it, take your time doing it because they do have a decent strike distance,” Pearson said.

Pearson has permitting from the Division of Natural Resources, so he was able to move the snake out of our way.

“When it is sitting like that, it can strike its maximum distance which is about a third of its body,” Pearson said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 6,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by a poisonous snake each year.

“A baby rattlesnake is particularly dangerous because the toxicity amounts in their venom.”

Pearson says if you end up in trouble, you need to know what to do.

“A compression bandage, this goes around the bite site. This is to slow blood flow. You don’t put a turner kit on, you don’t want to stop blood flow. You want to dilute the venom in your blood,” Pearson says.

Snakes aren’t the only thing to be on the look out for.

“In Utah probably one of the scariest animals I would say is a moose,” he says.

About 3,000 moose roam Utah’s forests, and sometimes they’ll charge if they feel threatened.

“They do not care, they are big they are the biggest animal in Utah and they will just keep walking at you,” Pearson says. “They will raise their hair on their back like a dog or a cat and will tilt back and forth they will keep coming after you. They are not afraid of you.”

Of course, wildlife also can play a key role in someone surviving.

Dandelion’s flourish in Utah’s wilderness.

“They taste like a sour or bitter carrot, but ya, you can eat the whole thing. People actually put them in salads. People actually go out to their gardens, pull them, and put them in salads. They have this white sap in them that will pucker your lips pretty good.”

Another desert plant is the elderberry.

“These things here, typically, people will take them and cut them, boil them, and make some tea out of them.”

Remember, before you find food, you’ll want to find water.

Wednesday night, the final W for surviving Utah’s wilderness is water.

How to ensure your water source is clear from harmful pesticides.

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