Originally Posted By lori

My night hiking tactics are singing and an umbrella. Weird? Yes, to you - animals are terrified of an umbrella. Everyone is terrified of my singing...

I LOVE it!

This is from our website:

Wild Animals!

Ah! This is the stuff that everybody wants to talk about. Wild bears who attack campers in the middle of dinner. Ferocious pumas who lie in wait behind every tree. Snakes that crawl into your sleeping bag at night!

Sorry. Doesnít happen. Since 1980 there have been a total of twelve reported attacks by black bears in California. Thatís an average of less than one attack every two years. Most occurred in developed campgrounds or rural urban interfaces, not in the wilderness. None were fatal. In that same time period, there have been exactly the same number of reported puma attacksómost near the rural urban interface, and none in wilderness areas. Almost all involved children or small adults. Roughly 800 people this year will be bitten by rattlesnakes, and one or two of those bites will result in death. Most of those bitten are young men who are bitten their hands or arms. Enough said. And just at evening--an ursine visitor, backlit in the sun.

So you are not going to get killed or eaten by wild animals. In contrast, some 370,000 Americans are bitten by dogs badly enough to need treatment at the emergency room, and nearly 4,000 people will die in traffic accidents in California this year. And about 30,000 people will die from gunshots of one kind or another in the US. If you want to be safe, get out of the city, get out backpacking in the High Sierra and STOP DRIVING YOUR CAR!

Actually, the only death attributed to a wild animal in the history of Yosemite National Park was a young boy who was killed by a deer. The boy was attempting to hug the deer to pose for a photo, and the deer kicked him, slicing open an artery.

Again, we have a few solutions. When you are in the wilderness, understand that you are in wild country. Pay attention. Bears are attracted by odors of food, so limit the food smells you create. (See the bear in the photo at right? That's the only one we've seen in the backcountry. Zoom in. He's there.) Store your food in bearproof containers to keep them from getting used to the idea that hikers mean food. Most developed campgrounds in our parks these days provide steel bear boxes for your food, and since those have been installed, bear damage to vehicles and camping equipment has drastically declined.

Pumas generally attack small people who are alone. They attack from behind. If you see a puma, stand up tall and face it. Fight back. Scream for help from nearby hikers. Write about it later, and make lots of money from the TV movie.

Rattlesnakes generally try to avoid people, and often will start to take defensive action when they feel your footsteps approach. Leave them alone. Donít put your hand where you canít see, and donít climb cliffs blindly.

Want some really interesting statistics? 130 Americans are killed by deer every year. 65 are struck by lightning. 100 are killed by bees. 20 are killed by cows. Makes you wonder, huh?

Most importantly, drive very carefully to the trailhead. Your chances of dying are 4,000 times higher on the highway than they are on the trail.

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