Emergency Procedure for Wildlife Encounters


At all times when in the field in situations where you may encounter bears, other predators or large ungulates:

·         Be alert for wildlife and wildlife sign

·         Check-in regularly as per pre-arranged schedule

·         Properly control food and food waste

·         Whenever possible (and safe and appropriate) travel with the wind at your back making enough noise to alert animals in your path to your presence

When you detect a bear, fresh bear sign, or other predator or large ungulate:

·         Assess the situation and attempt to determine the level of the risk (freshness of sign, wildlife visible at a far or near distance, etc.)

·         Ensure that all members of the crew are accounted for and stay together as a single group

·         If the sign is very fresh or associated with the likely continued presence of the wildlife (e.g., a carcass or other feeding site) then suspend all work for the team and leave the area immediately.

·         If sign is not fresh or the sighting of the wildlife is at a considerable distance, assign someone from the crew to continue to monitor the wildlife (or be vigilant for further sign)

·         Notify your contact at your next check-in of the sign that you have detected and consider establishing an increased frequency of radio check-ins.

When you detect bears, other predators, or large ungulates far away:

·         Ensure that all members of the crew are accounted for and stay together as a single group

·         Assess the likelihood of encountering that wildlife (e.g., animal’s direction of travel, your direction of travel and intended destination).  If you are likely to come close to the animal, temporarily suspend all work and continue to observe the animal.  If you lose site of the animal and it appears to be moving in your direction leave the area.

·         Notify your contact at your next check-in of the sign that you have detected and consider establishing an increased frequency of radio check-ins.

·         If a closer encounter seems unlikely, assign one of the crew to continue to monitor the animal, keep your entire crew together, and continue on with your work.

When you detect bears, other predators, or large ungulates near you or your intended worksite:

·         If you appear to not have been detected by the animal, make sure all members of your crew are accounted for and as a group leave the work area and the intended work.

·         If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot just remove yourself from the situation, your actions will be dictated by the species you have encountered and the type of behaviour being exhibited by that species.


If you can leave the area undetected then do so

·         leave the area quietly in the same direction that you came from;

·         move while the bear’s head is down; stop moving when the bear lifts its head to check its surroundings;

·         stay downwind so the bear will not pick up your scent;

·         when you have moved a safe distance away, you can either watch and wait until the bear leaves or abandon working in that area on that day.

If you cannot leave undetected

·         then let the bear know that you are present by smell first; therefore move upwind so they can pick up your scent. 

·         You should try to move out of the way without being noticed by the bear. If you cannot do this, talk loudly to let the bear know where you are.

If the bear is aware of you but in the distance

·         then remain calm then either reverse your direction or at least head away from the bear.  Make sure that you DO NOT RUN.

If the bear is close to you when first encountered

·         If time permits, attempt to assess whether the encounter is a provoked situation (your actions or proximity to food or you have provoked the encounter) or a predatory attack (the bear is stalking you or viewing you as food) – this will determine how best to react to the bear’s behaviour.

If the bear begins to follow you

·         drop your pack or some article, (not food) to distract the bear allowing you time to escape.

·         If it is a grizzly following you, climb a tree if there is a large tree around. Although grizzlies can climb trees, they are often not motivated enough to try – you need to get 3 to 4 metres up a large tree for this to be effective.

If the bear is very close and approaching

·         at a distance of less than 50 meters in an open area and closer in a forested area, be prepared to use your deterrent. 

·         If the bear does not respond to the deterrent you must now STAND YOUR GROUND!

If the bear charges

·         A bear will charge you at high speed down on all four legs and often crouched low to the ground. Bears do not charge when standing up on its hind legs. Many charges are bluffs but it is difficult to know if the bear is bluff charging or not until it gets very close.

·         When faced with a charging bear you have two options: first, use your bear deterrent/shoot to kill if you have a gun, or play dead if you are unarmed and have no other choice (unless you believe that you are dealing with a predatory bear in which case you need to fight back as best you can).


If a cougar behaves aggressively:

·         Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks, speak loudly and firmly. Convince the cougar that you are a threat not prey.

·         If a cougar attacks, fight back! Many people have survived cougar attacks by fighting back with anything, including rocks, sticks, bare fists, and fishing poles.


If a wolf appears and acts unafraid or aggressive, take the following action as soon as you notice the animal:

·         Do not allow the wolf to approach any closer than 100 metres.

·         Raise your arms and wave them in the air to make yourself appear larger.

·         When in a group, act in unison to send a clear message to the wolves they are not welcome.

·         Back away slowly, do not turn your back on the wolf.

·         Make noise, throw sticks, rocks and sand at the wolf.

Moose and other large ungulates

If a moose is encountered, a minimum of 100 m must be put between yourself and the animal.

·         If the moose remains stationary, you should cautiously move away from the animal, monitoring its behaviour in the process. Signals such as whether its ears are forward or back, or a lowering of the head are good indicators of aggressiveness (forward and erect is the animal being alert, back and down over the head is aggressive). React according to the signals being sent by the animal. Also, the direction you use in moving away should not interfere with any natural escape routes the moose may want to take. Similarly, it is very important not to position yourself between two moose (cow and calf or two rutting males).

·         If a moose feels threatened, it may charge at the person that has invaded its space. Some examples of aggressive behaviour that may be exhibited are flattening of the ears and approaching humans.

·         Walk quickly, or if safe to do so, run away from the moose – this will not lead to a sustained attack and is likely prevent it.

·         Should the moose charge regardless, the best method of defense is to move behind a big tree, light standard or other large stationary object.

·         Continue to try to get away from the animal while always keeping large solid objects between yourself and the moose. It is imperative that no false sense of security is attained once a large solid object is between a person and an angry moose, as moose are very capable of kicking accurately with their forelegs around a tree trunk.

If you encounter a bear or any aggressive wildlife, please report sighting and details to the UNBC BMAP Research Coordinator and to KBR, KM LNG, or PTPLP as applicable.

In the event of an adverse wildlife encounter resulting in injury:

·         Obtain first aid/medical treatment.

After field work:

·         In the event of an adverse wildlife encounter, notify applicable government agencies and complete an incident/near miss report.