What you have to know about wildlife before hiking in British Columbia

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Don’t stress! Enjoy nature

Hiking/Backpacking is a great way to enjoy and get to know your natural surroundings.

In the not so distant past, most people lived surrounded by nature and wildlife. These days, most of us are more urban oriented and unfamiliar with flora and fauna. The thought of leaving daily comforts behind topped by exposure to sensationalist stories of wild animal attacks leaves many of us uneasy about wandering out in nature or hiking a wilderness trail.

It is important to prepare properly before walking a wilderness trail and familiarize oneself as to possible dangers during the hike. Besides wild animals, insects, certain types of plants, even creatures that live in water could pose a danger. (Check out resources on this page for updated guides and more information)


Be prepared and enjoy. Use common sense and listen your intuition when stepping into nature. Here are some tips to keep in mind;

  • Do some research before going to an unknown area and learn about the wildlife in the park you are visiting.
  • Learn about proper defensive behaviour if you encounter any of the animals present in the area you are hiking.
  • In a most cases, wild animals will avoid people and move away. They usually only attack when they feel threatened or are with cubs.
  • Carry bear spray with you and learn how to use it,
  • Hike during the daylight. Some predators, like cougars, are most active at dusk and dawn,
  • Hike in a group and make a noise, that could chase away some animals like bears,
  • Always keep your camping area clean and don’t leave any garbage behind when you leave. Any type of food or leftovers can attract bears or other animals to the site,
  • Good rule of thumb is; to carry out what you carried in.
  • Don’t try to approach any animals, view them only from a distance,
  • Don’t ever feed wild animals. Once they get used to being fed, they will hang around and could attack the next group of people to get food.
  • Keep your dog on a leash,
  • Keep children close and don’t leave them unattended outside,
  • Do your best to avoid a surprise encounter,
  • If you meet some dangerous animal, never turn and run. They will chase you!
  • Keep the distance and slowly leave the area,
  • Fight back if attacked,
  • Report any sighting to the Conservation Officer Service, this will protect both animals and other hikers.


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