When you think about it…staying safe in the woods is often a matter of common sense.

When entering the woods, use common sense to keep the animals there wild and safe.

Have you ever taken a walk in the woods and seen wild animals? You might see squirrels and of course loads of birds, some snakes, and insects. Snakes can be dangerous; but for the most part, the creatures you see are not going to harm you as long as you don’t try to harm them.

In some sections of woods, however, there are animals who might not like us visiting their homes. Bears, cougars, mountain lions, wolves, elk, fox, and other wild creatures are not to be toyed with. They are unpredictable and often much swifter of hoof than we are. During mating and birthing seasons, wild animals are apt to be more, well, wild, than usual. Mothers, especially, must protect their young and will do so with a ferocity rarely seen when they are not caring for their brood.

When you decide a walk in the woods is just right for you, plan ahead. Know what wildlife exists in the area you are going to visit. Learn their habits so you can be alert to signs of their presence. The websites for local state and federal parks can provide all of this information.

As you hike along trails, make sure you are not leaving a trail of your own. Food stuffs can attract wild animals. And, of course, don’t try to feed them either by tossing them food or trying to approach and hand fee them. Your hand may become their meal. And any wild animal who has lost his or her fear of humans is likely to be killed.

As well planned as your venture into the woods may be to ensure your safety, you might still find yourself watching a bear amble by. Don’t run. You may become prey and many predators love a good chase, whets their appetite for the meal they’re about the capture.

When you think about it…a walk in the woods should be enjoyable for all—inhabitants and visitors alike. A few moments of caution and common sense can create a delightful afternoon.

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