Camping Safety: How to Avoid Wild Animal Encounters

camping safety: how to avoid wild animal encounters

Before you go into the forest, you should first master basic camping safety against wildlife attacks. Animal encounters are still a “significant cause of human harm” and death according to research.

This safety camping tip will ensure that you and your loved ones have a safe experience in the wilderness.

RELATED: 11 Tips to Avoid Animal Attacks

12 Camping Safety Tips vs. Dangerous Wildlife

1. Choose a safe campsite

Camping safety begins with the choice of location. Consider the wildlife you might find when choosing a campsite.

Compare the pros and con’s. Camping near the lake can make you more vulnerable to wild animals.

Top: Stay away from bushes and keep your camp at least 60 meters from the nearest water source.

2. Know your surroundings

Hiking tents in the misty forest.  Exploring the Wilderness - Safety Tips for Camping

Familiarity and knowledge of the area are a safety benefit when camping. You can avoid wildlife-prone areas by having the right information.

Local park rangers and wildlife officials can give you valuable information. It’s also a good idea to talk with locals about safety regulations in campgrounds.

3. Bring camping safety equipment

Things and accessories for trekking, camping and travel-camping safety tips

Camping safety equipment could save your life from wildlife accidents. These lifesaving items can be saved by you taking them with you when you travel into the wilderness.

  • Bear spray – is a liquid animal repellant. It has stinging agents that repel bears up to 9 meters from the spray.
  • Bear proof – Made from sturdy bomber polypropylene material, this safe will keep your belongings safe. The safe has a quick release mechanism, which is inaccessible to bears and other animals.
  • Bear-proof cooler – protects food and drinks from wild animals. It can withstand abuse and bear handling for hours without cracking.
  • Bear bag – Light and durable, a bear bag protects your food from Ursine scavengers. You can hang it on a branch or high up.
  • Hunting rifle – In the worst case scenario, you will have to neutralize an attacking animal with a rifle. A rifle that has sufficient stopping power, such as the 12-gauge Remington 870 and the Ruger Guide Gun, is recommended.

Note: Make sure your rifle is approved and bring the necessary papers with you.

  • Gloves and boots – A pair of gloves and boots are effective protection against snakes. They should be worn every time you go into the woods.
  • Anti-poison shot – is a drug formulated with antibodies to treat snakebites. It is an essential camping safety item.

4. Store your groceries well

Stacks of homemade fried chicken dinners in containers that can be frozen for later use - camping safety tips

Food is an instant magnet for wildlife. A camp meal can be detected up to 12 miles away.

Proper food storage can be one of the best tips for keeping wildlife away from your campsite. These are important guidelines for storing food in the wild:

  • Store food in airtight canisters.
  • Keep food in a safe place.
  • Keep groceries away from your living spaces
  • Dispose of leftover food in ziplock bags or airtight containers

5. Protect your trash from animals

Asian-people-collecting-with-garbage-bags-at-the-national-park-camping-tips for food safety

In addition to food, garbage also attracts wild animals. Make sure your campsite is clean and that you dispose of rubbish properly.

Here are some trash storage tips for your camping safety:

  • Store leftover food and other rubbish in airtight plastic bags.
  • Double wrap your rubbish in strong-duty, odor-proof plastic bags.
  • Your trash should be at least 10 feet above the ground.

6. Keep your camp odor free

Travel Toiletries in Clear Plastic Bags - Camping Safety Tips

It is not just food and waste that attract wild animals. Toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorant, and soap can attract wild animals.

To keep your storage odor-free, make sure you use airtight containers. These containers should be kept out of reach of your bedroom or hung high on a branch.

7. Use natural animal repellants

Coffee Beans And Coffee Grounds From Above Close Up - Camping Safety Tips

Natural animal repellants are effective in repelling wildlife. You can find these items in your household:

  • Garlic cloves – are effective repellants against mosquitoes, raccoons and various rodents.
  • Ground coffee – Not only does coffee grounds help you stay vigilant, it also drives away mosquitos.
  • Cinnamon and cloves Snakes hate the smell of cinnamon and cloves.
  • Noise – Making loud noises is another effective way of deterring wildlife intrusion.
  • Flashing lights Drive away bears, wild cats and other nocturnal animals by flashing your emergency lights.

8. Keep the safe distance

Luminous tent stands on the bank of a mountain stream |  Safety camping tips

Remember that animals generally only attack when provoked or threatened. It is a good safety precaution to camp at a safe distance.

The distance required to be safe from these creatures varies according to their species. Bears can be safely separated from their surroundings by a distance of no less than 100 meters, but other wildlife would need a distance of 25 meters.

Top: You are too close when an animal moves away due to your presence.

What to Do if attacked by wild animals?| What to do when attacked by wild beasts?

9. Ensure camping safety for children

Child sits in the camping tent at the campsite |  Camping safety for children

Young children are the most endangered target for predators in the wild. Always wear proper camping safety equipment, such as gloves or boots.

They should always be kept close to adults and at a safe distance. Ensure they follow the safety precautions for camping.

10. Keep pets in safe holding areas

Beautiful Shiba Inu traveling dog in the camping tent on a car roof in the mountains-Camping Safety

Pets like your dogs and cats are also prime wildlife targets. If you leave your campsite, predators could be attracted to your area and may follow you into your home.

A good way to keep your pet safe is to keep them on a leash, or in a cage. To give your dogs freedom but still keep them safe, you can use a spiral stake.

11. Change your chef clothes

Hand packing clothes in backpack for travel with accessories concept camping safety tips

Even hours after cooking, the smell of food lingers on your clothes. You could be a danger if you sleep with your chef clothing on.

This could attract wildlife such as bears. This can be avoided by keeping your cooking clothing in bags or containers that are airtight.

12. Keep your area clean

Adult team leader with group of kids in outdoor activity camp collecting trash together |  Safety rules when camping

Always keep your campsite clean. Campers overlook this basic camping safety precaution.

You can reduce the chance of your campsite becoming a refuge for wild animals by keeping it clean. If you are camping in the wild, make it a habit to groom your animals every day.

Need more tips for camping safety? Check out this video on “Avoiding Animals When Camping” from JupiterHikes:
Understanding how wildlife behaves in their natural habitat is key to camping safety. These tips will help you avoid dangerous situations in the wild. Have fun camping and be safe!

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What’s your scariest wildlife encounter? Please share your story with us in the comments!


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Macallister Anderson

I am by no means an expert in every aspect of this stuff. I plan to learn, and when possible, enlist the help of experts in various fields to come together and offer their knowledge. In a few years, I dream that this site will be a virtual survival encyclopedia and allow a total novice to come on here and be supplied with everything they need to prepare for anything.

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