Would anyone be interested in taking this course? Twelve are needed to get him to do a class. $110 per person. Two-day course near Clinton, BC.
Aside from hiking, I also have a recreational property at Sheridan Lake and there have been numerous bear encounters there this year. This sounded like an interesting course.
Eyer Training Services
Bear & Cougar Encounters –
Rural and Recreational Course
Training for Rural Residents and Recreational Backcountry Users
Who should take this course? Anyone who lives in a rural area and anybody who uses the backcountry for recreation will find this course valuable. Farmers, cottage and home owners, cattle ranchers, market gardeners, lodge and guest ranch staff and other rural residents often encounter bears and occasionally cougars. Hikers, backpackers, hunters, horse riders, naturalists, canoeists, fishermen, mountain bikers, photographers, snowboarders, cross-country skiers and campers may also meet a bear or cougar and should know how to react.
Why do I need to learn about bear and cougar encounters? As interesting as these animals are, they pose a potential danger to humans. Both are powerful, intelligent predators and can inflict serious injury or death. Knowing how to avoid encounters and how to handle encounters if they occur will help keep you, and those with you, safe.
How is it different from other bear safety courses? First, it includes both bears and cougars. Second, it is behaviourally based – that is you will learn how to recognize bear and cougar behaviours and how to respond. Third, the Rural & Recreational Course has a practical field session.
What is the practical field session? The 5½-hour practical session takes place after the seminar. In these exercises you will be guided through a series of mock encounters – each designed to give you controlled practice for real-life encounters. In the seminar, you will see videos of wild bears displaying bear-to-bear and bear-to-human aggression. You will also see the best ways to handle different situations. The field exercises drive home the learning. You will correctly handle up to 14 scenarios including:
- a bear is aware of you but there is no aggression
- a bear makes a bluff charge and later a defensive attack
- a predatory bear approaches you
- you have no defence system and a predatory cougar is approaching.
In these and other scenarios you will learn and practice correct responses when you are armed with bear spray, a knife or improvised weapons and will learn what to do when
you are completely unarmed. Cut-outs of bears and cougars and a “charging target” help you imagine the real situation. The charging target can move at the speed of a grizzly bear (60 kph). Inert training spray (no pepper) is used in the bear spray scenarios.
The knife defence exercises were developed with Jon McCormick. Jon holds a Black Belt in Combat Martial Arts, a Masters of Education Degree, is a former teacher and a member of the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers. He writes for several periodicals. McCormick adapted martial arts knife techniques for use in defence from large predators. For safety, rubber knives are used in this part of the training. A life-size black bear target, mounted on a cart, is used for these exercises. All field exercises are designed to build your confidence to handle real-life encounters.
Why do I need to practice these? Isn't it enough just to discuss them? No. People learn best when all aspects of learning are integrated – knowledge, attitudes and physical skills. When your personal safety is at stake, it is not enough to see a video and hear a lecture. Moreover, the methods you will learn have been used successfully in bear and cougar attacks and encounters in British Columbia. These methods work. Through practice in a controlled setting, you will have a higher level of confidence in a real encounter.
What is covered in the seminar? During the 7-hour class on the first day, you will get a good understanding of the following topics:
The Risks – scientific facts and trends about bear and cougar attacks in B.C.
Human, bear and cougar behaviours in encounters
Defensive and predatory behaviours of bears and cougars
Correct responses in encounters
Use of deterrents
Ways to avoid encounters; other precautionary measures
The main video is an important and impressive part of the class. Produced in co-operation with the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), the video content is the result of thousands of hours of bear observation by biologists and bear safety experts. The video, Staying Safe in Bear Country, was released in April 2001 and represents the most current consensus opinion on bear behaviour and human safety around bears. Parts of a second video, Bear Attacks: The Predatory Black Bear, are also shown. It is excellent and well-balanced.
The Bear & Cougar Encounters – Rural & Recreational Course combines the best of science and the best of field experience.
So if I take this course, can you guarantee I will be safe if I encounter a bear or cougar? No. It would be nice if all large predator encounters were like a chemical formula – follow these procedures and you will always get the same results. There are no formulas for encounters. There are dozens of variables involved that make each encounter unique. This fact will be emphasized during the course. But you should be more aware of the hazards and have more skill and confidence if you encounter a bear or cougar.
Is there a certificate or a test? There is no test in the Rural & Recreational Course but you must attend the complete course and participate in both the class and the field exercises. A recreational certificate will be issued to you by Eyer Training Services.
I work outdoors and could encounter bears or cougars. Are there similar programs for employees? Yes. Currently there are four courses designed for government and industry field staff:
- Bear & Cougar Encounters – Standard Course
- Bear & Cougar Encounters – Basic Course
- Bear & Cougar Encounters – Refresher Course
- Bear & Cougar Hazard Awareness Course
The Standard, Basic and Refresher Courses are designed for employees and contractors who spend a lot of time in the field in more remote areas. The Standard Course is very complete, takes most of 2 days and is usually only taken once. The Basic Course is a condensed version of the Standard Course and takes 1 full day. The Refresher Course is for employees who have previously taken the Standard Course, the Basic Course or several bear safety courses during their careers. It is a 7-hour course that helps them brush up on skills and update their knowledge. The Hazard Awareness Course is a 4½-hour program. It is designed for field staff who spend less time in the field and are usually near a vehicle or building. The appropriate course can be arranged though your employer.
Bear and Cougar Encounter Courses
The following comments are taken from course evaluations by students and are used with their permission:
This course was probably the most suitable and useful course I could take for working in the outdoors. – K. Simpson, camp counsellor
Extremely relevant. A very necessary course which dispels some of the myths that abound regarding bears and cougars. Riveting. – A. Lattey, riding instructor and wrangler
All very interesting, videos were great! (The field exercises were) very well done. They gave me a better sense of what to expect, but you would need to practice. – L. Citra, horseman, rural resident, photographer
Excellent for the rural lifestyle we lead. The moving target was more realistic than I expected. – P. Simpson, horsewoman, cross-country skier, rural resident
Very relevant. – M. Cattanach, supervisor of forestry field operations
I know now that if something happens with a bear or a cougar, I will be doing the right reactions . . . (I am) very confident. – R. Pena Garnica, Simon Fraser University student
Combined theory and practical made possible encounters more realistic . . . courses with Dave are always very thorough . . . I always come away benefiting and feeling more confident. – A. Freeman, guest ranch owner
The course was excellent – very effective. (The field exercises) reinforced the theory and made everything very practical and more realistic! (The course was) excellent, well researched, planned and delivered. – G. Ridgway, horsewoman, rural resident, hiker
For information on the Bear & Cougar Encounters – Rural & Recreational Course and other programs, please contact:
Eyer Training Services
20 Jesmond, Clinton, B.C. V0K 1K0
Tel. & Fax: 250-459-7004
About Eyer Training Services
Eyer Training Services is owned and managed by Dave Eyer. Dave earned a Bachelor of Science Degree (biology) and a teaching certificate and then began a career in adult education. Dave has taught in British Columbia, Nunavut, the US and Africa. Working with people of diverse backgrounds, he has more than 25 years of experience in numerous aspects of adult education and training.
In addition, he has worked as a naturalist, hunting guide and trapper and has been certified to teach several firearm and outdoor safety programs. He is a member of the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA). Dave and his family have lived in the mountains northwest of Clinton for 19 years with bears and cougars as their neighbours. They have successfully dealt with numerous bear encounters.
Eyer Training Services also provides firearms safety and hunter safety courses for the general public and safety and emergency preparedness programs for government.
[u]Here's his response to my inquiry:::::</u>
Thanks for your inquiry. There are currently 5 different Bear and Cougar
Encounter Courses that I teach, each geared for different client needs. The
two that would be most appropriate for backcountry hikers are the Rural and
Recreational Course and the Basic Course. They cover similar topics. The
difference is that the Rural and Recreational is in depth, covers much more
detail and has several more practical field exercises. It is a 2-day course
and the Basic is a 1-day course. The Basic Course is really too short but
was designed for employers on a slim training budget. Most outdoors people
prefer the R & R Course. I find that people who have had 2 days of training
have a higher level of confidence in the bush and seem to retain the
learning a lot better. I have attached the course description for the Rural
and Recreational Course, so it should give you an idea of what is covered.
The cost is worked out in one of 2 ways. Usually I'm hired by a company or
ministry or a business. I charge a daily rate plus travel and I prepare a
quote. A two-day training course I will do this month in Burnaby will cost
the employer around
$2500. If you brought me to your community, this is how it would be
arranged. That's too costly for most groups! The alternative is to have
individuals or the group come to our area in the Cariboo. This way there
are no travel costs for me and I charge a flat rate per student. The course
is held on a weekend with the seminar portion held in our local one-room
school and the field session on our property, which is about 10 minutes
away. People that take the Rural and Recreational Course are usually pretty
outdoorsy, so some camp at the Forest Service campground or the Provincial
Park. Others stay at Big Bar Guest Ranch, which is reasonably priced. Done
this way, I charge (this year) $110 per person for the 2-day Rural and
Recreational Course and $85 for the 1-day Basic Course. I need at least 5
people to hold a course, and the maximum size of a class is 12.
After you have read the attached course description, please feel free to
contact me with any other questions.
All the best,
Eyer Training Services
Box 20 Jesmond
Clinton, BC V0K 1K0
tel & fax: 250-459-7004
Chaos, Panic & Disorder----my work here is done.