Survey: Some Canadians would play Metallica to scare off a bear, can’t pitch a tent

When it comes to the great outdoors, a new survey has found Canadians’ camping competency is lacking.

Scouts Canada asked 1,000 Canadians about a series of camping basics like pitching a tent and wildlife awareness and found most respondents were stumped.

Asked what to do if they encounter a black bear in the woods, nearly a quarter chose to do the wrong thing. Many say they would run, or stare directly into the bear’s eyes to scare them. Others said they would attack the bear first, which experts say is an extremely dangerous idea.

Five per cent of respondents said they would play Metallica on their phone and live stream the encounter, likely referencing what a Vancouver Island woman did in 2019 when she was stalked by a cougar. While that worked out for her, the right thing to do is to stay calm, back up slowly, not stare (they see it as a challenge), and give the animal space. Most importantly, do not run

When it comes to surviving on the land, nearly half of Canadians said they had no idea what plants are safe to eat. Plus, 26 per cent misidentified Winterberry and Buckthorn as safe to eat, when they aren’t.

When asked about their ability to set up a tent, very few respondents said they could do it, and the majority who said they could suspect it would take them a while. Comparably, Scouts Canada says the average scout can set up a tent in 15 minutes.

Do you know what to do if your camping gear gets wet? Almost half of people surveyed said they did not. Many came up with possibly dangerous “solutions” like placing their wet clothes or gear three inches from a fire, and some said they would flap until dry.

“We’re having a little fun with this survey, but the real point is that we wanted to understand the gaps that Canadians are facing in their connection with nature and important outdoor skills, and how Scouting meets that need by grounding kids in real-world experiences that prepare them for life,” said Siobhan Ward, Scouts Canada Youth Program Specialist and Rover Scout.

“When families and youth in Canada are empowered with skills to enjoy fun outdoor adventures with confidence and safety, they are also set up for success in the world as resilient, capable and well-rounded individuals,” Ward said.

To learn more about Scouts Canada’s guides to the outdoors, click here. 

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