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Wisconsin

Wisconsin Travel Essential Information


Wildlife

Wisconsin has a wide variety of wildlife, which you may encounter while hiking, camping and recreating. May species of wildlife are not dangerous to people, but should not be fed at any time. There are some species that every member of the party should be aware of and prepared to encounter.

Bears
Wisconsin is home  to bears, campers and hikers run the risk of encountering Black Bears. You can carry bear spray as a precaution, which is an effective deterrent, but does not permanently harm the bear. Here are a few tips to help avoid a bear encounter. Be prepared and aware of any bear activity, look for signs about bear activity. It is better to hike with others rather than alone, and make plenty of noise as you hike. Most bears are wary of humans and avoid them. Keep your dog leashed or leave it at home while hiking, dogs can lead bears to the hiking group. If you see a bear that does not see you, turn around and walk away from the bear, and take a wide circle around the bear.

There are also some tips for camping in bear country. Do not leave food out at your campsite, food will attract bears. Store food and garbage in bear-proof containers, and keep a clean campsite. Also do all of your cooking away from your tent.

In the event that you do see a bear close by that does notice you remain calm and continue to act normally. Speak to the bear in a normal low and loud voice and wave your arms to let the bear know what your are. Do not run away from the bear, instead back away slowly and diagonally. Stop if the bear follows. Humans cannot outrun bears, so don't run away if the bear charges, bears have an instinct to chase running animals. Instead continue to stand your ground and wave your arms, speaking in a loud voice. If these tactics do not discourage the bear from attacking, play dead and assume the fetal position. Most of the time playing dead will tell the bear that you are not a threat. If the bear continues to attack long after you started playing dead, fight back as hard as you can using any tools like sticks and rocks available.

Snakes
Visitors to Wisconsin may run into a poisonous snake. Although there aren't too many species of poisonous snakes, it is best to be prepared for an encounter with a snake when hiking and camping. Wisconsin is home to two species of poisonous snake, including the timber rattlesnake and the eastern massasauga. The first step to snake safety is to be sure that you don't step or put your hand anywhere that you can't see, always be aware of your surroundings. Don't step where you can't see what your are stepping on, and don't put your hands into holes. It is also important not to walk in the dark without a flashlight.

If you do encounter a snake, first, do not panic, instead calmly walk away. Snakes are normally afraid of people and often bite out of fear, so its best to try not to disturb the snake. If a snake bite does occur, remain calm, and seek immediate medical assistance. Try to see what type of snake it was the gave the bite and if you are able and have the ability, apply a tourniquet.

Water and Wild Plants
Never drink unfiltered water from streams and rivers while camping. These water sources, no matter how clean they look can carry diseases. Also never try wild berries and plants unless you are an expert in identifying edible foods. Trying wild plants and berries is always a risk, and people often confuse poisonous species with similar looking edible plants.

Weather
The weather in Wisconsin can be extreme, either cold or hot. It is best to be prepared. In addition, weather conditions can change quickly, so make sure to bring rain gear even if the weather looks nice. Remember to layer, so that it is easier to maintain a comfortable temperature. During winter the weather can be cold, so when camping be prepared for snowy conditions.

Poisonous Plants
Hikers and campers in Wisconsin may encounter poison ivy or sumac, which can cause irritation and discomfort on contact. Learn to recognize poisonous plants, like poison ivy, and avoid them once identified. If you do come in contact with poison ivy, try to wash off the area with soap and water as quickly as possible. Avoid contact with any other parts of your body, since the poison can transfer on contact, this includes contact with shoes and clothes that touch poison ivy.

Insects
Wisconsin is home to a variety of biting insects. These types of insects can either cause reaction due to poison from the bites, or they can transmit disease. Ticks are a common type of insect found while camping and hiking. These insects are extremely prevalent during the warm months of spring, summer and fall. The first step to avoiding insect bites is to use a good insect repellant, spray the repellant on your clothes as well as skiing. Check yourself regularly for ticks while you are hiking. If you do have a tick, remove it immediately. When removing a tick make sure to get all of the parts out.
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