The forest does have eyes, and those eyes belong to the mountain wildlife that live in them, or along the fringes of the National Forest. The majority of mountain wildlife creatures are very solitary and shy away from all human contact. Black bears would rather get out of your way, so never encourage them with treats or leave unattended foods out that might encourage their inquisitive nature.
If you have a K9 companion with you of any size, keep them on a leash for their safety sake. You don’t need ‘Fido or Fidette,’ going after any wild animal, the intimidation will cause most wildlife to turn and take a stand. When it comes to that little dog you call ‘Precious;’ coyotes call that lunch and can be bold when small game is present and slightly unattended.
Also it’s best that hikers keep a paced conversation or occasional noise going to alert wildlife of their presence. It’s also important to hike with a wooden hiking stick, as opposed to a metal retractable stick. Wooden hiking sticks are not only great for balance, they are perfect for fending off or keeping at bay any unwanted wildlife curiosity.
Never, ever approach a bear cub; mother bears are normally close by and very protective, even against male bears. If you’re worried about a bear cub that you have spotted, notify the local wildlife office 770-535-5498 and tell them where you saw the bear cub last. They’ll take care of the cub and are familiar with the status of regionally tagged bears, and bear numbers in general.
If you encounter a snake remember some are poisonous, others are not. They can’t hear you, but they can smell you. Colognes and perfumes shouldn’t be worn while hiking; it confuses the wildlife and draws pesky insects. Wildlife can pick up the natural human scent. If you do encounter any wildlife, keep your distance and let the animal pass or go around. Don’t panic, wilderness critters are more intimidated by you, than you should be of most of them. It’s fairly rare to have any wildlife encounters, yet one should be aware while on the trail just the same. It’s their neighborhood, we're only visitors.