Topic: Using fire against predators  (Read 1440 times)

« on: March 02, 2019, 03:44:17 AM »
Any field biologists or experienced hunters here?

How afraid of fire are bears, wolves, or lynxes?

If I were to wave a flaming branch in their face, is that enough to deter an attack or even scare them off?

If so, can we code in fear of fire in the animal behaviour in our game?


« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 04:36:01 AM »
DISCLAIMER: I am by no means an expert in this topic, so take this information with a grain of salt. I just decided to throw what little I know into here, seeing as nobody else has.

Generally, in any area that is naturally prone to wildfires, the animals would have developed the ability to recognize and flee from fire. It's possible that younger animals who have not experienced a fire may not be as afraid as a result of their naivete. I don't know anything about the climate in Finland where the game is based, but I'm assuming they experience wildfires from time to time due to lightning strikes, etc.

Maybe if you had a fire large enough, the predators would mistake it for a wildfire and flee?

As for a flaming branch, it might keep them from pouncing on you (?) and probably confuse them. I don't think it would be enough to make a predator flee on sight, but maybe if you held them back for long enough they would give up.

Saiko Kila

« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2019, 09:22:06 AM »
Bears, at least nowadays, are not afraid of campfire at all. In fact it may attract them, because they think that either people will give them food, or that they will scare the people off and help themselves. This happens even if areas where bears are hunted (maybe because most hunters don't hunt bears anyway). But I have no idea how it could have worked in ancient Finland... Were there free buffets hikers?

Small animals used to humans are also not afraid of campfire, which suggest they are able to discern forest wildfire from campfire (like raccoons or feral dogs), though they may be afraid of people themselves (easily visible when near fire).

As for wolves, they avoid humans, so campfire may deter them, but only because they will associate it with humans. They learn quickly though, and stop being afraid if something isn't hurting them. Being near a campfire doesn't hurt, so...

Game animals may be more afraid of fire in general, but I still think it would be more thanks to association with human (i.e. predator) than with small fire. They do run away from big forest fire, actually from smoke even, but this is also dangerous for players in the game.