What To Do In The Event Of A Bear Encounter Or Attack
Has discussed in part 1 of this two-part bear safety series camping and hiking in the wilderness can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, but not being prepared for an encounter with a bear can change all that in a second.
During part 1 of this bear safety series, we discussed ways to keep your campsite and the hiking trail safe and avoid encounters with bears, in this second part we will discuss what to do when you actually have an encounter with a bear or even an attack.
3 things to do before heading into bear country
- Pack bear spray and know how to use it
- Check out the website for the area you plan on hiking or camping for any information about bear activity in the area.
- When you arrive at the campground or trailhead look for any signs that might have up-to-date information about bear activity.
Here are 14 tips if you encounter a bear or if a bear attacks
- If you have spotted a bear but it is unaware of your presence and hasn’t heard you yet move away quietly in the direction from which you came.
- Be aware of bear Bluffs, sometimes they will block charge you as a way out of an encounter. As scary as this is the bear will charge you and turn away at the last second, there’s also react defensively by growling, laying their ears down, and snapping their jaws.
- Always stay calm in the event of a bear encounter, your calm behavior reassures the bear. Never turn and run when in an encounter with a bear, don’t scream, simply reach for your bear spray and back away slowly.
- Talk to the bear, speak in cam monotone but firm voice. this will let the bear know that you are a human and not a typical prey animal. Bears will try to identify You by standing on their hind legs and move their nose back and forth smelling you.
- Try to make yourself look big, any smaller children that are on the ground need to be picked up and carried. stay in a group.
- Do not remove your backpack, in the event of a bear attack and you have to lay on your stomach, your backpack will help provide extra protection.
- Get your bear spray ready, make sure to keep your bear spray in an area that is easily and quickly accessible. Bear spray that is located in your backpack or attached to your bicycle is going to be useless in a bear encounter.
- You need to recognize if the bear is in a defensive situation such as protecting a kill or it’s young. the bear will appear stressed and might vocalize its distress.
- If the bear is in a defensive State try to appear non-threatening, talk in a calm, monotone, strong voice. If the bear stops advancing this is your opportunity to slowly back away. If the bear continues to approach you, stand your ground, keep talking, and prepare to use your bear spray. If the bear makes contact with you fall to the ground and play dead. Try to remain calm and wait for the bear to leave.
- Is the Bear in a non-defensive state? Bears are curious animals, the bear might be curious of you, looking for food, or testing its dominance. In extremely rare cases a bear might see you as potential prey. This is a very different situation from a bear that is in a defensive state, and the bear will be very intent on you with its head and ears up.
- If the bear is intent on you in a non-defensive state you need to talk in a firm com voice, if possible move out of the bear’s path if the bear follows you stop stand your ground and prepare your pepper spray while shouting and acting aggressively. You are trying to intimidate the bear from attacking you. If the bear approaches use your bear spray.
- The vast majority of bear encounters end without injury, but if a bear makes contact with you, you can increase your chance of survival by knowing the type of attack and what to do.
- In the case of a defensive attack which is by far the most common type of bear attack use your bear spray and when the bear makes contact with you play dead.
- in the case of a predatory attack where the bear is stalking or hunting you try to escape into a building, vehicle or up a tree. If you are not able to escape you need to use your bear spray and fight back with everything you got.
Check this video for proper use of bear spray
Hopefully, you will never have to use any of these tips, and chances are if you follow the advice in part 1 of this series you won’t have too.