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Bear Attack Tips

What To Do If You Have A Bear Encounter

Are you looking for bear attack tips? Here is the most important tip of all:

Avoid bear attacks!

black bear mother and baby

If you get into an argument with a bear, you are at an enormous disadvantage. Here's why:

A bear is bigger than you are.

Look at the size of this bear paw print beside my son's hand. Bears are big!

small hand beside bear print in the snow

A bear is stronger than you are.

In fact, one bear is stronger than your entire family put together.

A bear is heavier than you are.

Some bears are bigger than others - but any adult will weigh at least several hundred pounds. A male Kodiak bear can weigh 2000 pounds!

A bear is faster than you are.

It can sprint 30 miles (50 km) per hour.

In a contest, guess who is going to win?

Since you are doing your research in advance (good for you!) why not learn how to minimize the chance of a bear encounter, rather than having to deal with a bear attack?

Click here to learn about grizzly bear and black bear safety tips - so that you will most likely never need bear attack tips!

Taking some simple precautions - like hiking in a group and making lots of noise - will minimize your chances of ever meeting a bear.

But what if?????

Okay, let's say you have read that information and have taken all of the appropriate precautions - and you encounter a bear anyway. It happens. What to do now?

Let's discuss bear attack tips.

Every bear encounter is unique.

There is no one good answer about how to respond to a bear encounter or bear attack.

Here are some of the best bear attack tips out there - but in the unlikely event that you have an encounter with a bear, you'll need to use your own brain and intuition.

Black bear or grizzly bear?

The bear safety literature used to emphasize the difference between black bears and grizzly bears.

Grizzly bears are more aggressive. Black bears are less so. So, they say, if you encounter a grizzly bear, you should fight back, and if you encounter a black bear, you should back away.

According to the old information, if you studied a bear's physical characteristics - its profile, its facial structure, its fur - you'd know what kind of bear it was and you'd react accordingly.

That's very interesting, but would you be able to identify a bear's characteristics in a split second, under very stressful conditions? I know that I wouldn't!

I can barely tell the difference between a "Roman" face and a "dished" face when I am looking at labelled pictures of bears.

Besides, I can never remember which profile belongs to which bear!

Remind me - which kind has the hump on its back?

three grizzly bears

The newer bear attack tips make much more sense to me. Instead of studying a bear's physical characteristics, pay attention to what the bear communicates with its behavior.

Observe the bear's behavior

A bear's behavior can communicate its intent fairly clearly.

It may be asking "Are you a threat?"

Here's what a bear might do if it is wondering how dangerous you are:

  • stand on its hind legs to get a better look at you
  • slap its paws on the ground
  • blow or snort through its nostrils
  • moan
  • snap its teeth together
  • face you and lower its head
  • run at you and veer off at the last moment

mother bear looking directly at the camera

Tell it,
"No, I'm not!"

Here's how to show a bear that you are not anything to worry about:

  • do not make eye contact
  • look at the ground

If the bear is advancing

  • stand your ground and wait

When the bear has stopped advancing

  • back away slowly
  • speak softly and slowly: "It's OK, bear, I'm leaving now."

On the other hand, a bear may have other ideas.

It may be asking, "Are you my dinner?"

Here's what a bear might do to assess whether you are easy prey:

  • raise its head with its ears erect
  • silently and steadily advance on you, either walking or running

If a bear is indicating that it wants you for supper, drop your pack or your food and slowly move away. Perhaps your food is enough to keep the bear happy.

Tell it, "No, I'm not!"

If the bear continues to advance on you, here's how to show it that you are not an easy meal.

  • Look directly at the bear.
  • Make lots of noise: talk in a gruff voice, yell, clap your hands, bang pots, blow a whistle or sound an air horn.
  • Try to look big: stand up straight, hold both arms straight above your head, stand on a log and hold up your jacket.
  • Wave your arms.
  • Stomp your feet.
  • Throw something: rocks or sticks or whatever is handy.

If all of this is ineffective and the bear continues to advance,

bear spray in outside pocket of backpack

  • Spray a short blast at the ground about 30 feet in front of you.
  • Do it again.

If the bear gets closer,

  • Spray your pepper spray directly in the bear's eyes.

Worst case scenario

Keep in mind that this is extremely rare. These bear attack tips will probably never be needed in your lifetime!

If you are attacked by a bear,

  • lay face down, protecting your face and belly
  • cover your head with your arms
  • play dead

If the bear doesn't stop the attack within a minute

  • summon up everything you have and fight for your life

three grizzly bears

Remember - if you can avoid a bear encounter, you'll probably never need these bear attack tips. Click here to learn how.

Store these tips away in your brain with all of the other "good to know but probably unnecessary" pieces of knowledge.

For more camping safety information, visit this page.

Click here to visit The Camping Family page.

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