6 Key Ideas: How to Survive a Bear Attack

People are encountering bears way more usually than they used to. Though the chance of an assault stays very low, the variety of deadly encounters is rising. With the bear inhabitants growing and with extra hikers on the paths post-pandemic, it’s important to know How to Survive a Bear Attack

How to Survive a Bear Attack
Bears (photograph: Francisco Cornellana Castells) – How to Survive a Bear Attack

A lot of what you suppose you realize could also be outdated. This text is the one factor it’s worthwhile to learn to get yourself updated.

It attracts collectively the most recent educational analysis and professional recommendations, condensing all of this into easy, sensible steps so you may hold secure.

Chart of fatal bear attacks in North America
Deadly black bear assaults and brown bear assaults in North America

Neglect What You Thought You Knew

Society passes on an excessive amount of dangerous recommendations about what to do if a bear approaches you.

Maybe probably the most well-known is the adage: “If it’s brown, lie down; if it’s black, fight back.” Many bear consultants have urged hikers to not observe this blindly.

Mendacity down or taking part in lifeless in a detailed encounter with a brown bear is especially harmful. It won’t reliably deter a confrontation, leaving you totally defenseless.

Different programs of motion are far simpler at repelling a possible assault. Bear spray, specifically, is useful for retaining bears at bay (see tip #5 beneath).

You may really feel extra comfy if you realize you could reliably defend yourself with it.

NOTE: Are you certain you know the way to bear-proof your camp? You will not be capable to depend on bear spray while you’re asleep, so this record of tips about finding out how to keep away from bears whereas tenting is a must-read.

Make sure you can get back to your camp before dark. Bears can still smell you at night, but you won't see them!
Ensure you can get again to your camp earlier than darkish. Bears can nonetheless scent you in the evening, however, you will not see them!

How to Survive a Bear Attack – If It is Black, Combat Again?

The second piece of recommendation—“if it’s black, fight back”—can also be problematic.

Black bear biologist Janet Scharhag argues that one of the simplest ways of dealing with an encounter in the bear nation is by combating again (you might throw rocks and wooden, as an example). However, she advises that it is best to solely accomplish that if a black bear is being aggressive.

Scharhag says that when a bear is attacking defensively (if you’re close to a mom bear’s cubs, as an example), it is best to as an alternative hold quiet and keep away from threatening it.

That is all very proper, but it surely’s not at all times really easy to inform aside a defensive from an aggressive assault within the warmth of an encounter.

When the stakes are so excessive, it may be onerous to believe yourself in such an essential choice.

For that reason, all the recommendations given beneath will work with grizzly bears and brown bears (the commonest species of bears in North America) in any scenario.

NOTE: Polar bears are way more harmful and require a completely completely different set of abilities, which you could find out extra about right here.

How to Survive a Bear Attack – 6 Key Ideas

1. Hold Meals Safely Packed Away

It is a preparatory tip and significant recommendation on what to do for those who see a bear on the path or at your campsite.

Retailer meals safely in sealed containers to restrict bear-attracting odors leaking out. Wipe down all cooking utensils after making meals.

Some hikers advocate distracting the bear by throwing your meal provides at it, however, the US Nationwide Parks Service strongly advises this—it’s a nasty concept for a number of causes.

First, remove from distracting the bear, it might, actually, solely serve to encourage it. Throwing a tasty morsel at a bear can inform it that there’s extra the place that got here from.

Secondly, throwing meals could solely distract you more reasonably than distract the bear. You dont have a lot time to determine what to do throughout a bear encounter.

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In the event you spend valuable seconds fumbling in your backpack to your meals stash, chances are you’ll not discover shifts within the bear’s conduct.

Additionally, you will have much less time to observe the essential steps outlined beneath.

NOTE: Meals containers ought to be sealed and stored clear. To maintain your camp clear with much less effort, learn this record of straightforward tenting dishwashing hacks.

A bear on the prowl (photo: Elias Strale)
A bear on the prowl (photograph: Elias Strale) – How to Survive a Bear Attack

2. Hold Your Distance – How to Survive a Bear Attack

Discussing what to do for those who see a bear, consultants starting from bear biologists to the Nationwide Park Service extremely advocate placing a secure distance of a minimum of 75 yards between yourself and the bear as quickly as potential.

However, on no account do you have to run. Like canines, wild bears are likely to chase issues that flee. Provided that they’re much sooner than people, making an attempt to outrun one in all of them can be a nasty concept.

A greater technique for dealing with a bear encounter is to stroll sideways away from the bear.

Strolling sideways means that you can keep visible contact, enabling you to reply to sudden actions and sudden modifications in its conduct.

Strolling sideways can also be much less dangerous than strolling backward as a result you may regulate the place you might be treading. This might be a nasty time to journey over!

Simply watch out that your escape route doesn’t come between a mom bear and her bear cubs. Unwitting provocation of a mom has been a major consider current deadly bear assaults.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to go away your canine at the house when mountaineering in the bear nation. Will a bear assault a canine?

Usually, bears won’t assault a canine, however, your canine could run too near a bear cub and provoke a response.

Babies will also be unpredictable, creating potential risks in the bear nation—so hold a detailed eye on them.

(In the event you’re fearful about bears attacking your canine at the house, a great precaution is to offer your canine pet meals indoors so the scent would not entice them. You might also need to take down chook feeders for a similar motive).

Fuzzy bear face (photo: Rasmus Svinding)
Fuzzy bear face (photograph: Rasmus Svinding) – How to Survive a Bear Attack

3. Communicate Low and Loud -How to Survive a Bear Attack

In the event you’re contemplating what to do if a bear approaches you, keep in mind that bears don’t think about people’s prey.

Most wild animals, together with bears (notably black bears), search to keep away from encounters with people, besides in distinctive circumstances similar to excessive starvation.

For that reason, it’s usually greater than sufficient to talk loudly and clap your palms when a bear approaches you.

Loud noises like these will instantly make it conscious that you’re not its typical prey, and within the overwhelming majority of instances, it can make a hasty exit.

Nevertheless, remember that bears affiliate high-pitched sounds with prey, so it’s essential to not shriek or scream however as an alternative talk in a low, loud voice when you find yourself making an attempt to discourage a bear.

4. Wave Your Arms Slowly – How to Survive a Bear Attack

Waving your arms will make you seem bigger to the bear. The bigger you seem, the much less probably it’s to assault you.

By waving your arms slowly, you keep away from stunning or inadvertently threatening the bear. As with the earlier step, that is primarily a method of constructing it conscious that you’re not its typical prey.

One other means of constructing yourself seem bigger to the bear is attending to a larger floor.

Stroll up to any slope that’s close by whereas waving your arms. This may have a psychological impact on the bear’s notion of the chance of attacking you.

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Equally, when you have an umbrella with you, open it up and level it towards the bear to offer the impression that you’re larger than you might be.

Do not forget that a bear standing on its hind legs is extra more likely to be curious than making ready to assault. Bears rise up on their hind legs to get a greater view of one thing or to catch a scent.

Extra dependable warning indicators of an assault are when a bear opens its mouth huge or paws the bottom.

Bathing bear (photo: Francisco Cornellana Castells)
Bathing bear (photograph: Francisco Cornellana Castells) – How to Survive a Bear Attack

5. How to Survive a Bear Attack – Use Bear Spray

Utilizing bear spray is our greatest recommendation on what to do for those who see a bear.

Think about this. You are out within the bear nation and also you see a grizzly bear in the woods. You observe the 4 suggestions above, however for no matter your motive, the bear would not go away you alone.

Possibly it is late summer time and the bear hasn’t placed on sufficient fats for the winter. It runs at you. What do you do? It is best to have a bear deterrent with you on this harmful scenario.

Though grizzly bears and brown bears do now and again make a bluff cost to scare off perceived threats, the most effective factor to do at this level is lively to defend yourself.

Bear spray is the most effective bear deterrent and your greatest probability of defending yourself from a bear. If a bear runs at you or comes inside dangerously shut vary, spray it straight on the bear’s face.

In contrast to a gun, it can nonetheless have a strong impact even for those who miss it.

Bear spray accommodates the identical chemical compounds as pepper spray, but it surely’s much more potent and releases a lot bigger cloud of gasoline. Because of this, it’s robust to misuse it!

Bear spray has been proven in current research to be much more highly effective than a gun at deterring a possible bear assault.

Analysis has proven that it prevents greater than 90% of assaults, whereas weapons efficiently deterred bears in simply 50% of instances.

NOTE: Solely use bear spray to defend yourself from a bear approaching you. Do NOT spray it in your tent or yourself to thrust back a possible assault. This will truly entice bears.

Big bear (photo: Brett Sayles)
Huge bear (photograph: Brett Sayles) – How to Survive a Bear Attack

Simply take into account our three easy steps when utilizing bear spray:

  • Retailer It Proper: Don’t put it in direct daylight, and test the expiration date.
  • Hold It close by Clip it to your belt when strolling, and hold it shut in the evening.
  • Test The Wind: By no means spray right into a headwind; it may possibly blind you as an alternative.

That final tip additionally applies to your mountaineering buddies. You don’t need the bear spray to blowback and blind one in all them both.

Because it’s extra highly effective than pepper spray, it may possibly trigger a really extreme response in people.

(Some have requested: is it authorized to make use of a bear spray on people? Whereas it gained trigger everlasting harm, it is best to stick with pepper spray for cover in cities and solely use it if somebody straight threatens you.)

6. How to Survive a Bear Attack – Lie Face Down (Solely If Knocked Down)

This step is a final resort, and it is best to solely observe it within the unlikely occasion that steps 1 to 4 fail. Maybe your bear spray (your greatest protection) was defective, or maybe you forgot to deliver it.

If a bear approaches you and manages to knock you to the bottom, it is best to at all times lie face down and canopy your neck together with your palms.

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NOTE: Keep in mind, solely do that if you’re knocked down. It’s best to get to your ft as quickly as potential after which try and push the bear away from you while shouting. Being on your ft provides you extra choices to flee, and you might be extra probably to have the ability to deter the bear from persevering with the assault.

By mendacity face down, you’ll higher face up to any scratches or blows from the bear. Mendacity face down is safer than adopting the fetal place in a bear assault. It’s because your again is far much less weak than your entrance, sides, and face.

In the event you’re carrying a backpack, this offers you extra safety, shielding you from the bear’s aggression.

Your neck, nonetheless, is probably the most uncovered and weak part of you while you’re mendacity face down. That’s why it’s very important to guard your neck together with your palms if a bear assaults.

Understand that having functioning bear spray with you always is one of the simplest ways of avoiding this worst-case state of affairs.

The bear spray offers you many extra defensive choices when contemplating what to do for those who see a bear.

An infographic with tips on the best ways to handle a bear encounter.
An infographic with key tips about what to do for those who encounter a bear.

How to Survive a Bear Attack Am I To Encounter A Bear?

People are operating into bears extra usually due to a convergence of two unrelated developments. On the one hand, the bear inhabitants are rising.

In 2000, there have been an estimated 600,000 bears (black bears and grizzly bears) in North America. By 2020, that determine had handed 800,000.

This sizable rise is principally a consequence of efficient reintroduction packages and cautious environmental stewardship lately.

At a similar time, there was a major enhancement in mountaineering and tenting. Nationwide park information reveals that visits have been growing even earlier than the pandemic hit.

As soon as it did, they skyrocketed nonetheless additional. With everybody cooped up indoors throughout the lockdown, we have been determined to get out into the nice open air. When issues calmed down, extra of us than ever earlier did simply that.

In Yellowstone Nationwide Park alone, guests went from around 4 million in 2019 to nearly 5 million in 2021.

That’s a much bigger bounce than at any level within the final 20 years, regardless of the regular will increase since 2000.

Given these developments, it’s no marvel that people are operating into bears extra usually:

Chart of annual bear encounters
Chart of annual bear encounters

Within the graph above, “encounters” refers to non-violent human/bear interactions and sightings. Information is estimated and primarily based on U.S. nationwide park figures.

The current enhancement within the variety of human/bear shut encounters has resulted in an increase in deadly assaults, from 1 in 2019 to six in 2021.

However, don’t fear!

This quantity is tiny in comparison with the whole variety of hikers and bears within the wild. You’re extraordinarily unlikely to come back from a predatory bear. Most bears are extra afraid of you than you might be of them, and they’re not possible to assault people.

See additionally: Panda Bears in Chengdu (China)

Things To Do if You See a Bear
A bear stretching – Issues To Do if You See a Bear – How to Survive a Bear Attack

Be Ready, And Have Enjoyable

So, for those who’re asking yourself what to do for those who see a bear while operating or mountaineering, bear in mind this important recommendation: at all times have bear spray with you.

The excellent news is that, for those who’ve received your bear spray and also you observe the 5 different suggestions in this article, you’re certain to have a secure and enjoyable journey.

For extra mountaineering security suggestions, take a look at this record of important security suggestions for your subsequent journey. See you on the paths!


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