You’re out fishing, camping, or hiking, and suddenly encounter a bear. You’re in their domain. What would you do?
Though your chances of being attacked are lower than being struck by lightning, you should be prepared for the worst case. Here are some suggestions to remember in case you’re ever in this situation, and need to know how to survive a bear attack.
Why Does A Bear Attack?
“Grizzlies differ in their psychology from other bears,” sys Dr. Lynn Rogers, biologist and founder of the North American Bear Center. “When you put the numbers together, a grizzly is 26 times more dangerous than a black bear.” Rogers says that enough grizzlies will carry out an attack (as opposed to a bluff charge) that you always want to carry a bear canister that is very powerful and shoots a fog as opposed to a stream, of pepper spray. A gun doesn’t hurt to have, either. “Seventy percent of human killings by grizzlies are mothers defending cubs,” Rogers explains. “That’s why attacks end when a person lays still. The bear is treating to neutralize a threat.”
Preventing A Bear Attack
Tip #1: Keep a Bear Spray with You at all Times
Keep it within reach because the difference between life and death is but a few seconds. Studies show that the people carrying sprays avoided injury in close-range bear encounters 98% of the time. This is compared to those with guns that had a 50% injury rate. The main active ingredients of this stuff are capsaicin and related capsaicinoids. It should be at higher levels estimated to be around 1-2% anything lower than that is for humans. We recommend you grab this brand from Amazon, stat.
Tip #2: Safety in Numbers
If you can go with a group while spending time in the woods then it would increase your chances of avoiding being attacked by a bear. By staying in a group means more noise. Singing or talking will make the bear know that you’re there. If ever you do come across one the, bear may put away any thought of attacking you as a group.
Tip #3: Don’t be a Bear Magnet
Secure all your food and trash carefully. If possible store your food in bear canisters. Unattended food or throwing them away anywhere attracts bears, leading them to you. Bringing along pets is also not a good thing as this will become potential prey for them.
Encountering A Bear
Tip #4: Immediately Identify the Bear and Assess its Behavior
There are different types of bears out there. The black bear and the grizzly or brown bear are among the most common. Once you identify them, try to assess its behavior as quickly as possible. If it has cubs the maternal instinct to protect its offspring can be fatal especially if it perceives you as a threat. Other behaviors are if it gets startled, hungry, protecting its territory, confused, afraid or protecting hidden food are among others.
Learn more specific bear behaviors by clicking here.
Tip #5: Don’t Run
Stand your ground because the second you don’t, it activates the animal instinct in them. Bears can clock their speed up to 40 mph about 64 km/h. So, it is pretty clear that they’re faster than you could ever be. So this is not a good option at all.
Tip #6: Know Whether to Play Dead or Fight Back
Keep a clear head and don’t panic. While hitting the dirt, play dead while keep silent and still. If it is a brown or grizzly bear, playing dead is the best recourse. Hopefully they get bored and eventually leave you. If it is a black bear or a polar bear, never play dead. Fight back with all that you’ve got or you will be its next meal.
Tip #7: Take Advantage of any Bear Weaknesses
With exception to the previous tip on brown or grizzly bears. If it starts to lick your wounds, fight back! Defending yourself on a steep slope reduces the ability of the bear to stand or putting its full weight on you. Attacking from the side is also an advantage. Fight with sticks, stones, dirt or whatever you can get your hands on. Attack the eyes or the snout which is the most sensitive part.
A Real Bear Attack Survivor Speaks Out
Todd Orr is a Bozemon Montana local. Learn what he did to survive a double grizzley bear attack in this video.
Orr was a textbook example of what to do right when things go wrong with a bear. You should always alert the bear that you are a human by speaking, use your bear spray, keep your backpack on, and lay motionless and silent during the attack. “Not my best day,” concluded Orr, “but I’m alive. So thankful I’m here to share with all of you.”
Read more about Orr’s bear attack encounter here: This Man Survived a Worst-Case Bear Attack — Here’s How