Bears don’t really want to attack humans, as a general rule. More often than not, a bear attack is the result of unusual or extraordinary circumstances that have displaced the bear from its habitat. In the event of a conflict with a bear, you need to know what to do to protect yourself. Here are our top tips for how to survive a bear attack.
How to Survive a Bear Attack
Bring bear spray with you when you go to an area where brown bears are common. Don’t try to be stealthy: make a lot of noise. Bears generally want to get away from humans who are talking, singing or making noise, as they are normally non-confrontational.
Stand your ground against a bear that looks curious. Prey runs, predators stand tall. Slowly reach for your bear spray and back away slowly. If the bear follows, stand your ground and use the spray. Preferably you want to use the spray around 40 to 50 feet from the bear, making a wall of pepper spray between yourself and the animal.
If the bear attacks in spite of these things, hit the deck and lace your hands behind your head. Lay as still as you can, and even if you’re attacked, play dead. The bear is likely only trying to neutralize a threat. After the bear walks away, continue playing dead for 20 minutes or so.
The same general ideas apply with black bears as with grizzlies. Keep yourself aware of your surroundings, be a big presence and make sure you don’t surprise the bear. Much like before, stand your ground and use the bear spray if the bear insists on barreling towards you.
Unlike brown bears, however, you can actually fend off a black bear effectively. Black bears aren’t as big or as strong as brown bears, so use anything on hand to bludgeon the animal and get it to leave you alone. Don’t be scared, stay big and keep making a lot of noise. The bear should back off when it realizes you’re a bigger threat than it is.