How to Survive a Bear Encounter
Suddenly, you are interrupted by the sound of twigs snapping behind you. You turned around and were face-to-face with a bear the size of your car.
Now, what will you do? Should you run for life? Or you fight back? If you have zero ideas, no worries. We’ve got steps to help you get out of a bear’s claw alive.
Follow these steps, and with any luck, you will survive a bear encounter.
STEP 1 IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF BEAR
It’s necessary to determine what type of bear is challenging you. If you want to see another day of your life, better know your enemy.
Always be on the lookout to determine its physical features, height, size, and color. If you’re unsure, here are the basic features you need to remember. Check this out.
Grizzly Bear (Brown Bear) Features:
Short round ears and visible shoulder hump.
Height: 6.5 ft. or over
Size:> 400 – 800 lbs.
These bears are aggressive. You can usually encounter these bears in Canada and the US Pacific Northwest.
Features: Taller ears and no shoulder hump
Height: 5 ft.
Size: 100-300 lbs.
Black bears are less aggressive than grizzlies. However, these bears aren’t always black. They are often brown or cinnamon-colored.
STEP 2 ALWAYS STAY PREPARED
As the old saying goes “to be prepared is half the victory.” Preparation improves your chances of surviving a bear encounter.
So if you’re a traveler or a hiker in destinations where bear activity is high, don’t waste the opportunity to prepare the umbrella before it rains.
That’s a saying but what we’re trying to say here is:
ALWAYS CARRY A BEAR SPRAY
Bear sprays are a lifesaver and more powerful than firearms. So forget about your guns because, in a bear attack, firearms are ineffective and useless.
When a bear attacks you, you only get a few seconds to fire; what are your chances? Bears are fast.
There are no rules in bear fighting. So here’s what you’re going to do, be sure to put your bear spray in the front pocket.
If you suspect bears in the area, get your bear spray. But if you’re so unlucky and you get attacked, remember this defense:
- Aim for the bear’s nose, eyes, and mouth. These are their sensitive areas.
- Wait for a few seconds to fire. Be sure the bear is 10 meters away.
- Grab your chance at life. Spray for about 2 seconds.
- Finally, retreat as fast as possible.
STEP 3 DEFENSE WHEN ENCOUNTERING THE BEAR UNPREPARED – (No Bear Spray)
It must be a very unfavorable day for you. Try to imagine encountering a bear while you were hiking in the woods of Canada.
Oh-oh, too bad, but don’t panic. Let’s get you covered.
Of course, the very first step is to know the type of bear you encounter. Is it a black bear or a brown bear? Take note. We need to fight these bears using a different strategy.
That’s right. We have to know first if that’s Mr. Black or Mr. Grizzly and employ the proper defense to survive. Let’s go over the different strategies here.
ENCOUNTERING A GRIZZLY
- Don’t run. Always resist the urge to run and don’t even dare. Bears can reach a speed of 30 miles per hour and typically enjoy the cardio work-out that the chasing prey provides. Remember, you don’t stand a chance with the grizzlies so, follow this simple step and don’t run.
- Be as non-threatening as possible. Once the bear doesn’t see a threat in you, they will leave. But don’t be too complacent. Prepare your defense strategy just in case the bear attacks.
- Make yourself smaller. Grizzlies are way more aggressive than black bears. Don’t try to fight back; it’s the last resort. Hitting the dirt is still the preferred strategy.
- Avoid eye contact. You are not on a date with the grizzly so, don’t make eye contact. It will only trigger the bear to charge.
ENCOUNTERING A BLACK BEAR
- Don’t run and stand your ground. You can’t outrun a bear; it will catch you. So your only chance is to stand your ground. Never dare to initiate a marathon with them. You better conserve your energy for the fight ahead.
- Make yourself as big as possible. It gives an impression of power and may scare the black bear away. Establish with the bear that you are a formidable foe and give the bear an option to disengage. Black bears are known to bluff when engaging in fights. They want to pull up at a full charge at the last second to test their enemy’s nerve. So, show your strength and prowess.
- Shout, wave your arms, create a commotion. Get big and make noise. Black bears are less violent than grizzlies. Hold your arms above your head and bellow out your loudest yell possible.
- Never try to climb a tree. If there’s one thing that bears like more than chasing, it is climbing. Bears love to climb so, avoid mounting up to create distance. It won’t make any difference.
STEP 4 STRATEGY/DEFENSE IF CHARGED BY THE BEAR
This is the part where you have to fight for your survival. Do everything in your power to protect yourself once the bear starts to attack.
Use the best defense strategy. And always remember to know your enemy first. Is it Mr. Black or Mr. Grizzly?
It is your time to shine and show some convincing acting skills. Once grizzlies start to attack you, do not fight back. Lie on the ground and play dead. Better fall in a fatal position.
It is a preferable strategy. Make sure to protect your head, neck, and stomach. The bear will usually toss you up, so hold your nerve.
If Mr. Brown doesn’t see you as a threat, he will leave. But first, he’ll make sure you’re dead. So, wait for 10-20 minutes before you get up, just in case.
Being charged by a black bear is quite different from being charged with a brown bear. At this point, you have to fight. Let it be the one to run for its life.
Black bears must be face head-on. Any signs of cowardice on your behalf may result in death or dismemberment. Aim especially for the nose or other sensitive areas.
Use rocks or sticks if available.
Bear attacks are not uncommon in the US, North America, and Canada. They are home to both black and brown bears. Ultimately, the best way to survive a bear attack is to avoid an encounter.
But, how do you stay away from bear encounters in the first place? The answer is simple. Hike in groups, stay on trails and talk or sing loudly.
Do these if you’re in an area where bear activity is prominent. Above all, always be prepared. Bells hung on your pack also work but are less effective than other loud noises.
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