Thursday, May 24, 2012

How to Survive a Bear Encounter

If you are out in the woods there are times when you may come in contact with a bear. Often times people will be enough to frighten a bear away. If they are noisy enough they will not even know that they were ever close to a bear. However this is not always the case, sometimes bears approach people, so here are some general guidelines if you encounter a bear.

First you should determine what kind of bear you are dealing with. Black bears and grizzly bears respond differently to different stimuli. If you can determine which type of bear you are dealing with it will help you to make the best decisions for how to proceed.

cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by Tambako the Jaguar

Black Bears
If you are dealing with a black bear and you have some space between you and him, and get a little loud. Say things like, “Get out of here. Go away bear.” You can also hit a couple of rocks or sticks together, or whatever else you find. If the bear starts to approach you further, use your bear spray, which you should carry with you when in bear country. If the bear comes even closer you might try throwing some of those rocks and sticks at him. If that does not work and the worst happens stand your ground. In the worst case scenario, if the bear attacks fight it back. You should punch the bear in the face and nose and claw and dig at the eyes. Kick, hit and fight for your life.

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Bruce McKay Yellow Snow Photography

Grizzly Bears
However this is not how you handle an encounter with a grizzly. Grizzlies are more aggressive and should be handled differently. If you encounter a grizzly you want to determine the distance between you and the bear first. If he is far enough away just talk in a calm voice and announce that you know he is there. If possible back slowly out of the area and make sure not to run or turn your back to the bear. If the bear comes within 25 feet of you, now is the time to use the bear spray. Bears do not like the smell and it should encourage them to leave. If that does not work then stand your ground. Stand up straight and look as big as you can, not challenging the bear, just big. If the bear comes toward you in a curious way stand your ground and the bear spray. If that does not work and you are attacked, then you should cover your neck and lay flat on your stomach or in the fetal position, as you want to protect your stomach and neck from the bear.

If you encounter either of these bears, remain calm, stand your ground, and handle the situation as it plays out.

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