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What to Do if You Encounter a Bear

Updated on September 23, 2010

That fuzzy teddy bear that you held tight with you at night as a child was surely soothing and comfy almost allowing you to fall asleep faster. However, that big Grizzly bear that decided to chase you last summer during your camping adventure, now may be haunting you every night with hair rising night mares.

Indeed bears are intimidating creatures that can turn out to be part of your hiking and camping adventures. Attracted by your last night's meal around the camp fire or simply curious about what can be hiding inside a tent, bears quite often can turn out to be nosey creatures.

However, seeing a bear in a movie and seeing one live walking on its hind legs ready to attack, can be pretty overwhelming especially if you do not know what to do. Indeed, knowing how to react to a bear coming towards you should be one of the most important things to do and part of any survival guide. Following are some tips on what to do in case of a bear attack.

How to Prevent Bear Attacks

Of course, you may considerably lower your chances of a bear attack if you learn in the first place what attracts them and what makes them leave.

  • Try to keep trash out of hand and place it in bear proof containers
  • Do not leave trails of foods behind.
  • Make noise as you walk through the trails by ringing bells, singing songs etc.
  • Bring pepper spray, bear spray or a firearm along
  • Report the sight of a bear to rangers

If you still find yourself fact to face with a bear according to

  • Never run. You simply cannot outrun a bear and running often elicits prey drive in even non aggressive bears.
  • Do not panic if the bear stands on its hind legs. Often the bear is simply just trying to get a better view.
  • Back away slowly without giving direct eye contact
  • If you have food toss it away at a distance so the bear will be attracted towards rather than towards you
  • If the bear come towards you and attacks, roll into a fetal position protecting your heart and abdomen and stay as motionless as possible. Cover the back of your neck.

As seen, there are various protective measures you may take to prevent a bear attack. However, keep in mind that each bear is different and may react in a different way. If something seems like it is not working try a different tactic. Simply stay on the path and do not leave trails of trash behind. While there are many stories of terrible bear attacks, it is most likely that bears will practice avoidance tactics if you know what to do.


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    • profile image

      elottery syndicate 8 years ago

      I just visited another site and it would appear that chocolate is realy not a good idea on a hike. Bears go mad for it!!!!! Yeek!

    • profile image

      elottery syndicate 8 years ago

      OMG - That bear is seriously scary! Great article BTW, doing some research. Thanks!

    • BrianFanslau profile image

      BrianFanslau 8 years ago from Eagan, MN

      Bears are crazy! but often enough it is simple to scare them away. If you can't pray you are faster than the slowest member in your camp :)