10 Tips To Survive A Bear Attack
You look Deeelicious Dahling!
Most of us love getting outdoors and soaking up some nature, but sometimes we cross paths with certain critters, like bears... and find ourselves in a bit of a pickle. If you run into a bear, certain factors will immediately come into play. How you respond in those first few seconds can make a world of difference in the outcome of your encounter.
Prevention is the key!
First you should be aware of bears in the area before you get there. Ask a local ranger or land manager’s office, i.e., BLM, Forest Service, State Park, Fish and Game etc. for any information on bears or other dangerous wildlife near your intended visit. Carefully observe your public servant, while many are competent, reasonable people, some however, are not. Make sure the person you are asking advice isn't the the kind of naturalist who thinks bears, cougars, moose, etc., are perfectly safe to walk up and hug. Not all of them understand that wild animals are dangerous. Some of them come from the city, are fresh from a college campus and have never seen a wild animal outside of a flim strip.
I once saw a park ranger in New Mexico lead 40 Jr. High kids up a 400 foot cliff using hand holds carved in the rocks by the Anasazi Indian tribe a thousand years earlier. Am I the only one who thinks 40 kids on a 400 foot rock cliff is a bad idea? I don't know what he was thinking, but I was thinking he needed a black eye. I didn't want to go to jail so I settled for some stern diplomacy. I asked him pointedly if he had ever had anyone fall off the cliff and die. He said, "No, but about 10 people have had a heart-attack and died once they got to the top."
Are you getting the picture here? This public servant / park ranger, having seen 10 people die, still thought it was just fine to lead large groups up a cliff without so much as one word of warning to them before hand. I am a little off topic here but the point is, remember that not every park ranger is dealing with a full deck. Trust your own sense of safety for you and your group.
Now, If there are bears nearby, consider the following precautions:
1. Pack any food items in an air-tight container. The less a bear can smell the goodies you are carrying, the less likely he will come sniffing around.
2. Ladies, if your personal cycle is active consider staying home until its ended, especially if an overnight trip in a tent is planned. Bears get curious with this scenario and being carnivores they may come investigating. Remember, their nose is the size of Texas and very sensitive.
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Every time you suffer... I make money, are you kidding me? Get outta here! hehe.
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3. Talk aloud with the people in your company as you travel, a bear will hear you coming and disappear long before you get too close. Most bears are more afraid of you than you are of them, which is why they can be so fierce when they attack. They are scared and intimidated into self-defense.
4. Carry a quality bear spray and read the directions BEFORE you need to use it. Spraying yourself in the face while a bear is coming at you is not the best reaction here. In fact, at that point you deserve to be attacked for being "that" stupid. (Just kidding). But you can see the futility here.
5. If you have to use bear spray, follow the manufacturer’s directions and get out of the area away from the bear. A sprayed bear is trying to run away. If he runs into you, he may attack on his way out of the area.
6. If you see the bear soon enough, chances are you have an escape route. Quickly and quietly gather your party and simply walk away from the bear and keep moving away. Bears have a much larger personal space limit than people do. Fifteen to twenty feet is getting way too close. The more distance you put between you and the bear the safer it will be for you and the bear. No it is not a good idea to reach for your camera and start taking pictures. While you are in awe with the cute, fuzzy Boo-Boo bear, he is not in awe with you. Yes, you saw some hippy on TV filming bears and it was awesome. What you didn't see was the man behind the camera with a really big gun... just in case.
7. If a bear charges you, try to run downhill if possible. A bear’s hind legs are shorter than the front which makes it hard for him to run downhill. This does not mean he can’t come down hill, it just means you have a better chance of getting away by running down hill.
8. If the bear gets you and you think you’re done for, play dead. Wrap your arms around your head, curl up in a tight ball and play dead. Of course this is much easier said than done, but it beats dying. There is a good chance the bear will wander off. Look around slowly and carefully, make sure the bear is gone. If you jump up and the bear is still close by, it is likely he will attack again. If the bear is a good distance, you may be able to quietly get up and sneak away.
If the bear keeps attacking and is attempting to take bites from your flesh, he is thinking you are dinner. Its time to fight for your life. Grab a rock, a stick, or anything and aim for the face, the eyes and the nose. Do as much damage as possible.
If you are injured, try to find a good tree and climb it. You can always kick or jab the bear away if it tries to climb up after you. Just be careful not to stick your foot in its mouth, this is almost as bad as spraying yourself in the face with bear spray. A branch or large stick is better if available.
9. If you spot a bear a safe distance away chances are the bear knows you are there already and lingering could spark his curiosity. This is not good a situation from any angle of consideration.
10. Always know your surroundings, where you are going and have someone watching the clock for when you should return home. This person should also have the appropriate phone numbers of the land manager or local sheriff if they need to report you missing.
The outdoors is a wonderful place to be enjoyed by all, but it can quickly turn into a very dangerous place in the blink of an eye. Be prepared!
Wishing you many safe and awesome outdoor adventures,