What to do if you Confront a Bear

Bears are not tame, gentle or cuddly as some may think. Bears are considered unpredictable and potentially dangerous so it’s wise to know not only what to do when you see one, but also what to do if a bear attacks you.

If you see a bear do not approach it, keep a distance of about 50 yards or leave the area immediately. Moreover if you are at close range with a bear you should remain calm, keep it in view, avoid eye contact and move away without running.

On the other hand if a bear approaches you, you should act immediately. Make as much noise as possible by yelling very loudly and if you are with other people, stand together to present a more intimidating figure in order to scare it from the area and restore its natural fear of people. It is worth mentioning that when bears become comfortable around people and lose their natural fear of us, sometimes they become aggressive and then have to be killed. Furthermore if a bear is standing up it means it is trying to identify you so you should talk softly so it knows what you are. Never run away unless you are close to a secure place, move away keeping it in view and as it was already mentioned avoid direct eye contact.

In any case when a bear is spotted you should always report the sighting to a ranger or the authorities.

If a bear attacks the response is to do nothing to threaten or further arouse the bear. Even though fighting back usually increases the intensity of an attack, it may cause the bear to leave. If you are determined that the bear sees you as food, your only chance of escape is to fight it or scare it away. Hit the bear with rocks, pots, pans, sticks or fists anything handy. Play dead if the bear is attacking you in self-defense, assume the ‘cannonball position’ with hands clasped behind neck and face buried in knees. Finally if a bear is attacking you for your food, just abandon your food and leave the area.

From the RSTO Team on the 30th of April 2013!