You are hiking peacefully along the trail when all of a sudden you spot a bear. You heart rate makes a jump and you wonder what to do now. Who is afraid of who? The bear has more to fear from man than the other way around. Regardless, steps should be made to avoid the claws and jaws of a bear. Here are 12 helpful tips:
- Make noise when you are outdoors and the bear will avoid you. Sing, talk to yourself or others while you are hiking. The bear will hear you and normally run away before you see him.
- Any surprised or wounded bear, a bear with cubs, a bear eating a carcass and bears confronted with dogs can be aggressive. Loud noise or a warning shot can frighten the bear but it could also stress or irritate the animal to attack.
- Be calm and avoid abrupt movements. Make slow movements, and don’t stretch your arms in the air because the bear may see this as a provocation.
- Get out of the area calmly. When you have become aware of a bear you should get away from the area. When the bear stands up on its two hind legs, it is checking you out. Start to walk slowly backwards without turning completely. This way you still can see what the bear is doing.
- Don’t present yourself as a prey. The bear will think you are prey if you try to run away or turn your back to the bear.
- Throw items or clothing or other things into the path of the bear if the bear starts to follow you. The bear will stop to investigate your things and, hopefully, lose interest because of the human odor.
- Play dead. When all other tricks fail, this is your last resort. Curl together in a fetus position with your knees up under your chin and your arms covering your neck and head. The bear will check how you smell and perhaps bite you in order to check if you really are dead. If the bear thinks you are dead it will most likely walk on.
- Avoid climbing trees. The bear is good at climbing trees. To try saving yourself up a tree is a bad alternative. The abrupt movements may irritate the bear and you may not be able to climb the tree in time.
- Don’t jump in the water. The bear is a good swimmer. The bear could follow you into the water and the water in itself is hazardous for people in panic.
- Don’t throw objects at the bear. You may hit the bear and provoke an attack.
- Don’t leave leftovers around. Keep food in tight containers to minimize odors. Take your garbage with you. If the bear is accustomed to easy food provided by people, it will come back for more later and be less afraid of people.
- Cancel the trip after encountering a bear. If you have met a bear, it is wise to cancel the rest of the trip and report the bear to the authorities. A second encounter on one trip could result in a bear attack.
Have you every meet a bear in the wild?
12 Things You Should Do If You Meet a Bear in the Wilderness