The chances of having a bear encounter are very slim, but it’s important to be prepared for it. Here are 10 steps to take, whether you’re in a tent, in your car, or at a campground.
- 1 How to Avoid a Bear Attack
- 2 What to do if You Encounter a Bear
- 3 What to do if a Bear Approaches You
- 4 What to do if a Bear Follows You
- 5 What to do if a Bear Gets in Your Camp
- 6 What to do if a Bear Charges You
- 7 What to do if a Bear Knocks You Down
- 8 What to do if a Bear Grabs or Bites You
- 9 Bear Safety Final Tips
How to Avoid a Bear Attack
1. Learn what your bear alarm is and how to use it A bear alarm sounds when it detects the sound of a bear and will also emit a warning of bear activity. They’re generally found on the exterior of campsites and can be used as “bear bells” if you’re at an RV park. Some alarms have a loud honk that may attract the attention of a bear, while others emit a series of low-frequency sounds. Some are sound activated and will start bleating immediately if a bear comes near. Don’t put your safety on the hands of a third party – your bear alarm will alert you to potential problems and it can be a lifesaver. Bear bells have been known to save the lives of campers.
What to do if You Encounter a Bear
1. Stay calm. 2. Know your surroundings. 3. Do not run. 4. Tell the bear to leave. 5. Wave your arms and shout at the bear. 6. Back away slowly. 7. Contact a park ranger or local law enforcement. 8. Notify others in the area of your bear encounter. 9. Use bear bells or whistles. 10. Throw something at the bear. How to avoid a bear encounter 1. Choose a campsite far enough from a trail, an overhang, or a bear attracted by food. 2. Sleep in your tent with your food inside. 3. Do not store food inside your car. 4. Don’t store food or garbage inside tents. 5. Don’t put ice in a bear-resistant container. 6. Don’t let your pets run free. 7. Make noise when you leave. 8. Don’t run. 9. Don’t stop to look for food. 10. Stay on marked trails.
What to do if a Bear Approaches You
— “Bear bells” and “trip-wire” signs are available at local stores and outdoor stores. — Turn away and cover your head. Get low to the ground and try to make yourself as big as possible. — If you’re in your car, roll down the window as far as possible and aim a flashlight towards the bear. — Do not run. Running could trigger a chase response, which would increase the likelihood of a bite. — A bruin’s strategy to avoid a confrontation is usually to run away. How to scare off a bear — Make a loud noise. Chances are, the bear isn’t used to human noise. — Make a clapping, banging, or stomping sound with feet, fists, arms, or other objects. — Throw things. Rocks, sticks, branches, or food may work. Throw it near the bear, not at the bear.
What to do if a Bear Follows You
If you spot a bear, stop. Do not turn and run. Let the bear sniff and observe you. If the bear is on your right, keep walking straight. If on your left, turn left and walk away quickly. If the bear has caught up to you, face it, make noise and try to look bigger. Once it appears the bear has made up its mind about you, stand your ground. Don’t run. Don’t point anything you’re carrying at the bear. That means don’t point your fingers, your arms, or anything else at the bear. If the bear attacks, don’t just lie there; take action! You can make yourself look more imposing by waving your arms, yelling, or hitting the bear. If a bear attacks, run and don’t stop. After the bear leaves, do not remain near the site of the attack.
What to do if a Bear Gets in Your Camp
1. Report the bear To avoid a costly fine or even legal action, report any sighting of a bear to your local wildlife agency. These agencies will be able to monitor and even remove the animal if it is a threat. 2. Seek safety If you encounter a bear in your space, it’s crucial to get out of the immediate area as quickly as possible. (Don’t be afraid to yell for help—so is the bear!) There are three categories of actions that you can take: Run away as far and fast as possible. If the bear approaches you, cover your face with your hands and bear spray or a big stick. Use anything nearby to fight the bear off and defend yourself. If the bear knocks you down, lie on your stomach and shield your head with your arms. Keep your feet well planted, even if you’re running.
What to do if a Bear Charges You
Back away slowly (staying on your feet is key to survival). Do not wave your arms or shout to scare the bear off, as it may cause the bear to see a potential meal and attack. Run through any grassy, brushy areas as you attempt to escape, because the bear will likely try to chase you. If a bear charges you, it will likely swipe you with its paw. In some instances, the bear can also pounce, though experts have found that’s not how bears typically attack. RELATED: Mountain lion licks officer’s face before being captured, sheriff’s department says If a bear pins you down or attempts to grab you, try to get free and kick or punch at the bear. Once the bear has left, carefully remove any bear-related injuries to avoid infection, and make sure to notify local authorities.
What to do if a Bear Knocks You Down
When a bear approaches, always make yourself look as big as possible. If the bear starts to become aggressive, fight back and defend yourself. Do not play dead or be the cause of his death. Always go with your instincts. Avoid putting yourself in a position of risk by getting out of any cover, such as under a tree, rock pile, or car. When the bear is about 15 feet away, you’re safe. Make yourself as large as possible and stand up. You don’t want the bear to think you’re prey. If you see the bear’s nose, arms, and legs, it’s time to run. There’s no time to play dead. Stand your ground and try to run away from the bear. Always look up at a bear when you’re standing near it. It makes the bear think you’re prey, and that it’s safe.
What to do if a Bear Grabs or Bites You
1. Stay calm. The human body can withstand only so much pain before it makes its way to our flight or fight response. Try and remain as calm as possible and try to remember you are bigger, stronger, and smarter than a bear. 2. Call for help. If you can’t get away, alert anyone you can find—campers, hikers, others on the trail—that you’re in danger. 3. Keep your head low. Making eye contact with a charging bear can agitate it, increasing your chances of injury. 4. Back away slowly. Never run away from a bear; you may provoke it to chase you. Instead, back away slowly and slowly back away until the bear follows. 5. Be loud and clear. Use a loud, clear yell to alert any bear that it is in danger and to try to escape.
Bear Safety Final Tips
There’s no reason to fear bears. You are in their territory and what you do in your own territory is your concern. Bear encounters happen. You need to practice using those tools on how to protect yourself.