Nine Tips for Surviving in Bear Country


Reports indicate that black bears are coming out of hibernation early this year in the northwestern states and as far east as Yellowstone National Park.  This is probably due to the relatively mild winter and what is shaping up as an early spring.  There even seems to be enough food available in some places that the bears haven’t yet started going after human food.

If you live or recreate in bear country, here are some key tips for your safety.

Don’t Attract Bears

  • Don’t leave trash sitting around.  If you are at home, that means taking the trash to the road for pick-up in the morning before the garbage truck arrives rather than in the evening when bears may find it.  If you are at camp, remember that your garbage is just as attractive as your food. Stow it safely out of the bear’s reach or dispose of it far away.
  • Don’t leave pet food outdoors.  Besides being a great find for skunks and raccoons, cat and dog food is a flavor treat for bears.  Don’t feed your animals more than they will eat or appropriately stow the excess when they are finished.

Let Them Know You Are Coming

  • Wear bear bells.  Bears would normally prefer to stay away from you, but might get confrontational if you come upon them unexpectedly.  Bear bells make continuous noise as you wander through the back country, notifying bears of your presence long before they can see you.
  • Yell.  If you see a bear some distance away and it hasn’t noticed you yet, just yell.  This will typically scare them into running away.  Just be sure you aren’t downhill from them as that is typically the direction they go first.

Dealing with a Bear

  • Don’t travel alone.  Traveling alone may not attract bears, but if you do come upon an aggressive bear at least two people to one bear stacks the odds slightly in your favor.  If one in your party is getting mauled, the others may be able to distract the bear enough to convince it that it’s not a battle worth fighting.
  • Know where the babies are.  Often a bear will get aggressive if you seem a threat to her kids.  Know where they are and get yourself away from them.
  • Play dead.  Normally a bear will try to get away from you, but if one attacks it’s probably a grizzly.  You can’t outrun them and you can’t beat them in hand to paw combat, so unless you have a gun in position to use it, play dead.   A big knife in hand may seem comforting, but you’d have to be really skilled or really lucky to stop a grizzly with it.
  • Lay on your belly and cover your head and neck with your hands.   Remember, the bear probably doesn’t want to eat you, it just wants to remove you as a threat.  It may maul you as it’s trying to make sure you aren’t a threat.  A dead person is not threat, so keep quiet, get beaten up and make the beast think you are dead so she will claim victory and leave.
  • Wait until the bear is gone.  If you’re alive and the bear thinks you are dead, don’t do anything to change her mind.  Stay still and wait until she is long gone.

 #bear #bearattack

Have you ever encountered a bear in the wild or in your back yard?  What did you do?

Let us know in the comments below because it must have worked!

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One Response to “Nine Tips for Surviving in Bear Country”

  1. Forrest says:

    Thanks for this valuable information. I hope I never have the opportunity to meet a bear out in the wilderness

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