What To Do When Face to Face With Yogi

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

No one wants to come in contact with a bear while out in the wilderness. Below will be some strategies to prevent a bear attack, how to handle it, and the gear you should probably have on you anytime you decide to go into the wilderness.

Gear:

The number one thing you can carry on your person to stop an aggressive bear is bear pepper spray. Make sure you get one that was specifically designed to stop aggressive bears. This is not a repellent, so you don’t spray yourself with this. Instead, you use it like mace. It’s important to stress that this is not a surefire way to stop an attack, but it is better than nothing.

Prevention:

  • Speak so that the bear knows you’re human. Wave your arms slowly and stand your ground. The bear may come close to you and stand on its hind legs to get a better view. A standing bear is a curious bear usually.
  • Most bears don’t want to attack humans, so remain calm. They usually want to be left alone and may charge at first, then turn away at the last second. 
  • If you have small children, pick them up immediately. Do not make a loud noise as the bear may think you are prey.
  • Make sure to hike and travel in large groups. Large groups of people are usually noisier and smellier, which allows the bear to become aware of people at a greater distance. Additionally, bears seem to be intimidated by large groups.
  • Make yourself seem big by standing on taller ground, putting your arms far above your head, and even standing on your tippy-toes.
  • Don’t drop your pack, as it will protect your back should you be attacked.
  • If a bear is staying still, move away slowly and sideways. This way, you can keep an eye on the bear and not trip. It is also non-threatening to bears.
  • Bears can run as fast as a racehorse, so you will never outrun them. Do not try to run because bears chase fleeing animals.
  • Do not climb a tree because both Grizzlies and black bears are excellent climbers. 
  • If possible, leave the area or take a detour until the bear is gone. Never corner a bear.
  • Never place yourself between a mother bear and her cubs, and never try to pet them. A mother bear is more likely to attack if she sees you as a threat to her cubs.

Surviving An Attack:

Surviving an attack depends on what type of bear is attacking you. As a general rule, bears typically do not attack, but when they do, it’s because they’re protecting their food, their Cubs, or their space.

  • Play dead if you are being attacked by a brown or grizzly bear. Lay flat on your stomach with your pack on your back, clasp your hands behind your neck and spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to flip you over. Remain still until the bear leaves. Fighting back against a brown or grizzly bear usually only intensifies the ferocity of such attacks. If the attack persists and you think you will die, fight back as ferociously as possible in the bear’s face, especially the eyes, to get away. However, it must be stressed that fighting back typically does not work against a grizzly bear.
  • If a black bear attacks you, do not play dead. Evasion techniques are best to try and escape without running. It’s best to try to escape into a building or car. If escape is impossible, fight back using any object available. Concentrate your attacks on the bear’s face, muscles, and eyes. Remember, if the bear can’t see you, it’s harder to attack you.

 

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