What to Do When A Bear Attacks You While Camping

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August 21, 2017 / Comments Off on What to Do When A Bear Attacks You While Camping

Camping & Survival

Bear attacks rarely happen but if they do, what can you do to survive them? Read this post and learn tips on how you can counter bear attacks!

Campers' Tips On What To Do When A Bear Attacks

There are a couple of things you need to understand first. You are more likely to die from murder, insect bites, and dog attacks than being killed by a bear. Even if you encounter bears while you're hiking or camping, they're more likely to run away from you than attack. Bears are mostly peaceful animals but they can become aggressive when they're surprised by a very close human encounter. Female bears might also be aggressive if they feel their cubs are being threatened. But again, they rarely attack. In case it happens, here are a few things you can do to survive a bear attack:


Remain calm

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Calmness is the key to your survival. If you let your fear overwhelm you, chances are you are going to make a lot of uncalculated actions, which will do you more harm than good. Keep your head straight and assess the situation quickly but as calmly as you can.

By keeping calm, you are ‘appeasing' the bear, in a way, as well. You are establishing yourself as a submissive and non-threatening creature, which may decrease the bear's agitation.


Ready your bear spray

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Make sure you bring a bear spray if you're camping. It is your first line of defense. Place this in a very accessible pocket on your clothes so you can easily get it when you encounter a bear. If the bear does not attack immediately, you have time to get the bear spray slowly out of the pocket. Sudden movements may surprise and agitate the bear further so it is important you pull out your bear spray slowly and quietly.

Give your spray a long blast when the bear is within 20 to 30 feet.


Know the bear

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It is important you know what type of bear you are dealing with, including its behavior. Is it a grizzly bear or a black bear? Is it being defensive or offensive? When you are able to answer these questions, it is more likely you know what to do next.

If a bear stands up on its hind legs, it is usually just curious. But if the bear is slapping the ground with its front paws, swinging its head from side to side, or snapping its teeth, it means business.


Talk calmly

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Identify yourself by talking to the bear calmly. Be as non-threatening and submissive as possible. You would want to prove to the bear you are human and you want to quietly get out of its territory.


Slowly back away

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While you're talking calmly to the bear, back away slowly and quietly. But make sure you don't show your back to it. If the bear follows you, with a clear intent of doing so, stand your ground and be ready with your bear spray.


Do not run

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Do not run from a bear. It's very hard to outrun it, to begin with. If you choose to run, you are acting like prey and may entice the bear to run after you.


Do not climb trees, either

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Black bears can climb trees and Grizzlies can climb after you as well. But sometimes, they don't need to do so. With a ten-feet height, they can simply reach you by standing up.

But there are instances wherein you can choose to climb trees, especially after you have sprayed the deterrent. Just make sure the bear is really confused and won't come after you. You must be at least 14 feet high up the tree. You can stay there until you are very sure the bear is gone.


Play dead

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In some cases, you can play dead, especially if you think the bear is being defensive. Lie flat on your stomach and cover your neck and head with the back of your hand. If you have a backpack on, this can protect your back. Remain in this position and wait for the bear to leave. Do not get up unless you are absolutely sure the bear has left the area.


Stand tall and yell

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In some cases, playing dead won't work, especially if the bear is in predatory mode. An aggressive, non-defensive bear needs to be dealt with firmness. Stand your ground, yell, make yourself as big as you can.


Fight back with everything you have

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If the bear still does not back out after you've shown your dominance, you can fight back. Use any available weapon and concentrate on hitting its head. If you have a bear spray, make sure you're targeting the eyes and nose so you can distract it effectively.


Do not use your gun, if possible

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Even if you are to use any weapon available, use your gun as the last resort. A gunshot can make the bear even more aggressive, which in turn, can lead you to get even more injuries. During bear attacks, the bear spray is still a good defense.


Learn more about bear encounters in this Brave Wilderness video:

Perhaps the best way to counter bear attacks is to avoid meeting one in the first place. Before you pitch your tent in a campsite, make sure you have taken the measures to discourage bears from entering your camp. Also, make sure to bring cans of bear spray when you go camping.

Do you know some other tips on how to deal with bear attacks? Share it with us by writing a comment below!

Remember, they're not just bears you're dealing with in the wilderness. Learn some advice on how to deal with wild animals near the campsite first, before you go camping!

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The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.


Featured image via skeeze | pixabay


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