Bear attacks are rare, but you should be prepared for an encounter if you ever take an excursion into the wilderness. After all, you never know when you might need help. So how do you handle a bear attack? The answer to this question depends on the type of bear you’re facing – grizzly bear, black bear, or a polar bear.
Bears don’t normally want to attack people. Bears usually attack when they feel threatened, starved, or startled. This blog will explain some of the ways in which you can survive a bear attack and the most common bears that are likely to attack humans.
Types of Bears
A grizzly bear is the most popular and widespread bear across the world. These bears are mostly found in Eurasia and northwestern North America. By far, they are the most aggressive bear species and are also one of the strongest.
Black bears occasionally attack humans, but since they are smaller, faster, and good at climbing trees or hills, they prefer to run away than fighting. However, some black bears are more aggressive than others.
Polar bears are the largest bears in the world. They are also the most deadly and vicious. Humans cannot fight a polar bear alone. You will definitely need a gun if you ever encounter a polar bear. Polar bears are mostly found in the arctic, so they don’t have much human encounters; therefore, the attack ratio is also low.
If you ever encounter these bears, keep the following tips in mind:
Use a Bear Spray
If you live in a place that has a lot of grizzlies around or if you are going camping in a place where bears are frequently spotted, you should always carry bear spray with you. Keep it in a secure place, somewhere you can easily access it, such as your pocket. Bear sprays are a better option than using a gun because you may not be able to kill a bear with just one or two bullets – not instantly anyway. Also, some bears are endangered, so killing them is not the best practice. Moreover, bear sprays distract the bear long enough to give you enough time to make your escape.
Announce Your Presence
If you are in bear territory, you don’t need to be too stealthy. You can talk, sing, or make noise in order to let the bear know that you are here. Remember, if you startle a bear all of a sudden, it can attack you. If you see a bear nearby, but it does not see you do not disturb it or startle it. Letting the bear know that you’re around gives it time to run away from you. Remember, bears don’t want to attack you. So if they know you’re around, they’ll choose to just walk away, unless they’re with their cubs.
Don’t Tease Them
If you are going camping or hiking in bear territory, it’s best to leave your pets at home because bears can be triggered by certain pets. You should also be very careful with the trash, waste food, and leftovers. Make sure you secure your food and create minimum waste because bears are always on the lookout for food.
Don’t Try To Run
If you notice a grizzly nearby, don’t try to run away from it. You will only end up scaring it. Stay calm and slowly reach for the bear spray if you have it. Don’t panic if the bear stands up. This usually means that the bear is curious and wants to know what you are about to do. Start backing away slowly (keep the bear spray in hand). If the bear starts to follow you, stop moving and stand still.
Spray From a Distance
The best way to spray a grizzly bear is from a distance of about 4 to 5 feet. You should only spray a bear if it is charging towards you at full speed. The concept of spraying is to create a wall barrier between you and the grizzly so that you can get a chance to escape.
Hit the Ground
If the bear keeps charging at you at full speed and there is no room for you to escape, fall down on the ground and fold yourself into a ball-like position for protection. Wrap your hands around your neck to protect it from bites, protect your stomach by lying down flat on the ground and wrap your legs around by bringing them upwards. Do not move until the bear leaves.
Trick the Bear
You can play dead for a while if you are unable to outrun a bear. Playing dead will let the grizzly know that you are not a threat to it. Don’t get up for at least about 20 minutes even if the bear starts to walk away. Bears are known to linger around for long periods even if you are still only to make sure that you are not a threat to them.
This option should be your last resort. In case all of the above options fail and the bear keeps attacking, you should defend yourself. You can punch the bear in its nose or eyes as these are the sensitive areas and the bear can also get scared if you hit just right. You can use any nearby object to fight back as well, such as a stone or a stick. Try to create some distance between yourself and the bear so that you have room to slowly walk away. Do not run; this will only make the bear chase you.
Bears aren’t vicious creatures, but when provoked, they can be deadly. One attack from their sharp paws can end a human life. It is best to avoid bear encounters as much as you can. Remember, being in the wild means that you have to keep your wits about you. If you follow the above-mentioned tips, you should be alright. Good luck!