If you love the outdoors like I do then, you most likely spend most of your days out in the woods. Whether you’re hunting, camping or just going out on a hike, chances are you might come across wild animals. You either spend it alone or with family and friends. One of the most likely animals that you would not want to cross paths with, is the bear. But in case you do encounter one, I’m sure you would like to know how to survive a bear attack.
How To Survive A Bear Attack
Statistics show that you are more likely to get hit by lighting than attacked by a bear. You might as well be prepared for it, if it does happen. As the saying goes always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Plus your paracord just might be put to good use. Continue reading so you can have a general idea on how to survive a bear attack.
Tip #1: Keep a Bear Spray with You at all Times
Keep it within reach because the difference between life and death is but a few seconds. Studies show that the people carrying sprays avoided injury in close-range bear encounters 98% of the time. This is compared to those with guns that had a 50% injury rate. The main active ingredients of this stuff are capsaicin and related capsaicinoids. It should be at higher levels estimated to be around 1-2% anything lower than that is for humans. We recommend you grab this brand from Amazon, stat.
Tip #2: Safety in Numbers
If you can go with a group while spending time in the woods then it would increase your chances of avoiding being attacked by a bear. By staying in a group means more noise. Singing or talking will make the bear know that you’re there. If ever you do come across one the, bear may put away any thought of attacking you as a group.
Tip #3: Don’t be a Bear Magnet
Secure all your food and trash carefully. If possible store your food in bear canisters. Unattended food or throwing them away anywhere attracts bears, leading them to you. Bringing along pets is also not a good thing as this will become potential prey for them.
Tip #4: Immediately Identify the Bear and Assess its Behavior
There are different types of bears out there. The black bear and the grizzly or brown bear are among the most common. Once you identify them, try to assess its behavior as quickly as possible. If it has cubs the maternal instinct to protect its offspring can be fatal especially if it perceives you as a threat. Other behaviors are if it gets startled, hungry, protecting its territory, confused, afraid or protecting hidden food are among others.
Learn more specific bear behaviors by clicking here.
Tip #5: Don’t Run
Stand your ground because the second you don’t, it activates the animal instinct in them. Bears can clock their speed up to 40 mph about 64 km/h. So, it is pretty clear that they’re faster than you could ever be. So this is not a good option at all.
Tip #6: Create Distance between You and the Bear
By slowly backing down facing the bear and creating distance, this will give you time to react in case a bear decides to attack. Do the best you can to put a rock or a tree between yourself and the bear.
Tip #7: Don’t Climb a Tree
Some bears are excellent climbers, especially black and sloth bears. Although, this may give you a higher survival rate compared to fighting a larger bear head-on. If the bear is really large, and you’re forced to climb, climb to the highest point of the tree where branches can’t support its weight. Make sure the tree can’t be toppled over by the bear though.
Tip #8: Stay as Calm as Possible with a Bear Charge
Having a clear head during these encounters will matter a lot. This will make you aware of your surroundings and you will know what you need to do the moment it attacks. Black bears oftentimes fake their attacks multiple times to test you. If you flinch and try to run it will instinctively give chase. But if you stand your ground they might just lose their interest in you.
Tip #9: Hit the Dirt
After unsuccessfully using the bear spray and the bear still decides to attack you, hit the dirt. Lie flat on your stomach and spread your legs so that the bear can’t roll you over easily. If it does manage to roll you over, roll back onto your stomach every time. Cover the back of your neck with you arms with the elbows protecting the side of your face. This is the area where the bear usually goes as the kill bite. Make sure your off hand is the one on top, so if it gets mangled then you could still use you main hand.
Tip #10: Know Whether to Play Dead or Fight Back
Keep a clear head and don’t panic. While hitting the dirt, play dead while keep silent and still. If it is a brown or grizzly bear, playing dead is the best recourse. Hopefully they get bored and eventually leave you. If it is a black bear or a polar bear, never play dead. Fight back with all that you’ve got or you will be its next meal. If you have to fight back, make sure you’re fighting with a knife like this!
Tip #11: Take Advantage of any Bear Weaknesses
With exception to the previous tip on brown or grizzly bears. If it starts to lick your wounds, fight back! Defending yourself on a steep slope reduces the ability of the bear to stand or putting its full weight on you. Attacking from the side is also an advantage. Fight with sticks, stones, dirt or whatever you can get your hands on. Attack the eyes or the snout which is the most sensitive part.
Tip #12: Escape When You Can
Take a few more minutes before standing up or moving as brown bears are noted to wait in the distance to check if you’re still alive. Once you’re sure that the bear is gone move to the opposite direction it went. Try to be stealthy as possible so as not to attract any more attention. Find a shelter or back in your vehicle.
Watch this very detailed video from Aaron Deeves, taken from the movie The Revenant by 20th Century Fox, where Leonaro Dicaprio is shown being attacked by a bear.
All the above-mentioned tips are but personal encounters from people who did survive a bear attack, and does not guarantee that you will eventually be able to walk away from one. But it does give the probability even if it you coming out bearly alive.
Just be prepared and responsible when being in bear country. Keep the fear of bears in the right perspective. Prevention is always a better option. There are a lot of ways to avoid a bear encounter or preventing it from attacking you, if you do still come across one that is.
Do you want to know more about wildlife? Then you can start reading it here.
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