What To Do When You Come Into Contact With a Bear

Although it’s unlikely, the chance of coming into contact with a bear is always a looming threat, do you know how to get away?


Eran Bagwell, Contributor

First things first: not all bears require the same reaction. A black bear and a brown bear have very different attack signals, but what are they?

When it comes to brown bears, “If you are attacked by a brown/grizzly bear, leave your pack on and PLAY DEAD. Lay flat on your stomach with your hands clasped behind your neck. Spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to turn you over. Remain still until the bear leaves the area. Fighting back usually increases the intensity of such attacks. However, if the attack persists, fight back vigorously. Use whatever you have at hand to hit the bear in the face.” (nps.org) Brown bears could be the less threatening of the two, but these bears can climb trees and run as fast as a racehorse, which makes the much scarier to think about.

When it comes to black bears, According to the US National Park Service, playing dead will likely not be very effective if you’re attacked by a black bear. Instead, you may want to fight back with all your strength, aiming direct blows at the bear’s face while using any weapon or object available to you.” (insider.com) Black bears are the more timid of the two and will most likely not attack you.

The best way to avoid an attack would be to wave your arms above your head and walk sideways, walking sideways allows the bear to feel less threatened and having your arms above your head makes you appear bigger. It is always handy to have pepper spray in an attack and to use it.

Bear attacks are extremely unlikely, but it is good to be aware of the situation, also keep your bag on you and talk in a low voice, do not roar or screech, for this will make it more likely for an attack to happen.