HomeTravelHow to survive a bear attack -- or better yet, avoid one...

How to survive a bear attack — or better yet, avoid one altogether

(CNN) — You’re out for a hike on a superb fall day. Suddenly, you see a bear. And the bear has noticed you, too. Would what to do subsequent?

Beth Pratt positive would.

She was as soon as on the Old Gardiner Road Trail in Yellowstone National Park, having fun with her run in wild nature. Her reverie got here to an finish when she came across a grizzly bear consuming flowers.

“I stopped. It stood on its hind legs and looked at me. I knew that wasn’t a threatening gesture,” she advised CNN Travel final 12 months. “I’m not kidding, it waved its paw at me as if to say, ‘just go on your way,’ and went back to eating.”

“And I walked slowly away and put some distance between us, and the encounter ended fine.”

When it comes to coping with bears, Pratt does have a factor or two on nearly all the remainder of us, although.

She is the California regional govt director for the National Wildlife Federation, a job she’s had for greater than 10 years. She additionally labored in Yellowstone for a number of years — and as soon as noticed 9 grizzlies in one day there.

Finally, she lives on the border of Yosemite National Park, and bears will cross by means of her yard, together with this one seen within the footage above in late September 2021.

You can hear the keenness in Pratt’s voice as she shares her bear bona fides and recommendation to ensure bear/human encounters are pleasant, not harmful.

“A wild bear is a beautiful sight to see. It’s incredible to see them in the wild. I never had a bad experience with bears. What I try to get people to feel is respect, not fear, for bears. The animal usually wants to avoid the encounters.”

Bears within the information

A bear attacked a mountain climber on the aspect of a cliff and the harrowing trade was caught on digicam. HLN’s Robin Meade has the main points.

Bear assaults are uncommon, Pratt and US National Park Service web sites level out, however they do occur.

In North Carolina, a couple’s unleashed canine attracted undesirable consideration from a black bear in early fall 2021 as they had been picnicking on the Blue Ridge Parkway; they and their pet survived

All illustrate the purpose that uncommon does not equal by no means.

Feasts for beasts

An grownup grizzly walks by means of a campground and picnic space in Lake Louise, which is in Alberta, Canada. Make positive your meals is rarely a temptation in bear nation.

George Rose/Getty Images

This is a good time of 12 months to bone up on the bear information and security as a result of many bears are actually in a section generally known as hyperphagia, Pratt mentioned. “It’s a period in the fall where bears are eating anything and everything to fatten up for hibernation.”

She famous mountain lions are comparatively choosy eaters. Not bears.

“They eat everything: Ants. Roadkill. Flowers. Nuts. And unfortunately, human food that’s not secured. Our food is very attractive to them; it’s easy calories.”

Combine that with the truth that some nationwide and state parks have develop into very talked-about and crowded, and you’ve got a recipe for potential hassle.

“If more people are using public lands and more people are in the mix, there’s more potential for encounters and conflict. It does concern me a little bit,” Pratt mentioned.

The key’s being ready — and that is the place Pratt and others within the know are available in.

First rule of ‘bear battle membership’: Don’t battle

The greatest technique is to by no means get in hurt’s means by attractive or frightening a wild bear. Trying to give a bear meals or approaching cute cubs are significantly horrible methods to begin an encounter. That’s simply in search of hassle.

The US National Park Service web site factors out every bear and every encounter is totally different, however there are normal tips helpful in most conditions.
First of all, keep your distance should you occur upon a bear. Don’t method it, and provides it loads of room to stroll away from you. Yellowstone tells you to keep no less than 100 yards (300 toes or 91 meters) away; Shenandoah National Park in Virginia suggests 200 toes (61 meters) for its black bears.
A grizzly bear named "399" walks with her four cubs outside Jackson, Wyoming, in June 2020. The mother inhabits Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest. A wise hiker will never get between a mama bear and her cubs.

A grizzly bear named “399” walks together with her 4 cubs exterior Jackson, Wyoming, in June 2020. The mom inhabits Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest. A clever hiker won’t ever get between a mama bear and her cubs.

George Frey/Getty Images

Other ideas:

• Talk calmly to your self in low tones to determine your self as human.

• Walk with a group (we’re smellier and noisier in packs) and keep on designated trails.

• If you will have a small baby or canine, decide it up.

• Don’t put your self between cubs and their mom.

Pratt mentioned do not be alarmed if a bear stands on its hind legs; it isn’t thought-about an aggressive transfer.

Almost all encounters are peaceable, Pratt mentioned. Many occasions, individuals by no means knew they had been even shut to a bear, as on this YouTube video that shows two individuals rising from a basement oblivious to a close by bear.

What if a bear begins coming at you anyway?

This brown bear was roaming in the Bavarian Forest in Neuschonau, Germany. If a bear starts running toward you, it's important to stand your ground. Bolting away is the wrong move.

This brown bear was roaming within the Bavarian Forest in Neuschonau, Germany. If a bear begins working towards you, it is vital to stand your floor. Bolting away is the unsuitable transfer.

Ingo Geriach/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

If a bear begins making assertive strikes in your route, you will have vital selections to make — and quick.

First factor is: Stand your floor with bears.

With both grizzlies (a subspecies of brown bears) or black bears, “please don’t run. Bears can outrun anybody,” Pratt mentioned. “Don’t climb a tree either. They can also climb trees better than you.”
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife (the place the black bear inhabitants is rising) also has some tips:

• Make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or utilizing an airhorn to scare bears away.

• Make your self look as massive as doable by waving your arms.

• If you are with different individuals, keep collectively.

Pratt mentioned you possibly can normally intimidate or bluff your means out of sticky bear conditions, relying on the bear species and the state of affairs.

But what if a bear is about to attack?

You’re now within the rarest of conditions — you’ve got attracted a bear’s consideration. It did not transfer off. It’s began coming at you aggressively and quick. You suppose you are about to be attacked. What’s subsequent?

One very essential factor is to make a fast ID of the form of bear, as a result of your technique goes to be totally different.

Study this face. This is a black bear face. If you're being attacked by a black bear, don't play dead. Fight back.

Study this face. This is a black bear face. If you are being attacked by a black bear, do not play lifeless. Fight again.

Friso Gentsch/image alliance/dpa/Getty Images

If it is a black bear, the NPS and Pratt have a clear message: Do not run. Do not play lifeless.

“You want to stand your ground with black bears. Look as intimidating as possible,” Pratt mentioned. “Throw things not at it but near it. Make that black bear intimidated by you. Let it know you are a big person. Pick something up; yell at it. If it attacks, fight back — aim for the face.”

It’s a totally different state of affairs with grizzlies

If you are coping with a grizzly that will not again off and an attack is imminent, you are suggested to do the other. You ought to play lifeless.

“Act as unthreatening as possible with a grizzly. Play dead with a grizzly if it starts to attack,” Pratt mentioned. “Tuck and cover. Get into a fetal position. Wrap your hands around your neck. Lay on your stomach. Once you do that, 99 percent of the time the grizzly will move on.”

NPS elaborates: “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.”

Fighting again a grizzly bear is the final resort — “your Hail Mary pass” as Pratt known as it — when all different choices are out.

An exception to this rule: If you are tenting in a tent and are attacked, that bear possible sees you as meals. NPS and Pratt say that is a time to battle.

How do you inform a black bear from a grizzly?

First off, know your space and skim up on the bears there.

In North America, grizzlies have a way more restricted vary than black bears do. In the Lower 48, they’re in Washington, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. And then in Alaska, too. They additionally cowl large parts of western Canada.

So say you are in Quebec, the Appalachians, the Ozarks, California or even elements of Florida, that is going to be a black bear. But should you’re in Yellowstone or Glacier National Park, as an illustration, that might be a black bear or a grizzly. That’s when it is essential to know the way to make a fast visible ID.

You cannot go by the colour of the fur. Black bears may be black, brown, cinnamon, blond, blue-gray or white, according to Bear.org.
That's a grizzly on the left. See the hump? That's one way to tell a difference between it and a black bear, which doesn't sport the hump behind the neck.

That’s a grizzly on the left. See the hump? That’s one means to inform a distinction between it and a black bear, which does not sport the hump behind the neck.

Getty Images

One of the very best methods to inform the distinction, Pratt mentioned, is to search for a hump on the shoulders. Grizzlies have them. Black bears do not.

She additionally mentioned the face shapes are totally different. “Black bear faces look a little more cuddly to me, a little rounder, with a straight nose. A grizzly bear face looks more like a wild predator and has a dished shape.”

Bear spray and weapons

Some individuals like to carry bear spray and/or a weapon with them when venturing into bear nation.

Pratt is an advocate of the previous and says make certain to apply utilizing it first earlier than going into the wild. NPS has a helpful video and tips on utilizing spray to beat back bears.

She’s extra cautious about bringing firearms with you, particularly should you’re inexperienced. “Taking a grizzly out with one shot would be tough. You need to be very experienced with a gun to increase your chance of safety.”

Some individuals like to carry bear bells on their hikes, hoping the noise will beat back the animals. But the park service says that “Yelling, clapping and talking are more effective ways of alerting a bear to your presence.”

What campers want to know

If you're taking your vehicle for an overnight camping trip, don't store food in it.

If you take your car for an in a single day tenting journey, do not retailer meals in it.

George Rose/Getty Images

If you are out tenting in a single day, you will have further issues to take.

Kyle Patterson, administration specialist and public affairs officer at Rocky Mountain National Park, emailed CNN Travel some methods to maintain hungry bears away.

Patterson suggested utilizing a meals storage locker if supplied in campgrounds and picnic areas. Also, “avoid storing food and coolers in your vehicle. If you must, store food in airtight containers in the trunk or out of sight. Close vehicle windows completely.”

Other ideas and cautions:

• Don’t retailer meals in tents or pop-up campers in campgrounds or in automobiles at trailheads.

• Don’t go away meals, coolers and soiled cookware unattended. Park rangers might confiscate them and cite you.

• Get rid of rubbish in bear-resistant dumpsters and trash cans.

Human-fed bears normally find yourself as power issues and wish to be eliminated, Patterson mentioned. “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

The ball is in our courtroom

Pratt emphasised it is up to people to be accountable to these creatures.

“The bears are just being bears. We are way more of a threat to them. Bear attacks are so rare. And fatalities are even rarer,” she mentioned.

“The bears’ lives are more at threat than ours in encounters. I want people to have magical, wonderful experiences in the wild. I want people to feel OK about having these encounters.”

Top picture: A grizzly and her cub stroll by means of a meadow in Yellowstone National Park. (Photo by Will Powers/SOPA Images/LightRocket through Getty Images)

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