Wild Bear Safety


Jayleen C., Staff Writer

Have you ever gone camping and been concerned about bears in the area? If so, one must know exactly how to handle a situation when approached by a bear in the wild. Here’s a quick rundown of how to safely walk out of each scenario with the three most commonly approached bears.

If you ever happen to be approached by a black bear, do not make eye contact; they may see it as a threat. Likewise, running may also trigger an attack. The last thing you want to do is climb a tree for black bears can climb trees very well. Scream, wave your arms and appear as a bigger threat. Black bears are the easiest to scare off!

Now, if ever approached by a brown Grizzly bear, avoid direct eye contact and walk away slowly. Do not scream or yell. Instead, speak in a soft monotone voice while waving your arms to let the animal know you are human not prey. Do not try to outrun the bear; Grizzlies can run 20-30 mph. Be prepared to use pepper spray if the bear charges to within 25 feet of where you’re standing! If the animal makes contact, play dead by curling up into a ball on your side, or laying flat on your stomach. Be sure the bear has completely left the area before getting up to seek help.

Do you ever somehow end up in Alaska and face a polar bear? Well, good luck because neither fighting back nor playing dead will work on a polar bear. Your best bet would be to spray the bear with pepper spray if close enough. On the other hand, polar bears are very curious, and therefore easily distracted. While slowly backing away, peeling off your clothes one at a time, the bear should stop, sniff, and even play with each item they come across. Now you are safe until it catches up to you or you die of hypothermia. What a thrill!

You can look online for further details on each bear or other bears not native to the U.S.