Practice Bear Safety While
In the Woods

Outdoorsmen need to practice bear safety while out in the woods. Hunting by nature is a sport of stealth; this makes hunters vulnerable for bear conflicts while chasing their quarry. There is no worse situation to find yourself in than to place yourself between a sow and her cubs.

As hunters it is important to understand a bears’ defense, and how to react to protect yourself from harm.

I do not know about you, but when I hunt, I try to make as little noise as possible. Being quiet in the woods is one of the keys to having a successful hunt. But this can also lead you into trouble, you need to be bear aware.

This grizzly would attack if you were this close!

Consider this scenario: You find yourself sneaking along a game trail when a sudden movement to your right catches your attention... a black bear cub scrambles for a tree! A quick survey of the situation reveals the sow on the other side of the trail... you are between them!

Bear Safety Says - Do Not Panic!

Panic is not your friend...

More than likely a surprised black bear, even a sow in this case will run in the opposite direction, making a hasty retreat. She won’t go far though, she will be back looking for her cub, it is best and safest for you to back out.

A grizzly bear on the other hand would act different. An attack is eminent!

What do you do in the case where the sow does not turn tale and run? Do you run? Absolutely Not! Never Run from any bear. Running will make you act like their prey, bears chase prey... the end is not pleasant.

Talk to the bear, do not yell or throw things at the bear you will only agitate the situation further. Let the bear know you are human. If possible back away from the situation, avoid eye contact.

If you carry bear spray (I recommend you do), now is the time to get it ready... use it if the bear gets too close. I do not know what the actual percentages are but there is a better chance of you being hit by a car than being attacked by a bear. If you keep your wits about you and you follow some simple bear safety rules you will live to share your experience with your family.

Bear Safety

  • Do Not Run
  • Avoid Eye Contact
  • Let the bear(s) know you are human... talk to it
  • Carry bear spray... For heaven’s sake use it!
  • Try not to surprise or startle a bear
  • Stand your ground and or back away slowly
  • Make yourself look big! Stand on a stump or log, or hold your pack above your head
  • Do not throw things... sticks, rocks etc.
  • Do not yell or scream... this will only aggravate the situation
  • Do not shoot the bear... unless you have too. Bear Spray is proven to be a 100% effective deterent. Bullets might not do the job until it's too late for you.

When a Bear Charges

Statistics show that a very high percentage of bear charges are bluffs. The bears will either veer away or stop short... it takes some guts to stand your ground in the face of an oncoming charge. But this is the best thing you can do for bear safety.

Black Bear Safety

If an Attack is Imminent

If you are attacked by a black bear the first line of defense is to fight back. Most black bears will not continue an attack with a human that fights back. Try to hurt the bear in its most vulnerable areas: eyes, ears and nose. If the attack persists be sure to protect yourself cover your neck, roll onto your stomach. If the bear rolls you over, keep rolling over until you reach your stomach again. Use your bear spray!

If the attack is by a Grizzly bear DO NOT fight back. A grizzly will keep attacking if you struggle. Protect yourself... cover your neck with your hands, lay on your stomach. Do not shout or scream and do not move. The attack will end and the bear will move off. Wait until you are sure the bear has left the area before you move. Then seek medical help as soon as possible. Use your bear spray!

Report It

Report all instances of bear charges or attacks to authorities as soon as possible; if a bear has a history it is better to alert the appropriate people so the animal can be dealt with.

It is possible to practice bear safety and go into the woods and not be afraid. As long as you know how to deal with situations you will have an enjoyable time in the woods.

Camp Life

When camping in bear country sometimes you have to deal with aggressive bears. They just don't take the hint and keep coming around camp. What can you do? How do you keep these marauders out of your camp?

It's almost impossible to sleep at night in fear you'll end up being a bear sandwich.

Put up a perimeter fence, this will be your first line of defense. If you bring either a battery powered or solar charged portable electric bear fence. They are easy to set up and will aid significantly in keeping bears out of your campsite. Of course you still want to have your bear spray in a convenient location in case you need to use it.

Another trick that we have used to alert us of bears approaching camp is to run a string or cord around your camp at about two feet off the ground. We hang popcans or beer cans off the cord with a few rocks or pebbles in each. When a bear walks into the cord, the cans will rattle and alert you.

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