The purpose of this article is to:
Know what to do in case of an attack (do I run at breakneck speed or do I break his head?)
These are the questions that we will answerpond.
Table of Contents
Bears are wild animals, and although extremely powerful, they are rather shy with humans. They are not looking for direct contact. Unless it is a polar bear who is starving and who is tracking you down for days to make you his next dinner (the polar bear being the only bear, in theory, which can put himself in a situation of predation for humans), as soon as they hear you, they go away and take a different path not to be disturbed.
Therefore most accidents occur due to chance encounters. The animal which is then surprised gets scared and attacks. These factors will be emphasized if the bear is with his cubs, if he is a large territorial male, if he is eating or if he is simply in a bad mood (it happens to bears also).
“All right! But how do you avoid them? We don’t know where they are?”
Let’s examine this.
scratches on the trunks of trees, carcasses, the behavior of other animals… example: if there is a grouping of birds above a river, it is likely that there is a salmon run with bears who love them. To put it in a nutshell observe the signs, nature has many things to say.
bivouac, so it won’t get stolen during the night. Or put it in metal containers sealed or waterproof bag and then in the river or lake.
This prevention, and already we see that we can avoid a great deal of inappropriate encounters by following a few safety measures. But nobody is perfect. And even if we are, bumping into a bear can still happen. There are always the unexpected or even the hypothesis where the bear has something personal against you. Bad luck!
In this case how to react in case of confrontations?
You are walking peacefully. You are having a cushy rest. And wham! A bear. A powerful mass of muscle that can weigh up to a ton, who can run at a top speed of 35 mph (56 km/h) (faster than a horse), capable of tearing any car door while you have difficulty opening a jam jar, stands in front of you. What to do?
Normally by applying this, we are left with a big fright and a story of adventurer to tell at dinners.
However, it still remains a scenario. THE scenario, rare, fortunately, but possible. You have upset the bear. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know, but he is really not pleased and he is charging at you.
A bear charges you. He attacks. There is little chance that it is for a predation reason; more probably to enforce compliance. What to do? There is a behavior to adopt to overcome this situation. But the reactions can be different depending on the species.
I know that you are not a “bearologist” (me neither, by the way) so here are the main differences to recognize bear species in order to adapt your behavior.
A polar bear is a huge fellow (two to three meters high and weighs often a ton), he is white, a good swimmer and lives only in the Arctic regions. So if you cross one, I think his identity will not be mistaken.
The brown bear and the black bear are more similar and may evolve in the same environments.
The brown bear differs from the black bear – not necessarily by his size because there are comparable sub-species (not all have the size of a dinosaur of the Kodiak bear), not by his color because there are black bears who are lighter and brown bears who are darker – but by morphological differences.
The black bear has a rump higher than the shoulders and has a straight nose. The brown bear (or Grizzly) has the shoulders higher and a curved nose. Overall the brown bear is larger.
Now that you know who is charging you at full speed. What to do?
Accidents with black bears, moreover fatal, are exceptional. Quebec has identified two in 50 years. They are usually charging as a bluff. But if it happens, it is advisable to defend yourself because the black bear although smaller (70-150 kg) and more apprehensive than the grizzly or the polar bear, has a Herculean strength compare to you, but he doesn’t necessarily know it.
If it is a brown bear (or Grizzly) do not defend yourself unless you have a weapon and know how to use it. It is said that in Alaska there are more accidents with firearms trying to use them than with bears. That says a lot.
If it is a polar bear, as we said before, if he charges you, it is probably to eat you. The only reaction to have is to defend yourself, to show him that you will not be easy prey to gulp down.
Now you know everything. How to avoid bears, react if you cross them, and survive if you are being attacked.
However, a small nuance is required. Although we can draw, here, some general information on bears to predict their behavior, they remain and will always remain wild animals. If they feel like eating you despite all your precautions, it is still possible. So if you never want to find yourself in this situation, do not wander in these regions, period.
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