A day out in the woods can be an enjoyable time. Whether you are out for a hike or have decided to spend a weekend or week camping, getting out to Mother Nature can make for an incredibly enjoyable time.
However, there are major dangers that are present in the wild. One of the biggest you should be concerned about is a bear. Even if you are still close to residential areas, it is not uncommon for a person to come across a bear. You may be on a trail or camped out for the night when one of these large brown, black, or other types of bears comes out of nowhere. You may only have seconds to react, so knowing what to do to fend off and survive a bear attack is essential.
They Are More Afraid of You
This is one of those sayings you have probably heard before. That you should not be afraid of animals because they are more afraid of you. The truth is that that is reality. Bears are actually quite afraid of human beings, and don’t want to attack them. That does not mean that they won’t. If they are hungry or feel scared in some way, their reaction will be to attack.
What this tells you is that your first inclination is to do as little as possible to be intimidating to the bear. Should you come across one, your first reaction should be to stop, stand still for a moment, and then slowly begin to back yourself away. Let the bear know that you are not a threat to it, and you may find that it will turn and go away, or at least not follow you.
Know Your Bear
Knowing a little about bears can also help you in a situation like this. Brown and black bears are far less likely to attack people. These are relatively tame animals. Not domesticated, but are a lot less hostile and aggressive.
That is not true of polar bears. These animals can be quite aggressive, and if you come across one of them you better be prepared to take action to fend off that animal before you are seriously injured.
Avoid a Bear
Of course, the most important thing to keep in mind for your survival is to avoid a bear altogether. This starts by being smart about how you hike or camp. Don’t leave trash or food around. This will only attract the bear.
Be careful of what you spill on yourself. If you have spilled an aromatic food on your clothing and are out for a walk or are asleep for the night, that smell may attract the bear. Make sure that you thoroughly wash clothes that you have spilled food on, and set up camp in areas where you are less likely to encounter a bear.
It is true that bears sense fear. If you become terrified and start to run, you are likely to find that the bear is going to attack you. This is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. They become agitated and more aggressive when they sense fear and potential prey. This is why it is essential that you take a moment, stop, and gather yourself before taking any action at all.
If you are in an area where a bear is present but you have not been seen by the bear yet, then do some things to let the bear know you are around. This will prevent it from becoming startled. The simplest things can include such things as singing, talking softly, or rustling some bushes a little. This will most likely cause the bear to move away, not sure what resides where you are.
The important part of this is to not scare the bear. By making some soft sounds a distance away when the bear has not seen you will help you to be safe. In other words, don’t try to hide or think you are cleverly avoiding the bear by getting up in a bush or a tree. Bears can smell you, sometimes from as far as miles away. This is why it makes sense for you to make your presence known. Just do it softly.
Carry Bear Repellant
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to use bear repellent. You can buy these bear spray products online or at virtually any wilderness store, and they are quite effective.
How these sprays work is simple. They use the same kind of chemicals that are found in pepper spray. If you have ever seen these effects on a human being, then you know how effective they can be. They work in the same way against bears.
When a bear is sprayed by one of these products, it causes the animal to have difficulty seeing, for his nasal passages to constrict. It will have difficulty breathing, and will most likely stopped in its tracks. This is your time to get away. While the animal is incapacitated, this is your time to flee.
If you are in a situation where you have come across a bear and it is acting in an aggressive manner, then it would be time to use this spray. Of course, don’t just spray it willy-nilly. Make sure that you have read the instructions provided by the manufacturer before using the product.
What you will find is that every product you purchase will have different requirements and specifications to it. Some bear repellents provide a range of up to 25 feet, meaning you can spray the product when the bear is 20 feet or more away from you. However, some products only have an effective range of 10 or 15 feet. If you spray this when the bear is 20 feet away, it may not have very much affected all. Your bear repellent will do virtually nothing for you.
It is also important to know how many sprays your product provides. You may find that you can spray 6 to 8 bursts, allowing you to spray at the bear a few times to see how it reacts. If it continues, then you can continually use the product and tell you disable it.
Understand that this product is meant to slow down the bear. Don’t think this is a permanent solution. Also, while it may have a prolonged effect on some bears, don’t expect it to incapacitate your bear for 15 minutes or more. Once the bear is down, run for your life.
If you find that the bear is still charging at you, your next attempt to protect yourself should be to hit the ground and to protect your neck and head area. This is best accomplished by curling up in a ball and lacing your fingers behind the back of your neck. Try to tuck your knees as closely to your chin as possible. This may sound silly, but the less area that is available for the bear to attack is better for you.
It may also be a good idea to lay flat on the ground. Lay on your stomach with your fingers laced behind your neck. This will protect your stomach as well. Try everything you can to stay as motionless as possible. Your hope is that the bear will ignore you after a time.
In fact, as ridiculous as this may sound, playing dead is a good deterrent to help protect you. Consider that this is a massive animal. It has sharp claws, sharp teeth, and could crush you with its weight. However, if it is provoked to the point of attacking you in this way, it is likely that it did so because it feared you as some kind of threat. By playing dead, you remove that factor that cause the bear to charge you in the first place.
As much as you can, try to remain motionless. The bear may poke and prod it you a bit, but if you do not move it could leave you alone.
Fight for Your Life
Some readers will find it impossible to not try to defend themselves more, and that is okay. Playing dead or curling up in a ball to try to avoid injury is not for everyone. You may want to fight.
If you choose to do so, then the areas you want to attack are the bears nose and eyes. If the bear is in close to you, punch it in the eyes and nose as much as you can. If you have a stick or some other hard object, both in the face.
If you have caused the bear to stagger for a moment, then back yourself away. A bear who has been dazed may see you as a threat to them. In a good way though. They may have decided that you are a bit more formidable of an enemy than I had anticipated, and will let you go. However, don’t run. Keep the upper hand. Let that bear no you mean business, but get out of there by slowly backing away.
While these should be effective, it is also important to understand that there is an aggressive animal. A very dangerous one. Short of shooting the bear with a high-powered rifle, you may find that very little will protect you against an aggressive bear. However, in the vast majority of cases this should help you to avoid a bear attack.