How To Avoid Or Survive A Bear Confrontation

Bears are among the most dangerous animals in the wilderness. Not all bears have any interest in preying on humans but, even among bears that do not, they oftentimes have an affinity for the same types of foods that humans do.

This means that, in the wild, in campgrounds and even in the city, humans, and bears oftentimes cross paths at cross purposes.


What Does it Want?

If you can spare some of the food that the bear is probably after, toss it far away and the bear will hopefully go after it. If the bear has already found your food, however, it’s not likely to be satisfied with that small amount and will probably come back for the rest. If you can get out of the area when it’s distracted, do so.

Remember to keep any food you have elevated above the ground when you’re asleep. If you’re car camping, keep it in the car with you. If you’re outside, use a rope over a tree branch to hoist the food far out of the range of the animal.


Protective Mothers


Any brown or black bear with cubs will attack you. They’ll attack you if they feel you pose any threat at all and most wild animals do regard humans as dangerous. Get away from mothers with cubs as quickly as possible. Steer clear of them if you see them. You’re almost guaranteed a confrontation in this situation.




There’s a common recommendation regarding playing dead when you’re attacked by a bear. The caveat is that it sometimes—and that’s a big sometimes—works on brown bears but not on black bears.

When it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to fight a bear, you’re going to have to keep your head and that’s going to be hard in this situation. A bear may very well leave you alone, however, if it believes that you’re going to put up more of a fight than you’re worth. No wild animal wants to get injured, as they may starve to death while they’re recovering.

If you have a gun, you should use it as soon as you feel like it’s inevitable that you’re going to be attacked. Keep in mind, however, that there are fines into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for killing a bear without a valid reason. Once you feel that there is a valid reason, however, don’t hesitate.

Anticipate that it will take multiple rounds from even a large hunting rifle to bring down a bear. Don’t shoot once and wait to see what happens. Keep shooting until the animal is down.

If you must fight a bear hand to hand, the truth of the matter is that your odds of surviving are very low, particularly if you’re far out in the wilderness and cannot get to medical help quickly. Don’t give up if it comes to that, though. Human beings aren’t equipped with claws and teeth like bears are, but we are dangerous. Use rocks, clubs, your knife, your backpack and anything else you must defend yourself. If you have something flammable, like a flare, you may want to consider using that, as well.




The best way to avoid a confrontation with a bear when you’re on the move through the wilderness is to make noise. Put a cowbell on your backpack or have some other noisemaker. Bears really don’t want to have confrontations with human beings, in most cases, and they’ll flee if they get the chance.


Keep foodstuffs in plastic containers as much as possible. If you’re trying to preserve meat outdoors, remember that bears and other scavengers are going to be attracted to it. The smaller scavengers are nuisances, but bears are truly dangerous. Anything you’re trying to preserve must be elevated to a height and far away enough from a climbing point to prevent a standing bear from being able to reach it.

Bears are real threats to humans in the wild, but we’ve also coexisted for a very long time. Provided you take measures to ensure that you’re not inadvertently baiting them by being sloppy with your food and if you don’t sneak up on them, you likely won’t have much chance of running into one.



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