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Hiking In Bear Country - OutdoorPlaces.Com

 Hiking In Bear Country - Page Three

 bear encounters are scarey
This is the encounter that every hiker dreads.  You are now face to face with four-hundred pounds of angry bear.  The bear has charged you, you have dropped your pack and that didn't work, you have yelled and screamed, you have held hands and raised your arms, nothing has worked.  The bear once again stands on it's hind legs and lets out a series of low growls, and then lunges forward.  You use your bear spray but this one is different, maybe you missed the face, or maybe it is a bit more determined.

In order to survive a bear attack it is critical to know what kind of bear you are dealing with.  A black bear sow with cubs is going to act very different from a male grizzly that is half-starved from a winter of sleep.  Your actions and reactions can make the difference between life and death.  Surviving a bear attack will require all of the courage and savvy that you can muster.

 Black Bear, Male or Female With No Cubs
  black bear
There are only about thirty documented cases of black bears actively stalking humans for the purpose of killing them for food.  The last such case was recorded in the spring of 2000 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  In almost all these cases these attacks have involved male bears of unusual size.  Although black bears average around two-hundred to three-hundred pounds, males have been found that exceed five-hundred pounds in some cases.  It is the abnormally large black bears that account for almost all the incidents of hunting humans.
Remain calm.  Fall to the ground laying on your stomach.  Clasp your hands over your neck and put your arms out so your elbows are on the ground, spread your legs so your feet are apart.  This will make it harder for the bear to roll you over and will make it easier to roll back over if it does.  If the black bear persists in an attack you should fight back.  In cases of black bear  attack fighting back and making a lot of noise has caused attacks to break off.
 Black Bear or Brown Bear Sow With Cubs

A bear can be a ferocious predator, and a sow with cubs is no exception.  Female bears who feel threatened result in most bear attacks.  Fortunately most of these encounters do not prove to be fatal.  Female bears with sows are only interested in removing the threat and protecting their cubs.

Remain calm and quiet.  Fall to the ground laying on your stomach.  Clasp your hands over your neck and put your arms out so your elbows are on the ground, spread your legs so your feet are apart.  Play dead and do not make a sound, do not fight back.  Most sow attacks when cubs are involved are only to frighten away a perceived threat.  Fighting back or making noise will only aggravate the bear in most cases.  In the case of a female black bear, if playing dead is not working, then you should fight back.  In cases of black bear attacks fighting back as a last resort has been very effective.  When the attack is over continue to lie still until you are sure the bear is gone.  Carefully and slowly get up, and back away from the direction you came.  There have been documented cases of multiple attacks by the same bear because the victim got up to soon and/or ran after the attack.

 Brown Bear Male
Brown bears or more commonly known as grizzly bears are a dangerous predator.  Brown bears can stand over eight feet on their hind legs and can weigh well over seven-hundred pounds.  Brown bears will actively hunt animals that are larger and faster then humans.  If a brown bear attacks and it is a male, you are at the highest risk of being killed then in any other bear attack scenario.
Remain calm and quiet, fall to the ground and protect your neck and stomach by clasping your hands over your neck, and laying face down.  It is very critical to play dead during the attack.  This has been proven to be successful in surviving a brown bear attack.  If the bear stops it's attack do not move, do not make a noise and continue to play dead.  There have been documented cases of brown bears "burying" an attacked human under leaves and brush, or guarding an attacked human for hours before wandering back off.  The bear's plan is to save you for a meal later on.  Even after you have been buried continue to play dead.  When you are as sure as possible the bear is gone, carefully and slowly get up, and back away.  Do not run.

All of these scenarios seem quite frightening.  You need to remember that your odds of a bear encounter are low, let alone the odds of a bear attack.  With some careful planning and preparation, you can have a safe and wonderful time while hiking in bear country.

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