It is important that anyone spending time out in areas where bears can be found know and follow bear safety tips in case you see a bear in the wild. This is an incredibly exciting experience – thrilling both because it is a neat animal and scary because it is a big animal. But, do you actually know what to do if you encounter a bear in the wild?
Hopefully, you have been following certain precautions while out hiking in bear country to keep safe. If you have been taking those precautions and you still see a bear when in the Rocky Mountains then here are a few things that will help keep your encounter a safe one. This will ensure that you have a great memory and story to tell your friends later.
Bear Safety Tips if You See a Bear:
These tips are the same for both black bears and grizzly bears. There is however a difference in what you should do if a bear attacks you. If you are curious though, you can read this about how to tell if it is a black or grizzly bear.
Keep your distance. Give it lots of space so it doesn’t feel threatened and can leave.
Stay together and remain calm. Stay calm and keep together in a group as you will look larger. If you have children with you get them right next to your side or even pick up very small children. More often than not the bear will walk you. Generally he wants to avoid you too.
Stand your ground. Never back up, lie down, or play dead. Prepare to use your bear spray.
Don’t run away or climb a tree. Black bears are excellent climbers, so going up a tree will not get you away from them. Do not run away because they are faster than you. They can run up to 20 or 35 mph! Worst of all, running away may trigger their predator instinct and cause the bear to chase and hunt you down.
Avoid direct eye contact. Keep an eye on the animal at all times, but never straight in the eyes. Direct eye contact may cause it to think that you are threatening it. You want the him to know he is the boss and you are no threat to him.
Do not get between a mother and her cubs!
Possible Outcomes of Encounter if you Practice Bear Safety Tips
Let’s assume that you have done everything that is listed here. The outcome can go a couple of different ways. In the best case scenario, after satisfying its curiosity and seeing that you are not a threat the bear will simply walk away. Or again, the bear will see you, decide not to approach you and will let you slowly walk away.
In the worst case scenario, the bear may attack you. This could happen because you come around a corner in the trail and suddenly surprise the bear or it could simply decide to attack you for some reason. Read this other post that explains what do if a bear attacks you.