Black Bear Attack.
If you have an encounter with a black bear, your best course of action depends on how the bear is acting. It is a misconception that black bears attack only because you are in their territory, you are a threat and/or the sow is protecting their cub. The most serious and fatal attacks is brought on by food stress and the male black bear sees you as prey. A hungry male bear is more likely to kill you than a sow protecting her cub.
Situation 1. If the bear growls, paws at the ground, chop his teeth, makes short runs toward you then stops and appear to be aggressive, you are in luck. He sees you as a threat and wants you to go away. If you slowly back away he knows you got the hint and most likely you will never see him again. Have your bear spray ready but do not make threatening motions to a bear that is acting aggressively. Just back away and chances are you will be ok.
Situation 2. If the bear is being quite, calm and is approaching you, this is worse then if he is acting aggressively. He is not scared of you and is stocking you because he is considering you pray. Over 90 percent of this type of bear attack is done by a big male and ends up being deadly if you do not deter him from attacking. With this type of bear encounter, it is time to make noise, scream at him, show acts of aggression and deter him from thinking you are an easy pray. Use sticks, rocks, noise makers and better yet, if the bear is close enough, it is time to use bear spray. With this type of attack, bear spray or a gun is your best defence.
It was said before, “If a bear attacks, lay down. He will leave as soon as you are no longer a threat”. Well if you are food it doesn’t work like that. As for me I think I would at least try to fight. A big strong surveyor in my home town got attacked and tried to fight and remembers being hit so hard he went flying and doesn’t remember anything after that until he was at the hospital. He crawled out of the woods approximately a mile and was picked up on the side of the road all scratched and beat up. It was assumed that once the bear deemed him no longer a threat, it left him alone. The bear did not see him as pray so did not eat the surveyor but I hear that he has some very big claw marks scares on his back.
Because of the extensive time I spend in the woods, I have seen over 5 bears including the one I hit on a 3 wheeler. My most dangerous bear encounter comes to mind. I was salmon fishing in the Nor-West Miramcihi when a bear crossed the river less than 300 meters upriver. I just waited for about 5 minutes and thought he would be long gone so I started working my way up river to fish the pool. After fishing my way up river 100 meters, I looked up and seen the big black bear had silently works it’s way down river towards me and was now less then 100 meters away standing on the bank. He was on his back legs peaking over the thicket looking down at me in a curious way. Maybe he was just curious, maybe not. He disappeared behind the thicket as he went back on 4 legs. I heard him work his way farther downstream on the path and I screamed to my buddy Denis that a bear was coming down the path. Maybe it was this scream that deterred him but I never seen him again. Trust me…. I didn’t miss not seeing him again.
The best two ways to avoid coming in contact with black bears is make lots of noise as you travel through bear county and don’t camp beside your food. A noise maker, like wearing a bell is a good choice. Also If you are camping hang your food in trees away from your camp area. These methods usually keep you from coming in close contact with bears. I carry bear spray just in case.
Here are some other facts about bears:
- Bears that kill before are much more prone to kill again.
- There is around 800,000 black bear in North America. A bear is not a violent creature or there would be more attacks. Many, many unreported encounters resulted in the bear running away. I am just glad that Donald Trump is not a bear.
- Around 70 percent of fatal attacks the victims were alone with no bear spray. Less than 10 percent of the fatal attacks occurred if there were three or more people present. I suppose you could be selfish and think I cannot outrun a bear but I can outrun my buddies. Well if you stay together, you are way less prone to attack.
I hope this helps you play safe. Buying the bear spray product at the top of the page help supports this site.