Bear Attacks Can Be Avoided If People Stay Safe Around Them

Bear attacks can be avoided if people stay safe around them. If a bear approaches a person there are some important things they should do to avoid being injured. Some of these tips may seem like second nature but they can save everyone’s life. The first set of tips can be used if anyone is near a bear.

If a person is near a bear, they should stay calm. The bear might stand on its hind legs or move closer because the animal wants to see the person better;  this means they are curious and not angry. People should also be sure to make themselves look tall, wave their arms and speak in a low, loud voice. The sound should scare the animal away. If this does not work, then campers should either back away slowly in a diagonal manner or stand their ground. Campers should not run, since running may make the bear want to chase them. If it does try to follow, then stop moving. Aside from making the bear leave, it’s also good to know a bear’s warning signs.

If a bear sticks out its lips, cracks its teeth, woofs, huffs or uses its paws to slap the ground this means that the animal is telling a person that they are too close and that it is nervous. The person should then slowly back away from the bear. Bears can also be dangerous if they are far away from people. Bears are very shy creatures and won’t approach a person unless they feel threatened. It’s best not to provoke a bear because the bear will be angered and approach the person. It’s also good to store food in the proper container

Bears are strong and have a strong sense of smell; food that is placed in a plastic bag won’t last long if a bear smells it. To prevent this, it’s good to purchase food containers that are labeled bear safe. This means the container is strong enough to endure a bear’s clawing or kicking. In case a bear does try to get at a camper’s food, they should stay away from the animal, wait until it tires of the task and walks away. Even if the bear is alone and grazing, it’s a smart idea to not approach or anger it and stay at least 100 feet away from the animal.

If people know what to do when they are in an area with a bear and stay safe around them, then bear attacks can be avoided. Campers should not go hiking during dusk, at night or at dawn if they want to avoid a run in with a grizzly bear; grizzly bears are more active during this time. Black bears are most active in the early morning and later in the evening; this is when hikers should avoid going in wooded areas. Campers should also hike in groups of three or more; most attacks happen when a person is alone or with another person. People should also stay away from animal carcasses; bears protect carcasses and will defend it if they feel it’s necessary. People should report the carcass to the nearest ranger station or visitors center. If people find a carcass that has a lot of meat on it, they should leave  and take the path they used to find the dead animal.

People can stay safe if they are smart around bears. These types of attacks are very rare and most humans who stay safe around bears will not be harmed. When people are near or close to bears, they should walk slow in a diagonal motion and not provoke the animal. Whether it’s hiking or a rare escape, bear attacks can be avoided if people stay safe around them and follow the tips above.

By Jordan Bonte


National Park Service
Alaska Department of Natural Resources
National Park Service
National Park Service
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