How To Survive A Bear Encounter
“Wherever thou art, act well thy part.” When exploring the great outdoors, it’s a good idea to be ready for any situation. For instance, what should you do if you stumble across a bear?
Generally, bears tend to avoid contact with humans, and they can hear and see you coming long before you do. This is especially true if you are traveling in a group. If you are adventuring alone, unfamiliar noises and strange scents (such as bug spray, sunscreen, etc.) will scare off most, if not all, of the bears you may come across. If you should come across a bear, the bear will likely be as startled as you are. Stay calm and maintain your distance. The bear will likely run off into the woods faster than you can process the situation. Needless to say, this is the ideal scenario. Should the bear does not startle and run, these are the steps to keep yourself and others safe.
- Remain calm and maintain your distance.
- Maintain eye contact with the bear. Do not run. Do not turn around. Do not provoke the bear. Do not try to take a picture!
- Luckily, we Floridians only have to keep an eye out for Black Bears, as Brown/Grizzly Bears are found further out West.
When encountering a Black Bear:
- Make as much noise as possible. Yell, clap your hands, shake cans, etc.
- Make yourself appear as large as possible.
- Make sure the bear has a clear route of escape, and do everything you can to scare the bear away.
Remove yourself from the area:
- Slowly back away from the animal, face forward, while maintaining eye contact until you are far enough away from the bear to go and find help.
- Let any hikers or campers you encounter know about the bear, and it’s location.
- Report your sighting to any park rangers or officials, so they can distribute the information throughout the area.
As a last resort:
- Use your can of Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent Spray, sold at Camp Folks. Frontiersman contains 2.0% capsaicin and related capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is an active ingredient in chili peppers, making Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent a bear sized version of pepper spray. Once the bear is within 30 feet of you, spray the can into the bear’s eyes, mouth, and face while continuing to yell, and appearing as a threat to the animal.
- DO NOT PLAY DEAD WITH A BLACK BEAR. Should a Black Bear attack you, the attack is offensive. Attack the bear right back. Punch the bear in nose, scratch at its eyes, kick the bear– Do anything to let the bear know that you are the bigger threat.
- Find help and let any other hikers or campers you encounter know about the bear, and its location.
No matter the situation, always remain calm when encountering a bear. Always maintain distance and eye contact. Scare the bear if possible, or remove yourself from the area. If a Black Bear should attack you, spray the bear with your bear spray, and fight back! And live to adventure another day. Adventure on!