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What to Do if You Encounter a Bear

What to Do if You Encounter a Bear

Rachel  profile pictureRachel May 15, 2024

Some Wander Homes are located in areas where bears roam free, so here is a guide to know what to do if you encounter a bear while you’re out hiking. 

#1: Know the kind of bears you are most likely to see

  • Black bears: Canada, 40 US states including California and Oregon

  • Grizzly bears: Canada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska

#2: Preventative safety

  • Carry bear spray in a quick draw holster

  • Practice taking bear spray out of the hoister and flipping the cap off with your thumb and spraying

  • Don’t store the bear spray in hot cars since they are combustible over 120 degrees F

  • Hike in groups and pairs since they are louder

  • Keep food in air sealed containers

  • Stay alert

  • Do not approach bears, especially cubs

  • If you see a cub, move away

#3: Memorize situational protocol

Situation 1: You see any type of bear, but they don’t see you.

Pick up small children and move away slowly sideways while keeping an eye on the bear 

Situation 2: Any type of bear is looking at you but stationary.

  1. Don’t make eye contact

  2. pick up small children

  3. Talk calmly to identify yourself

  4. Take bear spray out of your quickdraw hoister

  5. Move away slowly away sideways while keeping an eye on the bear

Situation 3: Any type of bear charges with head up and ears up

  1. This is a fake charge. Stand your ground.

  2. Look away

  3. Talk calmly

  4. Wave your arm slowly 

  5. The bear will turn away, then time to move away slowly. 

Situation 4: A surprised or defensive bear charges with the head is down and ears down

  1. This is a real charge and they are ready to hit you hard. 

  2. Create a cloud of bear spray the bear will have to move through by pulling out your bear spray and begin spraying when a bear is 30 feet away, aiming slightly down adjusting for wind

  3. If a bear gets close, continue spraying in the bear’s face.

  4. Leave the area moving calmly. 

Situation 5: A surprised or defensive black bear makes contact after a charge.

  1. Fight with everything you have, using objects to hit the black bear in the face (extremely rare, bear spray is extremely effective 

Situation 6: A surprised or defensive grizzly bear makes contact after a charge.

  1. Lay on your stomach with your hands behind your neck and your backpack on.

  2.  Spread your legs to stay on your stomach.

  3.  If the intensity of the pawing seems to calm, play dead till the bear goes away. 

  4. If the pawing appears to increase in intensity, which is extremely rare: one can use whatever is at hand to hit the bear in the face. For grizzly/brown bears fighting back before playing dead can cause the grizzly to be more violent.

Situation 7: A bear is stalking you like prey or is curious

  1. Very different than a surprised or defensive bear, seek a building or car. 

  2. If can’t find a building, use lots of bear spray pointed slightly downward to create a cloud between you and the bear.

  3. If a predatory/curious bear that has been stalking you attacks, no matter what kind of bear, fight back using any object. 

Review of preventative safety

  • Carry bear spray in a quick draw holster and practice taking bear spray out of the hoister and flipping the cap off with your thumb and spraying (don’t store the bear spray in hot cars)

  • Keep food in air-sealed containers.

  • Hike in pairs or groups.

  • Do not approach a bear, move away from cubs since Mama bear will be nearby and her purpose is to protect. 

Stay safe!

It’s good to know that although nature can be so beautiful it doesn’t seem real. It’s also important to know that it isn’t Disneyland. Know that for every stay with Wander, our concierge desk is available 24/7 for every emergency and bear-related hiccups. Contact 737-377-3205 to know more.

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