Bear Basics Saint George UT

Bears attacks are a serious safety issuse in some parts of the world. Learn the bear basics and how to make your outdoor wilderness adventures as safe as possible.

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Bear Basics

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Bear Basics

Gentle Ben was fiction

Outspoken grizzly bear advocate Timothy Treadwell is widely quoted as saying he'd be "honored to end up as bear scat." On October 5, 2003, after 13 years of photographing and observing grizzlies in the wild, Treadwell - and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard - were honored to death. Despite years of experience, these experts couldn't predict the attack that killed them.

While you should keep bear repellant in easy reach and ready to use, you're better off avoiding an encounter than testing the efficacy of pepper spray.

Avoidance Tactics

If you're trekking or camping in bear country,

  • Keep up to date on bear alerts. Park officials and other public services post warnings. Pay attention to them.
  • Keep food away from camp.
    • Bear-proof containers aren't enough. Make sure you keep the containers at least 100 yards from camp.
    • If possible, hang stored food high in a tree where a bear can't reach it (at least 10 feet in the air and 4 feet away from the trunk.)
    • Never cook close to camp.
  • Make noise on the trail, especially on curves or in areas with reduced visibility. Leave the bear bells in the souvenir shop. They're useless. Instead, clap, sing, blow your whistle or yell.
  • Travel in groups.
  • Trek established trails.
  • Hike during daylight.
  • Leave the area if you see
    • a bear (especially a cub)
    • fresh bear tracks
    • fresh bear droppings
    • a large dead animal (this is a sign that a bear may be nearby).

Bears on the Trail

While turning tail and running is the natural response to stumbling upon a bear in the wild, this is the worst thing you can do. Not only will it provoke the bear, but you don't stand a chance of outrunning an animal that sprints 40 miles per hour.

  • Stop and stay calm. Don't scream or make sudden moves.
  • Let the bear identify you: If it stands on its back legs and sniffs the air, it's trying to identify you. At this point, a scream or sudden movement could trigger an attack. While the bear is deciding what you are,
    • Talk calmly and in a monotone voice (so it knows you aren't prey).
    • Break eye contact - staring is a sign of aggression.
    • Gather into a group.
    • Back away slowly; don't run.
  • Get your bear repellant ready, just in case.
  • Leave the area - backing away.

If a Bear Attacks

The only predictable characteristic of a bear is that it's unpredictable. You can do everything "wrong" and the bear may still wander off. You can do everything "right" and still provoke an attack. If a bear charges at you, assume he means business.

  • Use bear repellant, aiming for the bear's face.
  • If you don't have repellant, show it you're not on the attack by "playing dead":
    • Leave your pack on to protect your back.
    • Roll into a ball or lie face down, protecting your neck and face.
    • Don't move unless mauled.
  • If the bear continues the attack, it's time to fight back. Use your fists or any available weapon - a knife , rock, stick - concentr...

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