What Should You Do When You See a Bear?

What Should You Do When You See a Bear?

Practice bear safety by avoiding bears, staying calm, not running and being "human." Understanding bear behavior can help both bears and humans survive encounters in the wild.

Avoid bears. Practice safe camping and hiking techniques by caching food, locking food in cars and keeping food odors to a minimum. Never approach a bear. Stay as far away from cubs as possible.

If a bear is spotted, stay calm, and assess the situation. If the bear is far away, detour away from the area. If the bear is closer, give him time to escape. More than likely, the bear wants to avoid confrontation as much as people do. Even if the bear appears to be coming closer, remain calm. Do not scream, do not appear aggressive, and keep an eye on the surroundings.

Never run from a bear. Bears can run very fast, and humans can not outrun them. Running may also trigger a "chase" reaction from the bear. Even if the bear charges at people, he may only be bluffing to attempt to frighten away what he sees as a threat: people.

Be "human" by speaking loudly but in low tones. Stand tall to appear larger. Make noise to scare the bear away. Don't make movements or sounds that may make the bear think prey is available. If a bear attacks, fight back. Bears that attack simply because they are young are easily intimidated by prey that fights back.