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What to Do If You Encounter a Black Bear

What To Do If You Encounter A Black Bear

Here are a few tips for staying safe in bear country and what to do if you encounter a black bear in a National Park or other backcountry wilderness with a large black bear population.

While it's not likely you'll have a close encounter with a black bear much less a human-bear brawl, it's important to follow bear safety tips and be bear aware at all times.

Always remember you should never get near or in between a mother bear and her cubs. This is one of the few scenarios that make a normally timid bear become an aggressive bear. It's also a good idea to make noise on the trail so you don't startle a bear. Remember they're wild animals; never try to feed bear or get too close.

Should you encounter a bear, pick up any small children with you and follow these steps.

Stay Calm

What To Do If You Encounter A Black Bear

Although it's easy to panic, try to keep your cool. Don't scream or run but speak in a calm voice with a firm tone.

Get Outta There (Carefully)

Try to find a clear escape route and slowly retreat without turning your back to the bear.

Break Out the Bear Pepper Spray

What To Do If You Encounter A Black Bear

If a bear approaches and begins to close the gap within 25 yards, you should be prepared to use your bear spray properly.

Don't Play Dead

While this may sometimes be a useful tactic with grizzly bears, playing dead is not going to save you in the event of a black bear attack. In the case of a defensive bear, try to appear non-threatening, at least at first. If that fails...

Fight Back

What To Do If You Encounter A Black Bear

Although black bear attacks are not common, they can be deadly. If a black bear charges and you don't have bear spray or a sidearm, grab anything you can and deliver blows to the bear's face.

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What to Do If You Encounter a Black Bear