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Bear Safety

A Grizzly bear grazing in fall tundra

Bear Etiquette
--Make your presence known; avoid surprises. Sing, talk, wear a bell. Avoid thick brush.
--Give bears plenty of room. Watch and photograph from a safe distance.
--Be on the watch for bear kills. A bear will defend its food. Detour areas where you see or smell dead animals or fish.
--Cook away from your tent. Keep a clean camp. Store your food in airtight containers away from the tentsite.

Bear Behavior
--A bear standing on its hind legs usually only wants a better view and more information.
--On four legs, a bear may show agitation by swaying its head from side to side, making huffing noises, and clacking its teeth.
--Flattened ears and raised hairs on the back of the neck can be an indication of aggressive intent.
--If a bear runs with a stiff, bouncing gait, it may be false charging.
--Direct eye contact is often interpreted by a bear as a challenge or a threat.

Close Encounters
If you do encounter a bear at close distance, remain calm. Remember, bear attacks are rare.
Identify Yourself. Talk to the bear in a normal voice.
Wave your arms to help the bear recognize you as a human being.
The bear may come closer or stand to get a better look or smell.
Back away slowly in a diagonal direction, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground.
Resist the urge to run. You cannot outrun a bear. Like dogs, a bear will instinctively chase a fleeing animal.
Bears often make bluff charges to within 10 feet.
Continue to wave your arms and talk to the bear.
If the bear gets too close, raise your voice and be more aggressive.
Bang pots and pans.
Never imitate bear sounds or make squelling noises.
If a bear actually makes contact, fall to the ground and play dead.
Lie flat on your stomach or curl up in a ball with your hands behind your neck.
Remain motionless as long as possible.
In rare instances, particularly with black bears, a bear may perceive a person as food.
If the bear continues to bite long after you have assumed a defensive posture, fight back vigorously.

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