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Beware The Bear
Wilderness Survival

Bear attacks on human beings are on the increase both in the United States and in Canada.  While attacks were relatively rare during the 1980s, during the 1990s and up to the present day, more people are being killed by bears every year.  Many of the people who are killed are camping and have entered what the bears will consider to be their territory, and most of the attacks are actually now made by male black bears.  Grizzly bears will still attack, of course, but pride of place as a predator now has to go to the black bear. 

It used to be considered that an attack had to be provoked, especially if by a black bear, and while some attacks probably are, many of them now involve people who are sleeping in a tent or even inside their homes.  Bears make no discrimination as regards age, and will take human infants as readily as men in the prime of life or frail elderly people.  Bears are so strong that our strength means nothing to them. 

Bear Sign

Bear cubs are always looked on as a sign of potential trouble, although the black bear sow is not quite as protective of her young as is a grizzly.  However, if you do see a bear cub, of either species, it would be a good idea to leave the area immediately.   Do not approach the cub, no matter how cute it may look, or if you are worried that it is lost.

Black bears will often turn over logs or rocks in the search for mice or grubs.  If you find this kind of sign or see scratch marks on a tree nearby, it is possible that a black bear is in the area.  Stay alert and leave.  Black bears are also attracted to berry patches or garbage dumps.  When camping in an area where these bears are found, do not leave food out, it will only attract bears.

An animal corpse covered with debris is a sign that a grizzly bear is near.  After making a kill, grizzlies will remain nearby to protect it.  Once again, get out of this area fast, as these bears are easily thrown into a rage if they think their food supply is jeopardized.  Other signs will be a shallow depression that will serve as a bed or overturned rocks and logs as with the black bear.

Your Best Protection

While you may think that a good high-powered rifle is your best defense against a bear attack, it has actually been proven that pepper spray will work even better.  A charging bear is difficult to draw a bead on, even if you are a good shot, you could easily miss, or just wound the animal, make it even more angry. Your real best protection is knowledge. Stock up on educational guides and teach your loved ones how to handle several emergency situations as well as how to treat several different injuries. You should always also have a first aid kits readily available in case any of those situations do occur.

If you are attacked by a bear, do not run, it will only stimulate the creature’s prey drive.  Hopefully, you will have bear spray along and will be able to use it to drive the bear away.  Make it a practice to carry a can of bear spray with you whenever you go hiking or camping, or even in your yard if you live in a rural area where bears are found.  We have had 400 pound black bears walk through our yard within 3 feet of the house, so we always carry pepper spray with us.

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