How to survive a bear encounter

Bear Safety: Follow These Tips for Camping in Bear Country
February 25, 2014

If you’re going to be camping in bear country, it’s important to understand how to avoid bears and how to react if you do encounter them. Bears are very curious and intelligent creatures, but can definitely be dangerous when provoked. If you follow these tips for bear safety in the woods, you may be able to completely avoid dangerous encounters when you’re on the trail or relaxing at your campsite.

Avoid bears at all costs

1. Keep your food out of reach from bears

Improper food storage is one of the biggest factors in backcountry bear encounters. Bears have a keen sense of smell, and if they’re used to getting food from people, they’ll be more likely to wander into a campsite looking for a snack. If you’re camping in bear country, be sure to have bear canisters or hang your food out of reach in a bear bag. Check with the park to determine what canisters are approved for bear safety in the area. If you’re hanging food, it should be hung between two trees, about 12 feet off the ground and four feet from each tree.

2. Keep a clean camp

After each meal, clean up the area and wash all dishes. You can bury the dish water, but don’t bury any trash or leftover food as the bears can find it and dig it up. If you're cooking fresh fish, clean it near the stream, rather than in the campsite. It’s also important not to leave any snacks in day packs or the tent. Finally, when choosing a campsite focused on bear safety, pick a spot away from the trail or stream that allows you to pitch your tent 100 feet from where you cook and eat your meals. This will decrease your chances of encountering a bear in case he rumbles in despite precautions.

3. Avoid Surprising a bear

Bear’s don’t like surprises. So you can minimize your risk of sneaking up on Smokey by not hiking during dawn, dusk or at nighttime.  You should also learn to recognize bear tracks and other markings so you can tell if any have been near your camp or the trail you’re on.  For safety reasons, it’s common sense to hike in a group, but this will also ensure you make more noise to help scare off nearby bears.  If you’re going solo, wear a bear bell on your hiking boots to make noise while you hike, but carry a pepper spray just in case.

What to do if you encounter a bear on the trail

If, despite everything, you do still see a bear, there is one crucial rule you must remember:

Never run from a bear

If you see him and he does not see you, back away quickly and quietly.  If by some stroke of bad luck he does see you, back up slowly, avoid eye contact, stand up tall, wave your arms and speak in a low loud voice to call for help, but avoid high-pitched sounds.

Bears may bluff charge, changing direction or stopping, sometimes within 10 feet of you, but it is important to never run from a bear. (They can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.) Spray the pepper spray at the bear, make loud noises and throw objects in his direction if you feel you are in danger, but stand your ground.

If you’re facing a grizzly that refuses to back down, lie on the ground with your fingers interlocked covering your head and neck. By contrast, you definitely don’t want to play dead with a black bear. These tips can also be used if you encounter a bear in your camp.

Final tips for bear safety when hiking or camping

Staying safe when you’re camping in bear country is as simple as using common camping sense. Most bears won't attack unless provoked or protecting their cubs, so following these tips for bear safety should help you stay out of their way. Be sure to tell park rangers about any bear activity you experience.

Photo: Mat Hayward/

  • Paul Grant

    If you have it on your bucket list to “Hit a bear doing 60mph on a motorcycle”
    Cross it off.

    We both got away with it.

    • mas_smarba

      A 357 magnum works well.. A warning shot….then aim for body mass and keep pulling the trigger. Of course, you need to be able to hit target, which means you need to practice…

      • gmalarki

        RE: “You need practice.” Especially if you are going to shoot at it from a moving motorcycle.

      • Dash Riprock

        Neck shot for the 1st warning shot then get your knife out and gut it.

      • zuiderweg1

        A 357 Mag is way to light, 44 Mag with hunting ammo will put a bear down if you place your shots. I have a S&W 44 Mag W/ a 3″ barrel that goes in the motorhome if we are going to bear country.

        • Marvin Harrison

          It certainly will be loud. The velocity out of a 3″ is not great. I use to carry a 6 1/2″ Model 29 and I glad I never had to use it.

          • zuiderweg1

            It’s better than throwing rocks.

          • Marvin Harrison

            or ringing bells

      • Apada

        Now I was JUST told by an outdoorsman/gun expert (two of them actually) that even a .38 will down a bear. Is that not true? This is critical information for me!

        • Dash Riprock

          A .22 will turn a bear away IF you were a very good shot a IF you kept your cool and fired at his nose and eyes, 2 senses critical for their survival and no animal will lose them just to get you. I wouldn’t advise going in bear country with something that light but if it’s all you have use it. A .38 isn’t very powerful and neither is a .357, take it out and shoot a phone book from 10 feet away, even a 44 mag is too light, handguns don’t have the power, accuracy and stability of a rifle and remember this, many deer run long distances after being critically injured with powerful rifles so don’t try to kill the bear, try to turn the bear, try to get him to break off the attack.

          • Apada

            This is very disturbing information. I’m going to die from a bear attack. Not a nice, clean, silent kill from a mountain lion snapping my neck and bleeding me out from the jugular, but from a huge giant paw slapping my head off my shoulders AFTER my blood has turned to ice from seeing him either stand up and bellow or his charging and huffing while he’s bearing down on me at the speed of a RACE HORSE.

            The article’s report that they sometimes bluff to as close as 10 feet was enough information to cause my downfall as it is. My first thought was “GREAT. Now I’m going to have to wait until a charging bear is closer than 10 feet from me before I take my shot???? I’d be better off turning the gun on myself just to avoid a mauling BEFORE my beheading.

            I may be ‘bear naive’ but I do know that 35 miles an hour at 10 feet is going to give me ABOUT a nanosecond to execute a lethal shot – which, at best, means I’ll be crushed to death by a falling bear. :)

            And to think, those guys told me, “Oh, yeah, this will definitely kill a bear. Just aim for center mass and he’s going down.” &%^$&*%&*^ I guess they figured I’d never live to realize they lied to me. :)

            I suppose this means I’ll have to invest in a rifle and accept that there’s going to have to be a compromise with the bear – I’ll not take my shot at you if you don’t even ACT like you’re gonna charge me. One huff, stomp, glare, bellow, etc. and it’s no deal. So…what kind of weapon do I REALLY need?

          • Dash Riprock

            Depends on what kind of bears we’re talking about but if I was hunting a Brown bear or a Grizzly I’d take at least a 7mm mag, more than likely my choice would be a 300 Weatherby mag. In the case of walking through the woods and having some protection against a charging bear that might catch me by surprise, I would take a 30.06 automatic,no scope and I’d load it with heavy grain, jacketed, pointed soft point bullets, I’ll tell you why, 1. A bolt action is too slow for an emergency,2.The 30.06 is about the biggest civilian caliber that comes in an automatic that ammo is readily available for.3. You would have 5 high powered rounds that you could pump into it in seconds. 4 You want the rounds to be able to penetrate deep, but you want the bullet to expand and damage as much muscle, bone, blood vessels and nerves as possible. If you aim at the head/neck area of a charging bear he will die, end of story.

          • Apada

            Thank you very much for the specific information. I’m fairly certain there are only black bears in Georgia, but if your pick would kill a grizzly, I’m guessing it will most definitely kill a black bear. Thanks again!

          • Marvin Harrison

            No matter what, never be downhill from the bear. It doesn’t matter what you have, it will get you before it dies.

        • Marvin Harrison

          Yes it will. A few people have been identified by tracing their ,38 special revolver found next to remains and a dead bear.

          • Apada

            Lol. Thanks Marvin! :)

  • VJ Chaotic

    All very good bits of advice. I would add one thing: learn to distinguish between a black bear and a grizzly. They are very, very different. (For Alaskan Brown, imagine a really really really big grizzly.)

    At one point in my life, I hiked a lot. I only encountered one bear while on foot in the outback, and that ended okay because I’d spent a lot of time listening to hiker lore, particularly about bears. (Short version: I surprised a long male black bear, and spent the remainder of the afternoon in a tree, with a disappointed black below me. He eventually got bored and wandered off. About two hours later I climbed out of the tree.)

    As the writer noted, your safest path is to simply never see a bear at all. The best way to do that is to make lots of noise. Singing, loud talking with your friends, tying pots and pans to your back – all of these things work. If you see a bear, it will usually be the backside as it moves away from you.

    If a bear has your stuff (tent, backpack, food, etc.), then IT IS NO LONGER YOUR STUFF. It is the bear’s stuff now. Any attempt to get it back will not end well for you.

    If you try to fight with a bear, you will lose. I don’t care how big you are, fast you are, strong you are. The bear is bigger, faster, and stronger… …and has really big claws and teeth. Throwing rocks and sticks just make the bear angry. Poking the bear with a stick or pole simply means that you’re within easy striking range. Remember: you will lose.

    Blacks often bluff, and they will back down if you don’t freak out. Stand your ground, and remember that the “big and loud” trick DOES work with black bears. On the other hand, grizzlies rarely bluff, and the “big and loud” trick doesn’t work, probably because it just never occurs to them that anything could be bigger or stronger.

    Guns are useful as noisemakers, but they will not help you in a fight. They make special guns for bears. They have really really big/fast bullets. Being shot by a regular handgun or deer rifle will just make the bear angry.

    Blacks can climb trees using their claws, and they’re way better at it than humans. Contrary to rumors, a grizzly *can* climb trees. Adolescents and young adults climb just fine, but later in life they have to do it just like you and me – the older they get, the heavier they get and the duller their claws get. Ultimately, climbing a tree to escape a bear only works when (a) you have plenty of time to get up really high (e.g., over 20 feet up), and (b) you have nice heavy boots to fend off a climbing bear. (I had both.) If you fall short in either of those two things, then you will soon be on the ground, probably facing a pissed off or otherwise motivated bear.

    The writer is correct: never try to outrun a bear. Running just makes you look like a meal. Remember this: adult black and grizzly (and brown) bears can outrun an Olympic sprinter! Running away on a flat field will almost certainly end in disaster, as it just turns you into a challenging toy/meal. However, if you DO find yourself running, then run down a steep hill for a while, get the bear moving fast, and then turn suddenly to run across the hill. (If you fall, then game over.) Bears build up a lot of momentum going downhill, and they’re relatively heavy, so they can’t turn very well once they get moving. Turning to run across the hill only works if it buys you time to climb up a tree. Having said all that, you’re probably still screwed. The bear will get turned around eventually, and they run uphill well, too. They don’t give up easily.

    NOTE: hitting a bear with a stick, throwing rocks, etc., ONLY works when you’re trying to intimidate a black bear. If you do it to a grizzly, you’ll just make him/her mad.

    So yes, the best strategies are (a) avoid bears altogether, (b) avoid conflict at all costs, and (c) never, ever get between a mother and her cubs. If you do, then prepare to meet your Maker.

    • Wildshot

      I had a nephew that played center on his high school football team in California. He was a big sort of a young man. He went with a youth group on a camping trip to Yosemite National Park. The group decided that they were going to climb up to the top of one of the water falls but he and several of the other boys didn’t wish to go so they stayed in the camp. He was laying on the ground in the camp with his head using his small backpack fora pillow when suddenly someone pulled the backpack away dropping his head rather unceramoniously on the ground. Thinking that one of his friends were playing a prank on him he jumped up prepared for a quick tussle only to be looking eye to eye with a big black bear and the bear had his backpack. Both he and the bear took a step back and then the bear turned to leave. Well, in the pack he had some electronics like cell phone, iPod and several other items of worth besides his snacks. The bear retreated with the pack and my nephew decided he wanted his stuff back and followed the bear. By and by the bear turned to face him, he stopped and backed off a bit and the bear then continued on. He followed again for a ways and the bear stopped again facing him. This evidently went on for some time covering a couple miles. Sometime along the way the bear paused and opened the back pack. You know bears are not very good at using zippers and the back pack was destroyed, the snacks were take but the bear had little interest in the electronics. After earring the snacks the bear trotted off into the trees leaving the destroyed pace and human treasures. My nephew collected his stuff and trekked back to where his group had their camp. He relayed the story of his following the pear and retrieving his stuff. The group that had climbed to the top of the falls returned and they packed up their stuff and piled into the cars to make their drive home.
      By the time they made it home the story got home before they did and the local newspaper printed the story of how a local boy had wrestled a bear at Yosemite to rescue his belongings. You know stories move faster and grow bigger than life if you let them.

      • blackyb

        Lol. Good story. Kids do like their electronics.

    • Gregory V. Henley

      nah…MY stuff…shoot it.
      smart bears stay AWAY from people.
      STOOPIT people go near bears intentionally

      • Wildshot

        I do not recall saying anything about this nephew being smart. but then you have to remember these bears in Yosemite are rather people friendly. It is a big problem up there but bear attacks, though happen are not real common.

        • Gregory V. Henley

          Yosemite is a good place to stay in your car…peoples insane drive to domesticate WILD predators is just plain a bad idea

          • Res-Q1

            Afraid of Moose? Just take Sarah Palin along, and they’ll run like h***.

          • blackyb

            I imagine Mr. Palin would not allow that, you bad boys playing ‘scert o’ bears’.

          • John Richards

            Actually, Yellowstone is the place to stay in your car, or else be very wary, since there are Grizzlies there, and I’ve seen a couple. Yosemite only has black bears, and yes they’ve been in my campsite at night, but outside of them outsmarting my hanging food arrangement one time when I was inexperienced, I’ve never had any trouble with them. The only death from an animal in Yosemite was from a deer, since it because a Nat’l Park.

          • Mongoose218

            We tent camped in Yellowstone, and in the not-so-touristy places there, as well. No problems.
            On the way OUT of Yellowstone in the car, we were surrounded by bears begging for food. People had accustomed them to handouts, which is, of course, very stupid. (I think the rangers have stopped that pretty much now)……

          • John Richards

            Glad to hear it! If I were still single and well-prepared I’d consider it, but not with a family to watch over. I’m not trying to be alarmist; I think the chances of an encounter relatively low – but at the same time, I like to feel I at least have a chance of surviving if I’m that unlucky fellow who runs into an aggressive Grizzly.

          • docd777

            No, that isn`t true.I spoke to a Pharmaceutical Representative who returned from a trip to Yosemite in the late 90`s where she and her husband encountered a Large Grizzly on one of the highest elevations in the Park.He was but 50 yards away,but he didn`t see them, turned and scurried down the other side of the peak.

          • John Richards

            The last confirmed grizzly sighting in the area was in 1922. I expect what your friend saw was a brown furred black bear, which is common in Yosemite. I did 3 to 4 day hikes annually in Yosemite during the 1990’s, never heard of anyone claiming a Grizzly sighting, and the park service doesn’t recognize any such sightings. Don’t suppose they took a photo? I would be interested to know how they identified it as a Grizzly.

          • docd777

            After I posted my reply I thought about it and she could have mistaken a large Brown bear for a Grizzly.She`s originally from a Hunting Family from Texas, but I don`t know that she was a “Bear-expert”.My apologies,as you clearly have extensive experience in the region and it was her first trip to Yosemite.I haven

      • Dash Riprock

        Shoot it, why? Let it have the junk, you can buy more, I’m a hunter not a bleeding heart but the bear is a living creature and he has a right to live too, after all he wouldn’t be in your back yard, you would be in his.

        • blackyb

          I have never had one to ask permission to get in my trash cans to hunt food or trespass on my property, but I may have missed the call or the U.S. mail, even e-mail.

      • blackyb

        So do stupid people.

    • Dash Riprock

      I promise you if I shot any bear with a deer rifle he wouldn’t be angry, bears, as big as they are, are still flesh and blood and a well placed shot will make it drop like it was struck with a thunderbolt.

      • Joe1938

        Finally, someone says something that really works. A 44mag works very well also.

        • laurie457

          Or my brother Tom passing gas would work too!

          • blackyb

            Lol. The bear may have a gas mask, then what?

        • Yellow Dog

          I hope you are only planning on shooting a little bear with that .44 mag.

      • Ray J

        I found using a .22 pistol works best when encountering baers….last time ran into a big Grizzly mama bear in Glacier Nat’l Park & she was charging us, so I shot my buddy in the kneecap and calmly turned and walked away.

        • blackyb

          You sound like a true Democrat.

          • Ray Justice

            Why would you send such a sophomoric reply to a posted humorous anecdote when you know absolutely nothing about me….
            I am: a Christian; a registered Republican and have voted towards that cause for 40+ years; a combat Veteran who served in Viet Nam; a faithful husband; a proud father of four; a retired law enforcement officer and a lifetime member of the NRA.
            Your all-knowing assumption of one’s political affiliation based strictly upon an email posting (which, by-the-way, made absolutely no mention of politics nor was the story in any way political) is very incorrect. You should listen more openly, read more broadly, see others more respectfully and never pass biased judgement more cruelly.

          • Trevor Trooll

            Christian + Republican…. no way!

            Tell us more oh lover of phony theologies and ridiculous social ideology that involve white people getting more rich.

    • yankee2

      Black bears are NOT very dangerous, provided she doesn’t have cubs and you don’t try to take food away from one. I nailed one with a large rock once, in my campsite, in the middle of the night (by flashlight!), and the rangers said I did exactly the right thing…

  • Angela Clark

    Those were some rather timely words of advice about coping with bears. Others stress to holler, or throw something at the bear, in order to scare it away. Understandably, the scene can be quite scary, consisting of young children in the home. Moreover, hibernating bears, most say are the most fierce because they are in search of food. It is rather important to remember that we must, humans and animals, learn to live together.

    • Rene’ Richard

      So whos going to teach them to live well with us…?

      • Angela Clark

        Hi Rene,

        I apologize for taking so long to answer to your post. Take everyday one day at a time. This is a very difficult subject, concerning man and animals communing together. The threat ofte takes on greater dimensions, like the dwindling forests, mating season, even a mother protecting her young cubs, who are not far away. Let us always remember that there is a reason for all things. We were meant to inhabit the earth, well equipped with survival skills, as well as wordly knowledge. I, myself, take great refuge in the Lord’s word in getting me through my life.

        • Guest

          If Jesus is the Lord of your life, then you know that the wilderness is wild and unruley; Man is to subdue it…not cower from it.
          Subdue does not mean destroy…it means Control and manage.
          Creation is a 7000 yr plan…man is to be fruitful and multiply, to bring God many children in His Name.
          the concept of “population control’ is a direct violation of this FIRST command to men…it is actually the greatest sign of unbelief..
          Man is not to stop his spread throughout the world… God Himself will do that.

          • Angela Clark

            I must agree with your post, Gregory. My comment was on survival skills, comprised of living and communing with nature, in this case bears. Life is far too precious, and must be spared. I would consider every alternative to the extinction of these fine creatures. I thank you for reminding me that there is a reason, or purpose for all nature. All that is creation, and not ours. When traveling to national parks, have consideration of others, and make sure to return them back in their original state.

          • holdthepickle

            The Bear’s Bible says the bear has dominion over man. Whose Bible is right? Yours or his?
            Next topic: the Shark Bible.

          • Apada

            Your post reminded me of my hilarious “God gave us dominion” story – which I will NEVER say again. :) My then husband, young daughter, and I went to a feeding/petting drive-through type animal park, which we had never been to before.

            Upon entering the parking lot, my daughter said, “But mommy, what if they bite us?” So I (stupidly) said to her, “Don’t worry, darling, God gave us dominion over animals, so we use our knowledge and wisdom to avoid such things. Animals instinctively know this.” (Yeah).

            Immediately upon entering the park, with a bag of their food pellets sitting in my lap, we were met by two Bactrian camels. Harmless enough, right? Nope. Because of the obvious and extensive slobber hanging off their mouths, we thought it a good idea to attend to these guys on the way OUT instead of on the way IN. Nope.

            One of the camels, “Sinbad” must have seen the bag from way over where he originally was and had every intention of eating NOW.

            We were in a giant SUV, windows down, and I see this camel loping towards the truck. Without hesitation, he slammed into the truck’s driver’s side, ramming his colossal head and neck in through the window. He was so big that the right side of his neck pressed my husband against his seat and the left side depressed the car’s horn. His head wound up in my lap, obviously trying to scoop up the bag of pellets he’d seen from afar.

            Unfortunately, my left hand had been on my lap so he accidentally scooped up my hand instead. With my right hand, I tried to pick up and push his face off my lap. As his head rose, so did my left hand, and what I thought had been the pressure of him pushing down on my hand with his chin, turned out to be the pressure of his molars crushing my hand as he tried to chew the pellets he thought he had.

            All sorts of chaos ensued after that, which included the loss of my ring, an ER visit, blood infections, crushed fingers, and some permanent scarring. And this was a “harmless” CAMEL, not some massive predator designed to do maximum damage (like a bear).

            I have come to understand that our “dominion” means exactly what you implied, holdthepickle. That is our word, not theirs, and it’d be wise to keep it in mind no matter what type of animal you are dealing with. :)

        • 40BigMomma40

          Yes and respect and care for Mother Earth, Gaia. We must take care of the Earth and the animals plus reduce our Human numbers through family planning and couples who choose not to procreate given more respect, so we don’t as humans, build homes and communities sprawling into animal territory they need to survive. I am all for my own kids living at home as long as they want to since it uses more resources for them to set up their own homes. Use less per person and reduce your ecological footprint. I know it is fun to go into the wild to enjoy Mother Nature. However, if you go too deep into it, then you are going into the homes of other mammals without being invited and/or knocking on their door to ask permission to visit them and what the rules for visiting are. We must be respectful of the homes/territory of the habitat animals use for their families to raise and gather resources as their own community, and learn WHAT THEIR RULES ARE AND FOLLOW THEM BECAUSE IT IS THEIR HOMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          Good point, eh?

          • gizmo118

            Save us the sermon, please.

    • Gregory V. Henley

      sure…a bear can co-exist with me as long as it is moving AWAY from me.
      Otherwise it is a RUG

      • 40BigMomma40

        Hey, there are too many humans already and not enough bears. Just stay at home in your cabin by the fire place with your honey but before then, get yourself fixed. The world is overpopulated by humans, esp. people like you named Billy Bob driving a pick up truck and shooting anything that moves outside of the city whether you have a permit or not. You probably bring road kill home for your girlfriend or wife to cook claiming you shot and killed it. For shame. Save the Earth, and stop procreating, especially people like you with your level of intelligence that says to shoot anything that is a threat instead of using understanding about the behavior of the species to learn to deal with it in the wild. Please don’t go in the wild. And watch episodes of the 1970’s hit T.V. show GRIZZLY ADAMS. Yes, even grizzly bears can be trained to do a hit T.V. show. Flapjacks and all. It is a good documentary to learn the hardships of living on a mountain in the wilderness, just like also Little House on the Prairie. You would benefit from watching these shows as it would teach you more about nature and to respect it better instead of finding the solution to your problems in a magnum 47.

        • gizmo118

          Magnum 47?

    • 40BigMomma40

      So throw food in its direction and while it is eating it, get away as fast as you can. BTW make sure you throw to it ALL OF YOUR FOOD so it won’t follow you if you still smell like food. Of course I never go camping, so I don’t know all the particulars about going into wild bear or Moose country, but if the bears only want food, it makes sense to feed them and get away ASAP. Of course this works unless the bears get used to people feeding them and follow people around on trails if they think they can get more food. Wow, bears driving vehicles…Yogi Bear, on site at Yosemite Park, ready to drive the meat wagon to the park for the family reunion barbeque complete with Aunt Betta’s German Potato Salad, Grandma Jones’ marshmallow, Jell-O, fruit and walnut salad topped with cool whip. And all the 7-Up you can drink. Better keep that reunion in the city park, Grandma. Or just invite the bears. Why not invite the bears? We encroach on their territory and build more sprawling suburbs onto their territory. Hasn’t anybody watched the animated movie “Over the Hedge?”

      • pbrower2a

        Don’t take food into bear country.

  • watchtheborders

    A few things left out.

    1. Hang the food at least 50-100 years from your campsite. Hanging it in your campsite, will still bring the bear to your tents. If it’s grizzly country, remember a bear can run as fast as a thoguhbred horse, and climb trees. I read a case history on a naturalist that was pulled from a tree by a grizzly from 150 feet up. The bear was 100 years away, he made some noise to get it to look at him to get a better shot. Unfortunately it was with a cub. He survived, and after a dozen surgeries was learning to walk again. He stated, the bear covered the 100 yards, and up the tree in “not more than 15 seconds”. Bear case studies are available .. I’ve read a few. This and all that follows is from them and my personal experiences.
    2. DO NOT wash or clean cooking implements within the borders of your campsite .. go to a water source, preferably a stream and wash them downstream from your camp. Walk back to your camp in the stream going upstream to cover your tracks and any food scent that may be on your boots..
    3. Keep a fire burning all night, so have sufficient firewood to keep it reasonably lit. Bears and other animals retreat from fire and smoke. Be sure, if it’s a smokey fire, to keep it downwind of your tents. I made that mistake once.. not a pleasant evening btw.
    4. Have a frying pan and large metal spoon handy, and/or a boom box. Bears hate noise. If a bear enters your camp, bank the pan, and put the boom box on “11”. I know, iPod’s have replaced boom boxes, but you can get some real nice speakers that project heavy metal really well. Bears are not metal fans.
    5. Carry a 357 Magnum. If all else fails, you are allowed to shoot a bear in self defense. If it ain’t self defense the fines are humongous.. so be sure it’s life threatening before you blow a wheel sized hole in his chest.

    Note: 5 is a rare occurrence. 1-4 should make your camping adventure one to remember. And if you’re lucky you’ll get a close up video of a bear sniffing around. They are awesome mammals.

    • Waldoor

      We all know by now that bears can run like a racehorse, climb like a cat, and swim like a fish. Did you know that they can also drive a four wheel drive vehicle rather well, even those equipped with a manual transmission. I have also heard tell that in Alaska some of the older bears can pilot a bush plane, however only in daytime VFR conditions, they are after all only animals.

    • Gregory V. Henley


    • 40BigMomma40

      Do you mean Yards or Years? Are you from another country where you say “years” instead of “yards” because if that is the case I think you and your country are awfully mixed up. This blog is here in the United States of America, which country I am awfully proud of the founding of and also awfully sad at the sorry state it is in now, but I love my country and served in the U.S. Army and so defend it. However, corporations and the GOP need to get a grip!!! Really!

      You HAVE to mean yards, because “50-100 years from your campsite” as quoted above must mean “50-100 yards from your campsite” which makes sense in America, as YEARS in ANY COUNTRY including America is a measure not of distance but of TIME. Years in any measurement form is a calendar measurement of 12 months; 365 days; 52 weeks, roughly. The only glitch is the 29th day of February every four years, of which I am exquisitely aware of since my birthday is on February 28th.

      • Lambadafan Ed

        light year

        • Guest

          The 50- to 100-YEAR distance between food and campsite is perfectly appropriate in bear country.

          • Guest

            But a light year may be a bit impractical.

          • Dash Riprock

            Not on Eastern Stellar Time.

      • isthisthingworking

        The 50- to 100-YEAR distance between food and campsite is perfectly appropriate in bear country.

        • Dash Riprock

          How many yards in a week?

      • Dash Riprock

        How many yards in a year?

        • setemfree

          After all is said and done beware of them snipes. Being a boy scout in my younger years we always had to make sure we carried good burlap bags. At night on camping trips i don’t know how many new scouts we lost. so beware of those large snipes at night.

          • Marvin Harrison

            Yup, usually put a flashlight in that bag to attract them.

      • Eckyhade

        Exqusitely aware??? You claim to be a native speaker of English? Furthermore, if you are born on the 28th, you are not affected by the leap day.

      • docd777

        Don`t worry 40,Bigmomma40-, how `bout I just call you Troll, for short? the Democrats already have a “Grip” around our Citizens` Throats and Wallets!

      • VVV

        Auto word fill.

    • Dash Riprock

      I don’t know about you but I don’t like to hang my food more than half a day away, most of us would starve hanging it a hundred years away.

    • Marvin Harrison

      I am getting sick and tired of dangerous animals climbing trees. The next thing you know crocodiles and alligators will climb trees. Oh, what’s that? They do?

  • Waldoor

    When I was 17 I spent a summer travelling across Canada. On our last night camping in Jasper Alberta we encountered a very large bear on the trail to our campsite. We began to make as much noise as possible and lit everything in our pockets on fire to ward off the imposing bruin. It worked and we made it back to camp with a good story to tell. The next day we boarded the train continuing our westward journey and when the conductor came around to collect our tickets I realized that I had set mine in fire the night before during our bear encounter. I frantically tried to explained what had happened while my buddies were laughing their heads off. The kindly conductor claimed that my excuse was the dumbest thing he had heard in his 17 year career therefore he was sure I must be telling the truth. He allowed me to remain on the train and continue my journey.

    • ihatelibs

      I’da booted You back out For the BEARS . just kiddin

  • ihatelibs

    Carry a Nice Big 44 MAG REVOLVER , and a 12Ga Pump FULL of 1 1/4 Oz SLUGS

    • Jim O’Neil

      I’d suggest alternating slugs and double ought, that’s how I keep my cabin 12 gauge.

    • texasguppie

      Rarely a sound strategy. Their heart rate is so slow that even with a round or two in them (unless it is a head shot or one that strikes the spinal cord/brain stem) they will only be angered. Yes, they might succumb to your marksmanship later on but you might very well be their final meal.

      • UrOtherSide

        why would you put 1 or 2 bullets in him? How about emptying my 15 round 10mm into him. I think 1 or 2 10mm rounds would be enough actually, but just saying.

      • Gregory V. Henley

        bears die just as quickly as any other animal…when one is shot…it usually runs like hell. Rarely do they stick around.

        • Dash Riprock

          You’re absolutely right.

    • John Richards

      Guns aren’t usually a great idea with Bears unless you have a very clear idea what you are doing. They have massive skulls that bullets just don’t penetrate very well, especially from head on.

      • Dash Riprock

        Really? Leave the Daisy at home and take something substantial with you.

    • Eckyhade

      .500 Wyoming express or .454 casull are better bone crushers…I agree with the pump…Ithaca deerslayer…

    • Mongoose218

      Of course, if you’re in a state or national park its illegal to carry firearms….bear spray has to do.

    • Marvin Harrison

      I am partial to my Remingtom 600 in .350 Remington Magnum. Compact, light and plenty of power. I also carry a Colt 1991 .45 ACP, but that is more effective for two legged animals.

  • get_involved

    “By contrast, you definitely don’t want to play dead with a black bear”. AND?

    • Dash Riprock

      For blacks bears you bend over and put your head between your legs and kiss……..

    • Jackson Presser

      Blacks almost exclusively attack on a predatory basis….either you fight back or lay down and be eaten

      • yankee2

        But Blacks rarely if ever predate humans… the only real risk is if you encounter one with cubs, or if you try to take your cooler back…

        • Jackson Presser

          Incorrect. Attacks by blacks are almost always a result of attempted predation. Blacks do not defend their cubs like browns/griz do. Black bear cubs are conditioned to tree at the 1st sign of danger and the mother will do the same.

        • Jackson Presser

          “A big revelation to me was how reluctant black bear mothers are to defend their cubs against people, even when the family is cornered in a den and I’m trying to stick the mother with a needle to tranquilize her. Defense of cubs is more a grizzly bear trait. There is no record of anyone being killed by a mother black bear defending her cubs, and attacks are very rare. ”

          “Offensive attacks are very rare and include all of the killings by black bears. These are generally unprovoked predatory attacks in remote areas where bears have the least contact with people.”


    • gizmo118

      Say your last prayers.

    • yankee2

      Yes, it would be nice if the author would complete that thought, wouldn’t it? Actually, the most likely reason a Black Bear might attack is if you encounter one with cubs (or if you try to take food away from one). I’m not sure about this, but it seems that in that case playing dead… i.e. showing that you are not a threat, might be the way to go. One thing is certain, in a battle, without a weapon (by which I mean a gun), a man doesn’t last 10 seconds against ANY bear.

      • Jackson Presser

        Never play dead with a black bear, it will eat you. Blacks rarely attack humans, but when they do they are almost always predatory in nature. Also blacks do not defend cubs like browns/griz. Instead the cubs will climb a tree with mother not far behind.

      • Steve T

        With a gun, 11 seconds. Few shots will bring a bear down before he can finish you. Although the sound might scare the bear off.

  • Bruce

    Several years ago, the now out-of-print American Survival Guide had an Alaskan Guide true story. The guide explained why he always went back country with a fully loaded, with slugs, 12 round Street Sweeper, as it had proven to be the only quickly sighted firearm against big bears. The article recounted his recently using it to kill 3 griz who had packed up against his
    hunting party. Result: Humans unhurt, 3 dead griz, great pix & article.

    • doridori

      Sounds like a fish story for people who were out to kill bears. Grizzlies do not ‘pack up’.

      • gizmo118

        I think this is a lie, too.

    • Marvin Harrison

      you know why it is out of print? Because it is all bull*****

  • Robert Henderson

    Dump the bell — completely ineffective.

    • Wildshot

      Yeah, that is why you find it in Brown Bear scat that smells like pepper spray.

      • tbone

        Tips from a pro:
        One – never ever ever camp in bear country!!!! -you’ll lose someone or something at best.
        Two: as a former guide i highly recommend and have used twice successively an AK-47 with armour piercing rounds and 45 round clips! – i am still alive and 2 alasking browns are not! – Bear skulls are much thicker than u think! and i would not trust even a 44 magnum to pierce it – a 454 casull yes – but not a 44. nor even a shot gun – to be effect a shotgun requires you to be way to close for a bears closing speed in a charge – you might not get a second shot! and believe me you’ll what the distance and time for a second shot if needed. with the AK – at the pull of a trigger you’ll get 7-12 armour piercing round to the head in a split second. and no bear head – no bear attack!

        • Wildshot

          I agree with every word you said here. My comments were more for interest or humor. A .357 Mag or 44Mag would be very reliable with any Brown Bear. And shot gun would be mostly useless. Yes, a 357 and a 44 would probably kill a bear if you were very lucky but not fast enough and if the bear were cooperative enough to lie down and let you shoot him in the eye. I think a 50 Cal is recommended for bear protection and still that depends upon how accurate you are with it. You need a rifle and I don’t even know if an AK-47 is large enough unless you can get multiple hits. Bears are powerfully strong animals and as someone mentioned above they can do a lot of damage after they have received their death shot but before they lay down and die. Don’t let them close to you, you need a rifle.

          • tbone

            Thanks Wildshot – but my comment was not in any way a reference to u – ur one of the few that does not have his head up his ass! – Your obviously an outdoorsman or otherwise knowledgeable gun owner. my comments were to the initial article writers who give folks a false sense of security! – a bell! – pots and pans! – lots of people talking and making noise! – they will get everyone who reads this article and takes these tips as gospel potentially killed or drastically harmed! first of all any bear you see at night is out for one thing only – to kill and eat! – period end of story – no tips will help u – hope for luck – and lots of it!, yes – no average AK can kill a bear – even multiple shots are useless. an Ak round is only a small .30 caliber, but armour piercing can go through several inches of steel – that along with the kinetic energy present in a short one or two second burst is enough to take down an elephant! – hence african poachers who use such. a short burst of amour piercers amounts to several thousand grains! coming at you at over 2500fps! that were intended to kill folks sitting in armoured personnel carriers. image smokey now – the damage is enourmous – I’d post the pictures i have – believe me there were no heads left – just a huge cavity above the front shoulders but i am sure my internet life would never be the same afterwards – know what i mean. my intent was to let people know just keep away from bears and there territory period! it is far wiser to use a little more gas in the car to drive somewhere else. or go with a trained guide or pro hunter. and your absolutley right about having a .50 caliber – remember i think it was several years back a bear up in canada was eventually killed by the police after mauling and eating several people. – the bear had multiple 30-06 wounds that completely healed over. multiple wounds from several past occurances that were not enough not only to stop the bear – but not even enough to discurage it from hunting people down when hungry!for me – a 460 weatherby r the like is a bit too much on the shoulders even with the shooting jacket ( ok i am not a sissy – but thats a hell of a kick). but the AK is light, no kick as its gas operated, and in the woods you can just lift off the dust cover and clear any obstructions, and most important i can send the whole clip of 45 armour piercing rounds downrange in about 3 seconds! – if that dosn’t discourage even a hungry bear – then today must have been my day to die.

          • Antonius Mitea

            how about black bears?

          • Marvin Harrison

            Hit them in the nose and they will run away.


          • Gregory V. Henley

            I have four dead bear with my SKS…
            7.62×39 Golden Tiger 124 gr FMJ-BT Russian Military(not the aftermarket crap) will kill a bear just fine
            The AK 47 shoots the same round.
            the AK 74 on the other hand CANNOT kill that bear unless the shot is perfectly placed.
            The 74 throws a smaller round (5.45) and is barely useful for anything bigger than a man or deer….just like the AR class of weapons..the 5.56 is too small.
            The Golden tiger Mil pec rds I mentioned that were made pre 90 enjoy a healthy 2800 fps.
            current ones are barely 2600.
            off brands non milspec are usually in the 2460 fps range with a gr wt at 122-123gr. as they are made for the AK rifle twist.
            The SKS developes better velocity characteristics due to the longer barrel. 124 Gr is for the SKS.

            If your weapon is for survival and hunting, use the correct round that will allow that.
            Crap ammo will get you killed
            Golden Tiger, Fiocci, and the newly released Red Army Standard, and Chinese Copper wash rounds will kill your bear just fine,
            Winchester is WAAAAY underpowered.
            Brown and silver bear brand are garbage

            Remember Russians made their rounds to kill things

          • Gregory V. Henley

            the 7.62×39 is plenty deadly on bears….do not let any bear close within 25yds if you can help it…at this range, it would rather run rather than attack.
            Its about closing distance.
            if a bear is struck high in the chest and neck, he will turn and run for his life.
            closer than 25, a bear may feel running isnt an option when they hear the bang..
            I squat low down on one knee and put 3 rapid shots into the upper torso chest /neck…bear always jumps UP, then back and falls on its arse, scrambles and runs about 5 yds and dies
            124 grFMJ-BT stops em cold within that.
            A head shot anywhere near the brain pan stops them instantly.
            this round will go through any bear skull from any egress.

        • UrOtherSide

          Hi tbone, I have a hard time believing that it has to take amour piercing rounds to kill a bear. I think regular bullets would do the job. I saw an officer kill a griz bear with one 357 mag shot to the chest (on video I mean). I mean regular bullets can put a good dent on a big rock. So are you saying that a bear’s skull is stronger then rock?

          • Gregory V. Henley

            no…he’s saying that overkill is a good thing when confronted with 1000 lb serial killers

        • Gregory V. Henley

          good ‘ol 7.62×39…deadly on anything
          mine are put through an SKS, w/20 rd mags…darn right they stop a bear…very fast

        • harrykuheim

          Total bullshit Dude…you are in Mommies Basement aren’t you.

          • John Richards

            He’s not wrong about how hard it is to kill the things, and what kind of equipment you need to do the job when a bear decides to attack.

  • Ayrton Hugh Sweeney


  • Carl

    #1 should be DO NOT hike through the woods with your dog off its leash. Dog senses bear, charges, barks. Bear gets mad, attacks dog. Dog runs back to and past owner with bear in pursuit. Guess what happens next.

    • NoChip4Me

      Very interesting book. Thanks for the link. :)

  • samuel jackson lager

    How about a new Rule #1: “stay out of the damn woods; don’t go where the bears are.”

    • dianne

      My idea of camping…..The Holiday Inn…..

      • 40BigMomma40

        Yes, I will NEVER EVER CAMP without an RV!!!! There is something about a carpet, working stove, and flushing toilet I just will NEVER give up, even in the wild!!!!

        • mary

          LOL you do realize that a pizzed off bear can make short work of a rv? Well they can :)

          • cabensg

            That’s why you never unhook it from the car or truck and you make someone sleep in the car or truck just in case.

    • Gregory V. Henley

      no…bad rule.
      why should people stay out of the woods???
      since when were WE not allowed to be on the planet?
      Correct Rule #1: The earth is NOT your Mother; NEVER go into the woods without a gun

    • gizmo118

      I agree 100%. ^5 Finally, an adult came in.

  • Wildshot

    It is always good to be able to identify the signs of bears and be able to tell which kind of bear it is, black or brown. Brown being the more dangerous. You can identify bears by their scat (poop for city dwellers). You can identify brown (Grizzly) bear scat because it has the smell of pepper spray and jingles like a bell. Stay away from that kind of bear.

    • R.D.Are


  • Ron DeGroote

    Learn what kind of bears are around by looking at their droppings. Black Bear’s will have berries and pieces of rabbit or squirrel fur.. Grizzly Bear’s with have little bells and will smell like pepper spray…

    • R.D.Are


    • Richard Iddings

      Also remember, you can tell what kind of bear it is by sneaking up behind it, kick it, and quickly scurry up a tree. If it chases up the tree after you it’s a black bear; if it knocks the tree down it’s a brown bear.

      • Dash Riprock


      • spyeatte

        It would help to put down slowly, the cub you were stealing.

        • kaos_in_tx

          But they are so cuddly cute! (And they stay that way forever, right?).

          • pbrower2a

            Bears look much like overgrown dogs. I once saw a trophy bear, and it looked much like a golden cocker spaniel, except that it was three times as large in all dimensions. The teeth and claws were about three times as long, too. Just imagine how strong the muscles are, and recognize that dogs are as strong and powerful for their size as cats and bears.

            Unlike dogs, bears do not trust us. They trust only their mothers while cubs — and their cubs.

            Having needed hospitalization for an inadvertent scratch from a golden cocker spaniel and seeing what that dog could do to a pair of shoes with her teeth, I recognize why we don’t have 300-pound dogs. Dogs are the best-behaved large carnivores — and the largest are still deadly to someone who does something stupid. With a bear, just being in its presence is stupid.


      • blackyb

        Also when you use that bear saddle to ride it, do NOT cinch it to tightly. It may not let you ride it again as easily.

    • Dash Riprock


    • JONDO

      Thats a good one.

    • Mongoose218

      THATS an oldie!! ;–)

      • cabensg

        Oldie but goodie because it still made me laugh out loud.

    • frank shea

      Wonderful thought!
      I will call room service at 10:00A:M.

  • ScotySand

    YOU SHOULDN’T KEEP YOUR SNACKS IN YOUR TENT. Those should be hung in a tree also. Do I need to explain why?

    Also, if you are at a site where you drive in, have an extra set of clothing only for cooking. After you cook and clean, put those clothing in your car.

    • NoChip4Me

      Tent? Give me a nice hotel with room service, clean crisp sheets, sauna, Jacuzzi, cable, pool and private bar any day Vs. camping……

      We did that tenting thing for 16 years with three sons. (We never went into the bear’s hood.)

      IF one is going into “bear country” logic says bring a gun, it’s the only equalizer.

      The only bears I want to see are on at the zoo, on top of my amore at home and the Charmin Package of toilet paper.

      I am amazed at how stupid people are, you know the ones that get out of their cars at the National Forests and walk up to the bears and take their pictures………….they’re asking to become bear food.

      • Mongoose218

        We tent camped in the Smokies for many years, and there were lots of black bears, some with cubs, all around….being in a national park they were NOT afraid of humans. Had never been hunted.
        I was never afraid of them, only of the type of people who rape and kill people hiking on the Appalachian Trail which goes through the Smokies, and yes, that happens a lot.

  • John Joseph Hall

    Just carry a SW 500 mag lol

  • David Rick

    I am more concerned with Moose than bears.

    • Gregory V. Henley

      I agree…moose are damned dangerous

      • mary

        Agreed , moose are more dangerous

    • Rick Rogers

      Its not the Moose that scares me its those Sneaky Flying Squirrels that seem to hang around them. that bother me.. Swooping down out of the trees like that.

      • blackyb

        Those were drones dressed up like flying squirrels.

    • pbrower2a

      Four aggressive Rottweilers that encountered me while I did Census work had me wondering how strong the latch was on the door. Rottweilers that encountered me while I did Census work. I backed off slowly and retreated to my car — and left the scene.

      A burglar who breaks into that house is meat. I was thinking “tiger”, but “bear” would have fit, too.

  • KillRighty

    Having a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with slugs in your hands is the best safety measure you can take when hiking around out in grizzly country.

  • SoybeanMeal_Trader

    Shoot the mother F-ing bear….geesh these liberals…wave at him?
    Get a gun!

    • 40BigMomma40

      I am more likely to be attacked by you and need a weapon against you than a grizzly bear! No offense, but please educate yourself and don’t rip on the liberals because both liberals and conservatives each have their shortcomings and bad plus good sides. It is compromise and meeting them in the middle that counts, just like on the Twilight Series Movies. I am like Bella who wants it all the time. The laws are like Edward who advocates waiting and discipline. We both meet in the middle as a compromise to say that in only emergencies when our lives are at stake, then we must use self defense. There are WAY MORE HUMANS THAN BEARS SO I THINK BEARS SHOULD BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS. Just don’t go into their territory. If you have to bring a gun, then ask yourself: “Is this the vacation I wanted? Are we really relaxed and enjoying ourselves?” If you have to bring a loaded gun, then maybe you went too far into the nature to truly enjoy yourselves.

      • doridori

        See, people who want to pretend to be ‘wilderness’ types but have no other method of dealing with the wild things God put on this planet for a reason (I still have not figured out how WE are doing His Creation any good….) is to shoot.. shoot.. and shoot again, anything that crosses their path… are truly pathetic and have no business calling themselves outdoorsmen.

      • Apada

        Yeah? Well some of us humans are being driven INTO the wilderness by the very “society” we are supposedly born to be part of. We don’t get to have a choice, so the bears are just gonna have to push over and share. I’m a “natural earth animal” too, and I’m sure not doing it for kicks – it’s my only choice for survival.

        • gizmo118

          Why are you retreating to the woods? A republic is not saved by retreating.

          • Apada

            LOL. When I was young and strong, my motto was “Know your limits – and then exceed them.” Now it is just “Know your limits.” :)

            Honestly, I have tried my hardest to fit in, do my part, and all that good stuff. I can see clearly that it is best for all involved that I withdraw and try the only thing I have not tried. I suppose I’d rather live physically isolated and free than live emotionally isolated and enslaved.

      • gizmo118

        Important things cannot be “met in the middle.” Real life is not a tv series or a movie.

    • Dash Riprock

      They would rather be eaten alive than use a gun to protect themselves.

      • Apada

        And that would be their choice, would it not?

        • Dash Riprock

          In their case I’m sure it would be the correct choice.

          • Apada

            LOL. I’m sure you’re right.

  • pilgrim4jc

    Rub your body in bacon grease, then sing the lead song from Oklahoma. Now what you’ve got is dinner at the theater!

  • John G. Gault

    Rule number 1) Make sure there is at least one person that you can out run. Rule Number 2) Never violate rule # 1.

  • Bob Lacerino

    Didn’t Connie Frances make a song once “Where The Bears Are”? Oh Ok, I was just wondering.

  • Bob Lacerino

    To be truthful the only bear I wanna see is that small stuffed one on my pillow I sleep with every night. What so funny? An old man with a stuffed bear?

  • Gregory V. Henley

    you fergot…BRING A GUN…and for gods sake…keep a round in the pipe and be prepared to use it.
    Dont talk.
    DONT lie on the ground..

  • Gregory V. Henley

    unless your life long dream is to be processed into bear shit, and your loved ones burying your spine

  • BarryG

    One amendment:
    Never run from a bear unless you are with someone who runs slower than you.

  • Tearlach61

    As someone who has lived and worked in bear country for the past 25 years, I find it interesting that they don’t mention a gun at all. I carry when I go in the field. When we go out in the field for work it’s expected that at least one of use carry a gun. We have an office pump shotgun that we have for that purpose though I bring my own gun.

    Bears, think of them as giant cats because they can move and be on you that quick.

  • jpbutterworth

    Pack your Taurus Judge in your wasteband and unleash hell once it gets within 25 feet of you! A few well placed hydroshock .45 long colts will make quick work of the beast!

  • Jackson Presser

    Black bears can be a number of colors even white…..don’t be fooled by color. Best way to tell between a black and a brown is the presence of a shoulder hump. Brown(Grizzlies) have it as they primarily use their front paws and claws to uproot plants and dig for insects. Black bears lack the large prominent hump seen in Browns. Also if you get really close browns have massive strait claws (better for digging) and blacks have smaller hooked claws (best for climbing). The reason you should not play dead with Blacks is that they rarely attack humans as a defence, they mainly are involved in predatory attacks on humans. It has been documented also that Blacks rarely attack in defence of their young, preferring to have their young climb a tree and quickly follow.

    • Marvin Harrison

      I have only run across bears while hunting deer in upper New York State. None were very big, usually 150-200 pounds and were not aggressive at all. They would just run away. i have never seen a bear while hunting in California.

      • Jackson Presser

        You are correct, Blacks tend to be timid around humans. They only become dangerous when injured/sic/unable to hunt effectively. But if you are stalked/followed by a black do not run and do not lay down, fight back.

      • Angel

        I have. Her badge said CPS.

  • oceantraveller

    The fool that wrote this doesn’t differentiate between black bears and Browns a coastal bear, and their twin better known as Grizzlies. Browns and grizzlies are brown and have a hump on their back. Black bears are for the most part black often with white markings on their chest but they also come in shades of brown.

    Black bears are typically cowards and run; Brown bears are responsible for 99.9% of human fatalities with bear encounters. Bears typically attack when you get between them and their cubs or, when you have open food and they decide it shouldn’t be yours.

    Lead is your best defense, typically rolled in 44 caliber cylinder shaped projectiles back with a healthy load of gun power.

  • jtrollla

    Also, don’t ask them for toilet paper. Unless they are blue, then it’s okay.

    • cleo48

      Now THAT’s funny.

  • Rick Rogers

    I thought Rule number 1 was always go hiking with someone that you can out Run. .You don’t have to out run the bear just the person your with.

  • Guy inSJ

    Avoid being attack by bear, don’t even think about going hiking. lol

    • cleo48

      I suspect Loonies, Greenies, and Libs make up the larger share of the bear’s human diet. Only these crackpots are wont to frolic thru the woods like forest nymphs. Any hunters will likely be armed.

  • mary

    I am pretty liberal and I would not even dream of camping in bear country without a shotgun . This author is pretty naive to believe that a bear that gets that close to humans will run from them . Generally they will run long before they get close to you unless there are cubs , in which case they are very likely to attack.

    • Angel

      That’s not true. I did a gypsy clapping routine when I was a teenager and chased a black bear away from the foster kids. (I was staying in a foster home but the parents were more dangerous than ANY bear could EVER be. I shoulda chased the PARENTS away!)

  • Frank Welch

    It is amazing how strong animals are. People weight lift, run, box,
    martial arts mma fighting. A bear can take any one of them out with
    one swipe of the paw as if a nat. Humans seem to forget were in their
    hood. The only thing that keeps us safe is our brain. Sometime I
    wonder about that.

    • Angel

      That’s true enough… unless you’re a Black Latina… then HE is in YOUR territory! lol

  • jjg614

    there’s no way im laying down and playing dead unless the bear knocks me to the ground first.

    • Angel

      Even then I’d fight like a mofucka. No WAY I’d let that bear take a bite outta me without my carnivorous self taking a big ass bite outta him FIRST!

  • drago

    i keep my ar-15 shorty with a 30 round clip.

    • Chris M

      Yeah, we’re all so impressed.

  • John Edwards

    Several years ago, I was teaching a group of FAA people from Alaska. They were all rugged individualist, and got to swapping stories. One fellow worked at a remote site and had some fish traps he checked twice a day. He visit his trap in the morning and had no problem. When he went the second time, he remembered to bring his 44 magnum. This time, as he was returning from the traps, he came to a bend in the path where he was suddenly confronted by an immense brown bear who was clearly looking for lunch.
    He said he instinctively grabbed his 44 and fired three shots at the bear. One hit the bear in the forehead but did no damage but failed to stop him; the third shot hit the bear in the shoulder and spun him around. At that point, the fellow dropped his pistol and fled. After getting his emotions under control, he called a ranger (?) and together they returned to the scene. He recovered his pistol, and they looked for the bear; they could find no sign of it.
    The story was told with gusto and some discussion followed.
    When things settled down, I approached him privately and said that from what I know of human nature, no one has an experience like that without lingering effect. A pallor came over his face and his emotional state changed dramatically. He agreed, and said that afterwards, anytime he heard an unfamiliar sound, it brought back the terror of that moment. It was driving him crazy, and eventually he could stand it no more. He asked to be reassigned and was transferred to city job.

    His experience caused me to question: How did native Americans cope with such experiences when they had no choice but to continuously face such experiences. Psychologically, how did they handle it? What in their culture prepared them to do so? Respect and mutual respect for all nature, plus understanding their surroundings and being in harmony with it is the best I can come up with.

    • Apada

      It’s just conditioning. A bear encounter was not “normal” for the PTSD guy. It was a way of life for the Natives.

    • catdoc

      How do people cope with an armed mugger?

  • Fabian

    You can also go trekking with somebody that you know for sure rans slower than you. In fact you won’t be running away, you’d go get help. Preparation and planning are keys to success. And the best way to avoid bears is still to go places where there are no bears. Same trees, same rocks, same grass but no bears. Swiss Alps for instance. Think about it.

  • Bob Woitunski

    O yea don’t camp in Bear country.

  • Bob Woitunski

    Stay in a Holiday Inn and put the chain lock on the door.

  • lan

    Always travel in bear country with people slower than you. That way you can run and the slowest member takes one for the team.

    Seriously, if a grizzly enters your tent at night he’s there to eat you so don’t play dead, fight back with whatever you can. Playing dead as a tactic only works if you encounter them by surprise.

  • MannyHMo

    Bring with you a Karelian dog and a bear spray if you’re really determined to be in bear country.

  • Michelle Warne

    Well, when I go camping, I will bring along 8 foot fence wire with barbed wire on the top, bury my food, put up the fence—no problem. Make it easy to enjoy your camping trip.

  • s gre

    Which is more effective at stopping the bear, a 12g shotgun slug or a .44mag round? Also, someone mentioned an AR15. Would emptying the clip be more or less effective then the 12g slug or .44mag? If neither of these three, then what would be the best weapon?

    • Marvin Harrison

      Emptying a magazine of .223 from an AR will probably increase the chances of hitting a vital spot. Beside that there is not much shock effect. You may get eaten. A ,44 magnum is bare minimum but at least it is easier to carry than a shotgun. A 12 gauge slug should do it, and in the case of a head shot at least give him (or her) a good headache. I prefer my Remington 600 in .350 Remington magnum. Compact, light and will do the trick every time. Go to Alaska and you will see it is the gun of choice by the guides that could find one.

  • Richard Smith

    and dont slap the bear in the ass and yell “whatsup”.

  • Lowell

    A. Always hike with friends.
    B. Make friends that will ALWAYS LOSE in a footrace with you.

  • rentslave

    Glocks won’t penetrate a bear’s skin?

    • Ducky 111

      Oh yeah it will!

  • cabensg

    Foolproof way to avoid Bear problems.

    Don’t camp or hike where there are Bears.

    • Charles

      Where’s that. Don’t bears kinda go wherever the smells lead them. Including camps. And towns. And Cities. And counties. And states.

  • Callmerunt

    As an experienced woodsman, I wish to point out they left out making a loud noise with a shot or two from a .357 magnum as a warning. If the bear charges, unload it into them if the warning shot was not enough. Carry nothing less then a .357 pistol or a .300 WSM rifle. That is unless your stupid enough to go into the woods without some type of protection.

  • Steve Minor

    “Oh great, we’re going to rely on my acting skills”

  • TheDaleks

    When Gov. Chris Christie goes camping, the bears hide their food from *him*! (Rim shot)

  • joe Broz

    The best tips are to carry the most powerful bear spray, awuickly accesaible .44 Magnum, and a sawed off .12 guage with rifled slugs

    • Ducky 111

      I’d rather have a 12 ga. with 00 buck for close encounters. Nine pellets of .38 caliber…

  • Philo Vance

    Don’t lead with your right. Jab and circle. Then kick him in the balls. My late uncle Billy won the early rounds.

  • @hghworks

    Do not talk smack to them it just pisses them off even more

  • bamboobob

    This “no eye contact” is contradicted by other sources. I wish I knew which was true.

    • Ducky 111

      It is true but never run from a bear…he will catch you!

  • laurie457

    Why not play dead with a black bear? Do they eat dead things?

    • Ducky 111

      Yep, they love carrion if not fresh meat…

  • disqus_ZBc5CQd4k5

    This Is Why I Carry A 357 Mag Loaded With Hollow Points !!!

    • Marvin Harrison

      If it has a 4″ barrel it is as effective as a 6″ .38 special. You will be missed.

  • VillageElder

    I always travel in bear country with Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson along. Their lightweight .44 Magnum will stop a charging bear cold in his tracks with a single, well placed shot. Otherwise, as the article suggests, try to stay away from bears and their favorite locations (streamside in fish spawning season).

  • yankee2

    Once I encountered a bear in my campsite at Whitney Portal in the southern Sierras on southern CA. I had gone out to the bathroom at 3AM. I saw a large Black Bear in a tree nearby on the way out, but on the way back I found it right outside my tent. Intuitively, and based upon what I understood, I knew I could stand up to a Black Bear (one w/o cubs), so I picked up a rock about the size of a grapefruit, and hurled it straight at the bear, from about 20′ away, hitting it squarely in the chest. True to my expectation, it turned and moved in the other direction. When I spoke to rangers the next day, they said I did exactly the right thing. They obviously want to discourage bears in the campsites, and BLACK bears rarely if ever attack, as long as food or cubs are not involved (NEVER try to take food away from a bear! NEVER approach a bear with cubs!). I must admit I was relieved that the lore is true!

  • kaos_in_tx

    How to survive a Bear encounter if it is going to attack you?

  • Shartnado

    you dont have to out run the bear, you just have to out run the other guy

  • Gregory771

    Re: the bear in the pic…..ohhh, he’s so cute and cuddly! I bet his fur is so
    soft, I just want to hug him and

  • cgosling

    Pick at least one hiking companion that is slower than you are.

  • Jimm

    A .44 magnum revolver will also prevent a bear attack. The idiot boneheads writing this stuff have their heads where the sun does not shine. Ask the local hunting guides how to avoid bears and protect yourself.

  • Pinny

    Here’s a thought… Considering going to an area where a bear might have you for dinner (NOT as a guest)? Think about carrying a 12 gauge loaded with slugs.

  • normy

    So this bear hunter is out in the woods, but the bear sneaks up on him and molests him, and tells him to stop hunting bears. The hunter staggers back to camp, rests up, then decides to go after the bear.
    This time the bear molests the hunter a couple of times, and warns him to go home and not come back.
    The hunter hasn’t learned his lesson, and goes after the bear again.
    As the bear is molesting the hunter for the third time, he says to him “You didn’t really come here to hunt bears, did you?”

    • Angel


  • UnashamedAmerican

    44 mag hollow point is a must if the spray doesn’t work. Maybe offer some Bear TP yea they do it in the woods.

  • artie help

    Bears will never harm you…they can be fed by hand…myself and my one armed nephew have been doing it for years……

    • Angel

      ONE ARMED=ARM EATEN lol just tellin you how it sounds! lol

      • artie help

        That’s exactly the point….my simple minded friend….

        • gotwood4sale


          I think someone just earned their wings!


          Save o-u-r country. Remain active. Change a d-o-z-e-n minds. Keep the ball rolling. Vote TEA! Vote FREEDOM!


    • Ducky 111

      You are a fool…if you’re serious..

  • Lord Mannyrossa

    Pro tip: carry .50 handgun or better; shoot at ground first, if bear no run off, shoot in bear face next. Headless bear is no longer problem bear.


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