July 14th, 2010 at 11:48 am (bear habits)
Though bear attacks are very uncommon, it is still better for hikers and woodsmen to stay alert and on guard at all times. To understand how to defend yourself, you must first be aware of exactly why the bear is attacking you. Though at the point of a bear attack you are probably terrified and not thinking clearly, taking a moment to get your wits about you and analyze the situation could be the few seconds that end up saving your life. First you will want to identify the type of bear attacking you, as black bears and grizzlies attack for very different reasons.While grizzly attacks are a lot more common, this is generally due to the clumsiness of humans than to any sort of predatory nature. Grizzlies attack only when they feel threatened, and while you may not feel you are a threat to the massive grizzly bear, just walking within 10-20 feet could trigger its defensive instincts. Proximity to the grizzly’s cubs may also play a part in its decision to attack. Feeling that its smaller offspring are threatened could be just as alarming, if not more, heightening their aggressiveness. Because grizzlies only attack when on the defensive, it is recommended that when confronted, you should play dead in hopes the large bear will walk away. Even the strongest men are no match for a grizzly in combat, so your best bet is to minimize your perceived threat level as much as possible.Black bears, on the other hand, can sometimes view humans a meat source. As a result, playing dead will only serve you up on a silver platter. When attacked by a black bear, channel your inner Rocky Balboa and fight until the last bell, despite your lack of size. Grab weapons, rocks, anything within reach to help you to put up a formidable fight. Gouge eyes, fight dirty, do whatever is necessary to survive. Sometimes, even if you can’t defeat it in hand to hand combat, the black bear decides it would rather move on to easier prey than exert the energy necessary to take down a resilient meal.