How to Survive a Bear Attack

How do you survive a bear attack? Here are our top tips to make sure you don't become Yogi's lunch.

Bear attacks are on the increase and they don’t often end well. Bears might look cute and cuddly on TV, but most hunters can tell you they are savage, relentless killers when they put their mind to it.

Mama bears will shred you for looking at their cubs, while big males will just eat you alive if they’re hungry enough.

Big grizzlies can weigh more than 1000lb, run at 35mph and then slice and dice you with claws like gas powered machetes.

So how do you survive a bear attack if you’re unfortunate enough to get caught up with one of nature’s greatest killing machines?

How to survive a bear attack.

1. Don’t Get Attacked in the First Place

This is the best option. So think about when you’re heading out hunting. If you can avoid it, don’t go when the bear cubs are out in force. They’re normally born in January or February and the mothers are super defensive.

Also, be mindful of bears with your camp. Bury food scraps and keep meat at a safe distance. Better to lose it than bring Yogi and friends in for a closer look.

Hiking in groups is inevitably safer than heading out alone, too. Bears can and do hunt people and will always take a loner over a crowd.

Bear spray is a great way to ward off bears if you don't have a gun.

2. Carry Bear Spray

This is like pepper spray but for bears. It’s not a seasoning, so don’t try to enhance your camping meals with it. Keep it handy, and not buried in your backpack under your collection of wilderness selfie accessories.

Bear spray works for both black bears and grizzlies, although it goes without saying you’ll need to be close enough to smell its breath. So, yeah, it’s a last resort…

Always have a handgun available in bear country.

3. Carry a Firearm, Always

You need the very best guns that the local laws allow if you’re likely to encounter bears.

Now the best gun is a debate on its own, but more and more folks are putting down the big bore revolvers and picking up a 10mm Glock. That allows more control under pressure, and more shots to get it right.

A semi auto hunting rifle in 308 Remington Mag or something larger is better. Both is best….

There’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to a charging grizzly. Wolves and mountain lions can also be a pretty major problem that guns can solve.

The phgase stay strapped or get clapped wasn’t coined for these places. But it fits…

A Grzzly Bear next to the much less dangerous Black Bear. It pays to know the difference if you're going to meet them.

4. Know Your Bears

Not all bears are created equal and it pays to know what you’re dealing with before you decide on a strategy.

So make sure you know how to differentiate between a black bear and the much more dangerous grizzly. I mean if it’s a polar bear, you’re probably too dead to read this by now anyway, but learn the other two.

5. Don’t Run!

Every fiber in your being will scream at you to run, but it’s a bad idea. It triggers the chase response, a grizzly can run at 35mph and you just can’t. You won’t win.

Black bears are less agile, but again it’s much better to back away slowly while keeping your eyes on the animal. It’s been proven time and again with sharks through to lions, predators are simply less likely to attack if they know you can see them and you don’t behave like prey.

6. Look Big and Make Noise

Now this is a serious back up plan for the pistols and bear spray, but you have to work with what you’ve got.

Hold up your backpack, hold out your arms and look as big as you can. Maybe bang sticks or pots together to make as much noise as possible and convince the bear you won’t be an easy meal.

You’re probably lying at this point, but it can and has worked.

7. Play Dead or Fight Back

By now you should definitely know if it’s a Black Bear or Grizzly. It gets important here…

If it’s a Grizzly and you’ve given it all you’ve got, it’s time to play dead. Now if it’s a mama bear and she thinks you’re no longer a threat, she might leave you alone.

Now if it’s a hungry male, you will know your plan didn’t work when they start to eat you alive.

If it’s a Black Bear, put up your dukes and get ready to fight. Most times this will actually work and you’ll live to fight another day, but you may need to go for some stitches or break out the medical kit when you’re done.


  • Nick Hall

    Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

    View all posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top