Bears (Frequent #1 on the Threat Down)

I read this in Backpacker today. Let’s say you encounter a bear in the wild. What should you do? Well, it depends on the bear. One thing you can be sure of – never turn and run. But here’s the kicker:

For Grizzlies:

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Speak in low tones
  • Back away slowly
  • If the bear attacks – lie flat on your stomach, cover your neck and play dead (the “take your ball and go home” technique for the wild)

For Black Bears:

  • Appear as large as possible
  • Shout
  • Back away slowly
  • If the bear attacks – fight back aggressively

Could these BE any more opposite? Thanks a lot, bears! The trick of course is keeping your head long enough (both literally and metaphorically) to a) identify the bear and b) remember which course of action to take with such a bear. Essentially the only thing you can be sure of is “back away slowly.”


  1. Miranda on 11 April 2007 at 4:21 am

    You can be sure that in those final moments of do or die, I will assuredly have this lime from Auntie Mame running through my mind: “Fix the man in the gaze with an animal guy!” But at least I’ll go down thinking glamorous thoughts.

  2. Peter Norton on 11 April 2007 at 5:09 am

    My first reaction: How do you expect me to identify the bear, when I have no idea how to tell the difference?

    Second reaction: Wait! I read Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail”!! He explained all of this to me already!

    Third reaction: But what do we do when the zombies finally attack?

  3. coco on 11 April 2007 at 5:27 am

    Yah and why would you want to fight back to a bear that could eat you?

  4. Anastasia Beaverhausen on 12 April 2007 at 7:50 am

    I figure Mace doesn’t discriminate and neither do I. Black, brown, grizzly, baby, my dog – I’ll spray ’em all.

  5. Max von Fischgeist on 11 April 2007 at 8:09 am

    I say fight the bear, kill it, eat it, and make sci-fi bear coats. Some sharpened sticks come in handy. Next time you go backpacking in bear-infested territory, take some sharpened sticks with you. (Knives and guns are no good; it’s all about sharpened sticks.) If you need some sewing plans for sci-fi bear coats, send a letter to Anthony Hopkins care of his agent. He answers back pretty promptly.

  6. Lordleiter on 12 April 2007 at 8:11 am

    Dwight Schrute fights with the same philosophy.

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