The overwhelming majority of encounters with bears end without injury. If the bear is unaware of your presence, leave the area in the direction you came. If the bear is aware of your presence and does not leave, be non-threatening - speak calmly, do not yell. Stay calm and back away - do not run. Evolution has programmed bears to chase things that run, and a bear is faster than you.

If the bear approaches you, such behaviour could be considered curious, indifferent or predatory. If the bear continues closing distance, make yourself large, stand your ground and talk firmly to the bear.


Bear attacks on humans are extraordinarily rare. If you find yourself in this situation, you may increase your chance of survival by following the guidelines below.

In general, there are two kinds of bear attacks:


The bear is protecting a carcass, protecting its young and/or is surprised by your presence. It attacks because you are perceived as a threat. Remember bears will often bluff charge - when the animal closes distance but stops short of making contact.

Be non-threatening. Do not run or yell. Stay calm and back away slowly.

Use your bear spray. If the bear makes contact with you, PLAY DEAD.

Drop to the ground face down, interlace your fingers over the back of your neck and spread your legs to make it more difficult for the bear to turn you over. The bear will likely lose interest in you and leave. Defensive attacks are generally less than two minutes in duration. If the attack continues, it may mean the attack has shifted from defensive to non-defensive (predatory). In this case, FIGHT BACK.


The bear is aware of your presence and has time to leave but continues closing distance on you, even after you have tried to retreat.

Use your bear spray. Fight back. Do NOT play dead.

Intimidate the bear: shout; hit it with whatever you have at hand (e.g. stick, rock, hiking pole) and do whatever it takes to let the bear know that you are not easy prey.