Those huge, cuddly looking things you had in small, stuffed animal form as a child are not quite as cuddly when you meet them in the woods.
So how do you increase your chances that both you and the guy you hope you can outrun will survive a bear encounter?
Step 1: Keep your distance. 300 ft is recommended. Although in my opinion, if you can measure the distance, you are too close.
Step 2: Avoid eye contact. If the bear spots you, keep your eye on the bear without directly looking it in the eye. Move away slowly and start talking in a low, calm voice. It doesn’t matter what you say, this is just supposed to tell the bear that you are non-threatening. Personally, I would probably begin the conversation with “I am non-threatening” just in case it speaks English.
Step 3: Look as big as possible. Keep moving away slowly, but do not run.
Step 4: Know your bear and its intentions. (Lol, I know, I know, but stay with me) If it’s a non-predatory attack by a grizzly or a polar bear, drop to the ground and play dead. Lie on your stomach covering your vital organs, and cover your nape with your hands. The bear will hopefully realize that you are not a threat and leave you alone. However, if it is a predatory attack, fight back. Also if it’s a black bear- always fight back.
Or, if you can’t read Bear minds and have no idea what its intentions are, assume the worst and fight like the dickens.
Happy hiking, everyone!