ONTD Halloween Original™: Tips to Help You Survive a Bear Attack 🐻

Prophecy © 1979 Paramount Pictures

"That's because he's smarter than the average bear."
- from the "The Yogi Bear Show" theme song

Although they may be round and cuddly-looking in memes and GIFs, bears are not something you want to run into while camping or hiking. The chances of being attacked are slim (for instance, 1 in 2.1 million if you visited Yellowstone Park), but you should be ready. So here are some basic tips if you ever decide to visit the great outdoors.

Grizzly Park © 2008 American World Pictures

Identify the Type of Bear

Just like people are different from one another, not every bear behaves or reacts the same way. There are black bears, grizzly/brown bears, polar bears, etc. Some rules for dealing with bears are universal, but then some aren't. Like playing dead may work for brown bears. Fighting back, however, could be your best option with black bears. Polar bears are tougher to beat unfortunately.

Grizzly Rage © 2007 RHI Entertainment

Make Your Presence Known

Bears, especially brown bears, don't like to be surprised. So if you know there are bears in the area, let them know you're there. Make a little noise or talk. Don't disturb a bear if it doesn't even see you, though. Another obvious tip is to just be aware of bears being present wherever you're going. That way you can be prepared. Another helpful tip: don't leave food out as you camp or after you leave! You are only inviting bears to eat it, or causing them to bother other people in search of food.

Backcountry © 2014 IFC Midnight

Bear Spray

Do some research and find out if you're going somewhere populated by bears. The easiest thing you can do (other than simply not go) is to bring some bear spray. The discharge range for these sprays is about 40-50 feet. The idea is to create a wall of spray to stop a charging bear.

Prophecy © 1979 Paramount Pictures

Hit the Dirt

So the bear's gotten past your wall of repellent? If you're being charged, you need to get on the ground, cover your neck with your hands (fingers laced), and assume the fetal position with your knees tucked in under your chin. Don't run because a bear can catch you easily.

The Edge © 1997 20th Century Fox

Don't Run

Our gut instinct when being attacked by something big and dangerous is to run. Yet that's possibly the worst thing you can do with a bear. Why? Bears are faster than you think and they tend to chase anything that runs from them. And you'll regret it once they catch you. Instead, play dead or fight back if need be.

Into the Grizzly Maze © 2015 Vertical Entertainment & Destination Films

Play Dead

With brown bears, playing dead may actually work. Be aware that bears such as grizzlies will stick around for a good twenty minutes before giving up. So stay still until then. However, this does not work well with polar bears. Playing dead isn't gonna cut it with them.

Grizzly © 1976 Columbia Pictures

Fight Back

So with black bears, fighting back might be a better choice than playing dead. Do whatever it takes. Punch, kick, harm the bear's sensitive areas like the nose. You want the bear to run away from you, not vice versa. Polar bears, on the other hand, don't respond to playing dead or fighting back as they're much larger than other bears. So standing your ground and trying to intimidate them with your presence and loud voice is about all you can do if bear spray doesn't work.

Unnatural © 2015 After Dark Films

Bad Timing

Most bear attacks are a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So don't think you'll always be attacked even if you go into an area known for having bears present. You just need to be prepared and ready in case an attack happens.

Poll #2086134 What kind of hugger are you?

What kind of hugger are you?

Bear hugger (you give intense, big hugs)
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Side hugger (Duggar style)

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