If You Encounter a Bear
Despite taking precautions, you may still encounter a bear. Remember
that bears are complex, intelligent animals and no two encounters are
alike. There is no single strategy that will work in each situation,
but you can minimize your risk by following these guidelines:
Keep calm. Think ahead; your brain is your best defence
against a bear attack. Plan how to respond if you encounter a bear.
Don't run. Bears can easily outrun you. By running
you may trigger an attack. Make yourself less vulnerable. Pick up small
children and stay in a group.
Give the bear space. Back away slowly and talk in a
soft voice. Do not approach the bear or make direct eye contact.
Leave the area or make a wide detour. If you cannot
leave, wait until the bear moves out of the way and ensure that it has
an escape route.
The bear may approach you or rear up on its hind legs.
Bears are often curious. If one stands on its hind legs, it is most
likely trying to catch your scent; this is not necessarily a sign of
aggression. Back away slowly and talk in a soft voice.
Do not drop objects, clothing or food to distract the bear.
If the bear receives food, it will have been rewarded for its aggressive
behaviour, thereby increasing the likelihood that it will repeat that
Watch for aggressive behaviours. A bear may display
aggression by swinging its head from side to side; making vocalizations
such as huffs, snorts, whoops, or moans; displaying teeth or claws;
jaw popping; swatting at the ground; staring with eye contact; panting;
or laying its ears back. These behaviours usually indicate that the
bear is stressed, acting defensively and asking for more space. Attacks
rarely follow. This is the most common kind of black bear aggressive
Continue on to... If an Attack Occurs