If an Attack Occurs
Black bear attacks are rare! However, if one occurs, there are varying
recommended responses depending on the situation. Remember that these
are only guidelines and that each encounter is unique.
If you surprise a bear and it responds to defend itself, its
young or its food - and contact has been made or is imminent - play dead
(lie on your stomach with your legs apart; protect your face, the back
of your head and neck with your arms; remain silent; and if wearing a
pack, leave it on for protection). Remember: such attacks are rare despite
the much more common aggressive displays without contact by black bears.
The bear will leave you alone once it believes the threat is passed.
This is the most serious and potentially deadly attack a black bear might
make! It occurs when a bear appears to stalk or follow you for a period
of time and then chooses to attack; or the bear attacks you at night.
In this situation, playing dead is not appropriate.
to escape to a secure place such as a vehicle or hard-sided camper.
© Parks Canada / Jean Morin
Climbing a tree is an option, but remember that black bears
can climb trees easily. If you cannot escape
and a bear continues its pursuit, react aggressively and try to intimidate
the bear. If this fails, fight back with anything at hand such as bear
spray, rocks, sticks, knives or other possible weapons to let the bear
know that you are not easy prey. Act as a group if you are part of one.
Don't forget to yell; help may be close by.
Chemical bear repellents/bear sprays contain a derivative of cayenne
pepper. When sprayed directly into an animal's face, they cause eye
and upper respiratory tract irritation. Although such sprays can be
effective when used properly, wind and other circumstances may alter
their effect on the animal. Therefore, use them with caution and always
follow the manufacturer's directions. Bear sprays do not guarantee your
Continue on to... Bear Attractants