What To Do If You Encounter A Bear
- What actions should you take?
If you encounter a bear in the outdoors, enjoy from a distance; do not approach. If you are uncomfortable with your proximity to the bear, make noise (talk, whistle, clap, etc.) so the bear knows you are there and then slowly back away.
If the bear begins to show any of the defensive aggressive behaviors described above, back away slowly (do not run) and leave the area completely. If leaving is not an option, take shelter inside a secure structure such as a building or car.
- What about my dog hiking with me?
If you are outdoors with your pet and encounter a bear, follow the same steps as above. Do not allow your pet to chase or harass the bear as this could entice the bear to attack causing serious injury or death to you or your pet.
- Are there non-lethal deterrents that can be used?
Yes. If you will be in an area known to have bears, red pepper sprays or labeled Bear Sprays have been successfully tested as a bear deterrent.
Pepper spray has an active ingredient of capsaicinoids, which result in debilitating but nonlethal responses that can include apnea, coughing, sneezing, and temporary blindness. Studies testing the effectiveness in pepper spray on free ranging bears show that black bears respond in a variety of ways to pepper spray, but that human injuries were prevented 100% of the time.