SUR­VIVE A BEAR EN­COUNTER

Backpacker - - The Survival Issue -

Re­al­ity check: Fa­tal bruin at­tacks are pretty rare. There were 46 re­ported oc­cur­rences in North Amer­ica from 2000 to 2017, or an av­er­age of three per year. But we get it; you don’t want stats, you want to be pre­pared. So here’s how to han­dle a bad-news bear. WHO’S THAT BEAR?

Color and size can be mis­lead­ing. Black bears of­ten sport a brown­ish coat, and young griz­zlies can be small. Know­ing the dif­fer­ence is im­por­tant: Griz­zlies have been known to at­tack hu­mans to de­fend their young, which means back­ing off or play­ing dead could spare you a mother’s wrath. Black bears are more of­ten re­spon­si­ble for preda­tory at­tacks—mean­ing play­ing dead for too long could get you eaten. Learn the right iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to help you pre­dict the bear’s next move.

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