In the new 100 Deadly Skills Survival Edition book, Clint Emerson covers surviving a bear attack as one of the skills. Encountering a bear may seem like a distant possibility to most, even active outdoorsmen. We rarely hear about bear attacks and even more rare is hearing from those that survive bear attacks.
Here is an excerpt from what Clint recommends you do in the event you come face to face with a deadly bear.
If the bear charges you, this is the moment to use bear spray or shoot. Dispense bear spray when the bear is within forty feet, or aim rifle sights at a spot below its chin, or just behind its front legs if shooting broadside. If you are unarmed, stand very still. The bear may be doing a false charge to test your mettle as a potential predator, and could lose interest once it sees that you are not a threat. If the bear attacks, most experts agree that this is the moment to lie down and play dead. You want to convince the bear that it has done its job and effectively minimized the perceived threat you posed. Lay flat on your stomach to protect your organs, crossing your hands behind your neck to guard your arteries. Or curl into the fetal position, covering the back of your neck with your hands. Playing dead is an effective strategy with a 75 percent success rate; because most bear attacks are defensive in nature, bears will back down once they recognize that you are not a threat. Of course, nothing is predictable in the wild. Bears, though omnivorous, subsist mostly on plants and fish—but they have been known to feast on human flesh.
Never turn your back on a bear, and never try to run. Both of these actions can kick-start a bear’s predatory reflexes—and you’ll never be able to outrun a bear, as the animals can travel at up to thirty miles per hour. Instead, slowly walk away sideways, keeping an eye on the animal so that you can monitor its movements.
If playing dead does not cause the bear to lose interest, you are the rare victim of a predatory attack. The bear intends to kill and possibly eat you, so fight back with any available weapons—a knife, sticks, rocks, your fists. Aim for the eyes and nose, where the bear is most sensitive.
There’s no tried-and-true, written-in-stone protocol for handling a bear attack, in part because attacks are so rare. So it’s no surprise to find debate among bear-country dwellers about how to handle a grizzly charge versus an encounter with a black bear. Some say that playing dead is more likely to work with the former, claiming that the latter’s less frequent attacks are more likely to be offensive. But all agree that pepper spray is the single best deterrent, one so effective that it has been used successfully by children under the age of ten.
A while back we saw a guy who survived a bear attack. He utilized some of the skills that Clint Emerson has highlighted in his new book such as using bear spray and playing dead. Even though he still got torn up pretty bad, because he was prepared and reacted in the proper way, he can live to tell about it. This is a real-life example of one of Clint Emerson’s skills put to use.
*Featured photo courtesy of Obscura Youtube channel