How to Survive a Grizzly Bear Attack

How to Survive a Grizzly Bear Attack

Though grizzly bears are dangerous, and there are several anecdotes to support this, they are also often misunderstood. A bear assault is frequently the result of surprise or panic, rather than pure hostility. And understanding how grizzlies act is one of the keys to remaining safe in their habitat. So, what should you do if you come into a grizzly bear in the wild? Check out these tips to stay safe and alive in the event of a grizzly encounter.

Grizzly Bears: What Are They and How to Survive a Grizzly Bear Attack?

Brown bears are the most common and diverse of the eight types of bears. They can run faster than 30 miles per hour and have long claws. They are very good at climbing trees and swimming. Even the smallest brown bears can weigh as much as 300 pounds. The biggest brown bear ever seen was on Kodiak Island. It weighed 1,656 pounds and was 9.8 feet tall.

If you look at a bear, you can tell that you shouldn’t mess with it. If you want to avoid getting hurt by a brown bear, you should stay out of their way and learn as much as you can about their habits. There are things you can do to keep yourself safe from brown bears, which is good news. First, know that bears of any kind are very smart. They can remember things well and handle tough situations well. This means that if they get the chance, they can learn how to talk to people. They will use what they find out to decide if you are dangerous or if you taste good enough to eat.

Second, each bear is different, just like each person. Some are friendly, while others might be mean psychopaths. Most bears don’t mind being around people and don’t try to fight with them. But every once in a while, a bear will decide to eat a person.

Last but not least, bears, and brown bears, in particular, eat anything they can get their hands on. So, they do eat animals and fatty fish, but more than 75% of their food comes from acorns, nuts, berries, leaves, and roots. People are not food for bears, so knowing this is very important. Another possibility is that they are opportunistic omnivores who will see you as a tasty meal if they get the chance. So, let’s talk about some ways to keep yourself from getting into trouble.

Identify The Bear

The information I give here is only about brown bears (sometimes also commonly referred to as grizzlies in North America). What you do with a black bear is a little different, but it still depends on how you meet it. Just pay attention to the following things.

Grizzly Bear

  • Short Face
  • Short Ears
  • Shoulder Humps

Black Bear

  • Long Face
  • Tall Ears
  • No Shoulder Humps

The main reason I mention these is that color doesn’t tell you much about what kind of bear you’re looking at. Some black bears can be completely black, while others can be white. Brown bears have the same kinds of differences.

Learn the Basics

Just as you would interpret the threat of a youthful human differently from an elderly man or a woman wheeling a stroller, bears have significant variances. Let’s look at three different types of bears you can come across.


These bears were recently separated from their mother. They’re like adolescent kids. They don’t know what to do yet and are just attempting to make sense of the world. Curiosity can be their undoing.

Mothers and their cubs

Don’t meddle with a mother and her cubs, as the adage goes. If you get in their way, you’ll be assaulted quickly – they’re quite defensive.

Males on their own.

Lone males will normally avoid you unless they regard you as food. If they assault, you could be in big trouble. This is more true of black bears than grizzlies, but it’s worth noting.

Learn About Bear Spray

In a bear country, everyone should have bear spray. It’s the simplest and most effective method of staying safe. Here are a few things to be aware of:

  • Bear spray has a range of 40 feet.
  • It causes burning and blindness in the eyes, as well as skin burning.
  • If you spray it on your tent, it can attract a bear. It is only for airborne usage when a bear is nearby.
  • You should carry it in a holster or with a carabiner.
  • Every member of the group should have one or two.
  • At least once, practice using it before going out.
  • Per canister, you can spray two or three brief bursts.
  • Bear spray is not the same as pepper spray or mace. It contains the oleoresin capsicum produced from peppers.
  • According to studies, bear spray was effective 98% of the time. In the remaining 2% of instances, only minor injuries were recorded. Guns, on the other hand, demonstrate that only 76% of gun use was effective. That’s not a good chance.

Now that you have the basics, let’s see how you can survive a Grizzly bear attack.

How to Survive a Grizzly Bear Attack?

If you hunt in bear country, exercise extreme caution. A grizzly bear hears the sound of a gunshot as if it were a dinner bell. Many a hunter has stumbled across a grizzly taking ownership of an elk or other large game carcass after killing it. Hunters should exercise caution while approaching their kills and should never attempt to take the carcass if the scene appears to have been disturbed by a bear. The bear is probably sheltering nearby in a defensive position. It’s sometimes better to just let it go. So, what should you do if you meet a grizzly bear in the wild?

The most important thing to remember is not to panic. If you panic, you will be unable to think, act, or do anything except accept your fate and, and, and do that. Learning what to do, like knowing how to survive anything else, is critical so that you can prepare. Success breeds preparation.

Bears will attack you if they believe you are a threat. You are a menace to a mother who is pregnant, and she will aggressively defend her children if you approach her. If you flee, you are not a prey that is escaping. At that point, the bear may charge. It’s unlikely that you’ll be attacked if you remain calm and collected. Here’s a summary step:

  • Use bear spray, which is really effective.
  • Travel in groups of at least two.
  • Avoid startling or surprising a bear.
  • RUN is not an option. They may regard you as prey.
  • Communicate with the bear in a calm tone.
  • Keep your cool.
  • If a brown bear attacks, play dead. It is almost certainly a defensive attack. (However, if it begins to devour you, it is not defensive.) Begin fighting back!
  • Lay on your stomach with your hands behind your head, ideally with a pack on. Gather your fingers around your neck. Maintain a wide range of motion with your elbows. If a bear rolls you over so you’re facing up, roll over again so you’re facing down.

An often asked topic about bear survival is, “Do you play dead with a grizzly bear?” Yes. If the bear continues to charge you after you’ve sprayed or shot it. Play dead in the fetal posture, not moving. Definitely easier said than done. However, the bear will only attack you if you constitute a threat. You are not a threat if you do nothing. This does not ensure that the bear will come to a halt. However, playing dead gives you the best chance of surviving. Fighting it with kicking and shouting is a sure way to get mauled.

This is a contentious issue, but many experienced hunters advocate for the use of firearms in bear assaults. The primary reason is that they are more familiar with rifles than bear spray. When faced with a terrifying scenario, such as a bear encounter, people frequently forget their training. They rely on intuition and the familiar. Experienced firearms operators will feel more at ease using a gun in a circumstance and will have more practice completing a death shot when addressing a moving target.

Gun advocates criticize the figures used in a 2012 research that suggested bear spray was more effective than weapons. They cite a previous study conducted in 1999 that found that only 2% of firearm users in a bear assault were injured. Also, to avoid using this method, you should be aware of these common rules:

  • Don’t come in the way of a mother and her cubs.
  • Don’t irritate a bear. That includes shooting it with anything, particularly if it injures the bear.
  • Don’t go out by yourself.
  • Don’t go exploring in the bear habitat while the bears are likely hungry or trying to bulk up before winter. A slender bear should be avoided in the late fall before they hibernate.
  • You don’t have any food in your tent. Bears are inquisitive and continuously on the lookout for food.


Surviving a grizzly bear is a rare outcome, that’s why most people prefer to avoid them rather than fight them. Animals are unpredictable and it’s better to stay out of their way. If you’re going camping or if you’re going to a place where grizzlies are common, be sure to know and follow the rules for avoiding them. Remember, it’s better to avoid the scenario than try to survive it. I hope that this article provides you with all the information you need in order to avoid bears and have a safe camping trip. 

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