What to do in a Bear Encounter (And How to Avoid One) || REI

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if you're backpacking in bear country we

want to help you learn the best

practices for dealing with bears from

avoiding them on trail to keeping them

out of your camp or what to do if you

encounter a bear here's the deal with

backpacking in bear country when we're

hiking on trail we want to do everything

we can to avoid seeing a bear remember

that you are in their territory so we

want to alert the birds that we're

coming and make enough noise so

hopefully they'll move away from you

bears are most active at dusk and dawn

so consider hiking at a different time

of the day also if you're in a group of

four or more people you're a lot less

likely to be a target for a bear and

like I said before make a lot of noise

while you're hiking whether that's

singing talking loudly clapping randomly

things like that are really good to

alert the bears that you are on your way

however shrieking or whistling can sound

like a wounded animal and can sometimes

even attract the bear towards you bear

bells while they're a good idea are not

generally loud enough to be effective if

you're choosing to carry bear spray keep

it in a spot that's accessible on your

pack also make sure that you know how to

use your bear spray and check the

regulations forever you're going as some

parks may not allow you to carry this

sweet let's go set up camp so I've got

my camp all set up here and the number

one most important thing about keeping

bears and animals away from your camp is

properly handling your food and food

smells so this bear canister here has

anything with a scent in it has my

sunscreen bug spray as well as my snacks

and I'm gonna take that at least a

hundred feet away from my camp some

places will also ask you to cook away

from where you're storing your food and

you should always cook away from your

camp this is just a further dispel

disperse that smell of food so check

regulations and talk to a ranger food

handling of bear country is super

important we have an entire video on it

we'll leave the link for that at the end

of this video and in the description


so let's talk about what to do if you

encounter a bear how your respond is

going to depend on the type of bear you

come across so it's important to be able

to tell the difference we're gonna talk

about black bears versus grizzly bears

or brown bears and since black bears can

look Brown we like to be able to tell

the difference based on the shape of

their body and their face so black bears

have a straight shoulder no shoulder

hump and then tall slightly pointy ears

and their face is straight they're found

throughout the country grizzly bears do

have that shoulder hump and then they

have rounded ears and they have a

concave face profile so a curve from

their forehead into their nose grizzly

bears are found in Alaska Western Canada

Montana Wyoming Idaho in the North

Cascades in Washington seeing a bear in

the woods is usually no big deal but if

a black bear approaches you you want to

try and scare it off so pull out your

bear spray put your arms in the air and

make yourself as big as possible if you

have trekking poles you can hold those

up as well make a lot of noise and start

backing away slowly never turn your back

on a bear and never run this will

trigger a chase instinct and then

they'll treat us pray if a bear

continues to approach you then is the

time to use your bear spray if that

fails and a black bear attacks fight

back punch it in the face in the eyes in

the neck and in all the tender spots you

basically want to be as aggressive as

possible if a grizzly bear approaches

you you don't want to seem like a threat

speak in a low call voice and keep your

eyes averted and have your bear spray

out and ready to use if a grizzly bear

begins to retreat continue to back away

as well

you don't need to have that ground to

yourself a grizzly bear may do what's

called a bluff charge you can recognize

this because their ears will still be up

and they'll charge towards you huffing

and puffing and generally they'll stop

continue to stand your ground speak in

that low calm voice but have your bear

spray ready to use you can recognize an

actual charge because their ears will be

back and they'll move silently towards

you this is a good time to use your bear

spray if that fails

play dead put your hands behind your

neck to protect your spine and lie flat

on your stomach on the ground with your

feet spread wide so the bear can't flip


and get to your vital organs and do your

best to remain calm remember it's

important to carry bear spray whenever

you're going to be in bear country and

feel comfortable using it when you're

out in the field you'll need to be able

to remove the safety clip and aim it in

a pretty scary situation when using this

you'll aim low and shoot it in spurts so

the bear will walk through the cloud of

bear spray the idea with this is that it

can immobilize the bear for a period of

time giving you a chance to back away

and move to safer ground remember that

to deter Paris from Camp the most

important thing is proper food handling

so the video here that you can check out

for more information on that stay safe