By Montana Grant

Posted: July 10, 2021

Lots of folks write about Bear weapons, sprays, or defense. Some tree huggers want you to lay done and give the bear a hug and kiss. The problem is consistency, lack of fact/Science, different species response, and time is limited.

Just this week another camper was killed by a Grizzly bear in Ovando, MT. The bear initially came to the camp when attracted to food. The bear was scared off and the food was then stored in the car. Sadly, the bear came back.

First, know your Bears. Understand the difference between a Black Bear and a Grizzly. Both are deadly but react differently. There are also unusual ways to encounter bears. You may meet in a room, porch, dumpster, or by the bird feeder.

Encounters are different in the forest, fields, or in your yard. Being unprepared is not an option. The first 30 seconds of an encounter will determine the outcome. This can quickly become a visceral moment. Make the wrong choice and you may die.

So, what is your Best Bear Behavior.

In your building, garage, shed, or interior area… Give the bear an escape route. Do not corner the bear. Back off and leave doors open as you exit. Do not lock the bear in.

In Your Yard… Shout, loud noises, drive the bear away. Now figure out what attracted the bear and remove it. This will be trash, bird seed, pet food, or garbage. Monitor and contain your pets.

                In the Woods… If you see the bear first, do not move. Stand still. Do not approach, move quietly away. Do not Run. This stimulates an attack. You will not outrun a bear! Even downhill, the bear will catch you.

BE BIG!!! It is best to stand on a rock or log and Get Big! Yell and scream at the bear. Hold out your arms, bow, hat. Back off slowly.

Get out your Bear Spray or gun. Be ready to shoot. Safety off. If you are with a group, stay as a herd. Do Not Run. Scream and be Big together. Prepare to defend yourself. If the bear charges, It may be a false charge. They may be just testing to see if you are strong, and worth the effort.

So, the worst happens, and the bear is going to make contact, SHOOT!!! Aim for the face. Stand your ground and shoot for the bears face.

There are some differences between Grizzly and Black Bears. In places like Montana, you can meet both. Know the difference. Generally, bears want nothing to do with humans, but…

Grizz will react to eye contact from out to 350 feet! Do Not Make Eye Contact! Pretend the Bear is a Homeless person trying to get a perk. Usually, a Grizz attack is about defense of cubs. Be big, back off, slowly, get ready to defend yourself. If the bear is on you, play dead. Female bears tend to be more defensive in their attacks. Males are looking for food. This signals that you are no longer a threat, and they will move off. Roll face down and place your hands on the back of your neck for added protection. Keep your pack or gear on as body armor. If all this advice fails, fight back for your life.

Black Bears are great tree climbers. If you try to go up a tree, they can get you. A Grizz will knock you down, or out of the tree. All bears have a great sense of smell and vision at least equal to humans. Bears are faster than people. Running rings, the dinner bell.

Keep your pets on a leash in bear country. They may often instigate the attack. Stay in groups or herds. Use bells and be noisy. Scare the bears before they come close. Be bear aware and observe. Hunting into the wind will help you smell the bear first. Avoid kill sites. Look for sign and avoid the area. Not carrying bear protection is a bad idea.

Food and coolers in a tent will invite bears inside. Store your food in the truck, bear box, or hang from a tree.

Being Bear Aware is the first and best way to avoid a dangerous encounter. Baloo, Winnie the Poo, Paddington, Fozzie, Boo Boo and Yogi are cartoons. Montana Grizzly and Black bears are dangerous wild animals that can kill a human with one paw. 

Montana Grant, aka Great Bear!