Menu Search

in: Featured, Manly Skills, Survival

January 30, 2008 Last updated: January 6, 2020

How to Survive a Bear Attack


Roaring Grizzly Bear

According to Stephen Colbert, bears are the number one threat to America today. Sure, bears look cute when they’re rummaging through a garbage can looking for food, but don’t let their cuteness lull you into carnal security. Bears are “godless killing machines.”

While bear attacks are rare, a man should always be prepared for a bear attack. You never know when you’ll need this information.

How you handle a bear attack depends on the type of bear you encounter- grizzly or black bear. So the first step in surviving a bear attack is to know what kind you’re up against.

Grizzly Bear Dossier

Grizzly Bear

Color: Medium to dark brown
Body Shape: The Grizzly bears has distinct shoulder hump. This is a muscle used for digging roots and slashing prey with their massive bear paw.
Height: The grizzly bear average around 6.5 ft in height
Claws: Grizzly claws are long. They can usually be seen from a distance
Location: Grizzlies are mostly found in Canada. However, populations exist from Alaska and into portions of the northwest United States including Washington, Idaho, the Dakotas, and Montana.

How to Survive A Grizzly Attack

1. Carry bear pepper spray. Experts recommend that hikers in bear country carry with them bear pepper spray. UDAP bear pepper spray is a highly concentrated capsaicin spray that creates a large cloud. This stuff will usually stop a bear in it’s tracks.
2. Don’t run. When you run, the bear thinks you’re prey and will continue chasing you, so stand your ground. And don’t think you can out run a bear. Bears are fast. They can reach speeds of 30 mph. Unless you’re an Olympic sprinter, don’t bother running.
3. Drop to the ground in the fetal position and cover the back of your neck with your hands. If you don’t have pepper spray or the bear continues to charge even after the spray, this is your next best defense. Hit the ground immediately and curl into the fetal position.
4. Play dead. Grizzlies will stop attacking when they feel there’s no longer a threat. If they think you’re dead, they won’t think you’re threatening. Once the bear is done tossing you around and leaves, continue to play dead. Grizzlies are known for waiting around to see if their victim will get back up.

Black Bear Dossier

Standing Black BearColor: Black bears exhibit a variety of colors ranging from black to light blond.
Body shape: Black bears don’t have the hump that Grizzlies have
Height: Black bears are slightly smaller than Grizzlies
Claws: Black bear claws are shorter than Grizzly claws.
Location: Black bears are the most common bear in North America. They live in all the provinces of Canada and 41 and of the 50 American states.

How to Survive a Black Bear Attack

1. Carry bear pepper spray. As with the grizzly bear, bear pepper spray should be your first line of defense in a bear attack.
2. Stand your ground and make lots of noise. Black bears often bluff when attacking. If you show them you mean business, they may just lose interest.
3. Don’t climb a tree. Black bears are excellent climbers. Climbing up a tree won’t help you out here.
4. Fight back. If the black bear actually attacks, fight back. Use anything and everything as a weapon- rocks, sticks, fists, and your teeth. Aim your blows on the bears face- particularly the eyes and snout. When a black bear sees that their victim is willing to fight to the death, they’ll usually just give up.


The Art of Manliness does not encourage people to go out and find a bear to practice these skills with. Practicing on your significant other will not do either.

Related Articles



Small Animal Planet

National Parks Service

Related Articles

Tags: , , , , ,