Illustration by Ted Slampyak
How to identify a grizzly (brown) bear
1. Always carry bear spray.
2. If you suspect bears in the area, make noise. Sting, talk to yourself, etc.
3. Never leave food on trail. Always pick up all trash, even organic.
Encountering a grizzly
Walk away slowly. Don’t run. Retrieve bear spray. Be prepared to spray bear; ideally at a distance of around 25 feet. Be as non-threating as possible; make yourself smaller, avoid eye contact, etc.
Don’t run. Lie on ground and play dead; protect head and stomach. Wait 10-20 minutes after bear leaves to get up.
How to identify a black bear
Follow the same steps as above. An additional precaution is to add bells to your pack.
Encountering a black bear
Don’t run; stand your ground and make yourself look as big as possible. Shout, wave your arms, create a commotion. Never try to climb a tree.
If charged, fight back. Aim especially for the nose or other sensitive area. Use rocks/sticks if available. Let the bear be the first to run.
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