It seems as if everybody is trying to go viral on Facebook and the US National Parks Service (NPS) found just the way to do it. They want to help people be safe during a bear attack, so they gave the funny side of the story.
One of the first things that you will likely be tempted to do if you see a bear up close and personal is to run away. Then again, soiling yourself or crying like a baby is not out of the question. As it turns out, the National Parks Service would like you to know that all of those are going to get you in more trouble. There is actually an often overlooked option: outrunning a friend (or perhaps tripping them) to get away.
The NPS had this to say in the viral post:
“Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself.
If you come upon a stationary bear, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Like dogs, they will chase ﬂeeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees.”
“Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course),” it adds.
“Most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all?” the service wrote.
Although it is good, albeit unusual advice, they do tell you something that is very important to know. They advise you that you should make as much noise as possible and try and appear as if you are bigger than they are. Bears may come closer to look at you and get up on their hind legs to smell what is going on. This is typically an act of curiosity and not as threatening as it may seem.
The warnings on the NPS website include the fact that bears are unpredictable and there is nothing that will guarantee your safety. If you are being attacked by a brown or grizzly bear and the advice above doesn’t work, lie on your front with your hands behind your neck and play dead. Spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to flip you over. It might be difficult to stay in that position but the hope is that the bear will leave you alone. After it moves away, you can leave the area. If the attack continues, hit the bear in the face as hard as you can.
If you are dealing with a black bear, don’t play dead. Try to get away to a building or car. If the bear attacks you without you being able to get away, fight back and try to hit the bear as hard as you can in the face and muzzle.
Of course, the best thing for you to do is to avoid encountering a bear in the first place.
The National Park Service does say that it isn’t a good option to bring a human shield with you. They conclude: “P.S. We apologize to any ‘friends’ who were brought on a hike as the ‘bait’ or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed.”
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