Here in my area of Kentucky, we have a growing black bear population. This has led to an increase of sightings and run ins with bears. For many years now I have never carried a fire arm while out in the mountains but that recently changed for me.
Over the last month, I have been out 4-6 times a week looking for ginseng. I enjoy the outdoors and I like digging the sought after root and maybe I can make a few bucks at the end of the season. Well, about a week ago I was coming out of a place where I have been hunting ginseng and I passed another ATV going into the hollow. It is a guy I know and I later found out he had been hunting ginseng in this area as well. I later found out that while he was in there a bear charged him that same day. He was able to back up and fire off his pistol a few times to scare off the bear. He did report it and the Fish and Wildlife people came and set out a large trap for the bear but they never caught it.
On the day the bear charged the man, I had encounter what I thought was a bear but I never could see it. I'm still hunting ginseng in the very area but now I have decided to pack my pistol with me. I have no intentions of shooting a bear unless it is absolutely necessary but firing off a few shots in the air or in the ground might stop a possible attack.
With that said, I thought it might be a good idea to post about what to do to avoid a bear attack and what to do if a bear charges you.
Here we go, with some tips. Remember, each person should weight their situation and use their own judgements as to the appropriate actions to take.
* Hike or hunt in a group if possible. If you go alone, like me, don't be so stealthy. Make some noise or do some singing. I personally have started to sing softly to myself but yet loud enough to give a bear a warning that someone is coming. This will give the bear time to move on.
* If you see the bear at a good distance, back up slowly and/or find an alternative route.
* If a black bear charges you, stand your ground and make some noise. Waving your arms is normally a good thing to do. Do not run! A bear can run around 30 mph, you can't out run it. If the bear thinks you mean business, it may lose interest and move on.
* Carry Pepper spray. If a black bear charges you, pepper spray will normally make it change it's mind and move on. If you carry a firearm you can shoot it in the air or ground and the loud bang might get the bear to move on.
* If none of this works and the bear actually attacks you, then fight back. Use anything you can find, sticks, rocks or your own hands. Hit the bear on the snout and near the eyes. The bear may decide it is not worth it and give up. If you still can't discourage the bear and it gets you down, ball up and clasp your interlocked fingers over the back of your neck and pull your elbows in next to your face. If you have a backpack on it will help absorb some of the blows. Hopefully, the bear will give up and move on. If, the bear gives up and moves on, lay there for 20 minutes or more before getting up, as sometimes bears are slow to move on and will keep watching you.
Most bear attacks are defensive attacks, meaning the bear feels threatened by you, or is protecting cubs, or protecting a kill site or maybe you just startled it. In these cases you can normally back away slowly and talk softly to let it know you are not a threat. Once the bear sees you are not a threat, it will move on. A predatory attack is even more serious, although much more rare for black bears. In this type of attack a bear is stalking you and has intention of using you for food. Playing dead is not a good idea and you must fight for your life.
The main thing is to be alert and keep an eye out for black bears. Avoid them if at all possible. Let others know where you will be hiking or hunting at and your expected return time. A black bear standing on it's back legs, only stands about 5 foot tall or less. But don't let that fool you, black bears can be very dangerous.
Enjoy the woods and be safe!
This post by Thomas Marcum, Thomas is the founder/leader of the cryptozoology and paranormal research organization known as The Crypto Crew. Over 20 years experience with research and investigation of unexplained activity, working with video and websites. A trained wild land firefighter and a published photographer, and poet
(Partial source for this post - Art of Manliness.com)
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