Last week’s grizzly attack on a shed hunter near Crandall reminds us how important it is to be prepared in bear country.
No matter how experienced you are in the backcountry, one mental lapse can be deadly.
Dusty Lasseter, Bear Wise coordinator for Wyoming Game and Fish, advises most bears will avoid an encounter with humans, but if one doesn’t, you need to determine if it is exhibiting aggressive-defensive or predatory behavior.
Tips for encountering aggressive-defensive behavior:
•Try to remain calm, slowly back out of the area, and have a defense ready.
•Never run away from the bear.
•Do not challenge the bear with any aggressive body language or direct eye contact.
•If the bear begins to approach, stand your ground and use bear spray if available.
•If a bear makes contact or is about to make contact, drop and cover by lying flat on your stomach, interlacing your fingers and placing them on the back of your neck. Do not fight back.
•Once the bear feels the threat is neutralized it will stop attacking.
If you come across a bear acting in a predatory manner:
•Do not back away from the bear but instead stand your ground.
•Act aggressively towards the bear.
•Make yourself look as big as possible by holding your arms out and using your coat and standing on a log or rock.
•Yell at the bear in a loud firm voice.
•Use branches and rocks to deter the bear.
•Use bear spray or a weapon to protect yourself.
Each situation is different and there’s no guarantee of safety, but you should always follow the guidelines and be prepared to protect yourself.