Have you encountered a bear in the wild? Stood there nearly frozen in disbelief as a 1200lb killing machine starred what seemed to be right through you.

This guide is going to help you prepare for such a moment if it were ever to occur, we hope it never does.

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Short answer: Slim to none.

Long answer: It depends.

Are you with other people?

Do you have bear spray or a bear gun?

Where are you located?

Do you have any supplies?

What kind of Bear is it?

Many of these factors will matter in terms of surviving a bear attack. But reading this guide will make you prepared to the fullest to have the highest chances of surviving a bear encounter

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First, it’s worth learning some basic information and facts about bears in general so you can get a paw on how they act and behave in general. And more importantly, why they behave the way they do.

Knowing this will allow you to adjust your behavior and how to respond to an encounter if you’re ever so unfortunate.

Do Bears Eat Humans

Yes, bears have eaten and do eat people.

However, what’s important to know is that they don’t go actively hunting for people. Nor do they necessarily want to eat you right away if they see you.

Bears are shy, believe it or not.

I remember a guy named Bruce. Bruce weighed 290lbs and was a powerlifter. Genetically gifted in muscular genetics you could say. Bruce was also shy and kept to himself. But he was defensive of his little brother. If you came between him and his little brother, Bruce would get your attention rather quickly… Bruce was similar to a bear.

If a cat sees a mouse, the cat wants that mouse for dinner right then and there. It’s not the same when a bear sees a person.

If a cat sees a mouse, the cat wants that mouse for dinner right then and there. It's not the same when a bear sees a person. Click to Tweet

Can Bears Be Friendly?

That would be fun.

Technically I suppose they can. But I wouldn’t risk it nor would I let someone I care about risk it either.

All those years growing up with teddy bears. The mainstream portrays bears in general as friendly fluffy creatures. This is the furthest from reality.

What Bear Is Responsible For The Most Human Deaths?

According to ADN, North American Black bears were responsible for the most fatal attacks in the last century. Also, the majority of those fatal attacks were carried out by the same black bear.

So if you’re still wondering…

Do Bears Attack People?

Yes, they can and they do. But it’s mostly if you threaten them. If they sense danger, if they sense you’re a threat, they will attack. Momma bears are extremely protective against their babies, if you threaten their babies, she will be the worst and likely the last date you’ll ever have.

What is the most dangerous job in the world?

Many people think working with wildlife bears is the most dangerous job in the world. This is false.

Bear Fatalities

Even though bears do attack people if they feel you’re digestible and are a threat. The amount of people that are killed by bears in North America is surprisingly low.

According to Bear.Org:

Black bears have killed 61 people across North America since 1900.

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This is another disadvantage we have against bears and just another reason why bears dominate.

Not only are they massive and earth-shakingly strong… they’re also fast as hell.

Brown Bear: Have been clocked at 40 MPH

Grizzly Bear: Up to 40 MPH. Faster than any human is capable of running. Also in any direction. Uphill downhill, doesn’t matter for the grizzly.

Black Bear: Capable of reaching speeds over 30 MPH.

Polar Bear: Up to 25 MPH.

Some people wonder if you Can You Outrun A Polar Or Black Bear.

Unless you can run at least 30 MPH for a sustainable period of time, you’re bear meat.

What’s The Fastest Bear?

The fastest kind of bear would be a black bear. Reaching speeds upwards to 40 MPH at full throttle.

This is another disadvantage we have against bears and just another reason why bears dominate.

Not only are they massive and earth-shakingly strong… they’re also fast as hell.

A black bear can charge forward, reaching speeds up to 40 MPH.

Do Bears Climb Faster Than They Run?

At first, you may think, “not a chance, the question doesn’t even make sense”. But then you actually SEE a bear climb a tree…

Click to Tweet

…it’s mind-blowing. Similar to seeing the speeds at which bears can run.

The answer is… No, a bear cannot climb a tree faster than they run. But they do shoot up trees faster than you or most creatures on the planet can.

Watch this video of a black bear skyrocketing up a tree multiple times to get away from a grizzly.

How Big Are Bears

Big… very big.

Most Black bears can grow up to around 550 lbs.

Polar bears grow up to to a whopping 1600 lbs

Most Grizzly bears can grow up to around 800 lbs. I say most because in general, that’s how large they tend to get. On the other hand. There was a grizzly bear recorded at 1500 lbs. So the exception can be much larger.

Male bears are usually about 30% larger than females.

Brown bears are the largest carnivores in North America.

Brown bears are the largest carnivores in North America. Click to Tweet

What is the most dangerous bear?

Grizzly and Polar bears are said to be the most dangerous. However, the numbers say otherwise.

There have been more American black bear attacks on people than grizzly and polar bear attacks.

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All bears can kill you.

All bears should be avoided at all costs.

But you should know what kind of bear you’re dealing with if you were to encounter one. They all have different methods of surviving a possible attack and avoiding an attack altogether.

There are three kinds of bears that we’ll focus on here. Since these three are the most common and the most likely you’ll see one in the wild sooner or later.

Generally, there are four different types of bears that you’re bound to encounter sooner or later. Preferably when you’re in a survival tank cruising right on past it at 70MPH.

  • Black
  • Polar
  • Grizzly/Kodiak
  • Brown

We’ll talk about all 4 types, starting with the black bear.

Black Bears

These bears are generally smaller than the other types of bears. But you’re more likely to encounter a black bear than a grizzly or brown bear.

How To Identify a Black Bear

how to survive a black bear attack

Black bears have darker fur than other bears.

As you’ll see below, brown bears can have dark fur too. But black bears do not have a hump on their shoulders.

How Dangerous Are Black Bears

Like the other bears, they are shy and black bears are more on the timid side.

But if they are threatened, they will defend.

Survive A Black Bear Encounter

Brown, Grizzly, and Kodiak Bears

how to identify a kodiak bear-min

Grizzlies are thought of to be the biggest baddest bears on earth.

Can Grizzly bears climb trees?

One of the myths about grizzly bears is that they can’t climb trees like black bears. This is not true.

They are larger and have long larger claws which makes it more difficult to climb trees. But they can still climb trees. So yes, even if you manage to climb up a tree, you’re still screwed.

If you encounter a black bear.

How To Identify A Grizzly Bear

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Brown bears, have either brown or darker fur. Their fur can get as dark as black bears so they can be mistaken for black bears if you’re not familiar with what differentiates them.

Brown bears have a “hump” like shape on their shoulders. Black bears do not.

The hump enables brown bears to dig much more efficiently and quicker.

Polar Bears

polar bear survival

Contrary to their overly friendly look and white shade of fur, polar bears are at the top of the list for most aggressive bears.

How To Identify A Polar Bear

how to survive a polar bear attack

This one is easy.

They’re white. White fur.

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In this section, we get into how to survive an attack from each kind of bear. For all of them, you want to understand what to look for in a bear that’s likely to attack. Which starts when you get a visual of the bear.

We’ll talk more about that in the next section of this guide. Let’s answer some common questions about bear attacks and then the specific how-to parts on each kind of bear.

Can You Fight A Bear?

Yes, when the bear is less than a month old. After that, run.

What To Do If You Run Into A Bear?

It depends on the type of bear.

But in general, here are some guidelines to follow.

If you see the bear before he sees you. Do not run. Which is a good solid rule in general with bears. Never run. It will make them feel like you’re fleeing. It draws attention to you. It’s just bad all around.

Slowly walk back. Slowly walk away. Keep going and don’t stop.

Should I Play Dead If A Bear Attacks?

It depends on the type of bear. But to give you the quick answer here.

  • Black: Yes.
  • Polar: Yes
  • Grizzly: Yes.

In any bear encounter, if they are about to be on top of you. Play dead, if you can.

How Do You Survive A Grizzly Bear Encounter

Okay, here’s what you do if you see a grizzly bear in the wild.

The most important thing to do is NOT panic. If you panic you won’t be able to think, you won’t be able to act, you won’t be able to do anything except your fate and, and do that

Like surviving anything, knowing what to do is crucial so you can prepare. Preparation breeds success.

Think of it as preparing for a Bearmageddon.

Will a Grizzly Bear Attack You And What Do You Do When A Grizzly Bear Attacks?

Bears attack you if they feel you’re a threat. If you go near a mother bears babies, you’re a threat to her and she will viciously defend her babies.

If you run away, you’re not prey that is fleeing. The bear may charge at that point.

If you’re cool calm and collected, it’s unlikely you’ll get attacked.

Do you play dead with a grizzly bear?

Yes. If the bear charges you and isn’t stopping after you’ve sprayed it or shot it. Play dead in the fetal position and don’t move. Easier said than done, absolutely.

But the bear will only continue to attack you if you pose a threat. If you don’t do anything, you’re not a threat.

This is not a guarantee that the bear will stop. But your best chances for survival are if you play dead. If you fight it, kicking and screaming, it’s a sure way to get mauled.

How Do You Scare A Bear Away?

Your best chances of survival and avoiding an all-out bear attack is to scare the bear away. Yes, scare the 900lb animal away from you.

Make yourself as large as possible. Yell at it. Anything you can.

The best option is to stand your ground and hold up your arms high and scream. Anything you can do to make yourself appear larger and taller.

This guy in this video does it perfectly. video

That’s likely to be the outcome if you follow these instructions. If you can control yourself and resist the urge to run.

If you have a firearm which I really hope you would, just in case. Fire a couple rounds into the air first before resulting to ANIMATED BEAR NAME the animal.

You scare them by doing what this guy did.

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WARNING: Shocking bear attack video

Go here to see the video on surviving a bear attack.

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Bear Spray

Always pack and carry with you bear spray. Always.

This bear spray is one of the highest quality sprays out there.

Bear Gun

You can also get a bear gun. There are downsides to carrying a bear gun and not carrying bear spray. See why below.

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This is one of the topics that has generated one or two heated debates over the years.

Here’s what I say.


We’re talking about an animal that can kill you in a matter of seconds…

…that you can’t escape from either unless you have a survival tank or bug out vehicle close by. VERY close by because odds are you won’t even be able to make it 10 feet before the 1100lb behemoth racing at 40 mph catches you.

With that being said. If you know you’re going to be in an environment where bears exist. Brong both bear spray and a bear gun. If you can

But what if you had to chose one? Yes, that would be the next question, wouldn’t it?

Here’s the deal.

They both have pros and cons.

Bear spray has been proven to be effective multiple times. So we know that it works. But it’s also not a guarantee. Some conditions have to apply.

The weather is a factor in whether or not it has the best chance to get the bear to back down. If mother nature isn’t on your side at the time you need, instead of the bear getting a face full of agonizing spray. The spray could be blown right back into your face. Which could make you completely defenseless.

Also, with bear spray. You don’t have to practice every day shooting targets to improve your precision. It doesn’t require practice.

The bear gun does.

Go here for more information on the pros and cons of bear spray vs bear gun.

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The non-serious answer but still good advice is, don’t go anywhere near where there are bears in the wild.

Well, that makes sense, but that’s not what this guide is for.

You’re a hunter, a camper, a survivalist. You go where bears are roaming the hills and getting fish from the rivers. It’s very possible that you may one day come face to face with one.

To avoid a bear encounter, there are a few things you can do to decrease your odds of an attack, but not many.

RELATED: Also, go here to see the rules for avoiding wildlife encounters.


Be aware of the distance between you and the bear. You want to be fully aware of how far the bear is from you. They can close the distance between you and him blazingly quickly. A couple seconds of distraction and the bear could have closed the distance by half.

Block The Path

If the bear is closing distance, use anything you have to block the path between you and him. Whether it’s your bag, pack, logs if you can find any or any other materials.

Get Your Weapon Out

If you can tell that you’re at 50-70 yards, it’s time to take out your weapon. Whether it’s spray, firearm, or a whiffle ball bat. Whatever you have, it’s time to take it out.

If you have spray or a firearm. At 50-70 yards, let off a warning shot. If the bear proceeds to come toward you, let off another warning shot.

If the bear charges you. Empty everything you have at it.

General Guidelines

Universally, here’s what you want to do in addition to the above things we just talked about.

  • Don’t look it in the eye, it provokes them.
  • Talk to it but in a low tone. What do you say? Doesn’t matter much, just low tone.
  • Don’t make sudden movements. Step back slowly.


Here’s the bottom line. A bear encounter is your worst nightmare in physical form. Avoid at all costs, unless your bowhunting bears.

At the very least, get some bear spray and remember to pack it if you’re going hunting, camping, or anywhere near the possibility of a bear encounter. Don’t take any chances.

Have you ever encountered a bear in the wild? Let us know below in the comments.

Up Next: 7 Essential Survival Knife Skills You Need To Know

Ultimate Bear Survival Guide: How To Survive A Bear Attack
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