Bear necessities: What to do if you face a bear

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Stay calm. If you see a bear and it hasn’t seen you, leave the area calmly. Talk to the bear while moving away to help it discover your presence. Choose a route that will not intersect with the bear if it is moving.

Get back. If you have surprised a bear, slowly back away while talking softly. Face the bear, but avoid direct eye contact.

Do not turn and run; rapid movement may be perceived as danger to a bear that is already feeling threatened. Avoid blocking the bear’s only escape route and try to move away from any cubs you see or hear.

Do not attempt to climb a tree. A mother bear may falsely interpret this as an attempt to get at her cubs, even though the cubs may be in a different tree.

Pay attention. If a bear is displaying signs of nervousness with your presence, such as pacing, swinging its head, or popping its jaws, leave the area. Some bears may bluff charge to within a few feet. If this occurs, stand your ground, wave your arms wildly, and shout at the bear. Turning and running could elicit a chase and you cannot outrun a bear.

Fight back. If a bear attacks, fight back as you continue to leave the area. Bears have been driven away with rocks, sticks, binoculars, car keys, or even bare hands.

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