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Difference between Predatory and Defensive, how to protect yourself from a bear attack

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BOZEMAN -

The question people are always asking living in a state like Montana, how do you protect yourself from a bear attack? On Tuesday, we received photos from a brutal bear attack after a man out bow hunting stumbled upon a bear feeding on an elk carcass.

So how do you protect yourself? Well, you need to know the different types of confrontations, defensive and predatory.

Defensive encounters usually come from a sudden encounter with a bear at close range, at a food cache, or with young.  Defensive confrontations rarely lead to contact.

According to Western Wildlife Outreach, here is what you need to do in a defensive encounter

  1. If you suddenly surprise a bear, remain calm. Make sure you do not run and back away slowly. Do this if the bear is not approaching you.
  2. Make sure to speak in a calm voice so that the bear can identify you as a human. Do not yell or scream.
  3. Stand your ground- a bear might charge in an attempt to intimidate you, most of time stopping before contact. Stand your ground until the bear has broken off its charge and then move away slowly, diagonally from the point of confrontation.

If contact is made, drop to the ground immediately and play dead. Make sure to protect your back by keeping your pack on and roll onto your stomach. Put your hands behind your head and use your elbows and toes to avoid being rolled over.

Western Wildlife Research says that predatory attacks are extremely rare. A bear that continues to approach, follow, disappear or shows stalking behaviors may be considering you as prey.

In this case,

  1. Stand your ground- try to be intimidating and look as large as possible.
  2. Aggressive actions- yell, throw rocks and sticks, use your bear spray. Fight back if the bear attempts to make contact.
  3. Bear spray- you want to spray it preferably before the bear is within 25 feet. If the bear continues to follow, remove and put down your pack as a distraction.

Bears that attack you in your tent or confront you aggressively in your campsite should be considered a predatory threat. 

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