Bear Attacks-How To Defend Against Them

When we hear about bear attacks, we think of the backcountry in mountainous regions of the United States. I wouldn’t think of seeing an article about black bear attacks in Florida, especially in a populated area of a suburb of Orlando. That is where a 44-year-old woman was attacked and mauled recently in her garage by a black bear.

She noticed the bears in the area while sitting on her back porch. When she went to check on her kids who were out riding bikes, one of the bears came charging at her. She barely had time to react before the bear opened its jaw and clamped down onto the victim’s head.

Normally at this time of year, in the springtime, we start talking about bears coming out of hibernation in search of food. Wouldn’t you be hungry after sleeping for close to six months? But to see an article about a bear attack along the eastern coast of Florida surprised us.

With the black bear population in Florida expanding and growing—after the animals nearly disappeared in the 1970s—people are encountering them more and more, with bloody results.

Wildlife officials in Florida say that in the last two years more than 4000 bear related calls have been made-not just because of the expanding bear population but because housing developments are encroaching on the lands that bears use. This creates more interaction between bears and humans which can be an explosive situation. Wildlife officials gave some tips on what to do if you encounter a bear anywhere in the United States.

  1. The first thing that they suggest is that you learn the difference between a black bear and the brown bear. In the eastern part of the United States you only come in contact with black bears. If you’re out West, brown bears or grizzlies are more likely. What can be confusing is that a black bear out West can be brown or cinnamon in color.
  2. Most experts tell you that if you curl up in a ball and pretend you’re dead; that is a great survival technique. That is only true if you’re dealing with a brown bear whose attack was as a defense to protect food or its cubs. Black bears are more likely to be offensive in nature and will not give up if you’re rolled up in a ball.
  3. One common defense that seems to be universal is if a bear approaches, clap your hands yell or even throw things at the bear. Make yourself appear as big as you possibly can and stand as tall as you can. If you’re wearing a coat spread your arms out and make yourself appear bigger. Never climb a tree or try to out run a bear.
  4. Of course the best idea is to avoid bears in the first place. But if you do encounter one in the backcountry or anywhere for that matter, drop any food that you have which may offer a great diversion for the bear.
  5. Especially if you live in the backcountry or any part of the country where bear or other wildlife attacks may occur, always carry a bear spray with you and know how to use it properly. In study after study bear spray has been shown to be more effective against bears than a handgun.

Get a bear spray with the longest range possible. This Frontiersman Brand Spray has a range of 35 feet.

A full canister of Mace Bear Spray empties in less than six seconds and has a range of 35 feet.