How To Survive An Animal Attack
What is the difference between black bear and grizzly bear poop? Black bear poop has fur and berries in it. Grizzly bear poop has bear whistles and cans of mace in it.
In an ideal situation a person would have a firearm with them in the event that they come into contact with an aggressive wild animal. As with most people, I don’t always have a firearm with me. However, we all have one important tool, and that is our ability to reason. Below are a list of dangerous animals that you are most likely to come into contact with and how to best survive such an encounter.
Fight or flight: When attacked by an aggressive animal there is a good chance that you will experience a phenomenon known as “fight or flight.” You will experience tunnel vision. Your heart rate will skyrocket and adrenaline will immediately start pumping though you. It will hit you like a ton of bricks. The downside is that this will negatively affect your ability to think clearly and critically. As such, it’s important to have a plan before you ever get into this situation.
Fight or flight is pretty self explanatory. When your instincts kick in, they will either tell you to fight or to run. The problem with running is that you definitely can’t outrun most animals and even the best professional fighters will get their ass kicked by a bear. However, as with humans, animals have the ability to think. Surviving an attack is in many cases just as much about outthinking them than it is about fighting them.
There is a myriad of reasons why an animal will attack you. Generally speaking they either are trying to protect something, or they think you’re prey. If the animal is protecting it’s young, your best option is to diffuse the situation by calmly and slowly stepping away. Preferably you want to step away uphill to make yourself appear larger. As every armchair general knows, whoever has the high ground has the advantage.
If the animal thinks you are prey, the last thing you want to do is to act like prey. This means that you don’t want to run. No matter how fast you are you can’t outrun most predators. Running will only reinforce their belief that you are prey. It is advisable, however, that you try to separate yourself from the situation. As previously stated, this generally entails slowly stepping back, preferably uphill, while making yourself appear as large as possible.
I have read many articles on how to survive an animal attack. They all seem to avoid stating the obvious which is to find a weapon. Whether the weapon is a knife, a rock, or a large stick, having something other than a prayer to defend yourself is obviously a good idea.
Ability to reason: Having grown up near a national forest I have heard a great deal of stories about people surviving attacks by wild Animals. In none of these stories did the survivor overcome their circumstances due to brute force, rather they lived through their ordeal by using teamwork and communication as well as reason.
My boss was out fishing on a river bank when he was suddenly charged by a black bear. Although black bears are smaller than grizzly bears, they can still be quit deadly and a formidable opponent. All scholarly advice states that you should never run when being attacked. However, my boss thought quickly, dropped his gear and dove into the river. His thinking being that he might not be able to fight a bear, or outrun a bear, but he most certainly could outswim a bear.
I once saw this same trick being employed by a deer. I am not sure what was chasing the dear. All I heard was a loud crashing sound as several animals ran through the woods on the other side of the river. The opposite side of the river was bordered by a 30 foot cliff. All of a sudden I saw a young deer jump off the cliff into the river and start swimming to the other side. To this day I don’t know what was chasing it, but it’s decision to jump into the river undoubtedly saved it’s life.
Animals also have the ability to reason and many times their decision to attack is a calculated risk. An animal knows that it will have to expend energy to attack you. As such, predatory animals calculate how much energy they expend verses how much energy they can get from their prey. This is why animals prefer to attack wounded or young animals that take less energy to chase down and kill along with a lower risk of being harmed in the process. If an animal doesn’t think you are worth the risk/effort they will retreat.
Animal behavior: As previously stated, wild animals generally attack either because they think you are prey, or because they are trying to protect their young. However, every animal has different behaviors when it comes to attacking people. Below is a list of dangerous animals and their behavior.
Cougar: Cougars are incredibly opportunistic. They generally stalk their prey, reading it’s movements and assessing it’s vulnerability. Because of this they tend to attack people who appear weak. Standing tall and getting to an elevated position (uphill or on top of a log) are your best bet.
Wolves: As with cougars, wolves are opportunistic. Like cougars, wolves will stalk their prey. However, unlike cougars they are generally easy to spot and will visibly follow their prey for some time before attacking and so you will have some time to get to safety. Unlike cougars and bears, they can’t climb trees.
Grizzly Bears: Grizzly bears generally attack when they feel that their young are threatened. You obviously never want to come near young bear cubs, since their mothers are extremely protective and generally aren’t far off. Grizzlies are known to primarily eat berries, salmon, and grubs they find from turned over rocks and logs. However, they will look for alternative food sources (you) during the late fall when they are getting ready to hibernate and don’t have enough fat reserves to last the winter.
Black Bear: Black bears are significantly smaller than Grizzly bears. However, they can be aggressive and actively hunt wild game such as deer. They can out run you and out climb you. If attacked your best bet is to stand your ground, try to make yourself seem as large as possible and get ready for a fight (go for the eyes and find a weapon). I have had several friends who were “charged” by a black bear. They stood their ground and the bear backed off.