I have had my share of bear encounters in the wild. Especially this time of year. The bears are waking up, they're groggy and they aren't really thinking all that well. Much like I am every morning before coffee. With one of the highest grizzly populations in the country, it is smart to know how to defend yourself in case you ever run into one.

According to the National Park Service, if you encounter a bear, you should

  • Identify Yourself: Make noise and let the bear know you are not a prey animal. Calmly yell and wave your arms to let the bear know you are human.
  •  Stay Calm: Don't freak out and panic. Some bears can sense weakness and the anxiety alone can encourage an attack. Don't scream or run.
  • Pick up Small Children
  • Travel in Groups: Safety in numbers
  • Make yourself look as large as possible: Spread your arms or move to higher ground
  • Don't leave food unattended
  • Don't drop your pack
  • Move slowly and sideways: Sideways movement is not threatening and allows you to keep your eyes on the bear.
  • Be cautious of female bears with cubs: The "momma bear" instinct is not something you want to mess with.

Check out video footage of a hiker who recently encountered a Alaskan Brown Bear and handled it like a pro.

WARNING: Language