Grizzly bear populations are expanding throughout the West. Black bears are showing up in towns and cities across the nation. While the survival success of these interesting creatures is typically a positive sign for the environment, more bears means more encounters with humans. While you won’t bump into a grizzly east of the Mississippi or in the Southwest, many sportsmen elsewhere are setting out for deer, elk, and other big game and coming across big ol’ grizzlies. And don’t discount black bears, either. While black bear attacks on humans are rare, when it does happen, the black bear is usually intent upon killing it’s prey. Make sure you’re not in the black bear’s sights.

This post from the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance speaks directly to the subject and is well worth the quick read:

Alaska Bear one 040News of bear attacks have been dominating headlines for the past few weeks, with seven attacks in a five day span across the US. With hunting seasons nearing, hunters will be entering the woods and risk the possibility of coming face to face with the bruins. Would you know what to do if a bear came across your hunting path?  Don’t mistake bears for the cuddly, stuffed animals your child may have named. In actuality, bears are large predators near the top of the food chain. The three different species of bears found across the U.S. can range anywhere from 125lbs to 1500lbs!

As fierce as they may seem, bears of the U.S. – the Black, Brown, and Polar bear – are not generally intent on attacking humans. They in fact are typically more scared of us and attacks are most generally known to happen when they are protecting their cubs or a food source from unexpected visitors.  So, how do you survive a bear attack?

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Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.