Seeing a bear roaming around your tent outside is without a doubt, one of the scariest experiences and makes some of the most terrifying stories of campers who have packed up for the weekend and headed to a nearby national park.
If this ever happens to you, you might think this is the end and the big black bear is going to be the final thing you see.
However, this is not the case, and if you are prepared, you should be able to keep calm and watch as the bear moves on.
This article tells you the six things you can do if you find a bear creeping up outside your tent one day, from making noise, doing nothing, using bear spray, or even pulling out a firearm.
We know if you make a note of these steps and deal with the bear passively before getting aggressive, bears should not be the scariest thing in the world. Keep reading to find out exactly what these steps are!
The Six Steps
You read that right, do nothing. This is the most passive and calmest method you can choose to take if you find a bear near your tent.
It is true that when bears are investigating, they are investigating your food over you and they hate the smell of human flesh.
If you are inside your tent, you can use it to shelter yourself and it’s unlikely the bear would tear down the walls to get inside and attack.
If a bear has ever approached you on a camping trip before and you’ve frozen and not moved a muscle out of fear, you did do the right thing, and the bear should have moved on swiftly.
On the other hand, if you have woken to bear footprints surrounding the tent, you know the method works and you had unintentionally kept quiet whilst sleeping.
Turn Up The Volume
If you find the previous method had not worked, and you were getting too stressed simply making no noise and waiting for the bear to go away on its own, you could do the exact opposite and turn up that volume.
Loud noises often scare and intimidate the animal and though they are much bigger and stronger than us, they are more scared of humans than we think.
If you opt for this method, you should be as loud as you can. Scream, use a whistler, hit your pots and pans with a nearby stick, collide any metals you can find, and hit the ground hard with your legs.
The louder you are, the more likely the bear will disappear.
Dig Up The Bear Spray
If you’ve tried to scare the bear with a loud noise, but it still refuses to leave, you could whip out that bear spray you packed in case of an emergency at the bottom of your bag.
This is often the case when bears are familiar with the campground and are used to humans. This means they won’t be scared as much by loud noise anymore.
However, when using bear spray, there are a few things you should note, as if you use it the wrong way, it would not be useful in the slightest and would only cause more trouble.
You should never use it inside the tent as it contains Capsaicin and this is an active component of chili peppers.
The substance can irritate your eyes so bad, that it would make it impossible to sleep in your tent for the rest of the week. When you do go for it, spray it at the bear in the open air.
You should always spray it upwind too as if it lands on your skin or eyes, this can be a recipe for disaster. You need to know the wind’s direction and use this to your advantage when aiming at the bear.
You also need to ensure you have a clear shot. Though this sounds obvious, it can be easy to miss the beast if there is a tree trunk in the way, or the bear is behind your tent.
If you try and just spray it as things are, the particles which irritate the bear would struggle to hit the bear in the face. If you miss, the bear will only get angrier.
Use Your Firearm
If you own a firearm, this could be your next step if things start to go wrong. When you shoot, you should try to shoot to scare it, instead of directly harm it.
To do this, raise your firearm and shoot a bullet toward the sky. We suggest the sky as if the bullet scratched the bear but you missed the central body or face, it would only get angrier and start to attack, instead of running away.
By aiming at the sky, you also minimize the risk of hitting someone standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
You can also shoot from inside your tent, yet this is extremely dangerous and you need to identify the creature first.
If you are not 100% the roaming noise is coming from a bear, make a small hole with a knife to get a better view.
This is only relevant if the bear begins to attack and you don’t have another form of protection.
The chances of this happening are slim and unless you have open food spread around your tent, they won’t have any interest in you.
If this does happen, you can try to fight it but only if you were still inside your tent to use the shelter advantage and kick the bear away with your legs.
You would not stand a chance if you were outside already. Whilst kicking, be as aggressive as possible and add some loud noises to try and scare it away.
If you’ve exhausted your available options and the bear refuses to leave, you should try to get away.
If you choose to run, you would need to run fast as the bear will inevitably chase you.
If you do begin running, aim for a water source as bears hate water. Animals also get scared by fire so if you are aware of a nearby campfire, head in that direction too.
If these options are not available, climb as high as you can in a tree or up a rock wall as bears do not climb.
Whether you are spending time outdoors or camping in the wild, it is very likely at some point, you might encounter a bear, especially if you are camping in North America.
However, the majority of times, meeting with a bear is not as dangerous as you might think, and if you stay still and quiet, using your tent as protection, there is a good chance they will leave the campsite on their own.
However, if things, unfortunately, start to escalate, don’t be afraid to try our other methods but remember to start passive before getting aggressive.
We hope this article has given you a little confidence around dealing with bears and reassured you that if you do encounter the beast, it’s not always the end of the road.