Before spending time
in Yellowstone National Park,
Take the "Bear Aware Pledge" and learn
how to properly carry and use bear spray.
How to react to a suprise encounter with a bear.
If the bear clacks its teeth, sticks out its lips, huffs, woofs, or slaps the ground with its paws, it is warning you that you are too close and are making it nervous. Heed this warning and slowly back away.
Do not run, shout, or make sudden movements: you don't want to startle the bear. Running may trigger a chase response in the bear and you can't outrun a bear. Bears in Yellowstone chase down elk calves all the time. You do not want to look like a slow elk calf.
Often times, slowly putting distance between yourself and the bear will defuse the situation. Draw your bear spray from the holster, remove the safety tab, and prepare to use it if the bear charges.
Should you climb a tree? Climbing a tree to avoid an attack might be an option but is often impractical. Remember all black bears and most grizzly bears can climb trees (especially if there is something up the tree that the bear really wants). Running to a tree or frantically climbing a tree may provoke a nonaggressive bear to chase you.
People have been pulled from trees before they can get high enough to get away. Also, you have probably not climbed a tree since you were ten years old and it is harder than you remember. In most cases climbing a tree is a poor decision.
Credit: National Park Service
How to use bear spray? View this safey video.
Learn what to do in the event of a bear attack here.
To learn more about bears and bear safety, visit YNP's Bear Safety Page.