It’s always unpredictable when you’re in the wilderness. Make sure you are ready if dangerous animals attack you. Continue reading below on how to survive wild animal attacks!
Surviving Attacks from Dangerous Animals
As you prepare for your next hiking, fishing, or camping trip, don’t forget to research the types of animals that you may encounter in your local wilderness. Coming face-to-face with a bear, mountain lion, or coyote is scary enough, but even more distressing is if you are not at all prepared to face them.
Ideally, you will not come across any dangerous animals, and taking the proper precautions around your camp will help with that. But if you do cross paths with a predator, be ready to fight for your life. You will be up against some of the most powerful beasts on earth.
A good rule of thumb is to prepare for the worst – when packing, always include weaponry, whether it is pepper spray, a club, or a firearm.
So what can you do to survive an attack?
Prevent Attacks by Keeping a Clean Camp
If you are attacked by a wild animal, that means they found you and identified you as prey. Do your best to cover your tracks and keep from attracting them. Keep these rules at your campsite:
- Thoroughly clean up after cooking, including dishes and utensils.
- Store all food and cooking utensils in airtight containers, inside bear-proof containers, or suspend them from bear wire; keep them all away from the campsite. This includes pet food.
- Treat your garbage exactly the same way as your food and cooking tools; keep it properly stowed and away from your tent.
- Do not allow any food or any clothes that you cooked in, in your tent.
- Never feed any wildlife, even the “cute” ones like deer or rabbits. These are prey and can attract predators to your camp.
Even if you follow all of these protocols, it is still entirely possible that you will cross paths with a variety of fierce wildlife, so how should you handle each one?
Bears are found across much of the U.S. and are a formidable predator. Even smaller black bears will attack and eat you if they are hungry or threatened. All bears should be viewed as a threat.
Tips if a bear wanders into your camp:
- Do not move quickly or run, and do not approach the bear.
- Pick up children so they don’t look like prey.
- Wave your arms and make yourself look as big as possible.
- Make loud noises; bang things together if you can.
- Leave plenty of room for the bear to exit the camp so it doesn’t feel cornered.
Larger, more threatening bears like grizzlies and polar bears are more likely to attack you with the intent of eating you.
If you come across a grizzly bear:
- Back away slowly, speaking in a quiet voice. Show submission.
- Do not turn your back or run. Avoid eye contact.
- If the bear lowers its head and pins its ears back, be ready: it will likely charge at you.
- Play dead, lying face down on the ground and covering your head.
- If the attack continues, fight back with everything you’ve got. Focus your counterattack on the bear’s nose and eyes.
If a polar bear charges at you, make as much noise as you can. If they still approach, immediately prepare yourself to fight for your life.
Mountain lions can surprise you. They are quiet and may have been stalking you on your hike. Cougars won’t typically attack groups of people, so be especially alert if you are alone.
If you encounter a cougar:
- Stand still and tall. Do not turn your back, run, or crouch down.
- If the cougar approaches, yell, wave your arms, and even throw rocks.
- Do everything you can to stay on your feet if attacked. Try to gouge the cougar’s eyes out.
Wolf and Coyote Attacks
Wolves and coyotes travel in packs, so expect that if you see one, there are many hiding nearby. They will stalk you and surprise you. Your best defenses are:
- Don’t try to run because they will outrun you.
- Yell and make as much noise as you can.
- If they surround you, shoot to kill.
The great outdoors is full of great predators, and even other large animals that can be dangerous to humans if threatened. Moose, bison, deer, and elk can all attack humans and cause damage.
Always keep your distance, especially from mothers with their babies. Be smart when heading out, and make self-protection a priority when packing your gear.
Have you ever had an encounter with a dangerous animal in the wild? Share with us your experience in the comments section!