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What to Do if You Meet a Bear

arrow Also see "Bears and You" for more detailed discussion of safety in bear country from Alaska division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation

From Colorado Division of Wildlife

There are no definite rules about what to do if you meet a bear. In almost all cases, the bear attacks are rare compared to the number of close encounters. However, if you do meet a bear before it has had time to leave an area, here are some suggestions. Remember: every situation is different with respect to the bear, the terrain, the people and their activity.

• Stay calm. If you see a bear and it hasn't seen you, calmly leave the area. As you move away, talk aloud to let the bear discover your presence.

• Stop. Back away slowly while facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact, as bears may perceive this as a threat. Give the bear plenty of room to escape. Wild bears rarely attack people unless they feel threatened or provoked.

• If on a trail, step off the trail on the downhill side and slowly leave the area. Don't run or make any sudden movements. Running is likely to prompt the bear to give chase and you can't outrun a bear.

• Coming between a female and her cubs can be dangerous. If a cub is nearby, try to move away from it. Be alert&emdash;-other cubs may be in the area.

• Speak softly. This may reassure the bear that no harm is meant to it. Try not to show fear.

• Bears use all their senses to try to identify what you are. Their eyesight is good and their sense of smell is acute. If a bear stands upright or moves closer, it may be trying to detect smells in the air. This isn't a sign of aggression. Once it identifies you, it may leave the area or try to intimidate you by charging to within a few feet before it withdraws.

• Fight back if a black bear attacks you. Bears have been driven away when people have fought back with rocks, sticks, binoculars and even their bare hands.

Jogger Survives Collision with Deer

From The Washington Times, July 14, 1999

A Monrovia, Maryland, woman was shaken but not hurt after running into a deer -- on foot. Darlene Overholtzer was taking her nightly run at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday when the deer darted into her path, knocked her down, then bounded into the darkness.

"There was deer hair all over the place," said the 40-year-old aerobics instructor. Miss Overholtzer, who stands 5-foot-3 and weighs a little over 100 pounds, said she wasn't hurt, just surprised.

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