[cdt-l] Bear Spray

Jonathan Ley jonathan at phlumf.com
Mon Apr 2 15:43:05 CDT 2007

That's simply not true. Bears (I'm talking mostly about grizzlies) attack
people for a variety of reasons, loosely grouped:

- Habituated bears who associate people with food
- Mothers defending young
- Surprised bears
- Bears who feel threatened by your presence
- Protecting a kill/carcass/food source
- Curious young bears testing the waters
- Desperate old starving bears

Each of these can lead to a quite different set of behavior by the bear, and
each requires a unique approach to improving your odds of getting out of the
situation safely. Some of these situations can indeed lead to feeding


-----Original Message-----
From: cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net [mailto:cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net]
On Behalf Of Ginny & Jim Owen
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 11:10 AM
To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
Subject: Re: [cdt-l] Bear Spray

>I know you're talking about "what one's brain will instinctively do", but I
>just wanted to note that playing possum isn't always the best defense
>against a bear attack. It often is, but it really depends on the situation.
>Sometimes, such an approach can lead the bear to feeding behavior.

Hmmm - you only "play possum"  as a LAST resort with a grizzly - NEVER do it

with a black bear.  That's where the feeding behavior comes in.

Situation in Denali a couple years ago - a European hiker forgot what he was

supposed to do and played possum as soon as the bear moved toward him.  Bear

got curious and "played" with him to see what he was.  Result: some minor 
scratches and a really scared hiker.

The perception that a bear is interested in you for "feeding" purposes is 
99.999% both false and over-hyped.  Bears just want to be left alone.   
Their business is feeding (but not on humans) and raising their young 
(without the interference of the PTA or the teachers union).

Walk softly,

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