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So You're About to Be Attacked by a Bear

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There has been a lot of information swirling about lately about how to "survive a bear attack," most of which could get you killed or even worse. So-- without further adieu or any other French stuff -- here is my entirely smart advice on the subject.

Of the many land-based animal attacks you are likely to encounter over the the next year, a bear attack -- with the possible exception of a lion, gorilla, tiger, komodo dragon, elephant, and/or puma attack -- is by far the worst. Not only are bears extremely powerful and brutal beasts when they want to be (like when they are attacking someone, for example), but they are also historically -- and by all accounts -- total dicks, which is what ultimately gives them the edge over a lot of the other animals out there capable of handing out a beatdown that -- assuming you survive -- you are not likely to forget any time soon.

It is at this point that you are probably wondering exactly where you are most likely to be attacked by a bear. The answer here is simple: pretty much anywhere. In addition to being major a-holes, bears are crafty and -- knowing that you will probably only expect to encounter them in woodland areas, nightclubs, and/or above-ground swimming pools -- make it their business to pop up wherever and whenever you least expect them to. Teambuilding seminars, craft fairs, Benihana -- these are just a few of the many places that bears of all varieties (grizzly, polar, some of the other ones) are waiting to hand you your ass without even really having to think about it. To try to avoid them is futile and to walk around acting like you are unlikely to be attacked by a bear in the very near future is pretty much the craziest thing I have heard in a seriously long time. In light of this bear attack unavoidability (BAU), it is especially important to know exactly what to do and not do when this situation inevitably occurs.

So, you are going to be attacked by a bear. What do you do? I'm so glad you asked. Well, for starters, scream. A lot. Scream, scream, and then scream some more. Of course, lesser bear attack guides (LBAGs) will invariably suggest that you try to remain calm and quiet (good luck) when encountering a bear under any circumstances, even if it is in a social setting, and not scream at all. This, however, will only anger the bear as bears of almost every variety are imposing yet sensitive and insecure figures who tend to demand some acknowledgment and appreciation of their size at all times. To not scream would simply insult them. You might as well tell the bear in question to go fuck himself (NOTE: You may also be attacked by a she-bear, though probably not at the same time. Statistics indicate that -- following a male bear attack -- you are unlikely to be attacked by a she-bear for at least another four to six hours. Even so, expect it. The temptation, of course, will be to act like the she-bear attack is highly unlikely and not something to be too concerned about, which -- take my word on it -- will only make it seem all that much more worse when it actually happens). In fact, it would be preferable to tell the bear to go fuck himself rather than simply remain silent, something the bear will undoubtedly interpret as a sign of complete and utter disrespect. Then again -- why are you swearing at bears? Most of them don't even understand English that much. Pull yourself together. Generally speaking, however, what you should really do is scream like your life depends on it (and it does) as soon as you encounter the bear and -- if possible -- move on to complimenting the bear about his fur, his teeth, or how nice his nails look with your blood all over them (though obviously this is a compliment to save for later during your encounter. If you say this pre-maiming, it will seem forced).

Of course, all that screaming will also further anger the bear, most likely causing him to rise up on his hind legs and make terrifying bear-like noises, not unlike in the hit movie The Bear, an unusual and compelling tale of animals in the wild, which tells its tale from the bears' point of view*. At this point, your instinct will likely kick into high gear and tell you to either run or mention to the bear how much he is reminding you of that movie right now. However, it is important that you do neither. Instead, you should use the element of surprise on the bear, an animal that is totally used to seeing both humans and animals of every sort running in the other direction at the mere sight of it. Lesser bear attack guides (LBAGs. Why do I have to keep reminding you of this?), of course, would encourage you to simply stand still and maybe even spread out your arms or legs so as to give the appearance that you are either a very human-looking tree or perhaps a human who is slightly larger than you actually are. The thinking here -- wrong as it is -- is that the bear will get scared, confused, or possibly even bored and walk away from you to get on with his day (Yeah, like he's really got all that much going on. Come on -- he's bear. Let's get real here). The reality, however, is that the bear will most likely take brief appreciation of the fact that you have taken the time to clearly display what will ultimately be his dinner and quickly set to handing out his own swift brand of justice on your ass, which is to say kill you. It's kind of like those Chinese restaurants that have the ducks hanging in the window. You walk by, see the duck hanging there, and think "Hey, you know what I wouldn't mind having right now? Some crispy and delicious duck. I guess I will just walk into this Chinese restaurant right now and have some. After all, they've got it. I can see it right there in the window." That's what you've pretty much done for the bear by standing there with your arms and legs all spread out like a jackass. What were you thinking? Honestly, sometimes I'm surprised they even let you out of the house. Just kidding, hang in there -- you've got not being killed by a bear to focus on right now.

Okay, so now what? You are screaming for your life, you are not running away, nor are you standing still with your arms out like some jackass with moments to live. It is at this point that you must rely upon on the element of surprise, mentioned earlier. You must ask yourself "What is the bear least expecting from me, a guy who, statistically speaking, is about to get his ass handed to him by a bear?" And the answer to that question is to run directly at him, screaming at the top of your lungs and flailing your arms and legs around as if to suggest that you have just been set on fire (even though you have not been. Ha! That would be the last thing you need right now!). Trust me on this one, the bear will never see this coming and, as a result, will quickly be thrown into what is known in bear attack expert circles as a state of "holy-f@#king-sh*tness," a brief condition of bear-based disbelief at the fact that you are attacking them that is in most cases followed by the bear biting and clawing you to death with little to no real effort. It is this last part that you want to avoid letting happen. Avoid it like your life depends on it because -- again -- it totally does.

So, you are attacking a live bear. What's next? Given that the average bear is much larger and stronger than you or anyone you have ever met before, even in prison, you've got your work cut out for you to say the least. Nine times out of ten, attacking a live bear will only anger him further, causing him to systematically tear you limb from limb, leaving you and your remains unrecognizable even to people who have known you for a seriously long time (especially kids you knew from back in grade school who are now all grown up and have most likely moved on to other things). This is something you should also avoid at all costs. The key to this is to attack the bear like you mean it and hopefully stun him just long enough to plot your next move. Your next move of course should be to take a step or two away from the bear and say to him in the highest --pitched voice you can muster "I bet I know someone who likes delicious sandwiches!" over and over and over again.

As with most mammals, the mere mention of delicious sandwiches will cause a bear to get extremely excited at the prospect of enjoying a delicious sandwich, which is perfectly reasonable. And it is especially crucial that you have at least one or ideally several delicious sandwiches to offer him at this point. Aside from all the screaming and attacking him, there is almost nothing that will anger the bear more than mentioning delicious sandwiches to him and then not immediately offering him one. In short, it's a dick move. It's like when you walk into your buddy's house and he offers you a beer and you say "Sure!" and then he's all like "Oh, you know what? It turns out I forgot to pick up some at the store." Total letdown. Now imagine you are an irritable animal for whom tearing someone limb from limb would, if nothing else, at least offer up a bit of variety to an otherwise monotonous existence. What would you do to your no-beer-having friend then? You'd rip his flesh apart -- that's what. And who could blame you? Now you know how that bear feels.

I guess my point with all of this is that -- when in doubt -- it's best to pack a few sandwiches and carry them with you at all times. You get hungry, you have a sandwich. Someone else gets hungry, you give them a sandwich. And, perhaps most importantly as far as not ending up dead goes, you get attacked by a bear, you're able to easily fend him off by offering him a sandwich. Unless of course he's not hungry for sandwiches at the time of the attack, in which case, well, I'm not really sure what to tell you.

Dave Hill

*I read this on the Internet. Wow -- what an incredible resource.