Tips to keep you safe if you come face to face with a bear

Take some bear safety tips from the team at Auburn University's Bear Project

Different types of bears have been known to roam the southern states from time to time. We’ve got a few tips to help you avoid having an unsuccessful encounter with a bear.

The bear population is growing in the Southeast. As we get into the summer months, it’s important to learn a few lessons about what to do if you encounter a bear. John Draper with Auburn University’s Bear Project is here to show you a few tips and tricks about bear safety.

Let’s say you come across a bear while hiking or on a trail somewhere and it’s off in the distance. If the bear doesn’t notice you, the best thing you can do is slowly back away. That way, everyone’s happy: the bear didn’t notice you and will leave you alone.

Now, if you come up and the bear notices you, don’t worry. It’s not a big deal. The best thing you can do is treat it with respect. Remember that it’s an animal, and it just wants to go about its business, just like you do. Try to make yourself look a little bigger. You aren’t trying to intimidate the bear—the bear will most likely be bigger and stronger than you. But you want to make yourself look scarier than you are, so that the bear recognizes the challenge and will back off. Also try talking to it—say things like “Hey, bear!” so that it realizes you are a person and not food. Slowly back away while you’re doing this.

If you’re going to go out on the trails anywhere in the Southeast, make sure you’re informed on bear safety. The last thing you want on your hiking trip is for something to go wrong. Remember what to do when you see a bear. That way, you can have a fun adventure, and the bears can continue to live their peaceful lives. Happy summer!