How to increase your chances of surviving a bear attack

by | Nov 04, 2014

I am constantly surprised by the number of quirky secrets and untold histories that live within hotels across the UK. Recently I stumbled across a tale at BEST WESTERN PREMIER Moor Hall Hotel and Spa, Sutton Coldfield. Within the gardens of the impressive property lies what is believed to be a bear pit dating back to Henry VIII. This got me thinking. With many Brits planning their summer holidays to North America, Canada and other bear countries, I thought it would be good to write something practical relating to the unpleasant scenario of coming face to face with a bear.

Now, before we dive into this, please understand these are just practical tips that have been gathered from a variety of sources who have delved into the world of the bears. There is no definitive list that guarantees humans any protection from bears. If a list did exist, it would probably read like this: Stay away from bears. But if you can’t stay away, these tips may be able to help…

Know thy Bear

Identify the bear as quick as you can. Knowing your bear could give you an idea of what might happen next.

  • A black bear defending itself will try to swipe and bite at you, but not kill.
  • A hungry black bear turning up may mean that it’s stalked you. This is not good news. You’ll know it’s hungry when it tries to bite your neck and the top of your head. It will also come in for a big hug, but not a friendly one. This is not Baloo from the Jungle Book
  • A brown/grizzly bear defending itself could flee or might test you with a charge. If its ears are really sloping backwards, it’s not messing around.
  • A hungry brown/grizzly bear might very well be swinging its head from side to side whilst remaining on all four legs. The mouth will be open. That’s where it wants you.
  • A Polar bear is near you? Assume an imminent attack.


  • Stay in large groups.
  • Never cook in your tent or leave anything highly aromatic hanging around.
  • Do not take your perfumes, after-shave or body lotions with you. Bears will come and check you out.
  • Do not feed the bears.
  • If you see bears watching a campsite, report it to the authorities.
  • Don’t venture out at night.
  • Try to make lots of noise when in bear country. They don’t like surprises.
  • Keep your dog on a lead. They might want to have a bit of a scrap with a bear. This won’t end well.
  • Pepper spray should only be used on the bear itself in an event of an attack. If you cover your tent with it, the bear will come and have a sniff.
  • Make yourself look strong whilst yelling if you’re faced with a bear.

Anyway… if you want to get the sensation of a bear pit without actually facing a bear, maybe head to BEST WESTERN PREMIER Moor Hall Hotel and Spa. You won’t need pepper spray. Hopefully.

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