Get You Killed The Quicker

Bear AttackYears ago one of my sons was an editor with a well known hunting magazine from whose library he borrowed a book about bear attacks. I don’t remember the name of the book, or the name of the author only that is was published subsequent to 1978 because there was an account in it (the first I had ever read) of the horrific incident in which three young brothers were one by one hunted down and killed in Algonquin Provincial Park in central Ontario by a Black Bear.

The photo above is of a black bear in New Jersey taken by A Rutgers student who was killed by it moments later.

As far as I can recall the author had no formal training in zoology or statistics. Instead he was a sometime bear hunter who took exception to the expert’s advice in how to react to a bear attack and having retired took off in his pick-up truck to visit the site of every recent bear attack in North America, interview the survivors and witnesses and attempt to reconstruct each event while walking the ground.  A fascinating read.

I took a number of lessons away but one that really stood out was the author’s conclusion that you always stand a greater chance of survival if you fight. Maybe not a great chance, or good, but a better one. Of course fighting off a grizzly was described by a survivor as like reaching under a car hood and trying to stop the motor by grabbing the fan, but still the numbers show that you  stand a bigger chance of living if you do.

Because if a bear decides to press the attack any of the clever stratagems humans think up to avoid the fight are useless. Dropping your backpack so he can savage that instead of you,  making loud noises, laying down on the ground, ear spray and most pathetic of all trying to appear non-threatening will only get you killed the quicker.