In the warm and fuzzy world of some folks, wild animals all have big moist brown eyes, cute noses, and a cuddly personality. But that don’t exactly square with reality.Take, for example, the incident involving Mark Reynolds.A 35-year-old guy who went out for a mountain bike ride in California in January 2004. Was later found dead and partly eaten by a cougar (mountain lion).Nothing warm and fuzzy about it.So take some combat tips course or guide before getting into wildlife.
I could go on and on. The list is really pretty long. And that’s just cougars. What about bears, or wolf, or snake, or loin, or …? Let’s pause momentarily for a dose of wildlife reality. There are lots of wild animals that will attack a human, sometimes with fatal results. It does no good to play the denial game. The only good thing we can do is learn the truth and then figure out what to do if we are ever in a violent confrontation with a wild animal.
When you’re being attacked by a deadly animal? There’s not much time, so, here are your essential combat tips in lightning-fast form.
1 If a bear comes into camp:
- Do not run because that will trigger an attack response.
- Keep all your movements slow and deliberate.
- Do not approach the animal.
- Pick up small children so they will not be perceived as prey.
- Bang pots and pans together or make other loud noises.
- Wave your arms above your head to make yourself appear larger.
- Leave an escape route open so the bear won’t feel cornered and forced to fight its way out of the situation.
- Move upwind of the bear so it can identify your scent as human (not its normal prey).
2 If you become the object of a grizzly attack:
- Stop, remain calm, back away slowly while speaking in a calm voice. You are trying to show the bear that you are being submissive and yielding to his territorial supremacy.
- Do not turn your back on the bear or run; that will stimulate an attack.
- Avoid direct eye contact, because that is considered an act of aggression.
- A grizzly might bluff-charge…or not. If it lowers its head and pins ears back, it’s coming.
- Submit. Lie face down on the ground, cover your head with your arms and hands and play as dead as possible. You might be bit or clawed, and then the bear might leave… or not.
- If the bear continues to maul you, in spite of your playing dead (an indication that it wants you for food), you might have to fight for your life using any available weapon (knife, stick, rock, fingernails), focusing your counterattack on the bear’s eyes and nose with as much violence as you can muster.
3 If it's a shark:
- Look your predator in the eye.
- Don't flail like something it might like to eat.
- Make your way to the shore backward.
- If you have to fight, go for the gills.
4 If you've invaded the reptile's personal space:
- A radius of about 3 feet -- freeze.
- See if the snake retreats.
- If it doesn't or can't, then back up, slowly.
- Job No. 1 is to deter an attack by showing the lion you're boss: Stand tall, wave your arms, etc.
- If that doesn't work, fight back with whatever you've got: hands, rocks and, should local laws allow it, firearms.
6 With these guys:
7 If a polar bear charges:
- It won’t be a bluff, so consider it a serious attack intent on doing damage.
- Making a lot of noise (especially by a group of people) might drive the bear away.
- If that fails, use whatever deterrent and/or weapons you have at hand.
8 If a cougar is encountered:
- Stop and stand tall. Do not run.
- Try to appear larger than the cougar.
- Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back.
- Do not crouch down or try to hide.
- If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks.
- If the cougar attacks, stay on your feet. If you go down, you’re in trouble.
- Fight back aggressively with anything you can get your hands on (knife, club, backpack, rocks, etc.) Gouge your fingers into the cat’s eyes. Fight for your life with as much violence as you can muster.
9 If you encounter a moose:
- Give it lots of space. Do not approach.
- Back away and change the direction of your travel.
- Stay totally clear of a calf and cow. That combination is extremely dangerous.
- If a moose approaches you, it is not trying to be your friend. It is trying to warn you.
- If the moose lays ears back and raises the hair on its shoulder hump, stomps the ground or swings its head in your direction, it is preparing for an attack.
- Back away. Get as much space between you and the moose as possible.
- Run. Unlike with a bear or cougar, you can run from a moose without triggering an attack. The moose likely won’t chase you very far.
- Get behind a large tree or other obstacle and keep it between you and the moose.
- Climb a tree.
- If the moose knocks you down, curl up in a ball to protect against the kicks and stomps. Don’t try to get up until after the moose moves away, or it will renew its attack.
10 If a bison charges:
- Run for cover, if it’s close — bison might look slow, but they’re not.
- Take cover behind something large, and keep moving as the bison tries to get at you.
- Climb a tree. A bison can’t come up after you. This animal isn’t interested in eating you, it’s just annoyed by your proximity.
- Keep your distance.