For anyone living or vacationing in bear country it is important to know how to stay safe and to treat bear bites, mauling and wounds.
Bears have great sense of smell, sight, and hearing, they are good runners and great swimmers. No doubt they can outrun a human when in pursuit.
The bear is a beautiful, intelligent, and curious creature. It is also highly predictable. With some education and a little common sense humans can avoid most bear bites and mauling. However, bears usually attack when they feel threatened; scared by humans, have their space infringed upon, are injured, or their food or cubs are in jeopardy.
However, if any one has seen pictures of the gross bites sustained by bears, its goes without saying these bears can be dangerous creatures. While looking at different kinds of bites and how disgusting they actually look, few bites and wounds can are more terrible than sustained from the attack of a bear. These gross bites can disfigure a person for life. Some people who have been lucky enough to survive a bear attack have had to have extensive plastic surgery. Bear bites can rip away the skin tearing cartilage and muscle, requiring several operations and years of therapy. The psychological aspect of the disfigurement especially if it is facial, not only is relative to the gross bites, but also to the feeling that the victim gets knowing that people are looking on and thinking how gross looking he or she has become.
When thinking about bear attacks we all tend to think about bear mauling, the scratching, biting, and squeezing and pulling limbs apart. The mental pictures we have are of gross bites so deep and painful that they leave permanent scars.
Not all bear bites are gross bites. People may not sustain life threatening injuries and escape from bear attacks. Some people have been known to receive only minor cuts and bruising.
Some dos and don’ts when traveling in bear country
Do not corner or provoke a bear
Never approach a bear especially if she has her cubs with her
Do not disturb a feeding animal, or disrupt it when it is mating
Do not leave any food or garbage around campsites which will attract hungry bears
Do not leave food in your tent and
Make sure your cooking quarters are far enough away from your sleeping tents
Cover all food in airtight containers to prevent the seepage of food odor that will attract the bears
Do not bury discarded food and trash; bears can dig it up
Bring leftovers and garbage back home with you for disposal there
Hike and travel in groups, never alone
Make noise, yell, and scream along the hiking path, throw rocks to scare bears away
Carry a can of bear spray with you at all times, it can be effective if used at close proximity in case of an attack.
Never try to run from a bear, it can run faster than you
Protect your head and back of the neck from an attack by covering them with your hands or elbows
Curl up on the ground, face to the ground, to protect your abdomen
Remain on the ground and be very still until you are sure that the bear has left the area, victims have tried to get up too soon only to be mauled a second time
It is always best to be seen by a doctor after sustaining injury from a bear, even if the cuts and bruises seem to be minor. If there is excessive bleeding:
Apply pressure to the area to stop the bleeding
Clean with soap and water if you are near enough to camp site to do it
And apply a bandage.
Call 911 and get to a hospital as fast as you can.
Doctors will assess the severity of the wounds and do any or all the following:
Clean them up
Intravenous tube feeding
Or whatever is necessary
Bear bites can be rather serious. To prevent complications, it is always wise to apply the right first aid and then seek medical treatment.