Bears are naturally curious animals, but are not normally aggressive. They get a little bit more aggressive when they’re hungry. Some people say they’re hungry all the time and that may be more true than not. But in the fall before they hibernate and in the spring time when they come out of hibernation they can be particularly hungry and particularly aggressive.
Up in the high country where they live the condition of their natural habitat determines to some extent how hungry they are and how aggressive they are. So for example if it’s particularly dry and much of their natural food is nonexistent they may turn more aggressively towards other sources of food at lower elevations and campgrounds.
If you see a bear and a bear sees you at the same time the best thing you can do is speak softly to the bear, never turn your back and back away slowly. Never run away from a bear.
If a bear sees you and starts advancing towards you try to make yourself appear as large as you can. That may startle the bear and scare him away. If it doesn’t scare him away curl up in a ball and offer no resistance.
Many people think that a handgun is effective against bears. The fact of the matter is in studies done by fish and wildlife experts show that if you are attacked by a bear and use bear pepper spray chances are 90% in your favor that you will win that battle.
I would never recommend going into the back country without an EPA approved bear pepper spray. Always look for the EPA’s seal of approval on a can of bear spray and only use sprays that are designated as bear pepper sprays. That indicates a minimum amount of spray in the canister usually at least 230 grams and a minimal amount of OC (oleoresin capsicum) which is the main ingredient in all pepper sprays. Bear Pepper Spray has a range of 35 feet and is EPA approved.
The other problem that people have is they don’t know how to use it. First of all, always carry it in a hip holster so it is readily available. When the bear is about 40 feet away and is advancing towards you start creating a wall of mist with the spray so when the bear advances into it he will smell it with his extremely sensitive nostrils and be repulsed by it.
Bear pepper spray is the most effective deterrent against bear attacks. Never go into the back country without it, especially when you’re fishing, camping or hiking