Are Bears Just Like People?
Bored at work the other day, I picked up a href="http://www.fieldandstream.com/fieldstream/"the May 2007 issue /aof emField Stream /emfrom the waiting room and read the cover story entitled, "Sharpen Your Skills: 50 Things Every Sportsman Should Know." Now, I am not much of a sportsman or an outdoorsman; the last time I camped out, it was in my backyard and family members were taking bets not on how many hours I would last, but how many minutes. Okay, not many, within 30 minutes, I beat it out of a mosquito-infested tent on the pretence that I needed a drink of water and never made it back out. Surmise it to say, I have not "camped out" since--although, lest you think me a total wimp, I did at 19, live in a tent in Yosemite National Park for a month, if that means anything but that's another story.br /br /But enough about me and my limitations, back to the article on being a good outdoorsman. From it, I learned how to camouflage myself with a wine cork, rig a safety harness, claim the best bunk in the camp and tie the knot that fixes all, but most importantly (at least to me) was tip number 46 on how to read a bear's mind. br /br /The tip says that you must first assess the bear's mood when you're planning an exit strategy for a close enounter with a bear. Then you decide whether the bear is a strongPredatory Bear/strong or a strongDefensive Bear/strong. A Predatory Bear "isn't intent on rendering you harmless but rather on rendering you digestible. If a bear is aware of your presence and approaches in a nondefensive, unconcerned manner, get very serious. Speak to it in a loud, firm voice. Try to get out of the bear's direction of travel, but do not run. If the animal follows, stop again and make a stand. Shout at the bear and stare at it. Make yourself appear larger--step up on a rock or move uphill. Prepare for a charge." br /br /On the other hand, a Defensive Bear "will appear stressed and unsure of how to act, pacing about and popping its jaw. Talk to it in a very calm voice. Don't throw anything. When it is not moving toward you, move away from it slowly and carefully. A stumble now could provoke a charge. If the bear continues to approach you, stop. Stand your gound and continue talking calmly. If the bear charges, use your spray or gun, then wait until the last possible moment before hitting the dirt."br /br /As I read over the descriptions of the bears and what to do, I could not help but a href="http://drhelen.blogspot.com/2007/04/violence-prevention-toolbox.html"think of a post /aI wrote a few weeks ago on how to deal with different types of potentially violent people from the book, a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1591810051?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=1591810051"emSurviving Aggressive People/em./aimg src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=1591810051" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" / The author, Shawn Smith, divides aggressors into two categories: The Desperate Aggressor and the Expert Aggressor, categories that sound very much like The Defensive Bear and the Predatory Bear. br /br /Perhaps the behavior of violent people is not that dissimilar to that of some of our furry friends--I am not sure whether to find that comforting or troubling.
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