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Here’s what to do if attacked by a grizzly bear. It worked for this man in East Idaho

Hiker at Yellowstone National Park injured in grizzly bear attack
Posted at 10:27 PM, Jul 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-11 00:27:17-04

This article was originally written by Scott McIntosh for the Idaho Statesman.

A man who was attacked by a grizzly bear in eastern Idaho on Friday did the right thing by playing dead.

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the man was running on a trail near Island Park at around 6:30 a.m. when he encountered a female grizzly bear with a cub, and the female charged him.

The man went down to the ground in an effort to protect himself, according to Fish and Game, and the grizzly struck him several times before running off.

The man was injured in the attack, but he was able to return to the cabin he was staying in and call 911. His injuries were not life-threatening, and he was treated at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg.

According to the National Park Service, he did the right thing.

“If you are attacked by a brown/grizzly bear, leave your pack on and PLAY DEAD,” according to the National Park Service’s webpage on bear attacks(emphasis theirs). “Lay flat on your stomach with your hands clasped behind your neck. Spread your legs to make it harder for the bear to turn you over.”

The Park Service also recommends remaining still until the bear leaves the area.

“Fighting back usually increases the intensity of such attacks,” according to the National Park Service. “However, if the attack persists, fight back vigorously. Use whatever you have at hand to hit the bear in the face.”

It should be noted that this is different from an attack by a black bear.

“If you are attacked by a black bear, DO NOT PLAY DEAD,” according to the Park Service (again, emphasis theirs). “Try to escape to a secure place such as a car or building. If escape is not possible, try to fight back using any object available. Concentrate your kicks and blows on the bear’s face and muzzle.”

OK, but there’s one more caveat, and that’s if a bear — whether it’s a grizzly or a black bear: “If any bear attacks you in your tent or stalks you and then attacks, do not play dead — fight back!” according to the Park Service. “This kind of attack is very rare, but can be serious because it often means the bear is looking for food and sees you as prey.”