If you’re stuck in the wilderness for an extended period of time, there’s a chance you may find yourself sharing your new home with a fair number of predators. Most predators don’t want anything to do with you: you don’t look or smell delicious, you’re much bigger than most prey, and for all they know, you could be a predator that sees them as a snack.

That can be both a benefit and a problem — it means predators will likely do their best to stay out of your way, but it also means one may feel threatened or even cornered if you catch it by surprise — and that’s a very dangerous situation to be in.

Stack the deck in favor of avoiding predators altogether by:

  • Keep food smells away from your camp. Don’t eat in your shelter or leave scraps of food around where you sleep. Clean your kills at least a hundred yards from camp and near a water source.
  • Make noise as you travel. It not only makes you sound big, but it forewarns predators of your approach so they can leave the area.
  • Never run when you come across a predator, as it will incite them to chase you. You’re better off making yourself seem as large as you can and using slow, deliberate movements to back away while keeping your eye on the animal without making eye contact.
  • If attacked by a bear, tuck your chin and protect your head in the fetal position. Play dead until the bear loses interest.


This article was originally published on July 2019. It has been edited for republication.