It’s hard to miss the numerous bear attack stories that have been in the news over the last few weeks. Most experts agree that a person should play dead in a fetal position with grizzlies, and fight back when it comes to black bear attacks. But the brave young lady in Michigan who was attacked by a black bear just days ago, was spared after she played dead. She was able to run home after the attack. But an Alaskan hunter wasn’t able to get to help so quickly after a bear attack this past weekend.
An unnamed man from Alaska had to wait 36 hours for a rescue helicopter to bring him to a hospital. And luckily, he received life sustaining care while he waited, administered by a fellow hunter with a day job is in the medical field. The attack happened late Thursday in northern Alaska, and the man was finally airlifted around 3 a.m. Saturday morning. Both the 12-year-old girl and the adult male hunter are expected to make a full recovery.
The latter story makes me consider what it would be like to survive an attack and not receive immediate medical attention. The most famous true story like that is the tale of Hugh Glass. A trapper and scout, Glass was mauled by a grizzly in August of 1823 during a fur trapping expedition. Left for dead, Glass reportedly used maggots to clear the dead flesh from his severe wounds, as he dragged himself 100 miles with a broken leg. He managed to survive on wild edible plants and the drive to settle the score with the two men who buried him alive and took all of his belongings. **
How to Survive?**
You’d need a whole lot of luck, for starters. You need the ability to tolerate intense pain, for another thing. A supercharged immune system is a critical factor. If first aid supplies were not available, you’d require knowledge and access to medicinal plants to stave off infection. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an outstanding choice for a wound poultice, and it’s available throughout the country. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is another wound care wild medicine that is common in the U.S. and its native Europe. Close the wounds with the best method available and apply an herb paste at the surface.
An ounce of prevention
The best cure for a bear attack is to prevent it. Firearms and bear spray in an easy-to-reach holster are must-have items in bear country. Make sure your spray specifically says “Bear” spray. Regular pepper sprays may not be as potent. The device should be EPA registered as this guarantees a quality product. It should spray for at least 6 seconds, shoot at least 25 feet, and produce an orange cloud of mist, which is disorients bears.
To get more information on bear spray and bear behavior, you can visit www.bebearaware.org