How to Keep Bears Away

Learn your black bears from your brown bears then figure out how to keep them away from your camp.
Publish date:

Tell black from brown: A black bear has a light-colored muzzle, and is generally smaller and lacks the muscular shoulder hump and dish-shaped face of a brown bear (grizzly). Browns can be found only in remote areas of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and western Canada.

Cook wisely: A bear's sense of smell is 7 times greater than a bloodhound's. Prepare meals at least 100 yards from camp. After your meal, change clothes and secure food in a bear bag or a hard-shell canister.

Discharge pepper spray: Aim for the bear's eyes and face, and pull the trigger when a charging bear is within 40 feet. Most canisters create a visible 30-foot cone of spray. Once the bear is disoriented, leave the scene as quickly as possible and report the incident to local authorities.

Return to the Backpacking 101 home page.

Popular Content