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Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance (revised edition) [Paperback]

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Book by Herrero, Stephen

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended May 18 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has been suggested in other readings on bears and by outdoor enthusiast friends. Well worth it to read and be bear aware in our true great north. Lots of accounts close to my home. Details of attacks that help show what to prevent in future.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Go-To" Book for Advice on Bear Safety Oct. 8 2010
By ghost of a red rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I visited Yellowstone National Park this summer, and on the way in we stopped by the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, where I picked up this book as well as Mark of the Grizzly, by Scott McMillion. I read them back to back during our trip, and so will compare them in my reviews.

Dr. Stephen Herrero is Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. He is recognized throughout the world as a leading authority on bear ecology, behavior, and attacks.

This book is the definitive "go-to" text for practical advice about keeping yourself safe in bear country. It has the most detailed, the most up-to-date, the most well-documented, and the most information, period, of any book available. If you do any hiking or camping in bear country, you need this book - and you need to not just read it, but to buy a copy for your permanent collection so that you can refresh your memory before each trip.

A great deal of research has been done on bears in the past several decades, and much of the accepted wisdom that we grew up with turns out to be dead (and I use the word deliberately) wrong. For example:
- Play dead - the worst thing you can do if the attack is a predatory one. Does sometimes work in defensive attacks, though.
- Climb a tree if it's a grizzly - Grizzlies can and do climb trees; plus which they also have a very high reach. Some people have indeed escaped grizzly attacks in this way, but others have been pulled out of trees by grizzlies from as high as 32 feet up!
- Black bears never prey on humans, only grizzlies do - It's actually just the opposite. Although black bears are far more easily intimidated by humans who fight back, blacks are also far more likely to prey on us.
- Carry a gun - Pepper spray has been shown to actually be more effective on grizzlies.
- Wear bear bells to make noise - Not only do they NOT scare off bears, they actually attract them, because bears are highly curious. The best deterrent is the human voice - LOUD. But even then, you may not be heard upwind.
- A tent is useless for protection - It's true that a cloth tent can't physically slow down a bear for even a second. But for some unknown reason, they do seem to provide some kind of psychological deterrent. Most (but not all) nighttime attacks on sleeping people occurred to people who were sleeping out in the open without a tent.

One piece of traditional wisdom that IS true, is: never, ever, run from a bear. Stand your ground or back up slowly.

We have always been told that it is very important to establish whether a threatening bear is a black or a grizzly. That one is true, however it is equally important to determine whether an attack is defensive or predatory. Both of these factors are critical in how a person should react.

Another important thing to know - never bring a dog into bear country. Dogs and bears are natural enemies, and the presence of a dog can draw a bear to attack an accompanying human.

And, surprisingly, the best way to keep yourself safe? Go on horseback. Horses sense - and will alert a knowledgeable rider to - the presence of a nearby bear long before a human or even a dog could. But even more importantly, although a bear will attack either a riderless horse or a human on foot, it is almost unknown for even a grizzly to attack a horse with a rider.

One thing that Dr. Herrero stresses is that there is no guarantee. His advice provides a rule of thumb, but bears are as individual as humans; and what works for one human with one bear in one situation won't necessarily work for another human with another bear in the same kind of situation. (This was vividly illustrated in the August bear attacks in Cooke City, Montana, in which three people sleeping in three separate tents in the same campground were attacked by the same grizzly on the same night. The two survivors used totally opposite tactics: one punched the bear in the nose, and the other played dead. That attack happened while we were right there in the area - we drove by that campground twice. But we didn't learn about it until a few days later.)

Bear Attacks has an excellent index and notes section, as well as plenty of black-and-white photos and drawings.

Like McMillion, Herrero tells numerous stories about bear attacks (often the same ones.) Dr. Herrero tells them in a more journalistic/scientific way - i.e., with more detachment, and just the facts, to illustrate a point. McMillion tells them in a way that is far more detailed, vivid, and interesting to read about.

I recommend reading Mark of the Grizzly for the stories, and Bear Attacks for the practical information.

(249 pages)
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What to expect when you're expecting to be mauled Sept. 4 2005
By Bryan Newman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the single greatest academic look at bear attacks. Herrero is so exhaustive in his efforts to describe every type of bear attack that after a while you wonder how you can possibly survive a night outside. It seems that in every situation, no matter what you do to avoid a mauling there is a story where it leads to a mauling. But his complete look at all types of maulings comes to two conclusions. First there are basic strategies that work in almost all situations and second, bears are unpredictable so there is no magic answer for all situations.

The book does have a lot of graphic bear attack stories, but this is not a typical "bear attack" book. In the end this book is an academic book full of scientific analysis and statistics. Between attack stories, it can be dry, scientific reading. But if you want to know everything you can about you won't do better than this book
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bear Book Hall of Famer Aug. 29 2004
By William R. Cramer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is it!! The authoritative piece of literature on avoiding bear attacks. An absolute must for anyone who travels or works in bear country, especially grizzly bear country. I have over 350 books and publications on bears and refer to this book when friends want advice on their next hike in bear country. I learned how really useless "bear bells" are in bear country and that in itself might have saved me from many "ugly" encounters of suprising a grizzly bear on the trail. Sometimes it is only one small bit of advice that "saves" you from so many problems in life and this book is full of great advice.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars informative scientific review Nov. 19 2000
By TODD RAMBOSEK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a great book. I love to hike in bear country and feel much more prepared now that I have read it. Herrero presents his data in both a scientific and honest way careful not to overstate what we do or don't know about bears. He is clearly the world's authority on bear behavior as he has been on site after nearly every bear attack in north america in the past 30 years. He describes in detail (often gorry but necessarily so) what happened in each account and provides a critique of what the injured did or did not do correctly in the given situation. Clearly anyone who reads this book will be better prepared to enter bear country with both respect for bears and how to avoid confrontation. I highly recommend this book.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wake up call Oct. 1 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've worked with the (volunter) Nat'l Park Service for three years with the bear division in Sequioa Nat'l Park Califonia,I came face to face with many of bears, I thought I knew almost everything about bears.People thought I was nuts getting so close to them.This BOOK openned my eyes (I guess I was nuts)it scared me,made me realize how close to death I was a number of times. The next time I went back to the park I was alot more educated and aware, I recommened this book to any body and everybody, backpackers, weekend family campers, hunters any one who enjoys the great outdoors. Billy Bear.......
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