Upon sighting a bear, experts say the best thing to do is to remain calm and leave the area to allow the bear to move along on its own. If a bear is encountered at close range, experts offer these safety tips:
- Do not turn and run, as that might elicit a chase response in the bear.
- Stand and face the bear, holding out your arms or jacket to appear as large as possible.
- Try to retreat slowly, but don't turn your back on the bear or block the bear’s escape route.
- If you cannot leave the area, make loud noises that could make the bear flee, such as yelling or banging on pots or pans.
Finally, anyone whose outdoor activities increase the chances of a bear encounter can carry bear spray with them. In the unlikely event a bear charges to attack, you should aggressively fight back against the bear, according to the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Do not attempt to “play dead” during a black bear attack, the agency says. For more information on how you can live responsibly with bears, visit BearWise.
Report a Nuisance Black Bear
North of Interstate 40
- Senior Wildlife Biologist J.D. Ridge (918) 617-1113
- Wildlife Biologist Curt Allen at (918) 260-8959
South of Interstate 40
- Senior Wildlife Biologist Jeff Ford (918) 527-9918
- Wildlife Technician Matt Hensley (918) 260-3920
- Wildlife Technician Tres Phipps at (918) 527-9921
- Wildlife Biologist Weston Storer (806) 339-5175
- Wildlife Technician Cody Crisswell (806) 339-1487
Nuisance bears may also be reported to any local Game Warden.