What should I do if I see a bear? First, don’t run away.

Bear attacks aren’t common, but hikers and campers should be prepared for a bear to cross their path

A grizzly bear is seen just north of the National Elk Refuge in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo. (Joe Lieb/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

Would you know what to do if you crossed paths with a bear?

Wildlife experts emphasize that bear attacks are rare. A woman in Washington state Saturday fended off an attack from a black bear outside her house by punching the bear in the nose. Earlier this month, Kendell Cummings, a college wrestler at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., fought off a grizzly bear that attacked his teammate in Shoshone National Forest, and Cummings survived the encounter by playing dead. A Wyoming hunter shot himself Friday while trying to fend off a grizzly bear.

Most of us will only see a bear from a distance. But, by understanding bear behavior, you can better prepare for what to do if a bear takes an interest in you.

And if you do plan to hike in parts of the country where black and brown bears live, experts say you should bring bear spray, travel in groups and don’t run away if a bear spots you. They’ll catch up.

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