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Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  279 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Revised, updated, and with a new introduction by the author.
Paperback, Revised, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Lyons Press (first published May 1st 1988)
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Sep 23, 2015 Miki rated it liked it
First of all, this is not a gory account of bear attacks, with bloody or scary stories about people being eaten by bears. It is a scholarly study of why attacks happen (mostly due to human misbehavior). There are statistics, and details, and instructions on how to be safe around bears, and it was very interesting to know some of these things, because you just never know when you might be face to face with a bear.

On the other hand, these instructions are just a tad ambiguous. Apparently, if faced
Feb 24, 2009 Jason rated it it was amazing
Herrero knows his stuff. After moving to Kalispell,MT (just outside Glacier National Park) I decided that I'd better learn more about grizzlies as I knew I'd occasionally run in to them while fishing or hiking in the area. I read several books on grizzlies and this was THE MOST HELPFUL of them all. After giving advice on how to act when running in to a mother bear with cubs, or a bear eating carrion, or a number of other various situations Herrero ultimately states that bears are still wild anim ...more
Jun 18, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone hiking in bear country
What I mainly learned from this book was that you shouldn't let your wife read books like this if you ever hope to take them backpacking. Good gory descriptions of maulings.
Mar 20, 2014 Elinor rated it it was amazing
I have never been attacked by a bear, so I don't know how useful is the author's advice. BUT I can tell you it almost scared me out of my wits. The lengthy descriptions of mauling and dismembering will stay in my mind forever. They were worse than anything Stephen King could dream up.

The author provides scrupulous detail on every documented attack. But with every statistical probability, every suggested course of action, he then qualifies by saying: "Remember, bears are unpredictable and there a
Jul 17, 2010 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: hiking, canada
YES! This book contains a quote from the 19th century which is quite possibly the best thing I've ever read:

"Hence the peculiar charm of a fight with a grizzly! If you kill your bear, it is a triumph worth enjoying; if you get killed yourself, some of the newspapers will give you a friendly notice; if you get crippled for life, you carry about you a patent of courage which may be useful in case you go into politics. Besides, it has its effect upon the ladies. A "chawed" man is very much admired
Stephan van der Linde
I've been told this book is THE book about bears.
The most other books about bears refer to this one.

It contains a lot of gruesome encounters between human beings and bears. All is based on true events.
It's not just gruesome, but also very lugubrious and really horrific stories.

The bear itself is not depict as bad, because all these are accidents and could be prevent.

Therefore this book describes the nature of bears (black bears, grizzlys etc). Their nature and what to do when you see one in th
Mary Havens
Nov 26, 2015 Mary Havens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to know about bears? Read this book!

It's broken down by type (Grizzly and then Black Bear) and then general bear behavior/management. It is also chock full of original research, beautiful citations, and references! It's fascinating, really, because so much of these attacks probably would have been prevented if people had respected the bears and their habitat enough to not bring in their yummy garbage. (This goes for all humans, not just the victims. Most of the victims were not violators of
Aug 07, 2007 Ariel marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm dying to read this as Bill Bryson becomes obssessed with the book as he readies himself to walk the AT.
May 16, 2012 Tania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lisa Roberts
I read the 1985 version of this book which I stumbled across in a used book store last month. I'm interested in reading a more current version to see what new discoveries have been made in the 27 years that have passed since then, but I believe even this older copy of the book provides a great deal of useful information for anyone who expects to encounter bears or wants to learn more about them.

The author spent a great deal of time studying bears, both black and grizzly, prior to writing this bo
Jan 29, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
OK, so the key to surviving a bear attack is to figure out if the bear is trying to eat you or not.

If the bear is NOT trying to eat you, you're just supposed to lie there and let it lightly gnaw on you or sit on you or whatever not-eating-you activity the bear has in mind.

If the bear IS trying to eat you, you have to fight back because otherwise you'll totally get eaten, yo. (Whether fighting back will help depends on how lazy your bear is).

The million-dollar question, of course, is how do you t
Feb 27, 2009 Holly rated it really liked it
Grizzly bears terrify me. It doesn't matter that I've never been, afaik, near a Grizzly in the wild, or that I live in a place where the great bear is now extinct. I had a nightmare when I was a kid that shook me up so bad I still remember it.

In the dream, my family was trapped on a ship that had a sort of carnival on board. One of the carnival animals, who all were roaming about the ship scaring everybody half to death, was a giant Grizzly. The bear caught up with my family and ripped my littl
Jul 08, 2010 Doris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hikers, hunters, backpackers, wildlife workers, people who live near bears
This is a no-nonsense book from perhaps the most knowledgeable person alive regarding North American Bears. This book is not for the faint-of-heart as it describes in gruesome detail bear attacks (both fatal and non-fatal).

Mr. Herrero has been called in more often than not to help assess the causes of attacks caused by bears in both Canada and the US. He offers crucial advice for dealing with deadly situations, however even more important, he offers advice that can help people in the wild avoid
Jul 29, 2010 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hikers and other people concerned about the mighty grizzly
Though I am terrified of coming home and finding a grizzly bear in my apartment, the odds of me ever encountering and being mauled by a bear are about zero percent. Though I consider Herrero's research and tips essential survival knowledge (it can't be impossible that a formidable bear will enter my urban area, scale my apartment complex wall, break through the patio door and wait for me to get home from work), I read Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance mainly for mauling anecdotes. Most pe ...more
Aug 11, 2009 Stacey rated it really liked it
Does anyone else think it strange/morbid/disturbing that I stayed up all night reading accounts of people getting attacked by bears? Everyone wants to learn more about bear attacks whilst camping at Glacier National Park (where more than half of all recorded bear attacks have taken place), right? Right? The bad news is I completely freaked myself out and drove my fellow campers crazy with bear attack trivia. The good news? I know EXACTLY what to do the next time I run into a bear! :)
Dennis Robbins
Aug 22, 2015 Dennis Robbins rated it it was amazing
I finished this book about the same time there was a Grizzly caused death in Yellowstone. In 143 years of park history there have now been (as of August 2015) 8 deaths. At least 6 of them might have been prevented if the victim were carrying bear spray. Within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem there have been 13 human fatalities, 9 occurred to solo hikers. The evidence suggests that when in Grizzly country carry spray and don't hike alone. But also read this book. It's rich with stories of bear- ...more
Feb 21, 2008 Barry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you don't want to get killed by a grizzly or a black bear, you should read this.
Aug 05, 2008 Quin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
play dead.
Jul 05, 2015 Alexis rated it really liked it
Very understandable and informative.

I really appreciate that it shows you the specific data the author is basing his conclusions on. It gives his explanations and suggestions authority but also supports his point that rules are not hard and fast and that all bears are different and not entirely predictable.

Also, embarrassingly, I really didn't know anything about the difference between black bears and grizzlies.
Jul 26, 2014 Jody rated it really liked it
This was certainly informative! One of the outstanding tidbits is that a grizzly can eat 200,000 berries a day!

This book covers pretty much everything whether Grizzly or Black. There are some honest and detailed pieces, but I didn't mind reading those--bear attacks really happen, so let's not water those down.

Basically, it all comes down to this: bears need upwards of 20,000 calories a day. Don't mess!
Daniel Garrison
May 06, 2016 Daniel Garrison rated it liked it
I built a cabin in the middle of nowhere, Alaska and had some serious encounters with bears. I bought this book at the time, hoping it would give me some information that might help me from being mauled to death. The book contains mostly common sense suggestions, and to be honest I found a healthy dose of paranoia, a 12 guage loaded with copper slugs and an SKS Chinese assault rifle to be more reassuring.
Al Maki
Mar 12, 2014 Al Maki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like avalanches, grizzly bears are a low probability risk for anybody hiking in the Canadian Rockies or Montana. I was going to say "off the main paths" but the last time I saw one was in a parking lot with about 50 cars. Herrero's book provides a good perspective on them. The book has been around for a while but grizzlies haven't changed since it was published.
Sep 26, 2016 Carmen rated it really liked it
I read this book even more attentively this time, as I'll be going into black bear territory in a week. Clearly Herrero has a deep respect and affection for bears, as we all should.
Sep 28, 2014 Max rated it it was amazing
Potentially critical information, but also plenty of other engaging information to those curious to learn more about general bear behavior.
Jan 11, 2016 Kay rated it really liked it
Scary, really. But you'll be introduced to many facts on past bear incidents, written by a former
Deborah Guard
Jul 23, 2016 Deborah Guard rated it it was amazing
Excellent read.
Mike Spinak
Jun 01, 2014 Mike Spinak rated it it was amazing
If you've read other books about bears, and then read this one, you'll recognize the difference readily. Herrero is far more knowledgeable. His interpretations of events are much more plausible. His advice is much more sensible.

If you live or work or play regularly in bear country, read this book. The knowledge and advice may be critical, and there's no better source.

Lastly, I must note that there are parts of the book - a lot of them - which are creepy and gruesome. Be forewarned about that.
Dan Baxter
Apr 16, 2013 Dan Baxter rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on bear attacks. If there is one book on how to interact with bears in the wild this is your book. I wish I would have read this before I was a backpacking guide because I would not have acted like such an idiot around bears in the wild like I did. I was lucky they did not attack me. Herrero is the foremost expert on bears so anything by him is gold.
Aug 04, 2013 Kennedy rated it really liked it
So maybe I was being overly cautious by reading this cover-to-cover before a casual camping trip to Yellowstone, but it ended up being a truly fascinating book (and luckily I didn't have to employ any of the safety techniques I learned!). A very accessible and complete guide to bears, bear attacks, and ways to avoid interactions.
Matt French
Jan 07, 2014 Matt French rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the most informative, interesting read on bears and their behaviour that I have ever read!
Kris W
May 29, 2016 Kris W rated it really liked it
This is the second time I've read this book. Would I be able to play dead while a grizzly chewed my skull? I hope to never find out. Not only does the book give excellent, well-researched information on bear attacks and how to avoid them, it contains a lot of interesting bear biology.
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From Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, "Stephen Herrero is Professor of Environmental Science and Biology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is recognized throughout the world as a leading authority on bear ecology, behavior and attacks."
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