Despite hardships, people are strong. They survive. A great example of this can be seen with a recent Alaska man who had to survive an aggressive grizzly bear for an entire week on his own.
The man was recently discovered by US Coast Guard officials after they found an abandoned shack with SOS written on the roof. Upon coming closer, the man ran out, waving his arms and a white flag at their aircraft. He was found with bruising on his chest and a tapped up leg injury.
According to him, he was attacked by a wild bear, which forced him into the shack. He hadn’t slept for days, because the bear would return at night. At one point, the bear managed to drag him down to the river.
While he had a pistol for protection, he was running out of ammunition by the point he was discovered.
In a way, it was mere luck he was found. The Coast Guard was assisting scientists on a research mission, but their course was diverted due to weather. It was by their alternate course that they saw the distress signal on the roof. He was reported overdue to return home by his friends, but an active search had not been conducted yet.
The man was brought to the hospital for his injuries, none of which were life-threatening.
According to the Alaska Department for Fish and Game, the area he was found in was bear territory, but the animals are usually not aggressive.
What Can We Learn?
There’s a few things the man did right, and wrong. Let’s take a moment to reflect on those.
He wrote an SOS sign on a highly visible location. This was his saving grace, since it was what brought his rescuers to him. This is smart. If you’re lost or trapped in the wilderness, efforts should be made to signal for help. Other things that would help are fire/smoke trails. He also appeared to have had enough extra food to last him this unexpected duration.
There are a couple of things he did wrong, though. When camping solo, having an emergency contact system, such as a satellite phone, can make a world of difference. He also stayed put, which is usually a good idea, because it helps you get found. But if the bear was truly returning to his camp multiple nights in a row, that place is no longer safe. Travelling away from that bear’s territory may have been a safer choice. This is where a local map could help, allowing you to ensure you are moving closer to civilization. This might have been a less viable choice if the shack was HIS shack. In which case, staying would have been the best, since help could be directed to that specific location. This may have been the case and we recognize that.
We mean all of this criticism with respect, of course. We’re happy the man survived and commend his smart moves to ensuring he made it through.