When an encounter does occur, one must do everything possible to prevent escalation of the situation.
This can be done by anything from walking away slowly to taking cover in a vehicle.
Shooting a bear is a last resort, only done under extreme duress.
What does this have to do with concealed carry and personal defense?
Encounters with bears and dangerous humans are similar in many regards. We should be constantly vigilant about avoiding run-in’s that can turn ugly. And if something does happen in spite of careful preparation and avoidance, we must be skilled at diffusing the situation.
Work on adding to your bag of “other tricks” because a gun is nothing more than one tool in that bag. You don’t want it to be the only card you have to pull.
Skills like learning how to modulate your voice and assuming submissive body language can help calm many scenarios. The ability to plan escape routes, and understanding how to use the terrain around you to foil an assault can also be invaluable.
There are plenty of dirty tricks to learn as well, such as grabbing handfuls of dirt and throwing them into someone’s (or something’s) eyes. Without their vision they go from the offensive to being completely vulnerable.
Author Steve Collins says it best in his article “You Can Shoot…But Can You Fight?” at USConcealedcarry.com:
“One night while walking to his car in the super mart parking lot, he meets six-foot five-inch, 240 pound Mongo the ex-con, who pulls a knife, and says he wants CJ’s wallet. CJ draws his gun and gets killed. Why?
“CJ made the mistake a great many shooters make, in assuming that shooting skills translate into fighting skills. Nothing could be further from the truth. The basics of shooting are easy: sights trigger, follow through. Even a four–fingered, retarded monkey can do that. The challenge comes in learning how to fight for your survival. (The full article is a must read and it can be found here.)”
If you get killed, you’ve lost and unlike video games, there is no “re-spawn” or coming back. You need to be careful when you’re out alone in the woods or anywhere else a predator might happen upon you and it’s important to keep a clear head and have a good idea of exactly what’s in your bag of tricks.