Bears are a non-elemental danger in sandbox mode. Bears can be found in any map, with a maximum of around 5 bears in Pleasant Valley, and an average of 1-3 on other maps. Unlike wolf encounters, bear encounters do not display as a combat situation (with a fight meter on the bottom, and defensive weapon shown in the bottom left corner), making it impossible to fight off a bear. Also unlike wolves, it is undocumented whether bears actively hunt other animals, or even feed off of carcasses.You can get a lot of food from them as well, so it has its benefits and risks. Bear attacks can result in your gun being ripped from your hands and scattered on the ground next to you.
Bears can easily be outrun if you start running before they get too close, but once they are on you, it is extremely hard to survive. There is no fight-back mechanic for the bear attack, the character will get mauled but will not kill the character if they had full health beforehand. Bear attacks usually reduce character condition by 90% of the condition they had prior to the attack.
It has been observed that (in Alpha v3.04), bears are unable to enter Fishing Huts like those found on the frozen inlet in Coastal Highway. A possible strategy to exploit this is to either shoot a bear out in the open, and retreat to the cabin, or wait for the bear to approach the cabin. The latter has the benefits of offering clear shots of the bear's head and chest cavity, as well as keeping Wolves away.
It only takes ones successful shot to kill the bear, given time to let the bear bleed out. Multiple shots are generally a waste of ammo unless the player is desperate for a crit shot that will instantly drop the bear. If you are cornered by a charging bear, this may be your only option.
Unlike wolves, bears will attack if harassed, even on Pilgrim difficulty.
Winning a fight against a bear (on pilgrim) will result in 11% condition and severe bleeding. Without proper medical supplies, the character will most likely die within 30-60 seconds.
Bears can be skinned for: