The Long Dark Wiki
For the unique bear found in Episode 2, The Hunted, Part One and The Hunted, Part Two, see Old Bear.

If you find bones in a cave, this may mean it's a Bear Den. Watch out! Resting in these caves might earn you a nasty surprise.
In-game description

Bears are predators in The Long Dark.


Bears (aka "Black Bears") are large solitary predatory wildlife. They are found inside their bear cave (often with bones inside), or roaming near them. The First Flare has woken them from their winter hibernation. They are among the toughest and most dangerous animals on Great Bear Island; while not as aggressive as wolves, bears are highly territorial and will charge and maul their victims. If killed, bears yield up to 25-40kg of energy-dense bear meat and black bear hide, which is used to craft Bear Skin Bedroll or Bearskin Coat.


  1. If carcass is harvested
  2. If carcass is quartered.


Bears have three paces: walking, charging and fleeing. Typically they wander near their bear caves at a slow walking pace, with little interest in their surroundings, but occasionally stop to forage or look around.


Bears are relatively quiet, but their soft-padded footsteps can be heard from a distance. Crows have a unique "bear call" which can be heard when a bear is in the area. At closer distances their grunts and snorts may be heard, and if the bear detects the player they will bellow and begin to follow them. Before charging bears usually rear up on their hind legs and roar, with the "huff-huff" of its heavy breathing as it charges.


All bears have a specific den as their home, usually a bear cave or rocky outcropping. The dens can usually be identified by yellowing skeletons near their entrances. A bear will often return from roaming to their den, taking the most direct path (even if it is kilometers away). A frightened bear often flees for a time before attempting to return to their den.

  • Sleeping or spending time in bear caves is dangerous.
  • Not all dens are inhabited in playthroughs (based on survival mode). Bones mark active dens.


Bears occasionally return to their den to hibernate for a time, in which they lie down to sleep. In this state, a bear can be awoken by normal stimuli such as gun reports, lit flares, or simply being too close.


Bears will follow any player they detect and attack the player at close distances. If the player moves far enough away, the bear will give up its pursuit. Bears will also charge if they detect the player and the player shoots at them; shots from undetected players usually cause bear to flee, even if not struck by the round.


Bears are attracted by scent. Baiting with dropped scent items while being pursued by a bear will distract them (unless charging). See: Baiting.

A bear held at bay by a campfire.

Limited Fear of Fire

Bears are only held at bay by certain fires. Campfires and flares will prevent a bear from charging the player unless it is already within a certain distance. It will wait outside the radius of the fire until the player leaves the safety of the fire or it is scared away. Approaching a bear while it is held at bay will cause it to overcome its fear and charge. While being held at bay, bears will run from weapon fire instead of charging. They will walk or charge around a lit torch on the ground, but it will not stop them, nor will throwing torches or flares at bears cause them to flee.


Bears flee from Distress Pistol reports and from the landing site of flare rounds; the Distress Pistol is the only means to stop a charging bear. Bears are also frightened of bullets and arrows striking near them, but only from undetected players; they will charge attackers if they can detect them (barring Distress Pistol fire).

Performing a critical hit will cause Bears to flee if they survive the initial damage.


Stones deal no damage if striking a bear, and a bear will chase those who throw stones at them (if detected). Stones thrown by undetected players will distract nearby bears to investigate for a few seconds.


Player's view of a bear mauling.

If provoked with weapons or approached too close, a bear will charge and maul the player. Only the Distress Pistol can stop a charging bear. Bear struggles are different from wolf struggles in that the player will always lose, getting mauled and eventually passing out. After mauling the player, the bear will walk away but may maul the player again if they do not flee immediately.

Bear attacks cause massive Condition loss, blood loss, infection risk, and usually ruins a worn clothing item (typically one worn on the head, accessory or shoes). Attacks from bears are usually not fatal at high Condition.

  • After a struggle, move a safe distance from the bear before applying First Aid; staying too close to the bear may cause it to maul the player again.
  • Bears require physical contact to begin a struggle, so attacks can avoided by using terrain blockers, doors, narrow spaces, cliff sides, and the interiors of vehicles and structures.
  • Bear attacks typically are non-lethal at high Condition, but cause 90% Condition loss (reduced by clothing protection) (e.g. pre-struggle: 72% Condition, post-struggle: ~7% with no protective clothes).
  • After a struggle, random items from the player's inventory will usually fall onto the ground—typically their weapon or held item at the start of the struggle.
  • Significant condition damage is usually inflicted on some of the clothing item(s), often ruining one.
  • Bear struggles cannot be won (except in Wintermute with the bear spear).


Bears may be hunted with any ranged weapon (except Stones) and suffer from blood loss, so a single round is lethal (but may take many hours for the animal to bleed out). A single shot may even kill a bear instantly if it strikes their head and is a "critical hit", but usually bears survive multiple rounds and will immediately charge or flee depending if the player was detected.

Critical hits

Critical hits are random occurrences, but are more likely in designated critical areas (and affected by Weapon Skill). Bears have four areas: head/neck, torso, hindquarters, and feet. Shots to the head/neck have the highest chance to critically strike (~30%), followed by torso, and then hind. Shots to a bear's feet and legs cannot critically strike.

Bleeding wounds

All shots that cause blood loss are lethal, but may take many hours based on which body part was struck. Multiple shots do not stack blood loss. A shot that hits a higher blood loss area will override blood loss from a shot in a lower blood loss area. Conversely, if shot in an area of lower blood loss after being shot in area of higher blood loss, the shot that hit the area of lower blood loss will override the blood loss from the first shot. Therefore, if you land a head shot which causes a bear to flee, shooting it in the hindquarters or limbs will cause the bear to bleed out more slowly. As such, you should not fire a second shot in that scenario and instead simply follow the bear until it bleeds out from the head wound.

Time to bleed out


  • Bull-Fight: Shoot from close to a position that bears cannot attack, perhaps luring or baiting the bear into range first. Shoot the bear, enter cover. Let it charge and fail. Follow until it bleeds out.
  • Stealth: Shoot from a hidden location, ideally with the survival bow and track until dead.
  • Unwise: Shoot repeatedly as it charges hoping for first or second shot critical hit to drop the bear before it reaches you.
  • Decoys: Drop decoys to distract the bear and fire on the bear when it is distracted.
  • Stall with Fire: Get close enough to the bear for it to follow you (but not charge, do not shoot yet), make a quick fire (best with accelerator) then wait behind the fire for the bear to approach. About midway, the bear will go on its hind legs and roar, then charge but stops in front of the fire and stays in a waiting stance. This will provide a significant amount of time to shoot the bear in the head (choose your favorite weapon), the bear then runs away. Follow until it bleeds out.
  • Goading: Agitate the bear into following (but not charging) and lead it to a more advantageous location for hunting, or even back to a safe house. You can also shoot and retreat to safety, such as inside a vehicle. Avoid loading screens (inside a mine or building interior), since that may cause the bear to de-spawn. As the bear starts to wander off, exit your hiding spot and agitate it again to draw it back. After a few hours (in-game) the bear should die relatively close by. This process can be time consuming depending on distance and bleed out time, but is relatively safe, minimizes risk of losing the wounded bear, and makes harvesting convenient.

It is worth noting that after killing the bear, it is more time-efficient to Quarter the bear than to harvest the hide and guts individually. However, the body of the bear that would be destroyed by quartering is also large enough to grant protection from the wind to campfires and crouching players, which can be useful for players looking to harvest the bear's meat on the spot.


Bear spawns vary by region and Survival Mode. In some regions (Coastal Highway and Desolation Point) bears always spawn in the same location(s); in other regions (Mystery Lake and Pleasant Valley), bears have multiple possible spawning locations which only some may be be occupied in a given save file. The following list is a list of possible bear locations:

Mystery Lake: 1-2 bears

Coastal Highway: 2-3 bears

Pleasant Valley: 5-7 bears

Desolation Point: 1 bear

Timberwolf Mountain: 3 bears

Forlorn Muskeg: 2 bears

Broken Railroad: 1 bear

Mountain Town: 1 bear

Bleak Inlet: 1 bear

Hushed River Valley: 2 bears

Ash Canyon: 1 bear

Blackrock Region: 3 bears


Update history

  • update 19 May 2020 (Update):
    • [General] Bear sound effects no longer play when a carcass is removed from the world.
  • hotfix 1 November 2019 (Update):
    • Fixed Bears resetting to their dens after loading a save.
  • hotfix 28 October 2019 (Update):
    • Fixed issue that caused Bears to sometimes spawn under the map.
  • hotfix 27 May 2019 (Update):
    • [Survival Mode] Tuned damage dealt to Bears and Moose when using the Revolver.
  • hotfix 8 May 2019 (Update):
    • Tuned Revolver effectiveness when used against Moose (reduced) and reduced critical chance against Bears.
  • update 17 December 2018 (Update):
    • [Survival Mode] Fixed Bear spawning in terrain in Mystery Lake
    • [All] Bear breath effect optimization
    • [PS4] Fixed missing Bear breath
  • hotfix 27 August 2018 (Update):
    • [ALL] Fixed issue where injured Bears reset their status when players enter an interior or Pass Time.
  • update 14 June 2018 (Update):
    • [All] Fixed Bear becoming stuck in animation when not in player’s view.
  • hotfix 20 March 2018 (Update):
    • [Survival Mode] Fixed issue where Bears could be stuck on broken ice in Desolation Point.
    • [Both] Crouching close to Bears no longer lets players move inside the carcass.
  • update 7 December 2017 (Update):
    • [Both] Fixed issue where player camera would be inside the Bear mesh during carcass harvesting.
  • hotfix 16 August 2017 (Update):
    • Fixed issue with a series of multiple exertion sounds being played after a Bear struggle.
  • hotfix 3 August 2017 (Update):
    • Fixed the Bear struggle.
  • hotfix 12 January 2017 (Update):
    • Fixed issue with drawn Survival Bow movement speed retained after Wolf or Bear struggle
  • hotfix 21 December 2016 (Update):
    • Fixed bear getting stuck inside rail car in Forlorn Muskeg region
  • hotfix 25 May 2016 (Update):
    • Fixed issue with Bears running too slowly.
  • hotfix 30 April 2016 (Update):
    • [BUG] Fixed issue with bears not respawning.
  • update 21 April 2016 (Update):
    • Delay condition-loss from Bear struggle until the struggle animation is complete. (This does not apply to Wolf struggles.)
    • Improved the Bear model and texture.
    • Improved the Bear animations.
    • Overhauled struggle audio for both Wolves (to account for new first-person presence) and for the Bear struggle (to make it more impressive).
    • Bears are now spawned facing outwards from Dens. This helps fix some pathing issues when the bear attempts to leave the Den.
    • Fixed issue with Bear playing sleep animations after leaving the sleep AI state.
  • update 14 April 2015 (Update):
    • Bears have now migrated to all regions of the game world.
  • update 1 April 2015 (Update):
    • Added new Bear "smelling" and "standing" animations.
    • Wolves and Bears will stop attacking when the player falls through the ice.
    • Fixed issue with player health being reset to 100% if loading a save after a Bear attack.
  • hotfix 10 February 2015 (Update):
    • Fixed some bear AI detection and reaction issues.
    • Re-balanced harvestable meat and gut yield for Bear, as well as Caloric value of Bear meat.
  • update 7 February 2015 (Update):
    • Added to game.