Presumably every nature TV host has had that one early experience with nature that ends up shaping their career – the thrill of first glimpsing a rare species perhaps, or interacting with a wild animal for the first time. For Casey Anderson, host of National Geographic's 'America the Wild' and Kinect Nat Geo TV (an eight-episode series of interactive shows for the Xbox 360), it was a little more intense. While working at one of his first jobs at a Montana wildlife preserve, Anderson tried to intervene in a fight between wolves. He was then attacked by the entire pack, but was able to narrowly escape thanks to thick coveralls. "I'm standing there in what are now Carhartt Daisy Dukes, and I had to get right back on the horse," he recalls. "Now I look back and realize I had done everything wrong. This was my dream job and I nearly got killed." Thankfully, Anderson is still alive and well and able to tell us what to do when you bump into a mountain lion, why playing dead can get you killed, and why you should never try to win a shootout with a bear. Launch Gallery >>
Leave the Glock at home.
If you aren't hunting, then Anderson strongly advises against carrying a firearm as a self-defense tool against predators. "Statistically, it's horrible," he says. "Like 50 percent of people who use a firearm against an attacking grizzly end up being mauled severely." The fact is that predators are far quicker than humans, and you just aren't Jesse James, friend. So while you might be fast enough to pop off a shot, unless you instantly kill whatever is attacking, you're only going to put the animal in enraged fight mode. Anderson instead suggests always carrying bear pepper spray, which will dissuade any animal from getting anywhere near you. "When you spray bears, suddenly they can't breathe and their eyes burn and their whole world is taken away," he says. "Bears aren't in a fight anymore – they just want to get away from this miserable moment." An added benefit is that the animal will consequently avoid other humans from then on.
Credit: John Norris / Corbis