If a black bear pounces forward on his front feet and bellows, this is a sign he's afraid.
"Mothers with cubs sometimes make 'bluff charges': short rushes or a series of forward pounces," Born Free USA said. "These are signs of nervousness and not an intent to attack. If this happens, momentarily hold your ground. Then, keep backing away and talking softly."
If the worst happens, and there's a terrible miscommunication, don't play dead when a black bear attacks, but fight back.
If a brown bear attacks, play dead.
If a brown bear starts seeming agitated, take it very seriously. In the extremely rare case that a brown bear actually starts attacking you, that's when you need to play dead.
"Lie flat on your stomach with your pack on and your hands behind your neck," Gunther said.