Hunting Polar Bears in ICARUS

Do giant, furry, snow-colored creatures prowl around the rocky crags of your worst nightmares? Are your prospectors dreading missions where they have to trudge through the Southern Glacier or hunt and skin polar bears? It might help to have some strategies for taking them down before stepping foot in the cold waste they call home.

Check out this guide to dealing with polar bears for ideas to keep your prospectors out of their capacious maws.

On Icarus, polar bears exclusively call the Southern Glacier region of the Arctic Biome their home. Without any other predators or prey, each polar bear considers a very large section of the glacier as its playground.

icarus guide hunting polar bears map southern glacier
It is best to build your polar-bear-hunting cabin in the Forest region, capping either end of the Southern glacier, since polar bears do not drop Leather or Fur.

Polar bears are territorial, with about the same detection range as arctic wolves. While they are tethered mobs, they will still roam long distances before turning around.

Some areas of the Southern Glacier are narrow. If you want to avoid a fight, take your time and let polar bears lead or sneak behind rocks to cover your advance.

You will need to cover a lot of ground to stalk and kill each polar bear. Be prepared to spend a few days surviving in the Arctic if you plan to hunt more than a few of them at a time. Check out the Arctic Survival guide for a few good tips.

The wide open expanse of variegated terrain can be just as much your playground as the polar bears’. There are several types of strategies you can use to take one of them down:

  • Use the terrain (glacial cliff, crevasse jumping, crevasse ambush)
  • Use a structure (sealed cave, stone bunker, or rock dugout)
  • Use your agility (arrow barrage, polar bear jousting or dodging)
  • Use a gun (enough said)
  • Use your fist (or whatever happens to be in it)

Your personal preference, ability, equipment, and opportunity will make some of these methods more convenient than others. Some are dependent on the polar bear AI, as well. Changes to this system may affect which strategies are best or even practicable.

Taking advantage of the environment is one of the easiest ways to kill a polar bear. There is enough open space in the Southern Glacier to taunt and kite a polar bear significant distances. By attacking from a position the polar bear cannot get to or destroy, you can kill it without taking any damage.

One of the more annoying abilities of polar bears is scaling steep rock faces. However, polar bears seem to have difficulty scaling the sides of glaciers that top some of the cliffs.

icarus guide hunting polar bears glacier cliff
This is PB the polar bear, finding out that ice is slippery. So close, and yet so far

If a polar bear is prowling below a glacial cliff, hit it with an arrow to taunt it. It may try to scale the cliff and get stopped by the ice. In this position, the polar bear is open to critical shots to the head.

Polar bears are capable of jumping some of the glacial crevasses which criss-cross the Arctic biomes. However, when they do so they have to first stop, turn, jump, and then turn and start running again.

icarus guide hunting polar bears crevasse jumping
When PB decides on a path, there is no stopping it… even if it’s the long way around

While the polar bear is struggling with its own slowness, you have ample opportunity to run along the crevasse. Put some distance between you and the polar bear and fire off a few shots. Then jump the crevasse and repeat.

Most of the glacial crevasses are too thin for a polar bear to fall down, even if its AI allowed it to. Find a crevasse that will allow you to descend safely (ladders can be helpful here) within arrowshot of a polar bear.

icarus guide hunting polar bears crevasse attack
And PB thought crevasse fighting was beneath it.

Taunt it with an arrow, wait for it to aggro on you, and descend into the glacier. Watch and listen for the polar bear to come to the edge overhead, and position yourself in range. With a little maneuvering, you can even position the head for a few critical hits.

Sealed caves and stone shelters are the best panic rooms Icarus can provide. As you spend time in the Southern Glacier, identify which caves are sealed and which are not. Choose or build a place to trap a polar bear and leave it vulnerable to your attacks. You can kite a polar bear from a long distance to reel it in and, once caught, this aggressive furball refuses to retreat until one of you is dead.

A sealed cave is one in which the entrance is blocked, either by a thick stone wall or a prospector creation. On any given mission, several caves in the Southern Glacier may be sealed, and others may have openings small enough to be obstructed by a single wall. The idea is to taunt a polar bear to run at your prospector and get stuck in the barrier. This allows you sufficient risk-free critical strikes to whittle down the massive health bar of a polar bear.

First, find a polar bear near a cave that can be sealed. A trap for the creature can be set in a nearby sealable cave either by mining a thin tunnel through the stone wall or building a stone (or concrete) barrier with a doorway across the opening of the cave. Placing and opening a door in the doorway can increase the amount of material the polar bear must break through to get at the prospector.

Then, just shoot an arrow at the polar bear to aggro it. Run back through the seal and wait for the polar bear to charge and get stuck. This technique makes it easy to hunt polar bears with just a knife.

While heavier than most building materials, stone and concrete walls are the only types with sufficient hit points to withstand a polar bear attack. Stone is light enough to carry a small bunker around with you to use as a portable shelter and polar bear trap.

icarus guide hunting polar bears stone bunker
All that is missing from this cozy arctic bunker is a welcome mat for PB!

For polar bear protection, you need at least the following materials:

You might carry extras as replacements in case one is destroyed. Place one of the stone beams down horizontally and place a stone wall down on top of it. Attach the other 3 stone walls to the first to form a box, and put a window frame or doorway in each wall. Consider making more than one doorway to allow escape if the polar bear blocks your original exit. For a temporary shelter, add a wood doors and wood windows where needed, and finish with a stone roof. During a snow storm, demolish and rebuild the roof to remove snow and prevent collapse.

icarus guide hunting polar bears stone box trap
The thatch and wood huts were no problem, but this stone doorway really did PB in

Then, go out and aggro a nearby polar bear, run back through the door, and wait for it to arrive. You can lower the health points of the polar bear with a few well-placed arrows as it arrives. The polar bear will choose to attack one of the windows or the door.

Attack the polar bear aggressively with your favorite weapon. Don’t wait for it to pause, and get in as many hits as possible, ideally on the head. An iron or workshop knife is recommended for DPS and dual use for skinning.

It takes 7-8 hits from a high level polar bear to break a new stone wall, which should give you enough time to dispatch the creature. Once it is dead and skinned, you can repair the shelter and either pick it up, or find a new target to draw in.

Find a big enough rock and you will have found the makings of a custom cave. There are plenty of these lining the cliff sides of the Southern Glacier. Simply mine out a space in the base of the rock large enough to crawl through and a couple meters deep. It is a good idea to cut a small hole in the top of the rock to slash the polar bear if it climbs over you.

icarus guide hunting polar bears cave dugout trap
PB was a little angry it wasn’t allowed to drop in on this chic cave opening

Then, the process is very similar to the Sealed Cave strategy. You may not be able to hit the polar bear weak spot when it arrives as only the legs of the polar bear might be open. However, a good melee weapon should be sufficient to cut the polar bear off at the knees. An iron or workshop knife is recommended.

It is the bold prospector that chooses to confront a polar bear out in the open. Sufficient agility both in movement and weapon usage is recommended to bring down the polar bear before it has you beneath its paws. These techniques take advantage of the wide-open space for both you and the polar bear.

In the Southern Glacier, you can spot a polar bear from a hundred meters away. It is easy enough to land a hit on a polar bear from 50 meters and draw its aggro. This strategy is straight-forward… literally. Fire a barrage of arrows at the head of the charging critter until it is dead.

icarus guide hunting polar bears arrow barrage
All those numbers make it hard for PB to see what’s coming next. Hint: it’s another arrow

Try to make your first arrow a sneak-attack critical hit. In any case, the polar bear will turn and charge at you. Begin backpedaling and firing as many arrows as possible at the polar bear head until it overtakes you. Then, joust or dodge and repeat until the polar bear is dead.

Ranged arrow strategies benefit greatly from talents and armaments that slow or stop the polar bear and damage it as much as possible during its long charge. Consider investing points in:

  • Quick Load (faster arrow reload)
  • Increased Arrow Damage I/II
  • Supply and Demand (bonus damage for crafted arrows)
  • Soft Spot I/II (increased critical damage)
  • Twice the Fun (chance to shoot two arrows at once)
  • Hindering Shot (chance to slow enemy)
  • Pinning Shot (chance to immobilize enemy)

Consider crafting a Caveworm Bow and some Caveworm Arrows (which are caveworm-based recipes unlocked on the Unearthed mission). The bow is cheap to craft and repair and provides the critical damage bonus of an aluminum bow. The arrows cause poison which stacks and also slows the polar bear down further.

Bear jousting (and dodging) applies to polar bears, as well. This technique takes some practice and favors the bold. This can be done with all four weapons (bow, knife, spear, gun), depending on the proficiencies and preferences of the prospector.

icarus guide hunting polar bears joust bow
The trick to reasoning with PB is to trade places. It got the point in the end

Both methods rely on the same sequence of events to deal with a charging polar bear. Taunt the animal into committing to an attack, and be on the other side of the animal when it happens.

For the jousting method:

  • Ideally, start with a sneak attack critical hit from a spear or arrow to significantly reduce the starting health of the polar bear.
    • The direct attack will agro the polar bear so back away and face its charge quickly.
  • As the polar bear runs at your prospector, try to run closely past the polar bear.
    • This should cause the polar bear to initiate its attack.
  • The momentum of the polar bear, however, carries it forward and away from your prospector running in the other direction.
    • As long as you are past the attack box of the polar bear when it attacks, it will miss.
  • Finally, quickly turn and line up with the polar bear for another pass.
    • The timing of your attack during each pass depends on the weapon and whether it will be used for melee or ranged damage.

Check out the jousting method on the Bear Survival guide, as well.

icarus guide hunting polar bears joust spear
“If we’re going to joust”, PB said, “you’d better bring a lance”

The dodge is similar to the joust:

In this case, your prospector turns around the polar bear at the last second (like a pick-and-roll maneuver). It is riskier, but the polar bear remains in view and melee range and the move requires no stamina. It also worked fairly well while the AI was tweaked and temporarily broke the jousting method.

polar bear dodge bow
PB just wanted to be seen, so this little dodge kept it right in the sights

There is not much to the firearm strategy. Any firearm will do, although the hunting rifle is the choice if you do not want to have to dodge while reloading. The challenge is grinding out the resources and tech to produce your preferred weapon and ammo.

Make sure you are in the effective range of the weapon. Then just line up the targeting dot or the weapon sight with a polar bear head and pull the trigger. More than once, if necessary.

icarus guide hunting polar bears firearm kill
Music soothes the savage PB. This metal track was number one… with a bullet

If you need to get in close, make sure to approach the polar bear crouched and outside its sightlines. A sneak attack critical hit can end the fight before it starts.

Polar bears wander slowly and rarely change direction in the open so you are unlikely to be spotted. Just in case, take note of where you will need to run if your aim off or you run out of ammo.

If you have the polar bear on the ropes, or maybe you just ran out of arrows, it might be time to get up close and personal. If you backpedal while the polar bear charges, you can get in several critical hits before it attacks and pushes past.

icarus guide hunting polar bears punch kill
Even life-long enemies can find creative ways to sort out their issues, right, PB?

You are going to take some damage, so get those health restoration pastes ready. Ideally, bring the Inaris “Ventura” workshop knife: it prevents you from sustaining injury while you hold it, so major wounds will not affect your maximum health. Just to be safe, bring some suture kits so you can heal any wounds afterward.

We hope this guide could provide you with some new ideas that give you the confidence and cunning to take down all the polar bears you want. Have even more tips or suggestions to deal with them? Leave a comment below and then take back the ice.

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SurvivalSherpa is an avid gamer spending most of his time at the nexus of the survival, crafting, building, and role playing genres on any platform, especially to test indie titles in EA. AFK, life is about work and education in STEM fields, reading fantasy, and sipping great coffee in the Pacific Northwest.

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