Surviving Bears in ICARUS

icarus bears killing players beta weekend 2
(Credit: @Cav3dust).

ICARUS bears are fast, they are quiet, and it takes them at most three hits to kill you (even if you have meat, berries, fish, and a speed boost in your arsenal). Wolves will growl to warn you to back off before they charge, but these bear bastards don’t care — and why should they? They know just how overpowered they are. Be it in the middle of the night, in the depths of the forest, inside your own home: bears will drop on top of you and kill you before you even have a chance to realize what’s going on. Suffice to say, ICARUS bears can get very unbearable, very quickly.

Do not despair, friend. You are far from being alone in this struggle — bears became somewhat of a meme in the ICARUS community, and before long, a lot of useful tips were shared around. In this guide, we will extend some of these to you and offer some of our own!

First, we’ll take a look at the “easy”, cheesier strategies that rely on specific situations. Then, we’ll briefly talk about some fundamentals skills and strategies that should be more generally applicable.

Here’s a trick many of us discovered after mining for a few hours: if you carve a tight human-sized hole inside a huge boulder, bears won’t be able to reach you. (Just don’t teach them how to use a pickaxe.)

It’s also an acceptable solution for a first-time mini-shelter — you can visit your little cave when clouds start to gather.

Japawaiian and I had an interesting conversation on the Discord server, and they shared a very interesting trick (Have you joined the official ICARUS Discord server yet? Well, you should!). Sure, the underwater exploit is something the developers will likely patch, but it’s unlikely that bears are going to learn how to torpedo (please no).

Here’s the trick:

  • Make it to the nearest body of water (probably the hardest step), and swim a short distance in;
  • Swim a half-circle back towards the land, with the bear still slowed down by the water once you get out;
  • Put as many arrows as you can into the bear, getting back into the water immediately after it gets out;
  • Swim a half-circle back towards the land and repeat the previous step.

(Credit: @Japawaiian.)

If you find a way to maintain a safe distance in the water, you could even repeatedly land hits with a knife while moving backwards without receiving damage. Sometimes the best line of defense is taking the opponent down as quickly as possible (however, we will have an even more daring method of bear confrontation for you in the next section!)

Note: if you are playing with friends, just continue distracting the bear inside the water (the proper gamer term would be to “maintain aggro”) and let your companions rain arrows onto the beast from a safe distance.

Then, Dionaea and Chrono539 have figured out something very cheap you can put together once you got better weapons and some combat talents: railings! Uh, well, that’s because they can form an effective hunting pen! This method is an amazing way of clearing the area before you get attacked, as well as a method for getting tons of XP.

Full credit for this tactic and the accompanying image goes to @Dionaea and @Chrono539, two very courageous (and quite creative) bear hunters.

All you need for this is an unlocked Wood Railing, the best bow and arrows you can get (we suggest a longbow with flint arrows), the best knife (bone or iron), and some attack-boosting bow and knife talents (especially the ones that boost your critical damage).

Here is the situation — you just entered a new area deep in the forest where you know to expect some higher-level bears and wolves. Instead of waiting until you get jumped from the back, you act proactively:

  • Place some wooden railings down to form a pen, and stand inside of it as if it was a hunting tower. Before the bear can get to you, it will need to break the railing.
    • To lower the risk of defeat, make sure that your pen is fully enclosed (we will discuss why a little later).
  • Use a bow (something like a longbow with flint arrows should work well) to initiate the combat. Getting the first hit is crucial for this tactic to work well.
    • For this step, leveling sneak attacks can make a big difference in initial damage. You will need the bear weakened as much as possible before it approaches the railing — you will need to take it down before it destroys the barrier.
  • As quickly as possible, take the bear down with your knife.
icarus bear trap prospector pen
Shouldn’t have messed with these guys, you, ursine picnic snatcher.
  • If the bear destroys your barrier, hop out of the pen and run, leaving a railing behind you (this is why it’s important to fully enclose the pen) to slow the animal down.
    • Bears are very dangerous once they are chasing you, but you probably already know that. It’s a good idea to put down the railing hunting pens near caves, or in transition areas or clearings. You will have a much higher chance of getting away should things go wrong if you plan your escape route ahead of time.
  • If you take the animal down, all you need to do is repair the fence (just use the Repair Hammer — the tool is cheap to repair after it breaks), pick the railings up, and move on. If you are in the forest biome, you can freely leave them behind since it will be quite easy to craft a new batch.
    • You will likely come up upon good hunting grounds unexpectedly: always carry a few wooden railings around with you.

Here’s the most dangerous of the tricks, but one you will find very valuable once you master it: sprint past the bear when it gets close, then turn and shoot it. Repeat until the bear is dead.

killing bears in icarus gif

If you are still on Tier 1 of the Tech Tree, a Long Bow and some Bone Arrows as ammunition are recommended for higher efficiency. Move speed from Cloth Armor or the Solo Talent Fleet Footed can also make this easier.

icarus bear killed player and then died
Sure, maybe you will end up dead anyway. But, if you defeated the bear in the process, it’s a moral victory.
(Credit: @Japawaiian).

Adding to the true Ninja strategy is a stealthy approach: if you died to a bear or are entering a higher-level area, it might not be a bad idea to crouch while moving. This allows you to have fewer combat encounters with wildlife in general and have a first go at an unsuspecting deer. It’s also a safer way to dispatch a bear should it kill you inside your own home, consequently barring you from entry.

The above strategies all work, but they require specific situations (water source nearby or a rock to hide in) or are incredibly risky (relying on perfectly dodging a bear’s attack is not a safe strategy).

Instead, let’s examine three general approaches to handling bears that will probably be applicable to most fauna-related threats you face in ICARUS.
(Major credit to @Dionaea for this section.)

icarus shooting bear from a distance
See the bear. Outsmart the bear. Be the bear.
(Credit: @Cav3dust).

This is arguably the safest, most reliable strategy there isyou don’t have to fight what doesn’t notice you.

  • Try to stick to the edges of the area you’re in (less blind spots, more clearance, less chances that the bear will spot your first).
  • Go slow! If your plan is to not get seen, you’ll need to be patient and make sure you’ve checked your sightlines before you move forward.
  • Learn the tracking abilities from the Talents, especially the “On the Trail”, which will make sure you don’t stumble into a bear that’s ahead of you. Faster speed from tracking, lowered detection — all of these are good to pick up if you would rather hunt more peaceful animals for resources.

This strategy has the additional benefit of making hunting easier as well. Not much to say about this, it’s pretty self-explanatory: fill the bear with arrows before it can fill you with teeth.

  • Practice on deer — you don’t want to miss when the bear starts charging you. Granted, the deer also run faster than you… but in the other direction.
  • Get to at least the Long Bow and Bone Arrows on the Tech Tree to help you with this.
killing bear from range how to survive icarus guide
Just don’t miss (image credit: official ICARUS youtube channel)

Discretion is the better part of valor; in ICARUS, there’s no shame in running for your life.

  • Max out stamina in the Talent Tree (get “Chase ‘Em Down” to tier 3).
  • Max out speed as well (tier 3 of “Swift Survivor” is a good start, and “Quick Getaway” might be a good idea for stamina sustain with bear claws stuck in your back.)
  • Put on some fast-paced music in whatever genre you prefer to put you in a running mood (or put on this running classic).
  • P.S.: bears are good climbers, so don’t rely on rocks to create distance between you two. That being said, bears can get stuck on rocks and other terrain, so weaving between obstacles is always a good idea when trying to run away.

If you are dying frequently, try maxing out the health and regeneration talents and carrying some boosting pastes, regardless of what strategy you’re using to survive bears. A few extra points of health might be the difference between living or dying. Also, this probably goes without saying, but the quicker you can tech up and craft the rifle/shotgun, the less of a problem bears will be.

We’d also encourage you to learn how to deal with bears in less cheesy ways, since it’s almost a certainty that there will be more threatening animals in future biomes. If you spend all your time hiding from bears, you’ll probably never be ready for bigger, badder fauna.

We hope this guide on dealing with bears in ICARUS was helpful! The community was instrumental in creating this guide, so if you spotted advice or strategies you shared in the Discord, please feel free to take credit in the comments below. Questions, comments, or more bear-related tips are also welcome.

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Mila Grish
Mila Grish

Dedicated contributor at EIP Gaming and a part-time collector of books she will never have time to actually read. Jumps on the newest releases just as quickly as on the uncovered dusty collections from the basement. For her, shiny graphics can never be an excuse to not have a polished player experience or an immersive story.

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2 years ago

As of BW3, bears can:

  • dive!
  • climb 2.5m high ridges (that you yourself cannot climb)

This drastically changes the above

Reply to  Mila Grish
2 years ago

Comfirmed all the above, as of today … bears can climb but their swim speed is still their weakness. The extra damage from stealth (2.5x+) is also very helpful if an option (when trying to kill them from range)

Reply to  Rhisto
2 years ago

Not to mention JUMP. I jumped over my fence, and turned around to the bear leaping over it too without a second thought >.<

2 years ago

Some work involved”¦.highest rock required.
chop the all sides till you start digging in under the rock.
use chopped rock to make rock stack”¦place at appropriate distance from rock to aid in getting onto your rock island.

2 years ago

I used to have problems with bears when I first started. Even avoided areas where I knew they “lived” in. Now I could care less for the friendly brown bear.
If you have enough points in the combat tree (in my case bow) you can easily kill them. For me, with Long Bow and Bone arrows, it takes sometimes 1 stealth headshot to kill, if bear is low level. 2 or 3 headshots in total for higher level.
The only thing you need is a little attention once you enter bear territory. While they don’t make sounds before attacking you, they do roar pretty often, so you can easily tell when one is within vicinity. If you walk in stealth mode, whenever you don’t have visibility around you and look carefully, you should locate the bear within a short time. Proceed to make it a pincushion before it even reaches you.

2 years ago

MXC knife, Bear aggros, I run at it. Stab in face. Bear dies before I do. Use meat to heal.
only need 4 or 5 headshots which are pretty easy. Crouch to get level with his head or aim down at his snout.