Mears met his partner, Rachel, in 1992 when she attended one of his five-day survival courses. The couple lived in East Sussex with her two adult children, and married in 2005, after Rachel was diagnosed with breast cancer. Rachel died in 2006, aged 50, and her ashes are scattered in the Ashdown forest near their home.
While filming a documentary in Wyoming in 2005 Ray Mears was involved in a serious accident. The helicopter in which he and his camera crew were travelling struck the ground during a steep low level turn, and broke apart, rolling to a stop. The fuel tank was ruptured in the accident, and escaping fuel covered Mears and the crew. No fire occurred, and Mears was able to escape the wreckage uninjured and assist in the rescue and administer first aid to one of the crew who was badly hurt.
In 2009 he was approached by ITV to present a planned revival of its long-running nature documentary series Survival. The resulting three-part series was rebranded Survival with Ray Mears and broadcast on ITV1 in 2010. Each episode followed Mears as he used his tracking skills to locate bears, wolves and leopards. In a Radio Times interview to promote the series, Mears complained of being typecast by the BBC. This series was followed by Wild Britain with Ray Mears, also broadcast by ITV.
Wild Britain with Ray Mears (ITV, Autumn 2010, 6 episodes) – To be followed in 2011 by extended 60-minute episodes with exclusive additional content to be broadcast on UKTV's natural history channel Eden.
Ray Mears: Close Encounters (ITV Summer 2013, 2 episodes)