Thanks, Never Hiking Again After Seeing This Grizzly Encounter

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Written by Marisa Wilson

Updated: December 28, 2023

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Grizzly bear
© Perpis/Shutterstock.com

Imagine it’s a lovely day, and you decide to go for a hike. You plan to go and see a thick forest full of deep green trees. As you’re walking, you turn around to see a bear following behind you! Not many people would react well to that situation! However, the man in this video handles it like a pro.

A Close Encounter of the Terrifying Kind

If you’ve ever seen a stray dog wander into someone’s yard, you often hear them shoo it away: “Go on, get out of here!’ they’ll say. That’s exactly how he responds to the bear following him. What if you discovered a bear was following you silently? This bear seems to only want to be a part of things.

Perhaps the bear was looking for company and was happy to see someone close to his track. A few individuals might flee or ball up. Both of these should be avoided if you ever encounter a bear. Hold your ground and remain motionless while slowly waving your arms. This will help the bear identify you as a human.

A female Marsican brown bear walking through the forest

It is best to avoid hiking alone when in bear territory and avoid startling one.

©Claudio Bottoni/Shutterstock.com

It might go closer or stand on its hind legs to acquire a better view or smell. Typically, a standing bear is curious rather than dangerous. The man on the trail does something similar. He stands in place and waves his arms out, making a casual “go away” gesture. The bear shows confusion and dismay. Then the man keeps telling the bear to “go on, get!” He doesn’t want the bear to follow him, but then again, who would?

Next to the trail is a tall hill full of trees and green plants. The man tells the bear to “Get up the hill.” After a few gestures and firm directions, the bear decides to go up the hill. He followed instructions begrudgingly. You see the bear walking up the hill in the man’s direction. You can tell from this bear’s mannerisms that it must be used to encountering humans.

When it becomes apparent the bear is going to keep its distance, the man’s group of friends breaks out into laughter. It sounds like a combination of disbelief and relief. They were just as surprised as you will be that the bear listened to the man’s request. Could you imagine encountering a bear and then telling him to leave?

It must have been a surprise for the bear too. What if the bear just wanted a little snack or didn’t want to be alone? Well, humans tend not to want to be alone either, but a bear can be intimidating company. You can’t help imagining what would have happened if the man had allowed the bear to follow them through the hike.

A handful may hope the bear is tame enough for closer interactions, while most assume the bear will cause harm. Guess we’ll never know in this case since the bear decided to listen to the man. Check out the video if you are ready to see a neat interaction between an authoritative man and a reluctant bear!

Are Bears Generally Curious About People?

bear with cubs
Bears are very intelligent and curious.

Yes, they can be. Highly intelligent with a sense of smell more powerful than a dog’s, they tend to take a keen interest in their surroundings and in new scents and sights too.

They also happen to be very fond of human food as well. If you happen to be snacking on pemmican, jerky, or chocolate on a lone trail, a hungry, curious ursine might be drawn to the pleasant odors of fat, sugar, or meat, and amble along letting its nose lead the way.

This makes taking a few precautions necessary when going on a hike. Such as bringing bear spray along, for example. And never hiking alone or letting little children fall behind or sprint ahead of you.

Is It Normal For a Bear to Retreat From a Human?

Young Grizzly bear crossing road in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

It’s best to stand still and talk in low, calm tones if you encounter a bear in the wild if possible.

©Don Mammoser/Shutterstock.com

It depends on the situation as to whether a bear would retreat or advance, but in general, bear attacks are rare, though they have happened and are always possible. The way a bear reacts to a human in its territory has a lot to do with how the human reacts to it. There are certain behaviors humans should not engage in, such as being intimidating or threatening. High-pitched sounds like screams are not advised, however, yelling at a bear or making loud noises is a tactic humans can use in such a situation.

In fact, an experiment conducted by Justin Suraci of the University of California at Santa Cruz yielded some interesting observations. He went into the wilderness and set up speakers that played recordings of humans reading poetry in remote areas. What he and his colleagues noticed is that wild animals, including predators, were terrified of the human voice, to the point that it could influence their behavior by creating a “landscape of fear.”

The man in the video waved his arms and yelled at the bear repeatedly. This did seem to intimidate the bear into retreat. The man advancing towards the bear was probably not wise. Besides screaming, imitating the sounds a bear would make is not smart. It’s advised to stand still, speak in calm tones, and slowly wave your arms to allow the bear to recognize that you are a human. Sudden movement can trigger the bear to react. Other tips are to make yourself look large either by standing tall and raising your arms or by moving to higher ground.


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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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