Black Bear Encounter Today!

Hannah (German Shepherd) and I were out on our usual forest hike today.

She’s off doing her thing, treeing squirrels and sniffing in the underbrush and I’m walking along lost in lala land.

I don’t know what happened first, if she barked which sent a baby bear up a tree or if the momma bear sent the baby up the tree which made her bark. At any rate the two things happened almost simultaneously.

So I heard something go scrape, scrape up a tree and thought “that’s way too loud for a raccoon”. I look up through the trees and there’s a black, fuzzy baby looking down.

“Shit…” I thought and followed the tree down to the base and sure enough, there’s momma, standing at the base of it, looking at me. The base of the tree was about 15 feet away.

I whisper/yelled to Hannah and told her to go back the way we came, which she did. I could see the whites of Momma’s eyes and she was sniffing and starting to huff and chomp her teeth. I put my hands up, started backing away and saying “we’re going, we’re going! you’re fine, we’re leaving!” and kept moving away as fast as I slowly could. You’re not supposed to run, which I didn’t but I walked fast.

About 50 feet away I checked over my shoulder to see what was happening and Momma had come out to the path and was sniffing where we had been standing. The path is windy and I couldn’t see her after that so I kept looking behind me to make sure she wasn’t following, which she wasn’t.

Anyway we quickly walked the few kilometers back to the road. It took 20 minutes or so for the adrenaline to stop pumping!

Where was this?

Scary. I’ve never encountered a bear, but on Mt. Lemmon, near here in Tucson, the bears are out and about and people are running into them. Several hiking trails and camping spots have been temporarily closed until bears have left the area.

Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

It was! Though, after, I had to laugh at the fact that I raised my hands like a cop had a gun on me :smiley:

Scary, but very cool.

The only time I’ve seen a bear in the wild was in Yellowstone, and there were about 100 other people watching it from a hill, with a Ranger keeping everyone away. Still it was a great experience.

Wow. Glad it worked out. Raising your hands isn’t a bad instinct at all. Bigger is better. It just won’t help you with an angry mama.

I think my adrenaline kicked up just hearing about that!

Two people have been killed by bears this week in Alaska, one a 16-year old in a foot race. Be careful!


You’re lucky it was a black bear. They have brown (grizzly) bears in B. C., too, don’t they?

You handled it exactly right. Well done, you!

I live with bears in my area and though I haven’t yet had a face-to-face encounter, there’s a good chance it will happen one of these days. I find their scat around my house, like 12 feet from the dwelling, and they tore apart a stump about 30 feet from the back corner last week. They’re very active at this time of year.

I hope when my time comes, I’ll handle it as well as you did. Bet I’ll raise my hands, too.

Mothers and their cubs… ugh. The worst. I’ll bet that was a long walk back to the car!!

Damn aggressive panhandlers!

(Has this clip worn out its welcome, yet?)

Those stories were on my mind when I was out there today (but not during the encounter. The only thing on my mind was “DANGER!! DANGER!!”). I do have a bear banger but, fortunately, didn’t have to use it.

Yeah if there were grizzlies on the island, I would not go walking in the forest :eek:

Thank you! I’ve stressed for the last year wondering what I would do if I ran into a mom and cub (it was only a matter of time) and today I found out.

The thing that leaves me feeling a bit freaked out still is that we were so close before my dog knew. If I’m going way out into the wilderness, I take a bell and make a lot of noise but this was in a fairly well-traveled area so I was caught off guard.

It was a freaking long walk back to the road!!! Funny enough, the dog wasn’t in the least bit phased. Shortly after leaving the bear she was jumping in creeks like nothing had happened at all. I guess in her mind, nothing had really. There was an animal in a tree, she barked and off we went.

You do know about looking for fresh scat on the ground when you’re in bear. country, don’t you? :smiley:

[SPOILER]The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.

They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.

Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear’s sensitive nose and it will run away.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.

Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.[/SPOILER]


My last black bear encounter was a couple of years ago in Yosemite.

I was driving down to Hetch Hetchy when a medium-sized bear came crashing down the hillside and ran across the road right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes–couldn’t have missed it by more than a couple inches–in an instant it was across the road and disappeared down the hill on the other side. Scared the shit out of me. Good thing I was going a little under the speed limit-otherwise it would have been pretty nasty.

There are signs all over Yosemite where bears have been hit by cars…if you visit in the future, please obey the speed limits!

I remember hiking years ago in a remote area of the Shenandoah National Park. I was with my girlfriend and my black lab, who was supposed to be on a leash. Pedro was usually a fairly obedient dog though, so we were breaking the rules…

Anyway, we rounded a curve in the trail, and there was Momma black bear and cubs up ahead. They were moving up the side of the mountain towards the ridgeline above the trail AND my usually smart dog starts chasing the bears!! While I was freaking out and calling for my dog, the bears disappeared over the top of the ridgeline with my dog at their heels. About 10 minutes later Pedro returned panting heavily looking like he had just had a grand old time. Bad dog.


I live in a very high-density bear area so I see them often when I’m driving. About a mile down the road is a large farmers field that abuts the forest. When the fields are growing the first, lush grass of the spring, there are often 2, 3, 4 bears all out there, munching away along side of deer and geese.

I’ve had a couple dash out in front of me but I always drive slowly around here and (knock wood) haven’t run into one, yet.

Black bears are pretty common around here. We’ve had to call kids in from recess because a bear was in the neighborhood. Once when I was taking a walk with my kids, a bear came strolling up a driveway, not exactly toward us, but on a vector that could intersect with ours if it wanted to. We were eating dinner once when a bear wandered through our (suburban, not forest) yard.

I guess I’m a little blase about them; I’d rather see a bear 30 feet from me than a large unleashed dog at the same distance. Black bears generally don’t care about people and won’t come up to them. I can’t say the same about dogs.

Bears are bigger than me. Bears are faster than me. I don’t talk ‘bear.’ I leave them alone. I am still alive. Plan to keep it that way.

Back when flip-phones were a thing, I saw a bear in my backyard. It was eating berries. I stepped out on to my back porch and took a picture. It was too far away fro a good picture, so I walked a few yards toward it and tried again. Still not a good pic, so I kept walking.

I eventually got a good picture, then ran back to my porch. Enlarging the picture, I saw a tag on the bear’s ear. The Pennsylvania Game Commission was able to tell me from the number on the tag that it was a “nuisance bear” that had destroyed a neighbor’s pool liner. It was trapped and relocated 60 miles away, making it back in less than a month.

I’ve only ever seen bears at the zoo and on TV so not much to contribute, but I find the phrase “nuisance bear” very amusing.