ran into this guy
when out walking
frozen in place
i tried to remember
what to do
if i ever was
to meet a bear in the woods
run, play dead, make myself large, make noise
take a picture
leave it in the trees
for the child who left it behind
now, missing it.
“he looked all alone
and so sad and so blue,
so I said, “oh, dear bear;
there’s a home here for you.”
-ingrod sawubona, A Big-Bear Birthday, Please (English version)
National Park Service Notice –
READ: Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself.
As a follow-up to a previous post, if you come upon a stationary bear, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Like dogs, they will chase ﬂeeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees. Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course).
Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all? Identify yourself by making noise so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Help the bear recognize you as a human. We recommend using your voice. (Waving and showing off your opposable thumb means nothing to the bear) The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.
P.S. We apologize to any “friends” who were brought on a hike as the “bait” or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed.
“i’d rather write about polar bears than people”
image credit: Bear resting on a log thinking bear things at Katmai National Park & Preserve, NPS/ J. Ehrlenbach