CANADA– A woman from Colorado says she was charged by a bear while running on a trail in Whistler. She says she wants to get her story out to help others understand what to do if they come into contact with a bear while out in the wild.
“The one moment no one else was around I stopped to take a selfie by some boulders when a black bear clambered down from the rocks onto the trail. At first as I slowly backed up, I thought it was going to stay clear of me, but then suddenly it turned towards me and charged me. It stood on 2 legs and puffed and chomped its teeth in my face and I stopped backing away and screamed “NO”. It hesitated, then backed up slightly, got back on all fours and went around me and slowly went on its way. Once out of view I ran harder than I had ever ran until I was safely away. I truly thought for a moment I was about to be mauled.”
If You Surprise a Bear on a Trail
- Stand still, stay calm and let the bear identify you and leave. Talk in a normal tone of voice. Be sure the bear has an escape route.
- Never run or climb a tree.
- If you see cubs, their mother is usually close by. Leave the area immediately.
If the Bear Doesn’t Leave
- A bear standing up is just trying to identify what you are by getting a better look and smell.
- Wave your arms slowly overhead and talk calmly. If the bear huffs, pops it jaws or stomps a paw, it wants you to give it space.
- Step off the trail to the downhill side, keep looking at the bear and slowly back away until the bear is out of sight.
If the Bear Approaches
- A bear knowingly approaching a person could be a food-conditioned bear looking for a handout or, very rarely, an aggressive bear. Stand your ground. Yell or throw small rocks in the direction of the bear.
- Get out your bear spray and use it when the bear is about 40 feet away.
- If you’re attacked, don’t play dead. Fight back with anything available. People have successfully defended themselves with pen knives, trekking poles, and even bare hands.