A runner in Wyoming….Evan Matthews, went for a casual run in the park and ended up being run at and followed for about half a mile by this hungry little cinnamon black bear who was fresh out of the den. Evan says he has seen plenty of bears in the wild, but this was the first time one had shown any interest in him. He says the bear must have been extra hungry!
He wrote these notes:
1) This is a “cinnamon phase” BLACK bear….even though it is brown in color
2) I had bear spray in my running vest and got it out immediately (but did not spray it as the bear never got within 20 yards)
3) I did NOT run away. If I had, the bear could have thought of me as prey and chased me down. Being that I am not prey, I stood my ground when it charged (showing it that I’m not a prey animal) then backed away slowly
4) I did NOT play dead. That may save your life if a mother bear with cubs is attacking, as she may perceive the threat to be over. But with a solo bear who is interested in you like this, it is not trying to eliminate a threat – it is trying to find an easy target. Don’t be one.
5) I kept talking to it to show that I was a Human and not to be mistaken for another animal
Not all bear encounters are the same. In most cases, I’ve been able to just go around the animal. But this one was interested in me, so I had to change its mind!