“Hey, bear, it’s okay,” Canadian photographer Curtis Matwishyn called out again as the juvenile brown bear followed his backward footsteps. For almost a full three minutes, the Saskatchewan native kept his can of deterrent at the ready, just in case the animal went from curious to aggressive.
There are dozens if not hundreds of videos on social media that demonstrate what not to do when encountering wildlife. But if there was ever an educational clip on how to prevent a bear attack, this would be it. While visiting Prince Albert National Park, Matwishyn accidentally ran into one of the woodland’s many wild residents.
From the bear’s behavior in the video, it didn’t seem to have any ill intent. Likely, the young bear had recently separated from its sow. Now on its own, it was venturing through the woods when it found the photographer. Naturally, it was curious about the two-legged visitor it encountered and began to follow Matwishyn. As it zig-zagged through the trees, occasionally pouncing on a trunk, it watched him closely, never so much as grunting at Matwishyn.
Still, the clearly experienced adventurer knew that even the cutest, most curious bears could be deadly, and if he rewarded the brave behavior, he could be securing an attack on a future hiker when the bear was a bit older.
Watch below to see how calmly the photographer warded off the well-meaning creature.
@ctvnews Saskatchewan photographer Curtis Matwishyn had a tense encounter with a bear in Prince Albert National Park and captured the whole thing on video. #bear #mustsee #watch #wildlife ♬ original sound – CTVNews
How Canadian Photographer Successful Avoided Bear Attack
You can break down Matwishyn’s wildlife response into three crucial steps, all of which he performed perfectly.
First and foremost, he remained calm.
This may be the most obvious step in bear awareness, but it’s also the most important. The moment you panic is when you lose control of the situation. Even when the young bear was mere feet away from him, the Canadian photographer kept his composure and continued his slow and steady movements out of the area.
Secondly, he never turned away from the bear.
While you need to designate a clear and quick way out of the woods, you also need to keep your eyes on the bear at all times. This is precisely why Matwishyn was walking backward in the video (although, a secondary reason may have been to record the wild incident). In fact, there was even a recent incident just this month in which a black bear attacked a man that turned his back on it.
Finally, Matwishyn knew how and when to dispense the bear spray.
When the animal came too close for comfort, the Canadian photographer deployed the deterrent. Thankfully, because the bear was still young, a quick spritz was enough to scare it off in the opposite direction. In more dire situations, he may have needed to empty the can and make a break for it.
Luckily, though, it was a rare, happy ending for both species.