There’s not a whole lot scarier than walking home in the dark, surrounded by thick woods – when you’re suddenly surprised by a massive grizzly bear charging at you. Well, except for maybe some sort of zombie apocalypse scenario. But since it’s unlikely the walking dead are just traipsing about waiting to attack, the bear thing seems utterly unsettling.
Recently, a man in British Columbia experienced a close encounter with a grizzly. Somehow, despite the terrifying moment, he was able to catch the incident on video. As the Canadian man was walking through the streets, a giant bear bursts through the dark. Running on all four legs, it comes straight at the man. However, at the last moment, the bear charges off to the side. Strangely, the man then circles back and follows the animal where it runs up a hillside and cautiously watches the man’s movement.
The behavior is known as “bluff charging” – an act that’s meant to intimidate, according to the National Park Service.
“Bears exhibit different kinds of behaviors during different situations, and understanding the bear’s behavior can make the difference between life and death. There are two types of charges—bluff charges and aggressive charges,” the National Park Service states on its website.
How to Handle Grizzly Bluff Charges
“Bluff charges are meant to scare or intimidate. When a bear bluff charges, it will have its head and ears up and forward. The bear will puff itself up to look bigger. It will bound on its front paws toward you (moving in big leaps), but then stop short or veer off to one side. Often bears retreat after a bluff charge, or they may vocalize loudly,” the website explains.
While the man was rather lucky, and his experience with the animals is unknown, he did react properly by holding his ground.
“If you can see a bluff charge is about to happen, slowly back away while waving your arms above your head, and speak to the bear in a calm voice. When the bear charges you, hold your ground and stay calm,” the website goes on to say.
Lucky for the man, he got away unscathed. And now, we can all experience this terrifying moment with his video footage.
Bear Attacks in Alaska
While grizzly bear bluff charges are more common, when a bear is ready to attack, you’ve got to be ready to defend yourself.
While working several hours north of Sitka, Alaska, a Fish and Game technician found himself in a dire situation. While completing a job with his co-worker, Jess Coltharp saw a bear rush at him.
“I couldn’t even really see it all at first because the brush was pretty thick, but about 20 feet away…this bear comes charging out of the brush at full speed,” Coltharp said. He further explained that the bear gave no warning before the attack, which is unusual according to the outdoorsman. “Normally,” he began, “when they’re defensive over their territory, they let you know…So it was kind of a unique situation.”
Luckily, Coltharp’s co-worker took quick action and moved for his shotgun as the bear latched onto Coltharp’s leg. The bear was shot and let go of the man. This saved his life and the two were able to get back to their boat and get help for Coltharp. If it hadn’t been for their quick-thinking, the situation could have been much, much worse.