A hapless nature photographer was recently caught on tape having a very close call with a wild black bear. The bizarre encounter was posted by Instagram user cnecula19 for the world to see. In the clip, the photographer is completely oblivious to the hefty wild animal being an arm’s length away. Lucky for the dedicated photographer, the bear ignores the careless human. He continues to snap pictures as the disinterested bear crosses a road back into the woods.
It’s tough to tell in the video whether the photographer is simply playing it cool or actually not aware of the black bear. It certainly seems as if he’s just absorbed in taking pictures and simply doesn’t notice the animal. Perhaps that’s better than the countless videos of careless tourists deliberately trying to interact with the wild animals. Not by much, though.
What to do in a Black Bear Encounter
However, the photographer inadvertently did a few things right during the black bear encounter. The rules of viewing etiquette are the first step toward avoiding a bear encounter that might develop into an attack. Keeping a safe distance and not surprising bears are two things that are particularly crucial. If you hear humans approaching, most bears will avoid them. If you’re in an area with known bear activity or a rich food source, such as berry bushes, pay attention to your surroundings and try to stand out.
According to the National Park Service, the man in the video did a few key things correctly. They advise not to drop your pack and not to give the black bear any food. They also stress not to make direct eye contact. Another thing they suggest is to travel in groups. The photographer clearly has at least one person with him, as someone had to take the video.
Finally, the NPS urges folks not to climb trees to escape wild animals. Black bears in particular are terrific climbers. Not only did the photographer not climb a tree, but he also didn’t seem capable of such a task with all the gear he had.
The NPS stresses that bear attacks are extremely rare. Most bears mind their own business if not antagonized by humans. However, they do have some tips in the event of an attack. Interestingly, they strongly urge people to not play dead with black bears. Playing dead works with their brown cousins, though. If you’re stuck in a bear attack, the NPS says the best bet is to get out of there as quickly as possible. They urge you to find a car or shelter if you can. If you aren’t able to flee, try to defend yourself with whatever is accessible. The NPS says to focus your blows on the bear’s face and muzzle.