Typically, the phrase is “let sleeping dogs lie,” but in this case, it should be, “Don’t let sleeping humans lie where a bear encounter is a guarantee.”
Lucky for this guy, the bear walking through the wildlife underpass where he decided to take a snooze didn’t seem to mind sharing the space. However, had the man woken or moved in some way that the bear might have found threatening, the encounter would likely have been much more dangerous. Cameras in the US-93 Montana underpass caught the events on film. While the man cozied up in his sleeping bag, a bear wandered through, briefly surveyed the other mammal and then continued on.
Yesterday, the CSKT Wildlife Management Program posted about the incident on Facebook. They warned against taking shelter in wildlife crossing structures, as a variety of species use them frequently.
The wildlife crossing structures under US 93 are not a safe place to rest…for humans! Wildlife like to lay down in them for hours, drink water out of springs and streams, fawns will frolic to and fro; but they are not a safe place to camp to rest,” the Program wrote in the post.
CSKT Wildlife Management Program Said the Man ‘Didn’t Even Stir’ During Bear Encounter
The CSKT Wildlife Management Program asserted the dangers of sleeping in that particular location where the encounter took place.
“When we check them for work we have bear spray on our hip and are cautious and alert. Mountain lions, black bears, grizzly bear, white tailed bucks and does, coyotes and skunks use them day and night,” the post read. “So please, stay clear of the crossing structures and if you do go in, be alert and don’t stay long.”
According to the post, the napping man “didn’t even stir” while the bear encounter occurred. Whether this was intentional or not, his stillness kept him from becoming a bear’s version of a burrito.
The Program also took the opportunity to warn against starting any fires–in the underpass or otherwise.
“We are also in Stage 2 fire restrictions, don’t start any fires!!!”
Stage 2 fire restrictions prohibit outdoor fires, smoking, welding or any other combustive activity.
Montana Residents React to Wildlife Incident
The bear enounter stunned some Montana natives. Out West, behavior around wildlife might as well be taught in preschool. Most residents know that if there’s a bear crossing, you should stay far away. So, in response, some followers of the CSKT Wildlife Management Program took the opportunity to poke a little fun at the snoozing hitchhiker.
“Omg lucky dude,” one commenter said. “the bear just looks at him.”
Another joked, “Dang. I’d just posted this place on AirBnB for $125/night.”
A few were just happy the man was able to walk away without injury.