VIDEO: Man Meets Grizzly and Cubs On Path, Tries to Back Away Slowly
August 18, 2020
A video uploaded to Youtube is both a terrifyingly tense slow-motion chase between an adult female grizzly and her two cubs but also a potent demonstration of the importance of bear-encounter survival tactics.
Taken in 2017, the video shows the events from the point of view of the hiker, who did what experts suggest upon encountering a bear -- he backs off the way he came, slowly, making a little bit of noise. He doesn't turn his back on the bear, which sometimes triggers an instinctual attack response. Instead, he calmly and deliberately paces backward, trying to match or exceed the bear's speed.
The grizzly mama seems uninterested in the hiker, but the playful cubs seem to be curious about him. "Aw come on, guys. Give me a break," he says after a minute of trying to retreat, adding "The cubs just keep coming."
Eventually the man escapes their notice, and the mother and her cubs walk down to the shore by a body of water and lose interest in the man.
It is easy to see how this relatively innocuous encounter could have gone wrong if the man had not been so diligent in observing the guidelines for safe grizzly encounters. He walks rather than runs, makes a near-constant series of calming noises, and does not attempt to appear aggressive. We admit that if you were looking for something he did wrong you could make the case that he shouldn't be out hiking alone in the first place, but he certainly did a good job of defusing the situation once it had begun.