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Beware of Wildlife: Use at Own Risk
June 29, 2014 9:32 PM   Subscribe

“Pawzing Workout, Resuming Workout” [YouTube] – A black bear encounter while running in Matcheetawin Trails, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
posted by D.C. (45 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hanging Out With a Brown Bear
posted by gwint at 9:40 PM on June 29


I saw this a while ago and it's very strange how the bear seems to be trying to figure out if it can make a meal of these two fellows. You can almost hear it thinking through the issue.

Growing up in small town British Columbia, with the forest literally in my back yard, this video takes me right back to my childhood fear of the woods and the weird sense of 'otherness' I always felt when alone in the bush.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 9:41 PM on June 29


I like how he started running and looked back just long enough to be sure that he was staying well ahead of the other guy. Like the old punch line says, you don't need to be faster than the bear, just faster than your friend.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:45 PM on June 29 [9 favorites]


I can't tell, was that a cub or a full grown bear?
posted by empath at 9:56 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


“Bear with sweet tooth crashes kid's party”
Officials suspect same bear entered nearby home 30 minutes later, was shot and killed by JPD

(Dig the bear-eaten cupcakes photo. Unfortunate ending.)
posted by D.C. at 9:59 PM on June 29


I've only been close to a bear once. A young adult (slightly smaller than this) about 25 feet ahead when me and a couple friends were hiking. It ignored us completely and ever since then I naively thought black bears weren't a big deal. I thought it was the grizzlies you should be worried about. After this video I'm back to being respectfully afraid of black bears.
posted by downtohisturtles at 10:04 PM on June 29


Dip Flash, the first thing I laughingly thought when I saw that the cameraman wasn't alone was "you just have to be faster than your friend." When he turned around and you see how far behind the friend is I thought, "what a dick."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:11 PM on June 29 [7 favorites]


That was definitely an unnerving black bear encounter, but it was also very, very atypical.

I've had many encounters with black bears on the trail and a few around my home and usually they retreat quickly. They are sometimes curious, though, and you don't know what that curiosity might lead to.

I never even saw the bear in what was probably my most unnerving encounter -- I was sitting out on my deck reading a book in the sunshine and the phone rang so I went inside to answer. It was my neighbors, who had resorted to the telephone after unsuccessfully trying to attract my attention by shouting across the yard to tell me that there was a black bear at the edge of my deck checking me out.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:01 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


Grrrr. That was a black bear and it was habituated. It had been fed. I spent a summer building trails in Alaska. We would be dropped off by helicopter for ten day trips. We kept cook-shacks away from our tents full of yummy pic-a-nic baskets and the bears never came remotely near. I spent one trip with a woman, LJ, who was a stand examiner for the USFS [a helicopter drops you off in the middle of nowhere] who was peeing at the edge of a muskeg when a mother brown bear and her two cubs emerged from the woods and LJ, mid micturation, said, "hi mom" and all 1,200 pounds of them fled. My boss Dan had the same experieces. The stand examiners didn't even bother carrying spray, let alone guns. No way does a non-habituated bear act like the one in the video. You let a bear know you are there and at worst they amble away, more likely they run away.

Someone fed that bear when it was a cub and it was trying to make friends again. It was going "hey guys, where you goin?, Look, I can climb trees, you thought it was cute before". You could probably pet the damn thing if you had a snack. Someone fed that bear and it's going to get that bear killed.
posted by vapidave at 11:17 PM on June 29 [30 favorites]


Grrrr. That was a black bear and it was habituated. It had been fed.

That was the first thing I thought as well. The behavior wasn't predatory, it was very open and curious and not cautious at all. An animal that is observing prey is tense and watchful, this one was scampering to and fro and wasn't disconnected in the way an animal that is planning to attack would be. It wasn't nearly as frightened of those guys as it should have been.

It was also weird that it was out and about in broad daylight, although it happens. I'm guessing that it heard voices on the trail and thought that those guys had food, not that they were food. It didn't look hungry enough to attack humans, not yet.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:47 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


DO NOT FEED THE BEARS DAMMIT
posted by louche mustachio at 11:48 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


I think vapidave has it right, and yeah, it's going to get that bear killed. Sigh.
posted by tavella at 12:04 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


In other recent Alberta bear news. Grizzly bear, non-grisly conclusion.
posted by figurant at 12:51 AM on June 30


I grew up in (and still live in) bear country. Bears can lose their wariness about people without intentional feeding (as a cub or otherwise). The ones that live near towns will often come into populated areas looking for trash cans / dumpsters to raid and will get habituated that way.

My town has instituted strict laws about securing trash to avoid creating “garbage bears” (as they are known), but they are curious/hungry and come into the city anyway. The problem is reduced, but not eliminated. If possible bears are trapped and released far “out the road” though sometimes these bears find their way back.
posted by D.C. at 12:52 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


In other recent Alberta bear news.
A Parks Canada wildlife conflict specialist, who survived being attacked by a grizzly bear while riding his bike near Jasper, Alta., on the weekend, says he screamed at the animal after it knocked him off his bike and tried to bite him.
I'd be really good at the screaming part. I wonder if losing bladder control also helps scare them away?
posted by pracowity at 1:28 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The video is scary, but figurant's article is much scarier because it's about a grizzly that was clearly out to eat somebody. If it hadn't accidentally bit into the bear spray poor Mr. Cardinal would probably be a statistic right now.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:36 AM on June 30


Moose.

It's Moose you are wise to fear.

And accidental cows, seriously, my stepmother's volkswagen beetle was fucking CAVED by a cow. Not dented, CAVED. It was the damnedest thing. Wood's Creek road by the meadow and one cow got an idea. The idea was, "I would rather die than let that '56 volkswagen beetle, with it's forty horsepower, pass by again."

Any modern car would have been totalled. As it was my sisters and I had to scooch right because the cow reduced the compartment size.

And Polar Bears, they are scary. Les Stroud says they are the only bears he's afraid of.
posted by vapidave at 3:01 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


obligatory:

Two campers were hiking in the forest when all of a sudden a bear jumps out of a bush and starts chasing them. Both campers start running for their lives, when one of them stops and starts to put on his running shoes.
His partner says, "What are you doing? You can't outrun a bear!"
His friend replies, "I don't have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you!"

posted by HuronBob at 3:07 AM on June 30


That bear was panhandling. Somebody fed it and it figured out that if it followed people around they would throw their food down and run.

Hopefully the authorities will do what we in the Smokies do with panhandling bears: trank him and move him deep into the backcountry. Because the alternative is to kill him before he hurts someone.
posted by workerant at 5:16 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I was thinking that the elderly man that the camera man left a couple of hundred feet
behind him was the guy's father. Interesting family dynamic, "Eat Daddy!"
posted by Chitownfats at 5:36 AM on June 30


Was this filmed with google glasses or something? Somehow it seems like it's following his pov super close
posted by Diablevert at 5:42 AM on June 30


Um, guy? I don't think that bear speaks English.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:20 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The stand examiners didn't even bother carrying spray, let alone guns.

For what it's worth, the people I know who do Forest Service contract work in Alaska very much carry guns and take that very seriously. As contractors they may not have the option to not do so, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure they would refuse to get out of the helicopter if you took away the shotguns.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:26 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


The last word is "unbelievable." Really? You go jogging in bear country and you can't believe you ran into a bear? Unbelievable.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:32 AM on June 30


You go jogging in bear country and you can't believe you ran into a bear? Unbelievable.

Not that I'm a huge expert on this or anything, but one of the rules I remember from hiking in Glacier was "no trail running". Meaning, if you're jogging or sprinting along the trail, there's a greater chance that you'll surprise a bear unawares. If you're walking at a normal pace, you give the bear time to react and do what it usually does--get off the trail.

Example
posted by gimonca at 6:37 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


(That said, I do have to point out that your chances of a bear encounter are pretty small. "Not being eaten by a grizzly" is incentive for me to keep those as small as possible, though.)
posted by gimonca at 6:39 AM on June 30


Moose are a lot more aggressive in my opinion as well. I've run into a few bears and nothing happened. With a Moose every time.
posted by humanfont at 6:43 AM on June 30


Hanging Out With a Brown Bear


Jesus! If I was in that situation, the Bear wouldn't be the only thing that was brown.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:43 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


vapidave: "Someone fed that bear and it's going to get that bear killed."

I kind of assumed that the "We have to make a call" at the end meant that he was calling a park ranger (or other authority) to let them know about the bear and either have it relocated or shot.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:43 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


If you're walking at a normal pace, you give the bear time to react and do what it usually does--get off the trail.

We only have black bears here, but that was what I was always taught, along with making a reasonable amount of noise. You want to give the bear time to get away.

I have never seen a bear behave like the one in the video - I agree it looks like it has been fed. Garbage bears aren't afraid of people, but they don't follow them, either. They will ignore you as they rummage about for snacks in the dumpster, not follow you cadging for treats.

Poor bear. Some jerk thought it was cute to feed it, and now it's going to die.
posted by winna at 7:21 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I clicked on that prepared to roll my eyes at the stupid people teasing or feeding a bear. I would click away after 10 seconds or so. Wow.
Now I am going to be six minutes late to work.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:42 AM on June 30


Diablevert: "Was this filmed with google glasses or something? Somehow it seems like it's following his pov super clos"

GoPro?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:42 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, the people I know who do Forest Service contract work in Alaska very much carry guns and take that very seriously. As contractors they may not have the option to not do so, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure they would refuse to get out of the helicopter if you took away the shotguns.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:26 AM on June 30 [+] [!]

Huh, Shotguns. No way. Shotguns? I'm not a gun person but no way shotguns. A pistol maybe. They gave us a .375 h and h rifle [winchester action] and it was the scaryiest thing I've ever operated. We used to chop down leaning trees with the motherfucker. I was much more comfortable with my chainsaw. I'm really serious here. Shotguns? Are you sure? We had a food budget and were required to shoot the gun and that fucker atomized anything it hit, I mean anything it hit disappeared. It ceased to be. We used to shoot cantaloupes and there wasn't even moisture left. It was surreal.

Maybe Dip Flash you are talking about a side-arm. A handgun?
posted by vapidave at 7:49 AM on June 30


If it matters I can ask them, but I'm pretty sure they carry 12 gauge pump guns loaded with slugs. The specifics of the guns isn't the point, it's that they are religious about carrying them even when loaded down with other equipment.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:54 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Cantaloupes don't have heavy rib cages.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:56 AM on June 30


Vapidave, a .375H&H is a powerful round indeed, but it's for hunting big game at range. That use case is more or less the opposite of last-option defense, which on the other hand is a great fit for a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot or slugs.

Few handguns would be useful against anything man-sized or larger in the woods; probably only magnum revolvers, really. A shotgun is a better choice.
posted by uberchet at 9:44 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I was kayaking once and saw a bear close to shore, it was early spring and this guy was hungry. Another kayaker saw us watching the bear and actually cruised right past us, got out of his kayak in bare feet and started to approach the hungry bear to take pictures. The bear stood up on his hind legs and the guy approached even closer. The whole time were yelling at the dude. The bear then did a small charge, simular to one of the spurts he did in this video and the guy started to run away, as soon as he did this the bear started to ear from the bush again, but now the bear knew he was the dominant animal in the scenario. The guy started to approach the bear a secnd time. This time were sooo pissed that this guy is going to get himself and probably the bear killed and ruin our nice kayaking trip, but we had to just float there and watch as the bear charged him again, this time running him back to the boat. That guy was lucky this bear acted as well as he did. It nearly gave me a heart attack though.

The ironic thing was that my husband and I were watching, just that morning, a USGS video on bears and how to handle a bear encounter, when to run, when not to, when to fight for your life. It basically laid out that the bear was testing his dominance by false charging, if you move then your less dominant than them, so you cannot run away, you have to actually try and chase them and be really loud and agressive.

These guys encountered a begging bear, but I bet if they were more drastic with their motions it would have scared him off sooner.
posted by brinkzilla at 11:25 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


"Vapidave, a .375H&H is a powerful round indeed, but it's for hunting big game at range." Yeah, that's what made it weird. Somehow you are supposed to schlep a giant rifle with you while buiding trails. And a chain saw and a Pulaski. Government right? Three rounds, winchester action in what is likely an, erm, voiding situation. I would have likely thrown the gun because no way could I focus in the face of a charging bear. The gun is ear-shatteringly loud though and if you can get off a round it will likely scare the shit out of the bear. But the gun is never to hand as a practical matter.

I definitely prefered my Stihl chain saw with a thirty two inch bar as a means of self defense. Hell, I almost killed myself with the damn thing.
posted by vapidave at 12:12 PM on June 30


I've encountered Black Bears in the woods a handful of times, and my experience has always been like Nerd of the North's and vapiddave's - no big deal.

That said, A woman was killed recently by a black bear in the same area (Fort McMurray). Black Bears are mostly harmless, but only *mostly*.
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:29 PM on June 30


Does anyone here know anything about black bear behavior? At first it was just following, but when it started climbing trees was that scarier or less scary? It certainly seemed to be getting more active as the video went on.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:43 PM on June 30


The hanging out with a brown bear link at the top was pretty startling. Yeah, there was a river that was clearly full of delicious salmon as opposed to bony human so it probably wasn't interested, and yes you shouldn't retreat from brown bears, but holy shit I don't think I would have been able to hold the camera steady.
posted by tavella at 2:24 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


My husband is working at an oilsands site north of Ft Mac and says the black bears he's seen in the area are larger than what he's seen at other work sites around Alberta or what you would see in Jasper for example. He also says that there is a shit load of them up there. Working in the bush in Alberta he's had several interesting encounters with bears, moose and on one occasion a badger running in the middle of the road that wouldn't let him over take on the left.
posted by Gwynarra at 6:23 PM on June 30


("Honey badger don't care... for proper overtaking etiquette.")
posted by uberchet at 7:58 PM on June 30


Right hand drive badgers are the worst.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:00 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


He was probably just taking somebody out on a test drive.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:27 AM on July 1


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