What Do I Do If I See A Bear?
Bears in the park are wild and their behavior can be unpredictable. Although extremely rare, attacks on humans have occurred, inflicting serious injuries and death. Treat bear encounters with extreme caution! Learn what to do if you see a bear by watching this short video.
If you see a bear:
- Remain watchful.
- Do not approach it
- Do not allow the bear to approach you.
- If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.) you are too close.
- Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don’t run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.
If a bear persistently follows or approaches you, without vocalizing, or paw swatting:
- Change your direction.
- If the bear continues to follow you, stand your ground.
- If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout at it.
- Act aggressively to intimidate the bear.
- Act together as a group if you have companions. Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground).
- Throw non-food objects such as rocks at the bear.
- Use a deterrent such as a stout stick.
- Don’t run and don’t turn away from the bear.
- Don’t leave food for the bear; this encourages further problems.
If the bear’s behavior indicates that it is after your food and you are physically attacked:
- Separate yourself from the food.
- Slowly back away.
If the bear shows no interest in your food and you are physically attacked, the bear may consider you as prey:
- Fight back aggressively with any available object!
- Do not play dead!
Help protect others, report all bear incidents to a park ranger immediately. Above all, keep your distance from bears!
Stay safe in black bear country! Please watch this short video.
Find out more at nps.gov/grsm