Thursday evening, around 4:45 pm while returning home from tennis camp we arrived home. We slowly drove up our driveway and got within 100 feet of the house and there was a large black bear standing in the driveway watching us arrive. I stopped the car and gasped my breath. Even though I was in the safety of the car, I was frightened. The bear looked towards us and then ran into the woods in just a few moments. Then it disappeared.
This got me thinking about what I would do if I ever run into this bear, or rather what I SHOULD do if ever I accidently come across a bear while walking or hiking.
The advice seems to vary overall - some biologists claim that bears can't see very well, others claim that the bears can see well. Some say that the bears will charge or bluff, trying to scare you, others say that bears are frightened of humans and won't charge. But, bears are animals and will attack to protect their cubs, their food (fresh kills) or if they are scared....
So, if ever I encounter a bear, I should....
1. Make noise when hiking or walking. Bears are more likely to run away if NOT surprised by a silly human.
2. If I see a bear from a distance, I will avoid the route that would make me encounter the bear.
3. If I see the bear closely, I will look at the bear, but not stare at him in the eyes (a challenge to the bear's dominance) and will slowly back away, while making noise, holding up my hands.
4. If I see a bear with cubs, I will pray and leave the scene.
Experts tell you not to run away from a bear, that bear's can and will outrun you. But, if a bear runs after me, I think I would run, run, run.
Some experts suggest playing dead if attacked by a bear. Other experts say that this technique is foolish. I don't think I have the self control to "play dead" with a bear that close.
If ever I were to be attacked by a bear and I had no where to run or climb to escape, I should fight with everything I had, attempting to strike out at the bear's face. I hope this never, ever happens... Yikes.