Runner Followed by Black Bear in Grand Teton National Park
Occurred on April 2021 / Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA
Info From Licensor: I went for a casual run today in the park and ended up being run at and followed for about half mile by this little cinnamon black bear who was fresh out of the den. I've seen plenty of bears in the wild, but this was the first time one had shown any interest in me. He must have been extra hungry and hoping for an easy target!
Luckily this was not my first bear encounter as I have worked as a wildlife guide for Guides of Jackson Hole (https://www.guidesofjacksonhole.com) for several years, and have learned a good deal about the behavior of black bears in that time.
Couple of things to note:
1) This is a "cinnamon phase" BLACK bear....even though it is brown in color
2) I had bear spray in my running vest and got it out immediately (but did not spray it as the bear never got within 20 yards)
3) I did NOT run away. If I had, the bear could have thought of me as prey and chased me down. Being that I am not prey, I stood my ground when it charged (showing it that I'm not a prey animal) then backed away slowly
4) I did NOT play dead. That may save your life if a mother bear with cubs is attacking, as she may perceive the threat to be over. But with a solo bear who is interested in you like this, it is not trying to eliminate a threat - it is trying to find an easy target. Don't be one.
5) I kept talking to it to show that I was a Human and not to be mistaken for another animal
Not all bear encounters are the same. In most cases, I've been able to just go around the animal. But this one was interested in me, so I had to change its mind!