|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive
Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'
I watched as the large Cinnamon Black Bear turned towards me. Turning to protect her cub that had scrambled up the tree, she began bouncing back and forth on her feet and pawing at the ground in front of her. I heard a deep kind of snorting, and will always remember those shoulders in the dim twilight moving back and forth with powerful intimidation.Basically, Joe, you did the right thing. (Of course, you should have made more noise to alert me while walking down a trail loaded with huckleberries, but I'll let that go for now.) Mother black bears rarely respond like mother grizzlies, which have a strong maternal protection instinct and likely would've attacked you in response to aggressive tactics in such a close encounter.
Fighting the urge to run, I began yelling and banging my trekking poles together as hard as I could, standing my ground with Kira (my dog) cowering behind me. Maybe it was the confusion of human and dog smell, combined with inherent poor eyesight and falling darkness, but she did not charge. After a moment it became apparent that it was just posturing and fearful bluffing on either end, both of us waiting to see what the other would do. I gently began side stepping down the trail, watching her dark shape for movement in my direction as I disappeared into the woods. Once out of view I wasted no time exiting those woods, although I was much louder in doing so, banging my trekking poles and singing or making loud grunts and noises as I walked.