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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

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The Top 8 YouTube Bear Encounters of All Time

After watching the latest close encounter, our resident bear breaks down his favorite moments when bears and hikers have crossed paths.

image: YouTube
image: YouTube

Here at Ask A Bear, I get asked a lot of questions that basically boil down to: “If I do ___ , will you eat/kill/maul/maim me?” All of which is to say you humans are really afraid of us. I can understand, what with the claws, and the teeth, and the half-ton of pure muscle. But more often than not, I’m not interested in ruining your day. When I’m out in the wild, I want to snack, chill, and just watch the river flow by. 
 
That’s precisely what happened in this amazing encounter in Alaska's McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. Alaska Fish and Game employee Drew Hamilton was filming other bears fishing in the river when this positively massive brown bear ambled by, yawned, and plopped down for a sit just feet away. Watch:
 
 
McNeil River has some of the highest concentrations of wild brown bears in the world. Drew did the right thing by not panicking and asserting his presence without being aggressive or running off. The bear responded by moving off. (We can quibble all day about why he was so close to a river full of bears, but it’s part of his job, so let’s just call it a win.)
 
This fantastic moment got me thinking about other close shaves between our two species over the past year.  Click through the slideshow to see my 8 favorite bear encounters on YouTube.
 

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