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Animals

True Tales: Charged by a 500-Pound Grizzly

A charging grizzly comes too close for this reader's comfort.

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Survivor Adam Shinn, 31, Boulder, Colorado
Predicament Close-range encounter in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Lesson learned “In bruin country, everyone should pack—and know how to use—a canister of bear spray.”

Escape Plan:
Use Bear Spray Safely

“Three of us hiked eight miles into the Lamar Valley for a springtime fishing extravaganza on Pebble Creek. When it was time to hike home, we spoke loudly as we traversed bear country—open meadows and thick forests. Three miles from camp, we cruised into a field of tall grass and flowers—and spotted a full-grown grizzly.

“We froze. Speaking directly to the bear in calm voices, we backed away slowly. But he charged anyway, huffing and grunting as he ran, closing the 100-foot gap between us in seconds. I was ready with bear spray, and I squeezed the trigger, emptying my canister, as my companions dropped to the ground.

“The spray stopped him, but only briefly. He made another run toward us from just 30 feet away. A cloud of deterrent hung in the air; when he hit it, he turned, and sprinted into the forest. Thankfully we didn’t encounter another bear—without more spray we would have been easy targets for an attack.