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Ask A Bear: Will a Flashlight Make You Mad?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

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Q: If I come across you at night, will my light get you mad? Should I immediately turn it off?—Mike DeCicco, Grass Valley, CA

A: Scared of sleeping in my backyard without a nightlight, eh? You’re certainly not alone—and since you have much weaker senses of smell and hearing to navigate around at night, you’d best not forget the flashlight or headlamp.

I’m happy to report that a light is unlikely to get me all riled up. While I have better night vision than you, I tend to trust my nose and ears more, so it’s probable that I’m navigating mostly by smell and sound already. A light shining at me is unlikely to overwhelm those senses, and there’s no record of light spurring any kind of attack or further investigation.

Furthermore, human-bear relations guru Stephen Herrero actually recommends bringing a flashlight on any backcountry trips to bear country. It’s a key tool that can help you identify me at night and decide how to best proceed. So go ahead: Let your little light shine. 

—BEAR

Got a question for the bear? Send it to askabear@backpacker.com.