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Everyone knows that the best way to avoid a dangerous bear encounter is by using your words. Talking or singing gives grizzlies with cubs a chance to get out of the way and encourages curious black bears to move along.
Unfortunately, we all too often default to the same two words: “Hey bear!” After a few days of hiking in griz country, it’s boring to say and even more boring to listen to. Instead, spice up your bruin calls with these 10 suggestions from our experts, most of whom have seen a bear at least once.
“My dearest bear, I humbly request that you refrain from doing me physical harm.” (Manners will get you everywhere with bears.)
“I am also a bear!” (Classic fakeout)
“The ground is lava!” (This will cause the bear to climb the nearest tree. To maintain the illusion, you must also climb a tree. Now you’re stuck in a tree but, hey, it’s better than getting mauled by a bear.)
“You better have my money, bear!” (The bear doesn’t have your money. Hopefully, it will feel awkward enough about it to avoid you.)
“Just a heads up, there’s a bear about 200 feet down the trail.” (The bear will thank you for the tip and carry on its way.)
“What’s that over there?” (The bear will look over its shoulder, giving you time to escape.)
“Bear! I haven’t seen you since… college? What have you been up to?” (This will make the bear feel uncomfortable as it struggles to remember you, and it will search for excuses to leave.)
Just belt out Nickelback. (Bears probably hate it as much as you do.)
“Protego!” (On the off-chance that you’re a wizard)
“You shall not pass!” (On the off-chance that you’re that other kind of wizard)
“Ooh, a bear-type Pokémon! Gotta catch ‘em all!” (Drawback: bear may want to battle you.)
“Oh you’re just in time, I was about to explain why The Matrix may not be as far-fetched as you think.” (Your hiking partners might run too. Use with caution.)