When faced with a charging bear, it is crucial not to run, despite the instinctual urge to do so. Knowing how to handle such a situation can mean the difference between life and death, all within a matter of seconds.
Martin Boland, the knowledgeable guide of Scenic Bear Viewing in Alaska, demonstrated his expertise on this very topic when he courageously stood between his tour group and a charging brown bear in a video which you can watch below:
Fortunately, Boland reassuringly states, “This is a bluff charge.” The bears are simply attempting to provoke a flight response from their perceived threat.
Whether it’s a black, polar, or brown bear, all bears possess the instinct to chase. By remaining still, your chances of survival significantly increase. This tour group learned this vital lesson whether they wanted to or not.
“These bears came to us,” states Boland. In any other circumstance, approaching a bear in the wild is strongly discouraged. “We do not get closer than 50 yards.”
With over 10 years of experience guiding in Homer, Alaska, Scenic Bear Viewing claims on their Instagram post that they are well-prepared for such encounters and specifically trained to handle these situations. “We are a professional bear guide operation,” he states. Every guided tour provided by Scenic Bear Viewing ensures the presence of appropriate safeguards.
Nevertheless, they continue, avoid this scenario at all costs, because when a brown bear wants you gone or considers you as potential prey, there is no stopping it without proper protection.
“In this area, humans have been visiting the bears for over 30 years. It’s a part of their daily summer life to encounter us throughout their 20-25 year lifespan,” explains Scenic Bear Viewing.
While they have become accustomed to human presence, this presence is strictly for observation and does not pose a threat to their well-being. Bears are aware of this fact.
Statistics show that the majority of bear-human conflicts, injuries, and fatalities occur in areas where food habituation is prevalent, not just in Alaska but across North America. Habituating them to human food poses one of the greatest risks to them.
The tour company emphasizes that “no harm is being done to these bears, and we want to keep it that way.” Their approach involves photographing the bears while leaving no trace behind. Their primary goal is to ensure the bears’ continued protection.
Unfortunately, it is the brown and black bears that suffer the consequences of habituation. “Nuisance bears” often face euthanization due to behavior that stems from human interference.
Scenic Bear Viewing guides proudly declare that “there has never been an attack in this area during the 30 years of visitation.” This achievement is largely attributed to the strict set of rules they establish and adhere to while guiding their tours.
Would you have had the guts to stand your ground against a charging brown bear like this tour guide?