National Park Service Says Don’t Sacrifice Your Slower Friends to Bears
Bears have been spotted in New Hartford, Herkimer, and all over campsites in Old Forge. The National Park Service has some helpful (hilarious) advice in case of a bear encounter - and it might make you feel better if you're the less athletic friend.
The National Park Service has some great advice in case of a bear encounter.
"READ: Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself.
As a follow-up to a previous post, if you come upon a stationary bear, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Like dogs, they will chase ﬂeeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees. Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course).
Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all? Identify yourself by making noise so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Help the bear recognize you as a human. We recommend using your voice. (Waving and showing off your opposable thumb means nothing to the bear) The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.
P.S. We apologize to any “friends” who were brought on a hike as the “bait” or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed.
I've got to be honest, when I was out hiking recently, and there were warnings about bear sightings - I felt slightly comforted by hiking near people who seemed like they might run more slowly than I would. Just saying.
In addition to the above advice, the DEC also has the following recommendations:
Most black bears prefer to avoid humans.
- Use noise to scare bears away: Yell, clap, or bang pots (or other items) immediately upon sighting a bear near your home.
- Stay calm: Walk slowly and speak in a loud and calm voice.
- Leave slowly: Cautiously back away from the bear and leave the area.
- Approach, surround, or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
- Run from a bear: They may chase.
- Feed a bear by throwing it food: This will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food. By teaching a bear to approach humans for food, you are endangering yourself, other residents, and the bears.