Bears and Humans

How dangerous are black bears?

In working closely with wild bears for the past 40 years, I have gradually become more and more comfortable with them as I learned their “language” and how they think….

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What if I see a black bear?

This is probably the most common question we hear. The standard answer nationwide is, “Speak calmly and back away slowly.”  This is good advice.  It identifies you as a person,…

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What if I see a bear that seems threatening?

This picture shows harmless bluster by a nervous black bear—a mature female. She made her muzzle long and narrow, lunged forward, blew loudly, and slammed her front feet down into…

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Will a black bear sense I’m afraid and attack?

No.  Most people ARE afraid near bears and are not attacked. Black bears are not looking for a vulnerable person to attack.  Their first concern is that THEY will be…

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What does Steve Herrero say about mothers defending cubs?

In his book “Bear Attacks” (1985), biologist Steve Herrero described experiences of researchers with mother black bears and cubs. Herrero wrote, “Researchers studying black bears confirm that black bear females…

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What about bears and dogs?

Black bears usually run away when dogs chase them. Even the smallest breeds of dogs have scared black bears away. However, bears learn to ignore dogs that are tied up…

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What if I corner a black bear?

Bear Center researchers wonder where the worry about cornering a black bear comes from.  It is next to impossible to corner a bear in the woods.  When researchers have tried…

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What if a black bear ignores me and doesn’t run away?

Some black bears have learned to trust people who behave predictably in expected locations.  These bears expect to see nonaggressive people in campgrounds or residential areas. These bears are not…

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How to shoo a black bear

Bears that are used to people may be harder to chase away.  Most people hang back.  Some enjoy watching.  Others bang pans, which bears get used to.  Generally when people…

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What is a “nuisance” black bear?

A “nuisance” is any black bear someone considers unwelcome.  Everyone has a different idea about what makes a bear unwelcome and what merits removal from a population. In many examples…

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When Bears Steal Human Food, Don’t Blame Mom

Science Daily, from the May 2008 Journal of Mammalogy Black bears that eat human food and garbage do not necessarily learn this behavior from their mothers as previously assumed. Researchers…

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Big Harry is Shot

For many years black bears were considered varmits by individuals and government agencies.  Black bears are now considered ‘Big Game’ animals throughout most of their range and restrictions on hunting…

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