How Timid Are Black Bears?

Black bears are ruled by fear and food—in that order.

Researchers are frequently amazed at how cautious these powerful animals are about tiny unidentified rustling sounds of red squirrels, mice, or birds.

Black bears have retreated from butterflies, a pair of mallard ducks waddling into view, a fluttering moth landing on a bear, and many other unlikely causes.

Hunters who chase bears with hounds can chase the biggest bears with their smallest hound. Many small yapping dogs have chased black bears out of yards.

Bear Center researchers have never seen a black bear they couldn’t chase away. Many campers have saved their food by chasing away interested bears.

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