A runner talked his way out of a face-off with a large bear that pursued him for several minutes in Grand Teton national park in Wyoming, a showdown the runner captured in a three-minute video that went viral.
Evan Matthews said he often sees bears on his runs, but none had dared to come so close.
“This one was interested in me, so I had to change its mind,” he wrote.
Rather than use his bear spray, which he deemed a last resort, Matthews opted to reason with his ursine inquisitor.
In the video, the “cinnamon phase” black bear is seen stepping out of the woods and on to a road, despite Matthews’ stern objections.
“Hey – no!” Matthews shouts. “I don’t care if you’re hungry. I’m not your food.”
The bear continues to advance.
“Sure,” Matthews says, “we could take a walk if you want. You don’t get any closer, though.”
One defense experts say can ward off bears in the wild is to play dead. But Matthews chose not to do so, both because this was a black bear and because, he said, a solo bear with this much interest in a person “is not trying to eliminate a threat – it is trying to find an easy target. Don’t be one.”
Matthews retreated towards his car and continued talking to the bear, seeking to convince it he was human and “not to be mistaken with any other animal”.
After stalking the runner for half a mile, the bear ran back into the woods.
“Well, now, that’s the first time I’ve been kind of run up on by a bear,” Matthews chuckled. “That was exciting.”
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