Bears are inquisitive creatures, but sometimes that curiosity can turn lethal. Two joggers in Alberta are counting themselves lucky after they escaped a lengthy face-off with a young black bear. According to CTV News, Bruce Allan and Greg Armour were running through a wooded trail near Fort McMurrary on June 5 when they picked up an unwanted companion.

“The moment that I met the bear it was an instant ‘turn around, don’t make eye contact, walk away,’ and that didn’t seem to work,” said Allan, who videotaped the encounter.

Instead, the bear seemed intent on following the two men, occasionally rushing forward and climbing up nearby trees. The two men continually talked to it while retreating to their vehicle and at one point discussed finding some rocks as a weapon of last resort.

“It took us up to a point in the trail where it actually comes to a hairpin turn and it cut across the trees and actually pinned us against the tree line. At that point, I thought things were getting a little more serious,” Allan told Global News. “When it caught us in that tight corner, we were aggressive. We were yelling at it, we were telling it to leave us alone […] we were trying to make ourselves appear large.”

You can see the video below:

After a few minutes, the bear decided it had enough and left the joggers, allowing them to run to their parked vehicle. Alberta Fish and Wildlife conflict specialist Mike Ewald said that the two men did the right thing by sticking together, talking to the bear, and not turning their backs on it. Experts recommend that when confronted by a black bear, one should speak loudly and calmly when appearing to be as large as possible. If attacked, fight back aggressively.

There are currently no plans to relocate the bear, although wildlife officials advise taking bear spray when entering their territory.

The trail was only a few miles from where a woman was fatally mauled by a black bear just last month. In that event, a black bear had reportedly attacked a crew of seven Suncor employees at an oil sands site 15 miles from Fort McMurray. The workers attempted to ward off the bear with water hoses and noisemakers, but it did not leave before killing 36-year-old Lorna Weafer. Wildlife officials say it was the first fatal bear attack in Alberta since 1991, despite the burgeoning population of more than 40,000 black bears in the province.

Image screenshot of video by Bruce D. Allan on YouTube.

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5 thoughts on “Video: Joggers Caught in Tense Confrontation with Alberta Black Bear

  1. I have to agree with Mike. He showed no fear, but also no aggression. Almost looked like he wanted to play, even though I’m thinking that would have been a poor choice. :>)

  2. Whether the bear had ever been fed by previous hikers may never be known, but this video shows why we should never feed wild animals. The bear sure acted like it had adapted to getting food from hikers. Though everything those two hikers did worked out right, I am wondering if we could stomp and deep-voice-huff at a such an aggressive bear to make it go away. I was a hunting guide at Katahdin Lodge in Maine, specializing in Black Bear hunts over baits, and one time one of the other guides (top woodsman Richard LIbby) had inadvertently walked between a sow bear eating at one of our bait stands with her two cubs hiding up in a tree. Richard was carrying fresh bait into the woods and that sow came running at him but stopped – several bear lengths away – stomped her front paws down and huffed at him. Then the cubs replied to momma by making squeaky sounds from up in their tree and that’s when Richard realized the dangerous situation he was in. He dropped the bait and exited the scene real quick. No, she was not after the bait he had, there was plenty enough there on our bait stand already, she was bluff-charging the human to chase him away from her cubs. Us guides rarely ever walked in a bear eating bait, and when I had my only one such encounter, I stood there watching until the bear smelled me and ran. It never looked in my direction, then stopped and smelled the air all up and down in front of its nose and by then my scent had traveled that far and the bear boogied on out’a there.

    The bear in the video was not bluffing, it was being very forceful in a quest for food. Whether it was food that hikers carry or the hikers themselves that the bear wanted to eat, it was – extremely uncomfortably to us – sizing up its quarry and out to dominate the situation. I have often wondered if teaching people who are being stalked like that add a stomp and huff technique – in amongst the woods-wise techniques successfully employed by the hikers – to make a bear back off. If any Fish and Wildlife conflict specialists hear of the stomp and huff idea, please consider the idea.

    But reading the part in this article about the crew of seven Suncor employees being attacked by a Black Bear and them workers using water hoses and noisemakers but that bear killed one of them, with it being “the first fatal bear attack in Alberta since 1991” shows that there is that rare Black Bear out there who will just keep attacking unless it is wounded painfully enough to stop or kill it. The big question is would bear spray have stopped that fatal attack and also the near attack on the hikers? Had the bear going after the hikers knocked them down and found no food on them, it may have ceased wounding them and gone on back into the woods. Or it may have realized that a food source carried by hikers may not be not as good to eat as hikers are.

    Those hikers, the oil company workers, ALL OF US need to carry bear spray in bear territory. We will never know if hot and nasty in the face, eyes and nose bear spray could have stopped that particular bear, but – to a bear – water hoses might seem like a fast river at salmon fishing time, noises without accompanying pain can be ignored, pepper spray doesn’t work on all humans all the time, so maybe it would not work on that murderous bear, but we should still have bear spary with us when in bear country.

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