The Angeles National Forest in California is a haven for wildlife, and also a place of opportunity for photographers. According to UPI, Robert Martinez set up 10 trail cameras scattered across the forest in hopes of documenting the state’s largest predators: black bears and mountain lions. Martinez thought he captured the footage of a lifetime when his cameras recorded a family of four cougars back in October, but more recent footage had the photographer reeling from laughter. In front of one of his trail cameras, Martinez decided to place a red and plump Santa Claus toy propped up by sticks, just to see how the local wildlife would react. It did not take long before a bear came to check out the strange attraction.
“Merry Christmas! Santa gets KO’ed by a bear!” Martinez wrote on YouTube.
Sure enough, the large black bear gives Santa a thorough inspection and even tasted Jolly Old Saint Nick’s cap before it decided to give the toy a swipe.
“I haven’t seen any bears on my cameras for a few months, so I was pleasantly surprised and happy that he knocked out Santa right in front of the camera,” Martinez told KTLA.
Eventually, after discovering that nothing edible could be salvaged from Father Christmas, the bear decided to move on. The footage, which you can see below, was taken on a Cabela’s trail camera.
You can see more footage from Martinez’s trail cameras here.