Tourist learns the hard way never to approach a grizzly bear for photos – no matter how cute it looks

Close-up of grizzly bear at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA
(Image credit: Getty)
Recent updates

A previous version of this article made reference to a photographer who had taken pictures of a bear at a US National Park legitimately. This has now been removed.

Bears naturally prefer to avoid close encounters with people, and will typically leave an area if they know you are coming (hence the advice to talk and make noise when hiking through their territory). However, they won't hesitate to defend themselves if they feel threatened, as one man discovered recently after spotting one of the animals at the roadside and moving in for a closer look.

A video shared this week via Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks (which you can watch below) depicts a man recording himself approaching a bear that he had noticed in the undergrowth while driving. Disturbed by the intrusion, the bear dashes under a guardrail, sending the person stumbling back before the video cuts out.

Those found guilty of approaching bears can even face jail time if a judge decides to make an example of them. In 2021, a woman was sentenced to four days in jail for approaching a grizzly bear and her cubs at Yellowstone National Park. 

A video of Samantha Dehring, from Illinois, went viral after she wandered up to the bears to snap some photos and refused to move back even after the sow made a bluff charge. 

"Approaching a sow grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish," said Bob Murray, acting US attorney for Wyoming, at the time "Here, pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.