Video shows Missouri hiker bungling bear encounter

Black bear in woodland
(Image credit: Getty)

A man hiking in Missouri filmed a close encounter with a bear on the trail, and accidentally gave a demonstration of how not to react in such a situation.

In the video, which you can watch below, the man starts out well by speaking calmly to the animal, but rather than standing his ground or leaving by an alternative route, he begins to walk closer. Thankfully the bear isn't interested, and wanders off rather than coming to investigate.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (opens in new tab), black bears were once abundant in the state, but had become rare by 1850, and were nearly eliminated by 1931. They are now making a comeback after a reintroduction program in Arkansas led to the animals crossing state lines.

You should never approach a bear intentionally, but dense forest and twisting trails can lead to unexpected encounters. If you do find yourself in close quarters, the National Park Service (opens in new tab) recommends making it clear that you're not a threat and identifying yourself as a human by speaking slowly and calmly.

Don't panic, and remember that if the bear stands up on its hind legs, it is probably just curious and trying to get a better view. Never make loud noises or run, as this may cause the bear to see you as a prey animal and give chase. Leave the area via another route, or wait for the bear to move on if there's no other way out. Always give the animal a way to escape the situation.

If you are attacked by a black bear, never play dead; unlike brown bears and grizzlies, black bears will eat carrion. Instead, try to escape to a car or building, or if that's not possible, fight back with anything you have to hand. For more advice on how to handle close encounters, see our guide what to do if you meet a bear

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 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).