Close Encounter of the Bear Kind! Hiker’s Terrifying Run-In in New York Mountains
Imagine taking a hike and being followed by a bear. It happened to one hiker in New York.
A female backpacker from Canada was taking a hike in the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness when a bear started following her. She tried to frighten it but the bear kept following.
Call for Help
The hiker dropped her backpack and continued up the trail to call for help. A Forest Ranger located the hiker and helped scare the bear away about an hour later.
The backpacker then hiked back down the trail and secured a campsite for the night.
Bears in New York
There are a minimum of 6,000 to 8,000 bears in New York Stat. Limiting food sources helps reduce bear conflicts.
The DEC has tips on how to keep bears away and what to do if you encounter one.
- Use noise to scare bears away: Yell, clap, or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear.
- Stay calm: Walk slowly and speak in a loud and calm voice.
- Leave slowly: Cautiously back away from the bear.
- Approach, surround, or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened.
- Run from a bear: They may chase.
- Throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: This will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food.
- If a bear approaches you: Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.
- If a bear charges you: Stand your ground.
- If a bear makes contact with you: Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, or fists).
If You're Camping
- Throw out all your trash and recyclables.
- Lock up your coolers and food. Store food in either the trunk of your car or in the cab of your truck. Keep windows shut and food and coolers out of sight.
- NEVER keep food, coolers, or scented items in your tent.
- Treat all toiletries as food items. Toiletry products are heavily scented and are as attractive to bears as actual food.
- Clean up after all meals immediately. Keep grills, pots, pans, cooking utensils, and washbasins clean when not in use.
- Do not put grease, garbage, plastic diapers, cans, bottles, or other refuse into the fireplace. These items do not properly burn and will attract bears with their odors.
- Always remember when exploring the wilderness - you're in their home. Be vigilant and stay safe.