Here at American Outdoor Guide, we’ve been following thru-hiker Number 2 Pencil on his quest to hike the Appalachian Trail. Number 2 Pencil posts videos almost daily of his adventures on the trail, and in one of his latest vlog posts, he gets beary emotional when he encounters not one…but two bears on his hike.
A Mother Bear and Her Cub
Number 2 Pencil and fellow hiker, Anonymous, who hikes with him now and again, recently came across a mother black bear and her cub. In this moving video, you’ll see just how magical this first bear sighting is for Number 2 Pencil; it’s hard not to get a little teary yourself! Watch here: AT Episode 117: Amazing First Bear Experience! – YouTube.
What If My Bear Encounter Isn’t So Friendly?
Number 2 Pencil’s bear encounter was more tender than it was intimidating, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, the event of coming across a mother bear with her cubs, or just stumbling upon cubs that appear to be alone can escalate quickly. While hiking in bear country, always make enough noise to let bears know you’re there. A surprised bear is no bueno. Carry bear spray if the area has a lot of bear activity, and know how to use it. This is especially relevant in grizzly turf.
To Play Dead or Not to Play Dead
That is the question. Well, it depends on the bear. According to furbearer biologist Nate Bowersock of the Missouri Department of Conservation, playing dead with a black bear is NOT the right move, as black bears will approach and be curious to see what you’re up to. With black bears, you’ll want to remain upright, stay quiet and calm, and slowly back away to take another route that will give the animal enough space. If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a tussle with a black bear, you’ll want to actually try to fight it off. With grizzlies, however, you WILL want to play dead, as aggression will only provoke them.