No…….Not ALL Bears Run Away!!!

No…….Not ALL Bears Run Away!!!

NatureWurks/Pat Cocciadiferro

As many of you know I have a bit of a bear interest/craziness and extensive experience with them and just love studying and photographing them.  I had a friend tell me once she ran to the TV one day when she heard them talking about a photographer in a cage photographing Polar Bears thinking it was me.

I told her……”No, not yet”!

My adventure today is about something that happen to me this morning and it reminded me of what someone had recently said to me. This person recently had told me they had a Black Bear mother and two cubs visiting on their property on a regular basis. When I asked if they could call me and let me know the next time they had a bear visit they said ” Yes…but…bears run away when they see people”.

In their defense, they didn’t know my background with bears but I could not help but secretly think “Really!”

Each bear has its own unique character and behaviors and MOST will avoid human interaction at all cost.

This brings me to my story today, Kids DON’T try this at home!

On my daily morning mountain bike ride in the mountains of North Carolina today on a steep uphill section with several bends, I surprise a rather large Black bear with two cubs. When I saw her and she me, I was ALREADY in her “personal” space (15 to 20 feet apart) and on my bike moving in her directions with a sudden sensation of fear coming over me. It was one of those OMG moments. She completely FROZE, as did the cubs several feet behind her. I had less than a few seconds to make any decisions and hopefully make the “right” decision! I remember thinking ” OK, stay calm” but I’m not sure if I meant that for me or for the bear.

From my years of experience with bears, NEVER giving them eye to eye contact, a form of aggression in their world, is one of the first things you need to do. I quickly looked down and away from straight on eye contact with her and decided to slowly continue pedaling by her with no sudden motion changes or jerky actions as if she was NOT there. She never moved a muscle…….frozen in her tracks……..thinking I guess I never had noticed her( 10 to 12 feet away), however her head moved along as she eyed me ride closely by. I believe if I had stopped quickly this close, stared at her or her cubs, or done anything to be seen as danger to her or her cubs she would of attacked,  I had no defense and even less time to react. After I had been mountain biking about 14 miles already, needless to say, my heart rate took a severe spike upward for a few minutes.

I told this story to a friend this morning and he asked did you get any pictures………..NO, I WAS ON A BIKE RIDE did you miss that part!!!!!!

I also have a long standing agreement with a good friend of my that if one day the bear wins in one of my “adventures” with them, he gets my 125cc shifter go-kart. I told me today that he almost owned a go kart!


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With all humor aside, I was VERY LUCKY today!

The bear encounter this morning could have ends in several hundred different ways with most of them being BAD!

My outdoor experiences have taught me one main thing………. YOU CAN NOT PANIC!

This whole bear encounter happened and was over in less than 30 seconds.

Bears are very unpredictable and can charge at any moment. With their top speed of 30mph, running is NOT even an option.

I hold the upmost respect for these beautiful and powerful animals and I’m blessed to be able to share all the hours I do in the woods with them.

Stay safe in the forest and enjoy!!!

Thank you for time & interest in my work and please visit the website for additional images.

As always all your comments are welcomed and very much appreciated!


2 thoughts on “No…….Not ALL Bears Run Away!!!

  1. Phew… that was so brave of you to just ride on past…. I think I would probably have turned around and rode back the way I came, which perhaps would have caused her to chase? Glad you’re still here to tell the tale.

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