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The tension was un-bear-able.
A runner in Wyoming displayed steely courage when he talked down a large bear — rather than fend it off with repellant spray — that was pursuing him. A video of his harrowing encounter has gone viral online.
“This one was interested in me, so I had to change its mind,” said Evan Matthews of his FBI-worthy negotiation skills.
The three-minute POV clip, which was shot on a road in Grand Teton National Park, shows a cinnamon-colored black bear rambling out of the woods toward the jogger. Things get hairy when the hangry animal comes within yards of Matthews, prompting the Teton Valley, Idaho, resident to yell at the critter and flash the can of spray.
“I’ve seen plenty of bears in the wild, but this was the first time one had shown any interest in me,” exclaimed the nervous videographer. “He must have been extra hungry!”
Despite the danger, Matthews decided to forgo the weapon and instead opted to reason with the beast. “Hey — no! I don’t care if you’re hungry. I’m not your food” he can be heard shouting at the beast, which continues to advance. “Sure, we could take a walk if you want. You don’t get any closer, though.”
Matthews’ verbal deterrent tactics initially seem to fail as the bear continues to pursue him down the road for about a half-mile. But the bear eventually loses interest and heads back into the woods.
“Well, now, that’s the first time I’ve been kind of run up on by a bear,” he says with a small laugh. “That was exciting.”
Trying to hold peace talks with a predator might seem foolhardy. However, Matthews “wanted to show that I was a human and not to be mistaken for another animal,” he explained in the video’s description. The courageous outdoorsman added that he didn’t want to run or play dead, as that would paint him as “an easy target.” Animal experts agree that the aforementioned methods are among the best ways to avoid a black bear attack.
Of course, the scenario is perhaps not as exciting as the case of this California man, who tackled and punched a 350-pound bear that was attacking his pet pit bull.
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