What to Do When You Meet a Bear (Step 1: Drop Your Meatballs)

There's plenty of bear talk after a bear was tranquilized in Montrose and several sightings in La Crescenta for weeks. But what should you do if you encounter this particular bear or other wildlife?

You may have caught the Glendale Bear fever, but it's probably best to stick with the  instead of the roaming creature found in Montrose-La Crescenta Tuesday. 

With repeated recent sightings and the , Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA continues to warn residents about how to handle a bear.

Here are tips to keep you safe whether you or somewhere deep in the wild:

  • Never hike alone, always stick to the trail. 
  • Keep kids nearby. 
  • Do not approach the animal. 
  • Do not run away from the animal. 
  • Stand tall always, make eye contact and pick up your children without turning your back to the animal. 
  • Do all you can to make yourself appear bigger.  
  • Raise your arms and hands, throw rocks, branches, make noise, wave your arms slowly and speak loud.
  • Report sightings to authorities immediately.
Chris Ziegler April 13, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Most articles overstate the dangers of living with bears. I've had a least 100 encounters with bears and every time as soon as the bear sees me, they run. If you don't want bears around simply make sure you don't have a food source nearby. If you have fruit or a garden, get an electrified fence or hot wire. Here's a link to an authority on black bears: http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/bears-a-humans.html
Linda Moca April 13, 2012 at 09:47 PM
"Report sightings to authorities immediately"...why bother?! We don't get that kind of response when bears hang out in our yard, by Mayflower School! We get a guy with pepper spray!
Chris Ziegler April 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Linda, What action do you want taken?
Ellen Zunino April 14, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Whenever I've been "face to face" with a bear in our yard the bear has seemed as surprised to see me as I am to see it. Usually, I yell at it and give it a chance to get away and it turns tail and leaves. For most mammals staring is a sign of aggression so I try not to stare at it - no matter how hard it is to take my eyes off those BIG claws - but I do continually look in its direction and talk loudly to it - which is not as strange as it sounds. I don't want the bear to sense any fear on my part. I want to give it the impression that I'm not prey. As long as I give the bear plenty of space and it has an easy way to exit there's usually not much to worry about. The best strategy is to make some noise as you move around outside so both you and any bear that's close by can avoid meeting.


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