Grand Teton National Park is a national treasure. The park is filled with beautiful lakes, mountains, and more than 200 miles of hiking trails. The park is home to a variety of wild animals, including bison, wolves, and moose.
But, as one runner discovered, Grand Teton National Park is also bear country.
Evan Matthews, from Idaho, was taking his usual running route through Grand Teton National Park when he noticed that he wasn’t alone. Something brown was lurking in the trees just off the path.
Over the snowy rise, he spotted the menacing silhouette of a black bear.
“Went for a casual run today in the park and ended up being run at and followed for about half a mile by this hungry little cinnamon black bear who was fresh out of the den,” Evan wrote.
The video, which was quickly snapped up by local media, gained traction and went viral.
He captured the slow and harrowing chase that followed as the bear stalked him for half a mile.
In the video, Evan begins to grow concerned when he realizes that the bear is trailing him. As a precaution, he whipped out his can of bear spray. Then, he began to talk to the bear:
“You stay there. Good bear. Hey, no, I don’t care if you’re hungry. I’m not your food.”
But why is Evan trying to reason with a bear?
‘I kept talking to it to show that I was a human and not to be mistaken for another animal,’ Evan explained in the video’s description.
According to the experts at Teton Hiking Trails, making a noise is one of the safest things you can do when you spot a bear.
Evan had seen many bears in the wild before, but this particular bear had taken an interest in him.
‘Not all bear encounters are the same. In most cases, I’ve been able to just go around the animal. But this one was interested in me, so I had to change its mind,’ he wrote.
Even though his instincts were screaming at him to run, Evan remained calm…
… even when the bear got onto the road and began to charge.
Evan knew that if he ran, the bear would see him as prey and chase him down. And he playing dead wasn’t an option either. So, what did he do?
‘Being that I am not prey, I stood my ground when it charged (showing it that I’m not a prey animal) then backed away slowly,’ Matthews wrote.
He couldn’t play dead because he knew that that would just make him an easy target for the hungry bear.
‘I did NOT play dead. That may save your life if a mother bear with cubs is attacking, as she may perceive the threat to be over. But with a solo bear who is interested in you like this, it is not trying to eliminate a threat – it is trying to find an easy target. Don’t be one,’ Evan explained.
Luckily, his tactics worked!
Eventually, the bear (which was a cinnamon phase black bear, so it appeared brown) lost interest in Evan and headed back into the woods.
“Well, now, that’s the first time I’ve been kind of run up on by a bear… that was exciting,” he says at the end of the video.
To see the terrifying chase and Evan’s quick thinking, watch the video below!
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