WHITEFISH, Mont. — Editor's note: The bear pictured above is a file photo of a black bear, not the bear in question.
A mountain biker in Montana was in for a scare when a black bear started running after them.
A video posted by Montana Knife Company to its Facebook page starts by showing the bear run downhill. Then, just a few seconds in, a biker is seen racing down the trail.
The video's caption: "A quick reminder that Montana is not Disney Land... Black bear chasing a downhill mountain biker in Whitefish, MT."
You might find this type of interaction normal for Montana, where there is a lot of wilderness for wild animals and people to cross paths in.
But, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Sunshine State has seen human-bear interactions increase significantly over the last decade.
FWC said that's why it encourages people and the communities they live in to become part of its BearWise program. The program is a way to help neighborhoods learn how to interact with bears that might wander in.
FWC reports in 2020, it received 5,821 bear-related calls across the entire state. That's up from 4,196 bear-related calls reported in 2010.
Here are FWC's tips for living around bears:
- Never approach a bear. Keep as much distance between you and the bear as possible.
- If a bear changes its behavior because you’re there, you are too close.
- If you encounter a bear at close range, stand with arms raised, back up slowly and speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice.
- Do not turn your back, play dead or run from a black bear.
- Make sure you are in a secure area, such as a car or building, and the bear has a clear escape route, then scare the bear away with loud noises, like yelling, blowing a whistle, or using an air or car horn.
- Install a motion-activated device, such as floodlights, a water sprinkler, or an audio alarm, to scare a bear away from a location when you are not present.
- Report any bear threatening the safety of people, pets or livestock, or causing property damage, to the FWC.
- Walk dogs on a non-retractable leash and be aware of your surroundings. Dogs can trigger defensive behaviors from bears.
FWC says it's illegal to intentionally place food or garbage out that attracts bears and causes conflicts.
You can learn more about living with bears on FWC's website.
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