Man uses bear spray to ward off ‘curious’ black bear in heartbreaking video
A man was shown using bear spray in a now-viral Reddit video after he said a black bear had been following him for more than five minutes.
Posted to the Reddit forum “This is Crazy” by u/BertieTheBeaver, the heart-pounding clip has garnered more than 65,000 votes since it was shared on Wednesday.
For most of the three-minute video, u/BertieTheBeaver filmed himself walking backwards while holding the canister of pepper spray pointed at the bear.
According to the National Park Service, there are a few steps you can take to prevent a situation from escalating after coming into contact with a bear.
The agency recommended identifying yourself by speaking calmly and standing while slowly waving your arms.
Additionally, those who come into contact with a bear are encouraged to stay calm, walk in groups, and avoid running or climbing trees.
“Bears can bluff their way out of an encounter by charging and then turning away at the last second,” the agency reported. “Bears may also react defensively by woofing, yawning, salivating, growling, snapping their jaws, and laying their ears back.”
If someone screams or moves suddenly, they may inadvertently trigger an attack.
The National Park Service noted that bear pepper spray is used to stop an aggressive, charging, or attacking bear.
“It is not a repellent, so do not apply it to your body or equipment,” the agency said.
In the clip, u/BertieTheBeaver shows the bear following him.
He stepped back and spoke in a low, even voice.
“Hey bear, it’s okay, bear,” said u/BertieTheBeaver. “Hey bear, get out of here. It’s okay, I’m leaving.
He kept backing up slowly, but the bear wasn’t far behind as he kept trotting after him.
The bear climbed a few trees halfway through before abandoning them to follow u/BertieTheBeaver.
Eventually, he let out a puff of pepper spray, which immediately caused the bear to spin and run in the opposite direction.
Viewers rushed to the comments section to discuss the tense video.
Some have suggested that u/BertieTheBeaver spoke to the bear in a tone that was too comforting and not assertive enough.
In a comment, u/BertieTheBeaver noted that he saw the bear while taking photos.
“He was coming down a trail so I left the trail in the forest and he started following me,” he said. “That’s when I started screaming and [wave] my arms, but it wasn’t phased by it at all. So I just settled in to calmly retire and be ready to use my spray if it charged.”
A reviewer wrote that they used a buzzer before using bear spray.
“It is generally effective in deterring black bears,” they commented. “I don’t usually hike in brown bear country.”
Another praised u/BertieTheBeaver for staying calm during the encounter, noting that they were surprised the bear had followed him for so long.
“I believe this one had received food rewards from humans either by intentional feeding or by campers leaving out trash/food etc,” u/BertieTheBeaver wrote. “Explains the inquisitive but also shy nature.”
One said he “enjoyed” the video and the message.
“You saved yourself, the bear and the experience so the rest of us could learn,” they commented.
Newsweek contacted u/BertieTheBeaver for further comment.
Other content involving bears has gone viral, including a tweet posted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation that warned of the differences between bear spray and bug spray.
A viral video shows a black bear crashing into a wedding, while another clip captured a high five between a driver and a bear that ran out into traffic.