As we move into early autumn, hikers should be more "bear aware" than ever. Bear encounters are rare, but since bears are most active from September to October feeding and packing on extra pounds before hibernation, sightings and encounters pick up in frequency during this time. If you encounter a bear, you need to stay calm and follow appropriate measures.
Basically, don't do what these hikers did. TikTok user @nolanboerboom took a video of his hiking group's encounter with a bear in Montana's Glacier National Park, and a few of the group's members broke the most basic "bear safety" rule.
Luckily, the bear didn't seem too bothered by the group of hikers he encountered. It's a good thing that he was calm, though, because several of these hikers made a very crucial mistake- they ran away from the bear. As much as that might be your instinct, running away from a bear can become very dangerous!
If a bear is angry or territorial, running away from it can trigger its chase response, and it can easily overrun and overpower you. The best thing to do is hold your ground or back away slowly, make yourself look bigger and make loud noises, and use bear spray if necessary. Running away from a bear puts you and everyone else around you in danger! As @codyd_owns succinctly put it, "1 person runs, it turns into a game of survival of the fittest."
Of course, those with a darker sense of humor had different advice. "Just remember you don’t have to outrun the bear, just the slowest person in your party," advised one user.
Some commenters noticed another odd thing about this scene. "What the heck is he doing above the tree line? Very unnatural! I wonder if humans have been feeding him. I sure hope not!" @sweethummer observed. While bears will sometimes store food or forage for berries above the tree line, they typically stick to lower altitudes because that's where the most food is.
However, when hikers feed bears, bears become more emboldened to try and approach humans for food, even going out of their way to do so. While this group didn't break this rule, it still "bears" repeating: don't feed the bears, either!