Family feeds a black bear.

Plenty of people hope they get a cool bear experience at some point in their life. I’ve had several black bear sightings in my years, and I’ll never get tired of them. But a cool bear experience should be seeing the animal from a distance, not approaching it or letting it approach you, and certainly not giving it food.

Here’s the deal, if you feed wildlife, including bears, there’s a good chance you’re sending that animal to its doom. Feed a black bear once, and they might look for food from people again, eventually creating “nuisance” animals that no longer fear humans and have much less predictable personalities. These animals can injure people or damage property, often times leading to euthanasia. Plus, if bears are used to eating people food, they’re more likely to eat something that might kill them.

Also, the way the family behaves around the bear is just inviting the curiosity of the animal. If a black bear approaches you, get big and talk to the animal, identifying yourself as a human while encouraging it to move along. Don’t make any high pitched noises or screams, don’t allow access to any food, and back away slowly.

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