When Bears Meet Humans: A Not-So-Expert Guide to Forest Etiquette

That one time I thought I met a bear, but it was just my imagination… and too much caffeine.

Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash

Ever had one of those days where you’ve had one too many cups of coffee and every rustling leaf sounds like a potential bear attack? Yeah, me too. So, on that jittery note, let’s dive into a whimsical guide on how to ‘survive’ a bear encounter. And by ‘survive’, I mean how to laugh about it later with friends over a campfire.

1. The Awkward Introduction:

Seeing a bear is like bumping into an ex at a party. Do you wave? Do you hide? Maybe just offer a nod and hope they’re too busy with the berries to notice your embarrassing stumble.

2. Finding Common Ground:The Art of Bear Small Talk

Ever tried making small talk at a party where you know absolutely no one? Well, imagine that, but with a bear. It’s all about finding that sweet spot of common interest. Here’s how you might go about it:

“Hey there, Mr. Bear! Fancy meeting you here. You know, I’ve always been curious about the salmon scene. Been to any good salmon runs lately? I hear it’s like the Coachella for bears. All the cool bears are doing it.”

Pause for dramatic effect. If Mr. Bear seems uninterested or too focused on that honeycomb, switch gears.

“Oh, not a fan of the great outdoors? More of a homebody? I get it. Sometimes there’s nothing better than curling up in a cozy den with some Netflix. Speaking of which, have you caught the latest season of ‘Stranger Things’? Or maybe you’re more into documentaries like ‘Planet Earth’? I bet it’s weird seeing relatives on screen.”

And if all else fails, everyone loves a good food chat.

“By the way, any good berry spots around here? I’m a huge fan of blueberries. But hey, if you’re more into fish, I totally respect that. To each their own, right?”

Remember, it’s all about connecting on a personal level. Even if that person is… well, a bear.

3. Sharing is Caring:

I always carry snacks. Not for me, but in case I meet interesting woodland creatures. A granola bar might just be the peace offering that saves the day. But remember, no chocolate! We don’t want any bear tummy aches.

4. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching:

If you’ve ever tried to impress someone with your dance moves at a club and failed miserably, now’s your chance for redemption. Challenge Mr. Bear to a dance-off. Worst case scenario, he’s too busy laughing to notice you’ve made a swift exit.

5. Dramatic Goodbyes:

Channel your inner soap opera star and give the most dramatic farewell. “Goodbye, Mr. Bear! Our time was short, but I’ll never forget you!” Then exit stage left.


In all my caffeine-induced forest adventures, I’ve yet to meet a bear. But if I do, I hope it’s as comically memorable as this guide. And remember, folks, always respect wildlife and keep a safe distance. Because the only bear hugs we want are the plush, stuffed kind.

NOTE: This article is all in good fun and not to be taken as actual advice. Always follow proper safety precautions in bear country. And maybe cut back on the caffeine before your next hike.

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