“Run Downhill and Take Off All Your Clothes”


A BLACK BEAR STORY, originally uploaded by SparkyLeigh.

Dr. Helen, a forensic psychologist from Tennessee, recently wrote a post about an article in the May issue of Field & Stream that talks about what to when you encounter a bear in the wild. Apparently, one must first assess the bear’s behavior and assess whether it’s a predatory bear or a defensive bear. She goes on to muse about similar strategies for dealing with potentially violent people, which she has also written about here.

The Studmuffin has his own advice for dealing with bears. As newlyweds, we took a trip to rural Montana to visit the his family. (Is there any part of Montana that is not rural?) He warned me that bears are common in that part of the state and that if I were to encounter a bear, I should run downhill and discard pieces of clothing along the way.

“Yeah, right,” I said, fully expecting him to sneak up behind me on a trail and scream, “Bear! Bear!” Did I look like a naive young bride? (Yes.)

Turns out he wasn’t playing silly newlywed games. Bears have shorter forelegs than back legs, so they are slower moving downhill than uphill. As pieces of clothing are dropped, they’ll stop to sniff it. However, I don’t think either tactic is going to do much good when a bear is in full charge. And, I prefer to die with my clothes on.

The Studmuffin has his own practical experience with bears in the woods, of the Alaskan Grizzly kind.

I think that I would like for Dr. Helen to meet the Studmuffin some day.

3 comments

  1. As a lurker (love your sense of humor!), it is this post that brings me to write you a comment…My niece lives in Montana and her daughter (well, basically all the kids at school) weave bells into their shoelaces come spring. This helps prevent them from accidentially sneaking up and surprising a bear – the ringing bells give the bear a bit of warning. I don’t know if this really works, but it does seem to make sense! So, bells on shoes are common during the warmer months.Cheers!Evelyn

  2. The Studmuffin has his own advice for dealing with bears. I’m NOT going to get used to my son-in-law being called “Studmuffin”…. if I were to encounter a bear, I should run downhill and discard pieces of clothing along the way.I seem to recall that this was almost the technique you used to run away from the bees nest we disturbed three years ago. Except that we ran UP hill. Still, it was humorous to see you running whist stripping down to a brassiere trying to get that bee out of your clothing.Uh, am I telling family secrets?Dad

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