It was September of 2018. I had a week of my vacation at the Berezinsky reserve. The deer breeding season had just begun and I spent every sunset at a special viewpoint near the Berezina river watching and listening to deer.

bear encounter

The tower is located 3-4 km from the nearest village. Usually, I drove there by bicycle but that evening I went on foot. The road runs along a channel and on another side of the road is marshland.

bear encounter

The bear encounter

I had already passed the halfway point and suddenly I noticed that some animal was coming out onto the road. When it half appeared, firstly I thought it was a wild boar. At the next moment, I realized that this boar has no fangs and a hump on the shoulder… A bear?
Yes, it was a three or four year old bear. It came out onto the road, looked at me and took a few steps towards me.

There were about 70 meters between us. I felt my heart beating fast, but no fear for some reason. I remembered that bears can run up to 60 km/h. There were no trees that were fit for climbing. A channel was on the right, a swamp was on the left. So, I wouldn’t have had a chance if the bear had been aggressive.

I took my phone and took a few photos taking short slow steps back.

bear encounter
bear encounter

Our meeting lasted 10 or 15 seconds, then the bear just went on its way. It crossed the channel and disappeared, snapping branches in the woods on the other side.
I waited a few minutes to take a breath and continued on my way.

bear encounter
bear encounter

It was the first time in my life when I came face to face with a bear in a natural habitat.
Don’t forget, bears are one of the most dangerous animals. A bear from a video below is about the same size as that one I met on the road. Pay attention to her claws.

Forest Zoo in Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve

What to do if you encounter a wild bear:

  1. Don’t run and don’t turn your back;
  2. Talk to it softly, don’t shout;
  3. Make no sudden movements, back away slowly;
  4. Leave the bear an escape route;
  5. If you have food, leave it;
  6. Raise your hands or a jacket or your backpack to seem bigger and slowly wave them;

Some of my friends also used a loud wireless speaker or a flint.

So what other points can you advise to stay alive after a bear encounter? Or maybe you have your own experience. Feel free to share it in the comments!

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