Black bears are usually docile, timid creatures, not too interested in the activities of humans. Nevertheless, they are wild animals that can be extremely dangerous and a black bear attack can be fatal. Never get too close, tease, or feed a wild bear. The general rule is that an observer is too close if a bear alters his behavior. If a bear stops what he is doing, slowly back away until he resumes his original activity. Read and obey all signs on hiking trails. Speak with the office staff in campgrounds and national parks about bear activity. Watch for signs of bear activity like tracks and scat on the trail. If these signs are found, leave the area and report your findings at the office if one is available. Bears do not like surprises or loud noises, so make noise while hiking, especially on winding trails where visibility is limited.
Bear cubs are never far from their mothers, and the majority of bear attacks are mother bears defending their cubs. If cubs are found, scan the area quickly for the mother and leave immediately.
Possible Signs That a Black Bear Will Attack
A black bear will sometimes offer clues in his body language that he may attack. A bear may not offer any warning signs, so every bear must be treated as a dangerous wild animal.
-Paws at the ground.
-Paces back and forth.
-Makes growling noises and puts ears back
-Standing on his hind legs shows the bear may feel threatened, or may simply mean he wants a better look.
-Drops his head and swings it back and forth.