Bear Encounters

Bear Encounters

Yosemite black bear

When entering the park or any wilderness area keep in mind you are visiting the animal’s natural territory. Though it is not uncommon to see a bear, not every visitor will encounter one. If you are lucky enough to see a bear roving the forest keep the following in mind while reaching for your camera:

  • Respect the bear silently through brief observation in a non-disturbing manner.
  • Never approach a bear. Keep at least 300 feet between you and the bear.
  • Never get between a bear & her cubs.
  • Stay together if you are with friends or family.

We are responsible for keeping bears from becoming habituated to human food. Subsequently they should not feel allowed to simply enter your area in search for food. If you have a black bear encounter in your campground, picnic area or lodging area use the following suggestions to dissuade the bear:

  • Make a lot of noise, yell, bang pots & pans, or anything noisy you have nearby.
  • Make yourself look as big as possible standing up and putting your arms in the air or by using towels, jackets, etc. around you to make you look bigger.
  • Never approach the bear or give them food.
  • Never surround the bear - make sure it has an available escape route.
  • Never get between a bear & her cubs.
  • Never try to take food back from a bear!
  • Report bear encounters and sightings to a ranger or leave a message on the "Yosemite Save A Bear Hotline" at 209.372.0322.

Bear Bluffs and Bear Attacks.

  • A bear may try to show its dominance by bluff charging. If this happens stand your ground, look big, and do not be afraid. As soon as the bear backs away you should too.
  • Though bear attacks are rare it is important to be cautious and know how to react. If you are attacked, roll into a ball with your face down with your hands over your neck. If the bear persists, experts say to fight back.