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True Brown Bear Stories






We have set aside this page for a few true and interesting bear stories from travelers, agency people, biologists, photographers, hikers, campers, and anyone involved with bear conservation or rescue. Your story may be selected for this page! These bear stories can be about any kind of bear you may want to tell about. We will put them in the appropriate section (brown, polar, black, etc.)  CoveBear reserves the right to edit.

Not all stories may be felt to be appropriate for this website or our audience - don't take it personally if yours is not chosen!  They are all good stories. CoveBear reserves the right to select and publish preferred appropriate bear stories.

The purpose of the bear story page is to share with other people

what it is like to see a bear in the wild.




While working as a Park Ranger in the bear management program in Yellowstone National Park, I was part of the National Park Service team that tracked, re-located, observed and managed grizzly bears and black bears at the Canyon District. I have worked with the National Park Service for over twelve years and with the National Forest Service for five. My job now is to manage the Visitor Center in Carbondale, Colorado with the Forest Service. It's extremely rewarding. The experience I will tell you about was, and still is, the most rewarding experience I've ever had and to this day reminds me of how beautiful and majestic bears really are. I love bears!

This story is about a grizzly bear, although now I've had many encounters with black bears and grizzlies throughout my life. Each encounter was unique and different and very special. I had just gotten off duty from the ranger station at the backcountry office and it was around 5:00 P.M. I was ready for a late afternoon hike. I had no one to go with so I decided to go alone. I put together my small daypack, put on my boots, jacket, and got some rain gear. It was a cloudy day and the sun was nowhere in sight. It was the time of year when the flowers were in full bloom and the grasses were crisp and green. The wind was blowing and I knew I'd be out for a couple of hours but for some reason I didn't tell anyone where I was going or when I'd be back. In the back of my mind I knew this was dangerous but I was in a hurry.

I decided to drive up the canyon and take the closest maintained trail about three miles from my government home. The forest was deeply wooded and the trees were wet with dew. This was the trail leading to Mallard Lake, one of my favorite short hikes. It was only two miles or so to the lake and I knew I better hurry along the trail if I were going to make it back before sundown. I began hiking the first part of the trail and immediately walked into the thick forest which was extra beautiful that day. I was in a great mood and loved looking at the tiny flowers and plants dotting the path. I had my camera with me but I just wanted to enjoy the scenery and the quiet on this afternoon.

After hiking a mile, I rounded a bend in the trail and was half way there. The sound through the trees whistled and breezed through the lodgepole pine and fir trees surrounding me. I started the gradual uphill portion of the hike towards the lake and it started getting cooler as the sun was going down. I hurried along going up the switchbacks one by one walking faster now. I noticed a few blue birds flying through the low pine branches and then came upon a small grove of wild strawberries growing along the banks of a small stream. I picked one of the berries, ate it quickly and kept going. I was nearing the lake. I turned another switchback and walked closer towards the meadow coming up on my right. I saw in the distance a small opening through the pines where the trail ended and opened up into the pristine Mallard Lake meadow. I couldn't wait to peek through to see the lake!

I walked into the opening slowly and looked through to find the lake. I saw the sparkling water and colorful meadow up ahead and then I saw something different. It was moving along the banks of the lake and it was big! I knew it was a grizzly bear. I screamed a little cry and moved back a few inches. I looked more carefully and wow, it was huge. It must have been over 400 pounds, with a large hump on it's back, dark colored but with glistening, silver tipped fur. The grizzly was overpowering in his majestic grace. I could hardly believe what I was seeing!

I had just realized not only the beauty of this mammal but also the danger I had put myself in. So many things were going through my mind. And then all of a sudden I looked back over at the lake and the grizzly was gone. I shifted my eyes left and right and then saw the grizzly moving round the lakeshore coming towards me in a jog. I was scared but my instincts kicked in, my adrenaline rushed into my brain and I immediately knew I had to leave. I had taken my eyes off the grizzly for a few seconds to ponder on the situation I was in. I didn't want to look towards the grizzly anymore but I had to. I had to see where the grizzly was located now and see how fast it was moving. I peeked up quickly and saw that as I expected it was already too close for comfort. Only 100 yards from me and coming up fast I saw the animal I had so admired and now, in a blink of an eye, feared. I started running hard and fast, and thinking there's no way I can outrun a grizzly! I had been telling visitors all summer not to worry because "you can always climb a tree if your being chased by a grizzly". Grizzlies don't climb trees very easily if at all. The only problem was that the trees in Yellowstone happen to be lodgepole pine with smooth trunks and no lower branches to speak of. I would not be climbing a tree.

Now I was just running for my life. Running down the trail and thinking what if he catches up to me? What if he reaches out with his giant claws and grabs me by the shoulder, pulls me down and starts gnawing into my flesh? I ran and ran and ran as if I was a marathon runner. I knew I wasn't supposed to run but I had to. I couldn't think of anything else to do. I had told visitors that if they spotted a grizzly not to run, but what was I doing? I was running and doing the wrong thing. I started to sweat and I just couldn't bring myself to stop to take a break. Maybe I could stop and play dead like I'm supposed to, but that wasn't going to happen. I had run over a mile and a half by now.

As I was listening carefully to the forest nearby I could no longer hear the grizzly's foot steps anymore. It was quiet now and all I could hear was my own breathing and wheezing. I didn't dare look behind me and I just kept running although now. I was at a slower pace and running out of breath. I could see my lemon yellow, Ford Fiesta through the trees as I was coming around the bend and then just like that, I was at my car. I unlocked the door quickly and got in. I finally looked up to see if the grizzly was coming into view but it wasn't anywhere to be seen. I stayed there for about 15 minutes waiting for him but he never came. I was thinking now that I would wait and take a picture of the bear, but he never showed up. I was finally calm, the sun had set, it was starting to sprinkle and I decided to go home. I felt very lucky that the grizzly decided not to attack me, and I knew I would never forget the first time and the only time I ran from a Yellowstone grizzly. - Cathy Carlisle, Colorado


I saw a grizzly in Alaska one year. It was not close, but then I would not want it to be close. It was alone on a slope, flipping big heavy rocks effortlessly like they were pebbles. Bears must be incredibly strong. I had no camera that day, but that doesn't matter because when you see a bear, it's one of those things in your life that you never forget. When you see a bear in the wild, you don't just see the bear in front of you - you become everyone who has ever seen a bear, you feel the same things they did, and all the stories you ever heard about bears, well, those are all rolled up into that moment too. Bears unlock your imagination and your senses like no other animal. - Steve Smith, Indiana


We hope that you have enjoyed reading about real bear adventures.


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