National Park Service Recommends Not Pushing Your Friend Down in Case of Bear Attack

The National Park Service is recommending not "pushing your slower friends down" if a bear is attacking.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

August 05, 20202 min read

Grizzly bear spray scaled
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

You have to admire any government agency that steps away from standard government language to deliver a message that people may actually read.

The National Park Service did that today in a Facebook post designed to help people not get mauled by bears.

It’s a problem. Grizzly bear attacks, for example, are running at historic highs for this time of season in the Greater Yellowstone Region.

So the National Park Service put together some tips — interspersed with much-needed humor — to help novices who really don’t belong out in the wilderness anyway.

“Please don’t run from bears or push your slower friends down in attempts of saving yourself,” the post reads.

“If you come upon a stationary bear, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Like dogs, they will chase fleeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees,” they write.

Our favorite part is next: “Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course).”

The rest of the advice is pretty simple and good to remember.

“Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Don’t we all? Identify yourself by making noise so the bear knows you are a human and not a prey animal. Help the bear recognize you as a human. 

“We recommend using your voice. (Waving and showing off your opposable thumb means nothing to the bear) The bear may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.”

Our favorite part is the ending:

“P.S. We apologize to any ‘friends’ who were brought on a hike as the ‘bait’ or were sacrificed to save the group. You will be missed.”

Find more tips, check out

Share this article



Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter