Bear Encounter Makes Local Teens Rethink Walking TPC Snoqualmie Ridge After Dark; Advice for Bear Encounters

It sounded like a good teenager idea at the time.  It was a warm night, the stars were out, so a group of teens decided to walk the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge golf course after dark last night.

The group says they were entering the course on a cement golf cart path off Eagle Lake Drive near the Bandera neighborhood when they heard a loud crack.  They stopped. One member of the group lives on acreage in the valley and instinct took over.  She informed the group it was a bear, advising them to stop and back slowly away, which they did until they got really scared and ran.  One teen’s description of the bear was limited to, “it was a huge bear.”

I hear lots of bear sighting stories and write about some of them.  I tell my own kids how many bears are being spotted on the Ridge this summer.  I show them pictures.  I guess what I haven’t done is inform them what to do if they actually encounter a bear.  Seriously, how many different parental worries can there be?  You think you have it all covered and then new one creeps in.

This morning, readers also reported recent bear sightings in the Snoqualmie Ridge Edgeview neighborhood, a new neighborhood located within the Bandera area.  This big bear was spotted Wednesday night around 8PM.  Another bear was spotted on Heather Ave Thursday morning around 4AM and then another sighting occurred that night in the backyard of golf course home on the same street, the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge hole 2 area.

The bears on Snoqualmie Ridge might be categorized by the Department of Fish and Wildlife as “human-habituated bears” and “because of prolonged exposure to people, have lost their natural fear or wariness around people.”  Additionally, some local bears might be considered “human-food-conditioned bears.”  Because of their garbage can feeding, they associate people with food.  The Fish and Wildlife website says, such bears can become aggressive while pursuing food. Remember, that does NOT mean always aggressive.

So here’s some bear tips for the week.  I am sure long-time valley residents know these steps, but new residents might not be aware of them.  Luckily, these teens were only scared last night.

Department of Fish and Wildlife Tips for Bears Encounter:

  • Stop, remain calm, and assess the situation. If the bear seems unaware of you, move away quietly when it’s not looking in your direction. Continue to observe the animal as you retreat, watching for changes in its behavior.
  • If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking to the bear in a low voice. Don’t use the word bear because a human-food-conditioned bear might associate “bear” with food. People feeding bears often say “here bear.”
  • Don’t throw anything at the bear and avoid direct eye contact, which the bear could interpret as a threat or a challenge.
  • If you cannot safely move away from the bear or the bear continues toward you, scare it away by clapping your hands, stomping your feet, yelling, and staring the animal in the eyes. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to shoulder and raise and wave your arms to appear intimidating. The more it persists, the more aggressive your response should be. If you have pepper spray, use it.
  • Don’t run from the bear unless safety is very near and you are absolutely certain you can reach it (knowing that bears can run 35 mph). Climbing a tree is generally not recommended as an escape from an aggressive black bear, as black bears are adept climbers and may follow you up a tree

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