Bear experts are clear about what to do if you encounter a black bear: Stand your ground, make a lot of noise, wave your arms around to make yourself appear bigger, and generally try to scare the bear off. Or you could ignore all that sound advice and do what this guy did and herd a bear away from your lakeside patio party with all the self-assuredness of a 270-pound nightclub bouncer, still clutching a cigar in your left hand.
The footage from the encounter surfaced on Barstool Philly’s Instagram account on Sept. 5, and it instantly caused an uproar. In the video a group of people appears to be hanging out next to a lake, possibly at an outdoor patio. A guy in a cut-off t-shirt and basketball shorts ushers a large, ambling black bear away from the setup, steering it past hanging baskets of flowers, tiki torches, and a 65-inch flatscreen television propped up on a stack of firewood.
Once the guy and the bear reach the gate, there’s a pause. The bear clearly doesn’t want to leave, and makes this known by reaching up and swatting the guy, apparently named Mike, on his torso. But Mike barely budges, instead sticking a finger in the bear’s face and then pointing it out of the patio like he’s putting a stubborn dog in the backyard.
The bear takes a final look around before finally moseying through the gate and out into the street (straight toward two unsecured trash cans). Grinning at the camera, Mike lifts his shirt up to reveal the few long scratches from the bear’s clay.
It’s hard to confirm if this actually happened in Pennsylvania, although the caption on the footage reads, “Meanwhile, in the Poconos…” referencing a rural, forested part of the state home to a large black bear population. Upon encountering a black bear, the Pennsylvania Game Commission advises that you alert the bear to your presence, get back, stay calm, and pay attention.
Mike did three of these four things, but didn’t really follow the “get back” rule. As a result, he got a lot of concerned directives from the other partygoers. “Mike, stop it!” “Mike, get away from it!” “Mike, put your arm down!” Ultimately, his course of action worked in removing the bear from the party. But he also got lucky that the bear, clearly human-conditioned, didn’t take more violent action toward him, and a few commenters pointed out how close the bear was to spilling Mike’s guts out with its claws.
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The footage was also ripe for some NFL jokes from Barstool Philly’s 375,000 followers, since the account is dedicated to all things Philadelphia sports. While the Eagles and the Chicago Bears aren’t exactly longtime rivals, the teams’ fanbases don’t love each other, either. That much is evident in the first comment on the video:
“Mike said ‘F** the Bears, Go Birds’.”