Park rangers issue warning: genius bears are coming for your pic-a-nic basket

Photo: Andronius (iStock)

When you go camping, you’re essentially going to a bear’s house and crashing on his couch without asking. If a whole bunch of humans showed up at my place unannounced, built a fire in my living room, and brought over a smorgasbord of their exotic human food and didn’t offer to share, I would not take it nearly as well as most bears do. I would find it even more egregious if said randos strung their food up in a tree like a delicious hot dog packed pinata. In the eyes of a bear, we are rude, entitled freeloaders, and honestly, none of us can argue with that. Now, according to Southern Living, it seems the are bears are mad as hell and they are not going to take it anymore.

Park rangers at Grandfather State Park in North Carolina have taken to Facebook to warn that the bears have grown wise to our tricks and, very likely, have begun to organize amongst themselves. They’ve already figured out how to foil the classic “hang our food in a tree so bears can’t get it” tactic. They’ve begun to train baby bears in the art of breaking into cars, something adult bears have already become quite adept at. They’re bravely meandering into campsites. The bears are no longer amused by our sylvan sojourns to enjoy the technicolor fall foliage. They are ready to take what is rightfully theirs: our food.

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Now that the bears have become smart enough to outfox us, rangers want all campers to review the Not Getting Eaten By Bears 101 curriculum:

  • Do not keep food in your tent, which will just make you appear more delicious.
  • Don’t throw food and garbage around the woods, because it’s essentially like sending out a signal saying “I’m an idiot who deserves to be eaten.”
  • Do not leave food unattended, because bears are hiding behind the trees, keeping close eyes on your every movement, waiting for you to slip up.
  • Keep your pets on a leash, because in bear language those are called “appetizers”
  • If you notice a bear nearby, pack up your food and trash immediately and run away. The bears will be shocked by the site of human beings cleaning up the environment, and will be too confused to eat you immediately.
  • If a bear approaches you, do not run. Back away slowly, or try moonwalking out of the situation. The bear will be impressed and might let you live.
  • If necessary, scare the bear by screaming at it. Good topics: its relationship with its parents; democratic socialism; is a hot dog a sandwich.
  • If the screaming isn’t enough, try throwing rocks and sticks at it. Again, this is all advice that is coming directly from the parks service, ergo The Takeout is not legally responsible for a bear kicking your ass.
  • Never approach, feed, or attempt to ride a bear. If the bear is wearing a saddle, do not trust it. It could be a trap.

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About the author

Allison Robicelli

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, host of The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, the author of three books, and a swan meat influencer.