Summertime is the time for frolicking in the woods, whether it be hiking, camping, or enjoying a simple picnic. Of course, those wild spaces are not just a playground for us humans; they are a home for wild animals such as black bears.
What should you do if you encounter one? Experts offer several tips, including staying calm, making yourself appear as large as possible, and talking to the bear in low tones.
On the “not to do” list are things like screaming, running, and climbing a tree. And though it seems to go without saying, experts never suggest approaching a bear or, say, picking it up and putting it in your boat.
But, that is exactly what one man recently did. And though officials have been quick to point out that this behavior is not recommended, many cannot help but be touched by his heart.
Brad Meck was fishing on Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania when he heard a noise near his boat. As he looked out, he first thought it was a log or maybe a beaver.
But as it got closer, what it was came into focus. “Holy crap,” Meck told WWSB in describing what he thought to himself, “that’s a baby bear.”
The cub was struggling to keep its nose above water. And Meck said it was moving quickly toward the boat as if it needed help.
Meck pulled the bear up by the scruff of its neck. The thought “please don’t bite me” flashed into his mind as he did it, but Meck mostly acted on his helping instinct, and the bear was calm.
He laid the cub inside the boat. It sneezed out water and sat quietly.
There was no mobile phone service on the lake, so Meck could not call anyone. His best judgment was that the cub had tried to follow its mom across the lake but hadn’t made it.
Meck decided to leave the tiny cub on the riverbank with the hopes that it would find its mama soon. The little one padded off into the woods, and all are hoping that mama and cub were reunited.
The story has now been shared around the country and even as far as Australia. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has reminded others to contact them rather than handling these types of situations themselves.
But when most viewers imagine this tiny creature helpless in the water, they call Meck a hero. As one commenter on Facebook said, “Thank you so very much for taking the extra time to make sure that someone else had a chance.”