Man captures up-close encounter with huge bear hanging out under his deck

Updated: August 16, 2017

If there’s ever a bear on your property, this is not what we recommend you do. But thanks to one homeowner’s moxie, we now have an up-close look at an agitated bear, the likes of which few people get to see (and live to tell the tale).

Vance Hopkins shot the video at his home in South Lake Tahoe, California, as he tried to figure out how to remove a giant bear from his property. The animal had holed up under Hopkins’ porch, and Hopkins decided to take a look and try to figure out how to keep his yard from becoming a permanent residence.

In the video, Hopkins crawls down to check the situation out, and what he sees would make most people run in the other direction: an unusually large and nervous-looking bear just feet from his face. However, instead of retreating, Hopkins gets closer. The bear’s response is a terrifying lunge forward, accompanied by a powerful blast of air. Even through computer speakers, you will feel the raw power of this animal.

As the video continues, the bear gives another terrifying mock charge, clearly threatened by Hopkins’ presence. Finally, Hopkins decides to scare it out by going back up on the deck and pounding on the wood above its head. The animal responds as expected, hightailing it out of there, but not before getting the last, uh, word around the three-minute-ten-second mark.

Though the original video’s title called this a “brown bear,” commenters noted that it is most likely an extremely large black bear (they come in many colours). This is fortunate for the videographer, as black bears are much less likely to attack people than brown bears are. In fact, black bears prefer to mock-charge and show aggression to scare people away rather than immediately attacking.

It’s uncertain why this bear decided to hole up under this porch, but bears generally come around when they think they can find food. Garbage and pet food are frequent attractors, but bears will also come around if they notice less common food sources, such as barbecue grills, compost, or beehives. People are encouraged to make their yards inhospitable to bears by removing food and making lots of noise. Most bears will generally leave on their own, no face-to-face encounters required.