Sometimes a thing seems so obvious that it doesn’t need to be stated, such as “breathe air” or “eat when hungry,” but in the interest of public safety, here it goes: Don’t chase bears. Especially with a dull hatchet. Especially when you’re drunk.
Before you accuse me of bearsplaining and not being an expert on such bear matters, let me first point you to this, and then to the fact that it’s not just me pushing this advice. This wise counsel comes directly from the North Adams Police Department in Massachusetts.
According to the department, a guy — whom they describe as “hatchet man” — did this very thing Monday night. “Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised,” the department posted on Facebook.
Police said to call them if you see a bear. “We certainly don’t need anyone going all Davy Crockett chasing it through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet,” police said. “It is just a bad idea and not going to end well.”
“We are still trying to figure out what his end game was,” the posting read. “Any thoughts on what he was going to do if he did locate it? We would certainly like to hear because we have no idea.”
“Hatchet man” ended up in protective custody, as he was incapacitated from alcohol. Two dispatchers confirmed the posting to the Boston Globe but didn’t elaborate on the incident.
Black bears are the only bears roaming around Massachusetts, and males can weigh anywhere from 130 to 600 pounds. About 4,000 live in in the state.
Experts say black bears don’t pose much of a threat to humans as long as they’re left alone. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife black bear project lead Laura Conlee told the Berkshire Eagle that the state has never had a report of a mauling.
Still! Black bears can get defensive if they feel threatened. Being chased with a hatchet, even if it’s dull, doesn’t come off as the friendliest of behavior.
And as for the alcohol component: Chasing a bear seems like it would require a little liquid courage, which is a guess since I’ve never tried chasing a bear. But how about just avoid the undertaking altogether?
Here’s the North Adams Police Department’s Facebook posting, in all its glory: