Black bears (Ursus americanus) proliferate in remote mountain forests of Oregon . Adults average 200–500 pounds and have dark coats. Black bears shy away from people except when provoked by the scent of food, when cornered or surprised, or when humans intrude into territory near their cubs. Female bears tend to have a very strong maternal instinct that may construe any alien presence as an attack upon their young.
Authorities counsel hikers to act aggressively and defend themselves with whatever means possible if a bear is in attack mode or shows signs that it considers a hiker prey. Jump up and down, shout, and wave your arms. It may help to raise your jacket or pack to make yourself appear larger. Bears can run much faster than humans, and their retractable claws enable black bears to scramble up trees. Furthermore, bears tend to give chase when they see something running.
If you see a bear at a distance, try to stay downwind of it and back away slowly. Bears have a strong sense of smell, and some studies suggest that our body scent is abhorrent to them. Our food, however, can be quite appealing. Campers should place all food in a sack tied to a rope and suspend it 20 feet or more from the ground.