I know second-hand that even very experienced outdoors-people can get caught off-guard and follow their instinct to run, even though they know it is the wrong thing to do. It is human nature, especially if you're not really thinking "bear encounter" while you are walking through brush. Quite frankly, IMHO that should be the ONLY thing you are thinking about when you can't see over the terrain in bear country... it is harder to be caught off-guard when you are actively scanning for bear.
I have never encountered a brown bear in the wild, but I have run into black bears on several occasions. All of the encounters have been with bears just minding their own business. I went on my way and they went on theirs. I have been lucky in that I have never met a bear who is feeling defensive, curious or playful, but each time I have stopped dead in my tracks and my pulse has definitely gone up! I am not sure how I would react if I saw a brown bear... I'd like to think that I'd still stop in my tracks and not run.
It's funny, even though I am not in bear country anymore, I still watch out for bear and moose whenever I'm walking through the woods! I have to remind myself to look DOWN for snakes instead.
MNS a/k/a Dixie Moon
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