I Grew Up Fearing Bears
I grew up reading many of the magazines on display here. When I began hunting at 16, I believed bears would charge me in instant anger. I wondered if I could kill a bear before it got me. At 18, I saw my first wild black bear. It ran away. At 28, I began studying them. Now, at 68, I reflect on how these magazines continue to mislead people.
Why do we fear bears?
Attacks are rare and excessive warnings about them create unnecessary fear.
Balanced and factual information about bears is hard to find. Providing that information is the main goal of the North American Bear Center where the bears themselves provide much of the information through video footage and research data.
Articles That Demonize Bears
Author James Driscoll wrote:
By the dawning of the ‘40s. Outdoor Life had built its reputation as the place for attack stories, with bears featured on at least one cover per year. But over the course of that first half-century of snarling bruins, the way the stories were told changed in significant aspect.
Images vs Reality
Bears as Imaginary Dragons
There may be something within us that wants to imagine dangerous animals to prove our courage against. People used to imagine dragons. Today, outdoor writers, artists, and others profit by demonizing bears. They exaggerate danger, creating fantasies of courage that sell magazines, art, bear hunting trips, and more.
Many people accept these exaggerations and develop a deep fear of bears. Believing that bears must be killed to protect life and property, they have eliminated bears from many parts of their former range. Fear and habitat loss have driven some bear species to the verge of extinction.
The exaggerations continue today.