‘We’re in their habitat’: Hikers discuss close encounter with bears

  • Alex and Laura McGregor encountered two grizzly bears in Alaska's Katmai National Park
  • Their training in "bear school" proved instrumental in surviving the encounter
  • Their main priority, Alex says, was "making sure that we were as boring as possible."

A couple has racked up more than 1.7 million views on TikTok after coming face-to-face with two massive grizzly bears on their hike in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. Laura and Alex McGregor joined “NewsNation Prime” to discuss their experience and the training they received in “bear school,” and to offer tips for others who encounter ursine friends.

The key, said nature photographer Alex McGregor, was to be “as boring as possible.”

“If we were to run, that would make us look interesting to the bear, it would make us look like prey. It would teach that bear that people are fun or people are something to chase after. So, our main priority was the safety of the bear and making sure that we were as boring as possible. If we took off running, the bear would probably take off after us.”

Hiker Laura McGregor credited the training by park rangers as essential to avoiding disaster.

“The rangers,” she said, “definitely emphasized the fact that you need to make sure the bears are aware of where you are and making sure they see and know what you’re doing on that trail … things like saying, ‘Hey, bear’ to make sure they’re aware of what you’re doing. Also, just making sure that you’re staying out of their way. We’re in their habitat.”

Watch the interview in the player above.


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