Evan Matthews noticed the “hungry little cinnamon black bear” emerging from the trees and stopped to take a video.
The bear, whom Mr Matthews identified as likely “fresh out of the den,” proceeded to follow him.
“I’ve seen plenty of bears in the wild, but this was the first time one had shown any interest in me,” said the runner. “He must have been extra hungry!”
Filmed earlier this month in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the footage is mostly from Mr Matthews’ point-of-view, and as the bear initially began to approach he shouted at it to stay back.
“Hey, no! I don’t care if you’re hungry. I’m not your food,” he exclaimed as the bear moved towards him. “Sure, we could take a walk if you want. You don’t get any closer, though.”
By talking to it and standing his ground Mr Matthews intended to show he was human and not another animal that might be potential prey for the bear.
He noted that he had bear spray with him as a precaution, and was not keen to use it, but the animal never came within 20 yards of him.
His “little bear friend” continued to follow him down the road, and Mr Matthews said that he didn’t run away because if he had, the bear may have thought of him as prey and given chase.
The runner also explained that playing dead is not a wise move in a situation such as this. Were it a mother bear attacking to protect her cubs, playing dead may trick the animal into believing the threat had passed.
A solo bear, he pointed out, is trying to find an easy target, and playing dead makes you just that.
Mr Matthews added: “Not all bear encounters are the same. In most cases, I’ve been able to just go around the animal. But this one was interested in me, so I had to change its mind!”
Eventually, after doggedly padding down the road after him, the bear appeared to lose interest and ran off into the woods in search of something more edible and easier to catch.