Are bears dangerous?

Written by Nicklas Iversen | Last edited 28. May 2021

The short answer is no. The bear is a large animal and, as with moose, cows and other large animals, you must show respect. This does not mean that bears hunt people, however. You can learn more about how dangerous bears are on this page.

Foto: Roger Brendhagen
Foto: Roger Brendhagen.


When the bear began to return, many people living in areas with bears felt afraid. This is not surprising, of course. After all, the bear is a large animal. After having no bears for so long, we had forgotten how bears behave. When they returned, they were unfamiliar to us. It is a a trait for us humans to be a little more afraid of the unfamiliar.

Etter at det går litt tid ser vi gjerne at folk som bor i områder med bjørn blir litt mindre redde, siden de erfarer at bjørnen ikke gjør så mye ut av seg som de fryktet i begynnelsen. 

After some time, however, we often see people living in areas with bears becoming slightly less afraid as they discover that the bear is not as aggressive as first feared.

Are you scared of bears? If so, it may be worth contacting us, as we may be able to help!

Foto: Roger Brendhagen.


Det har skjedd at enkelte bjørner har angrepet mennesker. Det typiske er at disse bjørnene føler seg sterkt truet på en eller annen måte. I de fleste tilfellene har bjørnen blitt skutt på først, og dermed fått en grunn til å forsvare seg. 

It is not unknown for individual bears to attack people. This typically happens when a bear feels threatened in some way. In most cases, the bear was shot at first and therefor had a reason to defend itself.

Such cases usually involve hunters with dogs coming across a male bear. And if you have a weapon, the obvious thing to do is defend yourself against the large animal. However, experience shows that this can be a bad idea.

Foto: Roger Brendhagen.


Å møte en bjørn er normalt helt udramatisk. Som i møte med andre dyr vil bjørnen som regel stikke av idet den merker deg. Bjørnen har god luktesans og kan lukte turgåere på veldig lang avstand. Dermed stikker bjørnen altså som regel av før du rekker å se den.

Meeting a bear is normally undramatic. Just like other animals, the bear will usually run off when it notices you. The bear has a good sense of smell and is able to scent hikers from a long way off. This means that the bear generally runs away before you even know it’s there.

If you are moving quietly and downwind, you may on very rare occasions encounter a bear. So what should you do if you meet a bear?

1) Talk to the bear

Make human sounds so that the bear knows there is a human around

2) Stay calm

Try to stay calm. Pay attention to what is happening.

3) Withdraw

If you feel unsafe, withdraw slowly.

If you follow these three pieces of advice, you can expect the bear to run away quickly, leaving you to continue your hike.

This article has been written by Bjørn Henrik Stavdal Johansen, a nature guide at Flå Predator Visitor Centre.

Foto: Roger Brendhagen.