A Florida woman screamed with shock after coming face-to-face with a bear on her porch – and the hilarious encounter was captured on her Ring doorbell camera.
Gina Helsel, 60, had a close encounter of the furry kind Thursday morning after deploying her dog to chase neighborhood cats away
She went out to collect her pet – only to find a hungry bear rummaging through her neighbor’s trash and devouring leftover food.
Helsel’s frightened screams and grimaces were captured in high definition, with the good sport subsequently sharing her distress with local news station WPBF.
A video captured an amusing encounter, in which a Florida woman found herself face-to-face with a bear after sending her pet dog to shoo away the neighboring cats from her porch
Gina Helsel explained that she occasionally uses her dog to dissuade cats from congregating on her front porch, but on this past Thursday morning, she encountered a much larger visitor than expected
The commotion seemed to cause Helsel to struggle with the door, she explained.
‘I did fumble with it, and it wasn’t even closed all the way because I never close it all the way when I take him out.’
Fortunately, once Helsel and her dog made the swift retreat, the bear followed suit.
Helsel made light of the incident, laughing over remarks her brother made after she told him what had happened.
Recalling the conversation, Helsel said her brother couldn’t contain his laughter, telling her, ‘Gina, only you can scream like that.’
Mike Orlando, a biologist with Florida Fish and Wildlife, explained the bear’s behavior – emphasizing that the bear’s actions were typical and not indicative of aggression.
He mentioned that the bear was primarily focused on the dog, performing a ‘bluff charge’ before both Helsel and her dog retreated, causing the bear to run away.
A hungry bear was rummaging through the trash and munching away at her neighbors garbage
Helsel let out a loud yelp while scurrying back to her home with her dog, fumbling with the door before taking shelter inside
Helsel said that she is typically hyper vigilant about alligators, snakes, and coyotes, but seeing bears in Florida never crossed her mind
Fortunately, once Helsel and her dog made the swift retreat, the bear followed suit
‘The bear’s mostly focused on the dog, it basically lunges, does a bit of a bluff charge. When her and the dog retreat, the bear runs away,’ Orlando said to WPBF.
He noted that the surprising encounter was a result of mutual surprise: Helsel hadn’t anticipated a bear’s presence, and the bear hadn’t expected her to appear with her dog.
‘They just all startled each other, you know, she didn’t expect to have a bear sitting there, and the bear wasn’t prepared to have her show up with the dog,’ Orlando said.
Helsel said that she is typically hyper vigilant about alligators, snakes, and coyotes, but seeing bears in Florida never crossed her mind.
‘I’m always looking for gators, always looking for snakes, and a great fear of coyotes, but bears I didn’t really think about,’ Helsel said.
Helsel described how her dog was signaling to clear the porch before the bear unexpectedly peeked its head around the corner.
Helsel’s residence in Daytona Beach is adjacent to a conservation area that serves as a natural habitat for bears.
There are more than 4,000 black bears in Florida, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Orlando emphasized the importance of securing garbage to prevent bears from being attracted to residential areas.
‘Some way to keep the garbage secure, so that you’re not bringing the bear from the woods into your neighborhood, where you can have a run-in like she had,’ Orlando said.
Helsel made clear that she bears no ill feelings toward the bear, stating, ‘I am glad the bear’s OK, I don’t want anything to happen to the bear.
‘The bear was—it lives here,’ she said to the outlet.
In June, a black bear cub shocked a man relaxing outside his house in Asheville, North Carolina.
The cub quietly padded toward David Oppenheimer, who was sitting on a chair outside his home, drinking a coffee and looking at his phone.
Oppenheimer’s home security camera captured the incident that saw the man remain completely unaware that the bear was moving toward him until the little bear’s nose is just inches from his perched foot.