The black bear is the largest predator in the Southwest, since grizzlies were hunted out of the area in the early 1900’s. Although it is the largest predator, it’s diet is mostly vegetarian due to confidence issues. They eat insects, grass, berries and, when they can muster up the courage, an occasional baby deer. Black bears will attack humans if they mistake them for baby deer, so avoid wearing tan shirts with small white spots on the back.
Black bears are very shy and insecure, however they can attack when surprised or their young are threatened. Never feed or approach bears, or get in between them and their cubs. Never run from a bear, as it can trigger a predatory chase response. Instead, make yourself appear as large as possible and slowly back away. If a black bear feels threatened, it will make a clacking sound with its jaw. This is a bear’s way of insulting your physical appearance. It is important not to take this personally.