Originally Posted by Merlin III
Spot on! I agree, game officials have conflicting motivations in cases like this. There are wolves in Northern Maine. The State and Fed deny this. About ten years ago, a hunter and guide shot a coyote. After viewing it up close, they had their doubts. They took it to the State lab and had it tested. It was a wolf. The Fed fined them 10,000 dollars and to this day still denies that there are wolves in Maine. The same applies to Mountain Lions.
Be aware that wolves and coyotes have been breeding in the east (Canadian maritime provinces have reported cases), which gives you a bigger aggressive coyote/wolf cross. Wolves are not necessarily all that aggressive by themselves (and not nearly as big as myth has it), but coyotes are pretty opportunistic. Glad to see this thread focused on the reality of bear encounters, not deteriorating into "which gun".
It's important to remember that animals have individual differences, so there can be exceptions to the general rule - yes, most black bears will run, but not all. Most grizzlies will ignore you, but not all. I've had a grizzly walk through camp (10' from me) and it was apparent that he was making a point. Never turned his head to look at me (I was pointedly being ignored), but I moved camp, it was apparent that he considered that spot his. They do have personalities. Hopefully you don't meet the Freddy Krueger bear!
Another point, it's all about cost/benefit and risk/reward for animals, they have a tough life as it is. That's why studies have shown a disinclination to attack a group of people - too risky. Therefore the recommendation to be in groups or hold something over your head or otherwise make yourself look bigger and riskier to attack. Make it difficult or appear risky and you decrease the odds of problems. The bear will look for an easier opportunity.
Teenage bears that are "trying it on" are a bit of a problem. They don't know the rules yet, are used to being in a powerful grouping (Mom & maybe another cub) and having their way...they'll test you and are one of the few exceptions where you may want to be aggressive yourself. Look for the "big head" (some mistake this for a big bear) as the body hasn't grown to match the head yet. Expect some goofiness. A bear with a small looking head is often a big guy and confident in what he/she is doing.