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Hiker wearing headphones knocked over by bear

For The Win logo For The Win 8/8/2019 David Strege
a black bear walking through a forest: File Photo © File Photo File Photo

A woman was hiking on a remote section of the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when a bear dashed across the trail and knocked her over before continuing on.

WBIR reported that the unidentified woman was wearing headphones at the time and had no advance warning of the approaching bear.

The park's wildlife biologist and park rangers spoke with the woman on Monday after receiving a radio report about a bear attack, which occurred Saturday, Great Smoky Mountains National Park spokesperson Dana Soehn told WBIR.

The woman had fallen 20 minutes behind the people she was hiking with in the eastern section of the park near Camel Gap, and the encounter happened very quickly. Fortunately the bear kept on going.

Soehn told WBIR that it's not unusual for bears to cross the trails while people are hiking, but it is unusual for a collision to occur, adding that normally people hear a bear's approach and have time to react before the crossing.

The lesson is clear: don't wear headphones or ear buds while hiking.

a black bear standing on top of a lush green field: File Photo © File Photo File Photo

"Situational awareness is one of the key components for safety on the Appalachian Trail, so anything that impairs one's ability to actively assess their immediate environment increases their chances of injury or getting lost," Jordan Bowman of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy told USA Today/For The Win Outdoors.

"If hikers choose to wear headphones, we encourage them to use unsealed headphones that still allow them to hear the surrounding environment and other hikers, as well as to listen to music at a level that does not impair their situational awareness-and, of course, at a volume that does not hurt the experience of another hiker).

Also on FTW Outdoors: Video shows bear cub scaring awake sleeping fishermen

"We also encourage hikers to embrace headphones-free hiking so that they can experience the sounds of nature around them - for many, hearing sounds like a distant loon call or the chirps of cicadas are some of the most memorable parts of their hikes."

Among other common safety practices while hiking in bear country are to avoid hiking alone, make plenty of noise to avoid startling a bear, be aware of your surroundings and stick to the trail.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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