How to Reason with a Bear on Your Front Porch

What one man did when nature came a little too close for comfort

Last week, western North Carolina resident Jackie Medford, 62, ordered a black bear off his front porch, and the animal listened. Be sure to listen to the first few moments—“What the heck are you doing?”—of this video, filmed at Medford’s house in Glenville, North Carolina. (Turn the volume on. We promise you won’t be able to watch it just once.)


At my buddy’s this morning 😂

A post shared by David Joy (@davidjoy_author) on

Medford, who is a firefighter at the Cashiers-Glenville Fire Department, had just gotten off duty. He filled up the bird feeders on his front porch and was inside fixing breakfast when he heard a noise. “I thought, Who is this? Somebody is here at the front door,” he says. “It was a bear, getting at the bird feeder. He was wanting to eat some sunflower seeds.”

Medford ordered the bear to get down, and the bear sheepishly crawled down the banister and peered through the laurel railing. “I wasn’t in danger,” Medford says. “I knew that the bear was on the back side of that post, and I knew he was getting out of there.”

Medford has seen this particular animal—and quite a few other bears—around his property regularly. “This one has made about four trips to check out my yard. I think he’s a juvenile male, just getting out on his own,” Medford says. “He’s trying to figure out how things work in the neighborhood.”

Medford clarifies—it’s not his neighborhood, it’s the bears’. “We actually are living right on their trails and their passageways,” he says. “Even if people didn’t live here or have food out, bears would still come across the little creeks and ridges. It’s more that we’re in their neighborhood than that they’re stepping into ours.”

As Medford hollered and whistled the bear away from his porch, the animal sashayed off through the yard—and hopefully learned his lesson to stay away and find his own food. “It was funny, it was almost as if he was ignoring me as he sauntered away,” Medford says. “And then, he turned around and had a little attitude, looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying ‘I’ll be back.’”

The video was first posted to Instagram by the author David Joy, a friend of Medford’s.