A 90-Year-Old Woman Was Confronted By A Bear And Took The Only Action She Could

Altha Williams was relaxing on her porch sipping some water, perhaps thinking that today was going to be just like any other day. But then a big black bear clambered up next to her — and attacked. The animal was clearly not happy about Altha being anywhere near the three cubs it had alongside it. So it reared up and got in the elderly woman’s face. Altha was left with little choice: she had to act or suffer the deadly consequences.

Bear attack

The one thing going in Altha’s favor was that she’d seen many bears in her yard before. She had lived for the past 45 years in her home in Wears Valley, a short stretch from the Great Smoky Mountains. So by this point, the 90-year-old woman had gotten comfortable with the sight of these majestic animals. But this bear was different.

A roaming beast

And what was particularly strange about the encounter in June 2022 was that Altha had seen this bear, or one just like it, before. By all accounts, Altha had been behaving in the same way when she had seen it — and had been perfectly safe. The Tennesse resident was also aware that she had to be careful around the animals.

Preventative steps

This meant doing simple things such as making sure her bird seed was out of reach from any unwanted guests. Altha also knew that she shouldn’t discard food waste in her yard in case it invited bears to get closer to her home. Although she has, on the odd occasion, let this important rule slip — possibly at her own risk. 

Bear encounter

Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) spokesperson Matt Cameron told WVLT News that leaving out food is “one of the worst things you can do for bears.” The problem is that this simple act is teaching the bears to link humans and food in their minds. And that’s when dangerous encounters — such as Altha’s terrifying experience — can happen more often.