GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – A Virginia man got the surprise of his life when he encountered a bear in his backyard last week.  

John Barr, of Goochland, wasn’t injured during the encounter Wednesday, and said he believes the bear might have been more scared of him than he was of it. 

“[I] turned around and there was a bear,” Barr said.  

The encounter was caught on security camera footage. In it, Barr was gardening when suddenly he got an unexpected visitor.   

The video shows the bear approaching Barr, seeing him, and fleeing as Barr turns around — just in time for Barr to get a glimpse of the bear as it scurried back into the woods. The whole incident happened in a matter of seconds.  

“I finally decided I should run in the house. Of course, by then he was gone,” Barr said.  

Video captured by a security camera shows John Barr of Goochland County tending to his garden while a bear walks into his backyard. (Courtesy of Debra Barr)

After the encounter, Barr contacted the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.  

“They thought it was just a young bear who was moseying around sniffing and really wasn’t paying attention,” said Barr. “And then they think that the reason he stopped right before he got to me, he realized I was, you know, a living thing and decided that wasn’t a good idea.”

This is not the first time this bear has come around the house. The Barrs have seen him sniffing around the outside garbage cans in footage recorded by their Ring doorbell camera.

Barr’s wife, Debra, has now nicknamed the bear “Spencer.” She said she can now look back at the two videos and laugh.  

“I thought it was funny when we had him the first time, but this one was much funnier,” Debra Barr said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service said some ways people can stay “bear aware” include remembering not to run, remaining calm and always facing the bear as you back away slowly. You can find more helpful information on the Forest Service website.