Our Official Response to the People Upset We Showed a Bear Eating a Deer on Our Website

This week, we published an article that included a video of a bear grabbing a hold of a deer on the side of the road in Yosemite National Park. The bear had a firm grasp on the big buck, and from my guess-timation, he most likely became that bear’s dinner.

We decided to embed the video in an article on our website, because sharing directly to our social media pages might be too shocking for our viewers. If you haven’t seen the video, and would like to, go here. If not, keep scrolling

Of course, people were still upset with us and the comment section blew up with many comments like these:

“I was hoping to see an apology from the person responsible for this video. Nope. You had a great page and I really enjoyed reading about the great places I could go to here in the northstate but I am unfollowing your page.

“So unnecessary to post – yes it is nature but that isn’t a reason to post the horrible suffering of a living creature. Frankly, you owe your followers an apology.”

Why would you want to post this? I realize it’s “nature” but do you really think this is the best way to represent NorCal? Your videos are getting more and more unacceptable. I’m out.

Done with Active NorCal. Done. Posting this served no higher purpose. None. Shame on you.

Now, I understand people wouldn’t want to see this video. It certainly isn’t for everyone and in understanding that, we put it behind a clickable (or a you-don’t-have-to-click-on-it) link that interested people can watch. It might have been the veracity of the headline that upset people, and you can blame that squarely on me.

But as the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Active NorCal, I stand by this article.

In terms of the video, I think it’s pretty cool, but I’m also the person that incessantly watches Planet Earth videos of wolves surrounding bison and devouring the weakest of the herd. I know I’m different, so that brings me to my main point:

This is nature. And nature isn’t as pretty as you might think. Last week, we shared an article about the beautiful Kokanee salmon run of Tahoe’s Taylor Creek and how bears were flocking to the area to get their giant paws on some fresh salmon before hibernation. Many photos and videos were included in that article, showing bears devouring live salmon. People praised it as a beautiful representation of the circle of life, and a great way for the growing population of Tahoe bears to get a bite to eat without digging into trash cans and breaking into homes.

How are these articles any different? They’re both showing a carnivore eating a live animal in the wild. We constantly talk about keeping bears out of human food – whether that be trash cans, homes or campgrounds – but get upset when they actually eat their typical, wild meal?

We also recently shared an article about a humpback whale getting washed ashore on a Humboldt beach after it was tangled in fishing line. Where’s the outrage there? Isn’t the wasted life of a beautiful animal much worse than one feeding in nature?

I get it – you probably follow us to see beautiful photos of Northern California (we share a lot of them) – and you don’t want those type of articles/videos getting in the way. Guess what? Many times, the photos we share are edited heavily, showing a NorCal destinations in a better light than what you may see in person. Not always, but sometimes.

You know what you may see in person when going into the wilderness of NorCal? Animals eating each other. A bat eating a mosquito. An otter eating a trout. A bear eating a deer. That’s the true NorCal, and for showing that to our audience, we will not apologize.

As always, thanks for following Active NorCal and we look forward to many years showing you the true greatness of Northern California!

Zach O'Brien

Zach O'Brien is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Active NorCal


  1. I respecfully disagree
    Nature, I get it
    But truly unneccessary
    I did not watch
    I belong to a Yosemite site
    A passerby filmed it
    I did not realize what it was until it started
    It made me sick to hear/see something in pain even for a micro second before I deleted

  2. You and I probably share a number of perspectives in common, and it seems clear to me that you were attempting to protect people who did not want to see the gruesome event from having to do so. You’ve already given further thought to whether or not you might have used two different headline, and that seems like a thoughtful additional precaution. In that same direction, you might have flash the yellow caution light even a little brighter than you did and warning people what they would encounter in the video. I suppose those are edits that you could make even now. I appreciate the sight and the work that you put in on it, and respect your decision to present the evention dynamics of nature and all their manifestations, while at the same time providing cautionary introductions that allow people to avoid seeing material that is upsetting to them. Keep up the good work.

  3. Good for you. You don’t need those followers on your page anyway and we certainly don’t need them here in the northstate. They obviously have no clue about nature or how to appreciate it. Guess they can just go to a city zoo to see ghe animals and believe that’s how nature is. I for one support your decision and applaud you for being real. You have a new follower here. Thanks for all you do.

  4. I did not watch the video because of your warning when you originally posted it. I am a big fan! For those whom watched it and were offended by it, remember not to view next time. Active Norcal has some of the most intriguing wonderful articles.

  5. Well written. I don’t agree with some of it but respect your views. And BTW, black bears are omnivores.

  6. This is why people need to stay in their cars and not walk up to bears etc. when visiting national parks. They are WILD animals. Nature isn’t always pretty. This is a bear, doing what bears do in its natural habitat. Some of these comments remind me of those who are against hunting but buy their meat from a grocery store. I say if you don’t want to see the video, don’t watch it.

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