bud_marschner 6:29pm, 1 June 2008
Grizzlies are admired, feared, romanticized and villanized. It is hard for humans to live in harmony with an animal that could cause serious harm. We hope to collect images, thoughts, knowledge and experiences which might help us understand them better and appreciate them so we can protect the dwindling habitat they need.

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Beary Blue Eyes Voices: Honoring Grizzlies

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Via flickr mail Gale asked me to start a topic on living in bear country, ie bears in an urban environment.

The unpredictable part of the equation is the human part, we leave out far too many attractants. Bears are very predictable in their food habits, if something produced food in the past they WILL do it again. The old park service saying..."a fed bear is a dead bear" is as true of a bear in a national park as it is true of a bear that makes his living near your neighborhood.

So the solution to bear troubles in an urban environment isn't so much what to do when you see a bear, it starts much earlier, we have to deal with elimination of food sources the bear can get into. Our methods of trash disposal is probably the number one source of food they can get into. Leaving your trash outside in an unsecure dumpster, or leaving your trash on the curb. Another problem is pet food, your dog and cat may enjoy many of the same foods that attract a bear, and the sources are endless, here in Alaska in some towns you can get cited for leaving out a bird feeder. So to solve your bear troubles work with your local community leaders to eliminate unsecured sources of food that a bear can get into.

A second question, now your community has failed to secure its food sources and you come across a bear feeding out of your trash can. I've always been told you need to acess if the bear is in a defensive postions (defending it's young, defending a food source etc.) or a non-defensive position (he's interested in you, testing to see if you're a food source). For a defensive bear you need to be more deferential in a non-defensive bear you need to be more assertive.

For both conditions, see if the bear notices you. If he doesn't, quietly and slowly back away and avoid the confrontation, if he does notice you and is advancing toward you, you might need to make an acount of yourself. Raise your arms, talk in a low soft voice, I usually try to tell the bear I mean him no harm, (the use of conversation is to keep my adernalin levels from letting my voice get to loud). Even if the bear charges you, you need to stand your ground, rasie your arms over your head and keep talking to the bear. Most charges are bluffs where the bear is testing to see what you will do (he wants you to run around making a high pitched squeaking noise like lunch usually does, so don't do that).

If the bear makes contact (I'm now out of my experience as I've always had the good fortune to encounter bears that followed the rules and left me alone after a bluff charge), lie face down, if you have a pack on all the better, leave it on it is protection. Use your hands to protect the back of your neck and head and use your arms and legs to keep the bear from rolling you over.

Now comes the biggest difference between black and brown bears. Brown bears will attack until they believe the threat is resolved. So if you stay down he will back off and leave you alone once he feels he pounded on you enough to ensure you're not a threat. However, a black bear may decide you are dead and try to eat you, so if a black bear stays on you, you're gonna have to prove to him that you are more trouble than your worth so hitting him in the nose and eyes, with rocks and sticks are good ideas, you might well be fighting for your life so give it you're all. Also earlier on, you will want to be a bit more assertive with black bears, again because he might think of you as a food source and they are more easily disauged with a tough opponent.

In conclusion, I would start with acessing your community and community codes and trash services to make it bear safe. Only when that fails do you need to start worrying in an urban environment how to deal with a bear protecting it's favorite trash can.

bud_marschner Posted 13 years ago. Edited by bud_marschner (member) 13 years ago
Teklanika Tolklat Grizzly

The most frightening bear encounter I’ve had since moving to Alaska, happened in late April of 2005 in Denali National Park. As is often the case the bears aggressive behavior was spurred by someone who went into bear country and didn’t spend the time to learn what to do and what not to do.

The park road is opened to Mile 30 at the Teklanika Rest Stop in mid to late April. My wife and I took our two dogs out to see what we could see for our first trip to the park that year. At the point the road was closed, we elected to go for a walk down the park road to stretch the dogs and our legs. About a mile from the rest stop, the road starts down a long grade to meet with a series of bridges that cross the Teklanika river. As a braided river it has many channels and the crossing is a little more than a quarter mile to cross.

As we were walking down the grade, we noted a bear working his way up the river. He was doing bear stuff and walking along, stopping to dig at things that smelled interesting. At this point he was probably ½ mile away. While we were watching a bicycler rode up to us from deeper in the park. He wanted to know what we were watching and we pointed out the bear to him. While watching the bear, he explained that he was leading a group of bikers from the University and they were coming back from Polychrome Pass (about mile 50 of the park road). By this time the bear was still on the river on the far bank but had just reached the bridge. This is the bear well downstream of the bridge:

Bear on Teklanika River

Suddenly another biker appeared on the bridge. I was watching him with a long lens on my camera and you could see he was visibly winded from his exertions, the bear was directly below him with about a 10’ elevation difference. I asked the leader standing next to me if the guy was smart enough not to try to ride away from the bear. The leader started to explain that they guy was from Central America and had probably never seen a bear before. The explanation was in progress when I could see the rider on the bridge suddenly jump from his surprise of the close bear. He jumped on his bicycle and started to ride as fast as he could to get away from the bear. The bear instantly turned into a chase response.

Bear & biker

The bear was in the river bed that had several channels of water and 4’ deep snow, but he didn’t have to follow the road, so he calculated his intercept point. I took a bunch of photos of the bear running across the riverbed. I did notice the bear was intently watching the biker, what I didn’t notice is the bear was running directly to my location. This is the bear running across the river bed. As you can see he is pointed directly towards me, but he is watching the biker who is now off the bears right.

flying griz

It probably took 40 seconds or so and the biker came to our location. At this point the bear was off the riverbed and was climbing the steep embankment up to the road. The biker said something to the effect…”I think that bear is chasing me”. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I think it was “you think!!! Get off your bike now and join us we are going to have to stand the bear down”. I said if forcefully enough that the guy did exactly as told.

As soon as he got off his bike, the bear was on the road, about 10 or 15 feet from us. He was woofing and stomping the ground, he knew that small moose he was chasing was standing right next to me. This is the bear just after he's reached to top of the road and but enough time has passed that I am brave enough to take photos of him.

tolklat griz

The bear continued to pace back and forth in front of us for 20 or 30 minutes occasionally running right at us, always stopping about 10 feet away. Our two dogs, generally want to get in the middle of all excitement stayed in perfect formation, one behind each of my legs with the nose just looking past me if to say…”damm that’s a big dog”. The bear’s gestures grew more and more less aggressive until finally it looked like a dog with very submissive postures as if to seem like it was asking us to share that small moose with him. Eventually, he gave up and went a small ways down the embankment and went back to digging and checking out miscellaneous smells. This is the bear after he's trying to get us to let him get closer:

Tolklat Griz

Well our encounter had drawn a fairly good size crowd of people at the top of the hill watching all of this go down. A young couple rode up to us on bicycles, the guy with a very superior voice demanded that I tell him the minimum distance you are supposed to maintain from bears in the park. He seemed like one of the young folks hired by the various concessionaires in the park and had probably just came from some bear indoctrination course by the park service. Of course I was pretty proud of myself at this stage and was pretty indignant at his question and responded that it was 300 yds and they he best tell the bear!!! Well the guy was miffed at my response and he and his girlfriend starting riding their bikes down the road towards the bridge. Well the bear was still close and the sudden appearance of two new small fast moving moose was too good to be true, he came running up at the couple. I yelled at them to get off their bikes, which they did, and the bear started his pacing routine once again, stopping this time at a range of 50 feet or so. Of course I couldn’t resist yelling down to the guy that he should stay 300 yds away from the bear. This is a picture of the bear after the bikers have attracted him back on the road by moving fast. Note: I think that is about 20 yards.

bikers and bear

As there were lots of folks around this time the bear almost immediately went back to the river.

While I have a lot of bear encounters, this was the only one with a bear in a heightened aggressive state. He was determined to hurt that fast moving moose. The main story to learn here is never try to out run a bear, they can maintain 35 mph for a pretty good distance, that is in the same speed range as a fast horse. More than most people can maintain even on a bike, particularly if there is a hill up ahead.
bud_marschner Posted 13 years ago. Edited by bud_marschner (member) 13 years ago
McNeil Essay

I first wrote the following essay after a visit to McNeil River Bear Sanctuary in Alaska in 2005. It is the highest concentration of Brown Bears in the world. Since I wrote this essay, the state board of game has backed down on its proprosals to open areas adjacnet to McNeil to hunting after incredible pressure for both the public that values watchable wildlife and surprisingly the hunting lobbies as they saw the reaction of the public at large would bring too much light on their activites.

Further, I've now been fortunate enough to win another lotter to go to McNeil in late June of this year. So I hope to have some more photos and stories to share before long.

I should also point out for this thread that Brown Bears and Grizzlies are actually the same bear, the only difference is the interior bears are not given the annual bounty of salmon and are primarily vegitarians and end up much smaller than their well fed coastal cousins. As the interior environment is much more marginal for bears, the interior grizzlies are much more dangerous than the bigger coastal guys, as they are eating machines with a great deal of food in front of them.

McNeil Essay:

The sow brown bear, weighing in at roughly 700 pounds was standing in the foaming icy waters of the falls of an Alaskan coastal river transfixed upon unseen motions in the water below her. Suddenly, she rapidly danced about, dipped her head in the water and came out with a 12 pound chum salmon in her jaws. The sudden motion and the new flapping of the salmon drew the attention of an even larger boar brown bear. He lunged at the sow and she took off at a sprint. She ran across a series of boulders separating various channels of the river to a game trail that led to her desired cover to hide from the boar and eat her fish in peace. The only problem, I was seated in the middle of that trail; I stood up to announce my presence to the rapidly approaching bear. By the time I made it to my feet, she was a mere 3 feet away. Traditional myth has me in a very bad place; however, a most amazing thing happened. She skidded to a stop, looked up at me with soft brown eyes and a submissive expression that seemed to suggest, “sorry to bother you”. Then she looked at my feet and slowly eased around me close enough to hear her breath. Once by me she continued her retreat into the underbrush.

A girl's gotta eat!
Brown Bear with chum salmon comming accross the falls.

While this may sound like the start of a thriller of some amazing Alaskan Bear tale or that I might be the luckiest guy around, it is McNeil River in Alaska. The State of Alaska has, for over 30 years, taken up to 10 tourists a day to the falls to observe the politics of the bears at the falls jockeying for position at the best fishing locations and has never had an injury caused by a bear, according to Larry Aumiller, one of our guides at McNeil River. He did tell of some who had heart trouble and had to be flown out. From the heart rate that I encountered while face to face with that sow, I found the heart trouble part of the story easy to believe. However, at the end of our 4 days, with similar encounters happening several times a day, I came to also believe the bear part of the story.

Good Fishing
Boar with a fish!

Rea & Rio
Subadult siblings watching the politics of the big bears on the falls.

While many creeks and rivers in Alaska have salmon, not many have the combination of salmon and falls that concentrate the salmon such that the bears are better enabled to catch salmon that have not spawned yet. Salmon entering fresh water cease eating and undergo changes to enable them to spawn but also signaling their death as they commence living on their stores of energy in fat and muscle rendering them less nutritious. McNeil River and Mikfik Creek flow into McNeil Lagoon, a tidal estuary, which is separated by a spit of sand from Cook Inlet. Within a mile or so of the lagoon, both drainages have a small set of falls that impede the annual migration of salmon following their own cycles to come back to the stream of their birth to mate and die. The salmon are slowed by the falls, gathering in the pools directly beneath, and are vulnerable to being caught by the bears. The run of red salmon begins in June at Mikfik Creek. As a result, June visitors to McNeil River State Park are taken to the falls of Mikfik Creek to see its spectacle of bears. However, the stream, the falls and the salmon run are all smaller; therefore, Mikfik never gets the concentration of bears that occurs in July when the red salmon run wanes and the run of chum salmon begins on McNeil River. In July, visitors are treated to the largest concentration of bears in the world fishing for spawning chums. In August, after the chums stop returning, the bears begin fishing below the falls for the spawned out chums.

My own personal McNeil experience actually started some 10 years ago when my wife convinced me to move to Fairbanks, Alaska. Once here, we started on a quest to see Alaska, which has taken us from the northern most point at Point Barrow, to the southern temperate rain forests. One place that hit her radar early was McNeil River. Unfortunately, McNeil is not a place you make reservations and go. The popularity of the place and the need to keep the groups small has led to the institution of a lottery for selection of the 180 or so people that get to go each summer. Every year, a month or so after we sent in our application we would get a letter thanking us for the $50 application fee and advising us that we did not get to go. This year, when the time came to submit our application the duty of sending in our annual contribution to the State Game and Fish department fell to me. I went directly to the dates with the lowest chance of a permit and the highest numbers of bears. After all if you win the lottery, you want to win big – right? Well, I won big and we were granted the opportunity to go to McNeil in July.

In July we were off to Homer to connect with Beluga Air, one of the charter operators flying to McNeil. Our 3:00 pm departure from Homer greeted us with blue skies, warm temperatures and no wind. The one hour and fifteen minute flight to McNeil Lagoon was wonderful: we noted two humpbacks and a pod of dolphins in Cook Inlet and then were greeted with wonderful views of Augustine Volcano. As we approached the shoreline at a distance of 10 miles or so, I could see two drainages and the one to the right had falls; as I looked closer, the falls had spots in it. Bears! Lot’s of em. The approach to land at the lagoon took us right over the falls and we could see the gravel viewing pads as well as 20 or so bears all within close proximity of the viewing pad. My excitement level was now pretty high.

After landing, we had to lug our gear across the spit and up to the campground, I was now glad we were limited to 75# apiece. Once we had relocated our stuff, we were given a half hour orientation on the issues of the campground at McNeil. Most instruction, of course, centered on the bears and the fact that for 30 years the staff at McNeil have been habituating the bears to the presence of humans so they know what to expect and avoid confrontation. The rule that surprised me the most was: outside the alders that make up the campground is bear territory so give the bears the right of way; inside the alders is human territory so step forward toward the bears, shout, throw rocks, do whatever it takes to convince the bear he is in human territory. We pitched our tent, stored our food and toiletries in the cook shack and went for a walk on the spit. We saw 10 bears fishing in the lagoon (at low tide the lagoon empties and McNeil River and Mikfik creek flow thru the area), and another 5 bears clamming in the mud flats. I took lots of photos with the closest bear at a range of 200 yards or so. Little did I know that the next night I would waste no frames on bears so far away.

Our first close bear encounter happened early the next morning, a sow and 3 cubs came into camp and were startled by a fellow visitor, who was up early. Unfortunately she spooked all 4 bears into my tent site. I quickly awoke to the sound of thundering paws, lots of woofing and barking, and my tent rapidly shaking from two bears on each side of my tent brushing it as they ran past. Needless to say, my adrenaline levels were sufficiently high that further sleep was out of the question, so I took a walk on the spit and was greeted with a wondrous sunrise with Mt. Saint Augustine Volcano in the foreground. It was pretty enough, that I was almost ready to forgive the rude awakening.

McNeil Sow and 3 cubs
Sow and 3 large cubs that woke me by shaking the tent as they ran past.

McNeil Sunrise
The sunrise they got me up to see.

Each day about 10 am, we launched from the campground: 8 novice tourists and our Fish and Game guide for the day. It was explained that bear activity generally picks up in the afternoon, and the bears are most active from 3 pm to 10 pm, and that the actual departure is dependent on the tides. We were fortunate the tide was out so we could walk across the lagoon in the morning and then the small open boat from the campground would come back at high tide to give us a ride back across the lagoon at our return.

Soon it was clear we were in the realm of bears. On our first day, we saw the sow and three cubs of my morning encounter just outside the alders that line the camp. Each day as we approached the base of Mikfik creek, we saw a new form of combat fishing: in a short turn of the creek 20 bears were fishing for the dwindling red salmon run that goes into Mikfik. In fact on the second day we noted approximately 30 bears while standing in the middle of the lagoon.

Mikfik Smorgasboard
Bears Fishing on Mikfik Creek

On the opposite side of the lagoon the trail heads to the high ground between the two drainages. On the second day we watched as a sow with 3 spring cubs went up our trail. We cautiously worked our way up the trail looking for the bears and as we got to the top of the rise we found them. However, as we watched, a boar appeared close to the sow. Our guide noted that we were standing on her only good escape path and suggested that we move a few feet off of the trail. Soon I was reminded of the sound of thundering paws and woofing as the sow and three cubs ran past us. As the bears approached, I was snapping pictures furiously, but as the bears filled my viewscreen thoughts of self preservation prevailed and I looked up from my camera. “Keep shooting!”, the guide intoned “you are safe”. So I started shooting once again.

Worried Mom and Cubs
Sow with cubs running from Boar

wait up wait up
The cubs

Another mile on the trail in tall wildflowers and soon the air was filled with of the sound of rushing water. We came to the edge of a small canyon and got our first views of the falls with 10 or so bears fishing, and several sleeping either on the gravel viewing pad or on the trail to the pad. Each day as we slowly moved toward the pad, the bears dispersed to let us through. Then our 10 hours of uninterrupted viewing began. We had bears to the right of us, bears to the left of us, bears everywhere. In fact at the height of our best day we had 33 bears within 50 feet of our location. At one point a bear seemed interested in our packs and had walked to the rear of the pad. While it seemed silly, our guide advised that we just move a camp chair between the bear and our pack. Obviously a 1000# bear should have no trouble swatting away a 3 pound chair, but the sudden introduction of the strange object caused the bear to immediately stop its approach and back away with only a grunt for its objection. All sorts of bear activity surrounded us: feeding, fighting for choice spots, mating, playing juveniles. For me, with an interest in bears, it overwhelmed my senses.

Say What!
Big Boar comming accross the falls

Confrontation over a choice fishing hole

Bears in Love
Yes Bears even do that at the falls

excuse me, do you have a breath mint?
They do get close enough the noise of the shutter can be an issue!

Then almost as soon as it would begin, our 10 hours at the pad were done and it was time to retreat back to the camp and a wonderful dinner of freeze dried stroganoff, amazing how good something so bland can taste so good when you are cold and hungry. Each day gave me a new insight to bears. The bears don’t come with bad habits; we teach them bad habits. If we are neither a threat nor a source of food, we are like the seagulls; we are there but not worth worrying about and they will conduct their business without regard to our presence. This been proven by the experiences of the last 30 years that Fish and Game employees have been taking visitors to McNeil Falls.

Bud and Jamie at McNeil
My wife and I at the upper viewing pad.

This spectacle of nature, as wondrous as it was, is a spectacle that is presently under stress, some political and some environmental. The maximum numbers of bears found at the fall just 10 years ago numbered in the 60’s while today the numbers peak in the mid to low 30’s. Lower runs of salmon are the suspected cause and research continues. Also, in the spring of 2006 the Alaska Board of Game voted to open the areas directly south of McNeil to hunting in the 2007 season in the face of an overwhelming majority of testimony and further advised that they were to consider a proposal to allow hunting within the preserve in 2007. Fortunately, a very strong public campaign directed at the Governor’s office and the Board of Game caused a reversal of the decision in 2006, so there is not to be hunting in the areas surrounding McNeil, however, the Board of Game is comprised completely by those with hunting interests in mind so they bear continued monitoring. So there is an uncertain future for the bears of McNeil River. I hope that sanity and the salmon will return and the bears will regain their number and retain their indifference to our presence, so when my next successful lottery pick occurs I will once again be overwhelmed by bears.

On our last day of visiting the falls, we were accompanied by a gentleman from Talkeetna, Alaska and his 16 year old daughter. Watching the bears with the infectious enthusiasm of youth only served to heighten the wonder of my own experience. I hope the we will have the wisdom to help this spectacle survive to allow the 16 year old to share the wonder of the bears of McNeil with her children in the future in the same fashion that she has now done with her father.

I feel obliged to say that you shouldn't try this at home with your bears. McNeil is a place where human contact has been controlled for the last 30 years and these bears have not had negative or postive contact with humans and they have been habituated to our presence. Anyone whose first encounter with bears is McNeil will not learn the distance that one should keep from bears that might see us as a threat or food and meet with an unfortnate experience.
deerluvr 13 years ago
wonderful photos and info on the grizzlies Bud! How fortunate you are to see them in their habitat! Are the grizzlies in danger of losing habitat out there also?
yeimaya 13 years ago
(()) thank you.
Silly Luis 13 years ago
What a wonderful experience! I'm almost as envious as of Gale's sailing after whales :-)
Max Waugh Photography Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Max Waugh Photography (member) 13 years ago
Thanks for the invite Bud.
Day 8: Watch Your Step
bud_marschner 13 years ago
Denali - Grizzly Bear eating blueberries

Grizzly's mate early in the summer, but the embryo doesn't implant into the females uterus until the start of winter and only implants if she has a sufficient level of a hormone that is generated by the sow's fat cells. The more fat the more hormone and the more embryos that implant.

Some lean years the sow will abort all the embryos. Last year as you can see in this photo was a super bumper crop of blueberries and all the bears in Denali were as plump as I've ever seen them, so I'm hoping for lots of spring cubs this year.
Grizzly Bear, Denali National Park, Alaska
yeimaya 13 years ago
I think seals do that too... they have delayed implantation so maybe it is more that the embryo doesn't implant if the fat reserves aren't sufficient.
yeimaya Posted 13 years ago. Edited by yeimaya (admin) 13 years ago
OOOOPS! This invite sticker that I made ( is not responsible) turns out to be a cinnamon black bear. Both and csynder103 pointed it out. Its the bears fault, you'd think black bears would have the courtesy to be BLACK hahah

Beary Blue Eyes Voices: Honoring Grizzlies
This image thanks to csnyder103

You are invited to add this image to Voices: Honoring Grizzlies

Any suggestions for a new true grizzly image?
Portrait of a Grizzly Bear
Thanks for the invite.
Hoot1 13 years ago
a thing of great concern
WildImages 13 years ago
OK Gale, you asked for it!

Here is a grizzly looking for White Bark Pine Nuts just before the hibernation season starts. There were scads of photographers lined up taking this young male who ignored the whole lot. He finally stripped this pine of enough Nuts so that he moved on to other endeavors:

Grizzly Bear searching for White Bark Pine Nuts during a snowstorm _MG_1935

Grizzly Bear standing in snowstorm looking for Pine Nuts _MG_1972

It was snowing quite heavy, big, wet, flakes. I was using a 100-400 lens on a Canon 5D which is a full frame camera with no multiplication factor. At times I wished I had a longer lens but now I am wondering if those snow flakes would have been more of a problem than they were. Bigger bear equals bigger flakes!

Grizzly Boar in snowstorm_MG_2012
WildImages 13 years ago
And here are two more of the famous McNeil River Bears:

Brown Bear Boar (Grizzly Bear) with Dog Salmon catch

Brown Bear (Grizzly) Cubs cling close to mother as she tried to fish
MyAngel 27 13 years ago
Her name is Tundra...she was orphaned in Alaska and raised in the Denver Zoo....along with a male orphaned in Montana, named Kootenai.
The "Grizzled" in Grizzly
bumpy invention [deleted] 13 years ago
Giving Voice  A Grizzly's Story 1 of 7 images
dramatic pocket [deleted] 13 years ago
Grizzly Bear, near Jasper, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Canada
BsidetheC Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Silly Luis (admin) 13 years ago
Grizzly on edge of Icefields Parkway

Spotted with a sow (having a lie-down in the undergrowth) this chap was happily investigating food opportunities at the side of Highway 93, The Icefields Parkway, in the Canadian Rockies. As we were simply driving to Banff as part of a holiday, we consider ourselves lucky and priveledged to have seen this.

As Bud suggests - a Silvertip.
ZGrmy Posted 13 years ago. Edited by ZGrmy (admin) 13 years ago
Washington Park Zoo
Michigan City, Indiana
Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear
Hélène van Dijk 13 years ago
Katmai N P.
Grizzly gathering
bud_marschner Posted 13 years ago. Edited by bud_marschner (member) 13 years ago
McNeil River 05

Close Mama
yeimaya Posted 13 years ago. Edited by yeimaya (admin) 13 years ago
ha it worked!! the new improved (actually a grizzly) invite sticker.... please use it freely to invite your favorite grizzly photos. And please add your own.
yeimaya 13 years ago
Beary Blue Eyes Voices: Honoring Grizzlies

You are invited to add this image to Voices: Honoring Grizzlies
moosewhisper 13 years ago
New cubs last year on Dunraven in the Yellowstone area.
gladner Posted 13 years ago. Edited by gladner (member) 13 years ago
Katmai National Park, Aug 07.

Katmai Brown Bears
gladner 13 years ago
Katmai Brown Bears
gladner 13 years ago
Katmai Brown Bears
Hélène van Dijk Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Hélène van Dijk (member) 13 years ago
Dunraven Pass - Yellowstone, May 2008
Grizzly sow and cub
moosewhisper 13 years ago
Near Old Faithful, Yellowstone, May '08
IMG_9840-the dance is on
natural born hikers 13 years ago
Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska

a friendly ribbing
MyAngel 27 13 years ago
Tundra again...and it's HER bone!
bumpy invention [deleted] 13 years ago
Grizzly Bear Yellowstone N.P.
On his own for the first time .
moosewhisper 13 years ago
Just before she charged a group of photographers on Dunraven Pass in Yellowstone last year.
moosewhisper 13 years ago
I realize this photo was not invited but this is truely a remarkable Grizzly story, so special that I've got to share it with you all,,, The Image above this with lips parted, teeth showing and cubs in tow is of the same bear shown here with 4,,,yes 4 cubs ! I've taken to calling her Pearl. (Pearl Bailey, Minnie Pearl,,,) Either way she's got attitude. As seen above she appeared on Dunraven in early spring with her 2 cubs, feeding and teaching as only a mother grizzly can. Then in late spring, early summer another grizzly sow, a collered bear, #126 I think, with 3 cubs moved into the area and there was some kind of altercation after which both sets of bears vanished for about 4 days. When they reappeared sow #126 was seen below Mt. Washburn now sporting only one cub and the other sow (Pearl) was back in the Dunraves Pass area but now with 4 cubs and she spent most of the summer in that area feeding and teaching all 4 as her own, I've heard in most cases a sow will kill anothers cubs or at least chase them off to protect her cubs, thier territory and food source, so for her to steal/adopt or abscound in some way another bear's cubs and then treat them all as her own is truely a once in a lifetime event. I covered her quite a bit last year and have put a special set together just for her and the cubs, feel free to check it out and I will try to find her again this year to up-date the story and hope for a happy continuation of their story.
Wylikat 13 years ago
I few weeks ago stopped by the Zoo in Pittsburgh. And while I generally disprove of such places, I succumbed to the desire to see animals that I'm never going to see anywhere else. But when we walked by the bear display, I began to regret that decision. This grizzly here was one of the saddest animals I've ever seen in a zoo. He seemed to be very old, moving with an arthritic lurch that kept his hindquarters very stiff. He then bit and shook his food bowl before laying down in the sun.

Sleeping Bear

Three friends of mine and I were walking along a trail near the Teklaneka campground in Denali National Park. We knew there was a grizzly nearby from another hiker in the campground, but had no idea where he might be. We headed down a trail that led towards the rest area and overlook when we came upon some digs that were very fresh. A few moments later, we could smell something, and before we knew it, a boar was standing up maybe 30 yards from us, looking at us. He simply laid back down and went back to sleep. Shot a few photos quickly and made a slow retreat. An awesome day I will never forget.
Mom and triplets

A sow with three cubs meander along the Toklat River in Denali National Park. One of the cubs was a runt and had a hard time keeping up with the other two and chances are, it didn't survive.
Dan King Alaskan Photography Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Dan King Alaskan Photography (member) 13 years ago
Hugo resting

Hugo, at this time a 3 year old bear, rests on a log at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. She was found in the Hugo Mountains with porcupine quills in her front paws and face. Her Mom had abandoned her, whe she was found. they removed the quills, and she healed but will never be able to be in the wild again. It was a rainy day, she walked over to this log, laid down for a few moments, then left.

Brown Bear fishing
A brown bear sow looks for salmon in the Chilkoot River located about 9 miles out of Haines Alaska.
Carol ~ CAP 13 years ago
Wow! So many amazing photos of Grizzlies!

Blkwolf, thanks for telling us about Hugo. She looks so sweet, although I would not want to get close enough to find out! I'm glad she was rescued and is now safe.
Hélène van Dijk 13 years ago
Grizzly defending an elk carcass from a wolf, Mary Bay - Yellowstone May 2007.

Grizzly & wolf
bud_marschner 13 years ago
I always think of this shot as another of my thousands of butt shots, but it is probably my wife's favorite of my bear shots!

Denali Cubs
simple day [deleted] 13 years ago
Bud, I am so impressed with the story of your encounter in Denali. I wish more people understood the motivation of these creatures, perhaps they wouldn't get themselves into these types of situations.

This "little" girl was waiting for us on the shore after we landed in a float plane. Unfortunately she was sitting on our tie-up while she was clamming so we had to wait almost 35 minutes before she got tired of that spot and moved down the beach before we could get out of the plane. It's hard to be patient when you have to use the restroom! ;)
yeimaya 13 years ago
I'd love to know how to tell this is female? No buckets in the plane?
simple day [deleted] 13 years ago
No buckets and the in-laws were there.... ;^)
To add insult to injury she (the bear) relieved herself and gave us a taunting look. Seriously though, females urinate behind them and the males will urinate toward the front.
poecile05 13 years ago
Momma and cubs
A sow and three young. Mt. Klappan, Northern British Columbia.
moosewhisper 13 years ago
This young Silver~Tip Grizzly was spotted in the river flowing by Sheepeaters Cliffs, June 12, '08 feeding on the remnents of an Elk or maybe a small Bison. Many bears are still low on the hills and mountains for the lingering snow storms and cooler temps this spring. Bear activity is high through-out Yellowstone Park.
A very good flickr friend was with me on this trip and this was her FIRST BEAR IN THE WILD ! Another Great day in Yellowstone.

IMG_1105-Grizzly at Sheepeater
bud_marschner 13 years ago
Yeimaya there is another way, you don't have to wait until they pee, the guys have a little hangy down part (my wife's description) it is pretty obvious on this big boar.

Big Boar
yeimaya 13 years ago
hangy downy thingy? ahhh I see it!! Are they JOWLIER than females. That is one way I tell male from female seals (who are not sexually dimorphic).
bud_marschner 13 years ago
Spent the weekend in Denali, this bear walked up to us near Highway Pass and gave us quite as show for 20 minutes or so.

Grizzly Bear Highway Pass Denali 06_15_08
moosewhisper 13 years ago
Another of the silver tip grizz at Sheepeater cliffs.
IMG_1041-"Shake, Shake, Shake,,,"Grizzly at Sheepeater
Andrew_N Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Andrew_N (member) 13 years ago
Mother's Bear

One of the two brother grizzlies at the Woodland Park Zoo. These bears have never been separated since birth and are unusual in that two males almost never share territory. The WPZ runs many educational talks about bears during the week and how to live with and interact with them in the wild.
WildImages 13 years ago
Another McNeil River Bear pic:

Grizzly Bear Cub clings to Mother preventing her from fishing for Salmon
ahead secretary [deleted] 13 years ago
Grizzly Bear
ordinary request [deleted] 13 years ago
Wish I had some wild bears to offer, but the best I can do is Samson, from Toronto Zoo.
Peek-a-boo Bear
bud_marschner 13 years ago
From Mikfik Flats at McNeil River Bear Sanctuary.

Mikfik Flats_Q2E3486

Hi from Mikfik Flats_Q2E5012
songwoman Posted 13 years ago. Edited by songwoman (member) 13 years ago
This brown bear was across the river from us today. He found a salmon carcass and decided to enjoy it, unfortunately for him, it was still attached to at least one hook and a bunch of line! We watched as he got tangled up in the line and the hooks apparently dug into his tongue. It was sad to watch, we alerted Fish and game and they said they would check into it. They told us that this is one of the many problems they deal with when it's fishing season on the Russian River. We have people from all over the world come to fish this area. There are signs posted, warnings everywhere and instructions posted on how to care for the fish and surrounding area. People ignore them all the time. The river is shallow enough to cross from side to side in most areas. I haven't heard anything yet on if they found the bear and have removed the hooks but they seemed pretty confident that it wouldn't be a problem. This bear's name is Gimpy. He was shot in one foot as a small cub by a fisherman that also shot and killed his mother.
bud_marschner 13 years ago
I'll remember this one for awhile. This cub, his sibling and sow were taking a nap while we had lunch about 30 feet from them on a little high spot in the sedge. He acted a lot like me when I awake from a nap with a stretch and yawn.

And yes it is a boy cub if anyone asks.

Yawning Cub_IMG_5001
bud_marschner 13 years ago
this photo is of 2 3 1/2 year old cubs herding salmon to a shallow spot. When they got done fishing, the male cub headed out on his own. We saw the sow and female cub 3 days latter still without the male cub.

I guess sometimes the cubs decide it's time to leave rather than waiting for mom to chase them away.

Fishing Cubs_Q2E4673
cdglove2fish 13 years ago
I was the Very Good flickr friend of Moosewhisper...and here is my shot of the Silvertip Griz....My very 1st bear experience in Yellowstone! And what an experience it was. This isn't crisp & sharp, because I was shaking like a leaf...but it is an experience I will treasure & remember for the rest of my life!! Thanks Mike for the guieded was WONDERFUL to spend time with you!!
Bud...thanks so much for the invite!! =D

My first Grizzly Encounter
bud_marschner 13 years ago
Monday Morning Bear IMG_4997

This bear reminds me of me on a Monday Morning doing my best to ward off the day!
David L Watson 13 years ago
A grizzly from the Khutzeymateen bc,
Grizzly bear 4 year old
yeimaya 13 years ago
what a life! just lying there in the middle of a huge meal chomping away.

Such a different feeling of grizzly character comes through from this collection. Their life has always seemed so serious and intent (spiced with a good deal of fear on my part). I am seeing more of their domestic life and their playfulness here.
Max Waugh Photography 13 years ago
Here's the same Yellowstone grizzly sow and cub as seen in Helene's shot above:
Someone to Watch Over Me
Hélène van Dijk 13 years ago
Grizzly mom and cub
Sharon C Johnson 13 years ago
These were taken in Alaska outside of Anchorage, near the town of Girdwood.

A Grizzly Bear Named Hugo
Portrait of Hugo
I Smell Moose!
Larsthrows 13 years ago
Thanks for the invite Bud!

On the hunt! (grizzly_DSF4708.jpg)
Time Standing Still Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Time Standing Still (member) 13 years ago
Thank you for the invite. This was a sow with her three spring cubs at Brooks Lodge in Katmai National Park. She would not leave the lodge area, no matter what the Rangers did. I guess she thought she was a guest at the lodge also.

Mama Bear
moosewhisper 13 years ago
Did'nt see the bear just dust on the settle and these tracks,
sure makes ya a bit more alert when ya get this close. You can see their sign, catch a wift of them on the air if the wind is right and even catch sight of a shadow in the trees on the move but like a ghost, not a sound lest they want you to know they are there.

moosewhisper 13 years ago
simple day [deleted] 13 years ago

Someday I'll get to go to the McNeil River - until then I'll be happy with my Katmai beauties. I have to say it's MUCH easier to tell male from female when they are wet from hunting salmon in the rivers - the "little hangy down part" (thanks Bud) doesn't get lost in the fur when they are wet.
Dave Stiles 12 years ago
This Grizz was fishing carcasses out of the Yellowstone River this last May when I was on my way to the Tetons for employment.

Yellowstone Grizzly Feeding

Yellowstone Grizzly Feeding

And this young one was in the berry bushes just last week here in the Tetons, along Pacific Creek Road in the NE corner of the park...

Grizzly Bear - Grand Teton National Park (Pacific Creek)

Grizzly Bear - Grand Teton National Park (Pacific Creek)
Dave Stiles 12 years ago
This young male was observed in May 2008, near the trail head to Grizzly Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone Grizzly - Grizzly Lake

Yellowstone Grizzly - Grizzly Lake

Yellowstone Grizzly - Grizzly Lake

Yellowstone Grizzly - Grizzly Lake
Dave Stiles Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Dave Stiles (admin) 12 years ago
This female with her two 2 year old cubs was hanging out near the West Thumb Geyser Basin in May 2008...

Yellowstone Grizzly and cubs - West Thumb Geyser area

Yellowstone Grizzly and cubs - West Thumb Geyser area

Yellowstone Grizzly and cubs - West Thumb Geyser area
Paul Tixier 12 years ago

I felt sorry to disrupt this female brown bear who was resting, lying on the ground, after she ate some salmon. She stared at me for few seconds, then she went back to sleep..Seward, AK.
alesimba Posted 12 years ago. Edited by alesimba (member) 12 years ago
Thanks for the invite. This grizzly bear was looking for clams at low tide along the beach in Katmai.

alesimba 12 years ago
Fishing salmon in Katmai.

I caught it!
swift badge [deleted] Posted 12 years ago. Edited by swift badge (member) 12 years ago
thanks for the invite
These are called the Bird Creek bears. They have been showing up at Bird Creek now for 4 years and I have been with them taking photos of them now for 3 years



bud_marschner Posted 12 years ago. Edited by bud_marschner (member) 12 years ago
Spin cycle, a brown bear shakes off water from Mikfik creek after fishing.

Spin Cycle_Q2E3855
yeimaya 12 years ago
Desperate need for a mosaic!!! And part 2. Anyone want to give it a try. It will be fascinating to do!

Video about IFAW supported rehab project for Grizzleys.
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