“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, except for bears. Bears will kill you.”
Well, maybe if you’re on a certain bridge in Yellowstone, and not paying any attention to the bears and their behavior, you have a good chance of getting that treatment indeed. As was seen in that video clip that went viral recently. But there are ways to enjoy the bears in a safe way. Last week I visited Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge here in NC. There is a huge population of black bears there. I’ve had the pleasure to visit this refuge a couple of times with guide/naturalist Mike Dunn and he showed our groups the beauty of this refuge and of these black bears that live there without disrupting them in their behavior.
Black bears will go out of your way, most of the time. But they’re wildlife and unpredictable. Most important and also wisest thing for photographers to learn and adapt to quickly is, that you do not get closer to get the picture. You do not. You get a bigger zoom. I mean huge zoom. Don’t try to get that same shot you just saw in National Geographic with your iPhone or even a 300mm. That is not a wise thing to do. I bet you that picture, you like so much, is made with a huge lens and photographer did not came that close. So keep your distance. And if you do that the bears will behave like they do on any other random bear day and be like their very beary selves. And that, to me, is the best to way to see them.
Just grazing away in a field. Or playing and digging a bit with their siblings
Or just taking a leisurely stroll on a dirt road.
Following their mom to better grazing places.
I could be watching them like this for hours. They are such special creatures and love those round ears and their goofy walk with those big paws and shuffle. Just let them be and don’t disrupt and enjoy them as being bears. I am sure it will make you feel so much stronger!