Sometimes I just get a gut feeling where to be. That was the case last Friday. As I cruised down Skyline Drive I stopped at The Oaks Overlook. I haven’t stopped at many overlooks lately, but something told me I needed to this time.

As I stepped out of the truck, I gazed below and noticed the vegetation was not very thick yet and the visibility was actually pretty good. A few seconds later, as I sat on the stone wall, a dark mass caught my eye off to the right. Bear!

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It wasn’t a huge animal, but it lumbered along and dug at the ground a few times looking for food. For a few minutes, it was in its own world and I was a silent observer of my first bear of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

Education

March 23, 2009

In my opinion, the best way to improve your skills is to take every opportunity for education that comes your way. In terms of my wildlife photography, I very much enjoy researching my subjects. Footprints, ecology, range, life cycles – I eat it up. Read the rest of this entry »

Note: This series is based on personal experience, but it is important to note that any wild animal is capable of being extremely dangerous. Seek expert guidance if you are interested in serious photography or research ventures.

If you’ve followed this series all week, thanks for reading. Hopefully you’ve come away with a bit more knowledge about black bears. Read the rest of this entry »

Note: This series is based on personal experience, but it is important to note that any wild animal is capable of being extremely dangerous. Seek expert guidance if you are interested in serious photography or research ventures.

You didn’t think I could declare it bear week and not talk about photography considerations, did you? Read the rest of this entry »

Note: This series is based on personal experience, but it is important to note that any wild animal is capable of being extremely dangerous. Seek expert guidance if you are interested in serious photography or research ventures.

No matter who you are, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with black bears and how they behave.

Generally speaking, bears are more wary of humans than they are given credit for. If given the choice, they will often flee. For example, a gentle cruise on Skyline Drive may provide you a glimpse of a bear, but more than likely, the sound of your engine has already cleared the area. Read the rest of this entry »

Note: This series is based on personal experience, but it is important to note that any wild animal is capable of being extremely dangerous. Seek expert guidance if you are interested in serious photography or research ventures.

Even if you are unable to find a live black bear, chances are good that you may notice some other signs if they live in the area. These can come in the form of footprints, snagged hair, tree scratches, droppings and broken tree limbs. Read the rest of this entry »

Note: This series is based on personal experience, but it is important to note that any wild animal is capable of being extremely dangerous. Seek expert guidance if you are interested in serious photography or research ventures.

Black bears (Ursus americanus) are a nearly constant presence in temperate climates, but retreat into hibernation between mid-fall and early winter, making use of pits, hollowed trees or anything else of convenience. Black bears are also more easily roused during hibernation than their cousin, the brown bear (Ursus arctos). As warmer temperatures return, black bears, some with new cubs born during the winter, emerge between February and March.

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In my experience, the visible presence of this species increases throughout the summer, peaking around July or August, corresponding with the mating season. Initially, I had the most success finding bears to photograph in the few hours around dusk or dawn. As the summer and fall dragged on and food sources dwindled, I began finding bears at all hours of the day. Read the rest of this entry »