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Gumbo's Pic of the Day, June 18th, 2014: Bears

Black Bear Cub 4

We used to have Black Bears in our backyard all the time growing up.  They would eat the vegetables out of our garden and turn over our garbage cans.  We didn't go out after dark and had to pay attention to noises in the trees when we were out and about.  We would always see them at the local dumps as they were still the open pit kind when I was a kid and the bears liked to forage there.  It was always such a treat to go and see the bears and we were hugely disappointed if Dad made the trip without us.  While we always admired their beauty, we had a healthy respect for their capabilities and gave them their space.  While these photos weren't taken in the wild (this cub was photographed at a place in South Dakota called Bear Country USA), I saw many in the wild growing up and it is still just as exciting to me to see them in the wild today.  Last summer, while driving through Banff National Park, I saw my first Brown Black Bear in the wild and managed to photograph him grazing on the side of the road.  Perhaps another POD......


Black Bear Cub 2

Black Bear Cub 5


This little guy was the only cub that wasn't having a nap in the warm sun.  He seemed full of energy and to be enjoying looking at the world from above.  It was just a small pine tree, but it still put him above everything.  He did climb down eventually and wandered around even getting on his hind legs a couple of times.  He was only about two and half feet tall when he stood up but he thought he was much bigger!


Black Bear Cub 1

We only ever had a Grizzly Bear in our yard once but the tracks it made in the garden as it stole our carrots were pretty intimidating.  It had been a bad spring with late frosts that damaged the budding berries and food was scarce forcing them to come down lower from the mountains in search of sustenance.  We had friends who lost pets, including horses, and we were not able to go out alone at all.  Even though they are to be feared, I am still so fascinated by them and love to photograph them.  Someday, I will go to Alaska for the salmon run.  Apparently, they are so preoccupied with their feeding that they hardly even know you are there, what an opportunity that would be!  


Grizzlies 5

Grizzlies 6


Images (6)
  • Black Bear Cub 1: Black Bear Cub hangin out.
  • Black Bear Cub 2: Black Bear Cub hangin out.
  • Black Bear Cub 4: Black Bear Cub hangin out.
  • Black Bear Cub 5: Black Bear Cub hangin out.
  • Grizzlies 5: Young male grizzlies play fighting.
  • Grizzlies 6: Young male grizzlies play fighting.

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Comments (4)

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I haven't really "lived" with bears, but I've experienced their resourcefulness, both in campgrounds where we had to store our food up high and away from trees, and at a summer rental.


At that house, they kept opening the steel container for the garbage cans. I weighted the lids with stones, and they brushed them aside. I put even larger and heavier rocks on the next time (making it truly inconvenient for me), and they simply pushed over the whole container. My wife wisely advised me to admit defeat...

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Hi Mr. Heymont, thanks for your story.  Yes, they are strong and it is nearly impossible to stop them from getting in to something that they really want in to.  They used to dump our garbage all the time and Dad tried everything but to no avail.  Finally, he chained them all together, three big barrels, and that finally stopped the bears from being able to overturn them.  They still dug inside and sometimes spread the garbage around a little but it did help a bit.  We would also try to burn it everyday so there was nothing for them to want inside but they have amazing noses and would still dig inside just in case a treasure was hiding in the rubble.  We would watch them from the house and, even though they were a pest, we still enjoyed watching them.

The black bears in Yosemite NP are among the most aggressive and clever in the world.  They've been known to pull down a locked closed car door to get at a picnic hamper or cooler in the back seat.  They are amazingly strong -- imagine the power needed to peel a locked steel car door off its hinges.  And they share this knowledge from generation to generation!  Once a bear has eaten human feed, they are "spoiled" forever and often become more aggressive in their hunt for food and may even need to be "put down".  I can understand this to some degree.  Once you've eaten a bag of Doritos or jelly beans, a diet of leaves, nuts and berries just doesn't cut it any more!


I'm always nervous around bear cubs because I could between it and its mother.  Most bear attacks are related to a mother bear feeling its cub was threatened, so I quickly leave the site whenever I see one.


But they're great photos, SCP!  Thanks for sharing these.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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