Black Bear Takes Over a Nature Photography Session

What could have turned into a dangerous event, actually became a rather comedic one, as a black bear attempted to take over a nature photo session, lead by photographer Dean Schwartz. Here’s the full story:

While photographing a black bear sow and her three spring cubs near Ely, Minnesota, I noticed a young bear watching me from the nearby trees. After about 45 minutes, its curiosity could not be contained…

Run is probably what most people would have done in this situation, but the unusual behavior of the bear kept Dean Schwartz close by to document the bear’s curiosity. In a similar situation, it might be better to always have in mind the “run away plan” — one never knows when this kind of luck is on your side. Bears are indeed very intelligent creatures, but no doubt that this one is way smarter than the average ones.


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One response to “Black Bear Takes Over a Nature Photography Session”

  1. Brian in Whitby says:

    Run is the ONE thing you SHOULD NOT DO when you encounter a black bear. (This does not necessarily apply it grizzly bears.) Running may trigger a predator-prey response from the bear with you as the prey! The bear can easily outrun you so if he want’s you, running will do no good.
    Most black attacks come from rogue males that attack without warning by stalking their prey. You will probably be dead in that case before you even know a bear is present.

    If you do see a bear:
    If you have not been detected, the best thing to do is quietly slip away. Be aware of the wind direction and try to avoid having your scent drift toward the bear.
    If you have been detected, try talking quietly to the bear in a calm voice and slowly move away. Be sure to give the bear an escape path. Bears will sometimes huff, pound the ground and even make false charges. STAND YOUR GROUND! Under those circumstances try to make yourself as large and dangerous looking as you can. Blowing a whistle shouting and throwing objects at the bear may make it think it is wiser to leave you alone.
    It is better to avoid contact in the first place. Human conversation, bear bells will give a warning to the bear to get out of the way. They do not usually want human contact unless they have become habituated. Allowing a bear to obtain food will cause it to associate humans with easy food. Do NOT feed bears!

    As for photographing them the same is true as for photographing wild animals, be sure to know the behaviour of the animal before you try to photograph it.

    The information I have posted comes mostly fro the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources “Bear Wise” pamphlets and articles.

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