Two Bear Encounters

When I was out walking this morning in the Petawawa Research Forest, I encountered a mother bear and three cubs. This was my second black bear, Ursus americanus, encounter this summer. Earlier this summer I had disturbed a bear having a snooze.

(Recently, we also had a bear that is visiting our house at night; we didn't see him, but we do have one very trashed crab apple tree to attest to his presence.)

2005 September 13

When I was out walking this morning, I encountered a mother bear with three cubs. I was perhaps 100 meters away. I let out a yell to inform them of my presence. Not knowing what I was, the mother bear started walking towards me to investigate. I instinctively retreated a few meters. But then I decided that this was not the time to retreat. So I stood my ground. (But I also decided that neither was it the time to be threatening.)

After a few steps, the mother bear also stopped.

Mother bear with three cubs

(photo by Bob: 2005-09-13 - explore

Mother bear with three cubs assessing me.

Then the four bears just milled around on the road while continuing to watch me. When I decided that no confrontation was imminent, I set up my camera. I only managed a few shots before they decided to leave.

black bear with three cubs

Four bears milling about in indecision. (Or rather, three bears milling, one just bored.)

After they left, I continued walking down the road to where they had been. But now I had my camera mounted on its tripod as a club in my left hand and a grapefruit-sized rock in my right hand. But of course, I never saw them again.

* * * * *

I had another interesting bear encounter earlier in the summer. I was out paddling along the Quebec shore of the Ottawa River near Point Alexander. Along the shore, up on a rock and under a pine tree was a black bear having a nap — splayed out, flat on his back. I might never have noticed him except that he was periodically snapping at flies.

snoozing black bear

A black bear snoozing under a pine tree. The bear is that black lump to the right of the largest tree. I managed to approach him quite closely, but in the closer shots, he is obscured by the small bushes along the shore.

I managed to approach quite closely before I spooked him. A very annoyed bear, indignant at having his nap disturbed, jumped to his feet. He ran a few paces into the bush, paused to glare at me, and then noisily disappeared.

indignant black bear

His nap disturbed, an indignant black bear glares back at me.

I thought this was quite an interesting episode; I've never encountered a snoozing bear before. But I'm disappointed that I couldn't have managed some better quality photos.