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Find the Berries…Find the Bears!

Posted by on September 8, 2015

Large Black bear in bushes

We decided to stay in the Jackson, Wyoming area a bit longer for several reasons; the leaves are beginning to turn color and the Rut has just started for the Elk and Moose.  An added bonus is if you can find ripe Black Hawthorne Berries, it’s likely you will encounter some Black Bears.  We have seen bear nearly everyday in our travels around this area. Some instances they are easy to spot because if you listen you can hear the tender tree limbs of the aspens cracking as they climb the tree, as well as seeing the tops of bushes shaking like there is a big wind storm.   The black bears are climbing the trees in order to reach the berries.  If there’s no tree available the bears will simply grab the berry bushes with their Teeth or Claws and pull it to the ground then proceed to sit and be happy eating berries.

Bear claw

All I could see were claws coming through the bushes.


Bear showing teeth





This experience with trying to photograph the bears is a real challenge for me.  I need some professional training is the bottom line.   How do you photograph a Black bear in early light, in dense foliage while it is swaying in the trees.  First of all mostly what I see is leaves.  I know it is all about timing…being in the right place, in good light, with a friendly wild bear! Ha!


Picking the fruit

Gently Picking the Fruit



This morning we encountered a beautiful sow and her two cubs while we were walking along a road.  It is true, I was looking for a bear to photograph but the two cubs and mama combination worried me a great deal. So I quickly took my shots while all three were in the trees and we left the scene.  My pictures are blurry and grainy at best when enlarged, but there are some real challenges that I hope to overcome in the next few days.

Black Bear in Berry bushes




Cub up a tree eyeing me

Cub up a tree eyeing me


Cub in tree

Cub Number 2  gives me a white eye, so I left the scene


We both carry Bear Spray at all times and I am using a 400mm lens which puts some distance between us. The National Park Service recommends 100 yards between you and a bear.    I’m more comfortable when we come across other photographers on the trail because I think the more people the safer the situation.  The word is, in a short time the Grizzly Bears will begin coming into this area for the same treat as the Black Bears enjoy. When this happens they chase out the black bears and then the area becomes too dangerous to be in.


Big brown Black Bear

Big Brown Black Bear

Would you believe that bears consume up to 20,000 calories a day in the fall?  This feeding-frenzy is called “hyperphagia.” Bears put on weight in fall to survive winter hibernation. This is according to the NPS study.


Where's Waldo

Where’s Waldo…

This is how difficult it is to spot these guys. Can you see his eyes? Its so easy to walk right by these bears and never know it unless they make noise in the bushes.  This one was walking through a little bit of water and I stopped to have a deeper look into the bushes.





So these are some of the pictures I have shot of bear so far and I’ll add more to this post if I get lucky with better lighting and slower moving bears.


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