Free food is always in demand my boss declared more than two decades ago. It seemed to make sense.
In early June of this year, I started to wonder if it was true. We had discovered a number of bears eating dandelions in the Rockies though I didn’t think it was helpful for their image.
On our first evening at Jasper, we went looking for bears near Medicine Lake. I quickly found myself in dandelion heaven – they were thick, yellow and everywhere. Yet the most important element was missing – the bears. How in the world did they miss this buffet? It was virtually a yellow beacon visible for miles.
One of the keys to finding bears is putting in the time according to one of the locals. So the next day we returned to the same location but it was dramatically different. There was snow on the ground, snow floating through the air and, most importantly, a bear munching on dandelions. This was much better.
What was puzzling was how quickly the bear power picked its way through the thick dandelion patch and drifted on. Why not stay at the buffet?
I anticipated the bear’s heading and drove around the corner to a high ridge where I carefully tracked it through my lens. There was wet snow collecting little puddles everywhere and my camera eye piece fogged up bad enough that I hoped I was still hitting the target. Minor distractions to a real treat.
I was so fortunate to get my first bear photos in the snow. And it reaffirmed the theory that food still attracts – I know it works for me!
I really like the first shot. It’s puzzling to me that such a bulky and scary animal actually feeds on dandelions. If I met one, I’d probably drop the camera and run…and miss the chance of taking a great picture!
I agree that it is rather strange. I suppose that’s one of the reasons it’s fun to observe wild animals and learn more about them.