Bear buffet

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.

I overcame my natural tendency of viewing this plant as a tenacious weed long enough to find the beauty.

Only solid rock could interrupt the yellow tide of dandelions and provide some nice contrast for my photo.

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.

Perhaps a dash of snow made the dandelion lunch more appealing.

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!

Our position on top of a ridge gave us a different perspective on the bear, walking almost straight down from me. It never looked up.

On the prowl – my favourite from this set.

This is what happens when you eat with your mouth open.

Now you may be wondering why I choose photos of bears in the snow during July. Somehow it seemed appropriate after the heat wave that hit the prairies this week. Maybe it helped me to feel cooler. Besides these photos were taken just a few weeks ago on June 8 and 9.

Latest Comments

  1. trekkismo says:

    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!


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