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Alaskan Brown Bear Catching Salmon

Sunday, May 20, 2012

 Alaskan Brown Bear Catching Salmon

Was just going back through some material I had taken in Alaska a few years back. The highlight of the trip was having the opportunity to watch and photograph Alaskan Brown Bears actively catching salmon.

It was surprising to see the widely differing fishing techniques and skill levels of individual brown bears. Generally the younger the bear the less successful they were. Young animals often spent all afternoon dashing and jumping back and forth across the creek most often coming up just a whisker short of their salmon meal. Mature males on the other hand had much more refined technique but often seemed to lack motivation. Likely already completely plugged with the days catch they would stand in the creek in one spot for long periods or sit on the bank almost dozing in the afternoon sun. However in their apparent slumber, they remained completely in tune with the movements of the salmon. The slightest ripple at the surface or flash of silver sent them bolting like a freight train into the creek.

But it was the females or sows with cubs that seemed to make the best fishermen. This sow had two cubs and for the time I had to observe her she was out catching the males three to one or better. She would take her time wading out into the creek but once making her move, rarely came up empty.

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 Alaskan Brown Bear Catching Salmon Picture
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ID# GRZ-164
Alaskan Brown Bear Also Known as Grizzly Bear
species: Ursus arctos
picture-id: GRZ-164 request pricing Google Earth

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