Montana Outdoors

November 12, 2011

Hello, bear!

Filed under: Animals — Tags: — montucky @ 9:50 pm

Black bear

This afternoon, only a couple of minutes after I had returned from a hunting trip, a neighbor called to say that he had seen a bear about fifty yards up the road from our driveway. And when I got there he was still there. I wish the light had been better, but the snow clouds were hanging very low over the river.


  1. Wow! What a great photo!!


    Comment by Roberta — November 12, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

  2. Wowee!! That is truly amazing! I think I would have been scared to death though!


    Comment by silken — November 12, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    • I was really happy to get the shot even though the quality of the photo isn’t very good. It’s only the third bear I’ve seen this year.


      Comment by montucky — November 12, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

  3. Oh my goodness! That’s an awesome shot, but way too close for me!


    Comment by Fergiemoto — November 12, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    • It’s so typical of a black bear. I just hope he doesn’t get himself into trouble before his winter sleep!


      Comment by montucky — November 12, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

  4. Living proof that climbing a tree if you see a bear is not a good idea! An amazing shot, wow!


    Comment by farmhouse stories — November 12, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    • Yes, that tree could have gotten a bit crowded! Climbing a tree might work with a Grizzly though. Personally I would rather rely on bear spray if there was a problem with either.


      Comment by montucky — November 12, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

  5. I envy you living in a place with wild life like that around. We get deer and lots of them around here but that’s the only big game to be found. There is something majestic about any large wild animal and it sure looks like that one has a nice coat and well fed getting ready for the winter. Hopefully you can find him again next year and he’ll pose for you in better light.


    Comment by dave1949 — November 13, 2011 @ 12:19 am

    • I love living here and being able to travel in wild country see all kinds of wildlife. I’m humbled and constantly in awe at how they live and what they know.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 12:39 am

  6. i have a picture almost identical to that one, that i took in bath, nc =o)


    Comment by Sandy — November 13, 2011 @ 1:11 am

    • I remember seeing quite a few bears when I was in NC too. This is a fairly typical pose, isn’t it! One of the many reasons why I love bears.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 1:16 am

  7. Can’t imagine what it must be like to find bears almost in your garden! For us, hedgehogs are a big deal!


    Comment by Jo Woolf — November 13, 2011 @ 1:17 am

    • Black bears are still quite common here in western Montana. Yesterday I noticed that a fairly large branch was broken in one of our apple trees and I suspect that this guy might have made us a visit during the night. Those of us who were born and raised here have always been accustomed to them and all of the other wildlife as well. The only animal I’m not too comfortable with is the Grizzly bear, perhaps because I’ve not been around them. On the other hand, I’m completely spooked at the thought of being in a big city and very unhappy when I have to drive on an urban freeway. I would love to have some hedgehogs around! The closest we have to them are the porcupines and sadly, they are disappearing now.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 1:29 am

      • Hi,

        Where in western MT.??? I am near Bigfork. Great photo! Thanks for sharing.


        Comment by Jean Randall — November 13, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

        • Hi Jean! I live between Thompson Falls and Plains. Thanks for visiting!


          Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

  8. Wow, great capture!


    Comment by TheDailyClick — November 13, 2011 @ 4:43 am

    • While I see a few bears every year, they are so shy that I hardly ever get a chance for a photo. I was happy to get this one.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  9. I would be completely thrilled if I got a photo of a bear in the wild that was half that quality. 🙂 I have never seen one in the wild. Ironically my sisters who live in the city in Virginia get them rading the trash frequently and my brother in a somewhat rural, but pretty densely populated area of NJ has seen them several times as well.

    I’m with you on urban freeways! I had to drive to a place near Detroit twice last week for job interviews. Talk about stressful driving!


    Comment by kateri — November 13, 2011 @ 5:11 am

    • It has been difficult for me to get photos of the bears that I do see and in reality that’s a good thing for the bears. Their lives depend on being their being shy and elusive. I ran across an area yesterday that showed signs of a lot of bear activity and I plan to spend some time there to see if I can catch one that isn’t up a tree.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:42 am

  10. OMG! He’s looking straight at you! Was he far away? Was it not dangerous to take photos of him?


    Comment by Alexandra — November 13, 2011 @ 5:35 am

    • He was about 40 feet away. The photo was taken at 300mm with no crop. There was little danger since I was careful to show him that I meant no threat to him. Thanks for the visit!


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:46 am

      • Really? I know nothing about bears, apparently. I thought they’d attack anyway if they see a human. Where did he go after that?


        Comment by Alexandra — November 14, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

        • A black bear attack is extremely rare unless a cub is perceived to be threatened. Grizzlies though can be different. I left this one alone and during the night, if not before, he came down and went on his way, wherever that was. I’m glad he didn’t get into any trouble!


          Comment by montucky — November 14, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  11. It looks as curious about you as you were of it. Really nice.


    Comment by anniespickns — November 13, 2011 @ 7:49 am

    • Yes, he was very curious. It was as unusual for him to see me at close range as it was for me to see him. A good trade!


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  12. Black animals are incredibly difficult to photograph, so I say you did very well indeed. I have yet to see a bear in the wild, though my wife (who is a confirmed indoorsman) has seen them in our neighborhood. She’s also seen a fishercat which is another one I have yet to see. I could probably see more wildlife if I didn’t take the dog with me when I walk – but that’s often the point of walking.


    Comment by jomegat — November 13, 2011 @ 8:52 am

    • There just wasn’t much light and my camera does not do well with high ISO’s. This was 1/60 sec. at ISO 400 and is very noisy, kind of a shame because the pose was so nice.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  13. Now that is one good photo! Really neat. I like the expression? (can there be such a thing) on the bear’s face. He/she seems rather comfortable up there. Really good!


    Comment by Jack Matthews — November 13, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    • Oh yes, they are very expressive! I kept talking to him and that was interesting to him. I know it piqued his curiosity. When I started talking he quit climbing and just settled in there as an observer.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  14. The light looks fine to me, but aren’t you just a bit close?? What a good shot!


    Comment by sandy — November 13, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    • He would have been uncomfortable had I gotten any closer. That seemed to be his comfort zone. Wild critters usually talk very plainly if you understand their body language.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  15. Nice close-up photo in spite of the failing light!



    Comment by knightofswords — November 13, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    • Right on the border, but better than nothing. I loved the look on his face.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  16. Great capture! Cool experience for you!


    Comment by Barbara — November 13, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    • I’ve only had one experience with a bear that was really uncomfortable. I thoroughly enjoy each encounter, and this was very nice because of his pose.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  17. My goodness, what a great capture! And my, look at the claws on that bear. Appears as if the bear was curious about you and relaxed… just hanging in the tree. I just love black bear photo! 🙂


    Comment by Anna — November 13, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    • My wife got to see him too and also commented on the claws. He was fascinated at hearing my voice, I think, and was quite relaxed. He could sense that I was not a threat to him.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:57 am

  18. WOW…a bear in a tree?!?!? WOW!


    Comment by Marcie — November 13, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  19. I love the title for the photo – “Hello, bear!” I often greet the birds and critters I run into. It just seems polite – and besides, look at the intelligence and interest in that expression. I never thought I’d put “languid” and “bear” together in a sentence, but that’s exactly the kind of pose he’s struck. Wonderful photo!


    Comment by shoreacres — November 13, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

    • I often talk to the animals too, if I want them to know that I’m there. It seems to calm them. The bear looked very interested when I said “hello”.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

  20. How delightful! I showed your photo to my new Argentine friend and she exclaimed loudly what a great photo! And in the next breath she declared how SCARED she would be! Not me! Only cautious.


    Comment by Maureen — November 13, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    • I can understand that someone who is not used to being around wildlife could be nervous around a bear. Cautious is the correct response.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

  21. Still an awesome shot!



    Comment by choppography — November 13, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

  22. Great picture! You are WAY braver than I am! A black bear came around the corner of my house a couple of months ago while I was enjoying my front porch swing. I was so shocked and startled, I froze in my spot. It never occurred to me to grab a camera, instead I just wanted to get inside my house safely because I was so frightened. :-O


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — November 13, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

    • Several times I’ve had bears just about run into me, and they always have the funniest expression when they realize what they’ve done.


      Comment by montucky — November 13, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

  23. Oh, that is truly awesome! Great shot. I’m glad it’s not just me that has bad luck with low light with the D80. But this one looks good to me anyway. And I understand about urban freeways. I actually try to avoid them here whenever possible. What an exciting shot!


    Comment by Candace — November 14, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    • The camera gave me correct exposure at 1/10 but I’m not that steady and so I set to 1/60 and took my chances with the exposure. I was only able to adjust it this much, but it was better than no picture at all.


      Comment by montucky — November 14, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  24. Hi Montucky, I think there is almost no cuter wild animal than the Black Bear. Excellent photograph! Have a most wonderful Monday!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — November 14, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    • I think you’re right. They are cute and often clowns. I love their impish look!


      Comment by montucky — November 14, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  25. hmmm, where were those data research gatherers when you need them 🙂


    Comment by Anonymous — November 14, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    • This might have been just a tad more “data” than they need, although if you look closely, there appears to be a green ear tag on his right ear.


      Comment by montucky — November 14, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

  26. Glad to hear the bears in your neighborhood aren’t garbage bears, Montucky.
    Long live wild bears!


    Comment by Kim — November 14, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

    • Most of here are pretty careful and don’t give them a chance at garbage. This guy did pay a visit to our apple tree, but I can remember bears doing that as far back as the 40’s. They pass through and do no harm. Yes, Long live wild bears!


      Comment by montucky — November 14, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

  27. What a beautiful bear and a great photograph. I t looks like I could reach out and touch him and the bark on the tree. Wouldn’t, of course, if I could. 🙂 I’ve had mixed feelings all year about the bear or bears that walk through my back yard and leave their scat. I’d love to see them, and yet… only at a distance.


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — November 14, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    • They come through our place too when there are apples or when the chokecherries are ripe, but we seldom get to see them because they come through at night. This was a real treat! I have no idea what he was doing out int he afternoon.


      Comment by montucky — November 14, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  28. Obviously, you must know, that this is my favorite picture of yours 😉
    The weather has been nice, here … the bears are usually hibernating by now. Many are, but deer hunters have woken up some of the males that don’t really dig a den like the females and they are wandering around. Your bear looks young … and very, very cute. Lucky you!
    I love your bear!


    Comment by bearyweather — November 14, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

    • I thought it might be. I’ve heard the the bears along the Rocky Mountain Front have denned up already, the Griz in particular. With the mild weather we have been having, the ones here are still out. A storm hit today with wind, colder temperatures and good amounts of snow in the mountains and now I think the locals will be heading to their winter quarters as well. This was a very cute bear!


      Comment by montucky — November 14, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

  29. How obliging of this animal that you photographed to sit there and bear it.

    Steve Schwartzman


    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — November 14, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  30. Very nice photo, and I really liked the expression on this black bear’s face. Looks like he/she might be saying “OK, that’s enough of that!”


    Comment by Wild_Bill — November 14, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    • He wasn’t especially happy that he had been observed. I read the look as one of curiosity with only a slight bit of concern, not entirely happy, but content to be in the safety of the tree. That tree is on a very steep hillside and he is actually about 20 feet up. The base of that Ponderosa is at least 3 feet in diameter.


      Comment by montucky — November 14, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

  31. Wow. That incredible photo!

    Sorry not being visiting on Your blog for long time. We were on travel in Egypt making nice Nile cruise and visiting old temples there. We arrived late yesterday and now we try to start to spend our daily routines.


    Comment by sartenada — November 15, 2011 @ 3:16 am

    • I knew you were traveling and thought about you. I hope you had a great time and I will look forward to seeing photos from your trip!


      Comment by montucky — November 15, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  32. This is just too cool! I have never seen a bear in person…only the evidence when we were in the Nine Mile. Super photo!!!


    Comment by dhphotosite — November 15, 2011 @ 7:32 am

    • I hope you get a chance to see one in person some time. You will really enjoy it! I don’t know how many there are in the Nine Mile, but I would guess quite a few. I know there is a good population along the Reservation Divide and in the Siegel Pass area.


      Comment by montucky — November 15, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

  33. Holy black bear, Batman… what a beauty!!! =)


    Comment by Tricia — November 15, 2011 @ 11:52 am

    • He was nice and fat, ready for his winter sleep. I’m just guessing about where he will den up for the winter, and that wouldn’t be too far. He might have just done that too. We have had a cold front hit and some heavy snow in the higher elevations the last few days.


      Comment by montucky — November 15, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

  34. Very well done! That bear did appear willing to tolerate you – for a few photos at least. Thnaks for sharing.


    Comment by DaveABirding — November 15, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

    • He was actually quite relaxed. I took a few photos and then left him alone before he became too anxious.


      Comment by montucky — November 15, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

  35. I think it’s a great shot! I’ve seen a few black bears, but I never stayed long enough to take their photos.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — November 15, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

    • They are shy enough and elusive enough that while I see several each summer I seldom get a chance for a photo. This was a pretty pose, but I wish the light had been better.


      Comment by montucky — November 15, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

  36. Excellent photo! I’m doing good to see a raccoon where I hike 😉


    Comment by Watching Seasons — November 17, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    • Two nights ago at nearly midnight I went outside to check the sky and heard something in our side yard and when I turned that way I could see motion. I went in and turned on the outdoor lights and watched a big bear under the apple tree, a different bear from the one in the photo. It’s so nice to get to see them!


      Comment by montucky — November 18, 2011 @ 12:29 am

  37. this is one awesome photograph!! wahoo.


    Comment by Tammie — November 18, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  38. Many bears are coming down from the hills here in NM looking for food. Great opportunity for a photo


    Comment by Evangeline Art Photography — November 20, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

    • It’s fairly common to have a bear visit here when the apples are ripe and that was what this was about. We’ve had cold weather and some pretty good snow the last few days, about a foot, and the last of the bears should be denning up now. There hasn’t been any more sign in the last two days.


      Comment by montucky — November 20, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

  39. That’s a great image… sorry I’ve been missing for so long… have definitely missed seeing your superb photography. (have had some personal issues getting in the way of my online presence… mostly resolved now and I’m doing really well as a result) Hope to be a little more present from now on and am off to see more posts now!


    Comment by Victoria — November 21, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

    • Hi Tory! Thanks! Glad to see you are doing well again!


      Comment by montucky — November 21, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  40. You were pretty darn close to the bear. Not too sure if I would be so brave. Besides my photo would be a blur for I would be shaking too much while trying to snap the shutter. Wonderful capture.


    Comment by Preston Surface — December 4, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    • He was nervous or he wouldn’t have climbed the tree, but curious too once he reached a comfortable level. Black bears without cubs are seldom a threat.


      Comment by montucky — December 5, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  41. This is such a great photo, showing both the beautiful bear – and you the photographer, by the way the bear is responding and accepting your presence.


    Comment by Giiid — December 27, 2011 @ 3:49 am

    • Thank you. I believe that most animals, especially wild ones, can sense a person’s attitude and intentions. Black bears and big horn sheep seem to be especially perceptive.


      Comment by montucky — December 28, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

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