BearHead Photography has many images to showcase his expansive portfolio on mammals of North America, and these are his wild Black Bear photos. BearHead Photography specializes in bear photos.
A Bear's Range
Black bears tend to spend the majority of their days in the woods. It's really difficult to find a scene with a black bear where there isn't mostly woods in the picture. It was a real treat watching this bear as it moved by the lake with the mountains surrounding the valley!
Running across a black bear this big in the woods is not a fun experience. Most of the time black bears run away from grizzlies, but I wouldn't be surprised if this black bear has scared many grizzlies. With a look like this, I wouldn't want to look it in the eyes.
One of the best defences a black bear cub has when it comes to safety is climbing a tree. If they feel scared in any way they will climb a tree because it is safer in the tree than on the ground. This bear cub had gotten spooked by a branch moving and wanted to make sure it wasn't something else.
Black bears stick mostly to the forests for their food. It is not often they are seen out in the open foraging for food. This bear was eating on the edge of the woods, and I had just enough of an opening to capture the mountains behind him.
Bears become very active as the sun goes down. They like the night because it is much cooler and they can move around more. With just a few minutes of light left this bear passed close to me and I tried to get low to capture the mountain in the background.
All black bears can climb trees with ease. A small black bear can even climb to the tops of trees without worrying about the branches breaking. This little bear cub was almost at the top of the tree watching its mother eat down below.
Black bears are a difficult animal to photograph because of how dark their fur is. There are only a few types of light that work well with black bears, and those are usually short periods of the day. Catching this large male in the evening light out of the forest was spectacular.
Spring cubs are so much fun to photograph each spring. They are new to the world and curious about so much of it. Mother bear had wandered a little far away from these guys, and they took the tree as comfort in case they got scared and could run up the tree.
Black bears can come in different colors. It is not rare to see black bears be a cinnamon color, as it is just a gene that causes them to not be black. These two cubs were a different shade of cinnamon, and they really stood out in the forest.
Black bears spend most of their time in the woods. I can't really go searching in the woods for them, because that is not safe. I saw this large bear coming through the trees and was excited he came out and walked along the edge of the woods so that I could get photos of him.
Catching this black bear moving from forest to forest was some great timing. He didn't stop but for a couple seconds as he passed through the field, and then disappeared back into the thick forest again.
While mother was trying to rest, her cubs were running around continuously. Young cubs are very playful and have plenty of energy. As another bear began to approach the family, mother woke up and the cubs ran up the tree as fast as they could.
This was the largest black bear I have ever seen. He moved around as the king and knew he was the biggest bear in the area. When he stood to scratch this tree and let other bears know he was in the area, it was amazing how tall he was and how easily he pulled the tree down.
This black bear was asleep on these logs for hours. I didn't stay on him, but went and looked for other bears. I had good timing when I cam back because he was just waking up. His stretching was similar to mine after I wake up from a long nap.
Black bears can always climb trees. When young, they run up and down the trees at incredible ease. This bear cub was not high off the ground and looking at its mother. Something had scared this cub, and it held on tight to make sure it didn't slide down.
Black bear cubs enjoy climbing trees when they are young. Maybe it is just being young, but maybe it is just so much fun to climb a tree and play tag with your sibling. These two cubs were heading down the tree because their mother had given them the signal to come down.
In the spring is when bears emerge with their cubs. Cubs will wander at times from their mother, but always return to her side for comfort. When mother decides its time to move on, the cubs follow close behind to not get lost.
Black bears can move miles a day in search of food. In different types of forests, they find different food sources. They don't really get anything in an aspen forest, but I liked the look of the aspen tress with the black bear moving through the grove.
Black bears will mark trees to let other bears in the area know they are around, and to mark their territory. They do this marking a lot in the spring during the mating season. This bear grabbed the tree as it stood, and it looked as if he was scratching his back like a human in the shower.
During the fall, nuts and acorns are a black bears favorite food item. They often scavenge them from the ground, but they will climb to find more acorns. This younger bear had climbed to the top of this tree in search of more acorns.
I search many hours looking for bears, and particularly bear cubs. Shortly after I found this bear, it wasn't really sure of what I was and stood and peered from behind a tree to look at me.
This large black bear was a smart old bear. Anytime it heard a noise it didn't, like it would duck into the thick woods. When it thought the coast was clear it would come back out and eat. A bear this large didn't get this way by being dumb.
Black bears can climb trees there whole life. Grizzly bears can as well, but their claws are very different and they have to use their arms to climb the tree instead of their paws. This cinnamon bear just wanted to take a nap and climbed up and found a comfortable branch for an afternoon snooze.
Bears are very good swimmers and have no problem getting wet. When this good sized black bear came to this little stream I figured he would walk right through it. Instead, he decided to jump the 3 feet and try to keep his paws from getting wet.
Mothers in nature are very caring. This little black bear cub was struggling and scared to come down this little branch. Mother saw the cub, and got up from her nap and went over to the cub. She stood up as high as she could to reach her cub and rescued the cub as the other siblings watched.
When black bear cubs are really small, they enjoy climbing trees. These two cubs, particularly, liked to chase each other and play on the larger trees. Not knowing where mother was after playing, they both looked around to try and find her.
If it not often to see a black bear this large. He was considerably larger than any other black bear I saw in this area, or in Canada at all. After scent marking some trees, he opened his mouth and let any bears in the area know that he was king.
The Best Side
It's amazing how an animal knows how to stand when to look the biggest. I followed this bear for a long time, and most of the time it was head on to me and looked moderately big. Once another bear appeared, he turned and looked at the bear and looked drastically larger and let it know he was serious.
Black bears can come in different colors. Just because the mother bear is black, doesn't mean the cubs will be. It is a type of gene that creates the color of the bear. Both these new cubs happened to get the cinnamon gene, and were a different color than their mother.
It is not very often a black bear walks along a dry river bed. I knew this bear was in the area of the river bed and waited all day in hope that he would walk it. Finally, just before all light was gone, he came out of the woods and moved carefully over the rocks and over this log.
A mother with cubs spends a lot of her time in the woods to stay away from males and for her cubs to have a quick escape up a tree. Most the time she will stay at the base of the tree and guard it. If she gets spooked too, she will climb up with her cubs and protect them if the other bear climbs up.
Black bear cubs will find anything they can to fight on. There is no love lost between cubs, that's for sure. It was difficult for these cubs to fight on this tree because it was so small. It wouldn't take much pull and then one cub would fall from the tree to the ground, and then climb back up and try to fight again.
It is hard to understand how small a new black bear cub is until you see one. They're so small it seems like they would fit in the palm of your hand. This little black bear was comparable in height to the new small grass it was standing in.
One of the best defences a black bear cub has to escape danger is to climb a tree. I was up on a large hill watching as another bear approached a bear family. Once the family saw the other bear, the cubs ran up a tree, and they climbed all the way up to eye level with me!
There are all kinds of little watering holes in the woods. Some are real small, but animals don't need large lakes to always drink out of. This was a shallow, muddy, pond that this large black bear went and laid down in to cool off.
This bear was on the move looking for a mate in the spring. I don't even know how many miles he walked trying to pick up the scent of a female in heat. Once he did, he wandered into the woods and I didn't see him again.