With winter finally abating I was able to get outdoors and back to the mountains today. I could have undertaken the lesson for free today just for the joy of being out there, what a wonderful place to be when instructing.
We hadn't actually got to our planned location for todays shoot when this lovely grizzly caught our eye in the forest by the roadside in Kananaskis. I quickly made a u-turn and we drove back to his location, with telephoto lenses to hand we grabbed shots as quickly as possible. In a very short time he tired of us and headed into the forest and ploughed his way through the deep snow on a slope that was tough going, he sunk up to his middle a couple of times and appeared as fed up of the snow as the rest of us.
Checking my images later I was able to zoom in on his tag, bear 164. This was great as I was able to look him up on the internet where he is described as a young adult with brown and blonde colouring. It seems he has been in trouble in the past and the aversion teams have had to chase him away from campgrounds. As bears age they tend to disappear into the forests and stay away from human contact but young bears are still inquisitive. 164 was radio and GPS tagged as part of a group of 10 young bears being studied by the aversion team.
His history includes getting within 2 metres of a pair of hikers and chasing mule deer along highway 40. He's never shown aggression toward humans but doesn't seem to be overly concerned by them. So, because of his penchant for campgrounds the aversion teams will find him and use bear bangers, rubber projectiles or 'shotgun fired' bean bags to dissuade him from pestering campers. His last reported bad behaviour seems to have been in 2016 so perhaps he's learning, he did scoot away from us pretty quickly today, let's hope he continues that behaviour and stays safe in the forests of kananaskis.
I think it's fair to say that today was a roaring success after seeing this guy and making some nice landscapes by the river, but I'm not sure how I go about meeting the expectations of future clients. Perhaps I need a disclaimer that says "bear sightings are not guaranteed on landscape shoots".
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