Black Bears

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About Black Bears

Despite its appearance, the Black Bear is a shy and retiring animal that is usually seen only at dusk or at night. Thus it can be hard to get a good photograph.


Where to See Black Bears

Yosemite National Park in California and Yellowstone National Park have to be two of the best locations for seeing a bear.

Black Bears can be hard to find, but they are a fabulous creature to see. Usually you see one when you least expect it, and when you don't have a camera nearby. But the locations below are great places to improve your odds of seeing a bear.


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Top Wildlife Photographs -- Click Photo for a Slideshow

Black Bear in Glacier Park


North Carolina

Few spots offer better odds for bear-browsing than eastern North Carolina's Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge at dusk. From NC 45 south of Plymouth, take Hyde Park Canal Road north. Park where it T's into South Lake Road, walk east a half-mile or so, get out your binoculars and wait. The refuge's lumbering black bears frequently use the gravel road for passage through this dense coastal pine forest. Binos or a scope are key: Once a bear catches wind of you, he'll likely hightail it into the woods. -- Joe Miller


Glacier National Park, Montana

I saw a beautiful Black Bear in Glacier National Park in Montana in 2009. He was walking along the side of the road. -- William S. Howard

Glacier is also well known as one of the best places to see a Grizzly Bear.


Yellowstone National Park

Black Bears can be seen most anywhere in Yellowstone at anytime. They are often seen around the Tower area and in the Blacktail plateau area between Tower and Mammoth Hot Springs. Lamar Valley is another good area and along the Madison and Firehole rivers. See Yellowstone.net


The black bears of Yellowstone seem very tolerant of people. They will typically graze right next to the road with 20 parked cars and a crowd of people 40 feet away. The bears look up occasionally at the circus and then go back to their eating. This docility can lull people into a false sense of security with a very wild omnivore, but I think generally people are very respectful.


Black bears inhabit the forested parts of the park primarily, but they can be seen almost anywhere in Yellowstone. Watch in meadows at the edges of woods for dark round dots, typically black, that seem to be moving. From a long distance away they are easy to miss and are generally smaller looking than you would think. They can show up at carcasses but grizzlies are not their friends and so they are always ready to leave should big brother show up. Look high up into the trees also because a cub's first defense is to climb. Mothers will often shoo their kids up a tree and then go a short distance away and wait for the trouble to leave. The most reliable area to look for black bears is in the Tower Roosevelt Area. Begin looking from the petrified tree road all the way to Tower. This location is so reliable in the spring that when we got bored we'd just say "let's go see the Tower bears" - and we would. See Viewing Black Bears at Yellowstone for more information.


Maine

The remote Allagash region of Maine has a large percentage of Maine's 23,000 black bear. Because bear baiting is allowed in Maine, guides such as Loon Lodge in the summer can offer nature tours to bait stations and there's a pretty good chance you'll see a black bear. Loon Lodge


Photos

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Links

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

Yellowstone.net