Too Close

November’s grizzlies have one thing on  their mind: food.    They’re on a mission, and I am not interested in getting in their way.

The griz we saw a couple of weeks ago was definitely on a mission.  He was truckin’ through a meadow, about 30 feet from the road when we saw him.


As we pulled over, I was shocked when a young guy came running past us with his phone in his hand:  he was chasing the bear!


As we watched, he actually went down the slope to get closer to the bear as it came around the trees.  He was only about 15 feet from a big grizzly.  What the heck?


The bear ignored him.    But still.

And he wasn’t the only one.  Another guy was out of his car, angling for a good shot.  He had a longer lens, so he couldn’t get too close and get a picture.  But he stayed put when the bear detoured around the phone guy and came up to the road.


What kind of photo could he have gotten?  A close-up of his fur?

We drove ahead, and pulled off again, waiting to see where the bear would re-appear.  I stayed near my open door, and was back in the pickup the minute he appeared in the woods.    What would I do if a bear appeared this close to me while I was hiking?  I wouldn’t be taking a picture, that’s for sure!


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About westerner54

Hello. I'm Cindy, and I love to hike, bike and explore the outdoors - particularly the western U.S.
This entry was posted in Montana, Nature, Wildlife, Yellowstone and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Too Close

  1. Lyle Krahn says:

    People have no idea how fast they could be! You were safe and got great photos. What fun to watch those creatures.

  2. Oh my, my. Hungry grizzly + too-close approach by a human? Bad, bad humans!

  3. Jet Eliot says:

    It’s always difficult to watch fools like this in the wilderness, because ultimately if the man gets attacked, the animal, just trying to hunt, will be put down. And it’s so unfair, because the one at fault, the human, could have avoided everything by just being respectful of this huge and beautiful bear. This grizz was really big, and so utterly lovely — great photos (and thankfully respectfully taken too). Great post!

  4. plaidcamper says:

    I wish I could say I am astonished by the behaviour you described…but I’ve seen it many times here in Alberta by the roadside. Parents pushing small children towards a bear to get them in the frame, or dogs out of the car and off lead. As Jet said above, it’ll be the bear that suffers.
    Aside from all that, your photos are wonderful – and respectfully taken!

  5. Mike Bizeau says:

    Great documentray in a way of many of my recent experiences in Yellowstone. It’s hard to not want to document the human behavior occurring but the rub is we come for the wildlife and landscapes of a very special place.

  6. Mind Margins says:

    We watched a grizzly scramble up the side of a steep creek bed once, and I was amazed at how fast he was. We watched from far away–and the safety of our car. I’ll never forget that speed! And we watched another grizzly much closer once, again from our car, and I’ll never forget the sight of those long claws! Getting a great photo of such a powerful beast isn’t worth the risk!

    • westerner54 says:

      Luckily I’ve also only seen bear running from far away…oh, and once we surprised a black bear and it took off uphill like a shot. They are incredibly fast for such big critters. I was really sure that the guy in the white shirt was going to push his luck too far. Always good to hear from you!

  7. The guy on top of the hill? Probably would have made it five feet by the time the bear got up the hill, if it had chosento charge. I do worry for the bears because we have lost too many with collisions with vehicles and it would be the bear that gets put down. It is a reminder to people like me to beware and not get caught up in getting the shot at any cost. stay in the car, get a shot or two , then move on. Your point is well made.

    • westerner54 says:

      We too are losing many to collisions lately – mainly at night when folks are driving too fast. And I was sure that we were going to see that one guy get himself (and the bear) into trouble. Luckily the bear was smarter than he was!

  8. another pointt: you have his license plate number and the act he was commiting which is harrassment if he is chasing it-a hefty fine. There was a video on you-tube of people feeding a bear, the video wa sent in to parks and the people were charged.

  9. Sue says:

    Wow, great shots. And what a good illustration of the unending stupidity of some people. I saw the same thing this summer in Yellowstone with black bears…

  10. Wow, a very close encounter indeed. How silly people can be though….and if the bear had chased them he might have had to be put down…they just don’t think some people😳

  11. people never cease to amaze me!!!!!!

  12. oopsjohn says:

    I think “Mark of the Grizzly” by Scott McMillion should be required reading by everyone who goes to a National Park, then their behavior will change. 🙂

  13. OK, this is crazy getting that close to a bear.

  14. A couple folks gunning for a Darwin Award …

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