Here’s a video of a bear viewing trip with Scenic Bear Viewing out of Homer, Alaska. Five very lucky clients and 7 bears in total. One 24 yr old sow with yearling cubs, one younger sow with second-year cubs and one large old boar. The younger sow witnesses the attack and uses us for protection.
This is what it is like to be a bear guide in Alaska. A guide might need to control a sow with two cubs, the clients, and getting video at the same time.
Info: Guides are trained professionals and safety is their number one concern. No people have been attacked bear viewing in this area.
The story: The group and bear guide were sitting on a log watching 7 bears total for about an hour. A nice lunch spot. A sow (female bear) and her 2 1/2-year-old cubs nursed, napped and were eating sedges within 50-feet from the group. About 200 yards away another sow with two yearling cubs were nursing when a large boar (male bear) stalked them from downwind in the tall grass and charged. (Male bears are known to try to kill other cubs so they can mate with the female and produce his own offspring, it’s sad but it’s instinct). However, the sow is 24 years old and experienced in fighting off other bears. She defends the mean boar as the cubs runoff.
The 2nd bear family in front of us saw the attack and became stressed and afraid, so the mother boar brought her cubs around behind us for protection. As you can see she is not looking at the group she is watching to see what happens in the attack. We believe she watched the attack because the 24-year-old sow is most likely her mother. She could have kept going to get away but she felt safe behind our group. The group was never in any danger. The bear guide knows what to do in this situation and lets the clients know that if a bear comes close don’t move unless he tells them too.
Never run away from a bear, they have a chase instinct. The bear guide says to the bear “that’s close enough” because he did not want her any closer. Where we go bear viewing the bears have learned that we stand up and speak when they are in our comfort zone. The bears have been seeing people every summer for 30 years at this location. They have never been hunted, fed by humans, or harassed. The sows have learned that we are not a threat to them or their cubs. The bears acknowledged the group of people and stay clear. The bear family that was attacked was not injured.
After this video the younger sow that was behind the group walked over to check that her mother was ok. The huffing noises and jaw popping you can hear are made by bears when they are stressed and to let their cubs it’s dangerous, stay close. Bears also stand up so that they can see better. The video cuts off because I switched my camera to photos to get some shots of her standing behind me.
If you want to see bears in their natural habitat with a safe professional guide go to https://www.scenicbearviewing.com/ and book your trip for next summer.