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Crazy for Black Bears

Updated on May 25, 2012
A little fuzzy, but this was a close as I could get!
A little fuzzy, but this was a close as I could get!

My Bear Photography Adventure

© May 2012

Really and truly, I do love black bears.

The lengths I found myself going to capture a close up picture one fine sunny day while my husband and I were vacationing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee was quite shocking when I thought about what I'd done afterward.

It happened that while we were driving through the national park we came upon a crowd of about ten or twelve people on foot, running along the side of the road with their cameras in hand.

At first I didn't know what the commotion was about, but then my husband saw him. A nice big old black bear. He was absolutely gorgeous. A full sized bear!

Without really thinking about it, I grabbed our SLR camera and jumped out of the car, excitedly joining the chase. My husband followed along safe inside the car, keeping as close as he could to me from the road. He rolled the passenger side window down and cautioned me that it was dangerous and not to get too close.

The big black bear was ambling slowly away from us not particularly in any hurry. I suppose if he'd turned and started heading in our direction we would have all been toppling over each other to escape, but luck was on our side this day and the bear had no interest at all in us. Even so, he moved much quicker through the forest than we did, so getting the photo was harder than I thought it would be and it ended up coming out a little fuzzy.

How crazy...I actually was chasing a BEAR!!!

Barefoot Bears Collectibles

My love for black bears carries over into our home decor. Of course I chose the lodge look.

Recently I stumbled upon a very cute collection of knickknacks with adorable bear faces on the internet. Now I'm on the hunt for these Barefoots Bears collectibles. I found some that were Christmas ornaments at the Bass Pro Shop and especially liked one in the form of a bear catching a fish from his canoe.

Don't Feed The Bears

Wondering what bears eat? Well, it's normally not people!

Actually, they eat more herbaceous foods than carnivorous, mostly leaves, flowers and plants, and when in season a smorgasbord of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, wild cherries, apples, peaches, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, acorns, honey and such. They also munch on insects such as bees, beetles, ants, termites, grubs, wasps and (yes, it's true) spiders. Meats on their diet include, fish, frogs, rodents and baby deer upon occasion.

Their very favorite, of course, is people's food! And they have a very keen sense of smell to find it.

Campgrounds are regular bear magnets where they can forage through trash cans, picnic baskets, unattended cars, and tents. It's never wise to feed the bears - They will remember where they got the food and will be sure to return often to fill their bellies. Remember Yogi bear!


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    • frogyfish profile image


      7 years ago from Central United States of America

      I think I would be in the back area of that group chasing the bear - so I could be the first to run if he turned around! Bravo to you!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      I can relate to your story, when we were in Yellowstone Park I saw a bear, and in my excitement jumped out of the car with my camera getting as close as I could - crazy!! but quite a good photo!

      Thank you for sharing and voted up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You need to go to Yellowstone; you can chase grizzlies there....but they don't like playing the game as much as black bears do. :) Fun hub and great picture!

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you stars439. I do love animals of all kinds, and noticed that you are from Louisiana, the magnolia and pelican state. I was very fortunate on our recent vacation to Dauphin Island, Alabama to have the opportunity to get several nice pictures of a bunch of them.

    • stars439 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Wonderful hub . You're love for animals is awesome , and precious. GBY.

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you, Christy. I agree it is a relief that they prefer people's food to eating people, LOL!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      They like people's food, not people, that's good to hear. I am breathing a sigh of relief!

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you Whowas - I do feel lucky to have seen real bears a couple times away from a zoo setting in their natural environment. They are so carefree and content, and just amazing! I will check out the link to that petition. Thanks for your response to my hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      That's a great little hub about black bears and I am so happy that you not only got your photograph but shared it here on hubpages!

      Bears of all kinds are really beautiful and deserve our respect and protection. There have not been any bears in the UK since they were hunted to extinction by humans from the prehistoric period through to sometime towards the end of the Roman occupation. Certainly there were none left here by the Anglo-Saxon influxes. In my other home in Italy we don't have bears in that particular region (Florence) but they are there (brown bears) in the neighboring region of Abruzzo although very shy and retiring and I have never yet seen one in the wild. I shall keep trying!

      On a recent visit to Bulgaria I was saddened to see that 'dancing bears' are still a common form of entertainment in the streets of many towns and cities. The bears are very cruelly treated. However, I understand that as Bulgaria enters the EU, then the newly applicable laws should enforce the elimination of this unacceptable activity.

      Bears are also caged and cruelly treated in China. there is an online petition anyone concerned about this can sign to urge a ban on the caging and abuse of wild bears. here's the link:

      You are so lucky to have seen a bear alive in the woods - fantastic!

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you Jennzie - I'm sure I wouldn't be as daring now as I was back then. When we are young, we don't always think the most rationally.

    • jennzie profile image


      8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I don't think I would have had the guts to get that close to a black bear to take its picture! But from afar, I do think they are cute. :)

      Voted up!

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you kashmir56 - I'm more cautious now than I was in my 20's. I doubt I would take so much of a risk today.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      WOW you are such a brave woman to get a photo of a black bear !

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Wow - Rolly, your experience makes me realize just how crazy it was to get that close. I am much older than I was when I took that photo. Now, I don't think I would be as courageous as I was back then. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate this!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      8 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Cathleena... I love bears as well... I think I have the better part of the collection of Bearfoot's ij my studio. Wonderful hub and one I have bookmarked... THank you.

      I have had the unfortunate experience of coming far to close to a few bears in the wild. Please be very careful in your attempts to get that special picture. Get yourself a telephoto lens instead... smiles.

      I once held the hand of a young lady in emergency of the hospital that was attacked by a large black bear. I just happened to be there at the time. Her entire lower body from her ribs to her toes had been ripped and torn. It took 11 hours and 750 stitches. As cute as they are they are still wild.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you Peggy and Bushraismail for your comments. Glad you liked my bear photo.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      When driving through national parks or other places, if suddenly one comes upon a group of parked cars and lots of people outside of them, you can bet that there is something of note worth photographing. That goes for wildlife as well as wildflowers. That is certainly our experience.

      Good shot of that black bear even if a bit fuzzy. Thanks!

    • bushraismail profile image


      8 years ago from ASIA

      You shot that photo!! great..lovely hub.

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you Seeker 7 for your compliment on the photo. I wish I could have gotten a little closer to that bear to get a perfect one, but that would have been more than courageous!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      8 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      What a fascinating hub on this beautiful animal!! I think your photo is excellent especially given the conditions you capture it!

      Unfortunately the UK no longer has any bears natural in the wild - they've been gone for a few hundred years now. So it's great that you folks can still see these awesome animals in their natural habitat and cherish them!

      I really enjoyed this lovely hub about these fascinating animals! Voted up awesome + beautiful.

    • Cathleena Beams profile imageAUTHOR

      Cathleena Beams 

      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Taking this opportunity to say thank you to each of you for your responses. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to do this.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      8 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Well I'd certainly love to see one in the wild, and the blacks are far tamer than the browns. I'm told in some places the scare is hitting one with a car - which would be terrible for all involved!

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      8 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      I enjoyed your hub about black bears very much--reminded me of our experiences at Dunraven Pass in Yellowstone National Park seeing a mother grizzly bear with her 4 cubs crossing the road into a lush meadow below.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      8 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Having lived in rural ME, bears would come out from hibernation in the spring, and if you happened to be on their route from a previous encounter, they would raid your bird feeders. So it was imperative to take them inside(the feeders), during the night.

    • flashmakeit profile image


      8 years ago from usa

      You are a brave women because black bears will even attack a car eating out the interior looking for human food and they have a good sense of smell. Vote up for your brave photograph of a black bear.

    • chrisnstar profile image


      8 years ago

      I lived in northern Wisconsin where black bears were as abundant as squirrels. I saw them sometimes out on the trail when I was riding my horse. I always hated bear hunting season and rooted for the bears.


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