A Bear of an Affair

09 Sep

Black bears typically have two cubs; rarely, one or three. In 2007, in northern   New Hampshire , a black bear sow gave birth to five healthy young. There were two or three reports of sows with as many as 4 cubs, but five was, and is, very extraordinary. I learned of them shortly after they emerged from their den and set myself a goal of photographing all five cubs with their mom – no matter how much time and effort was involved. I knew the trail they followed on a fairly regular basis, usually shortly before dark. After spending nearly four hours a day, seven days a week, for more than six weeks, I had that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and photographed them. I used the equivalent of a very fast film speed on my digital camera. The print is properly focused and well exposed, with all six bears posing as if they were in a studio for a family portrait.

I stayed in touch with other people who saw the bears during the summer and into the fall hunting season. All six bears continued to thrive. As time for hibernation approached, I found still more folks who had seen them, and everything remained OK.  I stayed away from the bears as I was concerned that they might become habituated to me, or to people in general, and treat them as “approachable” friends.  This could easily become dangerous for both man and animal.

After Halloween, I received no further reports and could only hope the bears survived until they hibernated.

This spring, just before the snow disappeared, all six bears came out of their den and wandered all over the same familiar territory they trekked in the spring of 2007.

I saw them before mid- April and dreamed nightly of taking another family portrait, a highly improbable second once-in-a-lifetime photograph.

On 25 April 2008, I achieved my dream.-Tom Sears

When something as magical as this happens between man and animal, Native Americans say, We have walked together in the shadow of a rainbow.


Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Animal Encounters


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8 responses to “A Bear of an Affair

  1. Steve Piccus

    September 30, 2010 at 3:18 am

    This is now one of my favorite websites and i will be frequenting it everyday just because of your powerful posts. I love the wildlife stories! Thanks a lot for keeping me engaged and entertained.

  2. Whitney Kliever

    October 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I absolutely adore reading your blog posts, the variety of writing is smashing.This blog as usual was educational, I have had to bookmark your site and subscribe to your feed. Your theme looks lovely. Can’t wait for the next outdoor adventure

  3. Melony Mongrain

    October 6, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Great article.I will be back again.

  4. Henry Carratala

    October 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I really enjoy your articles

  5. Cythia Borrows

    December 2, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Very good article. I’ve found your site via Google and I’m really happy about the information you provide in your articles, I love outdoor living. Anyhow keep up the good work!

  6. Jackelyn Kiebler

    December 28, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I saw a tv show last week about this.Too cute

  7. Madaline Hogg

    January 28, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Maryjo Locastro

    August 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Hello! I simply want to give an enormous thumbs up for the great info you will have right here on this post. I will likely be coming again to your blog for extra soon.


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