Bear in Mind it was High Sun

It seemed appropriate to go with this topic for today’s post in light of the fact that our 2nd Amendment is under attack by clueless liberals who do not even bother to understand the intent of our Founding Fathers before pushing their own ridiculous agendas. The right to BEAR arms is not about how many bullets it takes to kill a deer (I am especially intrigued by the congressman – talking to you Franken – who give this asinine argument for why we only need 7 bullet magazines) The 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting and it isn’t about sport and if you think it is then you are not qualified to be setting policy. Want something to think about? Consider what these pro-gun control advocates would do if their precious 1st Amendment was under scrutiny.

On a much lighter note… Hey look at the cute bear pictures!

Yes, we are once again back at the Indianapolis Zoo.  Unlike the elephant, this time we bring you a true carnivore – in fact one of the top carnivores in the animal kingdom food chain.  Okay, if we are splitting hairs they are technically omnivores, but I doubt they go around commenting on how much they prefer berries to the taste of raw meat and fish.  I’ve had the privilege of seeing these creatures in the wild and it is quite breathtaking (link here).  They exude a true sense of power as they lumber along that commands a high degree of respect.  I felt a little remorse watching it simply pace back and forth within its exhibit knowing their brothers were enjoying freedom in one of or Nation’s most beautiful parks – one must admit we have come a long way in our treatment of animals  in captivity and clearly this one was not outwardly suffering.  I am not a bear psychologist but guessing there is a call to the wild buried deep in there somewhere.  My utmost appreciation for letting us experience what it is like to be around one but out of harm’s way.  You will never catch me this close to one out in Yellowstone!

Hit the jump to read and see more pictures of the Grizzly!

As alluded to in the title, these shots were taken at high sun.  Although the end to end f4 of the Beast naturally cut some of that light out (our 200 is an f2.8), there was a lot left to deal with.  Unfortunately, I was still getting used to the Beast so in some cases the manual settings were less than ideal.  For some reason most of the bear shots were over exposed.  This meant a long time in the digital darkroom to get these at a level worth displaying.   As all photographers are apt to do.. you will not be seeing the starting state, but let’s just say these are a significant improvement upon that.

So, what’s the most common question I hear whenever we’re out in Yellowstone and come upon a group of people at a bear sighting?  If we use our experiences with Bison, it would probably be “Will you take my picture with it?”  That doesn’t happen likely due to the Darwin Principle – people who say that most assuredly are no longer with us.  Nope, it is more often “Is it a Grizzly or a Black Bear?”  In all honesty I didn’t really know the difference until our initial visit out there. There is a very easy way to tell and it isn’t whether the bear has brown fur or not.

The best distinguishing characteristic is the hump on the back.  You can see it in the picture above sitting up behind the ears.  Black bears have a downward sloping  profile from back to head.  The following shot shows the hum a little more pronounced.  I also feel that Grizzlies have a much more aggressive nature about them and by that I mean they just look more bad-ass.  The black bear seems  a little more docile, but do not kid yourself, an angry black bear is just as capable of turning you into a rag doll.

Oh, I should point out that black bears can be brown/cinnamon in color.  Once again thanks to our friends over at Wikipedia, I learned that Grizzlies are actually a subspecies of Brown Bear.  For all intensive purposes, these two names are interchangeable.  There is actually another way to tell Grizzlies from Black Bears but you need to be a lot closer or have access to where they’ve been.  Their paw structures differ with regards to their claw positioning.  Grizzlies have all of their claws above .. or to the front .. of the pad where Brown Bears have only 4 of their five above the forward pad.  This is engrained in me having read this on a trail sign in Yellowstone.  You should definitely be concerned if you’re on a  trail and come upon a  a fresh Brown Bear track, but if you should happen on a fresh Grizzly track – locate the weakest  member of your hiking party and keep them VERY close – you might need to kneecap them if things get hairy  hehehehe – that’s our running joke – you don’t need to outrun a Grizzly, you need to outrun the person next to you!  This shot below has the best view of the claws.

NASTY!  Just in case you happen to be a runner and thinking there’s nothing to be afraid of… I looked up how fast these creatures can move – how does 30 mph hit ya’?  Besides, it doesn’t matter how fast you can run if the guy next to you smacks you in the knee (did you think I was joking?)

What is worse than staring at 400 pounds (a rough average of females – males start there and can grow to over 700) of brown fury?  Easy, staring at 400 pounds of brown fury .. with fangs.

It almost looks like it’s smiling for the camera. More like anticipation of dessert.  It does look a little less aggressive without that hump showing and the claws cropped out.  Increase the shot angle and you’re left with a cute cuddly Teddy bear.

Ummm, seems that was not a true statement – I knew that the origin of the Teddy bear was a shooting expedition with President Theodore Roosevelt who refused to shoot a captured bear.  A quick verification of that story showed that it was a Black Bear he refused to shoot and not a Grizzly Bear so my apologies for that reference.

Thanks to some books I’ve read on wolves I learned that these Grizzlies have a habit of simply taking wolf kills.  Knowing their place on the food tree they wisely opt out of fighting for it … except on those rare occasions when the Grizzly gets too close to their pups.

That pretty much sums up my knowledge of the Grizzly Bear (assuming you know they hibernate).  I’m also out of photos which means it is time to put a wrap on this post.  Hope you enjoyed our furry friend.  Next time we go back I’ll try to get there earlier or go on a cloudy day to cut down on the harshness of the shots.

2 thoughts on “Bear in Mind it was High Sun”

  1. Cool, thanks. I like the third picture the best. I knew the Grizzly and the Brown Bear were the same thing, but I didn’t know they weren’t exact synonyms.



  2. Interesting, the third picture is further away but does have more of a body perspective on it – both have the legs cut off near the knees which is suppose to be a photo no-no but in this case it does seem to work. Almost mentioned this in the post, but every time I see the word Grizzly it rockets me back to my childhood when Dan and Joan offered to take me to a movie and were foolish enough to let me pick! Seizing on the opportunity to see my first PG rated film (think I was around 9) I chose Grizzly! Who wouldn’t want to see 18 feet of towering fury? Well, that lasted about 5 minutes until they went into a cabin having bloody body parts strewn all over the place – Dan and Joan made me exit stage left (although there is a nasty rumor going around I was the one who wanted to leave – no way am I believing that)


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