This bear is stressed out. She used to have two cubs but one had a broken paw. We no longer see the second cub with her and the story there is unknown. The remaining one follows her closely as they walk up and down the river bank in search of salmon.
Though not altogether especially big for a grizzly in this area, this sow now guards her cub closely and is quite pissy with any bear that comes close. On one occasion she was seen charging her own cub when the little guy cracked a branch behind her. So imagine when another bear comes along on the river.
Yesterday I watched as this boar came down the river bank. The sow came flying at him charging. In surprise at the ferocity of this sow, he turned tail and ran back upstream and we watched them running full bore towards us. Finally, the big male turned around and stood his ground, realizing his size advantage over the sow. Busy with the boat and safety of the clients around these bears, I didn't get the full encounter on camera but the the photo following shows the ensuing face off.
After a bout of roaring into each others faces, the sow backs off and starts to walk away back towards her cub. Until...
Feeling that the fight wasn't over, the sow turns around and comes back at the male with a full force sprint.
Ears flattened, you can see her aggressive pose and all of a sudden, her smaller size doesn't seem to matter.
With that kind of power, it's hard to imagine calmly standing your ground with prose in the face of a bear moving towards you with that kind of speed.
The deep water doesn't make any difference. And rather than taking tall leaps over the water, she plows right through it.
I wish this photo was in focus. It's hard enough to whip out the camera in time and manage clients safely simultaneously. To me this is probably the most powerful shot.
Her mouth is open in a load roar, stating her dominance.
Finally over, the male bear looks on before moving away off the river and downstream past her and her small cub.
She gives one last small bluff charge to make sure this male is on his way.
Finally over, the mother looks on after having succeeded in warding off this bear. Her anxiety levels obviously being high, we made sure to keep extra distance and waited for her to move far off the river before passing by ourselves.