• Laurel Contributor

The Beauty of the Bears

by Ed Boos

During the past 10 years my wife, Cindy, and I have spent a considerable amount of time photographing wildlife in many areas of the United States and Canada. Our favorite subjects have always been Black and Grizzly Bears.

At one time, Black Bears existed in every state in the union. Today, their present range is a fraction of what it once was. Nevertheless, they still can be found in portions of half of the states. Fortunately, many Black Bears live on the Highlands Plateau. Sightings here are frequent.

On the other hand, Grizzly Bears can only be found in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska. At one time their range included almost every state west of the Mississippi River. Cinnamon Black Bears are Black Bears with a cinnamon coloration. They are sometimes mistaken for grizzly bears due to their similar color. They are only found in the western United States.

Someone told us years ago that the way to tell the difference between a Black Bear and a Grizzly Bear was to go up to it and give it a swift kick in the rear end. If the bear goes up a tree, it’s a Black Bear. If you go up a tree, it’s a Grizzly Bear. We would not advise anyone to try it though. You may not make it to a tree and there are better ways to tell the difference.

We’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph many Black Bears in the Appalachians as well as the Rocky Mountains. We have also photographed quite a few Grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. The Grizzly Bear in the snow was taken in Yellowstone recently and the Black Bear was taken in our yard in Scaly Mountain.

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