Watching Bears in BC Canada 3 methods to see Grizzlys

I noticed it out within the inexperienced subject, a blackish-brown dot within the distance. A couple of individuals began gathering trying in the identical course. I used to be on a mission to see grizzly bears in BC Canada, and FINALLY, this was it.

You see, I’ve a Grizzly bear curse.

It doesn’t matter what I do, I’ve been unable to see one within the wild.

I do know – most individuals wouldn’t name {that a} curse, they might name it fortunate. However I’ve at all times needed to see and {photograph} a grizzly – in a protected state of affairs after all. I’ve seen Polar bears in Canada, and even a few black bears; however by no means their brown cousins.

However just lately, I lastly managed it!

For those who’re inquisitive about bear watching and viewing bears within the wild safely, this information is for you. I’ll inform you about my expertise bear watching in Bella Coola (BC Canada), contact on some bear security suggestions I discovered, and present you 3 alternative ways you possibly can go bear watching in BC.

2021 ReplaceKnow earlier than you go: Ensure you verify this useful resource out previous to touring to Bella Coola British Columbia. This has updates on COVID, wildfires, and border data for Bella Coola.

My (failed) Historical past with seeing Grizzly Bears in BC

Like most individuals I’m petrified of grizzlies. They’ve been haunting me my entire life. I nonetheless bear in mind once I was 11 years previous on a street journey with my mother and father and we arrived in Glacier Nationwide Park proper when a lady was mountaineering and was killed by a bear. It was everywhere in the information and it freaked me out at that younger age.

In fact, my mother and father nonetheless made me exit mountaineering, and I bear in mind being terrified at each flip of the path. Fortunately, I by no means noticed one on that hike.

Later, there have been 4 occasions I used to be anticipating to see grizzlies in my travels, they usually by no means appeared. Most of those failed excursions have been in British Columbia – usually a mecca for viewing grizzly bears.

Nimmo Bay

The place I’ve Been Bear Watching

I’ve been to Nimmo Bay within the Nice Bear Rainforest, Lake Clark Nationwide Park in Alaska, and went floating by means of a salmon river with Canada’s self-described Bear Whisperer – and by no means noticed a bear. There was even a time when there was a Grizzly in captivity at Kicking Horse Mountain in BC Canada, and he by no means got here out though I used to be there for two days.

Every of those journeys have been in bear season – Sep/Oct – and but no bears!

Significantly – how can anybody have that dangerous of bear watching luck?

All of my hosts on these journeys couldn’t perceive how I might be so unfortunate. In order that’s why I made a decision I used to be bear cursed.

Examine a few my previous shut however failed makes an attempt:

Breaking the Grizzly Bear Curse

I Went Bear Watching within the Nice Bear Rainforest and Didn’t See a Bear!

By no means Give Up

However they are saying you must by no means quit – and that’s precisely what my pal Geoff believed.

Geoff was the one who invited me to exit with the Bear Whisperer in BC Canada. After we didn’t see any bears – he was after all disillusioned, however he by no means gave up.

I noticed him a yr later, and he was decided for me to see bears in BC, this time round his dwelling – the Cariboo Chilcoten Coast.

“This may occur,” he stated unwavering, “we’ll ship you to Bella Coola and also you’ll undoubtedly see a grizzly there.”

He proceeded to offer me an enormous bear hug (sure – that pun was supposed), and began planning the logistics.


3 Locations The place You’ll Discover BC’s Finest Bear Viewing This Fall


Bella Coola Canada – The Coronary heart of the Nice Bear Rainforest

Bella Coola Valley is taken into account the gateway to the Nice Bear Rainforest; a temperate rain forest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada comprising 6.4 million hectares. The valley lies 62 miles inland from the Pacific by means of a maze of gorgeous fjords. All the valley is distant and wild with solely small populations of First Nations Nuxalk and very long time residents.

There are a number of methods to reach within the distant Bella Coola valley; by Hwy 20 from Williams Lake, by scheduled flights from Pacific Coastal Airways, or by BC Ferries or non-public boat. Any means that you just arrive ensures jaw-dropping scenic views.

Arriving to Bella Coola By Airplane

I arrived by chartered aircraft.

Because the small aircraft broke by means of the dense clouds I practically jumped out of my seat in shock – there have been large mountains on each side of the aircraft – and we have been touchdown within the slim space between them. I instantly felt claustrophobic. My adrenaline spiked. If I get this nervous touchdown, I believed, how will I ever deal with seeing a grizzly bear!

The aircraft got here to a bouncy touchdown on the little runway, I loosened the grip on my seat and let the blood circulation again into my fingers. As I acquired off the little aircraft and stepped down onto the tarmac, I regarded up in awe on the towering, jagged Coastal mountains, blue sky, and fluffy clouds…I like Bella Coola, I believed. I used to be right here to see bears in BC, however hell…it was love at first website with these landscapes, and this was solely the airport!

Watching Bears In Bc Canada 3 Methods To See Grizzlys
Watching Bears In Bc Canada 3 Methods To See Grizzlys

Native photographer, Michael Bednar, met me with an enormous smile on the tiny airport constructing. He could be my information for my 5 days within the Bella Coola Valley.

We drove the brief distance to our cabins at Bella Coola Grizzly Excursions Wilderness Resort and settled in reviewing our plan for the week.

Bella Coola Grizzly Excursions Wilderness Resort

The resort is made up of a handful of Aspen log cabins nestled within the woods, with full kitchens and large porches.

Word: Through the pandemic in 2020/2021 constructed extra cabins!

This family-owned enterprise is simply what you count on to see on this distant a part of the world. No chain inns, no large companies. Proprietor, Leonard Ellis, has been guiding individuals to grizzly bears in British Columbia for many years.

Watching Bears In Bc Canada 3 Methods To See Grizzlys

Like many individuals within the area, he began as a Grizzly searching and fishing information within the area. Nevertheless, as laws have modified within the area, he transferred his extremely acute Grizzly recognizing expertise to the rising enterprise of wildlife viewing and images.

Leonard is an effective man who has discovered the best way to make lemonade out of lemons, and I actually loved his firm and his immense quantity of information in regards to the wildlife and area.

Bear Security Suggestions

Earlier than any good bear watching outing, you’ll need to make sure you’re snug going out into the wilderness and doubtlessly encountering a bear. Possibly ‘snug’ is the incorrect phrase, as a result of I’m by no means completely snug with it. ‘Ready’ might be a extra correct phrase.

The considered unintentionally working right into a bear or shocking one is an enormous concern of mine. Nevertheless, as a result of I discovered my bear security, I do know what I’m alleged to do if I encounter one in that state of affairs. Specifically – don’t run!

Michael went over Bear Security 101 with me earlier than we went out the subsequent morning.

“You don’t should be afraid, however it is advisable remember.”

Then he acquired out one thing I had by no means seen earlier than in my earlier bear security talks – a bear spray TEST canister.

Watching Bears In Bc Canada 3 Methods To See Grizzlys

I do know bear spray appears fairly easy – pull out bottle and spray – nevertheless I had at all times questioned if I’d be capable of on the time once I wanted to. You don’t actually need to be studying the best way to use your bear spray whereas one is charging you!

The coaching can of spray was similar to the actual factor, however with no agitating or dangerous product allotted. You will get the sensation of the best way to take off the protection and the best way to use a sweeping movement to spray a charging bear.

How one can Use Bear Spray

3 Methods to See Bears in BC’s Bella Coola Valley

There are 3 alternative ways you possibly can view bears within the Bella Coola Valley. Throughout my 5 days there, I used to be in a position to attempt all of them with various levels of success.

1. Bear Watching Platforms

Bear watching platforms are timber platforms constructed at good spots by the river the place you possibly can safely watch grizzly bears fish or transfer round.

They usually have some kind of electrical fence safety round them. Plus – grizzly bear watching platforms are much less intrusive to the bears.

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