2022 was an outstanding season for wildlife tours in Campbell River, BC. We were especially blown away with our Grizzly Bear Expeditions in the fall. From the late August until mid October, we travelled deep into Bute Inlet daily in search of the magnificent grizzly bear. And we were not disappointed. Here’s our top 5 grizzly bear encounters from our 2022 season:
5. This stare-down on the road
After viewing bears at one viewing tower, we loaded into the bus and were headed for another spot. When we pulled onto the road, this big male was standing there, staring down the bus. Our staff member Andy Scheffler got this shot through the bus window before he meandered off into the forest.
4. This Gull diving for salmon eggs
Okay… so this one isn’t a grizzly bear. But it’s so fascinating watching the gulls diving for salmon eggs in the riverbed! All you can hear while watching grizzlies on the Orford River is the sound of rushing water, crickets, and the cries of gulls who are feasting on the salmon eggs. This perfectly timed photo by Andy Scheffler is one of our favourites…. *DIP*
3. This little cub getting swept away from its mum
This mama grizzly started fishing in the river and successfully caught a salmon. Her little cub was trying to follow her, but the river was too strong and swept it away from her. The little cub seemingly got spooked and high-tailed it for the other side of the river, with mum chasing after it, salmon in mouth.
Watch until the end to see it climb over the slippery logs and jump into the water! You can hear our staff members Paul and Shannon quietly cheering the little cub on… “go little buddy!”.
1. This close encounter
Now this encounter takes the cake. This grizzly mum and her yearling cub were fishing in the river right below the viewing tower. Once they successfully caught a salmon, they ambled up the bank of the river and began eating it only about 10 feet away from the viewing tower! After 10 minutes of eating the salmon, they moved on and started eating grasses to clean the fish bones out of their teeth.
Everyone sporting a telephoto lens didn’t have much choice but to put their cameras down and enjoy the moment. Close encounters like this certainly don’t happen very often!