Cub Scouting

Bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bear’s days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours and was poured from the same fountain…

~John Muir

My recent trip to Yellowstone was a great one for bears. Although Grizzly Bears were offering quite a show, there was one Black Bear that was drawing even bigger crowds. I had read about her before the trip and was hoping to find the Black Bear mom with three cubs. While three cubs is not all that unusual in the rich habitat of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina, it is a much less common event in Yellowstone. Raising three bear cubs requires good forage, and an experienced and protective mother.

I made a few passes through the area where she had been reported before and during my group’s visit. We managed a quick glimpse of the sow and an occasional cub as we slowly passed through the ever-present “bear jam” along the road, but there were so many cars and people that it just didn’t seem worth trying to join the crowds for such limited views.

Black Bear mom

Black Bear mom (click photos to enlarge)

Driving back toward Tower Junction (Black Bear central) one afternoon after the group had left, I passed through a tremendous rain storm. I decided to try for the bear family again, and this time, it paid off. The large female bear was in view, and the rains had chased away much of the crowd, allowing for some empty parking spaces in a nearby pullout.

Three cubs playing

Three tiny Black Bear cubs busy being playful while their mother feeds nearby

Under a large Douglas Fir tree were three tiny black blobs, rolling around in the carpet of needles. These cubs were unbelievably cute, and incredibly playful, especially one cub that always seemed to be the instigator in any rough-housing. The crowd oohed and aahed as the cubs wrestled and jumped around. After watching them for over thirty minutes, I decided to try to capture some of their play on a short video. Enjoy (best viewed full screen)…


4 thoughts on “Cub Scouting

  1. owwwww, ahhhhhh how cute….. They play like little kittens. Wish I was there. Where you able to leave them at any point? Think I would have stayed there all day.

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