Our bear watching tours are designed around the peak grizzly bear season to take advantage of nature’s schedule. The trips are designed with photographers in mind
The mighty brown bear, evolved about one million years ago, probably from the black bear family. Today a number of subspecies can be found around the world, including central Italy, Scandinavia, Russia, the Himalayas and Japan's Hokkaido Island - though their popualations are generally very small.
North America has the grizzly, also known as the brown bear, or brownie in parts of Alaska and Canada. The grizzly bear gets its name from the light-tipped guard hairs that give them a "grizzled" look. The Kodiak bear, which is limited to an Alaskan island group, is sometimes considered a separate subspecies.
At one time, grizzlies roamed over most of the western United States, Alaska, Canada and southern Mexico. Today, the grizzly is found only in parts of Canada, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington.
A large hump of muscle and fat on the grizzly's shoulders easily identifies this sub-species. Their shaggy fur comes in many colors--black, cinnamon, red, blond, or a mixture of these colors. A mid-size bear can weigh up to 1,800 pounds, but most weigh in around 1,000 lbs. When standing on their hind legs, grizzlies can ready heights of up to ten feet.
Grizzly bears eat a wide variety of foods -- insects, wild honey, roots, grasses, mountain sorrel, buffalo berries, fish, moose, elk, deer, sheep, and occasionally other bears.
Grizzlies generally reach maturity at five years of age and the breeding season is throughout June and July. After the male chooses his mate, he spends about a month with her, then leaves to continue his solitary life. The female then finds or digs her den, where she will sleep through the winter, giving birth in January, February or March.
The average litter size is two, but can range as high as four. Weighing less than a pound, newborn cubs gain weight very fast, due to the high fat content of their mother's milk (about 33 percent fat). As they grow, the cubs increase their weight as much as 1,000 times. Grizzly mothers form deep bonds with their cubs, fiercely protecting them from adult males and other predators, until they are two years old.