Alaska Bear Photo Tours

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Lake Clark, Photos, Travel 6 Comments

A brown bear and bald eagle both watch for salmon during this years bear photo tour - Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

A brown bear and bald eagle both watch for salmon during this years bear photo tour - Lake Clark National Park, Alaska.

Well I have some bad news, and good news regarding next years Alaska Bear and Puffin Photo Tour.

The bad news was – we have a tentative person interested in our final spot leaving me without any openings going into the prime booking season!

Now the good news – I was able to obtain another week during 2012!  I am really fortunate to obtain such a great week, as David, the lodge owner is now having to turn away groups thanks to the popularity of this location!  I am very grateful to be able to offer two trips a summer!

My second week being added is at the end of June – the 23rd to the 29th.  I will be interested to see what it is like that time of year.  I do remember comments made by Jenny, my former bear guide – she said the end of June was her favorite time of year.  Kevin, the park ranger in the area for the past 10 years (the first 4 in a tent! ) has also said late June is one of her favorite times as well.  Even Rick, my bear guide this year expressed a preference for late June.  So I’m excited to see what it is like then!

What are the advantages of going in June?  Possibly more bears, especially spring cubs.  This year they were seeing 6 spring cubs by the end of June – that was down to 1 by August.  Short, rich green grass  along with fields wildflower like lupine should be in nice bloom.  Mating activity also takes place during June offering some unique interaction and bringing more bores (males) into the area.

What are the advantages of going in August?  There are two big ones.  Fishing bears – bears catching and eating salmon is always high on the list of advantages of August.  The other advantage is perching puffin – they may not perch as much in June, but they will be flying.

If you are interested or have any questions, please feel free to email or call.  I anticipate these trips will fill fairly quick – certainly by Christmas.  For more information, visit our page for the Alaska bear and puffin photography tour.

Comments 6

  1. Is Jenny still there? We went at the end of June last year. Jenny told us she preferred June because the fishermen weren’t there yet, it was less crowded and the weather is better. In August all the photo groups are there together with the fishermen, and they’re all in the same spots with the bears. And on top of that, it usually rains more in August. When we went in June we had Jenny all to ourselves, at times we didn’t see a single other person, and we had great weather. And there were plenty of bears and some cubs as well.

  2. Post

    Hi Scott,

    I forgot you were there in June – that’s right, you went right after the Kenai Fjords photo tour.

    All the things you say are right on the money with what I’m hearing. Did you go the the island with the puffin when you were there? I understand they don’t perch as much in June. Although you nailed that image in KFNP!

    Jenny and Drew weren’t back this year. I understand Drew is running halibut charters on the other side of the Inlet near their home. Not sure what Jenny was doing.

    Thanks Scott!

  3. Ron,
    We went to “puffin” island, but we couldn’t disembark. Just used a high ISO to offset the rocky boat. The puffins were just starting to perch and I got some nice shots.

    I meant to ask about your post–why is there only 1 spring cub now from the original 6? When we went there were only 2 cubs, but you saw more on your trip last August. I recognized “my” cubs from your photos. We were there June 29, 30, and July 1.

    I’d love to do this trip again. Hopefully soon. Are you no longer going to offer the 4 day trip?

  4. Oh, and I should mention that the lupine was spectacular and everywhere–lots of purples and blues. We took some time out from the bears just so I could photograph it. I can’t compare the landscape to August, but the grassy fields were different shades of greens mixed with yellow. It was very beautiful. We spent several hours hiking away from everyone because the weather was perfect and the scenery was incredible. Jenny was very happy because people always just want to see the bears. That was just as memorable as the bears!

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    Hi Scott,

    That is good to hear about the fields of lupine – I definitely saw nice stretches of old lupine, so I thought they could look good. I like your idea of just hiking. On our first trip, Janine and I went canoeing on the lake behind the lodge – that was fun too.

    We don’t know what happened to the cubs. A big storm passed through before we arrived and pushed the bears off the coast and presumably into the forest, and many of the cubs weren’t seen after that. There were numerous wolf tracks when we got there, and we think some may have been preyed upon.

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    Good question on the length. I liked the 4 day tour – this year when I offered the option of a 4 day or 7 day, I had far more interest in the 7 day. It doesn’t cost that much more since the flight costs are amortized over more days, and it gives some time for weather.

    I originally thought people would combine the bear trip with other travel in Alaska, but most people come just for the bears – so that is another reason they prefer the longer trip. It does give us a chance to boat down the coast to another bear location and do a few other things – actually I was good being there for the longer time.

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