Enticing the Male–The Grizzly Mating Game

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 500 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

As soon as we arrived in Lake Clark National Park, we were eager to start looking for grizzly bears to photograph. We unpacked, and after a quick dinner, headed out into the evening light to find three bears in one of the meadows. At this time of the year, there are 23 hours of light in Alaska so 7-10 pm looked like mid-afternoon. Two of the bears in the meadow were closer together and we were told they had been mating the past couple days. The third bear was another female without cubs and the male appeared interested.

Image: Male Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 400 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

We nicknamed the male Scarface due to his beat up appearance, as shown above. We heard from others that after a previous mating session with the female in the image below, there was a bit of a brawl and it appears that she had won. From the image below, you can see that she was absolutely stunning with a gorgeous body of thick fur.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 260 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

When Scarface eyed the third female and started walking towards her, the female took off running for the forest. That was the end of her for the romance of the evening. The remaining female attempted to win back Scarface’s attention. She laid down in the grass and made herself completely available to him.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 500 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

After a couple minutes on her back, she sat up and waited a bit. She appeared a bit sleepy in the bright evening sun.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 330 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

She kept her eye on Scarface as he turned his attention to eat the meadow grasses. He had already shed most of the fur on his back which further revealed his beat up body from fights among other males and females.

Image: Male and Female Grizzly Bears, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

Soon she tried once again to entice Scarface for another mating session. She rolled around for several minutes, sticking her feet in the air and working hard to get his attention.

Image: Female Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 500 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

His interest continued to be his tummy and filling it with the lush meadow grasses.

Image: Male Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 500 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

Realizing defeat, she got up and began foraging in the grasses as well. Scarface grazed and headed towards our group. He slowly meandered closer and closer.

Image: Male and Female Grizzly Bears, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 200 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

Scarface came within 15 feet of our group! As instructed by our guide Belle before we went out to the meadows, I stayed still and calm since I was at the end of the group and closest to him. Of course, I took the opportunity to take photos of him!

Image: Male Grizzly Bear, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 280 mm, f/8.0, 1/1600, ISO 1250, hand-held.

Each day brought more stories of the life of the grizzlies. Stay tuned! You can view these images individually and more not posted here in my portfolio located here.

Please also check out my new business for pain relief, the PABR Institute, at www.pabrinstitute.com, and subscribe to my email articles to get tips here to help you find relief in your body.

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

8 thoughts on “Enticing the Male–The Grizzly Mating Game”

  1. Thank you so much . The pics were amazing. And we will never forget all that you did for my wife Mary . You are truly the real deal!,!!!! PLEASE KEEP SENDING THE BLOGS.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You did a great job of explaining the behavior and some nice captures. When you look at scar face you wonder what the bear could see in him. Wasn’t his looks.

    Liked by 1 person

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