Perhaps the most common but beautiful of all Vancouver island North wildlife, peaceful black bears roam widely with unexpected grace and gentleness. Looking for the bigger, more imposing grizzly bear? On the mainland, a short flight or a boat ride away is a section of the coast renowned as one of the world’s finest destinations for sightseeing these majestic mammals. Here is a list of locations from where you can embark on your bear viewing journey.
Bear Watching Tours on Vancouver Island North
Day tours depart from Telegraph Cove to Knight Inlet, and from Port Mcneil to Thompson sound by boar. Multi-day tours, that include accommodation at remote wilderness lodges, head to the Great Bear Rainforest from Port Hardy by floatplane or from Alder bay by boat.
Diverse Grizzly viewing experiences are offered, by guides sharing an indigenous cultural perspective, or by naturalists focussed on animal behavior and their interaction with the ecosystem. Here are some of the suggested trips links:
No organized black bear viewing tours exist, but they can be easily spotted by those who keep their eye open. Try the lush green grass off the shoulders of highway 19. While gentle, common sense and respect should be employed when viewing these large mammals.
Best time for Bear Watching
- During the spring season, you can watch these mammals grazing on the grasses and sedges and engage in mating behaviour. Also, long daylight is optimal for photography.
- During Spring, one gets to see the bears mostly from the small boats.
- During the summer season, the Grizzlies move between the various habitats to optimize their feeding. You will often find them gorging on berry patches, grazing on estuarine grasslands and scouting for the early salmon.
- In the Autumn, the grizzly bears congregate at the river in autumn to take advantage of the best food source available on the coast, Pacific salmon, so we see our highest number our bears during autumn. Watch as each individual bear demonstrates its own fishing style, from methodically checking under riverbanks with their paws to charging up the river after salmon.
What to Expect on a Bear Watching Tour?
- Most of the lodges offer two bear viewing sessions scheduled per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
- Best Bear viewing areas are either reached by boat or by a bus.
- While going to the bear watching area, you can also expect other wildlife such as whales, dolphins or black bears en-route.
- Individual and private tour operates with a maximum of 4 guests. Guests can decide where they will spend their time. Operators are flexible and cater to your desires.
- Some of the things which might not be a part of the tour are taxes, liquor, insurance, fishing license, Last dinner, cab fare etc. So, inquire for the trip exclusions before you book your package.
- Also, ask for the onboard binoculars and relevant materials for the tour reference.
- Be careful with the pregnant ladies, kids or people with disabilities such as neck or back problems
Things to remember during Bear Viewing
- Always travel in a group and keep a close eye on small children and pets for safety when hiking in the woods
- Talk, sing, whistle or wear a bell when hiking in order to avoid startling a wild animal
- If you encounter a wild animal, stay back a respectful distance so that they do not feel threatened
- Do not feed wild animals
- If confronted by a wild animal, pick up small children, make yourself look as large as possible, back away slowly and leave the area
- Never run from a wild animal
- The safest encounter (for both you and the animal) is an encounter that is avoided