In September 2011, we visited Whistler and joined Michael Allen on his Black Bear viewing tour.
We decided to take the early morning tour and met up with Michael at 5:45 am by the Wizard express chair lift. At 6 am, we and two other couples piled into Michael’s truck and headed off up Whistler Mountain to see if we could spot some black bears.
The weather early on was pretty overcast and misty, but we soon spotted a brown black bear called Brownie, she was pretty close to the vehicle, however, as Liz chose to sit in the back of the vehicle it meant we had to wait for the others to disembark before we could… this and the fact that we didn’t have openable windows resulted in us missing a few good photo opportunities! My advice is, don’t be polite, do not offer to sit in the back! We have one blurred shot of Brownie’s bum.
Not far from Brownie was the famous black bear called Jeannie along with her 8 month old cub. We spent a short while watching her move around with her cub. The best shots would have been as they walked across the road by the side of us and then in front of us… no pictures as we were in the back. We did have a couple of opportunities to take some shots… but the mist was a nightmare and our shots pretty poor! Fortunately, Liz had the video camera and we have a little bit of footage of Jeanie, her cub kept out of sight.
As the mist started to lift we had a good viewing of a male bear called Franz who came within around 20 feet of us. He was eight years old and so thin, Michael explained that he would be OK as male bears don’t need to fatten up quite as much as the females. Franz was kind enough to show us that bears do indeed do what they do in the wood.
Our fifth and last bear sighting was a female called Chanelle. She was eating berries on a bank above us.
The trip lasted just over 3 hours and although it may appear a little expensive at over $200 each inc. tax, it was worth it and Michael is a very knowledgeable and friendly guide.
This tour was booked through the following site: click here
Very sadly not long after we returned from this trip we found out that Jeanie had been shot, apparently she was a ’problem’ bear. Here is a video we took of her playing with her cub (the video was taken on another day during our visit to Whistler).
Viewing from: From 4x4 & foot
Group size: Up to 6
Time Viewing: 2 hours
Clothing provided: None
Accommodation: Not applicable
Best time of year: Summer
Other wildlife: Deer & birds