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NOTE – This photo happened just seconds after this one, so I’m using the same backstory for both:
I found this little guy, his two siblings, and his mother working over a blackberry patch in Cade’s Cove one foggy June morning. Now, the Smoky Mountains are well known for black bears, but Cade’s Cove is the best place to spot ‘em – add some blackberry bushes, and well, this particular day I saw more bears than people (OK, not really, but I saw at least 15 bears that day).
This little guy, however, was the highlight of the day!
This particular patch of blackberries was right along the road, and the bears were accustomed to people at close range. In fact, they pretty much ignored our presence. A park volunteer was there to make sure no one got too daring.
For the most part, these first year cubs were just buried in the brush – only mom was pigging out. However, now and then we’d get a quick peek at the little guys.
Well, eventually the little cubs had to come out of the thick underbrush to keep up with mom – and that’s when this shot happened. Since the brush was so dense, the cubs had to stand up just to get an idea of where their mother went. Most of the time, they managed to do this with lots of grass or sticks or who-knows-what covering their little faces. I guess they were too young to realize how deter mental that sort of thing is to a photo
Fortunately, I was in just the right position when this little guy stood up and started looking around. It only lasted a few seconds and he was off again, but I was lucky enough to get a good shot.