Bear Quints – once in a lifetime photo TWICE!

Mom and FIVEBlack  bears typically have two cubs; rarely, one or three. In 2007, in  northern New Hampshire , a black bear sow gave birth to five  healthy young.  There were two or three reports of sows with as many as four  cubs, but five  was, and is, very extraordinary!

The photographer learned of them shortly  after they emerged from their den and set a goal of  photographing all  five cubs with their mom – no matter how much time and effort was  involved.  He knew the trail they followed on a fairly regular basis, usually  shortly before dark. After spending nearly four hours a  day, seven days a  week, for more than six weeks, he had that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and photographed them. He used  the equivalent of  a very fast film speed on his digital camera. All six bears posing as if they were in a studio  for a family portrait.

The photographer  stayed in touch with other people who saw the bears during the summer and  into the fall hunting season. Luckily all six bears continued to thrive. As time  for hibernation approached, he found still more folks who had seen them.  Wisely, the photographer stayed away from the  bears because he was concerned that they might become habituated to  him, or to people in general, and treat them as approachable  friends. This could easily become dangerous for both man and animal.  After  Halloween, no  further reports and could only hope the bears survived  until they hibernated.

In spring, just before the snow disappeared,  all six bears  came out of their den and wandered all over the same  familiar  territory they trekked in the spring of 2007.  The photographer saw  them before mid-April and dreamed nightly of taking  another family  portrait, a highly improbable second once-in-a-lifetime photograph.
On  25 April 2008, he  achieved his dream and was able to photograph them again.

With tremendous thanks to the photographer for “shooting” only with a camera!

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