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Our Tundra Buggy days started with a breakfast buffet across the street from the hotel at Wok's Restaurant, followed by a bus ride of about 20 miles to the launch facility. The Tundra Buggy launch facility is very close to what was a rocket launch facility. The rocket launch facility is tall enough to be seen from several miles away over the flat terrain. It was almost never out of sight when we were bear watching. On the first day in the buggy, we started seeing bears about a mile from the launch facility.

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One of the first bears we saw was a mother and two cubs. The bears walked across frozen ponds with no problems. They have large feet, and always have 3 feet on the ice at all times. This mother bear probably weighs only 300 to 400 pounds at this time of year. Males are considerably heavier.
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After a short walk around our buggy, the momma bear moved away and nursed the cubs. After nursing, the bears returned to explore our buggy for about 20 minutes before wondering off. Notice the little circles of out of focus spots in the foreground. This is the mark of a mirror lens. This picture, and many others, needed the 500 mm lens. This backlit picture is a favorite of mine.
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The bears spend a part of their time sleeping in the patches of willows scattered through much of the area. The ice here is in a shallow pond in the buggy trail. The buggies easily break through the ice, with piles of it collecting at the pond's edge.
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The first tundra buggies were school bus bodies mounted on larger undercarriages. This bear easily reached the open window for a smell of the people inside. We were in a buggy the size of the one behind the smaller one. All have windows that only open from the top.
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Another favorite.
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Notice the size of the feet. The black skin shows where there is no hair.
When a bear gets put in jail, or is handled for a study, it receives a tag in an ear and a number tattooed inside the bottom lip. We did not see a tattoo, but several of the bears had ear tags. wpe13.jpg (17362 bytes)
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"Hey brother. Have you seen the size of these wheel nuts?"

Click HERE to learn more about bear watching at Churchill.

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