Brown Bear Tussle

During my brief visit to Lake Clark National Park, I witnessed a showdown between brown bears on the beach. A sow with two yearling cubs was defending a food cache from a couple of approaching subadults. Here, one of the subadults (right) and the mother go at it while the second subadult sneaks behind… it would run in and grab a piece of meat (possibly washed-up fish) from the cache before anyone noticed. Soon after, the sow chased them off.

Unfortunately, this fight occurred on a downslope on the beach, so the full bears were not in view, but this was near the peak of the action and I liked the way the third bear is seen watching behind.

Canon 1DXII
Canon 600mm
ISO 1600


Please do not critique this image. Galleries are for sharing and discussion only.

Wonderful photo, Max

My current dream shot is currently Grizzlies salmon fishing, so I’m a big fan on bear photography in general.

Great interaction !
I feel that lower POV has resulted in a better image, flying sand adds to the action.

I agree. The OOF third bear looking on in the background is frosting on the cake.

Thanks guys. Duncan, I’d like to get that fishing shot too… unfortunately this year the salmon run came and went early, so we only had one brief moment with a bear splashing in the water, and that was it for the entire stay. Hopefully when I return in two years the timing will be right. Despite the bad luck with fish (and weather, which was gray and rainy most of the time) I was very impressed with the number of decent photo ops in the few days I had there. It’s certainly a different bear experience from my other encounters in Yellowstone and along the Canadian coast.


Yes, I really like that 3rd bear. It even looks like it’s waiting for a chance to sneak in there and grab something. And yes, it is amazing how that flying sand shows up!! Excellent shot!
Regarding the salmon run…wow, I’m not sure about exactly where you went, but most everywhere else along the central Alaskan coast, the salmon runs were either late, or nearly non-existent, rather than early. In the places where the salmon were scarce, it made for some cranky bears.

Genny, I believe my partners down on the BC coast reported that their run was later than normal this fall, which goes with what you say about other locales. But it was definitely early at Lake Clark this time.


Great action shot. The part of the bears not showing does not detract from the image at all. Wish I was there.

Nice action shot, Max! I like the oof bear between them. It adds to the story!

Great interaction captured Max . . . The bear posing as the referee is the cherry on top