I camped out at my favorite river so as to get shots of the bears grabbing salmon! Lots of salmon in the river but zero bears? I was there for three days and saw no bears!

I talked to a friend of mine who has the unusual job of swimming down many streams around Tofino. He and his wife count salmon to get a idea on how healthy the run is. He told me that in 17 swims over the last month he and his wife saw only one bear!

No hunter or hunters could possibly wipe out that many bears all over the place. Maybe in one stream but still that’s stretching it! I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on? I’m hoping he and I are both wrong and the bears will show up on mass soon!

77 thoughts on “I’M CONCERNED!

    1. the guy who tells Fish and Wildlife what’s happening is my friend.
      He’s been swimming these streams for decades. This years run looks far better than last years. Last years had fewer salmon but lots of hungry bears. This year there are plenty of salmon but far fewer bears!
      I’m sure it’ll be fine Jane. I’ve just never seen this happen before?

  1. Here in UK, BBC Breakfast News have just now had someone on from katmai national park, Alaska, where they’ve been assessing how their (brown, long nosed?) bears are fattening up for winter (they’re doing well).
    Hope your bruin friends turn up safe and well soon, Wayne 🐻

    1. along the west coast the fish begin to run sooner the further north you are. So the bears have been chowing down in Alaska for 2 months already.
      We might be having warmer temperatures than normal? So the bears are still eating berries and not as concerned about fish?
      I’m sure they are fine Chris,I’ve just never seen this happen before?

      1. It doesn’t make a lot of sense – even if some of them didnt eat enough to make it through the winter you would expect some of them to appear to eat the salmon. Either there are better places to catch salmon (that would be the happiest reseason) or some catastrophy has happened (like those elephants who died in Botswana from ingesting toxic algae). Were hunters very active this year?

      2. last year the run was poor,so this year the number of cubs born was down considerably. Animals self regulate themselves.
        The bears saw the salmon was poor in this stream last year and so may of tried other places this year?

      3. Well if they have tried elsewhere and it’s as good, if not better than this stream they are unlikely to come back to this stream. Perhaps you will have to try other streams to find them?

      4. they search for food constantly. They do have great memories as well. I’m pretty sure they will come back over time to check on things. They are more migratory this year because their favorite stream was poor.
        For me,I’m staying put because I know this stream really well.

  2. 2020 is one of the strangest years I have live through. Across the pond in Connecticut where I live- the bird population seems to have reduced drastically. The doves that used to hang out and nestled in my back yard are gone. I have not seen one so far. Even the wild geese have not bothered to fly by. Something is going on.

    1. no,defiantly not. The smoke wasn’t that low here.
      I think It might be a temperature thing? Warmer than normal. I think colder weather triggers their shopping list to include high protein snacks such as salmon!

  3. I hope they show up soon. Here on Vashon Island we seldom get a bear (too populated) but we do have lots of wildlife. Our birds, especially large ones have not been here. Like the deer. Little creatures like raccoons, etc. also seem much scarcer. Perhaps they are elsewhere as during the Covid shutdown we haven’t been elsewhere on the island. We figure it could have a lot to do with the almost constant smoke blowing thru. Many days we cannot see the other side of the harbor. Still….where are they?

    1. your the fourth person to tell me of this unusual behaviour Geri!
      One from Oregon and one from Connecticut! Not to mention my location here in Tofino!
      I do not understand the connection? Unless the wildlife knows something we do not? I know animals can pick up on VLF of a earthquake. Maybe they are picking up something else that we are not aware of?

  4. I hope they show up soon. This year, the bears came out of hibernation earlier than expected due to the mild spring and there were quite a few sightings in rather unusual places like Boston. There’s definitely something going on in 2020, it’s certainly not my favourite year. Thanks for sharing and take care. I hope all is well 😊 Aiva

  5. Part of me is not surprised that there are fewer bears around. 2020 has been one strange year and I can’t wait for it to be over. Here in the Portland area I’ve seen far fewer birds, deer and other critters. The only visitors we’ve had were a number of bunnies. Yesterday we saw several. I’m enjoy watching them eat weeds and the grass, but sometimes they nibble on the ferns and then my lettuce disappeared.

    1. interesting Sabine!……this is what Noel said……………..”2020 is one of the strangest years I have live through. Across the pond in Connecticut where I live- the bird population seems to have reduced drastically. The doves that used to hang out and nestled in my back yard are gone. I have not seen one so far. Even the wild geese have not bothered to fly by. Something is going on.”
      I think Nature is putting her foot down!

      1. Yes, something’s definitely going on. Nature should have put her foot down long ago. I just hope that we’ll get a new administration here that will work on climate change and the disasters that is causing.

      2. there are two things each person can do to do their part in Climate change,stop driving their cars and don’t have any children.
        I can guarantee nobody will do that!

        There are too many people on this planet or at least too many people affecting the planet! Just wait till our numbers reach 15 billion!!
        Nobody is going to stop using their car! Everyone expects Government to solve their problems. It all starts at home. Nobody is going to do anything signifagant enough to alter our path.

      3. I’m afraid you are right, Wayne. Government should participate but as long as the conglomerates buy favors from elected officials nothing will change. The consumer economy is built on petroleum products and people buying stuff they don’t need and often can’t even afford. It’s a sad thing.

      4. yes,your right about that Sabine. Basically money rules.
        I suspect even If the Government actually did do something signifagant the majority of the people would revolt……because once again the bottom line is money. A percentage won’t even wear masks!
        So even If a miracle came,few would embrace it I bet.

      5. The mask wearing is a problem all across the US. I keep my distance from them and shop only at stores that enforce wearing them. And our current administration is of no help as corporate profits are valued more than human lives. A good time to lay low for sure!

  6. So interesting, Wayne, and I’m sure nature is having her way with all of us now. The west coast has been warm so maybe they’re still hanging at the beach. I know I would be all over that salmon if I was a bear :)

  7. Hmm, a bit concerning… I’m hoping, like others on here, it’s a slight delay due to the warmth? Give it a few cooler days, and out they’ll come?
    I hope you’re out there to see it!

  8. These are beautiful photos Wayne. I hope you will get to see your furry friends and get more photos like this before Fall is over and they take off for the Winter. As big as those bears are, I can’t see them pigging out on only berries when salmon is there for the taking. I hope they are okay and don’t meet the same fate as Big Red did a few years ago. I remember you did a post on that bear who was killed by a hunter.

  9. Hopefully it is just the warmer weather Wayne, you would think in 3 days you would have seen one. I went down to the other end of the river today. The place where I usually go to see eagles. And again I saw one young one, it is the place where they took all the trees down and built man made perches. Well, for the first time, this young one was sitting on one of these perches. I had the wrong camera so I could not get a good photos.

    1. I now have a new theory……last year all the salmon runs were poor. The bears reaction was to have far fewer cubs this year. Didn’t see a one this year?
      I think once bears realize a streams food source is poor,the next year (now) they automatically disperse to search out other food sources.
      This way there is not a further decreasing of natural stocks and so the species survives.

  10. Every year, every species, there are always anomalies and changes, as you well know. I liked this series for the observations, question and your thoughts and speculations, and espec. for the intimacy you have with the bears. Fantastic photos here, Wayne.

      1. I think this sort of thing has gone on many times over the years and when I say years I mean thousands. The salmon are affected by the environment just like everything else is. All animals respond uniquely.
        I think the bears have migrated to other streams so as to not deplete this one any further.

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