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  Field Notes From
Bear Beginnings

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Author and Photographer

Norbert Rosing

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Norbert Rosing

In the Arctic

Field Notes From Author and Photographer
Norbert Rosing
I watched as a bear tried out newly frozen ice. With all four paws spread he went out on the lake on his belly, but he broke through and went under the ice. I was worried when he didn’t come up right away, but after two or three minutes he broke through to come up in the middle of the lake. Then he shook his coat and dove back in. He did that about ten times in 20 minutes. He was just having fun! When you’re a photographer, coming upon a fight between two big polar bears is an invitation to get closer. But they were on a newly frozen lake that was surrounded by deep snowdrifts. My wife, Elli, was with me in the truck, so I quickly told her of my plan to speed up to get over the snowdrift. But when we rammed into the drift we got stuck.
Just then we discovered that I nearly ran over two polar bears sleeping in the drift only about 65 feet (20 meters) from us. The commotion roused them, so they very slowly headed for the truck to check us out. We didn’t have a gun or pepper spray or anything to defend ourselves with, so I jumped out of the truck and started shoveling like crazy to get us out.
By the time one of the bears leaned across the hood, I had shoveled enough snow to—hopefully—get us free. I jumped back in the truck just before the bear reached my window. My wife was pale and couldn’t say a word. So I clenched my jaw, pushed the accelerator, and the truck started to move. If it hadn’t, I guess I wouldn’t be here.
I was sitting in my car on the shore of Hudson Bay watching a couple of bears playing. A third one was hanging around the car, but I wasn’t paying much attention to him. Suddenly the whole vehicle started shaking, and I heard the air coming out of one of the tires. The bear bit my tire! The blast of air startled him so he took off, but he managed to bite off a big piece of rubber. I was as surprised as he was, but my real concern was getting back to the main road before the tire went flat.
I have no idea why he did that. Maybe he just wanted me out of there.

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