Black Bears in Sechelt, British Columbia

Once I gave up hope, I saw them! I saw a black bear with her two cubs.

Last summer, I took a kayaking trip to Sechelt Inlet with the hope of seeing black bears in the wild. On the paddle there, breathing in the sea salt air, passing oyster farms, I was on constant lookout as we travelled along the shore. We set up camp, settled in, but there were no wild animals visible. The next day, bear spray in hand and making noises during our hike (to scare off any potential bears), we spotted markings of a bear being in the area via foot prints and droppings but no sightings were made. Although we enjoyed our hikes and campfires, we saw limited wild life: a seal, and various birds. We packed up, put the kayak in the water, and my hope of seeing wildlife on the way home increased as my friends had spotted bears along the water’s edge in Sechelt Inlet. I hoped we would be lucky and spot them too.

Black Bears in Sechelt Inlet
Black Bears in Sechelt Inlet

As we started paddling back, we were going against the wind. Sweating, paddling hard we hugged the coast line for shelter as we made our way back. We were almost there when I said to my friend, “Even though we didn’t spot any bears, this was still a great trip.” Two minutes after the words left my lips, we saw them, a couple of meters away, a mother and two baby cubs!  I was startled as to how close we were to them. We caught their attention so we started to back paddle to give them space. Once the mother bear took notice of us, she didn’t want to be by the seaweed covered rocks by the water. Mother bear with cubs in tow started their climb upwards on the whitish grey rocks. We lost sight of them between the rocks and trees temporarily. The cubs were jumping around and playing as the mother watched on, always keeping an eye on them as they foraged for food.

We spent under an hour watching them play, jump on each other and explore. Their strength and agility amazed me. All concerns vanished as my focus was on watching the bears in their natural habitat. Once they left our sight line, I took a deep breath and pinched myself. Spending this amount of time, safe watching from a kayak exceeded my expectations. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of a black bear in the wild however watching them for this long was a definite high. My experienced kayaker friend was amazed as well. He has seen numerous bears in the wild during his adventures but this sighting was a highlight.

Even though, I’ve always wanted to see a bear in the wild, I want to safe. I don’t want to put myself or them in danger. Unfortunately, humans can attract bears by leaving out food or startling them. Seeing a bear can be scary and exciting but if you know what to do, you can stay safe. Check out this post from Parks Canada, Bears in the Mountain National Parks for more information!

I was able to get some footage of them, please see the video below:

//instagram.com/p/nlx3NMIYDn

Have you seen black bears in the wild?

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15 thoughts on “Black Bears in Sechelt, British Columbia

  1. I can see why it was a highlight of your trip. Great video! I’ve seen bears in Banff before but nothing like this.

  2. True story: there is a brown bear who comes a’visiting around my mother’s property in rural Cape Breton. Apparently the brown bear finds such odors, like the baking of salmon and the roasting of beef, to be most appealing. So he stands on his back legs and presses his nose against the kitchen window. And my mom goes to the door with the broom, waves it around, and yells “Shoo! Shoo Mr Bear!” It should be noted that this is not a recommended way to deter a baked-salmon loving brown bear.

    1. Wow Vanessa! I can’t believe she goes out and does that. She has more guts then me.

      Bears love human foods especially salmon. I would just make sure she keeps her windows shut. I was watching a video where a bear climbs into a window, opens the fridge, all the cupboards, eat everything and then climbs back out!

  3. You are lucky! They are indeed gorgeous creatures, never seen one in the wild (and I probably wouldn’t know how to react if I did!) but great advice on how to give them space and not bother them. I think it’s important for humans to understand that.

    1. The best thing if you see them is to stay calm. If they haven’t noticed you then back away the way you came and stay downwind from them. The Parks Canada guide has some great tips!

  4. Megan,
    The video is wild! I cannot believe you got that close to a Black Bear Mother and her cubs without her going postal. They are magnificent animals, but I would have probably peed my pants being that close! Thanks for sharing (from a safe distance her at home-Ha!).
    Mike

    1. The video makes it seem like we are closer but we were still pretty close. I think it helped that we were on the water and they were on land and started backing away and giving them their space once we realized them there. Agreed, they are magnificent animals.

  5. Isn’t that an amazing feeling seeing the bears. I had a similar experience at Sequoia National Par where a mama bear and two cubs were playing around by the track. Was incredible to see them. Must admit though I am not sure if they were black or brown bears but gorgeous all the same.

    1. It can be hard to tell by the colour as some black bears are brown but their size and the Grizzly Bear hump can help tell them apart.

      That must have been an incredible experience, I love seeing cubs with their mother but it also makes it more dangerous.

  6. Ahhh, the bear cubs are so cute I can hardly stand it.

    I’ve seen bears in the wild a few times, and every time, I completely forget all the advice about backing away slowly and instead stand there, transfixed, open gawking at the bear. I just can’t bring myself to move away.

    I’ve been safe so far, luckily, and was hoping to see bears on my recent cycle trip to Sechelt – but the closest I got was a really fat squirrel.

    J

    1. I can hardly stand it eitehr, they are so cute! As long as you are a safe distance away, it’s okay to get transfixed 🙂

      Hopefully on your next trip, you can see them from a safe distance. Next time you are there, try from the water.

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