See the Terrifying But Also Cute Moment When a Bear Sits Down Next to a Photographer

Wildlife photography can be really peaceful in its own way: you're sitting in the wilderness, watching the wonder of nature, enjoying the quiet. Apparently, it can be so peaceful that even bears will sit down next to you to relax for a moment, which is exactly what happened to this photographer. 

This video is a few years old, but it's just as impressive as it was when it first came out. Drew Hamilton was shooting bears catching salmon in a river in Alaska when one of them walked up beside him. Hamilton wisely remained calm and didn't do anything to incite the bear, filming it quietly. That's when the bear unexpectedly sat down next to him in an admittedly pretty cute way for a minute or so, seeming to survey the scenery and enjoy the fresh air. There was one tense moment as the bear turned to leave and walked directly behind Hamilton, pausing and turning toward him briefly, but it eventually continued on its way without an issue. You'll notice at the very end just how many bears were in the area when he pans back toward the river he was shooting. Stay safe out there!

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Rob Davis's picture

More terrifying at the last moment when you see how many other bears are within charging distance! Any link to Drew's work? Haven't found much on Google.

Alex Cooke's picture

Agreed! I tried my best, but unfortunately, I couldn't find a link either.

Brant Dallas's picture

You got the name wrong. The photographer is Drew Hamilton.

The photograph was taken in the McNeil River Wildlife Sanctuary where he worked for several years.

Alex Cooke's picture

Ah, thank you! The video description said Hammond. I've updated the article.

JetCity Ninja's picture

he was eaten by bears shortly after this video was uploaded from the field.

stir photos's picture

yeah, right?! that lone bear got up there and flanked them by scent i'm pretty sure, so they seem sorta lucky that bear wasn't particularly hungry at that moment.

Ryan Cooper's picture

Brown/Grizzly Bears are always hungry. Their entire purpose is to consume calories non stop until winter. They don't generally hunt larger prey, though, because it costs too many calories to chase/hunt, bears would much rather stand in a river and grab fish as they float by or eat berries/grub. Bears also will bully smaller predators off a kill which is much lower effort than chasing. The vast majority of attacks on humans are as a result of the bear either reacting to perceived danger against it or its offspring or the perception that the human is challenging the bear's territory.

Jennie Frost's picture

Search for Drew Hamilton. The name is wrong in the post. He is a bear viewing guide in Alaska.

Ben D's picture

Two words come to mind: Timothy Treadwell

Oliver Kmia's picture

Grizzly Man ;)

Arnold Chalm's picture

I thought you were going to say: Mister Chocolate!

David Crossley's picture

That location is likely "Brooks Falls" where the bears are habituated to structured and positive human proximity.

Color Thief's picture

It's definitely not Brooks falls. All the people are on raised platforms at Brooks Falls and it is so regimented that you would never be hanging out with a chair next to all those bears. It's more likely the this is McNeil River.

David Crossley's picture

That sounds about right Color Thief-would aspire to experiencing either location once in my travels.

Brant Dallas's picture

It was McNeil River. Been there and planning on going back. The place is awesome.

Oliver Kmia's picture

PETA should do something about this video.

JetCity Ninja's picture

that only works if the video were of a human sauntering up and popping a squat while the bottom right corner of the frame were fuzzy and brown.

wait, actually PETA can't do anything about it now. never mind.

Kevin Daniels's picture

He went to got find Leo to get him that Oscar

Studio 403's picture

Let's see, good reason to belong to NRA and have a massive weapon to shoot the bear should it attack. I have no kind words for PETA.

Spy Black's picture


stir photos's picture

i don't know if that's his first experience like that, but if it was, he had to of at least almost shat himself....

Ryan Cooper's picture

I doubt it, I've personally been in a similar situation and it's more just surreal and cool. The bear was calm and non-threatening the entire time. Its a bit of a surprise but if the bear had intended to attack him the approach would have been very different. The biggest mistake you can make in that situation is to panic and freak out as the bear will pick up on that and potentially interpret it as aggression.

stir photos's picture

i just looked and it looks like you might be from Canada, so that makes sense ur so knowledgeable about bear behavior.... i'm gonna try and remember this just in case i'm ever in that situation, but i might shit myself still...

Ryan Cooper's picture

Ha, well I suspect the vast majority of Canadians don't but I grew up in the rockies and spent several years studying the behavior of large mammal predators.

Zenza Rino's picture

what do you think about the words he spelled when the bear directed towards him? was it a good strategy? apparently it is, bear got away...

Ryan Cooper's picture

He communicated to the bear that the bear was encroaching on his space without showing aggression that the bear might interpret as a threat. The photographer handled the situation perfectly. Even though, he probably was a bit nervous at that point. Aggressive predators don't casually lumber towards their prey though, if the bear meant harm, the approach would have been very different.

Jennie Frost's picture

Drew was a guide at McNeil for years. This kind of thing happens pretty frequently there. That bear is named Ears.

stir photos's picture


Drew Hamilton's picture

Did you win a permit out there this year, Jennie?

Lionel Fellay's picture

"Hey Ted ! grab me a beer ! :-D"

Mohammed Alamin's picture

Having never seen a bear in my life, this really got me scared for what could have happened, no amount of stabilisation would help this footage if I was holding this camera.

Ralph Hightower's picture

Hey Yogi Bear! That's my beer!