Master Guide Certification
Index of  Bear  Webpages
Bear Viewing Association
To watch, to wonder, and to conserve
gobearviewing@hotmail.com
Ph/Fax (907) 260-9059 (Office)
39200 Alma Ave.    Soldotna, AK  99669
bear viewing Alaska, bear photography, bear safety, bear behavior



Answers to questions commonly asked by wildlife viewers on the topics listed below:
Bear Viewing Association
To watch, to wonder, and to conserve
gobearviewing@hotmail.com
Ph/Fax (907) 260-9059 (Office)
39200 Alma Ave.    Soldotna, AK  99669
bear viewing Alaska, bear photography, bear safety, bear behavior

Endorsements

Guides at any level of safety expertise can also earn an endorsement in various aspects of natural history, including

A BVA Master 1 Guide certificate attests that the guide has successfully demonstrated both:

(a) the knowledge required for certification as a Professional Bear Viewing Guide, and

(b) the additional knowledge which BVA's Master guide-instructors have found to normally suffice to minimize risk to
viewing clients or other companions at bear viewing sites and situations where attack
risk is low, although there may
be a high chance of having repeated close encounters with brown or black bears that are sufficiently disturbed by
such encounters to respond by fleeing or/and with mild or moderate defensive threats (e.g., jaw-popping, huffing;
moderate threats: swatting the ground or trees, or making hop charges toward a human)  – i.e., the types of threats
typical if a bear perceives the people as enemies, or as competitors for prized food or other resources.

The additional expertise required for Master 1 certification includes intermediate bear safety and intermediate bear
body language (detailed in the text
When Bears Whisper, Do You Listen? and in BVA's videos.)  

A guide is considered to have demonstrated said knowledge when and only when he or she has passed a written
examination with a score of at least 90 points and documents that he or she has spent at least 300 days (of at least 6
hrs each) guiding viewers or researching bears at sites and situations where the danger was at least as high as
indicated above in paragraph "b".

Master 1 Guide certification study guide




A BVA
Master 2 Guide certificate attests that the guide has successfully demonstrated both:

(a) the knowledge required for certification as a Master 1l Bear Viewing Guide, and

(b) the additional knowledge which BVA's Master guide-instructors have found to normally suffice to minimize risk to
viewing clients or other companions at bear viewing sites and situations where attack
risk is moderate, although
there may be a substantial chance of repeated close encounters with non-acclimated brown or black bears – i.e.,
ones that are strongly disturbed by such encounters.  These are bears that have a significant likelihood of injuring
someone if the people do not behave appropriately.  This is most common with brown bears on the Alaskan and
British Columbian sea coast that have had little prior contact with people or have been hunted, and with black bears
in such isolated locations.  It also happens with grizzly bears which are frequently viewed in or near Yellowstone
National Park, Grand Teton National Park, the Rockerfeller Memorial Parkway, and Glacier National Park.

The additional expertise required for Master 1 certification includes advanced bear safety and advanced bear body
language (detailed in the text
The Language of Bears and in BVA's videos.)  

A guide is considered to have demonstrated said knowledge when and only when he or she has passed a written
examination with a score of at least 90 points and documents that he or she has spent at least 300 days (of at least 6
hrs each) guiding viewers or researching bears at sites and situations where the danger was at least as high as
indicated above in paragraph "b".

Master 2 Guide certification study guide



A BVA
Master 3 Guide certificate attests that the guide has successfully demonstrated both:

(a) the knowledge required for certification as a Master 2 Bear Viewing Guide, and

(b) the additional knowledge which BVA's Master guide-instructors have found to normally suffice to minimize risk to
viewing clients or other companions at bear viewing sites and situations where attack
risk is high, due to a
substantial chance of close encounters with Interior grizzly bears anywhere in North America or with black bears
(mainly in Interior Alaska and northern Canada) that are violently disturbed by such encounters.

The additional expertise required for Master 3 certification includes expert bear safety and advanced bear body
language (detailed in the text
Bear Aggression and in video footage selected by BVA.)  

A guide is considered to have demonstrated said knowledge when and only when he or she has passed a written
examination with a score of at least 90 points and documents that he or she has spent at least 200 days (of at least 6
hrs each) guiding viewers or researching bears at sites and situations where the danger was at least as high as
indicated above in paragraph "b".

Master 3 Guide certification study guide
Disclaimer

BVA certification attests that a guide has demonstrated at least the minimum level of knowledge which BVA Master
Guide-instructors have found -- through personal experience or communication with other experts -- to minimize risk
to guides and viewers in the situations specified for each level of certification.  Certification is not a guarantee that
the guide will successfully utilize said knowledge, or that said knowledge will suffice to prevent bear aggression,
whether at the level of threat, minor assault, or serious attack.  There are too many factors beyond a guide's
control, and beyond an instructor's ability to predict, for BVA or its instructors to assume any liability for any other
sort of responsibility for the success of its program to prevent harm of any sort to any human or animal.
(c) 2016 S. Stringham