How can you find a guide who is an expert on minimizing your risk while viewing bears -- i.e., one with long practice employing
effective precautions -- one who knows how to judge the mood and intentions of bears by reading their body language, and who
knows how to respond to each mood or intention -- be it curious, playful or aggressive? Choose a guide certified by BVA.
Where could you find a certified guide? Most are self-employed. They specialize in bears and perhaps other wildlife, not in
business, and certainly not in marketing. So don’t expect an independent guide to catch your attention the way a tour company
does, using a snazzy website or contacts with travel agents. Independent guides won’t chase you down to get your business. You
have to meet them half-way – for instance through this website.
Of course, if you book your tour through a lodge, your package will likely include guide services, as well as transportation, meals, and
lodging. Likewise, if you book a single-day tour through a water- or air-taxi service, your pilot will likely also be your guide, and may
provide your lunch or snacks.
Some viewers are satisfied with that. If you don't know much about bears or other animals, and their habitat, then a pilot who doubles as
a guide may provide all the information about wildlife that you can absorb in a few hours. And if viewing takes place where the bears are
highly acclimated to people, a typical pilot's limited knowledge of bear behavior will likely suffice to keep you safe.
However, just as the main qualifications of an airplane pilot should be expertise in flying, the main qualifications of a bear viewing guide
should be expertise in bear behavior and safety. Just as thousands of hours of airtime are needed to cope with emergencies while flying
in the Alaskan wilderness, so too thousands of hours observing bears are necessary to know how to assure your safety when things go
wrong -- for instance if you run into a bear like the one which killed Tim Treadwell and his fiance Amie Huguenard.
If you want to really learn about bears, or to venture where bears are less tolerant, then we strongly advise securing the services of a
guide who has lived with these animals for night and day for years, researching, photographing, or filming them.
This is exactly the kind of guides BVA certifies -- the very best in the business. Although BVA guides tend to be highly knowledgeable
and skillful, each has areas of particular expertise -- for example, bear behavior, plants, photography, or piloting the plane or boat that
carries clients to a viewing site. If you want to learn a lot about wildlife, pick an expert in natural history who gives field courses. If you
mainly want to take photos, but are not already an expert, pick a guide who provides a photo workshop. BVA guides are listed
|PROFESSIONAL WILDLIFE BIOLOGISTS AND EXPERTS IN NATURAL HISTORY
PROFESSIONAL WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHERS
Kent’s been camping with the bears and wolves of Alaska since 1994, having logged an amazing 111 weeks of in the field
camping experience. He’s been a licensed outfitter and bear viewing guide since 1999. Thus it is safe to say that if you had
to choose a guide to camp with in Katmai National Park who could show you all the choice locations that these bears
frequent Kent is your man. In addition to being an expert grizzly bear guide Kent is also an accomplished photographer as
you can see from many the photo’s included on his website http://coolwildlife.com/grizzly-bear-workshop-camping-bbc-
guide. His wildlife photography has been published on the cover of Alaska magazine, Outdoor Life magazine, National
Geographic kids books, and each of Dr. Stringham's books. Kent has also won "first in show" on two occasions in the
Homer, Alaska shore birds festival. He is fluent in both English and Swedish. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. or
phone him at + 46 76 795 9655 SKYPE # grizzlycamper.
Buck Wilde, is professional photographer and cinematographer, and writer, and professional guide, with over 20 years in the
field. He is renown not only for his own photography, but for his skill at coaching clients to help obtain prize-winning photos.
He is author of numerous natural history books for kids. He and Kent sometimes team up to do workshops. Buck's
Facebook site is under his name. You can contact him at http://www.buckwildepresents.com/blog/about-buck-wilde-
filmmaker-quotes/ and at 208-440-7785 or email@example.com. According to his website: "Buck Wilde is a wildlife
behaviorist documenting survival strategies of bears and wolves in the Alaska wilderness where a face-to-face encounter can
unfold suddenly. When Great Bear Stakeout (BBC Worldwide, Discovery Channel) filmmakers were challenged by a 1,200
pound grizzly they called Van, Buck and his camera crew were able to ‘talk’ the one-eared bruiser into backing off by
communicating with a body language cue used among bears. When confronted by wolves, he’s learned the same cue takes
on a different meaning in the wild canine psyche and can invite further engagement. Buck’s next filmmaking adventure,
Talking with Bears, Dancing with Wolves explores wilderness survival at the top of the food chain to discover what unarmed
hunter-gatherers may have learned from canine and ursine foraging strategies and how they negotiated face-to-face
encounters with these apex predators."
Steve, Buck, Kent, and John occasionally guide for Katmai Coastal Bear Tours -- the first choice host of most major movie
production companies doing bear documentaries: BBC, Blue Planet, National Geographic, Disney, Nova, Nature and many
others. To contact Katmai Coastal Bear Tours, call 1-800-532-8338 and speak to John Rogers.
PROFESSIONAL NATURAL HISTORY GUIDES AND PILOTS
Brad previously guided for Katmai Coastal Bear tours, but now works full time for Natural Habitat. He is one of the most
broadly experienced bear guides in the business, having taken people to see grizzly bears in Alaska, polar bears in Canada,
sun bears in Borneo, and panda bears in China -- homes also to a variety of other wildlife. His Facebook site is under his
Answers to questions commonly asked by wildlife viewers on the topics listed below:
|Bear Viewing Association
To watch, to wonder, and to conserve
Ph/Fax (907) 260-9059 (Office)
39200 Alma Ave. Soldotna, AK 99669
|Captain John Rogers
Owner, Katmai Coastal Bear Tours