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Written by Jody Steeves

As the sunset in early November, we watched a young male polar bear cross the Opoyastin river and made his way west along the shore. We drove on our inland trail ahead of him and set up near a landmark we affectionately have named George’s pole. This landmark is a large driftwood log that George erected in the sand out near the Hudson Bay shore. We use it now as a landmark to describe where we see wildlife to the west, either beyond George’s pole to the east or west. The landscape is relatively flat and open here, and it has become a helpful landmark.

Churchill Wild_Jody Steeves

Photo by Jody Steeves

So, guide Andy and I were about to step forward to start talking to our bear and ask him to go around when he stopped and put his head down to the sand. Then, he started backing up and pulling something out of the sand; it was a seal carcass buried by the tide, looking pretty old but appetizing to our young male.

Young male polar bear-Jody Steeves

Photo by Jody Steeves

He was not interested in us at all, and his steady direct approach made much more sense now. We watched as long as possible with the light fading and ISO settings cranking rapidly. It was a special moment to see a bear find a meal right in front of us. We could hear his teeth clacking and his lips smacking; he was a happy bear. Eventually, we turned to drift away slowly back to our quad bikes for our return to the lodge.

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