Yes, that is what you say when you come up on a bear in Alaska. No, I am not in Alaska. I was, however at Bear Country USA in Rapid City, SD. This is a drive thru wild animal park that has lions, buffalos, and bears. No tigers maybe one day I will get to Africa. I do have to say I was impressed with the amount of wide open spaces were provided for the animals in a near urban environment. After entering the gate and reading the rules, one rule was; pull to the side when taking pictures so cars can go around you. That rule was not observed by many, that was ok because it gave me more opportunity to take mountain lion pictures. I am getting ahead of myself though. Another rule was to leave your windows up at all time. On the flier you get upon entering it states ‘Stay in your cage the animals roam free here.’ There are no fences, so it is possible that you could have a visitor in your window. That might not be fun, although someone would get awesome pictures (just kidding).
The first animals right inside the gate is rocky mountain elk it was amazing the size of some of the bucks racks. The photos do not tell the whole story. This is where we encountered our first of many traffic snarls. This one was animal crossing the road. They are bigger so yes they have the right to go anywhere. We see a few reindeer hanging out by the cattle guard that separate the sections.
Around a curve we come upon two artic wolves lounging on a rock. It was a tad warm for wearing a fur coat so I understand not wanting to move. The next two animals were in hiding dall sheep and timber wolves. One of the wolves were on the passenger side of the car but I could not get a good picture.
The big horn sheep did not disappoint me with a baby who was nursing.
The nursing seems to be a repeating theme this year. I am ok with this because it is special to see the interaction between mother and baby. I was also entertained by one of the kids trying to balance on a stump just using three legs.
People who know me, know I have a few animals I still need to capture, (preferably in the wild). One being the polar bear the other is the mountain lion. After seeing the mountain lion behind a couple of electric fences I am ok with not seeing this one in the wild.
As we were driving by the enclosure one of the big cats were cranky and you could hear her displeasure quite clearly. Most of the lions were hanging out sleeping in concrete culvert I am thinking wow pretty kitty. I see the head and paws of the lion in the corner and my thought is yes this is close enough. I still want to see a polar bear in the wild.
Onward slowly to the bears because we have a bear walking down the road next to cars, he got off the road before he made it to our car. The path wound around a few man made culverts and tree structures that the bears seemed to enjoy. One that got some use was the ‘lake’ I was able to catch a bear getting out of the water.
On the way out of the bear area we had our own flasher bear. I think he was trying to hide behind a blade of grass. We finished up the trip by me dodging the rain drops to pick up some special things for my friends back home. This is well worth the trip if you are ever in Rapid City. It is not your normal zoo.