Alaska’s McNeil River State Game Sanctuary is a place each year where the largest gathering of brown bears occurs. Between the months of June and August as the salmon run through the waters, the bears come to fish.
A few photographers are allowed into the park at this time otherwise, human access is restricted. This gathering has been occurring for years, and if the photographers do not interfere with the bears at McNeil Falls, they are allowed in to take pictures quietly.
Drew Hamilton, works at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and was one of the lucky chosen to enter the park. Sitting in his chair by the river, Drew had his camera pointed at the water. To his astonishment, Drew watched as a large brown bear began walking straight for him.
Drew understands bears and knew to remain calm and stay sitting quietly in his chair. As it turned out, the bear was only looking for a quiet place to sit, and noticing how relaxed Drew was, decided to join him.
The large bear sat down next to Drew’s chair, yawned, and calmly watched the same river area Drew had been enjoying. After a bit, the bear stood and joined the other bears fishing.
As astonishing as this encounter was, and one Drew will repeat for years to come; he was quite relieved when the bear decided to go back to its fishing.