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Sometimes the most iconic photographs of Canadian wildlife just happen. These are the memories we capture - unexpected and unscripted. Jason Leo Bantle
Recently, I had a rare encounter with the boss of the Bow Valley grizzly bears in Banff National Park. It started when I came across fresh grizzly tracks in the snow. Backing away from the tracks, I found a bed where the bear had been sleeping during the recent snowy nights. At this time of year, mountain grizzly bears are feeding on whatever they can find to bulk up and get ready for the many months of hibernation. This is known as hyperphagia. As it turned out, this wasn’t just a grizzly; it was the famous Boss of Banff.
I call this image “Old Soul” as my homage to a bear that has become a legend over the last 20 plus years. Officially known as Bear No. 122, The Boss is considered to be the toughest and most dominant grizzly in the Bow Valley. While he appears docile and calm in this photo, The Boss is known to be very territorial, and as humans we need to respect and appreciate him, or any bear, from a great distance. This photo was shot with a long telephoto lens to ensure I didn’t disturb the wilderness space of The Boss.