The Do’s and Don’ts of Stalking Grizzly Bears

“I love stalking. It is not just about stealthy movement through the forest, avoiding crunchy leaves and snapping sticks. It is dancing. It is about flowing over and around those things without focusing on your body. Moving with the landscape in a poetic dance of silence. When you shift into this space of invisibility, animals and people no longer see you, even when they stare right at you. Perfected stalking is like walking with the feet of an angel.”

-Excerpt from my book Becoming Wild

The first time a deer sniffed my nose was because I finally learned the art of invisibility and stillness.  There’s something special about really seeing nature up close, whether it’s the center of a flower, the texture of tree bark or the twitching, wet nose of a grizzly, it’s like having an awakening into their being.  A tracking teacher of mine always told me, “To Touch is to Know.”  This is not a touch of disrespect, self-gratification or human intrusion. It’s about re-connecting.  It’s a time of re-learning each others languages and boundaries and when we enter this sacred space listening to our open hearts -our intuition – we will always make the right decision.

A 600-pound grizzly bear taught me that filming, while trying to be invisible, just doesn’t work as good or at least I haven’t mastered the new technique.  My silent focus changes to a more chattering one, I’m not as present in the moment, my energy changes partially back to the “classic-human” state, instead of my usual “2-legged being-of-nature” state.  I usually end up noticing myself watching the animals with my eyes instead of through the lens, so I end up capturing partial bodies or shaky scenes, but I don’t mind, I’ve stored it all in my heart and that’s what fuels my joy in life.  But when it comes to life or death while sneaking up on grizzly bears, watching them live their life without being scared away, I have a new plan for filming, thanks to the grace from a big beautiful grizzly bear named Blondie.


Here are the first steps in learning how to become invisible:

  1. Practice invisibility and stalking on non-threatening animals first, like butterflies, toads and squirrels.
  2. Don’t move…EVER! Not when a mosquito lands on your face or your nose itches.  If you have to move your leg because it’s tingling at a pain level of 7 and you’re considering the idea that you may actually lose your limb when you stand up again, definitely move at a pace the eye cannot detect.
  3. Becoming invisible is far more about camouflaging your mind than the color of your clothes – still your chatty thoughts, ignore your doubts and stop sending out waves of fearful imagery.
  4. Switch from a focused vision to a softened, wide-angle vision and concentrate solely on heightening your awareness.  If you fully engage your senses your thoughts will disappear as well.  And believe me; animals hear your thoughts.
  5. Relax and breathe into your surroundings.  Practice not being a human.  Imagine with all your being you are that stump or tree and KNOW you are.


Meet Blondie…

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