|Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus)|
I was approaching Tensas National Wildlife Refuge down a gravel road from Highway 65 in northeast Louisiana. I was moving very slowly looking for wildflowers, dragonflies and butterflies in the ditches and field edges along the road.
I came past the end of a line of trees perpendicular to the road that ended very close to the road. Those trees had hidden my approach from the bear, who was feeding along the edge of the next field. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing those are soybeans behind the bear.
I recognized the silhouette of the ears at once and slowed to a coast. My first shots were taken through a very dirty windshield, but I was able to coast into position to lower the passenger window and get four shots through the open window. This is the last one.
Of course, lowering the window also allowed my scent to leave the car, especially since the AC was running full blast on a very hot August afternoon. I remembered to turn off the radio before lowering the window; had I thought to turn off the fan, who knows? I might have gotten even closer!
In any case, the four shots I got with the window down show the bear putting his nose into the air. The moment I realized the bear was sniffing me is the exact same moment it bolted into the field!