The head of a 933 lb male polar bear on my lap. The bear was drugged at the time.

An adult down for some sampling and measurements. The bears are left half awake and are aware of us.

A USGS biologist is belted in, hanging out the window, darting a polar bear. He was a great shot. They aim for upper back and lower neck.

Me kneeling next to the large male.

I was told this is the pose everyone must do on their first polar bear mission.

Experienced biologist hands on with the bear. They take hair, blood fat, breath and ear plug samples.  The bears are ID'ed by punch-tattooing a number in their inside lip.

Our pilot and his helicopter. It was a wild ride following bear tracks, twisting and turning at very low altitudes.

Rolling the biggest one over to place on the top of the net to weigh it.

He weighs in at 933 lbs. I had the closest guess at 931. (ok, so I outbid the expert "Price Is Right style" after he guessed 930)

Observing this old bear.

He gets some ear bling for tracking purposes.

A non-permanent number is placed on its back so the same bear is not darted again any time soon.

My hand on top of the big guy's paw.

Look closely in the crack in the ice. There is a school of a dozen or so Beluga Whales!

A female with dart still in place.  She weighed in at around 420 lbs.

Me next to the adult female polar bear. She had no cubs and was not lactating.

Me alone with the bear.

Me getting comfortable with a clipboard and pencil, recording measurements, sample counts and other notations. My legs never got cold with 3 layers of pants on.

The female was very active, bobbing her head around a lot.

Me using a bear as a desk to write the observations.

This adult bear was only about 640 lbs.

It was amazing how awake these bears were.  Their limbs were mostly paralyzed though.  We usually stayed about 30 minutes on the ground with each bear.

A very talented Polar Bear in Barrow, Ok, it is not really playing chess and it is stuffed.


Just Chillin