Cover image for Walking with bears
Walking with bears
DeBruyn, Terry D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Lyons Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xix, 248 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL737.C27 D425 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Some people prefer to walk the woods alone--Terry DeBruyn walks with bears. This tale is his astonishing account of the North American black bears that befriend him. of color photos.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hardworking biologist DeBruyn set out in 1990 to learn the habits of Michigan's black bears: what they do, where they go, what they eat, when and how. To do so, he had to "habituate" some bears: that is, to get them so used to his presence that they neither fled nor attacked him as he followed them around. DeBruyn succeeded, making friends first with a wary female he dubs "Carmen" (for her distinctive "dance") and then with other females and their cubs; his study of their group continued for six years. DeBruyn's book adapts the journals he kept for part of his bear-tracking study, recording its emotional and scientific highlights. He describes, for example, his first experiences of bears' distinctive gaits, and of their charming array of sounds: cubs seem to imitate helicopters, mothers hum and no black bear actually growls. We also learn much about ursine feeding habits. Young bears prefer nitrogen-rich ironwood and learn to flip over rocks and look for ants. Moreover, "in late-Summer and Fall, bears eat wasps, their larvae, and a gray gelatinous substance" from wasps' nests. Weighty with detail yet insistently casual, DeBruyn's sentences throw up an odd mix of the academic and the offhand. Footnotes to scientific reference works, and the occasional unglossed term ("hypoxylon canker"), sit uneasily alongside declarations like these (on young bears' close call with a porcupine): "June was flirting with trouble. Cubs at this stage of life are full of character, yet are heedless of certain dangers." Few readers will seek out DeBruyn's book for his prose style. But nobody who cares about bears should miss it. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

For six seasons in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, biologist DeBruyn spent up to 15 hours a day observing black bears. Habituated to his presence, the bears allowed him to be close enough to identify the species of ant they broke logs open to find, or the type of plants they ate from vernal ponds. Despite being within feet of them, DeBruyn never attempted to actually touch or otherwise interact with the bears. For that side of bear interaction, see Jack Becklund's Summers with the Bears: Six Seasons in the Minnesota Woods (LJ 2/15/99). Readers who enjoyed Becklund will welcome the natural history here. DeBruyn organizes his observations into one year, season by season, weaving together the notes from his five study litters. The detail of events, including feeding, denning, nursing, eating, climbing, playing, and so much more are superbly presented. While the author's pleas for habitat conservation are understated, no one reading this could be unmoved. For all natural history collections. (Photos not seen.)ÄNancy J. Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.