Rob Chaney Editor’s note:
This story is part of the Lee Enterprises series “Grizzlies and Us.” The project examines the many issues surrounding the uneasy coexistence of grizzly bears and humans in the Lower 48, which have come into focus in recent years as the federally–protected animal pushes farther into human-occupied areas. The 10-part series, comprised of more than 20 stories, was produced by outdoor reporters and photojournalists across the Rocky Mountain West.
It only takes one shot to win the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, and that’s all Zack Clothier got.
His image, “Grizzly Leftovers” involved months of work and elaborate equipment, plus great good fortune. The picture captures a shiny-eyed grizzly looking at the camera as its clawed paw advances toward a bull elk skeleton that’s been almost entirely stripped of meat.
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What it doesn’t show is the multiple trips to replace camera batteries in the trap until the hoped-for scene arrived, or the mayhem that resulted after the first shutter click startled the grizzly.
Clothier has spent about a decade in the Seeley-Swan area. He photographs wildlife, landscapes and other natural scenes for fine-art