Skip to Content

King of the North, our Best Polar Bear Photos

Polar bear season is upon us! Every October, polar bears begin to gather along the Hudson Bay shoreline and wait for the ice to form. Then, they can venture back out into the icy wilderness to hunt for seals all winter. And we’ve traveled there to bring you our best polar bear pictures.

The tiny town of Churchill, Manitoba buzzes with activity as hundreds of wildlife photographers and tourists swarm to see the world’s largest land predator. Some are lucky enough to go on a walk with polar bears safari.

Over the last few years, Hal and I have traveled to Churchill to see polar bears on several different occasions and at different times of year. We have seen big males fighting and playing, moms with cubs strengthening their bonds, and juveniles finding their way in the world for the first time. All those days spent with polar bears have resulted in a lot of photos.

In honor of polar bear season this year, we have put together a photo gallery with some of our favorite polar bear pictures.

1 – When polar bears first come ashore in the summer, it’s time for a well-deserved nap.

My favorite polar bear picture

2 – Or a snuggle with mom,

A mom polar bear and cub

3 – and a swim…

Mother polar bear and cub taking a swim

4 – … followed by more snuggles.

Polar bear and cub sitting and snuggling on the beach

5 – Polar bears normally travel alone, but can be surprisingly sociable when they cross paths.

Two polare bears walking on the Hudson Bay shore

6 – But all that socializing can be tiring. Leading to more naps.

Polar bear resting on a bed of grass by Churchill

7 – With the arrival of the first snow, polar bears know it is time to go wait for the ice to form along the Hudson Bay

Polar bear walking on a snowy Hudson Bay at sunset

8 – Bears are curious and will occasionally approach vehicles around Churchill.

Polar bear standing and staring at the photographer

9 – And visitors in Tundra Buggies can get surprisingly close views.

Close up of a polar bear eye

10 – To kill time while waiting for the ice, polar bears spend a lot of time goofing around.

Polar bears goofing around

11 – or sitting and relaxing in the tundra.

Polar bear sitting on the snow

12 – or just chilling out.

This is how polar bears chill out

13 – Males often spend their spare time sparring with each other.

Two polar bears standing up and facing each other

14 – Sometimes it looks like a serious fight

Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus), sparring. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada 10/03 © Hal Brindley

15 – Sometimes it looks more like dancing…

Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus), sparring.

16 – or kissing…

Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus), sparring. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada 10/03 © Hal Brindley

17 – but generally it just looks like plain old fun.

Polar bears playing

18 – Woah, woah. Keep it above the belt.

polar bears sparring

19 – Oh yeah, don’t forget the nap.

Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus), female bear sleeping with cub. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada 10/03 © Hal Brindley

20 – After months of eating nothing but a bit of kelp and sedge, everybody is ready to get out on the ice and hunt seals.

Polar bear waking up

21 – Did someone say seals?

Female Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) with her cub. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada 10/03 © Hal Brindley

22 – Hey! It’s time to go!
– Jeez I heard you, I’m not deaf.

Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus), sparring.

23 – The end of another polar bear season in Churchill. See you next summer!

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) backside

Want to see polar bears in the wild?

Now that you know why the Churchill polar bears are the most famous polar bears in Canada… plan your visit to Manitoba! Visit Frontiers North Adventures and Churchill Wild to plan your polar bear adventure,  and visit Travel Manitoba for more information.

Hal Brindley at the Antarctic Circle

Hal Brindley

Brindley is an American conservation biologist, wildlife photographer, filmmaker, writer, and illustrator living in Asheville, NC. He studied black-footed cats in Namibia for his master’s research, has traveled to all seven continents, and loves native plant gardening. See more of his work at Travel for Wildlife, Truly Wild, Our Wild Yard, & Naturalist Studio.

Polar Bear Weight

Friday 2nd of February 2018

I am polar bear fan and you got some really amazing shots. I really like them.

,Ralph long Jr.

Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Loved the pictures. Hope to make it next year.

Amanda Williams

Friday 30th of October 2015

Wow - awesome photography. Incredible. Thanks for sharing these pics.

Cristina Garcia

Friday 30th of October 2015

Thank you so much Amanda!