Photo courtesy of Mike Newman A trail camera snapped this photo of what has been identifed as a brown-phased black bear.

Photo courtesy of Mike Newman
A trail camera snapped this photo of what has been identifed as a brown-phased black bear.

By Ann McCreary

A trail camera set by Mike Newman of Mount Vernon in the Big Valley Wildlife Area last week caught photos of an impressive bear that made Newman wonder if it might be a grizzly.

Newman thought the bear, photographed on July 20, appeared in one image to have a hump on its shoulders and a dished face that resembled a grizzly bear, so he emailed the photos off to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to get the opinion of biologists.

“I am 100 percent certain that is a brown-phased black bear. Pretty though,” said Rich Beausoleil, WDFW bear and cougar specialist, after seeing the photos.

“Brown-phased” refers to the bear’s fur color. “Black bears can be black, brown, blonde, cinnamon, or a combination of all,” Beausoleil said.

Newman, who owns property in Twisp, said he put the trail camera up in the wildlife area on July 17 to scout for deer. He scattered some apples on the ground to attract deer, but drew the curious or hungry bear as well.

The Big Valley Wildlife Area is a popular recreation area on WDFW land about 5 miles northwest of Winthrop. It is home to many species of birds and mammals including mule and white-tailed deer, bears, cougars, bobcats, coyotes, mink, otter, and beaver, according to WDFW.