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The Brown Bear population in Estonia is 600 and rising. Their primary "home" is in Alutaguse, the large forested region that includes a nature reserve and a bog in north-eastern Estonia, close to the Russian border.  Bears hibernate from the mid of November till the end of March. Wandering through forests at the beginning of April you can sometimes unexpectedly come upon bears freshly emerged from their winter sleep accompanied by young and still foolish cubs. The best time to observe and photograph the bears at feeding places is during May till mid of July, when the nights are bright. In August and in the beginning of September bears find enough food from the oat fields or collecting wildberries but return to feeding places again in September and October to gorge before  hibernation.

HOW TO BOOK? Please contact us:

May-June / August-October 2015
Group size:
max 2 pax
Photography will be from hide(s) and on walks in the forest. Therefore, an element of physical fitness and good mobility is necessary.
From 95 € per night (small hide, for one person)
Lux photo hide (for two): 210 € per night

Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) / Luke Massey

Brown Bear photography hide

There is a photography hide for max 2 photographers in the forest in North-East Estonia. The distance 50 metres from the hide to feeding place giving the opportunity to get very close shots on Brown Bears. The surrounding atmosphere is superb for taking high quality photos – spruce forest with some fallen trees. The light conditions are good since the hide is situated at the edge of a clearing.

The wooden photo hide is cozy, with comfortable 2 seats and four camera positions (two higher, two lower), bunk bed with mats and sleeping bags at the back for those not prepared to sit up all through the night. Plus dry toilet.

Optimal time for photographing the brown bear begins in the 15 th of May and lasts until at the end of June when the nights are bright. From mid-July to August and in the beginning of September bears find enough food from the oat fields or collecting wildberries. Another possible period for photography is again late September to the end of October when bears return to feeding places to gorge before hibernation.
Depends on the period, in the afternoon (3.00 to 5.00pm), the local specialist will wait in meeting place and guide you to the bear hide (about 1 km walk). You need to be prepared for staying in the hide for through until 8:00 am at least, however, it is possible to sleep in hide as well.

Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) / Keith Wilson

Field clothing

Normal outdoor clothing is recommended. We recommend to dress in layers, because it can be quite chilly during the night and in early hours in the morning. Stout walking boots are recommended. Mosquitos can be plentiful in May – June, but they are not a big problem while you are in the hide.


Brown Bear can appear at any time during the late afternoon till early morning. It is fantastic to watch (and hear) the forest come alive as the rays of the morning sun warm the clearing and the species in it. Forest tits, Spotted Flycatchers, Crossbills and other passerines are at their most active, restlessly flitting about in search of food. Sometimes single Golden Eagles and Buzzards also appear. If you are fortunate you may hear Capercaillie, Black Grouse or even see several species of woodpeckers from the hide.

The chance to photograph other forest-dwelling mammals like Wild Boar, Red Foxes and Raccoon Dogs is also good. Even wolves can occasionally been appeared.

Racoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) / Valeri Štšerbatõh

Lenses and tripod

Bears are shy (not so daring as in Finland!), so 300 – 600 mm lenses is good choice.
There are four camera holes – two of them higher and two lower. You can´t attach your tripod head in board in this hide. Please bring your tripod & head with you.      

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