Brown Bear Watching

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Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide

We offer the possibility to spend an unforgettable night in our Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide. The hide is situated in Alutaguse, which is a huge area covered with taiga forests and vast bogs in N-E of Estonia – home for about half of Estonia’s 700 brown bears. 

The new hides have windows on both sides of the hide. Northern windows overlook a taiga forest and the most common mammals to see would be Raccoon Dogs and Brown Bears. Woodpeckers, Red Squirrels Nuthatches, Crested- and Willow Tits and Jays visit the feeders.

Southern windows offer a view on a stream and a flooded meadow. Sometimes Elk and Roe Deer come to feed on the meadow and European Beavers or otters can occasionally swim by. Ural Owl and Red Fox come here to hunt for mice and sometimes also Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle and buzzards come by and look for prey. Rare visitors to the scenery include Wolf, Lynx, Eurasian Otter, Mink and Wild Boar.

We have also made a list of species that have been seen or heard from the hide.

The Brown Bear and wildlife watching hides are simple, comfortable and cosy. There are 2 hides, each one of them has room for 9 persons. Both hides have separated cabins with bunk beds and a dry toilet.  One cabin has room for 4 persons – 2 bunk beds/4 sleeping places in total. One bed is situated between the 2 cabins.

If the visitors wish, they can take pictures through the windows (without flash).

They are located in Alutaguse, N-E of Estonia. It takes about 1,5-2 hours to drive from Tallinn or Tartu to Alutaguse.

Look at the French TV 2 story – http://bit.ly/2AW08bx-2

Read the reviews from TripAdvisor iconzz

 

Book brown bear watching with us: info@natourest.ee or by phone: +372 5622 5943

Participants are saying..

Alex 8/07/2019

Hi Peep! Yes, everything was awesome 🙂 We saw a lot of bears and racoon dogs and Andreas had the binocular for us. We left it in the hide, because Andreas was not there in the morning. Hope that was Ok. Big thx for all and i can recommend your hide to all people. Perfect and really interesting place.

Ursula Zeilinger 4/08/2018 

Dear Bert, it was a great experience. We saw one or more Brown Bears and a Raccoon Dog family. We were really happy that we had so much luck. We left both binoculars back in the hide. Thank you for organising it and greetings to our friendly guide. Kind regards, Ursi.

Luc visited the new Brown Bear hide in July 2017:

I just wanted to thank you very much for the night. It was amazing! The bear came many times! Better than the zoo 😉

Kalevi  21/09/2013

Thanks for your mail and thanks for stay at the hide. The week has gone by so fast since I got back from Estonia.

I had a succesful two nights. Yes saw bear on both nights. First night came about 7.30 pm and second night some time after 8pm.

The weather was great too.

George 28/06/2013:

We found the starting point with no problems –  I had downloaded it from your website to my phone before we left. Andres was waiting for us and so we knew we had arrived.

The weather was not great as it was raining and the overcast sky made it a little too dark for photographs. It also made the mosquitoes particularly troublesome. However, we found the hides and once we had changed our wet clothes we settled in.

We saw what we came to see.

About 21.30h, a raccoon dog visited 4 or 5 times staying a few minutes each time (searching out the bait that had been left). The light was good enough for viewing through binoculars and we watched it for a about 30 minutes in total. That was really good as I didn’t expect to see a raccoon dog. Each time it visited, it took away some of the bait  it could drag from where it was placed under the fallen tree.  Had the light been better, it would have been easy to photograph. Even though the light was quite good for viewing but for photography – iso set to 2400 and with F4.5 lens – the resulting shutter speeds were still too slow.

About 23.30 a large brown bear visited. We had a good view of the bear for about 1 hour. Even at this time of the day it was not very dark and so we could watch the bear easily  (Even though it was too was too dark for photography – 1 s exposure times at ISO 3200). Again, it took the bait that was left (the bait the raccoon dog had left behind). Clearly the bear found no problem in moving the tree and revealing the bait. Again, the bear would take some bait and go and eat it a few meters away and then return.

We also saw a fox 3 times and had a visit from a group of 3 wild boar – they looked young to me and were quite entertaining.

Also seen, 3 visits from a fox, a small bat, and pair of woodpeckers.

So, overall we were very satisfied. Clearly, if we want to see bears in daylight, we need to think more about the best time for a possible visit in the future.

Dipl. Biol. Sebastian Rogahn in May 2011:

Watching time really was great! The adult male (Brown Bear) came out at 21:03 PM and stayed there for almost half an hour! Before there only was one red fox, a goose hawk, ravens and one magpie.

Ben Hoare from BBC Wildlife visited Natourest Brown Bear hide in May 2010:

I was determined to see my fist brown bear. Not least because bear tourism has become big business in Europe, with hides in Sweden and Finland offering success rates of higher than 90 percent. By now, our party had recorded bear prints, scats and claw marks raked across tree bark, and even the remains of a boar that had been stripped to the bone by these opportunist omnivores. So we were quietly confident of observing the real thing. Waiting for the bears to appear was nerve-racking. Two ravens and, bizarrely, a nuthatch of the ghosty northern race visited the site to pick at its flesh, while a pine marten zipped across the cleaning and vanished up a tree. And then, illuminated by the setting sun, a mother bear and her cub ambled into view. Read article

 

 

Location:

View the location of Natourest Brown Bear Watching and Photography Hide on a larger map

 

 

High Season:

1st May until 4th July and from 11th August until 31st October

1.05-4.07 and 11.08-31.10

Low season:

15th April until 31st April and 5th July until 10th August

15.04-31.04 and 5.07-10.08

It is possible to stay in the hide every night

About the low season

During the low season, the summer in Estonia is in full swing, but the bears become more static and do not move around as much as at the beginning of the season or in autumn. This is also the period when in forests blueberries and raspberries ripen, so the bears do not have to cover a lot of distance to find suitable food. Thus, they might not pass by our hide as often as during the high season.

In April, the bears have woken up from hibernation, but they tend not to visit our hide as often as later in the season. 

Duration

About 15 hours, including a night in the Brown Bear hide.

In spring (May, June, July and August)  17:00 PM – 8:00 AM

In Autumn (September/October) 16:00/15:00 PM- 8:00 AM

Level Easy walking –  It’s about 1,7 km from the parking lot/meeting place to the Brown Bear hide.

What to wear? 

Warm clothes and comfortable (preferably waterproof) footwear are necessary for the walk to hide. Warm clothes and indoor footwear/warms socks are strongly recommended to be worn in the hide.

Getting there The drive from Tallinn or Tartu to Alutaguse takes about 1,5-2 hours. The easiest way to get there is to go by your own car/rental car. The nearest public bus stops are called Metsa-Udriku and Tudu, but the only direct public bus goes there from Rakvere town. The timetable for public transport can be found here.  After booking we will reveal the exact location of the meeting point, where you would meet one of the members of Natourest, who will direct you on foot to the hide.

Hides

There are 2 identical hides:

One hide has 2 private cabins (4 beds in both) and room up to 9 people. Hides have bunk beds, sleeping bags, pillows, viewing windows, photo holes, chairs and a dry toilet.

What to take with you?

We suggest taking binoculars with you, as they help to spot wildlife from a distance and during the dark hours. We can also rent out binoculars for one night (8×56 Danubia Bussards – 5 €/night), which greatly improve sight in poor light conditions. You would also have to take your own food and water. 

Guide

Hiring a guide for security is not necessary. Normal walking, talking noise ( not too noisy, though) will keep bears out of your way. 

Things to do around the hide

Here are some simple suggestions about places that you can visit when driving to Alutaguse or staying in the area.

 

 

Price for staying in the watching hide:

High Season (01.05 – 04.07 and 11.08 – 31.10)

105 EUR per person,

60 EUR per child

235 EUR per family ( 2 adults, 3 kids),

700 EUR  group up to 9 persons.

Low Season (15-31.04 and 05.07-10.08)

75 EUR per person,

45 EUR per child

175 EUR per family ( 2 adults, 3 kids),

525 EUR  group up to 9 persons.

 

Price includes:

  • Night in the Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide
  • Sleeping bags and pillows in the hide

 

Book Brown Bear watching with us: info@natourest.ee or by phone: +372 5622 5943

 

leader-logod

EU Leader Virumaa Koostöökogu (VIKO) supported Natourest Inc for buying nature observation optics and trail cameras.

EU Leader Virumaa Koostöökogu (VIKO) supported Natourest Inc for buying nature observation optics and trail cameras.