Having published seven books on bears over the last 30 years, I have many treasured memories of them. But one in particular always brings a smile to my face. It happened when I joined biologist Peter Clarkson radio-tagging grizzly bears in the barren grounds of the Northwest Territories. On this one June afternoon, Peter darted a mother bear with two newborn cubs bouncing along beside her. When the dart hit her rump, the mother ran away from her cubs, and by the time the drugs took effect, she was over a kilometre away from them. Peter and I now had to catch the cubs with a pair of fishing nets and return the growling baby bruins to their mother’s side. But when the cubs saw us, they raced up a muddy ravine. The slippery, gooey mud soon caked our boots, and we finally had to admit defeat. The helicopter pilot, hovering overhead, saw the escaping cubs, so he herded them towards us while we crouched behind a boulder and waited in ambush. When the little bears bounded past, we nabbed them with our nets. This was serious bear research, but you couldn’t tell from the looks of us, splattered with mud and each wielding our catch-of-theday — a squirming, squealing furball with needle-sharp teeth.