Doug Seus, One of Hollywood’s Foremost Animal Trainers

By Justin Stakes

Doug Seus & Bart the Bear
Doug Seus & Bart the Bear
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

United States -(Ammoland.com)- For Doug Seus, coming face to face with fearsome predators is all in a day’s work for the 71 year old professional animal trainer.

Doug Seus is one of Hollywood’s premier animal trainers and owner of Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife Inc. and the Vital Ground Foundation.

Seus is an exceptionally unique outdoorsman who has turned his adorned love and passion for wildlife into a legendary career. He’s one of the few and rare individuals in our world that has demonstrated his inherently unique ability to interact with these majestic creatures in such an incredible way.

Established in 1973, Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife Inc. was created by Doug and Lynne Seus who continued to follow their hearts’ dream of dedicating their lives to the training and care of wildlife. The couple initially began the operation with cats, dogs, wolves and horses, they continued to expand their wildlife skills and knowledge to include wildlife stars such as bobcats, coyotes, cougars, deer, eagles, foxes, hawks, raccoons, and skunks.

Doug and Lynne Seus Talk about Bart
Doug and Lynne Seus Talk about Bart

But no animal would become a true star while capturing the hearts of millions quite like the legendary actor Bart the Bear.

Since his birth on January 19, 1977, Bart the Bear was destined to live out his 23 1/2 years traversing the world to become one of Hollywood’s most beloved wildlife actors in the film industry. An Alaskan Brown Bear born in Baltimore, Maryland, Bart came to Doug and Lynne Seus as a five-pound cub; quickly growing over 1,500 pounds while standing 9 1/2 feet tall.

Bart enjoyed the spotlight as much as he adorned the cheers and applause he would receive from his fellow crew members on set.

Vital Ground Bear
Vital Ground continues to protect all species of Bear

Bart the Bear’s legacy goes well beyond his career in the film industry. He was host for the Animal Cancer Center located at Colorado State University in addition to Ambassador of the Vital Ground Foundation; a conservation group dedicated to grizzly bear as well as wildlife conservation in honor of Bart. Vital Ground has continued to protect threatened wildlife habitats located throughout Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, and Montana.

Vital Ground Foundation
Vital Ground Foundation

Bart the Bear died of cancer surrounded by his family and friends in Utah on May 10, 2000 during the filming of the documentary Growing Up Grizzly, which was presented by Brad Pitt.

With Bart’s legacy at an end, the Seus family was blessed with two orphaned cubs that miraculously survived alone for two days in Anchorage, Alaska. The Alaska Fish and Game rescued the deprived cubs after their mother was shot in Paxson, Alaska; 200 miles north of Anchorage.

The cubs continue to follow in Bart’s legendary footsteps, bring enjoyment to the lives and hearts of millions of viewers from across the world through their roles in film, television and even live performances. The female cub was named Honeybumb, while the male cub; Bart The Bear II, was honored with Bart’s legacy and namesake.

Bart the Bear’s Feature Films

  • Windwalker; Pacific International Enterprises, 1980
  • Clan of the Cave Bear; Warner Brothers, 1984
  • The Bear; Tri Star Renn Productions, 1987
  • The Great Outdoors; Universal, 1988
  • Giant of Thunder Mountain; American Happenings, 1990
  • The Great American West; IMAX, 1991
  • White Fang; Disney, 1992
  • On Deadly Ground; Warner Brothers, 1993
  • Walking Thunder, 1993
  • Yellowstone; IMAX, 1994
  • Legends of the Fall; Tri Star, 1995
  • The Edge; 20th Century Fox, 1996
  • Meet the Deedles; Disney, 1997

 

Bart the Bear’s Television Movies, Mini-Series and Episodes

  • The Gambler; CBS TV, 1980
  • Down the Long Hills; Disney, 1986
  • Lost in the Barrens, 1990
  • McKenna; CBS, 1994
  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, 1994
  • Young Riders, episode “The Decoy”; MGM TV, 1995
  • Lonesome Dove, Episode “Deadman’s Walk”; ABC TV, 1996
  • Les Amants de Rivière Rouge; French TV mini-series, 1996
  • Academy Awards; Host, 1998

 

Bart the Bear’s Documentaries

  • The Predators; National Geographic Education, 1980
  • National Geographic “The Grizzlies,” 1986
  • National Audubon Society, “Grizzly & Man: Uneasy Truce,” 1988
  • Today Show, 1989
  • Komo TV, “River of Bears,” 1995
  • Entertainment Tonight, 1995
  • Inside Edition, 1996
  • Jack Hanna’s “Animal Adventures,” 1996
  • Discovery Electric, “Wild on the Set,” 1996
  • “Ordinary Extraordinary,” 1996
  • Nova Green Umbrella, “Animal Minds,” 1997
  • CNN Impact, “Bearly Acting,” 1997
  • Movie Magic, “Animals on the Rampage,” 1997
  • National Geographic Explorer, 1997
  • CBS’ 48 Hours, “Animal Smarts,” 1999

 

Bart has an impressive cinematic pedigree having worked with stars such as Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt. Film directors Jean Jacques Annaud and Lee Tamahori have even said to have called Bart the “John Wayne of Bears.”

“About 95% of what you see in the film is a real bear, even though we had a major anamatronic bear built for the film, it never worked properly. The real bear’s name is Bart. He’s 19 years old. He’s the same one from the Jean-Jacques Annaud film The Bear. He’s not friendly, they never are. But he’s not aggressive, either. He just 1400 pounds of muscle and bone and very dangerous. You’re not allowed near him…It’s a wonderful sort of professional relationship. He comes out of his trailer, goes to his mark, does the take and goes back to his trailer. He’s the John Wayne of bears, just phenomenal! He and his trainer have this symbiotic relationship that’s almost perverse. He has to stand in for Hopkins or Baldwin, or whoever else is in the scene with Bart,” stated Lee Tamahori during a discussion with Alex Simon and Venice Magazine.

Since reaching new heights in animal performance with Bart’s starring role in the 1989 classic, The Bear, Doug and Lynne Seus began to further their specialization and expertise in kodiak bears, grizzly bears, and wolves.

Wildlife training is an art form that requires the trainers to have immense patience, compassion and understanding when it comes to the animals. The entire Seus family; including their daughter Sausha and son Jed, pride themselves with providing Hollywood and the film industry with their most highly skilled and trained animal stars. Doug and Lynne Seus provide Hollywood and the film industry with bears and wolves that are exceedingly capable of not only unique behaviors and commands, but also portrayal and characterization.

Doug Seus
Doug Seus

Doug currently resides at home with his wife Lynee Seus along with his three star bears Bart The Bear II, Honeybump, and Tank where they train their animals in such an efficacious manner that when it comes time to shoot a scene it is shot successfully the first time around. Saving Doug and the film director he is working with hours of production time; one of the inherent qualities of Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife that portrays them as one of the most cost effective and professional animal companies available.

Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife has provided talented animal stars for the film industry for over 40 years. Their cinematic history includes twenty-five major motion pictures and hundreds of commercials, documentaries, and Tv Shows including An Unfinished Life, Dr. Do Little 2, Evan Almighty, Legends of the Fall, Into the Wild, The Great Outdoors, We Bought a Zoo, Without a Paddle , Zookeeper, and their most notable appearance with Bart The Bear II in HBO’s Game of Thrones television series.

Article by Justin Stakes
Copyright @ J. Stakes Photography

Justin Stakes is a Freelance Photographer and Journalist dealing with a variety of different subjects that interest and inspire his love for the great outdoors and more. Justin is an avid outdoor enthusiast and geek with a photographic style that is a mixture of photojournalism and fine art. He has won three Photo Show Competitions throughout his education and has even been exhibited in the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Sue Kent
Sue Kent
4 years ago

I just watched a Disney program on the Animal Kingdom, and I was particularly interested in the Sumatran Tiger breeding program. The gal on the program stated the very low number of these beautiful creatures in the wild now – very alarming!!! The gal also mentioned that eventually they would like to breed enough animals so they can return them to the wild – my question…WHAT WILD?!!! Please let me know your comments on this – reintroducing wild creatures to the (barely) non-existent wilderness. Doug and Lynne, I have watched your programs/movies and admire you both for the respect and… Read more »

Tank
Tank
4 years ago

I’m friends of a taxidermis who lives in Alaska and moved there to raise his kids because he loves hunting. He hunts bear along with most animals that is leagal to hunt. I don’t get how people can hunt for sport or how they justify doing it. If you kill it eat it. Protecting oneself is a legitimate argument. My cousins shoot anything that moves while deer hunting. I love animals and I catch and release or eat the fish I catch. Hardly the same thing. I’ve eaten the moose meat my friend has hunted and he doesn’t waste the… Read more »

penny dailey
penny dailey
5 years ago

I’m so blessed two have just watched your videos with bart may he rest in peace and his son bart. The second he’s just as beautiful as his father I’m a big fan of you and your wife love how you train your bear and work with them love penny

penny dailey
penny dailey
5 years ago

Hi Doug I’m a big fan of your and bart may he rest in peace I love your videos of bart and bart Son you and your wife are amazing how you train and work with the bears your awesome love your beautiful family

David Sunde
David Sunde
5 years ago

Hello Doug, I am contacting you on behalf of RASDAK (riding across SDak) on bicycles. There are 150 riders signed up, we are non profit. This year our ride starts June 4th north east corner of S Dak Ft Sisseton and ends June 11 north western S Dak in Buffalo. June 9th we will be overnighting in Lemmon South Dakota and is where the ledgend of Hugh Glass happened. Being mauled by a Grizzly left for dead and crawled 200 miles to modern day Chamberlain. To our surprise the movie Revenat was in the makings as the 2016 route was… Read more »

George
George
5 years ago

How do i work with your organization? Finishing up 10 years in the military and working with bears is my life goal.

Wendy Liller
Wendy Liller
5 years ago

I love the relationship that doug has with the bears along with respect i dont think there is anyone who can do what he does. I love watching his documentaries wish he would do more.his bears are like his kids.

Kathy
Kathy
5 years ago

Hi Doug – I still have the picture you sent me of you sitting on Bart’s back. i I met you in a chinese restaurant years and years ago after Willie Nelsons concert. That was a great time. Thanks – Kathy

Michael Cory
Michael Cory
7 years ago

Bart was the best! I just love Bears and Bart was my
favorite. I have over 50 books on bears, they are amazing. Thanks for sharing Bart with the world.
Mike