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Title: Bears I Have Met—and Others
Author: Kelly, Allen, 1855-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bears I Have Met—and Others" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




Illustrations by Ernest Thompson Seton,
W. H. Loomis, Homer Davenport, Walt. McDougall,
Charles Nelan, W. Hofacker,
Will. Chapin and the Author

Drexel Biddle, Publisher


[Frontispiece: Photograph of Allen Kelly]

[Illustration:  Letter to Allen Kelly
from Ernest Thompson Seton.]



     I.  The California Grizzly
    II.  The Story of Monarch
   III.  Chronicles of Clubfoot
    IV.  Mountain Charley
     V.  In the Valley of the Shadow
    VI.  When Grizzlies Ran in Droves
   VII.  The Adventures of Pike
  VIII.  In the Big Snow
    IX.  Boston's Big Bear Fight
     X.  Yosemite
    XI.  The Right of Way
   XII.  Well Heeled
  XIII.  Smoked Out
   XIV.  A Cry in the Night
    XV.  A Campfire Symposium
   XVI.  Brainy Bears of the Pecos
  XVII.  When Monarch was Free
 XVIII.  How Old Pinto Died
   XIX.  Three in a Boat
    XX.  A Providential Prospect Hole
   XXI.  Killed with a Bowie
  XXII.  A Denful of Grizzlies


Portrait of the Author.

Sketch of Monarch.----ERNEST THOMPSON SETON.

The Largest Captive Grizzly.----From a Photograph.

Feasting Upon a Big Steer.----A. K.

Chained to Trees Every Night.

Prepared to Pluck Foster.----W. H. LOOMIS.

Long Brown Moved Just in Time.----W. H. LOOMIS.

The Bear Swung Trap, Chain and Clog.----W. H. L. and A. K.

She Lunged Forward to Meet the Charge.----W. HOFACKER.

A Bully Saddle Bear.----HOMER DAVENPORT.

The Bears Inspected the Pigs in Clover.----CHAS. NELAN.

Pinto Looked Down on the Platform.----WILL CHAPIN.

Watching the Man in the Tree.----WILL CHAPIN.

The Grizzly Chewed His Arm.----A. K.

He Had Seen the Bears.----WALT McDOUGALL.


These bear stories were accumulated and
written during a quarter of a century of
intermittent wanderings and hunting on the
Pacific Slope, and are here printed in a book
because they may serve to entertain and amuse.
Most of them are true, and the others--well,
every hunter and fisherman has a certain
weakness, which is harmless, readily detected
and sympathetically tolerated by others of the
guild.  The reader will not be deceived by
the whimsical romances of the bear-slayers,
and he may rest assured that these tales
illustrate many traits of the bear and at least one
trait of the men who hunt him.

One of the most amiable and well-behaved
denizens of the forest, Bruin has ever been
an outlaw and a fugitive with a price on his
pelt and no rights which any man is bound to

Like most outlawed men, he has been
supplied with a reputation much worse than he
deserves as an excuse for his persecution and
a justification to his murderers.  His
character has been traduced in tales of the fireside
and his disposition has been maligned ever
since the female of his species came out of
the woods to rebuke irreverence to
smooth-pated age.  Every man's hand has been against
him, but seldom has his paw been raised
against man except in self-defense.

A vegetarian by choice and usually by
necessity, Bruin is accused of anthropophagy, and
every child is taught that the depths of the
woodland are infested by ravening bears with
a morbid taste for tender youth.  Poor,
harried, timid Ursus, nosing among the fallen
leaves for acorns and beechnuts, and ready to
flee like a startled hare at the sound of a
foot-fall, is represented in story and picture as
raging through the forest with slavering jaws
seeking whom he may devour.  Yet the man
does not live who can say truthfully that he
ever was eaten by a bear.

Possibly there have been bears of abnormal
or vitiated tastes who have indulged in human
flesh, just as there are men who eat decayed
cheese and "high" game, but the gustatory sins
of such perverts may not be visited justly on
the species.  There are few animals so
depraved in taste as to dine off man except under
stress of famine, and Bruin is not one of the
few.  He is no epicure, but he draws the line
at the lord of creation flavored with tobacco.

I have a suspicion that some of the tales
told around campfires and here set down
might be told differently if the bears could
talk.  It is a pity they can't talk, for they are
very human in other ways and have a sense
of humor that would make their versions of
some "true bear stories" vastly amusing.
What delightful reading, for example, would
be the impressions made by a poet of the
Sierra upon the bears he has met!  Perhaps no
bear ever met a poet of the Sierra, but mere
unacquaintance with the subject should be no
more of a disadvantage to a bear than to a man
of letters.




The California Grizzly made his reputation as a man-killer in the days
of the muzzle-loading rifle, when failure to stop him with one shot
deprived the hunter of all advantage in respect of weapons and reversed
their positions instantly, the bear becoming the hunter and the man the
game.  In early days, also the Grizzly had no fear of man and took no
pains to keep out of his way, and bears were so numerous that chance
meetings at close quarters were frequent.

But with all of his ferocity when attacked and his formidable strength,
the Grizzly's resentment was often transitory, and many men owe their
lives to his singular lack of persistency in wreaking his wrath upon a
fallen foe.  Generalizations on the conduct of animals, other than in
the matter of habits of life governed by what we call instinct, are
likely to be misleading, and when applied to animals of high
intelligence and well-developed individuality, are utterly valueless.
I have found the Grizzly more intelligent than other American bears and
his individual characteristics more marked and varied, and therefore am
disinclined to formulate or accept any rules of conduct for him under
given circumstances.  No man can say what a Grizzly will or will not
do, when molested or encountered, any more than he can lay down a
general rule for dogs or men.  One bear may display extreme timidity
and run away bawling when wounded, and another may be aggressive enough
to begin hostilities at sight and fight to the death.  It can be said
safely, however, that the Grizzly is a far more dangerous animal than
the Black Bear and much more likely to accept a challenge than to run

Want of persistent vindictiveness may not be a general trait of the
species, but it has been shown in so many cases that it is at least a
quite common characteristic.  Possibly it is a trait of all bears and
the basis of the almost universal belief that a bear will not molest a
dead man, and that by "playing 'possum" a person attacked by a bear may
evade further injury.  That belief or theory has been held from the
earliest times, and it is by no means certain that it is a mere idle
tale or bit of nursery lore.  Aesop uses it in one of his fables.  Two
men are assailed by a bear, and one climbs a tree while the other
throws himself upon the ground and feigns death.  The bear sniffs at
the man on the ground, who holds his breath, concludes that the man is
dead, and goes away.  The man who climbed the tree rejoins his
companion, and having seen the bear sniffing at his head, asks him
facetiously what the bear said to him.  The man who played 'possum
replies that the bear told him to beware of keeping company with those
who in time of danger leave their friends in the lurch.

This I do know, that bears often invade camps in search of food and
refrain from molesting men asleep or pretending to be asleep.  Upon one
occasion a Grizzly of very bad reputation and much feared by residents
in his district, came into my camp on a pitch dark night, and as it
would have been futile to attempt to draw a bead on him and a fight
would have endangered two members of the party who were incapable of
defending themselves, I cautioned everyone to feign sleep and not to
show signs of life if the bear sniffed in their faces.  The injunction
was obeyed, the bear satisfied his curiosity, helped himself to food
and went away without molesting anybody.

And that is not an isolated instance.  One night a Grizzly invaded a
bivouac, undeterred by the still blazing fire, and tried to reach a
haunch of venison hung upon a limb directly over one of the party.  The
man--Saml Snedden, the first settler in Lockwood Valley, Cal.--awoke
and saw the great beast towering over him and stretching up in a vain
effort to reach the venison, and he greatly feared that in coming down
to all fours again the bear might forget his presence and step upon
him.  Snedden tried furtively to draw his rifle out from the blankets
in which he had enveloped it, but found that he could not get the
weapon, without attracting the bear's attention and probably provoking
immediate attack.  So he abandoned the attempt, kept perfectly still
and watched the bear with half-closed eyes.  The Grizzly realized that
the meat was beyond his reach, and with a sighing grunt came down to
all fours, stepping upon and crushing flat a tin cup filled with water
within a foot of the man's head.  The bear inquisitively turned the
crushed cup over, smelt of it, sniffed at Snedden's ear and slouched
slowly away into the darkness as noiselessly as a phantom, and only one
man in the camp knew he had been there except by the sign of his
footprints and the flattened cup.

Many hunters have told me of similar experiences, and never have I
heard of one instance of unprovoked attack upon a sleeping person by a
bear, or for that matter by any other of the large carnivorae of this
country.  Only one authentic instance of a bear feeding on human flesh
have I known, and that was under unusual circumstances.

Two things will be noted by the reader of these accounts of California
bear fights: First, that the Grizzly's point of attack is usually the
face or head, and second, that, except in the case of she-bears
protecting or avenging their cubs, the Grizzly ceased his attack when
satisfied that his enemy was no longer capable of continuing the fight,
and showed no disposition to wantonly mangle an apparently dead man.
Since the forty she-bears came out of the wilderness and ate up a drove
of small boys for guying a holy man, who was unduly sensitive about his
personal dignity, the female of the ursine species, however, has been
notorious for ill-temper and vindictive pertinacity, and she maintains
that reputation to this day.

In the summer of 1850, G. W. Applegate and his brother John were mining
at Horse Shoe Bar on the American River.  The nearest base of supplies
at that time was Georgetown, eighteen miles distant by trail.  One
evening in early summer, having run short of provisions, George and his
brother started to walk to that camp to make purchases.  Darkness soon
overtook them and while descending into Canyon Creek they heard a bear
snort at some distance behind.  In a few moments they heard it again,
louder than before, and John rather anxiously remarked that he thought
the bear was following them.  George thought not, but in a few seconds
after crossing the stream and beginning the ascent upon the other side,
both distinctly heard him come--splash, splash, splash--through the
water directly upon their trail.

It was as dark as Erebus, and they were without weapons larger than
pocket knives--a serious position with an angry Grizzly dogging their
steps.  Their first thought was to climb a tree, but knowing they were
not far from the cabin of a man named Work, they took to their heels
and did their best running to reach that haven of refuge ahead of their
formidable follower.  They reached the cabin, rushed in, slammed and
fastened the door behind them, and with breathless intervals gasped out
their tale.  Work kept a bar for the sale of whiskey, and he and his
son, a stout young man, with two or three miners, were sitting on rude
seats around a whiskey barrel playing cards when the two frightened men
rushed in.

The cabin was built by planting posts firmly in the ground at a
distance of some three feet apart, and in the form of a parallelogram,
then nailing shakes upon these posts and on the roof.  The sides were
held together by cross beams, connecting the tops of the opposite
posts.  There was one rude window, made by cutting a hole in the side
of the wall about four feet from the ground and covering this with
greased paper, glass being an unattainable luxury.  Notwithstanding the
belief that there was not a man in those days but wore a red shirt and
a big revolver, there was not a firearm in the place.

In a few seconds the bear was heard angrily sniffing at the door, and
an instant later his powerful paw came tearing through the frail shakes
and he poked his head and neck through the opening and gravely surveyed
the terrified party.  Every man sprang upon the bar and thence to the
cross beam with the alacrity given only by terror.  After sniffing a
moment and calmly gazing around the room and up at the frightened men,
the bear quietly withdrew his head and retired.

After an interval of quiet, the men ventured down and were eagerly
discussing the event, when the bear again made its presence known by
rearing up and thrusting its head through the paper of the window.
Upon this occasion some of the men stood their ground, and young Work,
seizing an iron-pointed Jacob's staff, ran full tilt at the bear, and
thrust it deeply into its chest.  The bear again disappeared, taking
the Jacob's staff, and appeared no more that night.

The following morning, search being made, the bear was found dead some
yards from the cabin, with the staff thrust through the heart.  It
proved to be a female and was severely wounded in several places with
rifle balls.

Subsequent inquiries elicited the fact that on the previous day a party
of hunters from Georgetown had captured two cubs and wounded the
mother, which had escaped.  This was evidently the same bear in search
of her cubs.

     *     *     *     *     *

In the spring of the year, somewhere early in the fifties, a party of
five left the mining camp of Coloma for the purpose of hunting deer for
the market in the locality of Mosquito Canyon.  On the morning of the
second day in camp the party separated, each going his own way to hunt,
and at night it was found that one of their members named Broadus
failed to appear.  The others started out in different directions to
search for him the next morning, and after a day spent in fruitless
searching, they returned to camp only to find that another of their
number, named William Jabine, was this night missing.

After an anxious night, chiefly spent in discussing the probable fate
of their missing companions, the remaining three started out on the
trail of Jabine, he having told them the previous morning what part of
the country he was going to travel.  Slowly following his tracks left
in the soft soil and broken down herbage, they found him about noon,
terribly mangled and unconscious, but alive.  The flesh on his face was
torn and lacerated in a frightful manner, and he was otherwise injured
in his chest and body.

Further search revealed, near by, the dead body of their other missing
comrade, seated on a bowlder by the side of a small stream with his
head on his folded arms, which were supported by a shelf of rock in
front of him.  His whole under jaw had been bitten off and torn away,
and a large pool of clotted blood at his feet showed that he had slowly
bled to death after having been attacked and wounded by a bear.  The
ground showed evidences of a fearful struggle, being torn up and
liberally sprinkled with blood for yards around.

The men carried Jabine to the nearest mining camp, whence others went
to bring in the body of Broadus.

Jabine finally recovered, but he was shockingly disfigured for life.
He afterwards told how he came upon the tracks of Broadus, and on
reaching the spot where Broadus had received his death wound, he was
suddenly attacked by a huge she-bear that was followed by two small
cubs.  The bear had evidently been severely wounded by Broadus and was
in a terrible rage.  She seized Jabine before he could turn to flee,
and falling with her whole weight upon his body and chest, began biting
his face.  He soon lost consciousness from the pressure upon his chest,
and remembered no more.

The poor fellow became a misanthrope, owing to his terrible
disfigurement, and was finally found drowned in the river near Coloma.

In 1850 a number of miners were camped upon the spot where the little
town of Todd's Valley now stands.  Among them were three brothers named
Gaylord, who had just arrived from Illinois.  These young men used to
help out the proceeds of their claim by an occasional hunt, taking
their venison down to the river when killed, where a carcass was
readily disposed of for two ounces.

One evening when the sun was about an hour high, one of the brothers
took his rifle and went out upon the hills and did not return that
night.  The following morning his two brothers set out in search and
soon found him dead, bitten through the spine in the neck, evidently by
a bear.  His rifle was unloaded and the tracks showed where he had
fled, pursued by the angry animal, been overtaken, and killed.

On the succeeding day a hunt was organized and some twenty men turned
out to seek revenge.  The bears, for there were two of them, were
tracked into a deep rocky canyon running from Forest Hill to Big Bar.
Large rocks were rolled down its sides, and the bears were routed out
and both killed.

In 1851, three men armed with Kentucky rifles, which were not only
muzzle-loaders, but of small calibre and less effective than the
ordinary .32 calibre rifle of to-day, were hunting deer on the divide
between Volcano and Shirttail Canyons in Placer county.  In the heavy
timber on the slope they encountered a large Grizzly coming up out of
Volcano Canyon.  The bear was a hundred yards distant when they saw him
and evinced no desire for trouble, and two of the hunters were more
than willing to give him the trail and let him go about his business in
peace.  The other, a man named Wright, who had killed small bears, but
knew nothing about the Grizzly, insisted on attacking, and prepared to
shoot.  The others assured him that a bullet from a Kentucky rifle at
that distance would only provoke the bear to rush them, and begged him
not to fire.  But Wright laughed at them and pulled trigger with a bead
on the bear's side, where even a heavy ball would be wasted.

The Grizzly reared upon his haunches, bit at the place where the ball
stung him, and after waving his paws in the air two or three times,
came directly for Wright with a fierce growl.  The party all took to
their heels and separated, but the bear soon overtook Wright and with
one blow of his paw struck the man, face downward, upon the snow and
began biting him about the head, back and arms.  The other hunters,
seeing the desperate case of their companion, rushed up and fired at
the bear at close range, fortunately killing him with a bullet in the
base of the brain.

Wright, on being relieved of the weight of his antagonist, sat up in a
dazed condition, with the blood pouring in streams down his face.  He
had received several severe bites in the back and arms, but the worst
wound was on the head, where the bear had struck him with his claws.
His scalp was almost torn from his head, and a large piece of skull
some three inches in diameter was broken out and lifted from the brain
as cleanly as if done by the surgeon's trephine.

Strange to say, Wright complained of but little pain, excepting from a
bite in the arm, and soon recovered his senses.  His comrades replaced
the mangled scalp, and bleeding soon ceased.  A fire was built to keep
him warm and while one watched with the wounded man the other returned
to the trail to intercept a pack train.  On the arrival of the mules,
Wright was helped upon one of their backs, and rode unaided to the
Baker ranch.

A surgeon was sent for from Greenwood Valley, who, on his arrival,
removed the loose piece of bone from the skull and dressed the wounds.
The membranes of the brain were uninjured, and the man quickly
recovered, but of course had a dangerous hole in his skull that
incapacitated him for work.  One Sunday, some weeks afterward, the
miners held a meeting, subscribed several hundred dollars and sent
Wright home to his friends in Boston.

     *     *     *     *     *

Mike Brannan was a miner on the Piru River in Southern California.  The
river, or creek, runs through a rough mountain district, and Brannan's
claim was in the wildest part of it.  He and his partner met a Grizzly
on the trail, and Brannan had no better judgment than to fire his
revolver at the bear instead of getting out of the way.  The Grizzly
charged, smashed the partner's skull with a blow and tumbled Brannan
over a bank.

Brannan was stunned by the fall, and when consciousness returned he saw
the bear standing across his body, watching him intently for signs of
life.  He tried to keep perfectly still and hold his breath, but the
suspense was too great a strain and involuntarily he moved the fingers
of his right hand.  The bear did not see the movement, and when Brannan
realized that his fingers had just touched his revolver, he conceived
the desperate idea that he could reach the weapon and use it quickly
enough to blow a hole through the bear's head and save himself from the
attack which he felt he could not avert much longer by shamming.

To grasp the revolver it was necessary to stretch his arm full length,
and he tried to do that slowly and imperceptibly, but his anxiety
overcame his prudence and he made a movement that the watchful Grizzly
detected.  Instantly the bear pinned the arm with one paw, placed the
other upon Brannan's breast and with his teeth tore out the biceps
muscle.  Brannan had the good luck to faint at that moment, and when
his senses again returned he was alone.  The Grizzly had watched him
until satisfied that there was no more harm in him, and then left him.

Brannan managed to get to his cabin and eventually recovered, only to
be murdered some years later for the gold dust he had stored away.

NOTE.--For many of the facts in this chapter of adventures with
grizzlies in Placer and El Dorado counties in 1850 and 1851, I am
indebted to Dr. R. F. Rooney, of Auburn, Cal., who obtained the details
at first hand from pioneers.--A. K.



Early in 1889, the editor of a San Francisco newspaper sent me out to
catch a Grizzly.  He wanted to present to the city a good specimen of
the big California bear, partly because he believed the species was
almost extinct, and mainly because the exploit would be unique in
journalism and attract attention to his paper.  Efforts to obtain a
Grizzly by purchase and "fake" a story of his capture had proved
fruitless for the sufficient reason that no captive Grizzly of the true
California type could be found, and the enterprising journal was
constrained to resort to the prosaic expedient of laying a foundation
of fact and veritable achievement for its self-advertising.

[Illustration: Ernest Thompson Seton's Sketch of Monarch.]

The assignment was given to me because I was the only man on the paper
who was supposed to know anything about bears.  Such knowledge as I
had, and it was not very extensive, had been acquired on hunting trips,
some successful and more otherwise, in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades.
I had had no experience in trapping, but I accepted the assignment with
entire confidence and great joy over the chance to get into the
mountains for a long outing.  The outing proved to be much longer than
the editor expected, and trapping a bear quite a different matter from
killing one.

From Santa Paula, I struck into the mountains of Ventura county with an
outfit largely composed of information, advice and over-paid
assistance.  The first two months of the trip were consumed in
developing the inaccuracy of most of the information and the utter
worthlessness of all the advice and costly assistance, and in acquiring
some rudimentary knowledge of the habits of bears and the art of
trapping them.  Traps were built, under advice, where there was not one
chance in a thousand of catching anything, and bogus bear-tracks, made
with a neatly-executed model by an ingenious guide, who preferred
loafing about camp to moving it, kept the expedition from seeking more
promising country.

The editor became tired of waiting for his big sensation and ordered me
home.  I respectfully but firmly refused to go home bearless, and the
editor fired me by wire.  I fired the ingenious but sedentary
assistant, discarded all the advice that had been unloaded upon me by
the able bear-liars of Ventura, reduced my impedimenta to what one
lone, lorn burro could pack, broke camp and struck for a better Grizzly
pasture, determined to play the string out alone and in my own way.
The place I selected for further operations was the regular beat of old
Pinto, a Grizzly that had been killing cattle on Gen. Beale's range in
the mountains west of Tehachepi and above Antelope Valley.

Old Pinto was no myth, and he didn't make tracks with a whittled pine
foot.  His lair was a dense manzanita thicket upon the slope of a
limestone ridge about a mile from the spring by which I camped, and he
roamed all over the neighborhood.  In soft ground he made a track
fourteen inches long and nine inches wide, but although at the time I
took that for the size of his foot, I am now inclined to think that it
was the combined track of front and hind foot, the hind foot
"over-tracking" a few inches, obliterating the claw marks of the front
foot and increasing the size of the imprint both in length and width.
Nevertheless he was a very large bear, and he loomed up formidably in
the dusk of an evening when I saw him feasting, forty yards away, upon
a big steer he had killed.

[Illustration: Feasting upon a big steer he had killed.]

Pinto had the reputation of being not only dangerous but malevolent,
and there were oft told tales of domiciliary visits paid by him at the
cabins of settlers, and of aggressive advances upon mounted vaqueros,
who were saved by the speed of their horses.  Doubtless the bear was
audacious in foraging and indifferent to the presence of man, but he
was not malevolent.  Indeed, I have yet to hear on any credible
authority of a malevolent bear, or, for that matter, any other wild
animal in North America whose disposition and habit is to seek trouble
with man and go out of its way with the deliberate purpose of attacking
him.  For many weeks I camped by that spring, much of the time alone,
and without even a dog, with only a blanket for covering and the
heavens for a roof, and my sleep never was disturbed by anything larger
than a wood rat.  My camp was on one of Pinto's beaten trails, but he
abandoned it and passed fifty yards to one side or the other whenever
his business took him down that way, and he never meddled with me or
mine.  One night, as his tracks showed, he came to within twenty feet
of my bivouac, sniffed around inquiringly and passed on.

I built two stout traps for Pinto's benefit, and day after day I
dragged bait around and through the manzanita thickets on the ridge and
over all his trails, and sometimes I found tracks so fresh that I was
satisfied he had heard me coming and had turned aside.  There were
cougar and lynx tracks all over the mountains, but I seldom saw the
animals and then only got fleeting glimpses of them as they fled out of
my way.

Many of my prejudices and all my story-book notions about the behavior
of the carnivorae were discredited by experience, and I was forced to
recognize the plain truth that the only mischievous animal, the only
creature meditating and planning evil on that mountain--excepting of
course the evil incident to the procurement of food--was a man with a
gun.  I was the only really dangerous and unnecessarily destructive
animal in the woods, and all the rest were afraid of me.

After a time, because I had no intention of killing Pinto if I should
meet him, I quit carrying a rifle, except when I wanted venison, and
tramped all over the mountain in daylight or in darkness without giving
much thought to possible encounters.  True, I carried a revolver, but
that was force of habit mainly, and a six-shooter is company of a sort
to a man in the wilderness even if he does not expect to need it.  When
one has "packed a gun" for years, he feels uncomfortable without it;
not because he thinks he has any use for it, but because it has become
a part of his attire and its absence unconsciously frets him and sets
him wondering vaguely if he has lost his suspenders or forgotten to put
on a tie.

That the big Grizzly was not quite so audacious and adventurous as he
was reputed to be was demonstrated by his suspicious avoidance of the
traps while they were new to him, and it became evident that he could
not be inveigled into them even by meat and honey until they should
become familiar objects to him and he should get accustomed to my scent
upon his trails.  That I would have caught old Pinto in time there is
no doubt, for eventually he was caught in each of the traps, although
he escaped through the carelessness of the man who baited and set them.

The traps were tight pens, built of large oak logs notched and pinned,
roofed and floored with heavy logs and fitted with falling doors of
four-inch plank.  They were stout enough, and when I saw them ten years
later they were sound and fit to hold anything that wears fur, although
old Pinto had clawed all the bark off the logs and left deep furrows in

As a matter of course, all the hunters and mountain men for fifty miles
around knew that I was trying to catch a Grizzly, and some of them
built traps on their own hook, hoping to catch a bear and make a few
dollars.  I had encouraged them by promising to pay well for his
trouble anybody who should get a bear in his own trap, or find one in
any of the numerous traps I had built and send me word.

Late in October, I heard that a bear had got into a trap on Gleason
Mountain, and leaving Pinto to his own devices, I went over to look at
the captive.  The Mexican acting as jailor did not know me, and I
discovered that Allen Kelly was supposed to be the agent of a
millionaire and an "easy mark," who would pay a fabulous sum for a
bear.  The Mexican assured me that he was about to get wealth beyond
the dreams of avarice for that bear from a San Francisco man, meaning
said Kelly, whereupon I congratulated him, disparaged the bear and
turned to go.  The Mexican followed me down the trail and began
complaining that the alleged purchaser of the bear was dilatory in
closing the deal with cash.  He, Mateo, was aggrieved by this
unbusinesslike behavior, and it would be no more than proper for him to
resent it and teach the man a lesson in commercial manners by selling
the bear to somebody else, even to me, for instance.  Mateo's haste to
get that bear off his hands was evident, but the reason for it was not
apparent.  Later I understood.

Monarch had the bad luck to get into a trap built by a little syndicate
of which Mateo was a member.  Mateo watched the trap, while the others
supplied beef for bait.  They were to divide the large sum which they
expected to get from me in case they caught a bear before I did, and
very likely my fired assistant had a contingent interest in the
enterprise.  Mateo was the only member of the syndicate on deck when I
arrived, and deeming a bird in his hand worth a whole flock in the
syndicate bush, he made the best bargain he could and left the others
to whistle for dividends.  Ten years afterward I met the cattleman who
furnished the capital and the beef, and from his strenuous remarks
about his Mexican partner I inferred that the syndicate had been deeply
disappointed.  I also learned for the first time why Mateo was so
anxious for me to take the bear off his hands when the evident original
purpose was to held me up for a good round sum.  The hold-up would have
failed, however, because I had spent more than $1,200 and lost five
months' time, was nearly broke, did not represent anybody but myself at
that stage of my bear-catching career, and for all I knew the editor
might have changed his mind about wanting a Grizzly at any price.

Finally I consented to take the bear and struck a bargain, and not
until money had passed and a receipt was to be signed did Mateo know
with whom he was dealing.  He paid me the dubious compliment of
muttering that I was "un coyote," and as that animal is the B'rer
Rabbit of Mexican folk lore, I inferred that the excellent Mateo
intended to express admiration for the only evidence of business
capacity to be found in my entire career.  That dicker for a bear
stands out as the sole trade I ever made in which I was not
unmistakably and comprehensively "stuck."  Mateo was more than repaid
for his trouble, however.  He helped me build a box, and get the bear
into it, and I took Monarch to San Francisco and sold him to the editor
of the enterprising paper, who eventually gave him to Golden Gate Park.

The newspaper account of the capture of Monarch was elaborated to suit
the exigencies of enterprising journalism, picturesque features were
introduced where the editorial judgment dictated, and mere facts, such
as the name of the county in which the bear was caught, fell under the
ban of a careless blue pencil and were distorted beyond recognition.

More than one-fourth of Joaquin Miller's "True Bear Stories"' consists
of that newspaper yarn, copied verbatim and without amendment, revision
or verification.  The other three-fourths of the book, it is to be
hoped, is at least equally true.

Considering all the frills of fiction that were put into the story to
make it readable, the careless inaccuracies that were edited into it,
and the fact that many persons knew of the preliminary attempts to buy
any old bear and fake a capture, it is not strange that people who
always know the "inside history" of everything that happens, wag their
heads wisely and declare that Monarch was obtained from a bankrupt
circus, or is an ex-dancer of the streets sold to the newspaper by a
hard-up Italian.

But it is incredible that any one who knows a bear from a Berkshire hog
could for an instant mistake Monarch for any variety of tamable bear or
imagine that any man ever had the hardihood to give him dancing lessons.

When Monarch found himself caught in the syndicate trap on Gleason
Mountain, he made furious efforts to escape.  He bit and tore at the
logs, hurled his great bulk against the sides and tried to enlarge
every chink that admitted light.  He required unremitting attention
with a sharpened stake to prevent him from breaking out.

For a full week the Grizzly raged and refused to touch food that was
thrown to him.  Then he became exhausted and the task of securing him
and removing him from the trap was begun.  The first thing necessary
was to make a chain fast to one of his fore-legs.  That job was begun
at eight o'clock in the morning and finished at six o'clock in the
afternoon.  Much time was wasted in trying to work with the chain
between two of the side logs.  Whenever the bear stepped into the loop
as it lay upon the floor and the chain was drawn tight around his
fore-leg just above the foot, he pulled it off easily with the other
paw, letting the men who held the chain fall over backward.  The feat
was finally accomplished by letting the looped chain down between the
roof logs, so that when the bear stepped into it and it was drawn
sharply upward, it caught him well up toward the shoulder.

Having one leg well anchored, it was comparatively easy to introduce
chains and ropes between the side logs and secure his other legs.  He
fought furiously during the whole operation, and chewed the chains
until he splintered his canine teeth to the stubs and spattered the
floor of the trap with bloody froth.  It was painful to see the plucky
brute hurting himself uselessly, but it could not be helped, as he
would not give up while he could move limb or jaw.

The next operation was gagging the bear so that he could not bite.  The
door of the trap was raised and a billet of wood was held where he
could seize it, which he promptly did.  A cord made fast to the stick
was quickly wound around his jaws, with turns around the stick on each
side, and passed back of his ears and around his neck like a bridle.
By that means his jaws were firmly bound to the stick in such a manner
that he could not move them, while his mouth was left open for

While one man held the bear's head down by pressing with his whole
weight upon the ends of the gag, another went into the trap and put a
chain collar around the Grizzly's neck, securing it in place with a
light chain attached to the collar at the back, passing down under his
armpits and up to his throat, where it was again made fast.  The collar
passed through a ring attached by a swivel to the end of a heavy chain
of Norwegian iron.  A stout rope was fastened around the bear's loins
also, and to this another strong chain was attached.  This done, the
gag was removed and the Grizzly was ready for his journey down the

In the morning he was hauled out of the trap and bound down on a rough
skeleton sled made from a forked limb, very much like the contrivance
called by lumbermen a "go-devil."  Great difficulty was encountered in
securing a team of horses that could be induced to haul the bear.  The
first two teams were so terrified that but little progress could be
made, but the third team was tractable and the trip down the mountain
to the nearest wagon road was finished in four days.

The bear was released from the "go-devil" and chained to trees every
night; and so long as the camp fire burned brightly he would lie still
and watch it attentively, but when the fire burned low he would get up
and restlessly pace to and fro and tug at the chains, stopping now and
then to seize in his arms the tree to which he was anchored and test
its strength by shaking it.  Every morning the same old fight had to be
fought before he could be tied to his sled.  He became very expert in
dodging ropes and seizing them when the loops fell over his legs, and
considerable strategic skill was required to lasso his paws and stretch
him out.  In the beginning of these contests the Grizzly uttered angry
growls, but soon became silent and fought with dogged persistency,
watching every movement of his foes with alert attention and wasting no
energy in aimless struggles.  He soon learned to keep his hind feet
well under him and his body close to the ground, which left only his
head and fore-legs to be defended from the ropes.  So adroit and quick
was the bear in the use of his paws that a dozen men could not get a
rope on him while he remained in that posture of defence.  But when two
or three men grasped the chain that was around his body and suddenly
threw him on his back, all four of his legs were in the air at once,
the riatas flew from all directions and he was vanquished.

[Illustration: Chained to trees every night.]

Monarch was pretty well worn out when the wagon road was reached, and
doubtless enjoyed the few days of rest and quiet that were allowed him
while a cage was being built for his further transportation.  He made
the remainder of the journey to San Francisco by wagon and railroad,
confined in a box constructed of inch-and-a-half Oregon pine that had
an iron grating at one end.  The box was not strong enough to have held
him for five minutes had he attacked it as he attacked the trap and as
he subsequently demolished an iron-lined den, but I put my trust in the
moral influence of the chain around his neck.  The Grizzly accepted the
situation resignedly and behaved admirably during the whole trip.

Monarch is the largest bear in captivity and a thoroughbred Californian
Grizzly.  No naturalist needs a second glance at him to classify him as
Ursus Horribilis.  He stands four feet high at the shoulder, measures
three feet across the chest, 12 inches between the ears and 18 inches
from ear to nose, and his weight is estimated by the best judges at
from 1200 to 1600 pounds.  He never has been weighed.  In disposition
he is independent and militant.  He will fight anything from a crowbar
to a powder magazine, and permit no man to handle him while he can move
a muscle.  And yet when he and I were acquainted--I have not seen him
since he was taken to Golden Gate Park--he was not unreasonably
quarrelsome, but preserved an attitude of armed neutrality.  He would
accept peace offerings from my hand, taking bits of sugar with care not
to include my fingers, but would tolerate no petting.  Within certain
limits he would acknowledge an authority which had been made real to
him by chains and imprisonment, and reluctantly suspend an intended
blow and retreat to a corner when insistently commanded, yet the fires
of rebellion never were extinguished and it would have been foolhardy
to get within effective reach of his paw.  To strangers he was
irreconcilable and unapproachable.

Monarch passed three or four years in a steel cell before he was taken
to the Park.  He devoted a week or so to trying to get out and testing
every bar and joint of his prison, and when he realized that his
strength was over-matched, he broke down and sobbed.  That was the
critical point, and had he not been treated tactfully by Louis Ohnimus,
doubtless the big Grizzly would have died of nervous collapse.  A live
fowl was put before him after he had refused food and disdained to
notice efforts to attract his attention, and the old instinct to kill
was aroused in him.  His dulled eyes gleamed green, a swift clutching
stroke of the paw secured the fowl.  Monarch bolted the dainty morsel,
feathers and all, and his interest in life was renewed with the revival
of his savage propensity to slay.

From that moment he accepted the situation and made the best of it.  He
was provided with a bed of shavings, and he soon learned the routine of
his keeper's work in removing the bed.  Monarch would not permit the
keeper to remove a single shaving from the cage if a fresh supply was
not in sight.  He would gather all the bedding in a pile, lie upon it
and guard every shred jealously, striking and smashing any implement of
wood or iron thrust into the cage to filch his treasure.  But when a
sackful of fresh shavings was placed where he could see it, Monarch
voluntarily left his bed, went to another part of the cage and watched
the removal of the pile without interfering.

In intelligence and quickness of comprehension, the Grizzly was
superior to other animals in the zoological garden and compared not
unfavorably with a bright dog.  It could not be said of him, as of most
other animals, that man's mastery of him was due to his failure to
realize his own power.  He knew his own strength and how to apply it,
and only the superior strength of iron and steel kept him from doing
all the damage of which he was capable.

The lions, for example, were safely kept in cages which they could have
broken with a blow rightly placed.  Monarch discovered the weak places
of such a cage within a few hours and wrecked it with swift skill.
When inveigled into a movable cage with a falling door, he turned the
instant the door fell, seized the lower edge and tried to raise it.
When placed in a barred enclosure in the park, he began digging under
the stone foundation of the fence, necessitating the excavation of a
deep trench and the emplacement therein of large boulders to prevent
his escape.  Then he tried the aerial route, climbed the twelve foot
iron palings, bent the tops of inch and a half bars and was nearly over
when detected and pushed back.

He remains captive only because it is physically impossible for him to
escape, not because he is in the least unaware of his power or inept in
using it.  Apparently he has no illusions concerning man and no respect
for him as a superior being.  He has been beaten by superior cunning,
but never conquered, and he gives no parole to refrain from renewing
the contest when opportunity offers.

Mr. Ernest Thompson Seton saw Monarch and sketched him in 1901, and he
said: "I consider him the finest Grizzly I have seen in captivity."

[Illustration: Monarch, The Biggest Bear in Captivity.]

NOTE.--Without doubt the largest captive grizzly bear in the world, may
be seen in the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.  As to his exact
weight, there is much conjecture.  That has not been determined, as the
bear has never been placed on a scale.  Good judges estimate it at not
far from twelve hundred pounds.  The bear's appearance justifies that
conclusion.  Monarch enjoys the enviable distinction of being the
largest captive bear in the world.--N. Y. Tribune, March 8, 1903.



The most famous bear in the world was, is and will continue to be the
gigantic Grizzly known variously on the Pacific Slope as "Old Brin,"
"Clubfoot," and "Reelfoot."  He was first introduced to the public by a
mining-camp editor named Townsend, who was nicknamed "Truthful James"
in a spirit of playful irony.  That was in the seventies.  Old Erin was
described as a bear of monstrous size, brindled coat, ferocious
disposition and evil fame among the hunters of the Sierra.  He had been
caught in a steel trap and partly crippled by the loss of a toe and
other mutilation of a front paw, and his clubfooted track was readily
recognizable and served to identify him.  Old Brin stood at least five
feet high at the shoulder, weighed a ton or more and found no
difficulty in carrying away a cow.  He seemed to be impervious to
bullets, and many hunters who took his trail never returned.  A few who
met him and had the luck to escape furnished the formidable details of
his description and spread his fame, with the able assistance of
Truthful James and other veracious historians of the California and
Nevada press.

For several years the clubfooted Grizzly ranged the Sierra Nevada from
Lassen county to Mono, invulnerable, invincible and mysterious, and
every old hunter in the mountains had an awesome story to tell of the
ferocity and uncanny craft of the beast and of his own miraculous
escape from the jaws of the bear after shooting enough lead at him to
start a smelter.  Old Brin was a never-failing recourse of the country
editor when the foreman was insistent for copy, and those who undertook
to preserve the fame of his exploits in their files scrupulously
respected the rights of his discoverer and never permitted any
vain-glorious bear hunter to kill him.  As one of the early guardians
of this incomparable monster, I can bear witness that it was the
unwritten law of the journalistic profession that no serious harm
should come to the clubfoot bear and he should invariably triumph over
his enemies.  It was also understood that a specially interesting
episode in the career of Old Brin constituted a pre-emption claim to
guardianship, and, if acknowledged by the preceding guardian, the claim
could not be jumped so long as it was worked with reasonable diligence.

While Old Brin infested Sierra Valley and vicinity he was my ward, and
I regret to say that his conduct was tumultuous and sanguinary in the
extreme.  I can remember as if it were but yesterday how, one afternoon
when Virginia City was deplorably peaceful and local news simply did
not exist, Old Brin went on a rampage over toward Sierra Valley and
slaughtered two Italian woodchoppers in the most wanton and sensational
manner.  More than ten years later I met in Truckee an old settler who
remembered the painful occurrence well, because the Italians were
working for him at the time, and he told me the story to prove that Old
Brin had once roamed that part of the mountains.  Naturally I was so
pleased to learn that my humble effort to keep the local columns of the
Virginia Chronicle up to the high standard of frozen truth had not been
in vain, that it was with the greatest difficulty I dropped a
sympathetic tear when the old settler of Truckee mourned the sad fate
of his Italian friends.

If memory be not at fault, it was the episode of the woodchoppers that
precipitated the long-cherished design of Virginia City's most noted
sportsmen to make a combined effort to secure the pelt of Old Brin and
undying glory.  About a score of them, heavily armed and provisioned
for a month, sallied forth from the Comstock to find and camp upon the
trail of the clubfoot bear.  They returned without his pelt, but they
brought back some picturesque and lurid explanations of their failure
and added several chapters to the history of Old Brin.

One of the party was Ned Foster, who never stood to lose on any
proposition and never was known to play any game on the square.  Being
lame, Foster did not have any ambition to meet the big bear, but
contented himself with shooting birds for the pot and helping the camp
cook.  One morning, after all the mighty hunters had gone out on their
quest, Foster picked up his shot-gun, jocularly remarked that he
guessed he would fetch in a bear, and limped away toward a brushy
ridge.  Presently the cook heard a shot, followed by yells of alarm,
and peering from the tent he saw Foster coming down the slope on a
gallop, followed by a monstrous bear.  The cook seized a rifle, tried
to load it with shot cartridges, and realizing that his agitation made
him hopelessly futile, abandoned the attempt to help Foster and
scrambled up a tree.  From his perch the cook watched with solicitude
the progress of Foster and the bear, shouting to Foster excited advice
to increase his pace and informing him of gains made by the pursuer.

"Run, Ned!  Good Lord, why don't you let yourself out?" yelled the
frantic cook, as Foster lost a length on the turn into the
home-stretch.  "You're not running a lick on God's green earth.  The
bear's gaining on you every jump, Ned.  Turn yourself loose!  Ned,
you've just got to run to beat that bear!"

Ned went by the tree in a hitch-and-kick gallop, and as he passed he
gasped in scornful tones: "You yapping coyote, do you think I'm selling
this race!"  Perhaps he wasn't, but it looked that way to the man up
the tree.

That was the end of the tale as it was told by the Comstockers, who
refused to spoil a good climax by gratifying mere idle curiosity about
the finish of the race.  But Foster was not eaten up by Old Brin--of
course his pursuer was the clubfooted bear--and something extraordinary
must have happened to save him.  An indefinite prolongation of the
situation is unthinkable.  Wherefore things happened in this wise:
Foster's hat fell off, and while the bear was investigating it the man
gained a few yards and time enough to climb a stout sapling, growing
upon the brink of a cleft in the country rock about a dozen feet wide
and twice as deep.  The tree was as thick as a man's leg at the base
and very tall.  Foster climbed well out of reach of the bear, and,
perched in a crotch twenty feet above the ground, he felt safe.  Old
Brin sat down at the foot of the tree, and with head cocked sidewise
thoughtfully eyed the man who had affronted him with a charge of small
shot.  Presently he arose and with his paws grasped the tree ten or
twelve feet from the ground, and Foster laughed derisively at the
notion of that clumsy beast trying to climb.  But Brin had no notion of
climbing.  Holding his grip, he backed away, and as the tree bent
toward him he took a fresh hold higher up, and so, hand over hand,
pulled the top of it downward and prepared to pluck Foster or shake him
down like a ripe persimmon.

[Illustration: Prepared to Pluck Foster.]

A part of Foster's habitual attire under all circumstances in warm
weather was a long linen duster, and it is a defect of ursine
perception to confound a man with his clothes.  When the napping skirt
of Foster's duster seemed to be within reach, the over-eager bear made
a grab for it, and released his grasp of the tree.  The backward spring
of the tough sapling nearly dislodged the clinging man, but it also
gave him an idea, and when the grizzly began a repetition of the
manoeuvre, he shifted his position a little higher and to the other

Old Brin was not appeased by the shred of linen he had secured, and
again began bending the sapling over.  This time he had to bend it
further to get Foster within reach, but the flapping coat-tail again
tempted him too soon, and although he secured most of the skirt, he let
go his hold and the tree sprang back like a bended bow.  Foster let go
his hold too in mid-arc and went sailing through the air and across the
ravine, landing in a thicket with a jar that loosened his teeth but
broke no bones.  He said the Grizzly sat bolt upright and looked at the
tree, the ravine and him for five minutes, then cuffed himself soundly
on both ears and slunk away in evident humiliation and disgust.

     *     *     *     *     *

Nothing but Joe Stewart's flawless reputation for veracity could have
induced the Comstock to accept the account of Old Erin's visit to camp,
which broke up the trip, as it was given by the hunters when they
returned.  Mr. Stewart made his living at cards and knew no other
profession or trade, but his word was as good as a secured note at the
bank, his views on ethical questions were considered superior to a
bishop's, and all around he was conceded to be a better citizen and an
honester man than Nevada had been able to send to the United States
Senate.  Therefore, as Joe Stewart was one of the party and did not
deny that events happened as described by Col. Orndorff, the Comstock
never doubted the story of the Blazing Bear.

This section of the expedition had a large wall tent and all camp
conveniences, including lamps and a five-gallon can of kerosene.  They
pitched their tent upon the bank of a stream near a deep pool such as
trout love in warm weather, and they played the national game every

Col. Orndorff had opened an opulent jackpot, and Long Brown was
thinking about raising before the draw when he felt a nudge at his
elbow as if some one had stumbled against him.  He was annoyed and he
drove his arm backward violently against the canvas, encountering
something solid and eliciting a loud and angry snort.  Long Brown moved
just in time to escape the sweep of a huge paw, armed with claws like
sickles, which rent a great gap in the back of the tent and revealed a
gigantic bear still sneezing from the blow on the end of his nose and
obviously in a nasty temper.

[Illustration: Long Brown moved just in time.]

The poker party went out at the front just as Old Brin came in at the
back, and Long Brown thoughtfully took the front pole with him, letting
the canvas down over the bear and impeding pursuit.  The lamps were
broken in the fall, and the oil blazed up under the canvas.  Col.
Orndorff, Mr. Stewart, Bill Gibson, Doughnut Bill and the cook, Noisy
Smith, climbed trees before taking time to see how matters were getting
arranged in the tent, and Long Brown stopped at the brink of the pool
and turned around to see if the bear was following him.

There was complicated trouble in the tent.  The bear had tangled
himself in the canvas and was blindly tossing it about, rolling himself
up in the slack, and audibly complaining of the fire and smoke.  The
rifles, shot-guns and all but one revolver had been left in the tent,
and presently they began to pop.  Doughnut Bill, safe in a sycamore,
hitched around to the lee side of the trunk and said: "Mr. Brown, I
seriously advise that you emulate the judicious example of the other
gentlemen in this game and avoid exposing yourself unnecessarily to
such promiscuous and irresponsible shooting as that bear is doing."

"That's dead straight," added Col. Orndorff.  "Shin up a tree, Brown,
or you'll get plunked."

"Think I'll mix in a little," replied Brown, drawing his gun and
opening fire upon the center of the disturbance.  A bursting shot gun
answered his first shot, and the charge plowed a furrow near Long Brown
and threw dirt in his face.  Then the cartridge boxes began exploding
as the fire reached them, exciting the bear to more tumultuous
struggles with the enfolding canvas and louder roars of pain and rage.
The five-gallon oil can, probably punctured by Long Brown's bullets,
furnished the climax to the volcanic display by blowing up and filling
the air with burning canvas, blankets and hardware, and out of the fire
and smoke rushed the blazing bear straight toward Long Brown and the
creek.  Even Long Brown's nerve was not equal to facing a ton of
Grizzly headed toward him in a whirlwind of flame.  He turned and dove
into the pool.  That was Old Brin's destination also, and he followed
Long Brown with a great splash and a distinct sizzle.  Brown swam under
water down stream, and the bear went straight across, up the opposite
bank and into the brush, howling blue murder.

In the morning, when the fire had burned out, the sportsmen raked over
the ruins and recovered the larger part of the jackpot, consisting of
gold and silver coins partly fused and much blackened.  "Here,
gentlemen," said Doughnut Bill, "we have convincing proof of the wisdom
of our Pacific Coast statesmen and financiers in retaining metal as a
circulating medium during the late lamentable unpleasantness.  Had we
succumbed to the vicious habit of using paper substitutes for money, we
should now be weeping over the ashes of a departed jackpot.  Therefore,
I suggest that this is an auspicious occasion for passing suitable
resolutions reaffirming Nevada's invincible repugnance to a debased
currency, her unalterable fidelity to hard money and her distinguished
approval of the resumption of specie payment."

"Get in a whack at the Greenbackers," said Col. Orndorff.

"I surely approves the suggestion," said Mr. Stewart.  "As a Jacksonian
Democrat, I views with alarm the play the Greenbackers make for fusion,
which the same is a brace game."

Mr. Gibson also allowed that fusion should be coppered by Nevada, and
Noisy Smith whispered his assent, and the resolutions were adopted

The disposition of the jackpot was then considered.  Col. Orndorff was
willing to divide it, but he allowed that if the bear had not butted
into the game he would have raked it down to a dead moral certainty.

"I don't know about that," said Doughnut Bill.  "The intrusion of our
combustible friend was unwarrantable and ungentlemanly, not to say
rude, but as the holder of three aces before the draw I claim an
interest in the pot.  Of course I can't show the cards, but that is the
fact.  On your honor as the opener of the pot, Colonel, what did you

"Seven full on eights."

"That's good," whispered Noisy Smith.  "I had a four flush."

Long Brown put his hand into his pocket, drew forth five water-soaked
cards, laid them down and said: "Had 'em in my hand when I dove."

Col. Orndorff looked at them and silently shoved the melted jackpot
over to Long Brown.  Long Brown's hand was an eight full on sevens.

     *     *     *     *     *

So long as Old Brin was under the guardianship of his early friends, it
was certain that no serious harm would come to him and that no hunter
would be permitted to boast of having conquered him.  But a later breed
of journalistic historians, having no reverence for the traditions of
the craft and no regard for the truth, sprang up, and the slaughter of
the club-footed Grizzly began.  His range was extended "from Siskiyou
to San Diego, from the Sierra to the sea," and he was encountered by
mighty hunters in every county in California and killed in most of them.

Old Clubfoot's first fatal misadventure was in Siskiyou, where he was
caught in a trap and shot by two intrepid men, who stuffed his skin and
sent it to San Francisco for exhibition at a fair.  He had degenerated
to a mangy, yellow beast of about 500 pounds weight, with a coat like a
wornout doormat, and but for a card labelling him as "Old Reelfoot,"
and exploiting the prowess of his slayers, his old friends never would
have known him.

Clubfoot's first reincarnation took place in Ventura, about 600 miles
from the scene of his death.  He appeared in a sheep camp at night,
sending the herders up the tallest trees in terror, and scattered the
flock all over a wide-spreading mountain.  The herders spent the best
part of a week in gathering the lost sheep, but after the most thorough
search of which they were capable, some fifty odd were still missing.
When the superintendent came around on his monthly tour of inspection,
the herders told him the story of the lost sheep, and he did not know
whether to believe it or suspect the herders of illicit traffic in

Knowing the mountain well, however, and having in mind some places
which might easily be overlooked by the herders, the superintendent
concluded to make an attempt to clear up the mystery for his own
satisfaction.  For two or three days he sought in vain for the trail of
the missing sheep, visiting several likely places unknown to the
herders, and he was about to give up the search when his mind pulled
out of a dusty pigeon-hole of memory a faded picture of a queer nook in
the mountain, into which he had stumbled many years before in chase of
a wounded deer.  More for the sake of seeing if he could find the place
again than in hope of solving the sheep mystery, he renewed his search,
and, at the end of a day's riding over the spurs of the mountain and up
and down ravines, he recognized the slope down which he had chased the
wounded deer, and saw upon it the hoof prints of sheep not quite
obliterated by wind and rain.

At the bottom of the slope was a small flat seemingly hemmed in on
three sides by steep walls.  At the upper end, however, behind a thick
grove of pines, was a break in one of the side walls leading to an
enclosed _cienega_, an emerald gem set deep in the mountain, as though
a few acres of ground had sunk bodily some fifty feet, forming a pit in
which water had collected and remained impounded until it broke an
outlet through the lower wall.

When the superintendent reached the entrance to this sunken meadow, an
opening perhaps thirty yards wide, he noticed a well worn path across
it from wall to wall, and a glance told him that the path had been
beaten by a bear pacing to and fro.  Looking closely at this beaten
trail, he saw that the footprints were large and that one paw of the
bear was malformed.  Old Clubfoot without doubt.

Huddled in silent terror close to the farther wall of the little valley
were about forty sheep, and near the beaten path were the remains of
ten or a dozen carcases.  A little study of the situation and the sign
told the story to the old mountaineer.  The frightened band of sheep,
fleeing blindly before the bear, had been driven by chance or by design
into this natural trap, and the wily old bear had mounted guard at the
entrance and paced his beat until the sheep were thoroughly cured of
any tendency to wander down toward the lower end of the meadow.  When
he wanted mutton, he caught a fat sheep, carried it to his sentry beat
and killed and ate it there, leaving the remains as a warning to the
rest not to cross the dead line.  The grass in the _cienega_ was thick
and green, and there was enough seepage of water to furnish drink for
the flock.  So the provident bear had several months' supply of mutton
on the hoof, penned up and growing fat in his private storehouse, and
his trail across the entrance was as good as a five-barred gate.

A man less wise than the superintendent would have undertaken to drive
the sheep out and back to camp, but the superintendent knew the ways of
sheep and foresaw that an attempt to rescue them without the aid of
dogs and herders would result only in an endless surging to and fro in
the basin.  Besides it was almost dusk, the bear might come home to
supper at any moment and a revolver was of little use in a bear fight
in the dark.  Moreover the looting of Old Clubfoot's larder would only
ensure more midnight raids on the flocks upon the mountain.  Therefore
the superintendent rode away.

The next day he returned with an old muzzle-loading Belgian musket of
about 75 calibre, a piece of fresh pork and some twine, and he busied
himself awhile among some trees near the bear's sentry beat.  When he
left, the old musket was tied firmly to the tree in such a position
that the muzzle could be reached only from in front and in line with
the barrel.  In the breech of the barrel were ten drams of quick rifle
powder, and upon the powder rested a brass 12-gauge shot shell, which
had been filled with molten lead.  Upon the muzzle was tied the fresh
pork, attached to a string tied to the trigger and passing through a
screw eye back of the guard.  The superintendent knew that pork would
be tempting to a mutton-sated bear, and he chuckled as he rode away.

At midnight in the camp upon the mountain the superintendent heard a
muffled roar echoing far away, and he laughed softly, turned over and
went to sleep.  In the morning, with two herders and their collies, he
went back to the _cienega_.  There was not much left of the musket, but
in front of where it had been was a pool of blood, and a
crimson-splashed trail led away from that spot across the flat and down
a brushy gulch.

Cautiously, rifle in hand, the superintendent followed the blood sign,
urging the unwilling dogs ahead and leading the more unwilling Basque
shepherds, who had no stomach for meetings with a wounded grizzly in
the brush.  Half a mile from the _cienega_ the dogs stopped before a
thicket, bristled their backs and growled impatient remonstrance to the
superintendent's efforts to shove them into the brush with his foot.
In response to urgent encouragement, the collies, bracing back, barked
furiously at the thicket, while the herders edged away to climbable
trees, and the superintendent waited with tense nerves for the rush of
a wounded bear.

But nothing stirred in the thicket, no growl answered the dogs.  Five
minutes, perhaps--it seemed like half an hour--the superintendent stood
there with rifle ready and cold drops beading his forehead.  Then he
backed away, picked up a stone, and heaved it into the brush.  Another
and still others he threw until he had thoroughly "shelled the woods"
without eliciting a sound or a movement.  The silence gave the dogs
courage and slowly they pushed into the thicket with many haltings and
backward starts, and presently their barking changed in tone and told
the man that they had found something of which they were not afraid.
Then the superintendent pushed his way through the bushes and found the
bear dead.  The big slug from the musket had entered his throat and
traversed him from stem, to stern, and spouting his life blood in
quarts he had gone half a mile before his amazing vitality ebbed clean
away and left him a huge heap of carrion.

It is the tradition of the mountain that the ursine shepherd was none
other than Old Clubfoot, and it is not worth while to dispute with the
faith of a man who follows sheep in the solitudes.

     *     *     *     *     *

Like Phra the Phoenician, Old Clubfoot could not stay dead, and when
there was trouble afoot in the world, with tumult and fighting, no
grave was deep enough, no tomb massive enough to hold him.  His next
recrudescence was in Old Tuolumne, where he forgot former experiences
with steel traps and set his foot into the jaws of one placed in his
way by vindictive cattlemen.  Attached to the chain of the trap was a
heavy pine chunk, and Old Clubfoot dragged the clog for many miles,
leaving through the brush a trail easily followed, and lay down to rest
in a thicket growing among a huddle of rocks.

Hot upon the trail came two hunters, Wesley Wood and a Sclavonian whose
name was something like Sakarovitch, and had been simplified to Joe
Screech.  Wood was certain that the bear had stopped in the thicket,
which was almost on the verge of one of the walls of Hetch-Hetchy
Valley, a replica of Yosemite on half scale, and he was too old a hand
at the game to follow the trail in.  One experience with a bear in the
brush is enough to teach the greatest fool in the world, if he
survives, that wild animals do not lie down to rest without taking
precautions against surprise by possible pursuers.  They do not stop
short in their tracks and go to sleep where any chance comer may walk
over them, but make a half circle loop or letter U in the trail and lie
where they can watch the route by which they came.

Joe Screech had not learned this, and he jeered at Wood for halting at
the thicket.  Wood admitted that he was afraid to follow the trail
another foot and tried to hold Joe back, but Joe had killed black bears
and knew nothing of Grizzlies, and he had a contemptuous opinion of the
courage of bears and a correspondingly exalted belief in his own.  At
least he was afraid somebody might suspect him of being afraid, and he
confounded caution with cowardice in others.

So Joe Screech laughed offensively at Wood as he strode into the
thicket.  "If you're afraid," he said, "you stay there and I'll run the
bear out.  Maybe you'd better climb a tree."

"That's just what we both would do if we had any sense.  Joe Screech,
you are the damnedest fool in Tuolumne.   That bear'll teach you
something if he don't kill you."

"Oh, climb a tree and watch my smoke," and Joe passed out of sight.

Presently Joe's head appeared again as he climbed upon a boulder close
to the edge of the cliff and peered around him.  A sudden rattling of
iron upon stone, a deep growl and a castanet clashing of teeth, and the
Grizzly arose behind Joe Screech, towering far above him and swinging
the trap from his paw.  Joe Screech had time for but one glance of
terror, and as he jumped the bear swung trap, chain and clog in the air
and reached for him with a mighty blow.  It was the fifty-pound steel
trap that landed upon Joe's head and sent him plunging over the cliff
just as Wood's Winchester began to bark.  As fast as the lever could be
worked the bullets thudded into the Grizzly's back even while Joe was
pitching forward.

[Illustration: The Bear Swung Trap, Chain and Clog.]

Old Clubfoot had ignored the trap and the clog in his eagerness to
reach the man with his nearest paw, and the impetus of the stroke,
aided by the momentum of the circling clog, threw him from his balance.
Probably a bullet in the back of the head had its effect also, for the
huge bulk of the bear toppled forward and followed Joe Screech over the

Wood scrambled desperately through the thicket to the cliff and looked
down into Hetch-Hetchey.  A thousand feet below, where the talus began
to slope from the sheer cliff, dust was still floating, and stones were
sliding down a fresh scar in the loose soil of the steep incline toward
the forest at the foot.

     *     *     *     *     *

In his old age, the big brindled bear grew weary of being killed and
resurrected and longed for a quiet life.  Little, ordinary, no-account
bears had personated him and got themselves killed under false
pretenses from one end of the Sierra to the other, and some of them had
been impudent enough to carry their imposture to the extent of placing
step-ladders against his sign-board trees and recording their alleged
height a yard or two above his mark.  That made him tired.  Moreover
the gout in his bad foot troubled him more and more, and he ceased to
get much satisfaction from rolling around on a "flat wheel" and scaring
people with his tracks.  Wherefore Clubfoot deserted his old haunts and
went down into a green valley, inhabited by bee-keepers and other
peaceable folk, where he lived on locusts and honey and forgot the
strenuous life.

All went well with the retired terror of the mountains for a long time.
The only fly in the ointment of his content was Jerky Johnson, who kept
dogs and went pirooting around the hills with a gun, making much noise
and scaring the wits out of coyotes and jack rabbits.  Old Clubfoot
realized that his eyes were dimming and his hearing becoming impaired,
and it annoyed him to be always on the alert, lest he should come
across Jerky in the brush and step on him inadvertently.

Jerky's ostensible occupation, from which his front name was derived,
was killing deer and selling jerked venison, but if the greater part of
his stock was not plain jerked beef, the cattle-men in that section
were victims of strange hallucinations and harborers of nefarious
suspicions.  Although Clubfoot was credited with large numbers of dead
steers found on the ranges, he was conscious of his own innocence, due
to some extent to the loss of most of his teeth, and he had better
reason than the cow-men had for putting it up to Jerky.

These particulars concerning Mr. Johnson's vocation enable the reader
to appreciate the emotions aroused in the breast of Old Clubfoot when
he found a newspaper blowing about a bee ranch and saw a thrilling
account of his own death at the hands of the redoubtable Jerky Johnson.
He had just tipped over a hive and was about to fill up with luscious
white sage honey when that deplorably sensational newspaper fluttered
under his eye and the scandalous fabrication of Jerky stared him in the
face.  "This is the limit," he moaned, and his great heart broke.

Slowly and painfully the poor old bear staggered down the valley.  His
eyes were glazed and he could not tell where the trees and barb-wire
fences were until he butted his nose against them.  The gout in his
maimed foot throbbed horribly, and all the loose bullets in his system
seemed to have assembled in his chest and taken the place of his once
stout heart.  But he had a fixed purpose in his mind, and on he went to
its fulfillment, grimly determined to make a fitting finish to a
romantic life.

At the lower end of the valley lived the country doctor.  To his house
came the club-footed bear at midnight, worn and nearly spent with the
pitiful journey.  There was a dim light in the back office, but it was
unoccupied.  Clubfoot heaved his bulk against the door and broke the
lock, softly entered the room and sniffed anxiously of the rows of jars
and bottles upon a shelf.  His eyes were dim and he could not read the
labels, but his nose was still keen and he knew he should find what he
was seeking.  He found it.  Taking down a two-gallon jar, Clubfoot
tucked it under his arm tenderly and walked out erect, just as in the
old days he was wont to walk away from a farmyard with a calf or a pig
under each arm.  It has been said of him that he could carry off a
steer in that fashion, but probably that is an exaggeration or even a

Behind the doctor's stable was a bucket containing the sponge used in
washing the doctor's carriage.  Clubfoot found the bucket, broke the
two-gallon jar upon the sharp edge and spilled the contents upon the
sponge.  Taking one last look at the stars and the distant mountain
peaks, he plunged his muzzle into the sponge, jammed his head tightly
into the bucket and took one long, deep breath.

In the morning "Doc." Chismore found a gigantic dead bear behind the
barn, with the stable bucket firmly fixed upon his head and covering
his nose and mouth.  Scattered about were the fragments of a chloroform
jar, and between the claws of the bear's maimed foot was a crumpled
Sunday supplement of a yellow journal, containing an account of the
slaying of Old Brin, the Club-footed Grizzly, by Jerky Johnson.  Being
a past master of woodcraft, Doctor Chismore read the signs like a
printed page, and applying the method of Zadig he reconstructed the
whole story of the dolorous passing of the greatest bear in the world.



Charles McKiernan was a well-known lumber merchant of San Jose, Cal.
To old timers he was "Mountain Charlie," having spent most of his life
in the Santa Cruz mountains, where he owned timber land and saw mills.
McKiernan's face was strangely disfigured.  His left eye was missing
and his forehead was so badly scarred that he wore his hair in a bang
falling to his eyebrows to conceal the marks.  From his own lips I
heard the story of those scars.

This was also in the days of the muzzle-loading rifle.  McKiernan and a
partner were holding down timber claims in the mountains and living in
a cabin overlooking a wide canyon.  One morning they saw a Grizzly
turning over rocks at the foot of a spur jutting from the main ridge
into the canyon, and taking their rifles they followed the ridge around
to the spur to get a shot at him from that point.  It so happened that
the bear also fancied that he had business on the top of the spur, and
began climbing soon after the men lost sight of him.

The bear and the men met unexpectedly at the top, and the bear halted
hesitatingly with his head and breast just showing above the rocks at
the brink of the steep slope.  McKiernan did not want to begin the
fight at such close quarters, and he was confident that the bear would
back down and attempt to return to the brush at the foot of the spur if
given time.  Then he would have the advantage of the up-hill position
and plenty of time to reload if the bear should attempt to return after
the first shot.

But McKiernan's partner lost his nerve, turned tail and ran away, and
that encouraged the bear to take the offensive, just as it would invite
attack from a hesitating dog.  The Grizzly sprang up over the edge of
the steep and charged McKiernan, who threw up his rifle and fired at
the bear's chest.  It was a Yeager rifle carrying an ounce ball, and it
checked the charge for a moment by bringing the bear to his knees.  As
the bear gathered himself for another rush, McKiernan swung the heavy
rifle and struck the bear over the head with the barrel.  He was a
powerful man, accustomed to swinging an axe, and the blow knocked the
bear down and stunned him.  The stock of the rifle broke in McKiernan's
hands and the barrel fell close by the bear, which had fallen upon the
very edge of a steep slope at the side of the spur or knob.

McKiernan stooped to recover the rifle barrel with which to beat the
bear to death, and in doing so his head came close to the bear's.  The
Grizzly had partly recovered, and throwing his head upward he closed
his jaws upon McKiernan's forehead, with a snap like a steel trap.  One
lower tusk entered the left eye socket, and an upper canine tooth sunk
into the skull.  McKiernan fell face downward, his arms under his face,
and the bear slid over the edge and rolled down the almost vertical
wall into the canyon, having dislodged himself by the effort to seize
the man.

McKiernan did not lose consciousness, but he was unable to move.  He
knew his left eye was gone, and he feared that he was bleeding to
death.  He heard the bear rolling down the slope, heard the crash of
bushes as he struck the bottom, and knew because of his bawling that
the Grizzly was mortally hurt.  Then he wondered why his partner did
not come to him, and sense of pain and fear of death were submerged
under a wave of indignation at the man's cowardice and flight.
Presently he heard faintly a voice calling him across the canyon, but
could not distinguish the words, and after a time he realized that his
partner had fled back to the cabin, and was shouting to him.  He could
not answer, nor could he raise his head, but he managed to free one arm
and wave it feebly.  The partner finally saw the movement and plucked
up enough courage to come back, and with his help McKiernan somehow got
to the cabin.

A young doctor from San Jose attempted to patch up the broken skull
after removing a large piece and leaving the envelope of the brain
exposed.  He had read something about trephining and inserting silver
plates, and he hammered out a silver dollar and set it like a piece of
mosaic into McKiernan's forehead, where it resisted the efforts of
nature to repair damages and caused McKiernan a thousand times more
agony than he had suffered from the Grizzly's tusks.  Only the
marvelous vitality of the man saved him from the consequences of such
surgery.  For days and weeks he sat in his cabin dripping his life away
out of a wound that closed, swelled with fierce pain and broke out
afresh, and the drain upon his system gave him an incredible appetite
for meat, which he devoured in Gargantuan quantities.

Then old Doctor Spencer went up to "Mountain Charlie's" cabin, took out
the silver dollar, removed a wad of eyebrow that had been pushed into
the hole made by the bear's lower tooth in the eye socket, and
McKiernan recovered.

And the first thing he did when he was able to travel was to load up a
shotgun and hunt San Jose from one end to the other for the man who had
set a silver dollar in his skull.



Over-confidence and some contempt for bears, born of easy victories
cheaply won, led one noted Californian hunter into The Valley of the
Shadow, from which he emerged content to let his fame rest wholly upon
his past record and without ardor for further distinction as a slayer
of Grizzlies.  As mementoes of a fight that has become a classic in the
ursine annals of California, John W. Searles, the borax miner of San
Bernardino, kept for many years in his office a two-ounce bottle filled
with bits of bone and teeth from his own jaw, and a Spencer rifle
dented in stock and barrel by the teeth of a Grizzly.

On a hunting trip in Kern county, Mr. Searles had a remarkable run of
luck and piled three bears in a heap without moving out of his tracks
or getting the least sign of fight.  It was so easy that he insisted
upon going right through the Tehachepi range and killing all the
Grizzlies infesting the mountains.  He and his party made camp in
March, 1870, not far from the headquarters of General Beale's Liebra
ranch in the northern part of Los Angeles county.  Romulo Pico was then
in charge at the Liebra, and nearly thirty years later, while hunting a
notorious bear on the scene of Searles's adventure, he told me the
story of the fight.

Searles was armed with a Spencer repeater but had shot away the
ammunition adapted to the rifle and had been able to procure only some
cartridges which fitted the chamber so badly that two blows of the
hammer were generally required to explode one of them.  Notwithstanding
this serious defect of his weapon, Searles had so poor an opinion of
the Grizzly that he went out alone after the bear several miles from
camp.  There was some snow on the ground and on the brush, and finding
bear tracks, Searles tied his horse and took the trail afoot.  He found
a bear lying asleep under the brush and killed it, and while he was
standing over the body he heard another bear breaking brush in a
thicket not far away.

Leaving the dead bear, he took up the trail of its mate and followed
until his clothing was soaked with melting snow and the daylight was
almost gone.  The bear halted in a dense thicket and Searles began
working his way through the chaparral to stir him up.  Of course the
bear was not where his tracks seemed to indicate him to be, and the
meeting was sudden and unexpected.  The bear rose within two feet of
the hunter and almost behind him.  There was neither time nor room to
put rifle to shoulder, and Searles swung it around, pointed it by guess
and fired.  The ball did little damage, but the powder flash partly
blinded the bear and it came down to all-fours and began pawing at its
eyes, giving Searles an opportunity to throw in another cartridge and
take fair aim at the head.

If Searles had not forgotten in his excitement the defect of his
weapon, the bear fight would have been ended right there.  He pulled
trigger with deadly aim, but the rifle missed fire.  Instead of
re-cocking the piece and trying a second snap, he worked the lever,
threw in a new cartridge and pulled the trigger.  Again no explosion.
Again he failed to remember the trick of the rifle, and tried a third
cartridge, which also missed fire.

Then the bear became interested in the affair and turned upon the
hunter at close quarters.  Seizing the barrel of the rifle in his jaws,
the Grizzly wrenched it from Searles's grasp, threw it aside and hurled
himself bodily upon his foe.  Searles went down beneath the bear.
Placing one paw upon his breast the bear crunched the hunter's lower
jaw between his teeth, tore a mouthful of flesh from his throat and
took a third bite out of his shoulder.  Then he rolled the man over,
bit into his back and went away.

The cold Californian night saved the man's life by freezing the blood
that flowed from his wounds and sealing up the torn veins.  He was a
robust, hardy man, and he pulled himself together and refused to die
out there in the brush.  With his jaw hanging by shreds, his wind-pipe
severed and his left arm dangling useless, he crawled to his horse, got
into the saddle and rode to camp, whence his companions took him to the
Liebra ranch house.  Romulo Pico was sure Searles would die before
morning, but he dressed the wounds with the simple skill of the
mountaineer who learns some things not taught in books, and tried to
make death as little painful as possible.  Finding Searles not only
alive in the morning but obstinately determined not to submit to the
indignity of being killed by a bear, Pico hitched up a team to a ranch
wagon and sent him to Los Angeles, a two-days' journey, where the
surgeons consulted over him and proposed all sorts of interesting
operations by way of experiment upon a man who was sure to die anyway.

Searles was unable to tell the surgeons what he thought of their
schemes for wiring him together, but he indicated his dissent by
kicking one of them in the stomach.  Then they called in a dentist as
an expert on broken jaws, after they had attended to the other damages,
and the dentist showed them how to remove the debris and where to patch
and sew, and they managed to get the shattered piece of human machinery
tinkered up in fairly good shape.  The vitality and obstinacy of
Searles did the rest, and in a few weeks he was on his feet again and
planning prospecting trips to Death Valley, not The Valley of the
Shadow through which he had passed, but the grewsome desert of Southern
California where he found his fortune in borax.



William Thurman, who owned a lumber mill on the Chowchilla mountain,
not far from the Mariposa grove of Big Trees, told this plain,
unadorned tale of an old-fashioned Grizzly bear hunt.

He was moved thereto by inspection of a Winchester express rifle,
carrying a half-inch ball, backed by 110 grains of powder, that was
shown to him by a hunter.

"If we had been armed with such rifles in early days," said Mr.
Thurman, "the Grizzly wouldn't have achieved his reputation for
vitality and staying powers in a fight.  There is no doubt that he is a
very tough animal and a game fighter, but in the days when he made a
terrible name for himself he had to face no such weapons as that.

"I assisted in killing, in 1850, the first Grizzlies that were brought
into the town of Sonora.  I had heard a great deal about the Grizzly,
and coming across the plains I talked to my comrade, Green, about what
I should do if I should get a chance at a bear.  I was a pretty good
shot, and thought it would be no trick at all to kill a bear with the
Mississippi rifle that I brought home from the Mexican war.

"One day I went out with a man named Willis, who was a good hunter, and
in the hills back of Sonora we found plenty of bear sign.  In fact we
could get through the thick brush and chaparral only on the trails made
by bears, and we had to go carefully for fear of running upon a Grizzly
at close quarters.  Although it was evident that we were in a bear
country, we hadn't seen anything to shoot at when we emerged from the
brush into an open space about fifty yards in diameter.

"Willis said that he was sure bears were close around us, if we could
only see them, and I proposed to climb a tree on the other side of the
clearing and get a good view of the surrounding thickets.  If I should
see bears I was to make a noise and try to scare them out of their
hiding places.

"I started across the opening, but before I reached the tree I saw a
huge Grizzly coming toward me through the brush.  He looked much larger
and uglier than I had expected, and it struck me that the proper thing
for me was to get into that tree before shooting.  I got to the tree
all right enough, but found that I couldn't climb it and take my rifle
up with me.  Willis saw my difficulty and shouted to me that I couldn't
make it, and so I abandoned the attempt and ran back toward him.

"The bear was following me, and Willis started back into the brush.  I
called to him not to do that, but to stand in the open and wait for me.
He halted, and when I got alongside we both turned and raised our
rifles.  When the bear saw that we were standing our ground, he
stopped, looked at us a moment and then turned and shuffled back into
the brush.  He was so big and looked so formidable that we concluded to
let him go unmolested, rather relieved, in fact, that we were let out
of the scrape so easily.

"We made our way back to camp with some caution and decided that we
would get up a crowd and go bear hunting the next day.  When we told
our adventure, Green was very hilarious at my expense and kept
reminding me of the brave things I had said coming across the plains.
He was so everlastingly tickled with his joke that he sat up all that
night to guy me about my running away from a bear.  I told him I would
show him all the bears he wanted to see the next day, and give him a
chance to try his own nerves.

"The next day five of us went out to look for bears, and we struck them
thick before we got to the place where we had found so much sign.
Willis and I took the upper side of a patch of brush, and Green and the
other two skirted the lower edge.  An old Grizzly and two cubs,
startled by some noise made by the other fellows, jumped out of the
brush on our side, and we fired at them.  My bullet struck one near the
shoulder, and Willis hit the dam in the belly.  They all turned and ran
down through the brush toward the rest of the crowd, and got out of our

"The noise made by them in running through the brush stirred up another
squad, and when the shooting began down below five bears came tearing
out on our side to get out of the way.  Willis raised his rifle and
pulled the trigger, but luckily the cap failed to explode.  The five
turned as soon as they saw us and ran in another direction.  I was
going to shoot one in the rump, but Willis stopped me, saying that we
had our hands full without inviting any more bears to join the
scrimmage.  Before those five bears, got out of sight three more broke
cover and joined them, and for a moment there were eleven Grizzly
bears, young and old, in sight from where I stood.  Eight of them ran
away and the original three kept us all busy for the best part of the

"For some time the other three men had all the fun, while Willis and I
stood guard on our side of the thicket and watched the performance.
The old bear would stand up and look over a patch of brush to locate
her enemy, and somebody would give her a shot.  She would drop to all
fours and gallop around to where she saw the man last, and he would run
around the other side and reload.  The cubs were half grown--big enough
to be dangerous--and the boys had to watch for them while dodging about.

"I got even on Green that afternoon.  He had forgotten to bring any
caps, and after his first shot he could do nothing but dodge around the
brush and keep out of the way.  One of the bears was after him, and he
had to step lively.  While he was waiting to see which way the bear was
coming next, he made motions with his hand, pointing to the nipple of
his rifle, to indicate that he wanted caps.  I saw what he meant, but
instead of going to him to supply him with caps I stood still and
laughed at him and applauded his running when the bear chased him.
That made him furious and he yelled that if he had a cap he'd take a
shot at me.

"After two or three hours of dodging about, every man taking a shot
whenever he got a chance, one of the cubs keeled over and the dam and
the other cub retreated into the thickest part of the brush patch.

"We consulted and decided that if we killed the other cub next the dam
might quit and get away, whereas if we killed the dam the cub probably
wouldn't leave her and we'd bag the whole outfit.  One of the party
crawled cautiously into the thicket and presently he fired.  Then he
called to me to come in, and when I crawled up to him he said: 'I've
killed the cub by mistake, but the old one is lying badly wounded on
the other side of a little open spot, and you can get a splendid shot
at the butt of her ear while I back out and reload."

"He backed out, and I crawled up and took his place.  There was the old
bear about ten yards away, lying down and bleeding from a great many
wounds.  She seemed to be nearly exhausted and out of breath.  I was in
the act of raising my rifle to take aim at her head, when she caught
sight of me and suddenly sprang up and rushed at me.  She was almost
upon me in two jumps, and I thought I was in for a bad time of it.  I
had no time to aim, but pushed out my rifle instinctively and fired in
her face.  The bullet struck her in the mouth, and the pain caused her
to stop, wheel around and make a rush through the chaparral in the
opposite direction.  Such a shot as that from a Winchester express
would have blown off the whole roof of her head, but my bullet, as I
found later, tore through her tongue, splitting the root, and stopped
when it struck bone.

"When she broke out of the brush on the other side three of the boys
fired into her and she fell dead.  We looked her over and found more
than thirty bullets in her.  We had been shooting at her and dodging
her in the brush from 11 o'clock in the forenoon; until after 3
o'clock, and she had caved in from sheer exhaustion and loss of blood,
not from the effects of any single bullet.

"We packed the three carcases into Sonora that night and a butcher
named Dodge offered to cut them up and sell the meat without charge to
us if we would let him have the bears at his shop.  That was the first
bear meat ever taken into Sonora, and everybody in the camp wanted a
piece.  In the morning there was a line of men at Dodge's shop like the
crowd waiting at a theatre for Patti tickets.  Men far down the line
shouted to Dodge not to sell the meat in big pieces, but to save slices
for them.  The meat sold for $1 a pound.  Everybody got a slice, and we
got $500 for our three bears.

"One of our crowd was so elated over the profits of bear-hunting that
he started out alone the next day to get more Grizzly meat.  He didn't
come back, and the boys who went out to look for him found his body,
covered up with leaves and dirt, in the edge of a clump of brush.  His
skull had been smashed by a blow from a Grizzly's paw."



Pike was one of the oldest of Yosemite guides and altogether the
quaintest of the many queer old fellows who drifted into the valley in
early days and there were stranded for life.  He had another name, no
doubt, but nobody knew or cared what it might be, and he seemed to have
forgotten it himself.  "Pike" fitted him, served all the purposes for
which names were invented, was easy to pronounce, and therefore was all
the name he needed.  Pike was tall, round-shouldered, lop-sided,
slouchy, good-natured, illiterate, garrulous, frankly vain of the
little scraps of botanical nomenclature he had picked up and as lazy
and unacquainted with soap as an Indian.

Pike dearly loved bears and bear stories.  When there were no tourists
about to whom he could tell bear stories, he would go into the woods
and have adventures with bears and stock up with stories for the next
season.  Pike never had to kill a bear to get a story out of him.  He
brought in no bear skins, pointed out no bullet holes, exhibited no
scars and told no blood-curdling tales of furious combat and
hair-breadth escapes.  Pike and the bears appeared to have an
understanding that there was room enough in the woods for both and that
his hunting was all in the way of innocent amusement and recreation, to
be spiced now and then with a practical joke.

"Black bears and brown bears are peaceable folks," Pike used to say in
his Californianized-Missourian vernacular.  "There's nothing mean about
'em and they don't go around with chips on their shoulders.  I
generally get along with them slick as grease and they never try to
jump me when I haven't got a gun.  Why, sir, I can just talk a brown
bear out of the trail, even when he thinks he owns it.  I did one night
in the valley.  I was going from Barnard's up to the Stoneman when I
ran right up against a big brown bear in the dark.  He was coming down
the road and was in pretty considerable of a hurry, too--going down to
the butcher's corral for supper I reckon--and we stopped about three
feet apart.  'What you adoin' of here,' says I.  'Seems to me you're
prowling around mighty permiscuous, buntin' inter people on the State
stage road.  You git inter the bresh,' says I, 'where you belong or
I'll kick a few dents into you.  Now don't stand here argifying the
pint,' says I, just as important as if I was the Gardeen of the Valley,
which I wasn't.  'Scoot, skedaddle, vamoos the ranch, git off the
earth,' I says, 'if you ain't aimin' to git your head punched.'

"Well, sir, he stood there a minute with his head cocked sidewise,
kinder grunted once as if he was saying 'good-night,' and turned off
the road into the brush and went about his business, and I poked along
up to the Stoneman.  'Course I can't swear that he knew just what I
said, but he ketched the general drift of the argyment all right, what
you might call the prepoort of my remarks, and he knowed he hadn't no
case worth fighting about.

"I remember once when Jim Duncan and me was ketched out in a snowstorm
up near the head of Alder Creek, and lost each other in the dark.  I
knew Jim would take care of himself and it was no use tramping around,
so I hunted a hole to sleep in.  I found a place under a rock just big
enough for me, where the snow didn't blow in, and I curled up on some
dry leaves and snoozed off in no time.  By and by something touched my
face and I woke up, and there was a bear poking his head in and
wondering if there was room for two.  There wasn't no room and I don't
like to sleep with bears nohow.  Bears are all right in their place and
I don't hold to no prejudices, but I'm notional about some things and I
never could stand bears in my bed; they smell worse than Indians.  So I
says to that bear, which was looking mighty wishful into my snug
quarters, 'Git along out of this; I was here first,' and I reached up
and fetched him a back-handed slap on the nose.  You'd orter heard him
sneeze as he moseyed off.  Last thing I remembered when I turned over
and went to sleep was him a sneezing as he wandered around looking for
another hole.

"If that had been a she-bear, of course I'd have crawled out and gave
her my place like a gentleman.  You never know what a she--bear, or any
other kind of she, is going to do next, and the best way to get along
with 'em is to let 'em have their own way and be polite.  I'm always
polite to ladies--or most always any way.  Of course when they get too
cantankerous a man has to forget his manners and call 'em down.

"I was impolite to a she-bear once, but she got back at me.  I was over
on the far side of Signal Peak hunting gray squirrels with a shot-gun.
I heard a funny sort of squealing a little way off, and set out to find
out what was going on in the woods.  Poking quietly through the brush,
I came to the top of a ledge that dropped off straight and smooth to a
flat covered with bear clover, just an opening in the forest.  A
she-bear was busy cracking open sugar pine cones and showing two cubs
how to get the nuts out of them.  The little fellows were having a gay
old time, wrestling, boxing, stealing nuts from mamma and rolling about
in the clover like a couple of kids, and I laid down in some bushes on
top of the ledge and watched them.  Sometimes they would grab a cone
from the old one or bite her ear, and she would scold them and cuff
them until they yelped that they'd be good.  They couldn't be good half
a minute, and they had the old lady's patience most worn out before I
took a hand in the frolic.

"The old bear's coat was pretty thin and rusty, and she'd been sitting
down or coasting down a bear slide so much that all the hair was worn
off her hams slick and smooth.  She looked mighty ridiculous when her
back was turned, and it came into my fool head that a charge of small
shot in the smooth place would be mighty surprising to her and help out
the fun a whole lot.  She couldn't get at me on the ledge, so I was
perfectly safe to play jokes on her, and I wanted to see her jump.  So
I shoved the gun out through a bush and turned it loose.  She was sixty
yards away and the shot stung her good without doing any great harm.

"'Woof!' said the old bear as she jumped four feet high, and when she
lit she was as mad as a wet hen.  She looked up at the ledge, but
couldn't see me, and she looked all around for somebody or something to
blame for her trouble.  Not a thing was in sight to account for it.
She sat down sort of sideways, reached around with one paw to scratch
where it hurt and thought the matter over.  I had to stuff grass in my
mouth to keep from howling with laughter at the way she cocked her head
and seemed to be sizing up the situation while she scratched the
stinging place.

"The cubs had stopped playing at the sound of the gun and run up close
to her, and they were watching her for further orders.  The old girl
finally got her eye on them, and she looked at them solemnly for half a
minute, and it was plain as print she was beginning to have suspicions.
Then she was sure she had the thing figured out, and she fetched first
one and then the other a cuff that sent them rolling ten feet away.
When they got up bawling she was right there and gave them the darndest
spanking two innocent cubs ever got.  Every time she hit one he would
go heels over head and yell blue murder, and by the time he got up she
gave him another belt, scolding like an old woman all the time.  It
seemed to me I could almost hear her say, 'Play tricks on your mammy,
will ye?  I'll teach ye.  Get along home without your supper, ye little
scamps, and take that.'  And so she went through the woods; spanking
her babies, and they a'yelling for keeps and not knowing what they were
being licked for, and I rolled around on top of the ledge, kicking my
heels in the air and just bellowing with laughter.

"I thought that was the end of the funniest time I ever had with a
bear, but it wasn't.  Along about the first of March there was a warm
spell in the mountains, and I went down the South Fork to Devil's
Gulch, which heads up toward Signal Peak, to look over a timber claim
and see if it was worth taking up.  It was one of those warm days that
take the snap out of a man, and I got tired and went to sleep under a
tree.  When I waked a bear had me half covered up with leaves and was
piling on more.  I wasn't cold, and didn't need any covering, but she
seemed to think I did, and I reckoned the best thing to do was to keep
still and let her finish the job.  She seemed so serious about it that
I didn't dare take it as a joke and try any tricks on her, but I
couldn't figure out what her game was.  She covered me with oak leaves,
pine-needles and dirt from head to foot, and then all was still.  I
couldn't see, and I didn't dare to lift my head and shake off the

"After a while I made up my mind to take some chances to find out if
the bear was on watch, and I wiggled my foot.  Nothing happened, so I
wiggled it a little harder.  Then I felt around slowly until I got hold
of my gun, and when I had that where I could handle it, I jumped up and
shook the leaves and dirt from my face.  The bear was gone.  I had a
sort of notion of what she was driving at, and so I fixed up the pile
of leaves just as she had left them, went up the hill a little way and
shinned a tree.

"About half an hour later the bear came back, leading two half-grown
cubs so thin you could count their slats, and I recognized the
interesting family I had met and had fun with in the fall.  She was
saying things to them in bear-talk, sort of whining and grunting, and
they wobbled along behind her up to that pile of leaves.  The cubs laid
down with their tongues hanging out as if they were pretty tired, and
the old girl tackled the pile confidently.  It was plain enough that
she had cached me for dinner, gone home into the gulch after the cubs
and brought them back to have a square meal after being holed up for
two or three months.

"The old bear made only two or three dabs at the pile when she began to
suspect something was wrong, and then she sailed into it like a steam
shovel.  She made leaves and dirt fly so fast out between her hind legs
that the cubs had to get out of the way or be buried, and the more she
dug, the more excited she got.  She worked over that pile and all the
ground for ten feet around it until she was down to the frost, and when
she finally got it through her head that the cupboard was bare, she was
the most foolish-looking critter a man ever saw.  She stood there
blinking at the cubs, who were sniffing at the rubbish she had
scattered about, and couldn't explain to them what had become of that
square meal, and I reckon the cubs had it put up that mamma was getting
light-headed and having dreams.  They quit prospecting and sat down and
looked at her and whined, and that set her off again raking over all
the leaves in the neighborhood as if she hoped to find me hiding under
them.  Pretty soon she struck some kind of a root that was good to eat,
and she braced up and called the cubs and showed it to 'em as if that
was what she had been hunting for all the time.  She made more fuss
over that root than there was any call for and pretended it was the
greatest thing a bear ever struck in the woods, and the cubs were so
glad to get anything that they allowed roots were good enough and
forgot all about what she had promised them.

"If her pelt had been good and the cubs had been big enough, I reckon
I'd have got even with her for caching me, but she wasn't worth
skinning and the cubs were no good for grub.  It was getting late and I
was tired of my tree, so I ploughed up the dirt under her nose with a
load of shot and let out a yell, and she herded those cubs off into the
brush and lit out for Devil's Gulch, and I went home.  That was the
nearest I ever came to being eaten up by bears."



The winter of 1889-90 is memorable in California as the winter of "the
big snow."  In the latter part of January the Central Pacific line over
the Sierra Nevada was blockaded, and three or four passenger trains
were imprisoned in the drifts for more than two weeks.  Passing through
the blockade and over the range afoot, I walked at times above the tops
of the telegraph poles, and think it no exaggeration to estimate the
depth of snow at the higher altitudes at 25 feet.  Drifts in the
canyons must have been more than double the depth of the snow on a
level.  The storm was general and the snowfall throughout the mountain
region was extraordinary, not only for quantity but for rapidity.  It
can snow more inches to the hour in the high Sierra than feet to the
week anywhere else, and the big storm of 1890 broke all previous

Miners' cabins in the gulches and hunters' shacks on the mountains were
buried in a night and the occupants had to tunnel their way out.  Deer
fled from the slopes down into secluded glens which had been their safe
refuge from Sierra storms before, but the white death followed them and
softly folded its feathery wings about them.  In the spring the dead
deer were found in hundreds where they had "yarded" safely through many
winters before the big snow.  Warm weather before the storm had brought
the bears out of their holes and set them to foraging for grub.  The
snow fell lightly and no crust formed for some time, and bruin could
not wallow through it.  The best he could do was to get under the lee
of a log or ledge, take another nap and nurse his inconvenient
appetite.  Being a philosopher, bruin did the best he could and trusted
the god of the wild things to do the rest.

Upon the long western slope of a big sprawling mountain in Sierra
county a Grizzly dam and two gaunt cubs of the vintage of '89 were
caught in the big snow miles away from the deep gulch in which they had
passed the winter.  No doubt that dam was weatherwise enough to sense
the coming storm in time to have returned to the den, but neither beast
nor man could have guessed what a thick blanket of white the gray
clouds were about to lay upon the land.  When the flakes began to fall
thickly Mother Grizzly quit digging roots and turning over rocks, and
sought shelter.  The long slope was smooth and bare, but down near the
foot was a fallen pine with upturned roots, and into the hollow where
the roots had been, under the lee of the matted mass of fibre and dirt,
Mother Grizzly led her babies and there made her bed for the night.  It
was a longer night than the old bear expected.  It lasted until the
next day's westering sun made a pale, bluish glimmer through the upper
part of the drift that covered the fallen tree and filled up the
hollow.  The warmth of their bodies had kept an open space around the
bears, and the upturned roots of the pine had prevented the snow from
piling high directly over them, while causing it to drift and form an
enclosing barrier in front of the shallow pit made by the uprooting of
the tree.  Mother Grizzly arose and struggled toward the dim glimmer of
light, but she could not break her way out.  The snow was light and dry
and would not pack, and her buffetings only brought a feathery smother
down upon her and the cubs.  All she accomplished was to let down the
frail roofing of the den and get a glimpse of the sky.  She tried to
climb up the drift, but sank out of sight and had to back out of the
smother.  Digging was futile, for the snow offered scarcely more
resistance than foam.

So Mother Grizzly gave up her attempt to escape and busied herself with
making the hollow as comfortable as possible for a long stay.  She
scraped down to the dirt and packed the snow about the sides of the
lair, stowed the cubs against the back of the den and curled herself in
front of them and waited for better times to come.

It is a proverb of the Spaniards that "who sleeps, dines," and bears
attest its truth, for it is their experience through the long, cold
weeks of winter, when the snow is deep and no food is to be got at.
Doubtless the old she bear was content to go to sleep again and forget
her hunger, but it may be supposed that the cubs had not learned the
philosophy of necessity, and kept her awake with fretful demands which
she could not satisfy.  Had the family remained holed up in the winter
den and not been tempted out by mild weather to break the long fast,
probably the desire for food would have remained dormant, but the taste
of food awakened appetite, and exercise sharpened it and created
insistent necessity for its satisfaction.  The normal period of
hibernation having passed, dreams were no longer acceptable substitutes
for dinner.  So the hungry, worrying cubs would not let their dam
sleep, and she soon became as ravenous as they and impatient of

Every day Mother Grizzly tried the barrier to find a way out, but for
more than two weeks the snow was without a crust that would sustain the
weight of a dog, and she could only flounder into the drift a few feet
and struggle out again.  Then a light drizzle of rain came, and the
next night there was a sharper tingle in the air, a promise of cold
weather, and crust began to form.  In a day or two more it would be
firm enough to travel upon, and the old Grizzly would lead her starving
cubs down into the foothills and hunt for a stray calf or a sheep with
which to feed them.

The big snow obliterated mountain roads and trails, and the mail was
carried to many of the smaller mountain settlements by men on
snowshoes, who took the shortest feasible routes and found smooth
traveling a dozen or fifteen feet above the rough, rock-strewn ground.
A Sierra carrier on skis--the long, wooden Norwegian snowshoes--with a
letter pouch strapped to his shoulders, was tempted by the light crust
to leave the ridge and shorten his journey by making a cut-off down the
long, smooth slope.  A minute's swift rush down that slope would save
hours of weary plodding above the heads of the gulches.

The carrier studied the stretch of gleaming white carefully to select
his course, and determined on a line passing a little below the roots
of the fallen pine, which were indicated by a slight fold in the
blanket of snow.  Setting his steel-shod staff under his left arm pit
to serve as brake and rudder and throwing his weight upon it, the
carrier ranged his skis parallel, the right in advance a few inches,
fixed his attention upon the range mark he had chosen, gave a slight
push with the staff and got under way.  The crust bore his weight
easily, and in two seconds he was gliding swiftly.  In five seconds
more he was speeding like an arrow from the bow, and the ringing of the
steel staff point against the crust arose in a high clear note above
the grating sound of the sliding skis.

Mother Grizzly heard the strange sound, which was unlike anything of
which she knew the meaning, and cuffing the whining cubs into instant
silence, she started cautiously up the barrier to see what was going on
or what danger menaced.  Her frequent attempts to get out of the hole
had made an inclined trench, which came to the surface a few yards from
the protruding tree roots, and when she reached the upper end and put
her head above the crust she saw a man rushing down the mountain
straight toward her with the speed of a falling stone.

The green glint came into the grizzly's eyes, her teeth clashed
together in quick, sharp strokes, like the chattering of a chilled
bather, and she lunged forward and upward to meet the charge.  If the
man saw her at all, it was too late to swerve from his course or swing
his staff forward for a weapon.  His right ski passed under the bear's
foreleg and he flew headlong over her, hurtled through the air and
crashed through the snow crust a dozen yards beyond her.  One of the
skis was broken and torn from his foot, and even if his leg had not
been broken he would have been helpless where he fell.

[Illustration: She Lunged Forward to Meet the Charge.]

Mother Grizzly and the starving cubs broke their fast, and two or three
days later they went away over the frozen snow to the foothills.  The
men who went out in search of the missing carrier, and followed his
trail to the fallen pine, brought back the mail pouch and something in
a grain sack.  They told me what they found, but it was not a pleasing
tale and it is best that it be not retold.



A small party of hunters sat by a campfire in a tamarack grove in the
high Sierra.  Their guide was William Larkin, Esq., alias "Old Bill," a
man who had lived in the mountains for forty years and learned many
things worth telling about.  A new Winchester rifle that was being
cleaned was the immediate provocation of some reminiscent remarks on
the subject of pump-guns.

"We old mossbacks are slow to see anything good in new contraptions,"
said Mr. Larkin, after begging a Turkish cigarette from the Dude and
lighting it with the Dude's patent pocket lamp, "but I'm just beginning
to get it socked home into my feeble old intellect that things ain't
naturally no account just because I never seen 'em afore.  I stuck to
it for a good many years that an old muzzle-loading rifle was the best
shooting tool that ever was or ever could be made, but an old she-bear
with one of my bullets through her lungs taught me different by clawing
all the clothes and half the meat off my back.  I'm learning' slowly,
and I ain't too old to learn some more.  If I live long enough I'll
know consid'able yit.

"I remember the first pump-gun that came into these mountains.  It was
a Henry sixteen-shooter, and it blew in along with a kid from Boston
who wanted to kill a bear.  The young chap's uncle tried to convince
him that killing a California Grizzly was not as much fun as some folks
pretended, but the Boston boy couldn't be convinced, and so the uncle
hired me to go along and take care of him.  Boston had a gun in a case,
and I told him to keep it there until we got to my bear pasture.  The
rest of his outfit was 500 cartridges and a box of paper collars.

"When we got into camp over on the South Fork, Boston wanted to begin
the slaughter right away and opened up that gun case.  I'd heard of the
repeating rifle, but had it put up for a Yankee lie, and when the boy
pulled out the gun I thought he had made a mistake and brought along
some scientific contrivance from his college.  He told me it was a
Henry rifle and showed me how it worked, but I had no use for it.
While he stuffed his pump-gun I smoked and thought.  'Unless you go
slow, Mr. Larkin,' says I to myself, 'you'll get into plenty of
trouble.  Here you are, mixed up with something that you don't sabe
pretty well.  A rough canyon, two hound dogs and an able-bodied bear is
a combination that you can work, but when you throw in a college boy
and a gun that winds up like a clock and shoots till the cows come
home, the situation looks kind of misty.'  I didn't think much of the
pump-gun, but for all I knew it might go off at both ends and paw up
everything by the roots, and I was tolerable sure that Boston would
wobble it around so's to take in a pretty consid'able scope of
outdoors.  But I allowed I was old fashioned enough to circumvent a
Boston boy and his new gun, and concluded to go ahead.

"Next morning we put the dogs into Devil's Gulch, and by making a cut
over a spur we got about two miles below them and sat down to wait for
bear.  The trees were so tall and so close together that you couldn't
see the tops and the sun never saw the ground.  The canyon was narrow
and the sides were so steep that they tucked under at the bottom.
While we sat there I figured a bit on what was going to happen.  There
was a light breeze, and presently I noticed something on the other side
of the canyon, about fifty yards away.  The wind swayed some bushes
that grew around a charred stump, and from time to time the black end
of the stump showed up and then disappeared very much like a bear's
head peeping out of the brush.

"Pretty soon the dogs made a row up the gulch, and as the howls and
yells and promiscuous uproar came nearer I knew they had started a bear
and made him get a wiggle on.  Boston danced around in great
excitement, and when I pointed to the black stump he was ready to see
bears most anywhere.  'You take care of that,' says I, 'and I'll go and
see what ails the dogs.'  He opened fire on the stump, and I dodged
from tree to tree up the gulch until I was out of range.

"I never was in a battle, but if they made any more noise at Bull Run
than Boston was making, I'm glad I wasn't there.  I thought I was
running away from the biggest fight on record.  It was what our
military authors call 'a continual roll of musketry.'  But while
running away from one battle I piled into another and had all the fight
I needed on my hands.  The dogs and two bears were mixed up in some
sort of disagreement about things in general, and I was in it, as the
Dude would say, with both feet and a crutch.  We got some tangled, but
things came my way pretty soon, and when the bears were laid out I
stopped to listen.  The fight was still going on down the canyon.  The
boy is still holding his own, I thought; it would be a pity to spoil
such a battle.  So I went on and dressed my bears, while the steady
roll of musketry thundered in the gulch.  Then I had a wash in the
creek, had a smoke and sat down at the foot of a tree and fell asleep.
The last I heard was a monotonous uproar indicating that the forces
down the gulch were stubbornly holding their ground.

"I never did know how long I slept, but when I awoke all was quiet.
Perhaps it was the silence following the cessation of hostilities that
awakened me.  I set out to find Boston, and groped my way down the
gulch through a cloud of smoke.  Presently I came to the scene of the
fray.  Where my hero had made his first and last stand was a stack of
empty shells and the pump-gun so hot that it had set the dry leaves
afire, but the bear hunter was gone.  I yelled, but got no answer.  I
looked for tracks up and down the canyon, but there were no tracks.
The kid had vanished.

"Then I climbed up the side of the canyon, high enough to see the tops
of trees that stood in the bottom of the gulch.  Near the scene of
hostilities was a giant sugar pine, the top of which had been broken
off.  Boston had shinned up that tree when his ammunition gave out, and
when I discovered him he was balancing himself upon the broken shaft
and reaching out over his head into space for more limbs."



"Yosemite" is an Indian word, signifying "place of the Grizzly bear,"
and appropriately the Yosemite National Park is made a sanctuary for
the California Grizzly by the regulations forbidding hunting or the
carrying of firearms within its borders.  Danger of extinction of the
species, which was an imminent menace when the park was established,
was averted by that act, and doubtless the bears have increased in
numbers under protection of the United States.  They were quite
plentiful in that part of the Sierra Nevada in the early 90's, when, as
State Forester, I co-operated with the first superintendent of the
National Park, Capt. Wood, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, in driving out the
sheep-men with their devastating flocks of "hoofed locusts," and
protecting the Sierra forests from fire.

During the first two or three years of the Park's legal existence the
hunting of deer was prohibited, but bear-hunting was permitted, and
Captain Wood, Lieut. Davis and I devoted considerable time to the sport
in the autumn of 1891.  The Captain and I learned to appreciate the
distinction between bear-hunting and bear-killing very keenly during
that season.  For example, I cut the trails of no less than thirteen
bears in two days in the mountains north of Yosemite Valley and
followed some of them, but although I succeeded in getting close enough
to hustle two of the wanderers out of a leisurely walk into a lope, I
never saw hair through my rifle sight.  Having no dogs, of course, it
was all still-hunting and trailing, with the long-odds chance of
jumping a bear in the brush by sheer accident.

Late in the tourist season, bears came down out of the high mountains
into the Yosemite Valley and made tracks in the Bridal Veil Meadows and
along the stage roads, which were pointed out to visitors for their
entertainment.  The valley butcher reported bear sign at the place
where he slaughtered beef for the hotel, and I tried roosting for bear
in hope that it might prove better than still-hunting.  There was a
platform in a tree at the slaughtering place and I sat there through
one chilly night without hearing or seeing any bear sign.  The next
night an eager tourist persuaded me to give him a share of the perch,
and we roosted silently and patiently until after midnight.  Hearing a
bear coming through the brush, I touched my companion gently to attract
his attention.  He had fallen into a doze, and, awakening with a start
at my touch he dropped his shotgun from the platform.  The stock was
broken, one of the hammers struck upon a log and a load of buckshot
went whistling through the leaves of our tree.  Then we went home.  It
was an accident; the man meant well, and he was very sorry, and I held
my tongue.

The next afternoon I was one of a small party on a drive over the roads
at the lower end of the valley, and of course had no gun, A bear broke
out of the brush, crossed the road fifty yards ahead of the team, and
went down to the meadow.  It was not expedient to say all that occurred
to me before comparative strangers; so I jumped from the buckboard,
picked up a cudgel and lit out after that bear on a lope.  He had a
good start and when he discovered that he was being followed he clawed
dirt to increase his lead and beat me out to the bank of the Merced.
For a moment he hesitated about going into the swift water, but he
decided that he would rather swim than listen to offensive
personalities, and over the bank he plunged.

It was a relief to sit there, watching him swim the rapids, and feel
free to say all the things I hadn't said to the man who dropped the
gun, with a few general observations on the perversity of bears and
bear-hunters' luck thrown in for good measure.

Bears were all over the place that year.  They blundered into the roads
at night and scared teams, broke into the cabin in Mariposa Grove and
ate up all the grub and a sack of sugar pine seed worth a dollar a
pound, and Captain Wood and I never got a shot in three weeks' of
diligent hunting.  The only man who had any luck was Lieutenant Davis;
that is, not counting Private McNamara, who had bigger luck than a man
who wounds a big Grizzly and runs really has coming to him.  McNamara's
luck will be seen later.

Davis killed two bears on the Perigord Meadows and one on Rush Creek,
and wounded a large Grizzly in Devil's Gulch.  It was a lucky shot that
he made in the dark on Rush Creek.  A troop horse had died about a
quarter of a mile below the cavalry camp, on the edge of the National
Park, and the men had seen bear tracks around the carcass.  Davis and
an Illinois preacher, who was roughing it for his health with the
troopers, took their blankets one night and camped about thirty yards
from the dead horse to await the coming of the bear.  The moon was not
due to rise until about midnight, and Davis pulled off his boots,
rolled up in his blanket and went to sleep.  The preacher was not
sleepy, and was not entirely confident that it was bear nature to wait
for moonlight before starting out on the prowl.  So he made a small
fire and sat beside it, toasting his toes and thinking of things.

Just before midnight Davis awoke, looked at his watch, and said: "Well,
parson, it is about time for the moon to show up, and the bear is
likely to come pretty soon.  You'd better put out your fire."

The preacher shoved some dirt over the embers with his foot, and Davis
had just returned his watch to his pocket, when the sound of the
crunching of gravel was heard from the bank just above the carcass.
Davis looked up and could just make out a huge dark form on the edge of
the bank.  He raised his carbine and fired point blank at the dark
mass, and the report was answered by an angry growl.  The bear leaped
down the bank toward the hunters, and Davis sprang to his feet,
dropping the carbine, and jumped into the creek, revolver in hand, to
get into clear fighting ground.  In doing so, he had to jump toward the
bear, but he preferred close quarters in the creek bed, where the water
was knee deep, to a scrimmage in the brush.

The preacher ran for his carbine, which was leaning against a tree
twenty feet distant, but he had no opportunity to use it, for the bear
made but one more plunge and fell into the water with the death gurgle
in his throat.  When Davis was certain that the bear was done for, he
and the preacher ventured to examine the beast.  They found that Davis
had made one of the luckiest shots on record, having sent a carbine
bullet through the heart of the big cinnamon bear, although he had
taken no aim, and, when he fired, could not distinguish the bear's head
from his tail.

They pulled the dead bear out of the water, and by the light of the
moon, which had risen over the mountain, the preacher curiously
examined the teeth and formidable claws of the first wild bear he had
ever seen.  He felt of the animal's enormous, muscular legs, and was
profoundly impressed with the great strength of the brute.

"Well," said Davis, after he had inspected the body sufficiently, "we
might as well turn in and sleep the rest of the night.  The trail back
to camp is too rough to follow in the night."  And so saying he rolled
up in his blankets.

"Sleep!" said the preacher; "sleep with those dum things wandering
about!  Not much."  And the preacher rebuilt his fire, climbed upon a
log, and roosted there, with cocked carbine, until daybreak, while the
Lieutenant slept and snored.

The "other story" is about Private McNamara, a Grizzly, and some gray
squirrels.  McNamara got leave to go hunting, and went over to Devil's
Gulch, the roughest canyon in the country and the best hiding place for
big game.  McNamara had good luck, and killed about a dozen gray
squirrels, which he slung to his belt.  He had turned homeward, and was
picking his way through the fallen timber, when a Grizzly arose from
behind a log about fifty yards away.  McNamara raised his carbine and
fired.  The bear howled and started for him, and McNamara felt in his
belt for another cartridge, but none was there.  He had fired his last

McNamara realized that he had to trust to his legs to get him out of
that scrape, and he turned and ran faster than he ever sprinted in his
life.  But the bear was the better runner, and gained rapidly.  The
dangling squirrels impeded McNamara's action, and as he ran he tried to
get rid of them.  He pulled two loose and dropped them, and the Grizzly
stopped to investigate.  Bruin found them good, and he ate them in two
gulps and resumed the chase.

McNamara dropped some more squirrels and gained a good lead, and then
he unhooked his belt and dropped all that were left, and when the
Grizzly finished the lot McNamara was out of sight across the river and
getting his second wind for a long run home.



"It was pretty late in the season," said my friend, the prospector,
"when I took a notion that I'd like to see what sort of a country lies
north of the Umpqua River, in Oregon, and I struck into the mountains
from Drain Station with my prospecting outfit and as much grub as I
could pack upon my horse.  After leaving Elk Creek I followed a hunting
trail for a day, but after that it was rough scrambling up and down
mountain sides and through gulches, and the horse and I had a pretty
tough time.  The Umpqua Mountains are terribly steep and wild and it's
no fool of a job to cross them.

"There is any amount of game in those mountains, and where I went it
never is hunted, and, therefore, not hard to find.  If I had cared to
shoot much, I could have killed a great many bears, but I wasn't in
there for fun so much as for business, and I didn't shoot but one.
Bear meat is no good at any time unless a man is starving, according to
my notions, and in the summer it is worse than no good.  Before berries
are ripe a bear goes around clawing the bark from logs and dead trees
and feeds on the borers and ants.  He has a banquet when he strikes a
well-populated ant heap, and then he smells and tastes like ants if you
try to eat him.  His meat is rank, and if you eat it for a day or two
you will break out all over with a sort of rash that is mightily
uncomfortable.  There is no fur on a bear in summer and his skin is not
worth taking, so you see there was no reason why I should fool away
time and cartridges on Bruin.  Besides, I rather like Bruin for his
comical ways, and when he doesn't bother me, I'd rather watch him than
shoot at him.

"I had to kill one big brown fellow, because he wouldn't get out of my
way and my horse was afraid to pass him.  He was on a narrow ridge that
I was following in order to keep out of the heavy timber, and the bear
sat upon his haunches right in my way.  Probably he never saw a man
before, for he didn't seem to be in the least disturbed when I hove in
sight leading the horse.  I supposed he would drop on all fours and
scuttle away, but not a bit of it.  He had struck something new and was
going to see the whole show.  There he sat, with his forepaws hanging
down and his head cocked on one side, looking at the procession with
the liveliest curiosity in his face.  There was nothing wicked in his
appearance, and if it hadn't been for the horse I think I would have
passed within three yards of him without any trouble.  As it was, I
dragged the horse up to within twenty feet, but then he hung back,
snorted and protested so vigorously that I was afraid he would back
over the edge and fall down the steep mountain side.

"Letting the horse back away a few yards, I tied his halter to a scrub
tree and then advanced toward the bear with my rifle in my left hand.
He didn't budge, and when I yelled at him he only started a little and
cocked his head over on the other side.  That made me laugh, and then I
amused myself by talking to him.  'Why don't you move?' said I.  'I
know you got here first and have a squatter claim on the
quarter-section, but you ought not to sit down on public travel in that
way.'  He looked at me as though I was the oddest specimen he ever came
across, and scratched his ear with his left paw.

"'You musn't mind my friend here,' I said, pointing to the horse; 'he's
a little shy in society, but he means well.  If you'll move to one
side, we'll pass on.'  It was a fool sort of an idea, standing there
and talking to a bear, but I was interested in studying the expression
of his face and seeing how puzzled he seemed to be at the sound of my
voice.  He'd rub his ear or his nose once in a while, and then look up,
as though he were saying: 'Just repeat that; I don't quite make out
what you are driving at,' and then he'd assume a look of the most
intense interest.  I don't know how long he would have remained there,
but I got tired of the fun and threw a stick at him.  It would have hit
him on the nose, but he warded it off very cleverly, and then his
manner changed.  He growled a little and began swaying his head from
side to side, and when I saw the green glint come into his eyes--the
danger signal that all the carnivorae flash and all hunters heed--I
knew the time was up for airy persiflage and that I was in for a
'scambling and unquiet time' unless I promptly took up the quarrel.  It
was an easy shot, through the throat to the base of the skull, and the
bullet smashed the spinal cord.

"That was the only bear, other than a Grizzly, that I ever saw dispute
the right of way of a man through the woods."



"Curious how some men will lose their grip on the truth when they talk
about bears," said Mr. Jack Waddell, of Ventura.  "There's old Ari
Hopper, for example, a man whose word is good in a hoss trade, but when
he tells about his bear fights he puts your confidence in him to an
awful strain.  I don't say that Ari would tell lies, but he puts a
whole lot of fancy frills on his stories and fixes 'em up gorgeous.  I
reckon I've run across most as many bears as anybody, but I never had
no such adventures as I read about.

"The most curious bear scrape I ever had was over on the Piru last
spring, and just the plain facts of the case beat anything you ever
heard.  There was an old white-headed Grizzly in that part of the
country that did a heap of damage, but nobody had been able to do him
up.  They set spring guns for him on the mountain and put out poison
all around, but he'd beat the game every time.  Taylor, of the Mutaw
ranch, fixed a spring gun that he thought would fix the old fellow for
sure.  It was a big muzzle-loading musket, with a bore as big as an
eight-gauge shotgun, and Taylor loaded it with a double handful of
powder, thirty buckshot and a wagon bolt six inches long.  It was set
right in the trail and baited with a chunk of pork tied to the muzzle
and connected with the trigger by a string.

"The gun was about a mile from the house, and the very first night
after it was set, Taylor was awakened by a roar that made the windows
rattle and seemed to shake the very hills.  Taylor knew the old gun had
gone off, and he chuckled as he thought of the wreck it made of the old
Grizzly.  In the morning he started out to take a look at his dead
bear, and found his tracks leading from the meadow right up the trail.
He knew the sign, because the Grizzly put only the heel of his off
forefoot to the ground and there was a round mark in the track that
looked as though it were made by the end of a bone.

"As I was saying, Taylor recognized the tracks and was sure he had got
old Whitehead, but he was sort of puzzled when he noticed a hog's track
in the same trail and saw that those were sometimes wiped out by the
bear's tracks.  When he got near the spring gun he saw bits of meat
hanging in the brush, but no fur anywhere.  He kept on, and pretty soon
he saw a dark mass lying on the ground in front of the wreck of the old
musket.  He stepped up to look at it and saw that it was the mangled
corpse of the biggest hog on the ranch.  One of the hams was gone, and
apparently it had been cut away with a knife.  The head and all the
fore part of the hog had been blown to flinders, and the brush was just
festooned with pork.

"Taylor thought somebody had happened along and cut a ham out of the
dead hog, but there were no man tracks anywhere; nothing but hog and
bear tracks.  It was plain that the cunning old bear had driven the hog
ahead of him up the trail to spring the gun, but that missing ham could
not be accounted for.

"Another curious thing was noticed about all the cattle that the
Grizzly killed.  Ordinarily, you know, the Grizzly strikes a blow that
breaks a steer's neck or shoulder, and then pulls him down and finishes
him.  In the Piru country a great many cattle were found with their
throats neatly cut, and old Whitehead's tracks were invariably found
near the carcasses.  The only man that the Grizzly ever killed, so far
as is known, was a Mexican sheepherder, and he was found with a slash
in the side of the head that looked like the work of a hatchet or other
sharp tool.  Some people didn't believe that the Mexican was killed by
a bear, but there were no other tracks where his body was found, and I
know for a fact that old Whitehead did kill him.

"I was pirooting around in the brush on a hill pretty well up toward
the head of Piru Creek one afternoon, when I caught sight of a bear
about twenty yards ahead of me.  I could see only a part of his fur,
and couldn't tell how he was lying or what part of him was in sight.  I
figured around a few minutes, but couldn't get a better sight, and so I
just took chances and let drive for luck at what I could see.  It was a
fool thing to do, of course, but I just happened to feel careless and
confident.  There was a snort and a crash, and old Whitehead loomed up
madder than a hornet.  I had shot him in the haunch and he felt
insulted.  He made a rush at me, and I skipped aside and jumped for a
small tree standing on the brink of a little ravine.  My rifle dropped
into the ravine, and I went up the tree like a monkey up a pole, and by
the time the old bear had put his helm down and swung around to take a
whack at me I was out of his reach and felt safe.

"The bear sat down and deliberately sized up the situation, and then he
walked up to the tree and began striking at the trunk with his right
paw.  That made me laugh at first, but I was just paralyzed with
amazement when I saw clean-cut chips flying at every stroke and caught
a metallic gleam as his paw swung in the air.  I didn't have much time
to investigate the matter because the old Grizzly was a boss chopper
and my tree began to totter very soon.  I had sense enough to see that
if I came down with the tree on the upper side the bear would nail me
with one jump, and I threw my weight on the other side so as to fall
the tree into the ravine.  I thought I might have the luck to land
without breaking any bones, and then I'd have quite a start of the bear
and perhaps be able to pick up my rifle.

"As the tree toppled over the edge of the ravine and began to fall I
swung around to the upper side and braced myself for the crash.  During
the fall I managed to throw my legs out over a branch, and when the
tree struck bottom I shot out feet foremost, sliding down through the
brushy top and landing with a pretty solid jar right side up and no
damage except a few bruises and scratches.  The first thing I looked
for was my rifle, and, luckily, it wasn't two yards away.  I grabbed it
and ran up the other side of the ravine to a rocky ledge, while the
Grizzly was crashing down through the brush on his side, expecting to
find me under the fallen tree.  Before he knew what had happened I was
shooting him full of holes and he was dead in a minute.

"When I examined the dead Grizzly I found the most singular thing I
ever came across.  In the sole of his right forepaw was an
ivory-handled bowie-knife, firmly imbedded and partly surrounded by
calloused gristle as hard as bone.  The handle was out of sight, but
the butt of it made a knob in the heel of the bear's foot and left a
mark on the ground.  Evidently he walked on that heel to keep the blade
from striking stones and getting dulled.  That knife accounted for all
the mysteries about the white-headed Grizzly.

"What's that?  Mystery about how the knife got into his foot?  Not at
all; that's simple enough.  He swallowed the knife during some fight or
other, and it worked around in his system and down into his foot just
as a needle does in a man."



What a bear may do under given circumstances may be guessed with
reasonable certainty by one who has had experience, but it is not
always safe to risk much on the accuracy of the guess.  Bruin's general
nature is not to be depended upon in special cases.  He has individual
characteristics and eccentricities and is subject to freaks, and these
variations from the line of conduct which he is expected to follow are
what makes most of the trouble for people who are after his pelt.
Morgan Clark, the old bear hunter of Siskiyou, never hesitates about
going into a den in the winter to drive out a bear, provided the cavern
is wide enough to let the bear pass him.  He takes a torch in his hand
and stalks boldly in, because his experience has made the proceeding
seem perfectly safe.

"All you've got to do," says Morgan, "is to stand to one side and keep
quiet, and the bear'll just scoot by without noticing you.  It's the
light that's bothering him, and all he's thinking about is getting out
of that hole as fast as he can.  He don't like the smoke and the fire,
and he won't pay any attention to anything else until he gets outside,
but then you want to look out.  He goes for the first live thing in
sight when he's clear of the cave and the smudge, and he don't go very
slow either.  Jim Brackett found that out over in Squaw Valley one day.
He found a bear in a den, and built a fire at the mouth to smoke him
out.  The fire was burning rather slowly, Brackett thought, and he
stood looking around and waiting for something to happen.  While he had
his back turned to the den something did happen, and it happened
dog-gone sudden.  That fire was plenty fast enough for the bear, and
the old cuss came out without waiting to be choked.  He came out
galleycahoo, and the first thing he saw was Brackett leaning on his gun
and waiting for the show to begin.  He just grabbed Brackett by the
back of the neck and slammed him around through the manzanita brush
like a dog shaking a groundhog, Brackett told me that he never felt so
surprised and hurt in his life.  He hadn't cal'lated on that bear
coming out for a good two minutes more; but mebbe the bear had stronger
objections to smoking than Brackett knew.  If it hadn't been for
Brackett's little cur dog, that he supposed wasn't fit for nothing but
barking at chipmunks, I reckon the bear would have chawed and thumped
the life out of him.  The cur seemed to tumble to the situation right
away, and he went for the bear's heels in good shape.  It generally
takes time and a few knock-out cuffs from bear's paw to teach a dog
that there's two ends to a bear and only one of them safe to tackle,
but that little ornery kiyi knew it from the start.  If there's
anything a bear can't stand, it's a dog nipping his heels, and when the
cur began snapping at his hind legs and yelping, he lost interest in
Brackett and attended to the disturbance in the rear.  The little cuss
was cute and spry enough to keep out of his reach, though, and he made
such a nuisance of himself, without doing any serious damage of course,
that the bear got disgusted with the whole performance and hiked out
through the brush.  Brackett was hurt too badly to follow him or to
fire a gun, and it was two months before he was able to get around.
But he wouldn't have sold that little scrub cur for all the money he
ever saw."

Budd Watson, who used to hunt and trap on the Pitt River and the
McCloud, had an adventure with a bear that didn't conduct his part of
the hunt according to Hoyle.  Budd and Joe Mills tracked a big Cinnamon
to a den in the mountains near the McCloud and built a big smudge to
smoke him out.  The wind blew the wrong way to drive the smoke in, and
so Budd took a torch and went after the bear, leaving Mills on guard
outside.  Like Morgan Clark, he knew the bear would pass him head down
and make for the open air without delay, and he wasn't afraid.  When
the bear got up with a growl at the appearance of the torch and started
for the exit, Budd quietly stepped aside and gave him room to pass, but
the Cinnamon developed individuality in an unexpected direction and
made a grab for Budd's right leg as he passed.  Budd threw his leg up
to avoid the grab, lost his balance and fell flat on top of the bear.
Instinctively he caught hold of the thick fur on the bear's hind
quarters with both hands, still holding the torch in his right, but
dropping his gun, and winding his legs about the bear's body he rode
out into the daylight before he hardly knew what had happened.

Mills was ready to shoot when the bear appeared, but seeing his partner
riding the game, he was too much surprised to take the brief chance
offered at the bear's head, and in another instant it was too late.  To
fire after the pair had passed was too dangerous, as he might hit the
rider instead of the steed.  The Cinnamon, in his first panic, plunged
wildly down the hill, trying to shake off his strange burden, and went
so rapidly that Budd was afraid to let go.  But Budd's principal fear
was that the bear would recover his presence of mind and turn upon him,
and his game was to keep the beast on the jump as long as he could,
trusting to chance for a way out of the scrape.

The torch, made of rags soaked in oil, was still blazing in his right
hand.  Taking a firmer grip with his legs and a good hold just above
the tail with his teeth, he applied the torch to the bear's rump.  This
application and the hair-raising yells of Mills, who was plunging along
madly in the wake, caused an astonishing burst of speed, and the
Cinnamon thundered through the brush like a runaway locomotive on a
down grade, with such lurches and rolls and plunges that Budd dropped
his torch and hung on, tooth and nail, for dear life.

The unfeeling Mills was taking a frivolous view of the case by this
time, and as he strode rapidly along behind, losing ground at every
jump, however, he encouraged Budd and the bear alternately with
flippant remarks: "Stick to him, Budd!  Whoaouw!  Go it bar!"  "You're
the boss bar-buster, old man.  Can't buck you off!"  "Whoopee
Hellitylarrup!"  "Who's bossing that job, Budd; you or the bar?"  "Say
Budd, goin' ter leave me here?  Give a feller a ride, won't ye?"
"Hi-yi; that's a bully saddle bar!"

[Illustration: A Bully Saddle Bear.]

But Budd was waiting for a chance to dismount, and as the bear rose to
leap a big log in his path, Budd let go all holds and slid head first
to the ground.  He bumped his forehead and skinned his nose on a rock.
His legs and back were scratched and torn by the brush, his clothes
were in tatters, and he was almost seasick from the lurching motion of
his steed.

Mills came up roaring with laughter.  He thought it was the funniest
thing he ever had seen in his life.  But Budd was not a man of much
humor and he failed to appreciate the ridiculous features of the
adventure.  He got up slowly, ruefully brushed away the blood and dirt
from his face, and solemnly and methodically gave Joe Mills the most
serious and matter-of-fact licking that a man ever got in this world.



In the flickering of the camp-fire the glooming wall of firs advanced
and receded like the sea upon the shore, whispering, too, like the sea,
of mysteries within its depths; for this is true: the wind in the
forest and the wave upon the beach make the same music and tell the
same strange tales.  Through a rift in the darkening wall the last
afterglow on the snow-cap of Mount Hood made a rosy point against the
western sky, a "goodnight" flashed from the setting sun to the man by
the camp-fire.

Out from the enfolding night that fell as a mantle when the light died
on Mount Hood, came a shape, followed by a shadow that seemed to be
with but not of the shape.  Like a menacing enemy the shadow dogged the
steps of the man who came out of the night, now towering over him in
monstrous height against a tree trunk, now suddenly falling backward
and darting swiftly down a forest aisle in panic fear, only to spring
forth with gigantic leaps and grotesque waxings and wanings and inane
caperings at his heels as the firelight rose and fell.

A cheery "Howdy, stranger!" drew the attention of the man by the
fire--known to his Indian guide by the generic name of "Boston," which
is Chinook for white man--and he returned the greeting to the tall,
gray-bearded man who strode toward him, glad to have company in the
absence of the Indian, Doctor Tom, who had gone down to the Columbia
for supplies.  A haunch of venison confirmed the stranger's brief
explanation that he was hunting and made his arrival doubly welcome.

When the pipes were lighted, Boston drew the old fellow out, found that
he hunted for a living and soon had a hunt for the next day all
arranged.  They were telling camp-fire yarns, and the stranger was
speaking in an animated way of some adventure, when Boston noticed a
sudden change in his expression and an abrupt halt in his speech.

Turning in the direction toward which the stranger's apprehensive gaze
was directed, Boston saw a dark figure standing motionless in the
shadow of a fir, and he laid his hand upon his rifle.  The figure
advanced into the firelight and Boston recognized Doctor Tom.  The
Indian said nothing, but placed his pack upon the ground in silence,
and Boston saw him cast one swift, glowering look at the stranger, who
was apparently trying to conceal his uneasiness under an assumption of

Doctor Tom had travelled all day and must have been hungry, but he did
not take any food out of the pack or even go to the fire for a cup of
tea, and he shook his head when Boston offered him a piece of broiled
venison.  Not a bite would he touch, but sat, silent and motionless as
a statue, upon a log away from the fire and with his back turned to the

Boston tried to resume the camp-fire stories, but the grizzled hunter
was thinking of something else and replied with monosyllables.  Soon he
arose, made up his pack, threw his rolled blanket over his shoulder and
picked up his rifle.  Boston, in some surprise, urged him to remain,
and reminded him of the arrangement for the next day's hunt.  There was
a slight movement of Doctor Tom's head, and he seemed about to arise,
but the almost imperceptible tension of his limbs instantly relaxed,
and he remained apparently indifferent and unheeding.

"Fact is," said the stranger, "I forgot that I'd got to be up to Hood
River to-morrow, and I reckon I'll just mosey along to-night so as to
make it.  I know the trail with my eyes shut."  He was about to stride
out of camp, when his eye caught Doctor Tom's old musket leaning
against the tree.  "You don't shoot with this?" he asked with a little,
uneasy laugh, as he picked up the ancient piece and toyed with the
lock.  Boston laughingly replied, "Well, hardly," and the stranger
replaced the gun, said "So long," and was lost in the gloom.

It was ten minutes before Doctor Tom moved, and then he got his musket
and brought it to the fire.  He lifted the hammer, removed the cap, and
taking a pin from his waist band worked at the nipple until he
extracted a splinter of wood.  Then he drew the charge, blew down the
barrel to see that it was clear and reloaded the musket.  Doctor Tom
took some smoked salmon from his pouch, made a cup of coffee and
silently ate his supper, and Boston began to comprehend that there was
a reason for his refusal to eat while the stranger was in camp.  But it
was useless to try to make Doctor Tom talk until he had smoked, and
Boston waited patiently.

At last Doctor Tom said, abruptly, "You know um?"  Boston replied that
he did not know the stranger, told briefly how he came into camp, and
by adroit questioning drew, in laconic sentences, a story from the
taciturn Indian.

The man was a hunter, who had been a famous bear-killer many years ago.
In the days of muzzle-loaders he had two rifles, one of which was
always carried for him by an Indian whom he hired for that service.  If
his first shot failed to kill, he handed the empty rifle to the Indian
to exchange for the second weapon, and usually brought down his bear
while the Indian was reloading.  A member of Doctor Tom's tribe,
probably a relative, was gun-bearer for the hunter on one of his
expeditions.  They ran across a she-bear with cubs and the hunter shot
her, but the wound only stung her, and she rushed fiercely upon him.
The second shot did not stop her, and the hunter and the Indian had to
turn and run for their lives.

But a Grizzly in a rage can outrun any man in a long race, and the
angry she-bear rapidly overhauled her foes.  The white man and the
Indian ran side by side, although the Indian could have outstripped
him.  The red man had his knife in hand ready for the moment when the
bear should seize one of them.  The white man glanced over his
shoulder, saw the bear lurching along within one jump of them, seized
the Indian by the shoulders and hurled him backward into the very jaws
of the furious brute.  The white man escaped with his life, and the
Indian lived just long enough to tell those who found him, a torn and
bloody mass of flesh and broken bones, how he had been sacrificed to a
coward's love of life.

Doctor Tom told this in his uncouth jargon of English and Chinook,
without a tremor, but his black eyes glowed with a gleam of light not
reflected from the dying embers of the campfire, and Boston was glad
that the stranger had gone.  Then he knew why Doctor Tom sat silently
apart and would taste no food while the stranger was in camp.  The
stranger might accept Boston's hospitality and eat salt with him, but
the Indian would not acknowledge by any act that he, Doctor Tom, had
any interest in that camp, or bind himself by Indian custom to treat
the stranger as his guest.

Boston awoke in the still dark hours before dawn and lay thinking over
Doctor Tom's story and the demeanor of the man who had wandered into
camp.  A cry clove through the silence of the night like a lightning
flash through a black cloud, and as the gloom becomes deeper after the
flash, so the silence seemed more intense and oppressive after that
cry.  It came from across the canyon, clear and far, a cry of mortal

It is a panther, thought Boston, and he listened for its repetition or
an answer from the mate, but the stillness was unbroken.  He turned
over to see if Doctor Tom had heard or noticed it, and thought the dark
bundle by the side of the log seemed rather small for the sleeping
Indian.  Boston got up and walked over to the log.  Doctor Tom's
blanket only was there.  Boston looked for the musket; it was in its
old place against the tree.  His own rifle was undisturbed.  Boston
concluded that Doctor Tom had gone for water or was off on some
incomprehensible Indian freak, the reason of which was not worth a
white man's time to puzzle out, rolled up in his blanket again and
became oblivious to the realities around him.

It was daylight when Boston awoke again.  Doctor Tom had not returned.
Boston made a fire, and while cooking breakfast he noticed that the
Indian's long knife was gone from the log where he had left it sticking
after supper.  He halloed to Tom, but received no answer save the echo.
Calmly confident of Doctor Tom's ability to look out for himself,
Boston went about his business without more ado, ate his breakfast and
was taking a second cup of coffee when Doctor Tom came into camp,
silent and grave as usual, but rather paler.  He came from the
direction of the canyon.

The Indian drank some coffee and then carefully took his left arm with
his right hand from the bosom of his shirt, where it had been resting,
and said, "Broke um."  Boston examined the arm and found that it was
badly bruised and broken above the elbow.  He heated some water and
bathed the arm and then told Tom to brace his breast against a tree and
hold on with his right arm.  Boston took hold of the left arm on the
opposite side of the tree, braced his feet and pulled.  Rough splints
were soon made and applied, and a big horn of whiskey made Doctor Tom
feel more comfortable.  While making the splints Boston asked Tom for
his knife, having carefully mislaid his own.  "Lose um," said Doctor
Tom, but he offered no more explanation.  When asked how he broke his
arm, he replied, "Fall down."  Evidently he had fallen down, but there
were five odd-looking marks on his throat, and Boston thought of that
cry in the night and wondered if the whispering firs could tell of
another mystery hidden in the forest; of a menacing shadow dogging the
footsteps of a man and grappling with him in the dark.

Boston and Doctor Tom broke camp and started back over the mountain on
the Hood River trail.  Boston was in the lead, and as he walked along
he looked closely for the tracks of the stranger's boots, as he had
said he was going to Hood River.  There were no tracks.  The stranger
had not gone over that trail.



"Speaking of bears, Joe," said one of a party of hunters sitting around
a campfire at old Fort Tejon, "Old Ari Hopper has had more queer
experiences with bears than anybody.  He has given up hunting now, but
he used to be the greatest bear-killer in the mountains.  Ari has a
voice like a steam, fog-horn--the effects of drinking a bottle of lye
one night by mistake for something else, and when he speaks in an
ordinary tone you can hear him several blocks away.  You can always
tell when Ari comes to town as soon as he strikes the blacksmith's shop
up at the cross-roads and says, 'Holloa' to the smith.   Ari was out on
the Alamo mountain one day and got treed by a big black bear--"

"A black bear on the Alamo?" interrupted Dad.  "There ain't nothing but
Grizzlies and Cinnamons over there.  I was over there once--"

"Hold on, Dad, it's my turn yet.  You never heard of a Grizzly climbing
a tree, did you?"

"Oh, well, if you've got to have your bear go up a tree, all right.
We'll call it a black bear.  Besides, if it's one of Ari's bear
stories, anything goes."

"The bear treed Ari," resumed the other, "and just climbed up after him
in a hurry.  Ari went up as high as he could and then shinned out on a
long limb.  The bear followed, and Art kept inching out until he got as
far as he dared trust his weight.  The bear was climbing out after him
and the limb was bending too much for safety when Ari yelled at the
bear: 'Go back, you d----d fool.  You'll break this limb and kill both
of us.  Want to break your cussed neck, goldarn ye?'

"Well, sir, that bear stopped, looked at Ari, and then down to the
ground, and then he just backed along the limb to the trunk, slid down
and lit out for the brush.  Ari swears that the bear understood him.
Bears have a heap of sabe, but I'm inclined to think that it was Ari's
stentorian roar that scared him away."

"That's one of Art's fairy tales," said Joe.  "Let Ari tell it, and he
has had more bear fights and killed more Grizzlies than anybody, but
the fact is that his brother-in-law, Jim Freer, did all the killing.
You never heard of Ari going bear hunting without Jim.  When they'd
find any bears Ari would go up a tree and Jim would stand his ground
and do up the bear.  Jim never gets excited in a scrimmage, and he's a
dead shot.  He'll stand in his tracks and wait for a bear, and when the
brute gets near him he'll raise his rifle as steadily as though he were
at a turkey shoot and put the bullet in the exact spot every time.  If
that had been the piebald Grizzly of the Piru that treed Art, he
wouldn't have scared him out of the tree."

"What's the piebald Grizzly?" inquired Dad in an incredulous tone.  "I
never heard of no such bear as that."

"Oh, you needn't think I'm lying.  I wouldn't lie about bears."

"How about deer?"

"Well, that's different.  I never knew a hunter or any chap that likes
a gun and a tramp in the mountains who wouldn't lie about a deer except
Jim Bowers.  He doesn't lie worth a cent.  Why Bowers will go out after
venison, come back without a darned thing, and then tell how many deer
he shot at and missed.  I've known him to miss a sleeping deer at
thirty yards and come into camp and tell all about it.  When I do a
thing like that I come back and lie about it.  I swear I haven't seen a
deer all day long."

"If you told the truth," said Dad, "we'd hear nothing but deer
stories--the missing kind--all night."

"That's all right, but I'm telling about bears now.  This bear I speak
of is a big Grizzly that some people call Old Clubfoot.  Jim Freer
knows him better than anybody, I reckon.  Jim got caught in a mountain
fire over on the Frazier one day, and he had to hunt for water pretty
lively.  He found a pool about five yards across down in a gully, and
he jumped in there and laid down in the water.  He hadn't more than got
settled when the big piebald bear came tearing along ahead of the fire
and plunged into the same pool.  It was no time to be particular about
bedfellows, and the bear lay right down alongside of Jim in the water.
They laid there pretty near half an hour as sociable as old maids at a
tea party, and neither one offered to touch the other.  The bear kept
one eye on Jim and Jim kept both eyes on the bear, and as soon as the
fire had passed Jim crawled out and scooted for camp, leaving the
Grizzly in soak."

"Did you ever see that piebald Pinto of the Piru?" inquired Dad.

"Did I ever see him?  Well, I had the d---dest time with him I ever had
in my life except the day I was chased by a spotted  mountain lion on
Pine Mountain.  I was hunting deer over on the Mutaw when I saw Old
Clubfoot in the brush and fired at him.  He turned and rushed towards
me and I had just time enough to get up a tree.  The tree was a pinon
about a foot thick and would have been a safe refuge from any other
bear, and I felt all right perched about twenty feet from the ground.
But Old Clubfoot is different from other bears.  He's a persistent,
wicked old cuss, and would just as soon sit down at the foot of a tree
and starve a man out as hunt sheep.  He came up to the tree, looked it
all over, sized it up, and then stood on his hind legs and took a good
hold of the trunk with his arms.  He couldn't quite reach me, and at
first I thought he was going to climb up, which made me laugh, but I
didn't laugh long.  The old bear began to shake that tree until it
rocked like a reed in a gale, and I had all I could do to hold on with
arms and legs.  It's a fact that he pretty nearly made me seasick.  He
shook the tree for about ten minutes, and when he saw that it was a
little too stout and that he couldn't shake me down, he began tearing
the trunk at the base with his teeth and claws.  The way he made the
bark and splinters fly was something surprising.  He gnawed about half
way through, and there was a wicked glitter in his little green eyes as
he stood up to take another grip on the tree.  I saw that he'd shake me
down sure that time, and I got ready to take the last desperate chance
for life.  Looking around, I noticed a barranca, or gully, twenty feet
wide about a hundred yards away, and I determined to make for that.  If
I could reach the bank, jump across and get to some heavy timber on the
other side, I would be all right.  Twenty feet is a big jump and I knew
the bear couldn't make it.  It was doubtful if I could, but a man will
do some astonishing things when he's at the head of a procession of
that sort.  When the Grizzly began to shake, I took a firm hold on the
big limb with my hands and swung clear of the trunk.  He made that tree
snap like a whip, and as it swayed over toward the barranca I threw my
feet out ahead and I let go.  I shot through the air like a stone out
of a sling, and struck the ground nearly fifty yards from the tree.  It
was that fifty yards that saved me, for by the time I had picked myself
up and started on a run the bear was coming hellitywhoop.  I ran like a
scared wolf and I think my momentum would have carried me across the
barranca if the bank had been firm, but the earth caved under me as I
took off for the leap, and down I went into the gully under a mass of
loose earth.  I reckon there was about a ton of dirt on top of me, and
I was in danger of being smothered under it.  I couldn't move a limb
and I'd have passed in my chips right there and been reckoned among the
mysterious disappearances if it hadn't been for the bear.  The piebald
Grizzly of the Piru saved my life."

"Did he dig you out?" asked Dad, grinning.

"That's what he did."

"And then he ate you up, I suppose?"

"No; I'm coming to that.  The bear came tumbling down into the barranca
on top of the dirt and he began to dig right away.  He was as good as a
steam paddy, and in a few moments I was able to get a breath of air.  I
was wondering-which would be the worse, smothering or being chewed up
by a bear, when he raked the dirt off my head and I saw daylight.  I
shut my eyes, thinking I would play dead as a last ruse, when I heard a
roar and a rush.  There was a trembling of the ground, a dull, heavy
shock, and I felt something warm on my face.  At the same moment I
heard a growl of rage and surprise from the bear and felt relieved of
his weight above me.  A terrific racket followed.  As soon as I could
free myself from the dirt, I crawled out cautiously and saw a strange
thing.  A big black bull, the boss of the Mutaw ranch, had charged on
the Grizzly and knocked him over just in time to save me.  One of his
horns had gored the bear's neck, and it was the warm blood that I felt
on my face.  They were old enemies, each bore scars of wounds inflicted
by the other, and they were having a battle royal down there in the

"Which licked?" inquired Dad, eagerly.

"I don't know.  I'd had enough bear fight for one day, and I lit out
for camp and left them clawing and charging and tearing up the ground.
I didn't see any necessity for remaining as referee of that scrimmage.
You remember, father, that I came into camp covered with blood, and
that you thought I had been monkeying with a mountain lion."

"Ye-es, I recollect the circumstances, but I never heard about the bear
and bull episode before.  I seem to have sort of a dim notion that you
were packing a deer home on your back and fell into a barranca with it
and lost it in a mud slough, but perhaps I'm mistaken.  You forgot to
tell me the facts, I guess."

"Shouldn't wonder," said Dad; "Joe does sometimes forget to tell the
facts, but he wouldn't lie about a bear."

"I haven't forgotten the facts about your bear trap in Sonoma,"
retorted Joe.

"I allow that little accident never lost anything by your telling.
'Taint worth telling nohow.  You'd better turn in and go to sleep and
not be telling durn lies about folks that's old enough to be your
great-grandfather, but ain't too old yet to give ye a licking, b'gosh!
Don't ye go to fergittin' that I'm a constable, and can arrest people
who use language cal'lated to provoke a breach of the peace."

"Dad was a devil of a bear catcher," continued Joe, "and once he built
a big trap up in Sonoma.  The door weighed about three hundred pounds,
and it took two men and a crowbar to lift it.  Dad had fixed it so that
no bear in Sonoma could raise it from the inside.  It was a bully trap,
and when it was all finished Dad set the trigger and went inside to tie
the bait on.  He forgot to prop the door, and as soon as he monkeyed
with the trigger he set it off and down came the door with a bang.  It
worked beautifully.

"When Dad realized that he had caught himself he was sorry he had made
such a solid door.  He couldn't think of any way of getting out, and
there wasn't nobody within five miles.  Dad yelled for about an hour
and then quit.  After a while he heard something coming, and thinking
it might be a neighbor riding along the trail, he shouted again.
Peering out between' the logs he saw two bears in the moonlight making
straight for the trap, and he stopped his noise.  The bears came up,
sniffed all around, smelt Dad and the bait and began clawing at the
logs to get inside.  Then Dad was sorry he hadn't built the trap
stronger and used heavier logs.  He tried to scare the bears by
yelling, but the more he yelled, the harder they dug to get at him, and
it wasn't long before he heard a mountain lion answering his shout and
coming nearer every minute.  The lion came down off the mountain,
jumped on top of the trap and began tearing at the log's up there.  He
got his paw down through the trigger-hole, and Dad had to go to the
other end of the trap to keep out of reach.  Then the bears got the
logs torn so that they could reach in between them in two or three
places, and they kept Dad on the jump inside.   Before morning there
was another lion and three more bears at work on the Dad-trap, and
they'd have got him by noon that next day if a party of hunters hadn't
come along and scared them away.  These are the facts, but Dad used to
tell it differently.

"Dad said he pulled up one of the floor logs and began to dig with his
knife and hands.  He sunk a hole two or three feet deep and then run a
drift under the trap to a big hollow tree that stood just behind it.
While the bears were digging in, Dad was digging out.  He struck the
root of the tree with his tunnel and made an upraise to the inside of
the trunk.  He climbed up about ten feet and struck into a mass of
honey and comb, and crawled through that to a hole about fifty feet
from the ground, where he could look out.  Just about that time the
bears and the lions broke into the trap and began to fight over the
bait.  The growling and yelling were fearful, and the air was full of
flying fur, bark and chips.  While Dad was watching the fight he heard
a great scratching and scrambling in the tree beneath him, and he knew
that one of the bears had caught the scent of the honey and was
following it through his drift and upraise.  Dad crawled out through
the bee hole, slid down the tree and lit out for home.  When he came
back with his boys and neighbors he found the trap chock full of dead
bears and lions.  He cut down the bee tree, killed the bear that was
inside and got half a ton of fine honey.  That's the way Dad tells it."

"I never told no such dogdurned lie as that since I was born," snorted
Dad, "and my boys got me out with a crow-bar."



The people who live on the Pecos, away up in the canyon, almost in the
afternoon shadow of Baldy and just this side of the Truchas Peaks, do
not assert that the bears of that region are wiser than the bears of
any other country on earth, for they are ready to admit that in this
wide world are many things concerning which they know nothing.  But
they have never heard of any bears more thoughtful than the bears of
the Pecos, and it is doubtful if anybody else ever has.

No man can associate with bears for any considerable length of time
without having it impressed upon him that Ursus Americanus is nobody's
fool.  Senor Mariano Ortiz of the Upper Pecos affirms upon the faith of
a descendant of the Conquistadores that this is so, and he ought to
know, for he and the bears have been joint occupants of the ranch for
years.  There was a time when Senor Ortiz thought the Pecos country
admirably adapted to the raising of hogs, but that was before he tried
to raise hogs there and before he had learned to appreciate the mental
capacities of bears.

Senor Ortiz went down to Pecos town and bought some hogs, drove them up
the river, and turned them into his alfalfa field to fatten.  They were
of genuine thoroughbred razor-back variety, trained down to sprinting
form, agile, self-reliant as mules, tougher than braided rawhide, and
disorderly in their conduct.  They broke through the fence the first
night, went up into a quaking asp patch where there was nothing
eatable, and had a scrap with two bears who thought Senor Ortiz had
invested in edible pork.  The hogs were wiry and pugnacious, and the
circumstantial evidence plainly indicated that the bears had no
walk-over.  However, the bears managed to get one emaciated porker
after a long chase, and they bit several samples out of him.  They
didn't devour the whole carcass, and they didn't try pork again for two

After a few days, the hogs ceased breaking out of the field, and
settled down to the business of laying leaf lard upon their rugged
frames, a line of conduct which merited and received the hearty
approval of Don Mariano, and, as subsequent events proved, was joyously
appreciated by the bears.  Don Mariano was fearful that the bears,
having discovered the prevalence of pork, would raid his field and
introduce difficulties into the business of hog raising, and he watched
the drove with some solicitude.  But, to his surprise, he missed no

One evening, just at dusk, Don Mariano saw two bears come out of the
woods just above the alfalfa field and waddle calmly down to the fence.
He hid behind a tree and watched them.  When they reached the fence
they stood up and placed their forepaws upon the top rail.  Thinking
they were about to go a-porking, Don Mariano picked up a club and
prepared to stampede them, but they made no move to climb the fence,
and he waited to see what their game might be.  With their paws upon
the rail and their snouts resting lazily upon their paws, like two old
farmers discussing the crop prospects, the bears inspected the pigs in
clover.  One of them presently lifted a hind foot and placed it upon
the bottom rail, and Don Mariano was about to break forth with a yell,
when he saw that the bear was only getting into a more lazily
comfortable position.  Then the bear cocked his head to one side and
thoughtfully scratched his ear.  The hogs were nosing around in the
clover, and the whole drove was in full view of the bears.  The hogs
were still lean and athletic.

[Illustration: The Bears Inspected the Pigs in Clover.]

After contemplating the drove for about ten minutes, one of the bears
turned about, walked two or three steps upright, came down to all
fours, and, with a grunt, shambled slowly away.  The other leisurely
followed, and they disappeared in the woods.  Now, Don Mariano didn't
understand at the time, but he learned later that those bears were
sizing up his hogs, and after inspection they had decided that there
wasn't one in the lot fat enough to kill.

During the next month Don Mariano saw bears loafing about the edge of
the woods or lolling over his fence at least a dozen times, and he
couldn't at all make out what they were at, as they did not molest his
hogs.  One day he noticed with satisfaction that the hogs were
improving and that one youngster, who had attended strictly to his
feed, was actually growing fat.  The bears must have caught on at about
the same time, for that pig was missing the next morning.

From that time on the alfalfa field was raided nearly every night, and
the fattest pig was taken every time.  A five-string barb-wire fence
proved to be no protection, and the bears wouldn't go near a spring
gun, and so, to save the remnant of his drove Senor Ortiz set about
building a stockade corral, so high that no bear could climb over it.
It was slow work cutting, hauling and setting the logs, and when the
corral was finished there was only an old sow left to be put into it.

The sow soon had a litter of a dozen pigs, and Don Mariano fed them and
saw them grow with satisfaction and certainty that the bears would not
get them.  When they were about roasting size Don Mariano looked into
the corral one morning and counted only eleven little pigs.  The
missing pig could not have got out, as there was no hole in the corral,
and Don Mariano eyed the old sow with suspicion.  Still he was
inclined, like all good Mexican people, to explain inexplicable things
by the simple formula: "It is the will of God," and with a shrug he
dismissed the mystery from his mind.

But when he missed a second and a third little pig from the litter, he
openly and violently accused the old sow of devouring her offspring,
and talked of sending down to El Macho for the Padre.  He did better
than that, however, for he isolated the old sow in a board pen and gave
the youngsters the run of the corral.  A day or two later another pig
mysteriously disappeared, and Don Mariano began to suspect his next
door neighbor of reprehensible practices, and talked about sending for
the constable.  Upon second thought, he strung barb wire on the top of
the stockade and set steel-traps cunningly outside.  Then half a dozen
little porkers were spirited away in rapid succession, and when Don
Mariano satisfied himself that nobody on the Peco's had feasted upon
roast pig since last Christmas, he concluded that the devil had a hand
in the business for sure.

Now, Don Mariano had been heard frequently to say that he was not
afraid of the devil, and truly he was no idle braggart, for he loaded
up his gun and laid in wait for him inside the old sow's pen, grimly
determined, if the devil swooped down after another pig, to take a shot
at him flying.  He felt sure of at least winging the satanic thief, for
he had scratched a cross on every buckshot in the load.

It was a moonlight night.  Don Mariano lay upon the clean straw that he
had placed in the old sow's pen and waited for the hour of midnight, at
which time, as is well known, churchyards yawn and devils flit about.
He had apologized to the bereaved mother for entertaining unworthy
suspicions of her, and they were on amicable terms.  Don Mariano was
almost dozing when he was startled broad awake by a familiar grunt.
Peering between two of the posts of the stockade, he saw coming across
the clearing, looming huge and distinct in the moonlight, two bears.
They were headed straight for the corral.  Don Mariano knew they could
not climb the stockade, and he watched them with languid interest.  But
the corral was evidently their objective point, for they lumbered along
right toward it.

"Now, look at those infatuated fool bears," said Don Mariano to
himself.  "They'll get into one of the traps and make a grand row and
frighten the devil away, so that I won't get a shot.  Por Dios!"

But the two fool bears did not get into a trap.  Without delay they
clambered up into a large tree beside which the corral was built, and
made their way out along a big limb that hung over the corral.  There
was no hesitation in their movements; clearly, they had been there
before.  One of them, the lighter and more active, went well out toward
the end of the limb, and the other advanced slowly until their combined
weight bent the limb down over the top of the stockade, when the first
swung himself off by his forepaws and dropped into the corral.

"That's a very smart trick," muttered Don Mariano.  "You are in, no
doubt of that, but how the devil you are going to get back is another

The bear seized a pig in no time, and having broken its neck and
stopped its squealing with a dexterous right-hander on the ear, he
shuffled back to a position under the limb and stood upright, holding
the pig in his arms.  Then the other and heavier bear moved out toward
the end of the limb until it bent beneath his weight so that he could
reach the pig as the lighter one held it up.  The big bear took the
pig, and the other bear seized the limb and drew it down until he got a
firm hold with all four feet.  Then the big bear backed away toward the
trunk and the other followed, and the limb slowly sprang up to its
natural level.  The two bears backed down to the ground and waddled
across the clearing, the big one walking upright and carrying the pig
in his arms.

Don Mariano did not shoot.  "The Good Father," he said, "has given
brains like that only to such of his children as have souls.  I would
not commit murder for the value of a pig.  Besides, I casually noticed
that I had miraculously forgotten to put caps on the gun.  Nevertheless
I cut away all the limbs from the tree on the side toward the corral,
and I still have the old sow and one pig."



For several years a large Grizzly roamed through the rugged mountain's
in the northern part of Los Angeles county, raiding cattle ranges and
bee ranches and occasionally falling afoul of a settler or prospector.
He was at home on Mt. Gleason, but his forays took in Big Tejunga and
extended for twenty or thirty miles along the range.  Every settler
knew the bear and had a name for him, and he went by as many aliases as
a burglar in active practice.  As his depredations ceased after the
capture of Monarch in 1889, those who assert that Monarch was the
wanderer of the Sierra Madre and Big Tejunga may be right, and some of
the stories told about him may be true.

Jeff Martin, a cattleman, who lived in Antelope Valley, and drove his
stock into the mountains in summer, had several meetings with the big
bear, but never managed to get the best of him.  When the Monarch
didn't win, the fight was a draw.  Jeff had an old buckskin horse that
would follow a bear track as readily as a burro will follow a trail,
and could be ridden up to within a few yards of the game.  Jeff and the
old buckskin met the Monarch on a trail and started a bear fight right
away.  The Monarch, somewhat surprised at the novel idea of a man
disputing his right of way, stood upright and looked at Jeff, who
raised his Winchester and began working the lever with great industry.
Jeff was never known to lie extravagantly about a bear-fight, and when
he told how he pumped sixteen forty-four calibre bullets smack into the
Monarch's shaggy breast and never "fazed" him, nobody openly doubted
Jeff's story.

He said the Monarch stood up and took the bombardment as nonchalantly
as he would a fusilade from a pea-shooter, appearing to be only amazed
at the cheek of the man and the buckskin horse.  When Jeff's rifle was
empty, he turned and spurred his horse back down the trail, followed by
the bear, who kept up the chase about a mile and then disappeared in
the brush.  Jeff's theory was that the heavy mass of hair on the bear's
breast effectually protected him from the bullets, which do not have
great penetrating power when fired from a forty-four Winchester with a
charge of only forty grains of powder.

About a week after that adventure the Monarch called at Martin's summer
camp on Gleason Mountain to get some beef.  It was about midnight when
he climbed into the corral.  The only beef in the corral that night was
on the bones of a tough and ugly bull, and as soon as the Monarch
dropped to the ground from the fence he got into trouble.  The bull was
spoiling for a fight, and he charged on the bear without waiting for
the call of time, taking him amidships and bowling him over in the mud
before the Monarch knew what was coming.  Jeff was aroused by the
disturbance and went over to see what was up.  He saw two huge bulks
charging around in the corral, banging up against the sides and making
the dirt fly in all directions, and he heard the bellowing of the old
bull and the hoarse growls of the bear.  They were having a strenuous
time all by themselves, and Jeff decided to let them fight it out in
their own way without any interference.  Returning to the cabin, he
said to his son Jesse and an Indian who worked for him: "It's that
d----d old Grizzly having a racket with the old bull, but I reckon the
bull is old enough to take care of himself.  We'll bar the door and let
'em go it."

So they barred the door and listened to the sounds of the battle.  In
less than a quarter of an hour the Monarch got a beautiful licking and
concluded that he didn't want any beef for supper.  The bull was tough,
anyway, and he would rather make a light meal off the grub in the
cabin.  Jeff heard a great scratching and scrambling as the Monarch
began climbing out of the corral.  Then there was a roar and a rush, a
heavy thud as the bull's forehead struck the Monarch's rear elevation,
a growl of pain and surprise and the fall of half a ton or more of bear
meat on the ground outside of the corral.

"I reckon the old bull has made that cuss lose his appetite," chuckled
Jeff.  "He won't come fooling around this ranch any more.  I'll bet
he's the sorest bear that ever wore hair."

The three men in the cabin were laughing and enjoying the triumph of
the bull when "whang!" came something against the door, and they all
jumped for their guns.  It was the discomfited but not discouraged
Monarch breaking into the cabin in search of his supper.  With two or
three blows of his ponderous paw the grizzly smashed the door to
splinters, but as he poked his head in he met a volley from two rifles
and a shotgun.  He looked at Jeff reproachfully for the inhospitable
reception, turned about and went away, more in sorrow than in anger.

Jeff Martin's next meeting with the Monarch was in the Big Tejunga.  He
and his son Jesse were hunting deer along the side of the canyon, when
they saw a big bear in the brush about a hundred yards up the hill.
Both fired at the same moment and one ball at least hit the bear.
Uttering a roar of pain, the grizzly snapped viciously at his shoulder
where the bullet struck, and as he turned his head he saw the two
hunters, who then recognized the Monarch by his huge bulk and grizzled
front.  The Monarch came with a rush like an avalanche down the
mountain side, breaking through the manzanita brush and smashing down
young trees as easily as a man tramples down grass.  His lowered head
offered no fair mark for a bullet, and he came on with such speed that
only a chance shot could have hit him anywhere.  Jeff and his son Jess
did not try any experiments of that kind, but dropped their rifles and
shinned up a tree as fast as they could.  They were none too rapid, as
Jeff left a piece of one bootleg in the Monarch's possession.  The
Monarch was not a bear to fool away much time on a man up a tree, and
as soon as he discovered that the hunters were out of reach he went
away and disappeared in the brush.  The two men came down, picked up
their guns and decided to have another shot at the Monarch if they
could find him.  They knew better than to go into the brush after a
bear, but they hunted cautiously about the edges for some time.  They
were sure that the Monarch was still in there, but they could not
ascertain at what point.  Jeff went around to windward of the brush
patch and set fire to it, and then joined Jess on the leeward side to
watch for the reappearance of the Monarch.  The wind was blowing fresh
up the canyon and the fire ran rapidly through the dry brush, making a
thick smoke and great noise.  When the Monarch came out he came rapidly
and from an unexpected quarter, and the two hunters had just time
enough to break for their tree again and get out of reach.

This time the Monarch did not leave them.  He sat down at the foot of
the tree and watched with malicious patience.  The wind increased and
the fire spread on all sides, and in a few minutes it became
uncomfortably warm up the tree.  The bear kept on the side of the tree
opposite the advancing fire and waited for the men to come down.  Jeff
and Jess got a little protection from the heat by hugging the leeward
side of the trunk, but it became evident that the tree would soon be in
a blaze, and unless they jumped and ran within the next minute or two
they would be surrounded by fire.  They hoped that the Grizzly would
weaken first, but he showed no signs of an intention to leave.  When
the flames began crawling up the windward side of the tree and the heat
became unbearable, Jeff said:

"Jess, which would you rather take chances on, Grizzly or fire?"

"Dad, I think I'll chance the bear," replied Jess, covering his face
with his arm.

"All right.  When I say go, jump and run as though you were scooting
through hell with a keg of powder under your arm."

Jeff and Jess crawled out on the limbs and swung by their hands for a
moment, and at the word they dropped to the ground within ten feet of
the bear and lit out like scared wolves.  They broke right through the
burning brush, getting their hair singed as they went.  The bear
started after them, but he was afraid to go through the fire, and while
he was finding a way out of the circle of burning brush and timber,
Jeff and Jess struck out down the mountain side, making about fifteen
feet at a jump, and never stopped running until they got to the creek
and out of the bear's sight.



This is an incredible bear story, but it is true.  George Gleason told
it to a man who knew the bear so well that he thought the old Pinto
Grizzly belonged to him and wore his brand, and as George is no bear
hunter himself, but is a plain, ordinary, truthful person, there is not
the slightest doubt that he related only the facts.  George said some
of the facts were incredible before he started in.  He had never heard
or read of such tenacity of life in any animal.  But there are
precedents, even if George never heard of them.

The vitality of the California Grizzly is astonishing, as many a man
has sorrowful reason to know, and the tenacity of the Old Pinto's hold
on life was remarkable, even among Grizzlies.  This Pinto was a famous
bear.  His home was among the rocks and manzanita thickets of La Liebra
Mountain, a limestone ridge southwest of Tehachepi that divides Gen.
Beale's two ranches, Los Alamos y Agua Caliente and La Liebra, and his
range was from Tejon Pass to San Emigdio.  His regular occupation was
killing Gen. Beale's cattle, and the slopes of the hills and the
_cienegas_ around Castac Lake were strewn with the bleached bones of
his prey.  For twenty years that solitary old bear had been monarch of
all that Gen. Beale surveyed--to paraphrase President Lincoln's remark
to Surveyor-General Beale himself--and wrought such devastation on the
ranch that for years there had been a standing reward for his hide.

Men who had lived in the mountains and knew the old Pinto's infirmity
of temper were wary about invading his domains, and not a vaquero could
be induced to go afoot among the manzanita thickets of the limestone
ridge.  The man who thought he owned the Pinto followed his trail for
two months many years ago and learned many things about him; among
others that the track of his hind foot measured fourteen inches in
length and nine inches in width; that the hair on his head and
shoulders was nearly white; that he could break a steer's neck with a
blow of his paw; that he feared neither man nor his works; that while
he would invade a camp with leisurely indifference, he would not enter
the stout oak-log traps constructed for his capture; and finally, that
it would be suicide to meet him on the trail with anything less
efficient than a Gatling gun.

Old Juan, the vaquero, who lived in a cabin on the flat below the
alkaline pool called Castac Lake, was filled with a fear of Pinto that
was akin to superstition.  He told how the bear had followed him home
and besieged him all night in the cabin, and he would walk five miles
to catch a horse to ride two miles in the hills.  To him old Pinto was
"mucho diablo," and a shivering terror made his eyes roll and his voice
break in trembling whispers when he talked of the bear while riding
along the cattle trails.

Once upon a time an ambitious sportsman of San Francisco, who wanted to
kill something bigger than a duck and more ferocious than a jackrabbit,
read about Pinto and persuaded himself that he was bear-hunter enough
to tackle the old fellow.  He went to Fort Tejon, hired a guide and
made an expedition to the Castac.  The guide took the hunter to
Spike-buck Spring, which is at the head of a ravine under the limestone
ridge, and showed to him the footprints of a big bear in the mud and
along the bear trail that crosses the spring.  One glance at the track
of Pinto's foot was sufficient to dispel all the dime-novel day dreams
of the sportsman and start a readjustment of his plan of campaign.
After gazing at that foot-print, the slaying of a Grizzly by "one
well-directed shot" from the "unerring rifle" was a feat that lost its
beautiful simplicity and assumed heroic proportions.  The man from San
Francisco had intended to find the bear's trail, follow it on foot,
overtake or meet the Grizzly and kill him in his tracks, after the
manner of the intrepid hunters that he had read about, but he sat down
on a log and debated the matter with the guide.  That old-timer would
not volunteer advice, but when it was asked he gave it, and he told the
man from San Francisco that if he wanted to tackle a Grizzly all by his
lonely self, his best plan would be to stake out a calf, climb a tree
and wait for the bear to come along in the night.

So the man built a platform in the tree, about ten feet from the
ground, staked out a calf, climbed up to the platform and waited.  The
bear came along and killed the calf, and the man in the tree saw the
lethal blow, heard the bones crack and changed his plan again.  He laid
himself prone upon the platform, held his breath and hoped fervently
that his heart would not thump loudly enough to attract the bear's
intention.  The bear ate his fill of the quivering veal, and then
reared on his haunches to survey the surroundings.  The man from San
Francisco solemnly assured the guide in the morning, when he got back
to camp, that when Pinto sat up he actually looked down on that
platform and could have walked over to the tree and picked him off like
a ripe persimmon, and he thanked heaven devoutly that it did not come
into Pinto's head that that would be a good thing to do.  So the man
from San Francisco broke camp and went home with some new and valuable
ideas about hunting Grizzlies, chief of which was the very clear idea
that he did not care for the sport.

[Illustration: Pinto Looked Down on the Platform.]

This is the sort of bear Old Pinto was, eminently entitled to the name
that Lewis and dark applied to his tribe--Ursus Ferox.  Of course he
was called "Old Clubfoot" and "Reelfoot" by people who did not know
him, just as every big Grizzly has been called in California since the
clubfooted-bear myth became part of the folk lore of the Golden State,
but his feet were all sound and whole.  The Clubfoot legend is another
story and has nothing to do with the big bear of the Castac.

Pinto was a "bravo" and a killer, a solitary, cross-grained,
crusty-tempered old outlaw of the range.  What he would or might do
under any circumstances could not be predicated upon the basis of what
another one of his species had done under similar circumstances.  The
man who generalizes the conduct of the Grizzly is liable to serious
error, for the Grizzly's individuality is strong and his disposition
various.  Because one Grizzly scuttled into the brush at the sight of a
man, it does not follow that another Grizzly will behave similarly.
The other Grizzly's education may have been different.  One bear lives
in a region infested only by small game, such as rabbits, wood-mice,
ants and grubs, and when he cannot get a meal by turning over flat
rocks or stripping the bark from a decaying tree, he digs roots for a
living.  He is not accustomed to battle and he is not a killer, and he
may be timorous in the presence of man.  Another Grizzly haunts the
cattle or sheep ranges and is accustomed to seeing men and beasts flee
before him for their lives.  He lives by the strong arm, takes what he
wants like a robber baron, and has sublime confidence in his own
strength, courage and agility.  He has killed bulls in single combat,
evaded the charge of the cow whose calf he has caught, stampeded sheep
and their herders.  He is almost exclusively carnivorous and
consequently fierce.  Such a bear yields the trail to nothing that
lives.  That is why Old Pinto was a bad bear.

So long as Pinto remained in his dominions and confined his maraudings
to the cattle ranges, he was reasonably safe from the hunters and
perfectly safe from the settler and his strychnine bottle, but for some
reasons of his own he changed his habits and his diet and strayed over
to San Emigdio for mutton.  Perhaps, as he advanced in years, the bear
found it more difficult to catch cattle, and having discovered a band
of sheep and found it not only easy to kill what he needed, but great
fun to charge about in the band and slay right and left in pure wanton
ferocity, he took up the trade of sheep butcher.  For two or three
years he followed the flocks in their summer grazing over the vast,
spraddling mesas of Pine Mountain, and made a general nuisance of
himself in the camps.  There have been other bears on Pine Mountain,
and the San Emigdio flocks have been harassed there regularly, but no
such bold marauder as Old Pinto ever struck the range.  Other bears
made their forays in the night and hid in the ravines during the day,
but Pinto strolled into the camps at all hours, charged the flocks when
they were grazing and stampeded Haggin and Carr's merinos all over the

The herders, mostly Mexicans, Basques and Portuguese, found it
heart-breaking to gather the sheep after Pinto had scattered them, and
moreover they were mortally afraid of the big Grizzly and took to
roosting on platforms in the trees instead of sleeping in their tents
at night.  Worse than all else, the bear killed their dogs.  The men
were instructed by the boss of the camp to let the bear alone and keep
out of his way, as they were hired to herd sheep and not to fight
bears, but the dogs could not be made to understand such instructions
and persisted in trying to protect their woolly wards.

The owners were accustomed to losing a few hundred sheep on Pine
Mountain every summer, and figured the loss in the fixed charges, but
when Pinto joined the ursine band that followed the flocks for a
living, the loss became serious and worried the majordomo at the home
camp.  So another reward was offered for the Grizzly's scalp and the
herders were instructed to notify the Harris boys at San Emigdio
whenever the bear raided their flocks.

Here is where Gleason's part of the story begins.  The bear attacked a
band of sheep one afternoon, killed four and stampeded the Mexican
herder, who ran down the mountain to the camp of the Harris boys, good
hunters who had been engaged by the majordomo to do up Old Pinto.  Two
of the Harris boys and another man went up to the scene of the raid,
carrying their rifles, blankets and some boards with which to construct
a platform.  They selected a pine tree and built a platform across the
lower limbs about twenty feet from the ground.  When the platform was
nearly completed, two of the men left the tree and went to where they
had dropped their blankets and guns, about a hundred yards away.  One
picked up the blankets and the other took the three rifles and started
back toward the tree, where the third man was still tinkering the

The sun had set, but it was still twilight, and none of the party
dreamed of seeing the bear at that time, but within forty yards of the
tree sat Old Pinto, his head cocked to one side, watching the man in
the tree with much evident interest.  Pinto had returned to his
muttons, but found the proceedings of the man up the tree so
interesting that he was letting his supper wait.

[Illustration: Watching the Man in the Tree.]

The man carrying the blankets dropped them and seized a heavy express
rifle that some Englishman had left in the country.  The other man
dropped the extra gun and swung a Winchester 45-70 to his shoulder.
The express cracked first, and the hollow-pointed ball struck Pinto
under the shoulder.  The 45-70 bullet struck a little lower and made
havoc of the bear's liver.  The shock knocked the bear off his pins,
but he recovered and ran into a thicket of scrub oak.  The thicket was
impenetrable to a man, and there was no man present who wanted to
penetrate it in the wake of a wounded Grizzly.

The hunters returned to their camp, and early next morning they came
back up the mountain with three experienced and judicious dogs.  They
had hunted bears enough to know that Pinto would be very sore and
ill-tempered by that time, and being men of discretion as well as
valor, they had no notion of trying to follow the dogs through the
scrub oak brush.  Amateur hunters might have sent the dogs into the
brush and remained on the edge of the thicket to await developments,
thereby involving themselves in difficulties, but these old
professionals promptly shinned up tall trees when the dogs struck the
trail.  The dogs roused the bear in less than two minutes, and there
was tumult in the scrub oak.  Whenever the men in the trees caught a
glimpse of the Grizzly they fired at him, and the thud of a bullet
usually was followed by yells and fierce growlings, for the hear is a
natural sort of a beast and always bawls when he is hurt very badly.
There is no affectation about a Grizzly, and he never represses the
instinctive expression of his feelings.  Probably that is why Bret
Harte calls him "coward of heroic size," but Bret never was very
intimately acquainted with a marauding old ruffian of the range.

The hunters in the trees made body shots mostly.  Twice during the
imbroglio in the brush the bear sat up and exposed his head and the men
fired at it, but as he kept wrangling with the dogs, they thought they
missed.  This is the strange part of the story, for some of the bullets
passed through the bear's head and did not knock him out.  One
Winchester bullet entered an eye-socket and traversed the skull
diagonally, passing through the forward part of the brain.  A Grizzly's
brain-pan is long and narrow, and a bullet entering the eye from
directly in front will not touch it.  Wherefore it is not good policy
to shoot at the eye of a charging Grizzly.  Usually it is equally
futile to attempt to reach his brain with a shot between the eyes,
unless the head be in such a position that the bullet will strike the
skull at a right angle, for the bone protecting the brain in front is
from two and a half to three inches thick, and will turn the ordinary
soft bullet.  One of the men did get a square shot from his perch at
Pinto's forehead, and the 45-70-450 bullet smashed his skull.

The shot that ended the row struck at the "butt" of the Grizzly's ear
and passed through the base of the brain, snuffing out the light of his
marvelous vitality like a candle.

Then the hunters came down from their roosts, cut their way into the
thicket and examined the dead giant.  Counting the two shots fired the
night before, one of which had nearly destroyed a lung, there were
eleven bullet holes in the bear, and his skull was so shattered that
the head could not be saved for mounting.  Only two or three bullets
bad lodged in the body, the others having passed through, making large,
ragged wounds and tearing the internal organs all to pieces.

The skin, which weighed over one hundred pounds, was taken to
Bakersfield, and the meat that had not been spoiled by bullets was cut
up and sold to butchers and others.  Estimating the total weight from
the portions that were actually tested on the scales, the butchers
figured that Pinto weighed 1100 pounds.  The 1800 and 2000-pound bears
have all been weighed by the fancy of the men who killed them, and the
farther away they have been from the scales the more they have weighed.

There is no other case on record of a bear that continued fighting with
a smashed skull and pulped brains, although possibly such cases may
have occurred and never found their way into print.  Gleason saw Old
Pinto shortly after the fight and examined the head, and there is no
reason to doubt his description of the effect of the bullets.



The Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington Territory are full of
bears, and as the inhabitants seldom hunt them, the animals are
disposed to be sociable and neighborly and wander about close to the
settlements.  Harry Dumont and Rube Fields had a very sociable evening
with a black bear at the Upper Cascades on the Columbia some years ago.
They were crossing in a boat above the falls, when Dumont, sitting in
the stern, pointed out what he said was a deer, swimming the river,
about a hundred yards away.  Rube bent to the oars and pulled towards
the head that could just be seen on the water, intending to give Dumont
a chance to knock the deer on the skull with a paddle and tow the
venison ashore.  When the bow of the boat ran alongside the head the
supposed deer reached up, caught hold of the boat and clambered aboard
without ceremony.  It was a black bear of ordinary size, but it was
large enough to make two men think twice before attacking it with oars.
The bear quietly settled himself on the seat in the bow of the boat and
looked apprehensively at the men, who were so astonished that they did
not know whether to jump overboard or prepare for a fight.  As the bear
made no hostile movement they decided not to pick a quarrel.  The boat
meanwhile had drifted down stream and got into swift water, and Rube
Fields saw that he must row for all he was worth to avoid going over
the falls, which would be sure death.  The bear seemed to realize the
danger and acted as though he was uncertain whether it were better to
stay aboard or take to the water again.

"Pull! pull for the shore!" urged Dumont, in a hoarse whisper, and Rube
bent to the oars with all his muscle, glancing nervously over his
shoulder at the silent passenger in the bow.  The bear kept one eye
suspiciously on the men and the other on the distant shore, and gave
every indication of great perturbation of spirit.  It was a hard pull
to get the heavily-laden boat out of the current, but Rube finally
accomplished it and rowed into safer water.  He hoped that the bear
would slide overboard and abandon the boat, as it made him nervous to
have such a passenger behind him, and it was awkward rowing with his
head turned over his shoulder all the time.  He suggested to Dumont
that they make a rush for the bear and pitch him out, but Dumont
declined and told him to pull ashore as fast as he could.  Rube pulled,
and as soon as the boat's prow grated on the sand, the bear made a
hasty and awkward plunge over the side, scrambled up the bank with his
head cocked over his shoulder to see if there was any pursuit, and
galloped away into the woods in evident fear.

Rube Fields wiped the perspiration from his brow with his forearm and
fervently said, "Thank the Lord!"

Dumont gazed after the galloping bear and murmured, "Wellibedam!"



One-eyed Zeke, who hunted for a living along Owen River, in Inyo
County, Cal., in the early seventies, claimed to have a method of
killing bears that might be effective if a man had nerve enough to work
it and a gun that never missed fire.  He carried a revolver and a heavy
double-barrelled shotgun, but never a rifle, and when he saw a Grizzly
he said he opened on him with the six-shooter and plugged him often
enough to leave the bear in no doubt as to the source of the annoyance.
Standing in plain view with the heavily-loaded shotgun ready, he
awaited the charge, and at close quarters turned loose both barrels
into the bear's chest.

That sounds like a plausible scheme.  The heavy charges of shot at
close range smash the Grizzly's interior works in a deplorable manner
and he dies right away.  But only a few men have the nerve to face a
big ugly bear in full charge and reserve fire until he is within two
yards of the muzzle of the gun.  One-eyed Zeke and a celebrated hunter
of the Bad Lands are the only men I have known who professed to have
acquired the habit of hunting the Grizzly in such a fashion, and the
celebrated Bad Lands ranchman did his killing with a rifle and always
shot for the eye, which was the more remarkable because he was very
near-sighted and wore eyeglasses.

Zeke once met a bear in the mountains near Owen Lake and played his
customary game, but not with complete success.  By some extraordinary
bad luck both cartridges in his gun had defective primers, and when he
pulled the triggers he was very much pained and disappointed by the
absence of the usual loud report.  It was a critical moment for Zeke.
It took him the thousandth part of a second to grasp the situation and
spring desperately to the right.  Another small fraction of a second
was consumed in his unexpected descent to the bottom of an old prospect
hole that was overgrown with brush and had escaped his notice.

Probably that was the only prospect hole in that part of the Sierra
Nevada, and it must have been dug by some half-cracked Forty-niner like
Marshall, who prospected all the way from Yuma to the Columbia.  Zeke
vows it was dug by Providence.

The sudden and unaccountable disappearance of the man with a gun
surprised the bear, and he had thrown himself forward and plunged into
the chaparral several yards before he began to catch on to the fact
that Zeke was not before him.  As soon as Zeke struck bottom, he looked
up to see if the bear was coming down too, and then he removed the bad
cartridges and quickly inserted two more in his gun.  He knew the bear
would smell him out very soon.

In half a minute the bear's snout appeared at the top of the hole.  It
disappeared and was at once replaced by the bear's hind legs.  Caleb
was coming down stern foremost after the noxious person who had fired
bullets at him.  As the bear scrambled down, Zeke aimed just under his
shoulder and sent two handsful of buckshot careering through his vitals
in a diagonal line.  The wound was almost instantly fatal, and the bear
came down in a heap at the bottom of the hole, which was about ten or
twelve feet deep.

The excitement being over, Zeke realized that he had been injured in
the fall, and that standing up was painful.  He sat down on the bear to
rest and reflect, and to induce reflection he took out his pipe and
lighted it.  The flare of the match lighted up the prospect hole, and
Zeke was interested on seeing a good-sized rattlesnake lying dead under
his feet, its head crushed by his boot heel.  He had landed on the
snake when he fell in the hole, and the slipping of his foot sprained
the ankle.

Zeke had a hard time climbing out of the prospect hole and getting back
to camp, but he got there and sent some men up to hoist the bear to the
surface.  The Grizzly's weight was estimated to be 900 pounds, and it
grew every time Zeke told the story until the last time I heard it,
when it was just short of a ton.

     *     *     *     *     *

Zeke's bear-killing exploits with a scatter gun may be classed with the
"important if true" information of the newspapers, but there is at
least one authentic instance of the killing of a grizzly with a charge
of bird shot.

Dr. H. W. Nelson, who was in later years a prominent surgeon of
Sacramento, practiced medicine in Placer county, Cal., in the early
fifties and was something of a sportsman.  He was out quail shooting
one day with a double shotgun and was making his way up a ravine in a
narrow trail much choked with chaparral, when some men on the hill
above him shouted to him that a wounded bear was coming down the ravine
and warned him to get out of the way.  The sides of the ravine were too
steep to be climbed, and the noise made by the bear breaking the brush
told him that it was too late to attempt to escape by running.  So the
doctor cocked his gun, backed into the chaparral as far as he could and
hoped the bear might pass him without seeing him.

In another moment the Grizzly broke through the brush with a full head
of steam directly at the doctor, and the bear's snout was within three
feet of the muzzle of the gun when the doctor instinctively pulled both
triggers.  The two charges of small shot followed the nasal passage and
caved in the front of the bear's skull, killing him instantly, but the
animal's momentum carried him forward, and he and the doctor went down
together.  The doctor suffered no injury from the bear's teeth or
claws, but was bruised by the shock of the collision and the fall.



The favorite weapon of the bear hunter of the old time Wild West story
book was the bowie, and doughty deeds he used to do with it in
hand-to-claw encounters with monstrous Grizzlies.

It was the fashion in those days for bears to stand erect and wrestle
catch-as-catch-can, trying to get the under-hold and hug the hunter to
death, and the hunter invariably stepped in and plunged his bowie to
the hilt in the heart of his foe.  But the breed of Grizzly that hugged
and the type of hunter who slew with the knife became extinct so long
ago that no specimens can be found in these days.

I have known many bear slayers, but never one who would say that he
ever did or would deliberately attack a Grizzly with a knife, or that
he should expect to survive if forced to defend himself with such a
weapon.  Neither did I ever hear of a Grizzly that tried to kill a man
by hugging him.

The only case of successful use of the bowie in defence against a
Grizzly that seemed to be well authenticated, among all the stories I
heard from hunters, was that of Jim Wilburns' fight in Trinity.
Wilburn was a noted hunter and mountaineer of Long Ridge, and he had
the scars to show for proof of the story.  His left arm was crippled,
the hand curled up like a claw, and the end of a broken bone made an
ugly knob on his wrist.  On his scalp were two deep scars extending
from his forehead almost to the nape of his neck.

Wilburn had chased a big Grizzly into the brush and was unable to coax
him out where he could get a shot at the beast.  An Indian offered to
go in and prospect for bear, and disappeared in the thicket.  His
search was successful, but perhaps it was a question whether he found
the bear or the bear found him.  The Indian came out of the thicket at
a sprinting gait with the bear a good second, and they came so suddenly
that even Jim Wilburn was taken by surprise.  In two more jumps the
bear would have been on top of the Indian, but Jim sprang between them,
rifle in hand.

Before he could fire, the weapon was wrenched from his hands and broken
like a reed.  He grabbed his pistol, and that was knocked out of his
hand in a jiffy.  Then the bear closed on him and both went down, the
bear on top.  The first thing the bear did was to try to swallow Jim's
head, but it was a large head and made more than a mouthful.  The
bear's long upper teeth slipped along the skull, ploughing great
furrows in Jim's scalp, while the lower teeth lacerated his face.

Before the bear could make another grab at his head, Jim thrust his
left fist down the animal's throat and kept it there while the Grizzly
chewed his arm into pulp.  Meanwhile he had got hold of his big knife
and plunged it into the bear's side with all his strength.  Again he
tried to stab his enemy, but the knife did not penetrate the hide, and
he discovered that in the first thrust the knife had struck a rib and
the point was turned up.

[Illustration: The Grizzly Chewed His Arm.]

The bear clawed and chawed, and Jim felt around for the wound he had
made first.  When he found it he thrust the knife in and worked it
around in a very disquieting way.  In the struggle the knife slipped
out of the hole several times, and once Jim lost it, but he
persistently searched for the hole when he recovered the knife and
prospected for the bear's vitals.

At last he worked the blade well into the Grizzly's interior and made
such havoc by turning it around that the brute gave up the fight and
rolled over dead, with Jim's mangled left arm in his jaws.

It was a tough fight and a close call and old Jim was laid up in his
cabin for many a day afterward.



A man from San Gabriel Canyon came into Los Angeles and told bear
stories to the Professor and the Professor told them to other people.
The main point of the man's tale was that he had found a den inhabited
by two Grizzlies of great size and fierce aspect.  He had seen the
bears and was mightily afraid of them, and he wanted somebody to go up
there and exterminate them so that he might work his mining claim
unmolested and unafraid.  The Professor, being guileless and confiding,
believed the tale, and he tried to oblige the bear-haunted miner by
promoting an expedition of extermination.  Seventeen men replied to his
overtures with the original remark that they "Hadn't lost any bears."
Since 1620 that has been the standard bear joke of the North American
continent, and its immortality proves that it was the funniest thing
that ever was said.

[Illustration: He Had Seen the Bears.]

At last the Professor found a man who did not know the joke, and that
man straightway consented to go to the rescue of the bear-beleaguered
denizen of San Gabriel Canyon.  He and three others went into the
mountains with guns loaded for bear, which was an error of
judgment--they should have been loaded for the tellers of bear tales.
An expedition properly outfitted to hunt bear liars rather than bear
lairs could load a four-horse wagon with game in the San Gabriel Canyon.

Old Bill, who had lived in the canyon many years, sorrowfully admitted
that the canyon's reputation for harboring persons of unimpeachable
veracity was not what it should be.  The man-who-was-afraid-of-bears
could not be depended upon to give bed-rock facts about bears, but he,
Old Bill, was a well of truth in that line and had some good horses and
burros to let to bear hunters.  He, Old Bill, had killed many bears in
the canyon, but had left enough to provide entertainment for other
hunters.  His last bear killing was heaps of fun.  He ran across three
in a bunch, shot one, drowned another in the creek, and jumped upon the
third, and "just stomped him to death."  As for the man up the creek,
who pretended to have found a den of bears, he had been telling that
story for so many years that he probably believed it, but nobody else
did.  The man up the creek had the nerve to pretend that his favorite
pastime was fighting Grizzlies with a butcher knife, and anybody
acquainted with bears ought to size up that sort of a man easy enough,
said Old Bill.

The man up the creek, the original locator of the denful of Grizzlies,
had his opinion of Old Bill as a slayer of bears.  It was notorious in
the canyon that the only bear Old Bill ever saw was a fifty-pound cub
that stole a string of trout from under Bill's nose, waded the creek
and went away while Old Bill was throwing his gun into the brush and
hitching frantically along a fallen spruce under the impression that he
was climbing a tree.  As for himself, he was getting too old and
rheumatic to hunt, but he had had a little sport with bears in his
time.  He recalled with especial glee a little incident of ten or a
dozen years ago.  He had been over on the Iron Fork hunting for a stray
mule, and he was coming back through the canyon after dark.  It was
darker than a stack of black cats in the canyon, and when he bumped up
against a bear in the trail he couldn't see to get in his favorite
knife play--a slash to the left and a back-handed cut to the right,
severing the tendons of both front paws--and so he made a lunge for
general results, and then shinned up a sycamore tree.  To his great
surprise he heard the bear scrambling up the tree behind him, and he
crawled around to the other side of the trunk and straddled a big
branch in the fork, where he could get a firm seat and have the free
use of his right arm.  He could just make out the dark bulk of the bear
as the beast crawled clumsily up the slanting trunk in front of him,
and as the bear's left arm came around and clasped the trunk, he
chopped at it with his heavy knife.  The bear roared with pain.
Instantly he lunged furiously at the bear's body just under the arm
pit, driving the knife to the hilt two or three times, and with a moan
the beast let go all holds and fell heavily to the ground.

For a minute all was silent.  Then the growling began again, and he
heard the scratching of claws upon the tree.  In another moment the
dark bulk of the bear appeared again in front of him, and again he
drove the knife to the hilt into his body and felt the hot blood spurt
over his hand.  Clawing, scratching and yelling, the bear slid back
down the tree and bumped heavily on the ground, but in a moment resumed
the attack and climbed the tree as quickly as if he were fresh and

The man up the tree was puzzled to account for such remarkable vitality
and perseverance, but he braced himself for the combat, and at the
proper moment chopped viciously at the bear's forearm and felt the
blade sink into the bone.  This time he got in three good hard lunges
under the arm, and when the bear fell "ker-flop" he had no doubt that
the fight was ended.

But there never was another such bear as that one.  It wasn't a minute
before the whole thing had to be done over again, and the man up the
tree varied the performance by reaching around and giving the bear a
whack in the neck that nearly cut his head off.  This sort of thing was
repeated at intervals for two or three hours, but at last the attacks
ceased, and all was still at the foot of the tree.  The man was weary,
and to tell the truth a little rattled.  He did not deem it wise to
come off his perch and take any chance of trouble on the ground, so he
strapped himself to the branch with his belt and fell asleep.

It was gray dawn when he awoke.  He rubbed his eyes and looked down at
the ground.  Then he rubbed them again and pinched himself and glanced
around at the rocks and trees to make sure that he was not in a trance.
He said to himself, being a reader of the poets, "Can such things be,
or is visions about?"

It was no dream and the man up the canyon said it was no lie.  Lying
about the foot of the sycamore were nine dead bears, weltering in their

Which explains why the Don and the Colonel and the rest of the
expedition of extermination returned forthwith to Los Angeles without
having seen a bear.  There are no more bears.  The man up the canyon
killed them all years ago.

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