Bears I Have Met-and Others

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The Clockmaker's Daughter. Kate Morton. Normal People. Sally Rooney. Agent Running in the Field. Paris Echo.

Bears I Have Met-and Others

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I Met A Bear (The Bear Song) • Scout Songs

Ian Rankin. Conversations with Friends. I Owe You One. Sophie Kinsella. When All is Said. Anne Griffin. 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.

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.

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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 barranca. 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.

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. 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.

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. 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. 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 mountain. 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. 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. 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 to 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.

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.

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

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. Tribune, March 8, 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 , 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.

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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.

We'll bar the door and let 'em go it. 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'll bet he's the sorest bear that ever wore hair. 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.

The Monarch Bear Institute

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.

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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.