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Leland Waldrip

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Bear Tales 2, Exiled
By Leland Waldrip
Sunday, July 13, 2003



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Rangers move a renegade away from Yellowstone.
(Note:This is the first of 7 shortstories excerpted from the novel, The Last Grizzly. If you are interested in seeing a serial posting of the others, please comment).


 


 


Chasing animals with hounds is an integral part of man's past.  It still is the heart and soul of some in whose veins the blood of hunting ancestors runs deep.  They live it and breathe it and love it.  This is a strange art to many today -- good reason for us to try to understand a heritage that is so much a part of us all.  This is a story about a juvenile delinquent grizzly, an old man and his hounds, and a some park rangers.  Feel the music and dance along to one of man's oldest rhythms as they set about "deporting" an unwelcome citizen of Yellowstone.


 


------------------------------


 


A clear bugle note rolled down the steep rock and tree studded drainage to the straining ears of three men on a mission.  It was a long, contralto bawl, held until it seemed there could be no more breath behind it.  Finally it wavered into a higher pitched, sharpened trill.  The melody dwelled briefly on that sharp high note, then ended with a short coarse chop.


The passage echoed down the rock-bound valley as if in a sound chamber—a single verse in a very ancient song—hunter and trail, track and tracker. 


"Old Sue's got 'im!  I tol' ya, didn' I?"  Jonsey didn't really expect an answer from Don or me.  He was just happy.  It always made him happy when his dogs had work to do, even in the dry, summer heat that this day promised.  He was hopeful that we would get our job done and we could all get back to cooler environs before the day kept its July obligation.


Jonsey felt that it was his duty to help the Park Service catch bears.  "All said n' done, if'n a bear does sumpin' ta bring 'tention ta itself, it 's not like you can just walk up an' snap a leash in its collar an' say, "Come on boy, we gotta take a trip."


Duty or not, we sometimes had Jonsey bring his dogs in to pin the bear so we could tranquilize it for handling—and we paid him modestly for the service.  But he got fewer and fewer calls to use his dogs these days.  The park service mostly used traps now—big cages baited with rotten meat or syrup.  They had spring loaded doors that closed when a bear agitated the bait from inside the open-ended contraptions.


Some bears we caught over and over again in a determination to keep the troublesome ones relocated or for use in our management studies.  But some avoided the trap no matter how cleverly disguised.  Trying to trap a particular bear, you’d probably get the wrong one.  Using trained dogs was about the only way you could single one out.  When we needed to capture a particular bear quickly, old Jonsey's services were still needed—indeed, almost indispensable.


Jonsey had been more than willing to help us with this bear.  He had a young dog that needed more training and this was just the ticket.  He had five trained Plot-Walker cross-breeds and one mean Airedale to help keep the bear at bay.  As this was a young grizzly, he thought it should be a fairly easy job.


Old Sue opened again but this time with less bawl and more chop.  Then a new voice chimed in—a coarser, stammering chop.  This voice was cut at the end by yet another, then a chorus of more excited bawling and yipping, interspersed with more trills from Sue.


The hound melody floated across the timber from five hundred yards ahead.  We’d been following the dogs more than an hour since they left the relative ease of the foot trail.  The terrain was very steep, rocky, and timbered.  It made for rough climbing and slow gain, with frequent breather stops.


"Ya hear that?"  Jonsey puffed.  "That's my pup, Digger, right in there with Ol' Trip an' Fenway an' all th' rest.  All seven of 'em givin' 'im a fit.  I don' think he's gonna go far 'fore he'll bay or tree.  That's a hot track."


"Hope so, Jonsey."  I was in the lead, carrying a dart gun, with a radio on my belt and several extra capsules of Sernylan in my pocket.  "I don't want to stress him out too much.   Just get a good standoff, get in quick, get a good shot, and call in the chopper.  We'll want him airborne soon as possible."


Don followed the old hunter up the hillside agreeing with the old man.  "Sounds like they're goin' higher.  Must be nippin' his heels now."  Then talk slowed dramatically.  We put most of our effort into navigating the extremely rough terrain.


The tone and pitch of the music raised another level as the hounds closed on their quarry.  When we reached the upper edge of the drainage, Jonsey gasped, "Whoa," and held up a gnarled hand asking for relief.  I was only too glad to oblige.  I signalled a halt to listen to the hounds ahead and let us catch our collective breath.


 "It must be jarrin' th' noise out of 'em... ever' time they hit th' ground... .  Did ya' ever hear th' like?...  He's gotta go ta bay right now."  Jonsey's words reached up to me, making me listen to the din more carefully.   A few seconds more rest and with a sharply inhaled breath and a hooking arm I signaled, "Let's go!"


We could only make progress by pulling ourselves up using large rocks or scrubby bushes and trees clinging to the face of the mountain.  Lungs burned for relief from a relentless gravity.  But sure enough, the hounds' frenzy soon put truth to Jonsey's pronouncement.  "There, in the head of the gulch!  I see 'em!" I panted.  "Okay, lets get on over there."


After several minutes of negotiating the tough footing, we topped a ridge.  Through the edge of an opening in the pines I could see the action about fifty yards away.


The bear was on its hind legs, backed into a jumble of boulders displaced hundreds of years ago from the ridge above.  He swiped at the dogs as they darted in and dodged away.  He was smart for a young bear.  He would have to leave his back exposed to the other dogs if he followed through with his lunges and he wouldn't do that.  But these were seasoned hounds, wise to the ways of bears at bay.  They could get close and nip at him, then dart back without giving him a good target.


Jonsey panted a dog man's prayer: "Take it a little at a time, Digger, boy.  Not too fast, now."  It was obvious to him that the puppy was taking liberties that the older dogs wouldn't.  "A few more close calls an' maybe th' pup'll be gettin' th' savvy 'bout this bisness, if'n he don' get caught right away."


I checked my dart gun.  "Don, I'm going to slip around to the side for a close shot.  I'll need you to be close, but not directly behind me.  If he charges, you'll need to drop him with the shotgun and I don't want to be in your way.


"Jonsey, if we get a hit, there's a good chance he'll break away.  If he does, I don't want the dogs chasing him.  It'll take a minute or so for the dart to do its work.  They'll get away from us and may do him some damage when he goes down.  These dogs come to your whistle?"


"All of 'em 'cep' maybe th' pup.  He's trained in th' yard real good, but I aint never had him on wild bear afore."


"Okay, well, he probably won't do too much damage by himself.  The bear may stand after the shot.  If he does, just let the dogs stay with him until he starts to get woozy.  Then call them off in a hurry.   Nobody goes in for a minute or so after he's down.  Here goes."


I had only worked to within about fifty feet of the frenzy when the bear suddenly broke out, slapping wildly at dodging, yelping dogs as he bounded out of the rocks.  He turned to his left, up the side of the gulch and over the lip of the ridge, raging hounds in hot bellowing pursuit.


As the last tail disappeared over the ridge, I yelled, "Come on!  I didn't get a shot.  We need to stay with 'em!" and trucked after the diminishing uproar.


"Oh Hell," I heard Don say, "Here we go."  I could see him intersect Jonsey's path coming across the gulch as they scrambled to follow me over the lip of the little ridge.  This new valley didn't appear to be as steep as the one we had just come up.  Of course the action was as far away in it as possible.  I swore under my breath and continued toward the melee as straight as I could.


Don and Jonsey closed from behind as I slowed about seventy-five yards before the melee.  I could hear the dogs' constant bellowing and barking up front and the old man's labored breathing behind me.  "I think they got 'im agin!" he puffed.  I was just beginning to breathe a little easier when we reached a fifty-yard staging point.  This time the bear was backed between a car-sized boulder and a wall of rock on the upper edge of the little sloping valley.  Medium-sized timber had opened the terrain so that no underbrush was in the way.


I led off through the pines, keeping the bole of a tree between the bear and me most of the time.  I timed my moves to change trees when the bear lunged at a dog.  At forty feet, I leaned around a big pine for a clear shot and aimed carefully for the tan side of the furious bear.  At the pop of the shot, the dart arced slightly and almost disappeared into deep tan fur.


Instantly the bear was away, bounding straight down the valley floor, the scrambling and clawing dogs scattering left and right.  "Call 'em off!"  I shouted to Jonsey.


"PPEWEETPTPTPTPTPT!!! PPEWEETPTPTPTPTPTPT!"  Jonsey's police whistle screamed even over the din of the roaring bear and howling, yapping hounds.  I had seen this before, but it was still hard to believe that dogs with born and bred bear chasing instinct would respond in the heat of battle.


But they did respond.  Every dog stopped running after the bear and backed away into a crouch.  They lay flat on their bellies, looking first at the disappearing bear, then back in old Jonsey's direction, tongues hanging out, panting and whining.


All except the puppy, Digger.  He was hot on the bear's heels, racing with everything in him to catch up.  And catch up he did—directly into a wrecking ball of a swinging paw tipped with a row of three-inch curved death.  The unfortunate hound saw his mistake too late.  His rib-cage and backbone collapsed under the enormous power of the driving arm, his gut ripped in the follow-through of the deadly claws.  He was unconscious almost instantly and was probably dead before he hit the ground twenty feet away.


The still raging bear whirled and continued two bounds, stumbled, caught himself, then walked a few wobbly steps.  He stopped, stood a few seconds, confused, then slowly settled to his haunches.  He sat there a few more seconds then relaxed onto his belly, his head slowly coming to rest between dark outstretched paws.


I breathed a big sigh of relief and reached for my radio.  "RK5 to Redbird! -- Come in Redbird!"


"You got Redbird.  What's your 20?"


"Mission half accomplished.  We're at the head of Robinson's Draw.  We'll need the power saw.  It's too thick to get the net down here without dropping a couple of trees.  There's an opening just on the east edge of the draw here.  I'll be standing in it.  It's about a hundred and fifty yards northwest of the bear.  And I have a favor to ask.  One of Jonsey's dogs got creamed.  It's dead and bloody, but he'd like to take it home to bury.  We can't carry it out.  Think you can bring it aboard in the basket before we load the bear?"


Specialist Jack Wilson had been in the National Park Service for over ten years, flying helicopters for the past eight.  "Sorry to hear about that.  Yeah, I've even got a piece of plastic to put under him.  We should be in your vicinity in about three minutes."


"Where'd you say you wanted this one taken?"  Jack asked.


"Put him out east of Index Peak.  He's been a bad boy and we want him far away.  He's been chasing hikers, taking their backpacks."


The saw was lowered into the natural opening and after a few minutes we had a trough opened in the greenery next to the bear so we could see the chopper and Jack could see us.


"Redbird."


"Yeah?"


"I think you can get the net in here without tangling now.  First let's get Jonsey's pup taken care of."


"You got it."


The basket slowly came back down in the tree lined trough.  Jonsey had carefully positioned the young dog's entrails back into its body cavity and then whittled a stick with a hook on it for a pin to keep everything from spilling out.  I gingerly helped him load the mangled hound into its temporary resting place and hooked the chainsaw on the basket yoke.


"Okay, take it away, Redbird.   If you can just leave him in storage there at the pad, Jonsey'll come by for him later.  And I think we'd better be getting on with this bear.  He's been out quite a while.  I don't want him doing a number on any of us."


The line tightened and the basket slowly rose into the bowels of the chopper.  A minute later, a large drooping nylon net lowered on the winch cable.  When the net reached the ground, Don and I unhooked the two loose ends from the hooks on the yoke cross member and spread it out on the downhill side next to the bear.


With Jonsey helping and a lot of strain, we rolled the jellied bear onto the net and hooked the grommets on the uphill side to the yoke cross member.


This was the first time I had seen the bear up close.  I was impressed at his size.  "If this bear was fat he'd go every bit of four hundred pounds, maybe more.  He's a fine specimen.  Look at that face—that peculiar color!  About as yellow as I've ever seen on a griz.  And those dark legs.  It's a shame he had to get on the wrong side of the law."  I crimped a small metal tag in his left ear and recorded the numbers in my notebook.


"Redbird."


"Yeah."


"We're all done down here.  He's secure.  You can take him to his new home.  We're going back to ours.  I'll be ready for a long breather after this."


"Roger, sorry we don't have room for everybody.  See you later."


The bear slowly rose out of the forest gloom into the hazy-bright sunlight—a strange yellow-tan and brown blob with furry tufts protruding from the diamond patterned netting.


Don and I stood craning our necks backward, watching the progress of the slightly swinging pendulum retreating northeasterly against a hazy gray-blue sky.


Jonsey didn't watch the departure.  He was just a sad old man looking at the ground.  I don't think he said ten words all the way back down the valley and out to the campground—but then, neither did Don or I.  The affair saddened everyone concerned. 


That night I told my wife Willa about the events of the day.  It depressed her, too.  The dead hound and the banished grizzly.  I guess the plight of the grizzly made more of an impression on her than I thought, because a week or so later I found this little poem on my desk.


Where does the great bear spirit go?


To a land where wild berries and  honey grow,


To a land where the spear can never show,


To a land that man will never know.


To a land so wide, so vast, so deep,


That the bear spirit will always keep,


Through wakeful hours and days of sleep,


And never, never, the bear will  weep.


--Willa M.Palmer


------------------------------


As the helicopter lifted away from the deported grizzly, its clutching net pulled back into its belly.  The groggy bear bounded away on wobbly legs to the cover of the nearest trees.  Three hundred yards down the mountain, from the shelter of a lodgepole forest, he looked back at the diminishing sound.  It was going away, much to his relief.  But his escape was a sickened triumph at best.


The bear felt nausea, headache and sour stomach as a result of the tranquilizer dart.  He began looking about for some mushrooms to quiet his rolling stomach.  Because of the drought, they weren't growing where his instincts told him they should be in this new land.  He turned over logs and stumps but couldn't find the healing mushrooms. 


A thickening of the understory in the forest announced a clearing just ahead.  And a clearing could mean grasses.  This one did—lush green grass.  Pulling a mouthful, he chewed carefully, grinding the grass to a fine pulp before swallowing.  A few bites later he felt better, his brain clearer.  Then he realized it was the middle of the day.  No self-respecting bear should be up and about in the noonday heat and light. 


He wandered farther down the mountain, pleasant smells pulling him from just ahead.  He topped a small rise and came to another small clearing with dense brush around it.  There were patches of sugar bush and mountain elderberry.  The elderberries were ripe, but he was too sleepy to eat.


He crawled under the elderberries, finding it cool and dark under the frond-like leaves.  Wallowing out a depression in the duff, he curled up on the forest floor.  The wind held no messages of danger for the several minutes he tested it.  No enemies nearby—only the faint smell of another bear touched his inquiring nose.  Stretching his neck to rest his head on one paw, he sighed.  In a few minutes he drifted into a deep sleep.


The young grizzly awoke to a darkening forest and evening sounds.  He raised his head and sniffed the slight breeze for several minutes, noticing the scent of ground squirrels, grouse and several different small birds.  Nothing threatened.


He also became aware of a terrible thirst.  His throat was dry and parched and his tongue felt like the pine duff he had been sleeping on.  He sat up and began to pull in great bunches of the black, glossy berries growing at the top of  the prickly stems.   Most were ripe, those that weren't were crunched and eaten as well.  The berries made his mouth feel much better, and the rich juice slowly quenched his terrible thirst.  He continued eating the berries, moving around the thicket until he was quite full.  His needs were now simplified.  He needed to locate water and the direction of home.


With no warning the attack came from downwind, to the rear and to his right.  A much larger, dark coated grizzly burst through the small bushes, roaring and slashing at him.  The big bear's enthusiasm and over-confidence for killing the interloper was all that saved the young bear from having a possible broken neck or great injury in the initial assault.  The startled young bear was overwhelmed with the noise and ferocity of the attack.  From sheer terror he dropped to his belly the instant the rushing bear reached his position in the thicket.


The huge animal overran his intended victim, stumbled over the prostrate form and rushed headlong another fifteen feet into a tangle of frost-grape vines growing on the elderberries.  In his eagerness to turn and get at the young bear, he became entangled.


The debris slowed the ferocious attack only a little, but the young bear took advantage for a quick retreat.  He raced for his life out of the thicket and down the mountain.  Not knowing the terrain, he was in almost as much danger of falling over a precipice or breaking a bone on the rocks as he was from the big grizzly.


The big bear soon realized the strange bear was in pell-mell retreat.  He growled a few parting threats but easily gave up the chase.  After all, he just wanted to eat elderberries.  With a final snarl, he turned and waddled back into the lush elderberry thicket—his  lush elderberry thicket.


The young grizzly ran at a dizzying pace for a few hundred yards before slowing.  He stopped to catch his wind only when he was certain there was no immediate pursuit.  His stomach was so full he had trouble breathing.  He moved down hill at a slow pace, resting and checking the evening breezes.   No scents of any importance were on the slight breeze.  He wandered on through the forest looking for water, still not quite convinced that the big bear was not in the vicinity.


There might be other bears, as well.  A strange bear could expect a challenge every time he met another male bear, particularly if the other bear were larger.  Even a big old sow bear wouldn't like him in her area.  He would be very careful to skirt any bear he scented from now on—to treat it with a new respect.  For the first time in his life he had been seriously charged by a strange bear.  It would be a while before he forgot the lesson.


-------------------------------


Yellowstone was only a distant memory for the exiled young grizzly.  After his experience with the park rangers and their helicopter, he wandered the Montana lowland below the mountain where the big dark grizzly had attacked him.  He crossed one stream, then several low ridges.  He dug roots and tore at old logs to lick the scurrying black beetles that, then deftly pick grubs from the rotting wood.  He found much to eat, but there was something wrong, something nagging at him.  He couldn't relax and do bear-normal things.  He was homesick for his home range as he wandered about the area, avoiding bigger bears and threatening smaller ones.


Each stream and ridge he crossed seemed to give him a greater sense of direction, another piece in the orientation puzzle.  Finally, he knew the direction where home lay.  Turning west, he began a fast, mile eating shuffle.  He stopped only during the day to sleep in a thick shelter or during the night to feed on whatever edible he could find along the way.


One day in the fading mid-August sunlight, the bear moved out of a thick grassy patch at the edge of an Aspen grove to begin his endless search for roots and grubs.  It was time for him to gain weight for the coming winter.  He was a bit gaunt from so much travel interrupting his eating schedule, but he had grown taller, longer and wider across the back.  His heavy shoulders had the pronounced hump of an adult grizzly.


He began his travels that night with that same gnawing and yearning to be in his home range.  His direction had been taking him almost due west for the past several nights, into a lower elevation.  It was past the midpoint of the night when a strange, faint smell touched his sensitive nostrils.


A few minutes later that same smell came again, riding on a westerly breeze.  It was sweet and very interesting to an always hungry bear.  He had smelled something similar before in the high country, but nothing so enticing as this wonderful aroma.


He followed the scent for three miles, down into a long valley.  As he topped the crest of a small ridge, a clear meadow opened on the slope before him.  At the far side and lower on the slope were some square structures, not unlike some he had seen in the man-smell area of the home range.  There was also the man-smell now, and the dog-smell.  He had smelled dogs before, and he hated that acrid sourness.  His ears lay back and his lips curled slightly at this bitterness in the midst of the sweet aroma.


Still, the sweet-smell tantalized.  He skirted the meadow along its brushy edge until the structures were near.  The wind was not in his favor now and only occasional brief reminders of the occupants of the structures tweaked his nose.  Easing closer, he came to a structure that he had to stand upright to see over.


Strange white shapes lay on the ground in front of him inside the fence.  The smell of the shapes was all around now, even with them downwind.  The shapes moved, emitting a strange bleating sound, like that of deer fawns, only much louder.


These creatures were much like the ones he had tried to catch in the high country, but they looked to be much easier.  They didn't bound away like the mountain sheep always did.  They only bleated and crowded against one another. 


He had never seen a domestic sheep before, but he was sure he wanted them.  He pushed against the fence and it went down easily before his weight.  A loud clatter of the wooden planks ripping and falling apart startled him, but he pressed on toward the mass of bleating sheep.  He wanted to capture one quickly and to be away.  Instinct warned that the man-smell would be dangerous.


He leaped into the midst of the frantically crying things in three bounds.  The din was unnerving to him now but he wanted them all the more.  His bone crunching teeth sank into the neck of one of the larger ones.


There had always been a struggle with the deer and elk he had helped his mother kill, but this animal just went limp in his grasp.  He dropped it to pull another down as it was stumbling into a pack of its companions.


The yapping of a dog penetrated his senses now as it came closer.  He seized the first ewe he had killed and headed back through the hole in the fence with the sheep held high, cluttering on the boards again.  A few feet beyond the fence, brush swallowed his fleeing form.


He carried the dead sheep into a ravine that opened ahead.  After following the dried watercourse a quarter of a mile, he climbed the steep bank of the narrowing drainage.  At the top there were broken rocks with scattered large pine trees among them.  Two hundred yards farther the trees became small and very thick, the recovery from an old burn.


The marauding bear dropped the lifeless woolly animal and listened to the sounds behind him.  The dog no longer barked but the sheep still bleated in the distance.  The wind still blew his scent toward the area of the sheep.  He would not be able to detect the approach of an enemy.


He had never worried about pursuit before this summer, but an inner sense now made him uneasy.  He could not forget his experiences with the dogs and men in his home range.  Instinct warned that he was vulnerable to something coming upwind on his back-trail.


He picked up the sheep again and wandered through the thicket.  The trees thinned somewhat but remained small out ahead.  He walked forward fifty yards, then circled to return to near his original stopping place in the thicket.  There he listened again and tested the wind for a few minutes.


Satisfied that nothing was approaching, he began to pull the wool and hide away from the succulent fat meat.  He would have preferred to wait a few days to eat a properly aged meal from this creature, but his travel schedule wouldn't allow.  Almost an hour passed before he finished stripping the bones and gnawing the gristle.


He had gorged.  This was the first time he had felt full and comfortable since his mother had left him months before.  He had learned something tonight.  This was a good animal to find when you were very hungry.  He curled up a few feet away and eased into a sound sleep.


The bear didn't know it then, but he had more lessons to learn from this incident.  Two hours later, it was full daylight.  The sun had not yet risen above the far ridges when the bear woke to what were now familiar sounds.  A hound's wail stabbed his consciousness like a bugle blowing taps—and it wasn't his dreams from the events of the day after he left his sister.  This was real and was happening all over again.  He was being trailed!


He startled, then searched the breeze.  It revealed nothing of importance.  Another hound chimed in to the rising chorus of the first one, then another.  The bear crouched among the dead limbs and brush in the thicket.  He wanted to leave, to run, to put as much distance between himself and the hated dog-sound as possible.  Instead he crouched lower—and waited.


The wind was crossing between him and the back-trail, and he knew the dogs would be on the back-trail.  Two minutes later the bright meandering forms of three white and black spotted dogs came into view.  They were in a fast trot, strung across the back-trail, one behind the other.  They had their noses to the ground, whining.  Occasionally the one in front would stop, sniff loudly at the ground, then throw its head up to bawl as it resumed its progress on the trail.  Usually one or both of the other two would immediately add its "me too" to the chorus.


The bear waited patiently until the three dogs trotted past his position.  He sprang, silently and swiftly for such a ponderous appearing animal, catching the last hound in line with one set of three-inch claws in the flank.  It howled piteously as it flew fifteen feet through the air.  The jolt of slamming into a tree separated its body from its unsupported intestines, sending them snaking into a writhing tangle in the dead needles and leaves.


The few last agonizing cries went unnoticed by  the bear as he closed on the second of the hounds.  His bared teeth met through its back in one great clamping motion.  There was almost no sound from the dog as its spine severed with the crunching of its backbone.


The first hound on the trail had circled now to follow the ambush plan laid out, but instantly changed from trailing to detecting the scent directly in the wind and saw the charging bear.  A great howl went up from its wide open mouth as it leaped toward the on-rushing, enraged bear.


Dart and snap, reverse and pivot, dash to the side, bore in and nip, wheel and cut, all the while screaming taunts and epithets at the enraged quarry.  This dog had fought bears before and loved his work.  But he usually had help.  He would not be able to make the bear stand if no help came.


The bear reared to use his front paws to catch the dog if it came low at his hind feet.  A burning impact in the bear's right thigh was followed by a thunderclap from some distance away.  It sent the bear into a frightened panic, a fear that he had never known before.  He sensed that he must escape from this place even though what he wanted most was to catch the hated dog.


He dropped to all fours, bounded out of the thicket to the west, the dog nipping at his heels.  He was still full and sluggish but he could outdistance the dog for a short way.  The harrying continued up the slope and over the next rocky ridge.


Down the slope in a limping, all out race the bear reached the bottom and fled up the next drainage, a long narrow and meandering draw.  The dog kept pace thirty feet behind, bawling and yowling at every leap.


At the upper end of the passage, rocky walls and boulders converged to narrow the way even more.  The bear scrambled over a rock higher than the dog could climb, temporarily slowing the pace of the eager hound.  As it circled to continue its pursuit on the other side, the bear executed the second ambush of the chase.  Instead of leaving the rock in his projected flight path, the bear whirled and leaped back to the side.  The dog rounded the blind side of the boulder with its head up, eyes closed and mouth wide open, bawling its incessant challenge to the bear.  Only too late it realized its utter mistake.


An hour later his human masters found their third dead hound.  As they remorsefully laid stones over the hound's shallow grave, the bear steadily added distance to the western end of the six miles between himself and the mayhem he had brought to the Montana sheepherders.


The only concern of the young grizzly was to return to Yellowstone, his home range.  But he had learned some valuable lessons in the past days and weeks.  Sheep were good. Men and dogs were a vague category of an enemy to avoid.  And if you couldn't avoid them, you could kill them.


 

       Web Site: Rappahannock Books

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Reviewed by Regis Auffray 12/12/2013
A thoroughly captivating account, Leland. Thank you for sharing it. Love and peace,

Regis
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor 2/6/2006
A very good and frighteningly descriptive story, Leland.

We have black bears here in AZ that make forays into the subdivions every summer. Fortunately they are little ones who are easily hauled back to the wild. Not something I wish to encounter.

Best,
Bette
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 8/15/2003
enjoyed the read

like your writing style
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 7/14/2003
outstanding write, leland! well done! :) (((HUGS)))
Reviewed by Bianca Boonstra 7/14/2003
Excellent write!
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 7/14/2003
A bear can be dangerous.....wow!!
But I love to look at them from a distance!!

Enjoyed this!!

Love
Tinka


Books by
Leland Waldrip



Vigilante Virus

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Satin Verses

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100 Sensible Reflections

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The Last Grizzly

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GRIZ Nightmare

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Anasazi Harvest

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Russells In The Leaves

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