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 respect.
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.