Bears I Have Met—and Others eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 133 pages of information about Bears I Have Metand Others.

CHAPTER II.

The story of monarch.

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.

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Bears I Have Met—and Others from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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