Tag Archives: Oregon

A Bad Day To Be a Grizzly Bear, Or A Grizzly Bear Hunter

 

“The roar of a wounded grizzly bear is nicely designed to try the courage of a man. It’s half snarl and half bellow, and it’s full of blood and fangs and murderous rage.”Ben East, Brown Fury of the Mountains, 1940

 

October 28, 1864

 

A Grave Marker For Benjamin Harrison Baird, Killed By a Grizzly Bear On Grave Creek NEar the Rouge River in 1864, and Found In Croxton Memorial Park In Grants Pass, Oregon. Posted By Michael Patrick McCarty
Photograph By James Dolmage

 

“Located in Croxton Memorial Park (in Grants Pass, Oregon) is a large, concrete circle with a number of headstones imbedded in concrete. There are also two plaques that note the names of 90 individuals interred here. This park was once a cemetery for many years but neglect and vandalism forced the city to convert this lot into a city park in 1975. The headstones of the surviving graves were imbedded in concrete to prevent further vandalism and damage.

One of the graves imbedded in concrete is of Benjamin Harrison Baird who was unfortunately killed by a grizzly bear.”

You Can Find More Information Here

California Alta Daily
December 26, 1864
p.1, c. 4

KILLED BY A GRIZZLY — Mr. B. H. Baird, of Jackson county, Oregon, was killed by a grizzly bear while out deer hunting on Grave creek. The following particulars are from the Sentinel: —On the morning of the 28th, about sunrise, Mr. Baird started in pursuit of game, taking his faithful dog, Rover, with him. He proceeded about one mile and a half, when his dog bayed three grizzly bears in their bed. Mr. Baird got within fifteen yards of them, and shot the largest one, only wounding it. The bear pitched at Mr. Baird, who ran about two hundred yards, when the bear caught him and knocked his gun about sixteen feet from him. Getting loose from the bear, he sprang to the limb of a tree, the bear passing under and hitting his feet, went a short distance down the hill, when he stopped to fight the dog. Mr. B. got his gun, re-loaded it, and shot the bear the second time. The bear now came at him more furiously than before, and knocked the gun out of his hand the second time. Mr. B. swung around a bush to keep out of the bear’s reach, drew one of his butcher knives and stabbed the bear in the belly. The bear struck him several severe blows, knocking his knife out of his hand. Mr. B. then drew his second knife, when the bear seized his hand in which he held the knife, causing him to drop it. The bear now got the better of Mr. B., getting him down, biting him in the face, cutting several severe gashes on the left side, tearing out his right eye, and also tearing off all the right side of his face. It bit several large holes in his right side; in fact, bit him nearly all over his body, down to his boots. The bear now turned to fight the dog, that had saved Mr. B. from having been killed on the spot. The bear and the dog then rolled down the hill some distance, still fighting, when Mr. B. gathered up his gun, two knives, the rope with which he had been leading his dog, and started for Mr. Michael’s cabin, distance about one mile and a half, where he arrived, much exhausted, about 10 A.M., and was assisted into the house, when he related the melancholy event to Mr. McDonough. Being conscious that he could not long survive, he spoke of his family, and his desire to see them before he died. He was reconciled to meet his death, and spoke of a future happiness. He died about 8 P.M. of the same day. Mrs. Baird was sent for, and hastened with all possible speed the distance of eighteen miles, over a very rough, hilly road, but arrived about five minutes too late to see her husband alive. He was brought home and buried near the farm, some four miles north of Rogue river, near the stage road. He leaves a wife and sixteen children, eight of whom are but young, and live at home.

 

“…the last officially documented grizzly bear in Oregon was killed along Chesnimnus Creek by a federal trapper on September 14, 1931. According to Jerry Gildemeister’s Bull Trout, Walking Grouse and Buffalo Bones: Oral Histories of Northeast Oregon Fish and Wildlife, however, sheepherders knew of a pair of grizzlies in the Minam drainage on the far western side of the Wallowa Mountains in 1937 and 1938; one of these bears was shot.

Of course, the very last grizzly of Oregon probably escaped the notice of humankind altogether. Whether he or she died in the remote plateau forests flanking the Northeast Oregon canyonlands or the brushy breaks of the Siskiyous—or someplace else entirely—we can only offer a vague, if heartfelt, toast.

Meanwhile, Hells Canyon country has continued to cough up the occasional grizzly rumor over the decades, although it should be noted that many of the black bears here are cinnamon-phase and thus easily confused with their heftier cousins. In Oregon Desert Guide, Andy Kerr reports an alleged sighting from 1979 along Steep Creek a few miles from Homestead, and Gildemeister’s oral histories mention possible grizzly sign noted by a wildlife biologist in 1989 near Smooth Hollow, right along the Snake River below Hat Point.”

From  Oregon Wild, The Last Grizzlies of Oregon By Ethan Shaw

 

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Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance (Paperback)

Alan Precup disappeared while backpacking in the Alaskan wilderness. Days later, searchers found his campsite. In the bushes about 150 feet away, they found Precup’s bare skeleton, one intact hand, and both feet, still booted. In his camera were the exposed frames of the bear that killed him.
Chris Dunkley and three friends were hiking in Banff National Park. Suddenly a grizzly bear mother came galloping toward them. The first of three charges came so close that it broke a fishing rod in Dunkley’s hand, yet none of the party was injured.
Keith Ecklund and Larry Reimer were fishing in central Saskatchewan one spring day when they were attacked by a black bear. Ecklund kicked the bear in the head to hold it off. Reimer came to help, was attacked, and while fighting with the bear, killed it with his filleting knife. An autopsy of the bear revealed parts of a third man, Melvin Rudd, in the bear’s gut. The rest of Rudd’s partly consumed body was found nearby.
What can we learn from these and hundreds of other attacks and non-injurious encounters with black and grizzly bears? Of all the animals in North America’s wilderness, none command such fear, awe, and interest as the bear. Creatures that fear little, bears now compete for survival with the only other animal that can threaten their existence: humans. What do we know about black and grizzly bears and how can this knowledge be used to avoid bear attacks?
For more than three decades, Bear Attacks has been the thorough and unflinching landmark study of the attacks made on humans by the great grizzly and the less aggressive, but occasionally deadly, black bear. This is the sometimes horrific yet instructive story of Bear and Man, written by the leading scientific authority in the field. This book is for everyone who hikes, camps, or visits bear country—and for anyone who wants to know more about these sometimes fearsome but always fascinating wild creatures.

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