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The Grizzly Bear
The term "grizzly" is thought to have come from their general appearance.

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Grizzly feeding on a cow elk 50 yards from me
Although there are several species of bear, here we will only be dealing with one, the grizzly bear. Bears are members of the order Carnivora, or flesh eating animal. The term "grizzly" is thought to have come from their general appearance. Some early writers referred to them as a "grisly", and some early explorers referred to them as the "white bear". It has even been called "Old Ephraim", which means the devil, by hunters, including Theodore Roosevelt.
The grizzly bear's range at one time covered Alaska, much of Canada including the Yukon, most of the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, all the western United States east to the western edge of Minnesota and Iowa, most of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, and parts of Mexico. As man closed in on the grizzly bears range, they were forced to retreat because of towns, ranches, railroads, and roads.
Many anti-hunters say that the demise of the grizzly bear in the lower 48 was due to sport hunters. This simply is not true. The grizzly was shot, trapped, and poisoned at every opportunity there was by those with business interests. Of course anti-hunters would rather believe that it's demise was due to sport hunters, but that simply is not the case.
The range of the grizzly today is far less than what it used to be. There are few if any grizzly bears left in Mexico, and only survive in six small areas in the lower 48.
  1. In and adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, including the forests and wilderness areas of northwest Wyoming.
  2. In Glacier National Park and the wilderness areas and associated lands south to the Blackfoot drainage and northwest to the Kootenai drainage in Montana.
  3. The Cabinet Mountains and Yaak River drainage in the northwest corner of Montana.
  4. The Bitterroot Mountains and associated lands north of the Salmon River and west to the Selway drainage in northern Idaho.
  5. The Selkirk Mountains in northeast Washington and the panhandle of Idaho.
  6. The northern edge of the Cascade Mountains in western Washington
The grizzly range in Canada has been reduced to western Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon and parts of the Northwest Territories. In Alaska the range is just about the same as it was except for the areas that are inhabited by man.
The grizzly bear has 42 teeth: 12 incisors, 4 canine, 16 premolars, and 10 molars. Bears are the only large predators that regularly eat both plants and meat. A grizzly may weigh up to 900 pounds, but the average is 400 to 800 pounds and average 3 1/2 feet at the shoulder
A common myth about bears is that they can't run downhill. That is indeed wrong. They can run uphill or downhill easily and quickly. Another myth is that they have very poor eyesight. It is beleived that bears can actually see every bit as well as man, and can see colors, form, and movement. It is thought that they prefer to rely on their more acute scences of smell and hearing.
They are wilderness loners and do not want anything to do with man or other bears except for mating. Bears have their own personalities, and what one bear will do, may be entirely different from what another might do. What a bear will do today, he may not do tomorrow. For these reasons, you can never predict what a bear will do. Bears also possess a great deal of pride. A bear that that has lost a fight with another bear may indeed take it out on an unsuspecting person who happens along. Bears are also thought to hold a grudge against people. A bear that has been wounded by one hunter may take it out on several hunters or people.
The grizzly likes domestic animals when he can get them. He especially likes carrion and will feed on the carcasses of animals and their gut piles. They also like bacon, steak, beans, and most any food you may have in your camp. If they know that they can get a meal from you or your camp, you will indeed begin to have trouble.
Their long canine teeth are meant for ripping and tearing and their long claws, some up to 5 inches long, are meant for grabbing and catching their prey, and they will protect their young to the death. This is a very important consideration for the hunter, as he will be walking through grizzly country as quietly as he can and may come across a sow and cub without even knowing it.




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