Bears and more Bears
By Eugene Halverson
|Keith Webb--Levi Bullard--Gene--Nuffy going to Donkey Lake|
There were a few lions, bobcats and coyotes but all the bears had been killed years before my time. It was legal to shoot any and all of these poor animals back then. In 1903, Edla Antbrams in her story in “No fa ja te America!” tells us about mountain lions and bears in Bingham.
The boardinghouse was located in the canyon between the mountains and to reach the city itself, you had to walk through the mountain. On the road to and from the dances the girls were afraid to be attacked by mountain lions. If you run into one you were supposed to stare them straight in the eyes, and they would leave you alone. It would stay still or run away. Edla was told that mountain lions had attacked some from behind and killed them. Something else you could do on your free time was going on hikes and picnics. Up between the mountains was an open, beautiful place where youngsters used to have their picnics. .
|Muddy Manti Forest|
|Cooked in tin-foil in ashes|
Billy Houghton, Oh! You should the one I just saw. A deer, did you shoot? Nope, well I wasn’t ready. You were asleep. No, not really. Where was your bow? OH, just lying there. Billy loved to hunt but he was always sleepy. In camp he would fall asleep playing “Dice”, dice in his hand ready to shake and his eyes would close.
Today he came back with a real whooper of a tail. I was watching this trail and when all of a sudden, there was this cougar just standing and watching me, eight feet away, his ears was laid back and he started to crouch, I thought I was a goner, I didn’t know what to do. So, I reached down and picked up my bow and then an arrow, he didn’t like that. I pulled back and shot, he jumped over the arrow, missed him, and he was gone. Before I could stand up he came back in another direction, so, I shot at him again. The arrow seemed to wait for him to jump over it and ran back in the trees. He was back behind me now and I could not find my quiver. God, I was really scarred then when he started walking, ears laid back and just beginning to crouch down but still walking. We asked him if he got killed and he did not think that was funny. As I was feeling for my quiver, I found a three foot club, and as soon as I jumped up he ran away and did not come back. (I wasn’t the club that chased him away; it was when he discovered Billy was bigger than he was) David Thorne and I chased many a bear away doing that.
Billy was sitting in this tree watching another trail. This time a Great Horned Owl hit his fur cap and knocked he right out of the tree. He hates owl now. (a Forest Service Warden walking a trail was killed when a Horned Owl’s claws entered his temple.)
I loved Yellowstone in those days. Bears were mooching food in every garbage can and every campground. Cars were always stopping to feed the bears and taking pictures. It was the best wildlife park anywhere. Every night we took a trip to the garbage dump. There were bears and more bears and it was fun watch them tearing big holes and eating what they found. But as many as they were they did not seem to hurt anyone, scare them, Yes, hurt then NO. It seem like bears are always hungry and searching for food and leave food laying around the camps and in the tent. They are just asking for trouble. It really is too hard to leave it in the car or hoist it up a tree, just do whatever you can. A real problem for bears and people is caused by the Bear Hunting Guides who leaves food all summer long so their client can shoot the dumb thing. I remember seeing bacon hanging here and there on many trees to bring them into the big feast is waiting.
It seems like every bear I seen almost run over the top of my brother, Lee. It had rained for two days down on Elk Ridge and yet Lee could see dust raising from the tracks and seen dry ground where his claws tore the ground up.
It was still quite dark if it wasn’t for the smell Lee would not have noticed the dead cow and that something had been eating on it. He walked a little farther and found a large rock to sit on. Something big and brown was coming through the trees, maybe an elk. No, it was a big brown bear; he stopped to sniff and then ran right up to the rock. Bears have poor eyesight but a wonderful nose. He knew Lee was there but he must not have known where. But Lee never thought the stupid bear would rise up on his hind legs and mover closer still. There he stood just four or five feet away, sniffing. He stood seven feet high and his head was as high as Lee’s. Lee sat quite as a mouse. He could see the new fur was growing through the old dark fur, an old bear but not very pretty and he was very close. The bear would look at Lee then away, then back to Lee a few more times and then he finally just turned and slowly walked away.
|MUDDY on the Manti|
I loved Mohawk Lake, it was mostly above “Timber line” just rocks and more rocks, some as big as a house. Pica lived in these rocks and if you could be patient and be quite you could see and hear them with a mouth full of grass scurrying here and there preparing for winter. They were so cute and quite tame. They look like a small tan rabbit with short ears and usually sat with their front paws holding the grass as they chewed on it. The Pine Martine was their only enemy and maybe if you were lucky you could see one of them too.
|I saw a Wolverine, a Pika, a Pine Martin at Mohawk Lake|
I looked at hundreds of pictures and described it to everyone I knew, even the Fish and Game and Forest Service, and that was a waste of time. Then 10 years later someone near Randolph took a picture and put it in the newspaper. It was a Wolverine! They said it was the first ever sighting of a Wolverine in Utah.
Once on the Muddy, near timberline, I looked up on the branch just above be and looked eye-to-eye with a cougar, ears laid back and just looking. I needed a camera not a bow and arrow. The other mountain lions were farther out and running away. Boy, they can sure run, faster than a deer I know.
Two Grizzle Bears
|Trevor waiting for a deer|