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Bear Tales

One Day I Met A Bear...

Anyone who spends time in bear country winds up with stories --- tracks in the snow of mom with cub, a glimpse of a bear butt exiting through the trees, a surprise encounter among willows while fishing.

These experiences make us present, enrich our lives, and humble us. What is remarkable is the restraint of bears, who almost always want to avoid trouble with us.

Here are a few stories you may enjoy. If you have a good one, please pass it on!

Story teller Laura Simms, St. Mary's School, Livingston, Montana

Louisa Willcox

If I had been moving any faster I would have plowed into the grizzly bear. By the time I stopped, I could have touched the bear’s soaked forehead. Braking with the downhill momentum of my eighty pound pack, I fell backward and down on my butt. The student on my tail bumped into the mountain of my pack. The bear chose the logical response: he wheeled, crashed through a creek, and vanished in the darkening woods.  Keystone Cops encountering a grizzly bear. We were supposed to be the experts in the mountains, certified “mountaineers”. Yet who was the expert here? These kinds of bear encounters happen more than they should...
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399 in the Words of Those Who Love Her

Here we feature one special bear, Grizzly 399, who, along with her cubs and grandcubs in Grand Teton Park, has become a favorite among families from around the world in recent years. Grizzly 399 is now 21 years old, which is old for a wild grizzly. In sharing some stories of members of her clan, we point to the need to do more to co-exist peaceably with these generous grizzlies.    

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Casey Anderson

Listen to Casey Anderson tell stories of what is was like to raise a grizzly cub, Brutus, from a tiny baby to a 900 pound giant. Casey challenges us to think differently about our relationships with bears, who are a lot like us. Casey owns Grizzly Encounter, an educational facility that harbors grizzly bears, many of whom were rescued from dire conditions, or zoos that were closing down.

Casey is also is featured in numerous TV shows, and stars in several sponsored by National Geographic, including his latest: Nat Geo WILD, which features Casey traveling around the world to share intimate stories of wildlife and our relationships with them. 


Brian Peck

Soon after moving to NW Montana in 1995, my wife and I had the opportunity to see how even a brief and distant encounter with a grizzly can transform someone’s day – and perhaps their life.

It was mid-September, and we were at Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass, an area known for spectacular scenery, carpets of wildflowers, and frequently a chance to see a grizzly in the wide-open meadows. We were there for “The Griz.”

... one particularly cooperative grizzly of 400 + pounds or so had been at the pass every day for nearly two weeks...

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Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder is an American man of letters and Deep Ecologist. Perhaps best known as a poet (often associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance) Gary is an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist. Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the American Book Award. His work, in his various roles, reflects an immersion in both Buddhist spirituality and nature. Snyder has translated literature into English from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese. This poem, Smoky the Bear Sutra, is one of my faves.

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