Men Vs. Bears: Hugh Glass, Jim Bridger, et al
Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you -- but in the battle of man vs. bear, man often prevails. Walk into any wildlife museum or Cabela's store and you'll see the result of these often one-sided encounters -- a stuffed, dead bear.
But bears sometimes get in a enough licks to get remembered, particularly in brawls from years ago, in pioneer days. Famous bears from that time include the grizzlies that ripped apart mountain men Hugh Glass and Jedediah Smith, and the bears recounted in the tall tales of Jim Bridger, who kept his grizzly encounters at a safe distance.
Daniel Boone, a gentleman by mountaineer standards, marked his bear fights by carving graffiti into trees near the sites of the encounters. A generation later, the more nuanced Little Balser killed bears but also befriended them, as did Grizzly Adams. Both were immortalized, long after they were dead (along with their bears), in books and TV shows.
The roster of respected bears is short, which can seem unfair by modern standards. But the next time you see a dead bear somewhere unexpected, such as a bar or a casino or an outdoor box on the street, remember that some man probably had to fight it. And you wouldn't be standing there, snapping away with your smartphone, if the bear had triumphed.
- Hugh Glass Mauled by Bear Here - Shadehill, SD
- Hugh Glass Bear Battle Statue - Lemmon, SD
- Statue of Jim Bridger - Fort Bridger, WY
- Wind River Heritage Center: Wax Jim Bridger - Riverton, WY
- Wax Jedediah Smith Battles Grizzly - Blue Diamond, NV
- Site Of The Last Boone Bear Tree - Gray, TN
- Grave of Grizzly Adams - Charlton, MA
- Jedediah Smith, Mountain Man - San Dimas, CA
- Jedediah Smith Killed Here - Ulysses, KS
- Little Balser And His Bears - Shelbyville, IN
- Jim Bridger Statue, Frontier Trails Museum - Independence, MO
- Grave Of Jim Bridger - Independence, MO
- Jim Bridger, Mountain Man - Bozeman, MT
- Museum of the Fur Trade - Chadron, NE