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    • wahoo
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      Post count: 413

      Dave just finished your book. It was great and very enjoyable. I also had the opportunity while reading the book to observe the great bear in their natural habitat which was very cool. Recently I have been seeing that some hunters killed a grizz in Colorado is there any truth to that?

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Glad you enjoyed GG, Wahoo. It was easily the most fun book I’ve ever taken on because it kept me out in real wilderness — in CO, MT, WY, AK and Canada — for the better part of two summers and I got to know some top grizzly researchers and learned a huge amount. Because the book continues to sell as “local legend” if nothing else, every few years I update it. The current third edition is less than a year old and there have been no verified grizzly sightings in this state since the original book came out in ’95. I fear the historical local subspecies grizz is gone forever, the last one killed in hand-to-hand combat by a bowhunter in ’79. However, the possibility of one wandering down from the north, like Wyoming’s Wind River Range, is very real. Already, wolves and wolverines are doing it. I think I’m still sufficiently plugged in to the CO “grizzly network” that if anything real ever came up I’d be among the first to know about it. But you know, just hunting and hiking and camping on dark nights in the places we know the last grizz around here to have survived, and a tiny chance still survive, lends a special excitement to being outdoors and defines true wilderness. In my books, if there’s not something out there that is bigger and meaner than you, it ain’t wilderness. Dave

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Thanks for the reminder – I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now.

      There are grizz in the Wind Rivers, for sure, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them continuing to expand their range southward, though probably not in significant numbers, given the amount of development and backcountry traffic in the Front Range.

      Oh, and on the topic of wolverines – I’m reading Doug Chadwick’s “The Wolverine Way” right now. Great read as well.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Bruce — We don’t have or want TV, but do enjoy streaming good documentaries, music, etc. via Netflix and Roku, esp. in winter when we need a break from reading. Recently we watched a NatGeo special on Wolverines, featuring Chadwick. A good watch. There’s also a great NatGeo called Snow Tigers, about Siberian tigers, featuring famed bowhunter Bart Schlayer.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      David Petersen wrote: Bruce — We don’t have or want TV, but do enjoy streaming good documentaries, music, etc. via Netflix and Roku, esp. in winter when we need a break from reading. Recently we watched a NatGeo special on Wolverines, featuring Chadwick. A good watch. There’s also a great NatGeo called Snow Tigers, about Siberian tigers, featuring famed bowhunter Bart Schlayer.

      Same with us, and happily. But thanks for the heads up on those two documentaries!

    • Chad Sivertsen
      Post count: 84

      Ghost Grizzlies is one of my very favorite books….but makes me a bit sad.

      I have a copy of the Wolverine Way and look forward toreading it. I attended a local seminar by Doug Chadwick.

    • wabow35
      Post count: 6

      I also liked that wolverine documentary.I really cant get enough of the Natgeo shows. But another show on netflix i liked was 180degrees south.

    • wahoo
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 413

      just saw 180 – was good

    • Don Thomas
      Member
      Post count: 334

      What Dave said about camping out in grizzly country, as I’ve done many hundreds of nights. You just don’t sleep the same, if you sleep at all.

      Great book, BTW. Don

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      Ha! Sleeping in Grizzly country… Years ago, while sheep hunting in the Brooks Range I had what must have been a panic attack. We had seen where Grizzlies had been after marmots or ground squirrels earlier in the day. The ground was all torn up and the the power of the grizzly was evident.

      Anyway, later that night, I woke up, in my little Eureka 2-man tent and started thinking about what would happen if the tent caught the attention of one of the local grizzlies… My imagination had me getting mauled about every five minutes for hours…

      There I sat with sheath knife in hand, ready!! (A lot of good that would have done me…)

      Anyway, eventually, exhausted, I had a thought – either they ARE going to get me or they are NOT. Either way I have to sleep and worrying about it isn’t going to help. From that point on I never had trouble sleeping in bear country. Oh, and they have NOT gotten me yet!! πŸ˜€

      todd

    • David Petersen
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      Post count: 2749

      Todd — Doug Peacock (Grizzly Years, my favorite grizz book of all time) always swore by sleeping right in the middle of a big tent, so that if a bear takes a whack at the tent it will miss you and you may have a chance to either escape or defend yourself. He too sleeps with a knife at the ready … to quickly slash an exit hole in the side of the tent opposite the bear. He says you’re nuts to sleep in the open in grizz country and that many times bears have gently tested, pressed against, the tent, then gone away (of course he never has anything that smells like food in there with him and always smokes his clothing over a smoky fire to hide human and other odors. My wife and I camped in tents in grizz country for some 20 years before she finally announced “I’ve had enough of this. If you want to keep coming here, I want a truck camper.” So now we have a truck camper. It’s for sale. πŸ˜›

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      Dave, ya gotta love it!! Great advice and I must check into that book. Before I moved to AK I read every bear book I could find. Had tons of dreams through the years of bears following me and intimidating me, but only once did one actually attack me in the dream. It was a sow and she shook the snot out of me!! Not fun!! 😯

      When I lived up on Beaver Bend, many is the night I walked home from Mark and Lori’s keeping an eye out for the unexpected… Never bumped into one, but they have seen the occasional grizz there.

      Good thing one didn’t test my tent that particular night, I would have probably soiled myself on the spot. 😳

      todd

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Todd — I forgot you lived there! Must have been downriver as I know every deserted cabin upriver, from Helmer’s to the Yukon border. But walk home? How many days did that take? That’s country for river travel not walking,unless you’re right on and in the water it seems unthinkable. It’s strange there with bears. Mark has killed and eaten every black bear they’ve spotted for decades, so they rarely see one any more. And as you say,only rarely do they see grizz near the cabin, and same for wolves though Mark had to shoot two, one a big black beauty, last year when they kept harassing the dog team (same old story of unfixed females in heat). And a few years ago there was a big yellow grizz standing right on the airstrip on that little island in the river out front of the cabin; they got pics. But you don’t have to go that far upstream, maybe starting around Indian Grave Creek, and you start seeing tons of grizz and wolf sign. What sort of invisible barrier is there even Mark doesn’t know, but it’s real. Lots of Indian potato for grizz. If I had them handy I could post some neat pics of grizz and wolf tracks from my last moose trip there. Sorry to bore everyone else with this …

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      Hey Dave, Mark tore down the old cabin and used it for firewood I think. It was only a quarter mile downriver from them. Time Henry and Dave ?? built it the first year they all lined up to the bend. The year I lived there I spent most evenings with M and L, and walked home very late most nights.

      We never had any wolves around back then, and only the very rare sighting of a grizz anywhere near. I never saw one while I was there. Tracks along the river upstream though, yes…

      Yep, I saw one black bear while there, and Mark shot him. Actually the first bear I ever ate. πŸ™‚

      I did a 4-day fast and my own version of a vision quest at Indian Grave creek cabin. No luck though, other than a gentle breeze blowing toward the cabin from the mouth.

      Helped Randy Brown peel logs up that was as well. I think he made a new cabin eventually at the Indian Grave site.

      I didn’t know you went up more than the one time for moose. Nice!! I have not been back since I floated out in about 1985.

      Would love to see the country again, but it was fairly barren for hunting. Seeing Mark and Lori would be the reward of the trip.

      Yes. my apologies as well to all for the side trail here…

      Thanks for bearing with us!! πŸ˜€

    • Raymond CoffmanRaymond Coffman
      Moderator
      Post count: 1035

      Todd / Dave

      Doesn’t bore me any { hunted there late 80s}

      — love to hear stories of the last Frontier. Did you all go there as a group? 60s “back to the Land” or just for the fun of it?

      It was my understanding[from local explanation] wherever there was a lot of “Grizz” “Brownies” there were not many Black Bear and Vice versa. This seemed to hold true in my limited experience. [ Grizz ran the black Bear off —]

      I had thought about living there also, but unfortunately didn’t go for it. Should have done it –Just for the experience!

      Scout

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      Scout,

      I just always wanted to live in the bush. I was on the trip as part of a group when Mark and Lori first went out, but my partner at the time changed her mind and decided that it was too intimidating. We floated back to civilization and the rest of the group continued on and built cabins.

      Years later I decided that I had to at least try bush living. I was able to use a cabin that was close to Mark and Lori. That gave me many advantages, the best of all being other people close by for social interaction. Even though I am kind of anti-social, I really like to hang out and be around people of like mind.

      I stayed one year, headed out to the lower 48 to work, save, and invest so I could go back and never have to work for anyone again. Just live the quiet simple life. Also, I wanted to get a wife as bush living is a day to day existence and better for a couple than a single guy.

      I did all that but married a gal that wouldn’t move to the bush if her life depended on it… 😯

      So, now oh… Some 25+ years later, I still live in the city, and they still live in the bush. Fond memories though, fond memories… πŸ˜€

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      PS, Found that book DP mentioned and ordered it. Looking forward to the read. Grizzlies are amazing!! I always liked living in a place where I was waaaay down the food chain. Adds a spice to life and puts you in your place. Mother Nature does not think us all that important… Alaska will certainly show you that if you get out in the wild country. πŸ˜€

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Some snapshots from deep-bush AK:

      attached file
    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      This are from a cabin well upstream from BB, back in a slough from the river, “scraps” from subsistence meat hunting, tossed outside cabin which has since been gutted by grizzlies. I forget the couple’s name but they came in with Mark and Lori in the “Coming into the Country” hippie invasion around 1980 and like others, had kids and left. This is the closest I got to big moose antlers on that hunt,alas.

      attached file
    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Fresh grizz prints on the same stretch of river beach as the previous wolf tracks. That’s Dave Sigurslid with me (the homely one :P), fellow Campfire Fartologer. And Mark Richards fixing dinner at Helmer’s — fresh arctic grayling, three times a day, every day … the subsistence way.

      attached fileattached file
    • Raymond CoffmanRaymond Coffman
      Moderator
      Post count: 1035

      Great post guys –thanks–

      Brings Back fond memories. I visited and hunted there a number of times and enjoyed it immensely! Thought about living there when I was younger — but life got in the way.

      Need to go back to fish and hunt again.

      Caught Lake Trout / caribou / grouse all in the same day —

      Scout.

      ps – just picked up Grizzly Years –

    • Todd Smith
      Post count: 167

      I don’t have many pics scanned from back then, but here are a couple.

      Long time ago, but fantastic memories…

    • wapiti792
      Post count: 20

      I just finished “Ghost Grizzlies” after reading this post. All I can say is WOW! I have hunted East of the Divide in “The Rio” for many years, doing mainly solo 3 and 4 day bivy hunts from Comstock Campground as a base. It is not country made for flatlanders from Illinois but I love it. Seeing all of those places Mr Peterson mentions in the book so close to where I have cut my elk hunting teeth makes the book feel like a homecoming of sorts. Of coarse I am on the more “roady” side of the Rio and have to deal with other hunters by putting distance between me and the road crew.

      I met a gentleman who has since passed that hunted the area since 1963. He was a ridge-running old timer and when I met him he was 73. We shared several camps together but I will never forget his tale of being in the area in 1970 and seeing a giant bear he thought was a grizz. He took me to that place the year before he died. It was the roughest climb of my life, and I could see a big paranoid grizzly holed up there.

      Great read! Like of all of David’s works it will make you think…and THAT is a good thing. Mike

    • wapiti792
      Post count: 20

      *My mentor and moutain hunting toughguy. Mr. Peterson’s book made me think of Jack often. Wondering if what he thought he saw was really a ghost grizzly. I sure hope so!

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Mike, thanks for your generous review of the book. If your friend was hunting what today is the S. San Juan Wilderness, or anywhere around there, to Platoro and below, he darn well could have seen a grizzly. The “last” CO grizzly was killed with a hand-held arrow in 1979. That very old female had nursed cubs, and there had to have been a male grizz for that. So nearly a decade before the “Wiseman bear” was killed there had to have been at least two and maybe as many as five grizz in that area alone. Even today, having gone round the corner and now being a doubter that any grizz are left here, to hike and hunt alone through that country is a very special feeling, truly still haunted by ghost grizzlies. Also loaded with elk. πŸ˜€ Dave

    • wapiti792
      Post count: 20

      David, I killed my first elk there and had several encounters with black bear there, one a giant color phased sow that didn’t like me on “her” seep…it is loaded with both if you are willing to go across some tougher country πŸ˜• Your book (and looking through past photos) have me wanting more. There is an old sheepherder’s camp up top that I can use to look over the whole San Luis valley from my bivy. It is about a half days flatlander walk from a a gravel road but fairly quiet. I hope to tip my flask to my friend, wild country, and ghost grizzlies this September. Thanks again for the good read! Mike

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