Ghost Grizzles: Does the Great Bear Still Haunt Colorado?

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9781555662189: Ghost Grizzles: Does the Great Bear Still Haunt Colorado?

Deep in the wilds of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains there may still lurk a remnant population of the continent’s most fearsome mammal: Ursus arctos horribilis. By 1952 it was widely assumed that the grizzly had been extirpated from Colorado. That is, until one September evening in 1979 when a hunting outfitter named Ed Wiseman was attacked by a four-hundred-pound golden-haired sow. The mauled but alive man (and the dead bear) confirmed what knowledgeable San Juan residents already knew: the Colorado grizzly was no ghost.

What has happened since that encounter almost twenty years ago is the subject of this story about the bear and our own species in the wild—and what the future may hold for both.

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Review:

After a century of declared war, Colorado's last grizzly was officially eradicated in 1952. But in 1979, while out bowhunting elk in the San Juan mountains, a guide named Ed Wiseman fought a big old sow with nothing more than a broken arrow--and won. Was this truly the "last" grizzly? David Petersen, for one, would like to know. He tracks the ghost grizzlies of the southern Rockies with a gusto that borders on mania, interviewing wildlife officials, hikers, hunters, taxidermists, and anyone else with a connection to the great bear--hoping to find evidence that a few still range Colorado's rugged backcountry. He spearheads campaigns into the wilderness and studies suspicious signs left behind. Ghost Grizzlies, his memoir of this search, is many books at once: it's a lesson in natural (and not-so-natural) history; an elegy for America's lost wildness; a very personal rumination on what it means to chase an elusive spirit; and a terrific true-mystery story that will appeal to outdoors enthusiasts, wildlife fanciers, and anyone else who enjoys a good Western yarn.

About the Author:

David Petersen is an experienced outdoorsman and author of several books and articles about the natural history of the American West. His most recent books include "The Nearby Faraway" and "A Hunter’s Heart." He lives near Durango, Colorado.

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David Petersen
Published by Johnson Books (1998)
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