Bears as Predators ~ - Printable Version

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RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016

The California Grizzly - bear in mind - from the collections of the Bancroft Library:

"Beares, they will fight with buls, dogs, and horses: when they fight with bulles, they take them by their hornes, and with the weight of their bodie, they wearie and presse the beast, until they may easily slaie him: and this fight is for the most part on his backe...

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016

The California Grizzly - bear in mind - from the collections of the Bancroft Library:

Sometimes bulls were pitted against bears, the bears generally coming out victorious. I witnessed an event in Santa Barbara in which a bear killed three bulls, one after the other. For these fights they tied the beasts by one paw and sometimes they tied two together by the forepaws, leaving them a lot of rope. Under these conditions they fought to a frenzy. The usual thing was to leave the bull loose. He would generally attack first, and the bear would be defending itself. When the bull came at it, the bear would put its forepaw on his forehead and grab him by the leg and hold him as though he were a piece of straw. In this way the bear overcame him, making him lower his head. When he bellowed, it grabbed his tongue, and then it would be necessary to separate them so that the bear would not immediately kill the bull. There were occasions on which the bull killed the bear with his horns, but this was only if the bear was badly injured after having been tied down tightly in a cart and brought over a long distance.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016

From the topic: Bear - King of the Beasts ...

Michel Pastoureau's 'THE BEAR - HISTORY of a FALLEN KING' - highlights of chapter two - 'King of the Beasts'. ...continued.

They had long known of the existence of the large manned cat, the huge pachyderm, and a few other exotic animals remarkable for their size, their power, or their appearance. The Romans in particular had been able to marvel at the physical presence of various species in the circus games that were larger and more savage than the European bear. Although they sometimes staged battles in the arena between bears and bulls ( the bears almost always won ), they especially liked to see wild animals brought from Africa or Asia fight one another or against men. Sometimes, however, curiosity made them wonder about the strength of a bear or a bull compared to that of an animal from afar, and so there were battles between bears and lions, bears and panthers, bulls and lions, bulls and an elephant, and even a bear and a rhinoceros. Although bulls, fighting alone or in a group, seem never to have been victorious, a bear always won in single combat against a lion or against several panthers. But that was not enough to make the bear the king of the beasts in the eyes of the Romans. Like the Greeks - who had little fondness for animal combat - they preferred to install on the throne either the lion or, perhaps more frequently, the elephant. There never seems to have been a battle between a bear and an elephant, but Martial recorded a combat in Rome late in the first century of our era between a bear and a rhinoceros: the latter won easily, piercing the bear's stomach with its horn, then lifting its wounded opponent from the ground with its snout and tossing it in the air several times. A cruel humiliation for the European champion.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016

Beginning with post #49, I have provided ample evidence that the grizzly is quite capable of killing a domestic bull be it Spanish fighting bull, Texas Longhorn, or any other domestic breed of cattle. On the other hand, where wild bovine are considered, large powerful bulls such as bison or yak ( imo ) stand at the highest limitations of what a big male grizzly can kill perhaps 50% of confrontations. Along with bison and Yak stand the bull moose.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016

(01-18-2016, 06:19 AM)Polar Wrote: This seems to be the only account of an inuit, large polar bear, AND viking/Norse interaction all together in the Greenland coast!

The Quests of Nordig (pg.38), 1188 A.D:

"We once saw [a] large bear in Gronland, most blank in appearance. A few landers sought in the coast [with] their [sharp] spears and smooth skins. "Angiyok Issumadguyok," the natives [referred] to the bear. It's meaning is "one great bear," that's [what] it really looked like. The giant beast had a mixture of white fur and scat spots on the fur. It's mouth had only one meat-tooth in [the] front. We spotted the natives and the bear charging at them, and they [readied] their spears. Blood [was] everywhere and most of the natives could not comprehend the brute power of the greatest beast, the white bear. My [friend] Hendag had an encounter with one of these great beasts and he left the fight with a [broken] ryggrad after my men secured the village-born bear into its quarters.  Later, I talked to [chief] with my men and asked him about the bear. The [chief] described the bear as clever, old, and aggressive. All the natives avoided the bear for security and [danger], but the bear made great warning of his [hunger]. We had never [had an] encounter like this before, and before me and my men, all the natives were bloodied and as we say [massacred], and the great white bear feasted on one of them while sulking away [towards] a snow-layered hill, never to be seen again. There [were] no landers to deal with, but there was a trail of [blood] to [where] the bear had moved."

Looks like the bear described here was a grolar/pizzly combination? And surely it was an old one, indeed. Seems as though old carnivores target humans more than they do with less available, yet more nutritious and larger prey.

Could have been a grolar bear, but the odds are against it. More likely either a full-blooded polar bear or grizzly bear. Grizzlies were sometimes called "white bears" such as in the reports from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016

Bear Almanac by Gary Brown.

Musk Ox - These shaggy animals of the arctic tundra, with their sharp, hooked horns, are formidable opponents when circled as a group. A grizzly bear will kill an individual musk ox by attacking from behind, grasping its neck, placing a foreleg over its shoulder, and pulling it to the ground. However, bears are sometimes killed or seriously injured during an encounter.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016


nfo from:
Aichun, X., Zhigang, J., Chunwang, L., Jixun, G., Guosheng, W., Ping, C., 2006. Summer food habits of brown bears in Kekexili Nature Reserve, Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China. Ursus 17, 132-137.

Pikas in KNR appeared relatively stable and consis-
tently available to bears, but wild yak and Tibetan wild
ass were less predictable prey items. In the transect
surveys we found 2 carcasses of wild yak. One had been
consumed, with almost no meat remaining on the
skeleton; the other was relatively fresh. Around the
carcasses, we found fresh bear tracks and feces. We
documented a similar instance involving a Tibetan wild
ass carcass. Neither we nor the managers of KNR
observed bears preying actively on ungulates in
Kekexili. We believe that brown bears scavenged the
carcasses of large ungulates 
*This image is copyright of its original author

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - Polar - 01-22-2016

Brown bears predate on muskox? I never heard them heading that far up north. Do you have more sources/accounts relating to brown bear predation on muskox?

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016

(01-22-2016, 11:24 PM)Polar Wrote: Brown bears predate on muskox? I never heard them heading that far up north. Do you have more sources/accounts relating to brown bear predation on muskox?

*This image is copyright of its original author

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-22-2016

Just imagine a 300 pound grizzly going up against a 900 pound musk ox; it happens. 


RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-23-2016

Bear Almanac by Gary Brown.

Moose - A grizzly bear preying on a moose calf finds the protective mother a formidable foe. Adolf Murie " ... watched a mother, followed by her very young calf, determinedly chasing a grizzly and doing her best to overtake it."
An account is related of a Russian brown bear imitating the call of an elk ( moose are called elk in Asia ) during the rutting season, luring the unsuspecting moose to where it would be easier prey.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-23-2016

Man Meets Grizzly by Young and Beyers.

We had not gone far when Father said, "There is our bear down by that big tree in the bottom. He is a big Kodiak, and if I'm not mistaken, he is stalking game." We noted his apparent interest in something ahead. He would hurry for a few rods then stop, then walk slowly forward again. We eased along, keeping our eyes on this king of the forest. We hadn't long to wait, for not far ahead, near some trees by the ledge, we spied a large bull moose and two cows. So this was what Mr. Kodiak was after! There was no pouncing upon his prey unseen; it must be attack and kill. From all we had heard of Kodiak bears and their great strength, we figured it wouldn't take that bear long to procure his game. It was a natural conclusion to make, but as we got a better look at the bull moose, with his powerful build, those big horns with their wide-spread points and spike, that great head and muscular neck and shoulders, and those hoofs, we concluded that even the Kodiak might have some killing to do.

The wind, what there was of it, blew down the canyon, so the bear had not noticed us, nor had the moose been aware of the Kodiak until he was rather close. Some of the bear's approach was made in the open, as the trees were in groups or patches. When the moose became aware of his enemy, he snorted a warning to the cows, and they moved quickly into the timber while the guardian stood his ground. He pawed the earth and tossed his huge antlers. The Kodiak immediately began a series of preliminary and threatening rushes and sideward advances, keeping his eyes constantly on his prey.

At this point the two giants of the North Country were not far apart, only two or three yards. The bear champed his jaws and made a whining half-whoof and rose upon his legs, a magnificent specimen of strength. But to our surprise and amazement, the moose took the challenge and sprang to the fray. As he came near to the bear he rose upon his hind feet for the charge, his great horns making a formidable spectacle. He was fully as tall as the Kodiak.

Then they both made the plunge to kill, simultaneously, but the bear's huge paw found its mark first and tore the moose's shoulder and side with such accuracy and force that it sent the animal whiling and slipping for thirty feet, and left a ragged, open cut a yard long in his flesh. Was this the end? Surely it would seem so, but it was not. To our surprise the moose gathered himself and with quick bounds was upon the furry beast with all his might, tearing into him with those terrible sharp antlers. When the bear shook loose, it took him some time to recover and strike the moose again.

They separated and sparred for an opening. Our pack animals had become excited at this point, so we took them back from the rim and made them fast to a tree. When we rode back to our vantage point, we found the monsters in a fierce struggle again. This was repeated many times. We believed the bear would soon finish the moose, but the anger and strength of the bull was a fair match for the Kodiak.

Dad said, "how long do you think this thing can last?" We had been so interested we forgot about the time, and the sun was far to the west. The beasts would hit and gore and struggle for advantage and occasionally separate and move apart to get their wind. Neither would give up. At any minute we expected to see one or the other admit he had had enough and leave the arena.

It was a battle of champions. Since that day I have seen some fights by men and animals and have read of many, but never have I seen or heard of such a vicious struggle as my father and I witnessed from a ringside seat on the rim of Little White Horse Creek. I thrill to think of it now.
The combatants had moved away from each other, and it looked as though it might be a mutual agreement to postpone the decision. The moose stood off a few yards looking at the shaggy, torn Kodiak as he walked up the rocky slope toward the ledge. When the bear turned, with his back to a massive block of stone, he looked at the moose as though to say, "If you want me, come up and get me!" The moose shook his stack of broad, sharp-pointed horns, struck the ground with a strong hoof, and accepted the challenge. With a spring over the rocks, and head down, he struck old Kodiak in the side with two spikes and drove them home. He heaved the bear up against the wall. The bear had no doubt looked to the wall for protection; it now served as a backstop. The moose's legs stiffened and he bored in on the bear, which gave forth a bellowing howl unworthy of such a boastful fighter. The bear struggled to free himself. He bit and struck with his front paws and clawed with his hind feet, but the moose never for a moment relaxed his determination to put an end to the struggle. For three quarters of an hour, by my father's watch, this gripping round went on. It was getting late, and we wanted to be on our way, but could not pull ourselves from such a contest. We had to know its outcome.

The bear's moans and groans became fainter and died down. Then the moose withdrew those gory antlers, gave his head a shake, snorted to clear the blood from his nostrils and mouth, stepped aside, freeing the bear, and watched his vanquished enemy roll over three or four times to the level ground. The moose went to the carcass and looked at it a moment; then, being satisfied, proudly limped away up the canyon to the cows.

For eight hours we had been spellbound. Now we rode down and examined the mutilated Kodiak. We measured him. Father said he was thirteen feet, six inches, from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail - and a bear's tail is not long. The skin was too much torn to be of any use, so we proceeded upon our journey.

Coming back a week later, we ran onto the carcass of a very large moose. His bones had been stripped by the wolves, but the antlers showed the effects of that gallant fight. Whether he had been killed by wolves or had died from the awful blows and bites of the bear we could not know. But his courage and tenacity had made him a worthy adversary against the great Kodiak. I wondered then how many such dramas are enacted in the wilderness when no man or even other animal is present to give testimony.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-23-2016

The Bear Almanac by Gary Brown.

Horses - Bears and horses or mules, in general, appear to have a healthy and mutual respect. They each prevent surprise encounters due to their acute hearing and smell and so normally avoid confrontation, and a horse's hooves pounding on the trail is an excellent warning to the bear. However, there are exceptions to this mutual avoidance. Bears, whether surprised and threatened or protecting a food source or cubs, have been aggressive, and horses and mules are defensive as well.
In 'American Bear', ( Paul Schullery ), Theodore Roosevelt relates that the bear ... " has much respect for the hoofs ... of it's should be prey. Some horses do not seem to know how to fight at all; but others arte both quick and vicious, and prove themselves very formidable foes, lashing out behind and striking with their fore-hoofs."
A park biologist in Yellowstone National; Park in 1966, on horseback and leading a pack mule, encountered a grizzly bear on an elk carcass. As the bear charged, the biologist threw the mule's lead-rope upon the pack so the mule would have the freedom t5o run and escape. As the biologist rapidly retreated, he heard a "screaming bray" from the mule, and turning, he expected to see the worst. However, the grizzly bear was departing as the mule with hackles raised, head down and outstretched toward the bear, was expressing its dominance of that moment.

n 1872, near Fort Wingate, New Mexico, two soldiers of a cavalry regiment came to their death at the claws of a grisly bear. The army surgeon who attended them told me the particulars, as far as they were known. The men were mail carriers, and one day did not come in at the appointed time. Next day, a relief party was sent out to look for them, and after some search found the bodies of both, as well as that of one of the horses. One of the men still showed signs of life; he came to his senses before dying, and told the story. They had seen a grisly and had pursued it on horseback, with their Spencer rifles. On coming close, one had fired into its side, when it turned with marvelous quickness for so large and unwieldy an animal, and struck down the horse, at the same time inflicting a ghastly wound on the rider. The other man dismounted and came up to the rescue of his companion. The bear then left the latter and attacked the other. Although hit by the bullet, it charged home and threw the man down, and then lay on him and deliberately bit him to death, while his groans and cries were frightful to hear. Afterward it walked off into the bushes without again offering to molest the already mortally wounded victim of its first assault.
At certain times the grisly works a good deal of havoc among the herds of the stockman. A friend of mine, a ranchman in Montana, told me that one fall bears became very plenty around his ranches, and caused him severe loss, killing with ease even full-grown steers. But one of them found his intended quarry too much for him. My friend had a stocky, rather vicious range stallion, which had been grazing one day near a small thicket of bushes, and toward evening, came galloping in with three or four gashes in his haunch, that looked as if they had been cut with a dull axe. The cowboys knew at once that he had been assailed by a bear, and rode off to the thicket near which he had been feeding. Sure enough a bear, evidently in a very bad temper, sallied out as soon as the thicket was surrounded, and, after a spirited fight and a succession of charges, was killed. On examination, it was found that his under jaw was broken, and part of his face smashed in, evidently by the stallion's hoofs. The horse had been feeding when the bear leaped out at him but failed to kill at the first stroke; then the horse lashed out behind, and not only freed himself, but also severely damaged his opponent.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-23-2016

The Grizzly Book by Jack Samson - A Gallery of Outlaw Grizzlies by W.P. Hubbard - Red Robber 1880 - 1885.

Within a month, six friendly Utes rode into the JRX Ranch and told Riley a bear had attacked fourteen wild horses they had left overnight in a horse trap. Riley and some of his men went to the trap. It was located at the end of a small blind-pocket canyon. The Utes had barricaded the narrow entrance with a log gate. The trap itself was small and surrounded by high, sheer, rocky walls. The Utes had caught the herd the afternoon before and then gone to their camp for the night. Upon returning to the trap next morning, they discovered the bear had invaded it during their absence. Three horses were dead. Two others were so badly injured they had to be shot. One was a beautiful blaze-faced chestnut that Riley had tried several times to capture. Riley was so angered he vowed vengeance on all bears, offering $50 to anyone who would bring him the Red Robber's hide: the first reward placed on the bear.

RE: Bears as Predators ~ - brotherbear - 01-23-2016

The Grizzly Book by Jack Samson - A Gallery of Outlaw Grizzlies by W.P. Hubbard - The Bandit 1899 to 1904.

Both men had a good look at the grizzly and were sure that the bear's face about the eyes and nose was a decided white color, and that the rest of his body was a dark, bluish-gray with whitish hair on his great shoulders. Because of his masklike markings on his face, he became known as the Bandit.

In the fall, at the edge of a timber-fringed meadow, two coyotes led to the discovery of a gelding that had been killed by the Bandit. The horse had entered a small indentation in a low bank to drink at a spring. Tracks revealed the grizzly had come in behind the horse and had killed it with a smashing neck blow as if attempted to dash by him in the narrow opening.