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Bears as Predators ~

India brotherbear Offline
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#76
( This post was last modified: 01-23-2016, 02:49 PM by brotherbear )

California Grizzly by Tracy I. Storer and Lloyd P. Tevis, Jr.

Seemingly, then, the bears used during the American period often were inferior specimens endowed with less spirit and ferocity than the giants that had fought in Spanish and Mexican days. Very likely the miners shot the larger bears with rifles and trapped mainly small ones for the fights - possibly even black bears - whereas the Spanish vaqueros had roped the biggest and toughest grizzlies they could find.

To make the contests more nearly equal, the horns were sometimes sawed off before the bulls went into battle.

Meyer ( 1938 : 237 ), after observing fights in Sacramento, said that the bear was rarely the victor.

The bull was soon thought to be a too powerful opponent for the king of the California forests and he was supplanted by a - donkey. A California longear, or several of these, were brought into the arena with the bear, and it was horrible to see the bear quench his blood-thirstiness on these weak creatures. Of course some rough kicks were directed at the bear's head but sometimes the angry bear bit the donkey's leg off.

Alfred T. Jackson, on February 2, 1851, at Nevada City saw a big poster which said there was going to be "a grand fight between a ferocious grizzly bear and the champion fighting jackass of the State." The bear proved to be a black, which, on approaching its opponent, received "a couple of thunderous kicks in the ribs." Whereupon the jackass returned to eating grass, and the bear went over the fence in two jumps and fled to the chaparral, scattering the crowd. ( Canfield, 1906 : 46 - 48. )

So great was the degradation of the fights that even tiny burros were pitted against bears: If the bear was a real grizzly, he always won, so far as I know, but the burro would worry him desperately for a long time. The bear would suffer terrific jolts on the jaw from the burro's heels, that would send him staggering back time and again. When the grizzly would finally get hold of his lowly but far from humble antagonist, the burro would bite and hang on with his teeth like a bulldog. I must say that I always considered a match like this unfair, brutal and barbarous. ( Bell, 1930 : 107 - 108. )

Finally, somebody with a perverted sense of humor conceived the idea of letting hundreds of city rats loose into a well-closed arena, where they tormented the grizzly to distraction by swarming over him and crawling under his fur. Viewing this loathsome spectacle, Meyer ( 1938 : 237 ) commented that bear-and-bull fights had "passed through all stages, from the heroic to the lowest and the Yankees mocked the dignity of the bear as they do that of a king."
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India brotherbear Offline
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#77
( This post was last modified: 01-24-2016, 02:22 AM by brotherbear )

Animal facts and feats by Gerald L. Wood.
The only creatures that the large brown bears of Alaska have to fear are men - and perhaps the odd horse or so! Some years ago a surveying party tried to land a small number of horses near Geographic Bay on the Alaskan mainland for transportation use. The animals were being towed in a barge, and as the shoreline came into sight a violent storm blew up. Somehow or other the two vessels became separated, with the result that the equine cargo was tipped into the rough sea. There was only one survivor, and this courageous beast managed to swim to the shore collapsing.

During the next few months the stallion was often seen on the open beach and passing fishermen would land there specially to feed the friendly animal. It must have helped considerably because three years later the steed, now a local celebrity, was still alive and flourishing, despite the fact that there were a number of giant brown bears in the area.

One day Bill Kvasnikoff, a professional hunter, was passing along this shoreline in his boat when he suddenly spotted two large brown bears making rapid tracks for the horse which, attracted by the noise of the outboard engine, was standing on the beach hoping for a tidbit. The next moment he witnessed one of the most amazing battles in Nature.

"As the bears tore in, teeth grabbing and arms flailing", writes Clyde Ormond ( 1961 ), "they were met with feet on each end of their adversary, and teeth almost equal to their's. They were met also with a speed in whirling, ducking to knees and running ... which baffled the bears and kept them off balance. Fur, hide and feet flew. Dust enveloped them all. The squeals of the furious nag mixed with the roars and bawls of the bears."

The fight, which lasted about 5 minutes, eventually ended with two bears running for their lives with the enraged stallion in hot pursuit, which suggests that the equine fury had been involved in battles with brown bears many times and had developed some expertise in this field.

Note: the fact that there were two bears hunting together would suggest that these were sub-adult bears, not long in leaving their mother; very likey about three years old.
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India brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-24-2016, 02:24 AM by brotherbear )

The Great Bear Almanac by Gary Brown - Theodore Roosevelt told the story of a stallion that defended against a grizzly bear, breaking its jaw and chasing it away.
M.P. Skinner, in Bears in the Yellowstone, wrote of his horse that would attack bears "on sight". It killed two American black bears, "lashing out at them with... hind hoofs ( lightning quick, crashing blows from the rear ) and then quickly spring away before the return charge." He also relates that his horse had "driven several grizzly bears off, without ever having received a sctatch...."
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( This post was last modified: 01-24-2016, 10:08 PM by brotherbear )

The Grizzly by Enos Mills.

Grizzlies often show courage and strategy by hiding and lying in ambush for a pursuing hunter. On one occasion I had been following a grizzly for a number of days, trying to get his photograph at short range. He knew I was in pursuit. Finally, he doubled back on his trail a short distance and crouched behind a log. His tracks as I followed them passed along the other side of this log, and continued plainly ahead of me across the top of a snow-covered moraine ( Webster - moraine - a mass of rocks, sand, etc. left by a glacier ). But as I approached the log, the wind stirred the bear's fur and gave me warning.

A grizzly appears to understand that his tracks reveal his movements. I was once following one that had been wounded by a hunter to see where he went and what he did. He circled from his trail and came back to it over logs and rocks, which left no markings, and hid in a clump of fir trees. On seeing this possible place of ambush by the trail, I turned aside and climbed a pine to reconnoiter. When the bear realized that I had discovered him, he made off in anger.
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India brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-29-2016, 03:54 AM by brotherbear )

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

This animal - the biggest and fiercest of the genus - inhabits the mountainous parts of the Missouri region, the forested banks of the Yellowstone River and of the Little Missouri, and the great Rocky Mountain range. It is much bigger, stronger, and faster than the biggest Brown Bear. It often weighs from 800 to 900 pounds. Its muscular strength is so great that it can easily kill the biggest bison. Its fur is used for making muffs and shawl trim, and its pelt sells for twenty to fifty dollars.
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India brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-29-2016, 04:08 AM by brotherbear )

The Grizzly Book by Jack Samson - A gallery of Outlaw grizzlies by W.P.Hubbard - Bloody Paws 1889 to 1892.

Among the outlaw grizzlies, Bloody Paws seems to hold the record for the number of domestic animals killed. During three years his accounted escapades totaled 570 head of domestic animals destroyed, not to mention several head of wild game. The value of the stock, mostly sheep, charged to his destruction was estimated at $7,850. His boldness, and the fact that he caused the death of two hundred and sixty-three "woolies" in a single raid, were the chief factors accounting for his notoriety. Sheepmen placed rewards totaling $375 on his head.

Bloody Paws was a typical grizzly of that part of the country. He was classed as a "bald-face." He had a pale, creamy-buff coat with a slightly brownish tinge in the rolls of fur over his massive shoulders. Several times his pelage was described as of silvery whiteness.

Downey described Bloody Paws as a "big devil" that must have been all of eight feet tall when standing up. He was certain of hitting him once, maybe twice, but the shots unquestionably were just flesh wounds. His loss was 37 ewes.

Shortly afterward, near the junction of Beaver and Shell Creeks, a cowhand came upon a range bull that had been slain by the outlaw. The bull's throat had been torn open and one of it's sides caved in. Blood spots over a trampled area gave mute evidence of the battle waged there. A limping track connected Bloody Paws with the dead.

Bloody Paws was estimated to have been twenty years old and to have weighed close to 1,000 pounds. All through life the grizzly was referred to, and thought to be, a male. Upon the bear's death, it was discovered to be female. She was never seen or known to have been with cubs, and was undoubtedly barren.
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India brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-31-2016, 06:28 AM by brotherbear )

Grizzly Years by Doug peacock.

The Bitter Creek Grizzly was the only bear I knew of in Yellowstone that regularly killed moose and bison. He attacked younger animals - ambushed them from nearby timber, then dragged them back into the trees, sometimes covering the carcasses with dirt and sticks. I had seen this too many times to believe that these animals had all conveniently died during the winter. His was not the usual pattern of predation for grizzlies. In 1977, when I first crossed paths with the Bitter Creek Griz, a biologist had found another grizzly who had passed up many carcasses for live elk: The bear liked to kill what he ate. A few bears learn to kill healthy adult elk during all seasons, and cow-struck bulls during the rut were especially stupid and approachable. Yellowstone grizzlies also prey on elk calves, as they do caribou calves in Alaska, and moose calves in both places. Adult moose were generally a match for a grizzly except when snows were deep and lightly crusted: grizzlies can walk lightly over a thin crust, distributing their weight evenly on their plantigrade feet, and they glide over the top of deep drifts in which moose wallow.

I thought that grizzly predation was not as common here as it had been a decade or more ago. The predatory segment of the population had probably been killed off selectively, and continues to be culled as they were born into it, because predatory bears are bolder and more visible. The Bitter Creek Griz was a holdover from the days when bears could afford to be bold and aggressive. Which served, as it always had, an important ecological function vital to survival of the species.
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India brotherbear Offline
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The Grizzly Bear by William H. Wright ( 1909 )... Grizzlies have jaws like iron. In and about old Indian camps, where the old leg and thigh bones of elk and moose have been left, I have seen these crushed into fragments, even ground into particles, by the vice-like jaws of these bears; this, of course, for the marrow that was to be found in them. Many think that the grizzly is a habitual hunter and killer of wild game; and in certain localities, and in times past, this may possibly have been true. This we will discuss father on. I have never, however, in all my experience, found a single wild animal of any kind whatsoever, except the little fellows before mentioned, that I had any reason to think had been killed by a grizzly. 
That the grizzly can, and that easily, kill an elk or a moose, there is no sort of doubt. Nor do I deny that such killings have taken place. But I am firmly persuaded that he never attempts it unless it be in cases of emergency or where some exceptional circumstances lead up to it. Should a grizzly happen, for example, to be near a water lick where these animals come to drink, he might, in one of his impatient rushes, strike down one of them, but the animals that might be destroyed in this way are a negligible quantity. 
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India brotherbear Offline
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http://shaggygod.proboards.com/  
  
First posted by Grraahh... [b]Bears as predators....
[/b]

The size of a carnivore strongly influences the size of the prey it is capable of killing, the maximum size of prey killed being slightly larger than that of the predator. For example, a 100 kilogram (220 pound) bear can handle prey weighing up to roughly 150 kilograms (330 pounds). Polar bears prey primarily on the smallish (60 kilogram/ 130 pound) ringed seal and the larger (up to 360 kilogram/790 pound) bearded seal. In some instances, polar bears can remove up to 44 percent of the ringed seal pups born in a particular area. They are also known to kill walruses (500 kilograms/1,100 pounds) and white whales weighing up to 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds).

Brown bears, while primarily vegetarian, can also prey significantly on hoofed mammals. In some areas, adult males reportedly kill three or four adult moose (450 kilograms/990 pounds) per year, with females killing an average of one. Caribou (150 kilograms/330 pounds), musk ox (250 kilograms/550 pounds), elk (200 kilograms/ 440 pounds), and bison (500 kilograms/ 1,100 pounds) have all been taken. Brown bears also prey on ground squirrels, trout, and salmon, but usually only when they are sufficiently abundant to make hunting them energy-efficient.


ANDREW E. DEROCHER AND IAN STIRLING, Bears: Majestic Creatures of the Wild (1993).
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India brotherbear Offline
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India brotherbear Offline
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*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author
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Netherlands peter Offline
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#89
( This post was last modified: 05-18-2016, 08:58 PM by peter )

(01-31-2016, 06:26 AM)brotherbear Wrote: Grizzly Years by Doug peacock.

The Bitter Creek Grizzly was the only bear I knew of in Yellowstone that regularly killed moose and bison. He attacked younger animals - ambushed them from nearby timber, then dragged them back into the trees, sometimes covering the carcasses with dirt and sticks. I had seen this too many times to believe that these animals had all conveniently died during the winter. His was not the usual pattern of predation for grizzlies. In 1977, when I first crossed paths with the Bitter Creek Griz, a biologist had found another grizzly who had passed up many carcasses for live elk: The bear liked to kill what he ate. A few bears learn to kill healthy adult elk during all seasons, and cow-struck bulls during the rut were especially stupid and approachable. Yellowstone grizzlies also prey on elk calves, as they do caribou calves in Alaska, and moose calves in both places. Adult moose were generally a match for a grizzly except when snows were deep and lightly crusted: grizzlies can walk lightly over a thin crust, distributing their weight evenly on their plantigrade feet, and they glide over the top of deep drifts in which moose wallow.

I thought that grizzly predation was not as common here as it had been a decade or more ago. The predatory segment of the population had probably been killed off selectively, and continues to be culled as they were born into it, because predatory bears are bolder and more visible. The Bitter Creek Griz was a holdover from the days when bears could afford to be bold and aggressive. Which served, as it always had, an important ecological function vital to survival of the species.

" ... The predatory segment of the population had probably been killed off selectively, and continues to be culled ... , because predatory bears are bolder and more visible. The Bitter Creek Griz was a holdover from the days when bears could afford to be bold and aggressive ... " (from your post).

One has to add that predatory bears also could be more dangerous to people. Bears know proteine beats salads in more than one way. Bears doing proteine are larger than others. As size results in more access to food and females, males in particular prefer proteine. When proteine is not available, you make it available. In order to do this, you need to be inquisitive and bold. You also need to learn how to find proteine and how to stalk and kill. Once you've mastered the art, why discriminate between animals and humans? An opportunity is an opportunity and food is food.

The difference between bears and big cats is bears are omnivorous by nature, whereas big cats are born predators. Bears shifting from pasta to proteine have to discover proteine first and then learn how to exploit the new opportunities. Predation, therefore, is acquired, not inborn. For this reason, selective culling of predatory bears could affect the habits of all bears in the region where they are hunted.

Not so in big cats. This is why today's tigers, percentagewise, kill as many humans as they did a century and a half ago.

Although most large predators are not dangerous for humans, some are. Big cats are born hunters and opportunists. Some would hunt humans as readily as animals. Tigers always hunted humans. The only exception seems to be eastern Russia. Not Manchuria and Korea (also Panthera tigris altaica), but eastern Russia. There has to be a reason and as it most certainly isn't hunger (quite many Amur tigers face starvation on a regular basis), my guess for now would be culture.  

Why would tigers, percentagewise, still kill as many humans as they did a century and a half ago? One is it is inborn in some individuals, two is tigers were hunted everywhere a century ago (and not today) and three is opportunities in most parts of Asia. I think we need to add prey depletion (destruction is everywhere) and hunting as causes as well. 

All in all, one could say eating proteine is an acquired habit in some bears, whereas it is the essence of every big cat. If you take predatory bears out in a region, chances are it will affect the habits of all bears. Not so in big cats.

Interesting post, Brotherbear. Bears who shifted to proteine deserve a special thread because it is an atypical habit in many regions. The next step is man-eating. In what way are man-eating bears different from man-eating big cats?
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India brotherbear Offline
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#90

Thank you Peter. Your posts are always informative and this one, post #89 deserves a big thumbs up.   Like
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