"The stories and killings of other grizzlies have about all been forgotten, but the tale of Ol' Reelfoot is still told."
Bears can be a very real problem for the early settlers in southern Oregon, especially those farming in the valleys beneath the Siskiyou Mountain Range. There was one noted cattle-killing grizzly bear named “Reelfoot” who was well-known and dreaded by all the local homesteaders, roamed the Siskiyou Mountains for decades. Easily the best-known grizzly in Oregon—albeit a beast shared with California, Old Reelfoot (also called “Clubfoot”), a huge bear that lived on the Siskiyou Crest and adjoining Southern Cascades toward the close of the 19th century. By then, Euro-American alteration of the landscape was well underway and the few remaining grizzlies occasionally resorted to preying on the plentiful livestock at hand. "Old Reelfoot" was one of the worst stock-killing grizzlies the West had ever known. He was crafty, and with immense strength, he would fell a beef critter with one blow, crush its spine with his powerful jaws, and eat his fill. Reelfoot’s stock-killing career in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon span 20-plus years, from the late 1860's to 1890, Old Reelfoot killed literally hundreds of cattle.
His tremendous strength enabled him to kill a full-grown steer with as much ease as an ordinary bear would kill a calf. It was known that he would rush upon a steer, usually from a point of vantage on an elevation above his victim, bearing him to the ground with his immense weight and strength, would close his powerful jaws over the animal's back, just behind the shoulders, and crush the bones of the shoulder and back just as a terrier would kill a rat. Many were the cows and steers that were found killed this way, and about the carcass would be found the telltale tracks of Old Reelfoot. He continued his raids on the herds, while eluding the most carefully made trap sets and skilled hunters. Most bears after killing an animal will eat of the carcass until it is about all consumed, but this cunning fellow, apparently knowing the danger to himself from the rifles of hunters would hardly ever return to a carcass after leaving it, and seldom ate more than one meal from a beef that he killed. By keeping well concealed in the daytime and traveling at a rate almost impossible for man or horse to keep up with in the mountains, the bear had baffled the efforts of the best hunters in Oregon and Northern California to kill or trap him. He was seldom, if ever, seen by the hunters, but his unmistakable tracks were often found, and his trail could be followed by the dead cattle left in his path.
Reelfoot earned his name from a lame front right paw that he wrenched free (so they say) from a Klamath River-area trap in the late 1850s. His injury made for a distinctive skewed track, it was a calling card left behind, as many Josephine County ranchers would came to know all too well. Clubfoot first emerged on the pages of history and was definitely on the record when the Grieve brothers, living on the Klamath River, captured him in a bear trap about a mile from their cabin. They could plainly hear the grizzly's growls and roars. Taking their dogs they went out to finish him, but as they approached he had wrenched loose and fled, leaving behind three claws and part of his right forefoot. This loss branded him for life, causing his foot to turn over and leave a track which could always be recognized. His distinctive tracks around slaughtered livestock were found from the extreme eastern tip of the Siskiyous to the foothills of the Coast Range in Humbolt County Ca. The enormous grizzly made his appearance on this range in both Klamath and Jackson counties, his favorite haunts being the wild canyon region of the Siskiyou Mountains, often in the neighborhood of Pilot Rock. There he started his notorious career of killing cattle, and except for his huge tracks there was no way of distinguishing his killings from those of other grizzlies. Witnesses claim he was of gigantic proportions, even more prodigious in strength and ferocity than the grizzlies usually found roaming the mountains.
The Truth About Reelfoot - By George F. Wright “He was tough and he lived to be old, his teeth were short and worn from the many years of hard usage, and he was one of the largest grizzlies killed anywhere. Many incidents were related of the wanton killing of cattle in the vicinity of Pilot Rock and Jenny Creek; cattlemen were awed by the giant size and his cunning. He was hated, feared and hunted, ... but always respected.
On a spring day in 1890, old Bill Wright saw a large, brown grizzly bear rush from the edge of the timber straight across his meadow toward one of his bulls. The bull raised his head and snorted, but too late. The huge grizzly had felled him with one blow, and his powerful jaws crunched through his backbone. The bull sank to the ground.
It was believed that Reelfoot was the last remaining grizzly in and around the Siskiyou Mountains, however, in the spring of 1890, another large grizzly was killed in the vicinity of Secret Mountain.
When the rich and fertile lands of Siskiyou and Jackson Counties were first settled and herds of cattle began to graze the surrounding hillsides, grizzly bears were quite numerous. As most of these were only average grizzlies, little attention was paid to those killed. Cattlemen were expanding their land and increasing their herds, grizzlies were also increasing their forays. Cattlemen hunted and killed, poisoned and trapped bears, while hunters and trappers killed them for food, until the grizzly bear population was reduced considerably. But still the number of cattle killed was at an alarming figure, and it became evident as time went on that one or two large grizzlies were doing most of the killing. This bear had killed a number of cattle and a $500 reward was initially offered for his scalp.
At that time the Grieve brothers were in the cattle business along Jenny Creek, but they were losing cattle, so they set a trap in the vicinity of Skookum Gulch, and in time they caught a huge female grizzly, said to be the largest yet killed in the Siskiyou Mountains. But still the cattle losses went on, and it was evident that one particularly, overgrown bear was doing the killing. For some time the cattlemen tried to trap and poison him, and many hunted for him; except for the huge tracks there was no way to distinguish his killings from other grizzlies, he was of gigantic size, and the way he killed full-grown cattle was beyond the imagination of man. Robert Bruce Grieve tried his luck again at setting a trap for the bear in the Skookum Gulch area, and after repeated efforts, he had succeeded in getting him in a trap, but the grizzly escaped, leaving three of his toenails in the trap, hence the name Reelfoot began in earnest.
It was found that he roamed a great expanse of territory, his real foot tracks telling of his visits in many places. He would disappear for as long as six months at a time. He seemed to kill, eat and move on, although his main travels were along the California-Oregon border. His enormous strength and weight enabled him to kill a full-grown beef with as little effort as an ordinary bear would kill a calf. He would rush upon a beef, usually from a point of vantage on an elevation above his prey, and bear it to the ground, would close his powerful jaws over the animal's back just behind the shoulders, and crush the bones of shoulder and back. Cows and steers killed in this manner had about the carcasses, the tracks of Ol’ Reelfoot.
In the spring of 1882, J.D. Williams, of Ashland, Oregon, was herding his flock of sheep in the vicinity of Bald Mountain. Where he witnessed the grizzly, renowned for his massiveness and power, during one of Reelfoot's battles. William's sheep were grazing on a hillside, just below him in a glade a bunch of cattle under the leadership of a big bull belonging to David M. Horn, were quietly feeding. The instant the bear appeared, unnoticed, Williams quickly took to a tree, Grizzlies, too, can climb – perhaps not as quickly, but they have been known to attack people who climbed trees. From there he viewed a monumental struggle from a vantage point at a distance of some fifty yards.
The unsuspecting cattle did not see the bear until he rushed in and instantly killed a calf standing beside its mother. The cow attempted to defend her calf but a stroke from Reelfoot's big paws left the mother dead too. The big bull charged down the slope upon the bear, Reelfoot was knocked off his feet by the impact. He arose with a growl and charged the bull. They went at each other several times until Reefoot succeeded in seizing the bull and bringing him to his death. The bear made a meal of the calf, then wallowed in a mud-hole and left. Williams identified Reelfoot by his tracks after the fight was over and are to come down out of the tree.
Newspapers were now printing the exploits, Reelfoot was just as infamous for his craftiness. Many hunters tried to trap or shoot him, but he proved relentlessly elusive. According to local lore, he rarely returned to a carcass after his initial feeding, and the general ruggedness of the Siskiyous and their heavy timber and shrub-lands gave the grizzly dense cover to hide. The intelligence and cunning of the bear was soon evident. One hunter went as far as to position his loaded carbine, by tying it to a tree in such a way that he thought it impossible for the bear to get at the bait without standing where he would receive the bullet from his carbine. The bear however, approached the bait from the lower side of the tree, reached around the tree, and started to pull the bait away, when the carbine was discharged the bullet missed!
For several years the herds of cattle were being depleted by this grizzly's vicious acts. Among those having the largest herds and suffering the heaviest losses, were Major Barron of Ashland, Oregon, and David M. Horn, of Hornbrook, California. These cattlemen, along with others, combined and offered a reward of $2,700.00 to any person or persons who could prove the killing of Ol' Reelfoot. This stimulated the hunters of this region to extraordinary efforts, and after many a hard day's tramp and lonely nights by campfires resulted only in confirming the hunter's belief that Reelfoot could not be caught. His tracks were often seen, and he was known to be in the vicinity, but he kept out of the sight of the hunters.
George Cook, a noted hunter and guide, put in quite a lot of time seeking Reelfoot, and had the good fortune to get a shot at the noted bear; a 38-55 rifle bullet lodged in his shoulder, where it was found flattened against the shoulder blade after the bear was killed years later.
Many mountaineers had taken up the trail. Each had sworn he would nail the big bear's hide to his cabin wall, but each had failed. Old Reelfoot was a ghost that vanished so rapidly not even a man on horseback had ever caught up with him. In every case, Old Reelfoot had won out over the best hunters in the Siskiyous. The far-flung trail of mutilated beef carcasses had continued. Invariably each beef would have its backbone crushed, and around the kill would be found the telltale track of Old Reelfoot. But the big grizzly knew the ways of man--knew that distance meant safety--and he rapidly put much of it behind him.
Now, right in his own pasture, the infamous old grizzly had killed William Wright's best bull. A slow anger started to burn in the old man's chest--an anger that grew until he could think of nothing else. During the spring following the hard winter of 1889 and 1890 hundreds of cattle had just been loosed on the rangeland to graze. On April 4, 1890, it was reported the killing of a cow by Reelfoot along Dry Creek, belonging to David M. Horn. The incident was also reported around Klamathon town. Old Bill Wright who had tried repeatedly to trap him but always failed, upon the latest news, he saddled his horse stopping at the ranch of the Bean family on Pine Creek. He invited Purl Bean to go with him the following day to hunt for the cattle-killing bear. Bean, an experienced hunter himself, was delighted to try his luck. The next morning on arriving at the Bean ranch, Wright found four other willing hunters, Carter Tarrant Davidson, Elijah Jones Davidson and George "Wash" Bailey, and his nephew Billy Bonebrake,eager to accompany them on the hunt.
On April 5, 1890, the five hunters started after the famous bear, fully determined to capture him if possible. They decided they'd have better luck finding the elusive behemoth, if they separate, three going off in a different direction than the other two. The country was exceedingly rough, with its high peaks and deep, rocky canyons, mostly covered with thick brush and some remaining snow on the north hillsides, consequently it was very difficult for man or beast to travel over.
The two men, Wm. A. Wright and Purl Bean, who were together, found fresh tracks of the bear, and thought it best to report the finding to the rest of the party. After a brief rest the five men returned to the spot of fresh tracks, following them for several miles, and soon sighting the bear in the distance. Some dogs who brought along for the purpose were unmanageable and were unleashed on the bear's trail, against the expressed wishes of the remainder of the party. Soon both the harassed bear and frenzied dogs were now out of sight of the hunters. Their pursuit ended unsuccessfully, again. Weary after hunting for four days, the later three men were ready to return to their homes.
However, Wm. A. Wright and Purl Bean decided to try again by themselves, on the very next day. Both these men were good hunters and mountaineers and knew the area they needed to cover. Wright was 41 years of age, seasoned with many years of experience on the frontier and had three previous run-ins with grizzlies. Bean was only a youth of 17 years, but much older in experience, having grown up in the mountains. He was a good hunter and a crack shot, endowed with great courage for one so young. At the dawn of April 10, 1890, Wright and Bean, with their two dogs, started out again ofor the notorious bear. After traveling several miles they suddenly came upon the object of their intentions, a miles south of Pilot Rock, near Wildcat Gulch.
The bear when first sighted he was getting up from a flattened wood-rat's nest. It appeared that he must had gotten the scent of the hunters, and his instinct started him to move along. The hunters were standing on one hillside, about one hundred feet above the little gulch, looking up at the bear on the opposite hillside, some three hundred feet from the gulch. They both at once fired from the rear at a distance of about one hundred and twenty-five yards as the bear left his bed, both bullets took affect. But, as soon as shot he showed his determination for a fight and made for the hunters, tearing through large shrubs and brush in his anger, and fighting with the two dogs as he came. Blended in together with the rifle fire was the barking of the two dogs and the roaring growls of an enraged, huge, grizzly bear. The hunters stood their ground, taking good aim, but firing as fast as possible and with good effect. By this time the bear had fought his way down to the bottom of the gulch, where the dogs bayed him for just a few minutes, giving the hunters time to reload their repeating rifles. Although the bear showed some signs of weakening, time was at hand for they knew the dogs were tired also. So, the two decided that Wright would shoot for his head, and Bean for the heart. With their rifles fully loaded again they started firing, still the weakened bear now fought his way up the hillside of the gulch, grunting and groaning with heavy labored breath of each and every step, relentlessly climbing, closing the gap between him and his assailants. Then, within barely forty feet of the men, the great bear unexpectedly toppled over dead. Ol' Reelfoot finally meths demise, thus ended the career of a much feared and noted grizzly. The hunters probably breathed a sigh of relief and no doubt felt a gratitude toward the two dogs for their much-needed help in bringing their hunt to a successful conclusion.
Purl Bean's hunting knife was nine inches long, and with this as a "ruler" they computed the following measurements: length, 8 feet; width of chest, 40 inches; length of claws, 4½ inches; width between the ears 10½ inches; around head in front of ears, 42 inches. Bill Wright at the time estimated the bear's weight to be 1,800 pounds.
With horses and a sled the two successful hunters hauled the bear down from the mountain to the Bean ranch home, and began to prepare the hide for mounting. It was mounted by an amateur taxidermist, in time the hide began to spoil, so it was necessary to dismount it and it was taken to another taxidermist, but due to the spoiled condition it was impossible to make a good job of mounting. This is the reason the mounted animal does not have the exact appearance of a grizzly bear. Missing is the hump so characteristic of the grizzly. However, the mounted bear was placed on a wagon drawn by a team of mules, and displayed for ten cents per person in the towns and villages throughout western Oregon and northern California.
Reelfoot was weighed at 1892 pounds--a weight reached by very few bears in history. Other dimensions were: length from his nose to tail, 7 feet; his hind foot, 16 inches in length; the length of his claws, 5 inches, and his head from nose to top 18 inches. Standing on it’s hind legs this grizzly bear could easily exceed a height of 9 feet. It was never known how many cattle this old and vicious grizzly killed during the twenty-odd years he was known to be a killer, but the figures were estimated to be in the hundreds. Reelfoot’s death made national news. Reports credited decades of beef depredations to the bear, claimed his carcass yielded loads of bullets (“nearly a quart”. The Jacksonville Democratic Times reported on April 17, 1890 “Reelfoot is thought to have weighed 1,400 pounds, and the hunters displayed great coolness in facing that amount of concentrated angry grizzly bear.” Other accounts put his weight at closer to 1,800 pounds—even beyond a ton. In 1893, the Dalles Times-Mountaineer added some more fat rolls to the Siskiyou grizzly for good measure, claiming “this largest bear ever captured on the Pacific coast” tipped the scales at 3,200 pounds. Even allowing for the exaggerations typical of those days, Reelfoot appears to have been a gloriously big bear, well representative, it seems, of the hefty proportions grizzlies attained.
Many years have passed since grizzly bears roamed the forest of southern Oregon and northern California, particularly in the Siskiyou Mountains, but the memory of Reelfoot still lingers. Tales of his great size, immense strength, his ability to outwit the human schemes to kill him, coupled with his uncanny instincts, are told wherever old timers meet.
IN THE NEWS Mr. Henry Newell informs us that it is estimated by Sprague River stockmen that over forty head of cattle have been killed by grizzly bear since spring. Jesse Parker killed one large bear and wounded another last week. Owing to a misunderstanding as to the bounty, he quit the hunt and returned home, promising to come back sometime in the future.--Examiner. Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 9, 1884, page 3
OLD TWISTY That old bear, "Twisted Foot," has killed over five hundred dollars' worth of cattle for Maj. Barron alone, besides what little butchering he may have done for other stock owners. He is now supposed to be an enormous cinnamon, instead of a grizzly, and the hunters are a little more careful than they were when they thought him a grizzly. When a man is up a tree he is safe from a grizzly, but the cinnamon bears are good climbers, as well as most desperate fighters. "Twisty's" foot leaves a track in the mud about the size of a Mexican sombrero, and his teeth penetrate the skull and meet in the brain of a big steer when he happens to make a square bite in his butchering business. Ashland Tidings, September 12, 1884, page 3
BACK AGAIN. The old grizzly surnamed "Old Twisted Foot," alias "Club Foot," who has preyed upon the cattle in the Siskiyou and Cascade ranges for several years, was supposed to have been killed by a set-gun trap last fall, but, lo, he turns up again, and is now ready for another summer's campaign. Kennedy, the Siskiyou bear sharp, would have sworn last year that Old Twisty had received his death wound, but the fresh imprint of the familiar wounded foot seen on the range last week convinces him that he was mistaken. He says he'll have him this year, sure. Ashland Tidings, May 8, 1885, page 3
The old grizzly "Reel-Foot" killed a young steer within one or two hundred yards of Howard's station the other day. A reward of $150 is offered for his scalp, but he still carries the scalp with him. "Brevities," Ashland Tidings, June 12, 1885, page 3
W. S. Webb shot a half-grizzly bear near Howard's station last Saturday which was at first thought to be old Reel Foot. It was a cross between a grizzly and a cinnamon, and had been wounded in the foot--also carried a bullet in its hip which had evidently been put there some years ago. Ed. Barron examined the carcass and reported that it was not Reel Foot. It was a good bear to kill, nevertheless--an old one which had no doubt killed some of the stock charged to old Reel Foot's account. It was chasing Howard's hogs when seen by Webb, and he gave it a center shot through the heart. The bear straightened up on its haunches and then Webb shot it again, the bullet entering its brain and laying Bruin out "cold." "Brevities," Ashland Tidings, June 19, 1885, page 3
The Crippled Bear in Oregon, for Whose Scalp a Reward of $150 Is Offered. PORTLAND, ORE., June 17.--Four years since a monster grizzly bear commenced depredating the stock ranches twenty miles south of Ashland. He would descend from the fastnesses of the Rogue River Mountains whenever his appetite might prompt him to do so, and perpetrate wholesale slaughter on the horses, sheep and hogs of the ranchmen. During these years the ranchmen have planted half a dozen Winchester balls in his carcass, but still he refuses to succumb. About a year since the grizzly walked off, leaving a good piece of his foot in a huge trap, cautiously prepared for him in a thicket. Since then he has had a gait peculiarly his own, and the wary huntsmen who have occasionally caught sight of him, but could not bring him down, have given him the name of Grizzly Reel-Foot. Last week he ambled down to Howard's Station, on the Oregon, Idaho & California stage line, and, breaking the back of a two-year-old steer, sat upon him and ate him for lunch. This exasperated more than ever the ranchmen who had on divers occasions been forced to beat hasty retreats when coming unexpectedly upon him. They raised a purse of $150 for the Nimrod who would bring in the grizzly's scalp. Several noted bear hunters, including Jim Wilson, Harry Woodburn, Charley Taylor, and others, with trained dogs, are now in search of him in his mountain resorts. His tracks measure fourteen inches each, and when he descends the hills through the underbrush he is said to thrash the ground like a cyclone. His bulk is gigantic. Many aver that he does not weigh an ounce less than a thousand pounds. He is an ugly, vicious brute, and, unless the hunters get him, the chances are even that he will get them. Ohio Democrat, New Philadelphia, Ohio, July 2, 1885, page 2
W. S. Webb and Alex. Zevely are still on the trail of old "Reel Foot," and expect to bring in his scalp before many days. "Brevities," Ashland Tidings, July 3, 1885, page 3
The California papers are publishing as sober fact that yarn of the Chronicle about Reel-foot being killed by a couple of counter-jumpers from San Francisco. For the benefit of the editors who may be misled in this important matter, we will state that Reelfoot still lives, and the $150 reward still is offered for his foot and head. "Brevities," Ashland Tidings, August 14, 1885, page 3
DO GRIZZLIES CLIMB TREES? A Report Directly from California Showing That They Do. San Francisco Chronicle. Two months since the citizens of Howard's Station offered $150 reward for the scalp of an immense grizzly bear that had been depredating the stock ranches of Siskiyou County. The bear's career as robber of the corrals extended over four years, his last act being to kill a two-year-old steer, perch himself upon the animal and proceed to make a meal of him. The reward impelled several of the most noted bear hunters to look for him, but in a very wary way, for Bruin had made mincemeat of a dozen or more dogs, besides being alive and healthy after four Winchester balls had been planted in him and after he had lost a portion of one of his feet in a great trap. "Grizzly Reelfoot" has been the name by which he has been known, owing to his consequent ambling gait. Thomas Jones and Charles Meredith went up on the California and Oregon Railroad two weeks ago for a hunt. They returned yesterday, and report that Henry Woodburn and Link Wilson, of Linkville, Oregon, with themselves, succeeded at last in killing him. They got on his trail in the deep woods immediately south of Howard's Station, and, with the aid of Wilson's four trained dogs, succeeded in treeing him after following him through canyons and jungles for over seven miles. Hearing the dogs baying, Wilson, who was in the lead, rushed forward, only to find two of his favorite dogs lying dead on the ground. Blood covered the bushes, and great shreds of flesh appeared here and there. Looking upward, the bear appeared wending his way on a distended limb about forty feet from the ground. He was showing his teeth and growling fearfully. Wilson, quickly raising his gun, fired twice in rapid succession, but without dislodging him. The other three hunters then arriving, they also commenced firing, when the ponderous brute dropped to the ground. He was immediately seized by the remaining dogs, but, badly wounded as he was, he made a vicious fight, killing one dog and tearing the coat of Meredith, who had ventured too near, off his back. A final shot from Jones, however, finished him. The grizzly weighed over 900 pounds. The Critic, Logansport, Indiana, August 30, 1885, page 7
Grizzlies Again. Old "Reel-foot," the grizzly that has killed so many cattle up in the Siskiyous and Cascades during the past few years, is again making his familiar tracks up at the head of Keene and Sampson creeks, and has driven all the cattle down from that neighborhood to the low ranges in the valley. Old "Reel-foot" is an expert butcher, and the cattle all seem to know his reputation. A larger grizzly than he was killed last Saturday on the east or south side of Bald Butte by one of the Grieve boys, Joe Shepherd and others. He was first caught in a trap set in a spring where he regularly drank and bathed. The trap was chained to a fir tree over a foot in diameter, and the bear gnawed the tree in two and dragged off a part of it to a hiding place in a dense thicket. By the aid of dogs he was trailed and killed. He was an immense brute, and rolling fat--having had a choice beef range, this side of the Klamath, all winter. Ashland Tidings, June 4, 1886, page 3
Some of Maj. Barron's cattle driven down from the mountains by old "Reel-foot" have the marks of big claws upon them, showing that old Reel's hold slips sometimes. "Brevities," Ashland Tidings, June 4, 1886, page 3
After "Old Reelfoot." Wm. Wright, of Henley, and a son of Mr. Bean, of Keene Creek, had an exciting chase after a huge grizzly up among the great snowbanks of the Siskiyous recently. They were looking for stock and found the track of the bear and, concluding that it was old "Reelfoot" himself, thought the present a good season of the year in which to capture his hide and scalp and rid the range of his depredations. They came upon the bear somewhere in the region of Bald Mountain, and gave him a good dose of lead to begin with, but it didn't seem to damage him much, and he started off on a long trip across the country, with the men after him. They had snowshoes and the bear hadn't, and as he was compelled to plow his way along, with the snow up to his throat much of the time, they had the advantage of him, and were sure they would wind up his career. But old "Reelfoot" has fate on his side, and the snowshoes of the hunters soon "went back" on them and the bear made his escape, taking with him, however, eight rifle balls deposited in various parts of his thievish hulk. He was in good flesh and as strong as a grizzly can get, or he would never have escaped. The reason of his good condition was found in the discovery that his headquarters were in the midst of the carcasses of some forty horses that had been caught in the deep snow and perished during the winter. Ashland Tiding, March 28, 1890, page 3
Two Bands of Horses Perish in the Mountains. – Ashland Tidings. Messrs. Wright and Bean, while in pursuit of the old grizzly known as "Reel Foot" last week, found two bands of dead horses in the mountains up near Pilot Rock. In one place they found forty-three dead animals, and at the other place between fifty and sixty. Some of the horses had plunged into the deep snow and died in a standing position. The old grizzly had made camp right among them, and had an abundance of French beef for his subsistence. The horses were from the ranches of the Klamath River side of the mountains, belonging to Temple Horn and others, and gathering together after the storms began, in the most sheltered places, were soon surrounded with snow so deep that escape became impossible. In their pangs of hunger they had eaten trees three inches in diameter nearly through. The mountain storms always drive cattle to the valleys, but horses perversely keep on ascending when the storms come, unless followed and driven down by the ranchers. They were looking for stock and found the track of the bear and, concluding that it was "Reelfoot" himself, thought the present a good season of the year in which to capture his hide and scalp and rid the range of his depredations. They came upon the bear some, where in region of Bald Mountain, and gave him a good dose of lead to begin with, but it didn't seem to damage him much, and he started off on a long trip across the country, with the men after him. They had snowshoes and the bear hadn't, and as he was compelled to plow his way along, with the snow up to his throat much of the time, they had the advantage of him and were sure they would wind up his career. But old "Reelfoot" has fate on his side, and the snowshoes of the hunters "went back" on them and the bear made his escape, taking with him, however, eight rifle balls deposited in various parts of his thievish hulk. He was in good flesh and as strong as a grizzly can get, or he never would have escaped. The reason of his good condition was found in the discovery that his headquarters were in the midst of the carcasses of some forty horses that had been caught in the deep snow and perished during the winter. The Eugene City Guard, April 5, 1890, page 1