Grizzly Pelts

Successful Hunt

Two outdoor men and their hunting dogs standing in front of 7 grizzly pelts

Photo courtesy of Bud Moore

Pelts of bear and lynx trapped in the Lochsa River drainage about 1915 by Bert Wendover (left) shown here with Dad McCann at Lolo Hot Springs.

Told by doctors he had but a short while to live, Wendover moved to the Lochsa River alone in 1911 and built a cabin at the mouth of the creek later named for him, where he lived for another quarter of a century. To vary the bear-meat diet he gigged salmon and steelhead as they ended their spawning runs in his creek.1

On September 14, 1805, the Corps of Discovery's Shoshone guide, Old Toby, had mistakenly led the party down into the valley of the Lochsa River, where, being short of provisions, they killed and ate a colt they had brought for that purpose. The following day they followed the Indian trail four miles west to the base of a ridge now called Wendover Ridge, and climbed about 3,500 feet to the main trans-montane trail.

Clark wrote:

Several horses Sliped and roled down Steep hills which hurt them verry much. The one which Carried my desk & Small trunk Turned over & roled down a mountain for 40 yards & lodged against a tree, broke the Desk. The horse escaped and appeared but little hurt. Some others verry much hurt. . . . From this mountain I could observe high rugged mountains in every direction as far as I could See. With the greatest exertion we Could only make 12 miles up this mountain and encamped . . . near a Bank of old Snow about 3 feet deep.

1. Bud Moore, The Lochsa Story: Land Ethics in the Bitterroot Mountains (Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press, 1996), pp. 265-78.