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Natural HistoryMammals - LargeGrizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilisJournals
Formidable Account
Curiossity Satisfied
 

A Tremendious Looking Anamal

n May 5, 1805, in the vicinity of Wolf Point, Montana, Lewis wrote:

Capt. Clark & Drewyer killed the largest brown bear this evening which we have yet seen. it was a most tremendious looking anamal, and extreemly hard to kill notwithstanding he had five balls through his lungs and five others in various parts he swam more than half the distance across the river to a sandbar & it was at least twenty minutes before he died; he did not attempt to attact, but fled and made the most tremendous roaring from the moment he was shot.

Lewis took measurements:

We had no means of weighing this monster; Capt. Clark thought he would weigh 500 lbs. for my own part I think the estimate to small by 100 lbs. He measured 8 Feet 7-1/2 Inches from nose to extremity of the hind feet; 5 F. 10-1/2 Inch arround the breast, 1 F. 11 I[nches]. arround the middle of the arm, & 3 F. 11 I. arround the neck; his tallons which were five in number on each foot were 4-3/8 Inches in length.

As to weight, they were both close. Today the average weight of an adult male grizzly is between 350 and 700 pounds. The heaviest on record weighed 1,496 pounds. But as naturalist Adolph Murie once remarked, "a bear a long distance from a scale always weighs more."

--Joseph Mussulman, 1999

Formidable Account
Curiossity Satisfied


 
From Discovering Lewis & Clark ®, http://www.lewis-clark.org © 1998-2014
by The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, Washburn, North Dakota.
Journal excerpts are from The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary E. Moulton
13 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001)