The Sublette County Journal
Volume 3, Number 25 - July 22,1999
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Grizz! Again ....
On Tuesday, July 13, a ten-year old, 550-pound grizzly bear was destroyed after tallying five livestock depredations in the Upper Green River Valley. On Thursday, July 15, yet another grizzly has picked up where the first one left off - and in the same Pinion Ridge/Mud Lake area.
Discovered recently, a mortally wounded calf belonging to Stan Murdock of Pinedale had to be put out of its misery, thus making this the first notch for bear number two.
On Thursday, July 15, rancher Eddie Wardell found one of his own calves, dead, near a stream bank at the bottom of Pinion Ridge. This kill, confirmed by Warden Duke Early, became mark number two for the same bear.
According to Mr. Early, bear tracks at the site were somewhat distorted by the bear's path through the marshy lowland area, making it difficult to determine the exact size of the bear. However, a front paw width measurement of 5-3/4 inches indicated that the grizzly most likely is a young, adult male. Further, judging from the lay of the land, it appeared that during the attack the calf had bolted away from the bear, but in what proved a fatal move, the calf stumbled as it crossed a tiny stream and fell to the jaws of the grizzly.
I rode into these hills with Richard Hulen, Frosty Steele, Duke Early, and Don Whitaker on Tuesday morning, July 20. The night prior, Upper Green Cattle Association President Albert Sommers was notified by Fish Creek allotment riders, Bruce and Mary Wolford, that yet another calf belonging to the Steeles and Hulens, was discovered at 5 p.m. on Monday evening and was suffering from wounds sustained in a likely bear attack.
We met Bruce and Mary at one of the buck fence gates where our search for this calf would begin. Duke, again, would be making the official determination regarding the calf's condition.
At one point, Bruce held up his fingers to describe for us the two, 5 to 6-inch splits starting at the top of the withers and extending down the little calf's shoulder blade. To the Wolfords - who have seen four grizzlies in the wild since 1993 - the injury appeared to have been made by bite marks rather than from the swipe of a bear's paw.
When Bruce and Mary had first ridden up on the lone calf, it was lying down close to the buck fence at the crest of Pinion Ridge, as though scared and hiding in the grass, wildflowers, and elk weed. When the calf did try to drift away from the area, it kept trying to lie down again, indicating to them that its condition was critical.
We combed the massive mountainside for nearly three hours, but with more than 12 hours having passed since the Wolfords first discovered the wounded calf, coupled with the lush foliage and the immensity of the hillside falling toward the river bottom, we could never spot it.
Bruce and Mary, however, had taken 35mm photos the evening before. Warden Early stated that when the pictures are developed, he most likely would be able to use them to verify this "walking wounded" as the second grizzly's tally number three.
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