During the Rocky Mountain Fur Company’s fall hunt in 1830, John Hawkins and Joe Meek were
proceeding up the Yellowstone River, when they observed an outstandingly large grizzly bear on the
opposite bank of the river. Firing their guns almost simultaneously, the monstrous beast collapsed. In
order to obtain a trophy from this enormous bear, the men stripped naked, and leaving behind their
guns, mules, clothing and equipment, swam across the river to where the carcass was lying. As the
men approached the “dead” bear, it suddenly raised to its feet and looking about perceived the naked
men in front of it. The Grizzly charged
the men, whose only hope of escape was to leap into the
river with the bear in close pursuit. Hawkins tried to
outfloat the animal going downstream, while Meek
attempted to outswim the bear by going upstream.
However, the current was so swift and turbulent that
neither man had much success in putting distance
between himself and the enraged monster, who was
having difficulty deciding which man to attack first.
Finally Hawkins succeeded in gaining the shore, where
he set up such a racket screaming and hollaring that the
startled bear made for the opposite bank. Meek then
swam to safety, leaving a single bear on one bank of the
river, and two “bare”s on the other.
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