Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hunting and Trapping

Initially, grizzlies were not hunted for food, but for their skins, for the thrill, and because of their threat to livestock.

Grizzly Bear Trap
Grizzly Bear Trap
from The Newhouse Trappers Guide, 1914.
Before the introduction of the repeating rifle, killing a grizzly with a shot gun was very difficult. It was rare that a single bullet would suffice, so the best option was to trap and then kill the animal.

Bayard Taylor, 1849: "We had no other arms than pistols and knives and no horses of sufficient fleetness to have ventured an attack with safety; so we passed on with many a wistful and lingering look, for the gray hide of one of those huge beasts would have been a trophy well worth the capture."

Strychnine LabelBesides traps, poisons, such as strychnine and phosphorus, were also used. Often a grizzly would not eat an entire animal in one sitting but come back the next day to finish it off.
The left remains would be poisoned in anticipation of the grizzly’s return. See the blog post: Treed by a Dead Bear.

Santa Cruz Weekly Sentinel,1872: "Some twenty [bears] have been killed in this county recently, in that way. Mr Miller returned to his ranch yesterday with four bottles of strychnine to cure bear meat, he having previously fought three bears from a tree in his oat field, and had only an ax to keep the old she bear and her cubs from climbing the tree."

Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup Label
Santa Cruz Weekly Sentinel, 1872: "Varments of the grizzly tribe are peculiar, and the best medicine we can think of is Mrs. Winlow’s soothing syrup, especially for the cubs, when they set up that hideous howl so graphically described. For the older ones, Galena pills [lead shot] – 16 to the pound – from Dr. Henry’s repeater or the Parker gun with good strong powder would no doubt be potent, but in case of failure, try strychnine."

Mrs. Winslow’s syrup contained morphine and was responsible for the drug addition and death from overdose of countless infants and children.

A Text Book for the Professional Teacher, 1910: "The Food Department of the United States has established a list of medical preparations, “soothing syrups,” which are referred to as “baby-killers.” The use of this class of products is certainly to be condemned, and the list as given by the United States Government chemists includes the following preparations: Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup (morphine sulfate)."   

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