Read an Excerpt
A few years ago, I was scouting for grizzlies in the Many Glacier area on the eastern slopes of Glacier National Park. It was late April and the bears had emerged from hibernation, but the spring grass had not yet pushed up. I was watching a herd of eight mountain goats 400 yards away bedded on a rocky ridge above a protected bowl that had begun greening up. A large boar, or male, grizzly ambled into sight and, ignoring the goats in the rocks above, began feeding on a small patch of sedges. The bear fed across the bowl while the goats watched tensely from about 150 yards away. When the grizzly fed out of sight, the goats relaxed and went back to lazing in the spring sun and chewing their cuds.
Out of sight of the goats, the grizzly's disposition changed immediately. The bear hurried to the base of the rock cliff and began climbing the steep terraces in a route that would take him around and above the goats. I lost sight of the grizzly when he entered a narrow crevice, and I guessed that he had continued upward and over the ridge. I went back to glassing the goats, but a minute later the herd suddenly scattered as the grizzly thundered into their midst at a full gallop. The goats scrambled down the rock face, easily escaping the bear.
To the casual observer, the grizzly was foolish to have expended so much energy in a fruitless charge at the goats, who are adept at maneuvering along the sheer rock walls. But I knew better. The leading cause of death among goats is an accidental fall. That boar grizzly was not trying to catch a goat, he was trying to "create" an accident.