Synopses & Reviews
On the outskirts of a Montana town, a female grizzly and her cubs catch the scent of a bag of dog food left out on a porch. It has been a poor autumn for berries in the backcountry, and the temptation to snatch an easy meal from human territory is strong. If the bears succeed often enough, they will be more likely to go into their winter den with the fat reserves needed for survival. But with each such raid, the bears' chances of getting caught or killed increase dramatically.
In True Grizz, author Douglas Chadwick joins a crew of dedicated wildlife managers working to educate grizzlies about where they should and shouldn't go in the populated areas of northwestern Montana. With "schooling" methods that range from shooting the bears with rubber bullets to charging at them with teams of specially trained Karelian dogs, these people are doing everything they can to save a threatened species. This challenge grows increasingly difficult as human development encroaches upon the bears' habitat, leaving grizz little choice but to share landscapes with us.
Breaking with the tradition of tales that depict bears as either ferocious monsters or icons of pure wilderness, Chadwick gives us a refreshingly clear-eyed view of individual grizzlies and their complex personalities. As he chronicles the lives of Fernie, Stahr, Easy, Dakota, and other "problem" bears and shares his personal insights about free-roaming grizzlies gained through close observation for more than three decades Chadwick offers a realistic yet poignant picture of grizz as big, strong, bright, adaptable omnivores trying to get by in the modern world any way they can.
"[W]ell-written....[A] fascinating look at part of the quickly disappearing natural world." Publishers Weekly
"The author writes as much about educating humans as he does about educating bears, which makes for an enjoyable read." Booklist
"Doug Chadwick is one of our country's most eloquent and compassionate and informed biologists, a core of wisdom and experience. His observations and insights illuminate the shadows of a wilder, though vanishing, natural world. Like the threatened grizzlies of the Northern Rockies about which he writes so beautifully, Chadwick himself is a national treasure. Please read this book."--Rick Bass, author of The Ninemile Wolves
and The Roadless Yaak
"Like Chadwick's definitive book about elephants, this book about grizzly bears is a work of close study, measured reflection, and above all appreciation for one of the grandest creatures on earth. The author is a man of great perception and sensitivity. His charm, casual eloquence, and perfect touch as a writer convey a deep honesty and humanity. If grizzly bears could read True Grizz, they would recognize themselves, and they would recognize a kind and respectful friend in Douglas Chadwick."--Matthew Scully, presidential speechwriter and author of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
"True Grizz gives us true-to-life stories of great bears in a disappearing wilderness. Chadwick faithfully follows and poignantly portrays the dramas and dilemmas of bear mothers Fernie and Stahr, among other compelling characters. . . . A heart-stirring book, both practical and inspiring."--Brenda Peterson, author of Build Me an Ark: A Life with Animals
About the Author
Douglas H. Chadwick is a wildlife biologist and the author of seven books on natural history, including the acclaimed The Fate of the Elephant, named by the New York Times Book Review as a Best Book of the Year, and A Beast the Color of Winter: The Mountain Goat Observed. He has also written more than three hundred articles for such magazines as National Geographic, Audubon, and Sierra. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.
Table of Contents
Seeing the Bear
Teaching Grizzlies a Thing or Two
Midnight with Bear-Bear and Stahr
Ode to Fresh Sign
Neighbors and Outlaws
Giants in the Earth
Real Bear Clawing the Backbone of the World
So, What Would You Have Done?
Frame of Mind
The Grizz from Lacy Lane, Easy Street, and Dakota Avenue
Ode to Babysitters