Cover image for Grizzly bear mountain / by Jack Boudreau.
Grizzly bear mountain / by Jack Boudreau.
Publication Information:
Prince George, B.C. : Caitlin Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
ix, 243 p. : ill., ports. ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.

1009511054 - Autographed copy.
Personal Subject:


Library Branch
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
1 Bob Harkins Branch 599.784 BOU Local History Item Local History (in-library use only)
1 Bob Harkins Branch 599.784 BOU Local History Item Local History (in-library use only)
1 Bob Harkins Branch 599.784 BOU Book Adult General Collection
1 Nechako Branch 599.784 BOU Book Adult General Collection

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Hot on the heels of his best seller, 'Crazy Man's Creek', Jack Boudreau writes his sequel. We go back to the small community of Penny, learn what rural kids did to amuse themselves - mother wouldn't approve - and then look over Jack's shoulder as he develops his fascination with the grizzly bear, first as a hunter, then as a photographer.
The grizzly bear, according to Jack, is not a threatened species, at least not in the McGregor Mountain Range. Through Jack's eyes, we begin to understand and appreciate this marvellous beast. For example, did you know that grizzlies ski?

As well as giving us a greater understanding of this magnificient bear, Jack speaks of his love of the rugged mountain country of Northern British Columbia where he feels lucky to have lived most of his life.

Author Notes

Jack Boudreau was born in the small community of Penny, BC. He has devoted his professional life to British Columbia's forest industry working as a licensed scaler, industrial first-aid attendant and forest fire fighter mostly with the Ministry of Forests. From early childhood he has been an avid lover of the outdoors. He is a mountain climber, fisher and skier. Boudreau is the author of five bestsellers - 'Sternwheelers and Canyon Cats, Crazy Man's Creek, Grizzly Bear Mountain, Wilderness Dreams' and 'Mountains, Campfires and Memories'. He now lives in Prince George, BC, where he spends his time writing about the early settlers and homesteaders of BC.



INTRODUCTION At length, thoroughly worn out and exhausted, I reached the summit, but after a short rest soon felt freshened up again. We now proceeded along a narrow ridge of snow, a yawning abyss studded with sharp-pointed rocks on one side, and a gentle slope just to prevent the possibility of stopping one's self in the event of a slip, on the other. Truly, this was as nasty looking a place as I had as yet set eyes on, and I defy anyone to stand on that narrow slipping ridge without feeling a shudder pass through them. Assuredly the grizzly bears had chosen a grizzly retreat.>/I> -J. Turner Turner, Three Years Hunting and Trapping in America and the Great Northwest These were the thoughts of J. Turner Turner 113 years ago as his Indian guides led him through the ridges to the mountain they had appropriately named: Grizzly Bear Mountain ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN YEARS AGO, AN ADVENTUROUS SOUL named J. Turner Turner left England with his wife. After spending a couple years hunting in the USA, they came to British Columbia in 1886. Along with a friend named Fred, they spent a few years hunting and trapping in BC. In the fall of 1887 they left Fort George [Prince George] along with some Indian guides and paddled their canoes up the Fraser River, past the Goose River (Salmon River), and then past the Caribou River (Willow- River). They continued on to the Grand Canyon where they hunted for a few days. Then they went another 25 miles upriver where they built a shanty and then spent that winter trapping. This was right in the area of Penny, where I was born and raised. They suffered through an extremely tough winter that started when they neglected to put enough pitch in the cabin roof. This resulted in every thing in the cabin getting mildew from the endless rains that fell. In a last ditch effort to stop the leaks, they got clay from the riverbank and plastered it all over the roof No sooner did they get finished, then the rains came again and washed it all through the roof poles into the cabin. Only in late winter did they finally cut up some tents they had brought along. Placed over the roof, this served to keep most of the weather out. As I had never heard of lynx attacking anything as large as a caribou, I was most interested in how Turner described Fred walking his trapline one day when he came upon a caribou lying on the snow. A close look showed that it had two serious injuries on its back. Fred then spotted a lynx and then a second lynx lying in wait nearby. The sign showed him that these two lynx had ambushed the caribou, severely injuring it, and were just biding their time waiting for it to die. Fred returned to their cabin and got his rifle, then shot the caribou and brought some much-needed meat back to the cabin. They later managed to bag a lynx on the remains. Surprisingly, to me at least, Mr. Turner tells of finding several different places where lynx had followed caribou and attempted to ambush them. Several times the Indians returned from Fort George that winter, bringing bacon, mail, and many other badly-needed supplies. It seems apparent that without the assistance of these Indians, the Turners would have perished. Because of this man's desire to get a grizzly bear, the Indians guides took him on a whirlwind hike back into the mountains to a place that always had an abundance of grizzlies. For that reason, they admitted it was a place they seldom visited. In one spot they had to crawl across an ice ridge with a steep canyon on one side and a deep nearvertical drop on the other. Many times as a youngster I followed in their footsteps across the dangerous ice ridge, and made my way to this mountain that the grizzlies have always frequented in great numbers. For 54 years I have first hunted and then watched these great beasts in this area, and I have to say that the Indians got it right when they called it Grizzly Bear Mountain. Now called Red Mountain because of the iron oxide stained rock that stands out so vividly on its southeasterly peak, this mountain has been one of my favorite haunts throughout the years. A Life in Context BORN INTO A BIG FAMILY IN THE TINY, ISOLATED COMMUNITY OF Penny, BC, I guess it was only natural that I would get interested in the forests and mountains. My dad was a never-ending source of stones about the wild and he certainly passed that trait on to his sons. His stones of adventure on the trapline would keep me riveted in my seat for hours, and I believe it was the basis for the life I chose to follow. From the time we were just lads, my two brothers and I spent an endless amount of time in the forest. With slingshots we hunted grouse and wild rabbits which were readily devoured at the kitchen table. We often fished the trout-laden streams, sometimes camping out beneath the stars, and this always seemed like a wonderful adventure to me. By the time I was 15 years old I had made several trips into the high mountains and had already fought against several forest fires. At the age of 16, I had my first rifle and that's when my mountain adventures really began. It was a vast wilderness area that we roamed. So much so, that the first 20 years that I traveled the mountains with friends, only once did we ever meet anyone else there. For many years there were no trails, so packing large, heavy packs through the dense undergrowth was only for true nature lovers. Because we were always running around the woods, the Forest Service regularly knocked at our door, wanting us to fight wildfires for them. I didn't mind this a bit, though, as it gave me an excuse to be in the woods and get paid for it. Throughout the 54 years that I have visited the alpine, I have seen a very large number of grizzly bears. Obviously, there is no way to know how many, because of duplication. During these years we have had many interesting adventures with these animals and have had a close look at their incredible personalities. After all these years and all my adventures, I can honestly say that I have as much or more respect for these great bears as I had way back then. Among the emotions I have experienced in regards to grizzly bears are: respect, intense interest, fear, terror, humour, surprise, loneliness, sorrow, admiration, and just about any other feeling you can imagine. The first 28 years that I wandered and hunted the mountains, I tried my best to hunt these bears. Frequently the old boars made absolute fools out of us up there. We learned that it is one thing to see a big boar on an adjacent mountain, but it is another thing to try to sneak up on him. Often the natural curvature of the mountain will prevent one from seeing them until they are very close. This puts everything in the bears' favour, because it means that any noise a person makes is a warning to the bears, and even if they don't leave the area, they may move into cover until they are certain what's about. Also, any sudden gust of wind that takes one's scent to them can guarantee that the hunt is over. A careful stalk of an hour can get a hunter near the spot where the bear was, but the hunter may find that this fast-moving creature has shifted and is now half a mile away on another ridge. About 26 years ago I gave up hunting these animals and concentrated on watching and photographing them. Then I noticed a strange thing: the sense of loss that I had felt when I left the mountains after shooting grizzlies was gone. No more did I have the feeling that something great and mysterious was gone from the area. Now I spend days there watching and studying them. On most trips we leave the area without their even knowing we were there, and I just can't possibly imagine how it can ever get any better than that. I ask the reader to try to understand that it was a huge wilderness area that we hunted. The number of animals we took didn't amount to much and had little or no effect on bear populations. The real control on bear numbers was the long winters that resulted in den deaths - sometimes to the point where we could scarcely find any bears after an especially long winter. Some years the snow came to stay on the mountains as early as September 1st and stayed there until July. This allowed for less than two months summer around timberline. This not only caused a great number of den deaths, directly, but also the early frosts had a negative effect on their food supply-berries, roots, bulbs, mice, etc. If the frosts were early and heavy, then the ground froze hard and the bears could not dig, and so were denied a major portion of their food supply, such as roots, bulbs, etc. With the longer summers of the last decade, the bears appear much fatter prior to den time. Also, one of their favorite foods - mice, have experienced a population explosion around the timberline. After these long winters with their resulting den deaths, it was almost impossible to get close to the few bears that were left. They would run at the slightest sound in the forest, and the most we could hope for was to see their back ends disappearing through the trees. This is a far cry from what we find today. With the easy winters of the last many years, the bears, especially grizzly bears, have grown to unprecedented numbers and have become very aggressive. Surely this explains why we have seen and photographed so many grizzlies chasing other grizzlies in the last six years - something I never saw in the previous 48 years combined. Since the main focus of this book is on mountains and grizzlies, I have not limited myself to the area of Grizzly Bear Mountain; many other lakes and mountains are included. I hope the reader will enjoy and appreciate the results of the endless hours we spent studying these great bears. There were times when I watched families of grizzlies from early morning until dusk. Throughout that period they were in sight most of the time except for a few hours around midday when they bedded down in a thicket. Because of the endless hours that my friends and I have spent viewing, I have so many great memories of these magnificent animals that I wish to share with others. It has been said that we are the sum total of our experiences, and it is experiences that have formed the views I have about bears. Many may disagree with my assumptions, and rightfully so if their experiences and observations have led them to other conclusions. I can only say that I have done my best to be open and admit my many errors. The many people that shared these trips with me can attest to that. It will be noticed that I often refer to trees that are lying down in the forest, as downtrees. Downtimber sounds too stiff and doesn't lend itself well to a single tree - such as "I walked along a downtimber." Also, deadfall is often a misnomer that should only apply to snags, because many trees are still green when they fall or are blown down. As I am from the old school, I still think in yards as opposed to metres. Anyone not familiar with the yard measurement can easily convert them to metres by adding one-tenth. Finally, it is my sincere wish that many of the mistakes we made will be noted by others. If because of this book, one accident or unnecessary confrontation with sow grizzlies and cubs can be avoided, then my candidness will have been worthwhile. Enjoy. Jack Boudreau Excerpted from Grizzly Bear Mountain by Jack Boudreau All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 Childhood
2 Young Adventurers
3 Grizzlies
4 Along the Railroad
5 Big Grizzlies
6 Mountain Safety
7 Wilderness Humor
8 Forestry
9 Mountain Memories

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