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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Yesterday, we focused on the historical Continent wide trek that British Seaman Samuel Hearne undertook during the three year period of 1769-1772,,,,,,, chronicling native life, fauna and flora from Hudson Bay(Canada) clear across to the Arctic Ocean........We continue today with his observation of the Bear and Fox species he encountered on this epic journey


Black Bears

-"Black Bears are not numerous to the north, west Churchill. Their habit of life is the same as the rest of the species, though the face of the country they inhabit differs widely from the more mild climates> The Bears that inhabit the southern parts of America are said to take up their winter abode in hollow trees; but I never saw any trees in my northern travels that could affod such shelter. As the winter approaches, they retire to their dens which are alway underground and generally, if not always, on the side of a small hillock"

-"The few Black Bears that inhabit these cold regions may be said to subsist for four months without food, till the latter of March, or the beginning of April. Thought the animals are but scarce, to the north of Churchill, yet they are so numerous between York Fort and Cumberland House, that in 1774 I saw 11 killed in the course of one day's journey, but their flesh was abominable. This was in the month of June, long before any fruit was ripe, for the want of which they then fed entirely on water insects, which in some of the lakes we crossed that day were in astonishing multitudes. The method by which bears catch those insects is by swimming with their mouths open. After the middle of July when the berries begin to ripen, the bears are excellent eating, and so continue till January or February following. The Southern Indians kill great numbers of those bears at all seasons of the year"


Brown Bears

-"I believe these bears are never found in the Northern Indian territories; but I saw the skin of an enourmous grizzled bear at the tents of the Esquimaux at the Copper River ; and many of them are said to breed not very remote from that part"


Polar Bears

-" The Polar or White Bear though common on the sea coast is seldomfound in its winter retreats by any of our northern Indians, except near Churchill River"



-"The Arctic Foxes are in some years remarkably plentiful, but generally most so on the barren ground near the sea coast. Not withstanding that, not less than from 200 to 400 have been caught each year within 30 miles of Fort Churchill. They always come from the north along the coast and generally make their appearance at about the middle of October. The great numbers of those animals that visit Churchill River do not all come in a body, but when they come by the Fort, the carcasses of dead whales lying along the shores afford them a plentiful repast"

"When Churchill River is frozen over near the mouth, the greatest part of the surviving white foxes cross the river and direct their course to the southward and in some years assemble in considerable numbers at York Fort and Severn River. They take to the trap so freely, they are otherwise so simple that I have seen them shot off-hand while feeding, the same as sparrows in a heap of chaff, sometimes two or three at a shot"

-'Th Naturalists seem still at a loss to know their breeding places which are doubtless in every part of the coast they frequent. Several of them breed near Churchill and I have seen them in considerable numbers all alon the west ocoast of hudson's Bay, particularly at Cape Esquimaux, Navel's Bay and Whale Cove, also on Marble Island; so that with some degree of confidence we may affirm that they breed on every part of the coast they inhabit during the summer season"

"They generally have 3 to 5 in a litter. When young, they are a sooty black colour but when winter sets in they are perfectly white. If taken young, they are easily domesticated in some degree; but I never saw one that was fond of being caressed; and they are always impatient of confinement"

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