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Stock Growers and bear come to town

“Bruin came down the river with the tie drive and stopped in town for a little fun and excitement,” reads the headline in a June 1918 issue of a Wyoming weekly newspaper.

The story went on to relate, “There are but few towns, even in Wyoming, where you can see a real, live bear hunt pulled off inside the city limits, but such a sight was afforded in Saratoga last Saturday morning, much to the amusement and interest of the many tourists in town and the large number of transients who had come to Saratoga the day before to attend the stock meeting.”

In part, the story continued:

“There were exciting times for a few minutes while Bruin was being hazed about the back yards and alleys on the east side of the river. Although pursued by a number of hunters armed with rifles, shotguns, pistols and bowie knives, the animal managed to escape unharmed from the majority of his pursuers and made a break for the hills, being finally brought down by Raymond Ault after a chase of about two and half miles over the hills east of town. The bear was of the cinnamon or brown variety and weighed 141 pounds. Local bear-hunters pronounced him to be a two-year-old.

“The animal was first discovered near the bridge and was leisurely swimming with the current of the river. He landed on the east side... and several men with guns were soon on his trail.

“After going through or over a number of wire and board fences, the animal made his way along the river bank to the rear of a residence where he was intercepted by a woman and young man who ran down to the river edge to see what the excitement was about.

“The boy ran into the small patch of brush where the bear had taken refuge, and the animal then ran out through the front yard  and started across country for Elk Mountain. When within a few feet of the bear, the boy discovered what was the cause of the excitement, and he also left the neighborhood for distant points in the opposite direction.

“Several auto loads of tourists were soon in pursuit, but Ault, mounted on a good horse, was able to take a more direct route and Bruin fell a victim to his unerring aim with a six-shooter.

“No one is able to say just where the bear came from, as he was not discovered until in the center of town, but old hunters are of the opinion that he was crossing the valley from one range of mountains to the other, in search of new pastures.

“Carbon County Stock Growers President . . . has been accused of smuggling the animal in as a special amusement feature for the benefit of visitors at the Stock Association meeting, but he declares the b’ar was none of his property. At any rate, Bruin appeared at a most opportune time to provide a variety of thrills for our many visitors and even aroused some interest on the part of the natives, who are seldom stirred out of their peaceful tranquility after a long residence in a community where many unusual things happen.”

Ironically, this column was written last week for the Roundup without the knowledge that a bear has since been spotted in Saratoga over the weekend of July 13-14. At last report the Wyoming Game and Fish crew was trying to live-trap the animal and transport it out of town. 

My, how things remain the same, yet with different results.