Cowboys & Bears
Big Sky PBR weekend is right around the corner... In honor of cheering on the brave cowboys in bear country, were diving into a brief history of Cowboys & Bears!
Cowboys and mountain men have furthered their legacies as time has gone on. In the 1800s during their discoveries, the prominent mammals now known as bears became uncharted territory. Specifically, the name grizzly bear gives insight into how the men felt about the animal. The scientific name of the grizzly is "Ursus Arctos, or Ursus Arctos horribilis" which means "horrible bear."
Bears were seen as a significant threat to livestock and human safety which led to an impediment to westward expansion and settlement. Throughout this historic time, cowboys and mountain men proceeded their travels with great caution, on guard and remaining observant.
As time went on, the European settlement and establishment of the "American West" led to government-funded bounty programs which aimed to eliminate of the species.
"Grizzly bears were shot, poisoned and trapped wherever they were found," according to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Due to their efforts, the population of bears were rapidly declining and in some areas extinction was possible.
During the early 20th century, regulations were created to stop current and future elimination, but in some areas those protection regulations were too late.
In 1993 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created a Recovery Plan, aimed to move these bears to reside permanently, inside these 6 recovery zones:
- The Greater Yellowstone, in northwestern Wyoming, eastern Idaho and southwestern Montana
- The Northern Continental Divide, of north-central Montana
- The North Cascades area of north-central Washington
- The Selkirks, area of northern Idaho, northeast Washington and southeast British Columbia
- The Cabinet-Yaak, area of northwestern Montana and northern Idaho
- The Bitterroot, in the Bitterroot Mountains of central Idaho and western Montana
This recovery plan encouraged both bears' protection and enforced them to remain in these isolated areas to help sustain themselves as a species.
As time has gone on, we recognize these bears as a crucial part of our ecosystem. Bears are often considered a powerful spirit by Native American cultures and represented as a symbol of strength. These wild and strong bears live among us as an incredible species.
Here at Hey Bear, we strive to keep it that way! We focus on raising awareness for safe and responsible coexistence in bear country. Cowboys and Mountain men do too!
Montana wouldn't be the wonderful place it is without this history and changes made to protect bears!
📷: Loops and Swift Horses are Surer than Lead
Charles M. Russell (1864-1926)