Oh, this book I would highly recommend anyone considering stepping foot into any sort of grizzly habitat reads this book It s that informative, beautiful, important Except don t ever hike into the back country with a heavy as shit pack and hardly any food like Peacock repeatedly, intentionally does That s ridiculous And dumb And I m not kidding when I say this guy should be dead multiple times over from stupidity and poor planning Being raised as much in the Selkirks as in any city, I adored sections of this book, being familiar enough with what bear habitat looks like, and what it doesn t, and especially after getting to spend some time in Glacier grizzly country this past summer a place he references in this book almost with as much frequency as Yellowstone Knowing my dad and grandfather and Matt were and are exactly the sort of men who would get lost and lose themselves in wilderness every day of their lives if they could, I love reading about solo excursions into true wilderness, though parts of Peacock s methodology definitely and almost hilariously conflict with his ideas about conservation and grizzly protection But if you don t dig bears, and reading about one admittedly pretty self absorbed man s strikingly lucky streak at avoiding being eaten by one, this book probably isn t for you It s the editing and the format, the flow of the narrative, that s at the heart of my issues with Peacock s storytelling in this book It reads like someone with PTSD would organize a book And in that way I suppose it s authentic and true to Peacock s history as a Vietnam War veteran in that way the sometimes jumbled recounting of decades dated and un dated and blurred together is likely an accurate portrayal of Peacock himself But chapters having nothing to do with bears, strangely punctuating, and ultimately ending a book that is otherwise a love letter to them An ode to grizzly habitat, to sacred bear and predatory wildness It doesn t fit, and it does the overall book and the majestic, compelling, and complicated grizzlies captured within a notable disservice Why, Peacock, why Why, Peacock s imaginary, I imagine editor, whyyyyy Four point five stars for oh so beautiful bears, and for all the wild places I ve loved, and will yet love. Doug Peacock grew up in rural northern Michigan As a boy, he spent a lot of time alone outdoors, exploring the woods, swamps, and streams Later, he fell in love with the West, especially the Rockies He enjoyed fishing and rock climbing His plan was to become a geologist, so he could wander around in the great outdoors and get paid for it But one day he realized that his dream career would likely involve working for oil and mining companies, whose rape of wild country repelled me Sadly, he abandoned the plan, and volunteered for an exciting job with the U.S government.Peacock loved the central highlands of Vietnam It was a gorgeous region, inhabited by good people Then, the war spread there He was employed as a medic in the Green Berets, an elite combat unit His job was to provide first aid to injured soldiers and villagers, and the fighting kept him very busy He witnessed far too much senseless death, destruction, and suffering, far too many dead children.By and by, he came down with a devastating case of war rage, which he has been struggling with for most of his life Back in American society, it was no longer possible to blend into the crowd, and feel at home He couldn t talk to his family He spent a lot of time in the woods, trying to pickle his demons with cheap wine Finally, he bought a jeep, and headed west, to pursue two powerful medicines solitude and wildness.For American soldiers, Vietnam was not as safe and secure as strolling through a shopping mall There were tigers, vipers, snipers, booby traps, and Vietcong The odds for survival were boosted by good luck, common sense, being with experienced warriors, remaining as silent and invisible as possible, and maintaining a state of heightened awareness Survivors slept lightly, easily awakened by snapping twigs and other irregular sounds Survivors developed an acute sense of smell, because an odd whiff could warn of danger Survivors frequently stopped, looked, and listened.Similar skills were useful when moving through grizzly bear country, where Peacock spent many post war years Near the beginning of his wilderness quest, he hiked around a corner and discovered that a large brown grizzly was approaching, and it was not at all happy to see him The bear s head was swinging back and forth, jaws gnashing, ears flattened, hair standing up on his hump the ritual that precedes charging, mauling, and a bloody hot lunch.Peacock slowly pulled out his large caliber handgun, had second thoughts, and lowered it His shooting days were over He was ready to die Something happened, the energy changed The grizzly slowly turned away from me with grace and dignity and swung into the timber at the end of the meadow It was a life changing experience He became a grizzly tracker He acquired a movie camera and began filming them He did winter lecture tours, wrote about bears, and told his story in Grizzly Years.Importantly, the book reminds us of a forgotten reality, living in wild country amidst man eating predators the normal everyday reality for our wild ancestors, whose genes we inherited Outside my window each morning, the blue jays stop by for a pumpkin seed breakfast Before they glide down from branch to porch, they look in every direction for winged predators and pussy cats They don t live in a constant state of fear and paranoia, they simply live with prudent caution, look before leaping, and never do stupid things.In grizzly country, Peacock stayed away from animal trails, and slept in concealed locations He tried to remain invisible and silent He tried to approach bears from downwind, so his scent would not alert them He spent years studying bear behavior, and the quirks of individual animals He was charged many times, but never mauled He learned how to behave properly during close encounters Never run, climb trees, make loud noises, move suddenly, or look weak and fearful Instead, act dignified, and display peaceful intentions without appearing docile Calmly talk to the bear, while keeping your head turned to the side.Peacock s tales are precious, because they encourage readers to imagine wilderness as their true home, and to contemplate the normal everyday tactics used by our wild ancestors to avoid being eaten Grizzly country was one place where humans were not the dominant critter The bears could kill you and eat you whenever they wished This ongoing possibility freed Peacock from wasting hour after hour in self indulgence thinking, analyzing, daydreaming It demanded that he always pay acute attention to the here and now.Americans expect wilderness to be as safe as a mall We don t want to be killed and eaten when visiting a national park, yet parks foolishly build trails and campgrounds in high risk locations If a hiker is mauled, bears are killed Now, if a cat kills a blue jay, we don t kill the cat In automobile country, the streets are lined with busy enterprises selling chunks of dead animals So, why are government bureaucrats so uptight about what God fearing American bears choose to have for dinner in the privacy of their own homes Why do delicious primates from Chicago expect to be safe in grizzly country I ve never seen a Save the Grizzlies bumper sticker To maintain a pleasant Disneyland experience, and avoid lawsuits, the Park Service kills aggressive bears, and bears that beg for snacks Backcountry outfitters kill them Ranchers kill them Violators get light punishment from judges in redneck country Bear numbers are in decline, and this infuriates Peacock.In Vietnam, he had a ringside seat at a contest between a full blown industrial civilization and a society that practiced muscle powered subsistence farming He witnessed the indiscriminant massacre of countless innocent villagers and children Back in the U.S., he saw that the same monster was obliterating western ecosystems, from mines in the Rockies, to developers in Tucson He had escaped from the Vietnam War, but there was no escape from the American war on America, where greedy scumsuckers were raping and desecrating the last refuge of sanity on the planet Peacock wasn t the only Vietnam vet with war rage who found sanctuary in the mountains Other vets were equally pissed at the scumsuckers They had lost many friends while defending the freedom and democracy of God s most cherished nation And so, in those mountains, angry American vets defended the sacred American ecosystem against the atrocities of the syphilization they had been trained to serve When loggers built bridges that had not been authorized by the angry vets, the bridges were mysteriously demolished So were helicopters used for oil exploration.Peacock did not become a corporate geologist, and spend the rest of his life shopping with the herd It was a great gift to live so many years outside the walls He was able to observe the insane monster that lurks behind the cartoonish fa ade of the American Dream, and he was able to explain the horrors that so many folks inside the walls were unable to see, feel, or imagine In wild country, Peacock was careful to never be seen, or reveal his plans If I got into serious trouble, I didn t want to be rescued My considerable carcass could feed the bears. For Nearly Twenty Years, Alone And Unarmed, Author Doug Peacock Traversed The Rugged Mountains Of Montana And Wyoming Tracking The Magnificent Grizzly His Thrilling Narrative Takes Us Into The Bear S Habitat, Where We Observe Directly This Majestic Animal S Behavior, From Hunting Strategies, Mating Patterns, And Denning Habits To Social Hierarchy And Methods Of Communication As Peacock Tracks The Bears, His Story Turns Into A Thrilling Narrative About The Breaking Down Of Suspicion Between Man And Beast In The Wild La nueva colecci n de Errata Naturae trae t tulos tan interesantes como este diario de aventuras de Doug Peacock La narraci n intercala sus aventuras buscando Grizzlies al sur de Canad y Alaska con flashbacks de su experiencia en la guerra del Vietnam Descarnado y bestial Una pasada de lectura. Este se or ama a los osos y despu s de la guerra dedica toda su vida a ellos, viviendo en el bosque y desplaz ndose continuamente para fotografiarlos haga frio o calor Pero tiene secuelas traum ticas de su paso por la guerra y cuenta momentos duros vividos en ella, esas narraciones escapa totalmente del nature writing pero nos sirven paras entenderle.Se vuelve una narraci n aburrida al centrarse unicamente en el oso. Mind blown This book is unique because the author is insane during most of this memoir Literally Doug Peacock was a green beret medic in the Vietnam war and saw enough horror to be unable to acclimatize to normal American life on returning When the usual drugs, alcohol, random acts of arson does not bring succor, he turns to grizzly bear watching He self medicates w annual pilgrimages to Yellowstone, RMNP and Glacier NP, off the grid, meticulously studying the land and animals.Even as his mental status improves over the years, he remains a devoted bears fan returning over the decades His conservation philosophy is reminiscent of Ed Abbey s my biggest lit crush , who also happens to be his friend Most of the book is a bit repetitive one meadow hillside camp bear attack near death situation is like the next So, initially I thought it could have been edited tighter But towards the end, I felt that the pace was just right Wilderness backpacking appears to be a slow, mellow, meditative, and deeply gratifying journey So should be the book that takes us along for the ride. 3,5 Ce n est pas un livre qui se lit d une traite parce qu il est tr s descriptif Je ne le qualifierais pas de divertissant, mais plut t de fascinant Certaines personnes pourraient se tanner de lire des passages d observation d ours mais pas moi C est ce qui m int resse le plus conna tre les comportements de ces animaux et me faire raconter des anecdotes sur un plantigrade solitaire ou une femelle et ses oursons par exemple travers une narration pas toujours dans l ordre chronologique bien que les chapitres sont s par s par d cennies , Doug Peacock nous parle de son int r t pour les grizzlys et relate son exp rience de toute une vie les photographer, les filmer mais d abord et avant tout, les observer Il se confie galement sur la dure r alit et les traces qu a laiss la guerre du Vietnam et l on sent que cette passion qu il a d velopp e pour les grizzlys l a probablement sauv. Doug Peacock chronicles two decades of observing Grizzly bears in their natural habitats throughout Wyoming and Montana in his book Grizzly Years Intermingled with his observations and research on the losing battle these majestic creatures are fighting, this battle of survival, is the story of Peacock himself, both Doug the soldier and Doug the veteran, a man struggling for survival as much as the bears he defends This book digs deep into the plight of the Grizzly across time, as well as the extent of their known history The author clearly cares for and immerses himself in the lives of these wild creatures He also has human connections, but these he finds harder to maintain Though at times Peacock can be repetitive, and a few chapters feel disjointed from the overall narrative, I found myself fully invested in the fate of both the Grizzly and Doug Peacock by the end. Doug Peacock, the model for the George Hayduke of Edward Abbey s novels The Monkey Wrench Gang and Hayduke Lives , served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Green Beret medic, ministering to the Montagnard and Hre peoples of the highlands Exploring the wilderness and studying grizzly bears was his way of forgetting some of his experiences in Vietnam There are many vignettes in the book that I loved Here is one of my favorites While house sitting, a Navajo knocks on the door looking for safety from the weather Neither speaks the other s language Yet Peacock begins to listen to the man s stories Then Peacock speaks in Hre and later in Montagnard Each man listens to the other, never totally understanding what is said, just getting a sense of it Interspersed with the grizzly stories are those about his war experience I always take Vietnam stories with a grain of salt I am never sure what to believe Here are some samples During the Christmas truce of 1967, Dinh Hun, a Montagnard irregular, is wounded Peacock calls in a helicopter to bring him out On Christmas eve, the pilots fly in at great risk to themselves to take the man to get medical attention The pilot never thinks of it as a big deal While being followed by North Vietnamese Army soldiers, four of his Asian teammates decide to take a break at 12 00 The Green Berets can t believe it But what happens is that the NVA also take a break called poc time It lasts two hours At 2 00 the war begins again with a rifle shot A mutually agreed upon Vietnamese siesta Flying over a full NVA company eating over a hilltop The pilot looks down, and all he sees is every soldier flipping him the Bird, the middle finger None of them stop eating or reach for guns Dinh Rua, a Montagnard friend of his, gets his head cut off Peacock seeks revenge He ends up killing the wrong man He calls it the beginning of the end for him over there Tigers are the most serious health problem in a district They kill buffalo So the buffalo are brought in and tied to front porches Shit piles up Kids walk on stilts Hookworms are epidemic As far as bears go, scholars believe they were the original model for spiritual renewal They get through the winter by burial and come alive again in the spring with babies Many early religious connections In order to do radio collaring, bears must be tranquilized The street drug Angel Dust was used at times One killer bear may have been just drugged too many times Indians looked at wilderness as home Not as wild They saw it as abiding loveliness Luther Standing Bear of the Oglala Sioux said, Only to the white man was nature a wilderness and only to him was the land infested with wild animals and savage people To us it was tame Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded by the blessings of the Great Mystery The way to save grizzlies is to provide a wilderness that is untouched in any way.