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Beaseley and the Bear

All old-timers of Bozeman Montana remember Eph. Beaseley. He was a long, lank, hungry, naturally tired individual reared in the ague swamps of Arkansas. Beaseley was very fond of hunting and the number of bears he had slaughtered, to hear him tell it around some grocery store fire, was simply appalling. While Beaseley seemed indisposed to exert himself to any considerable extent on the family wood pile, the enthusiasm and hard work he would put in killing bear and other “varmints,” led those who were not acquainted with his fondness for repose, to believe that he worked harder than a third-class postmaster under this administration.

¬†Beaseley had one bear story which he frequently related, and which his friends say is truer than poetry. It seems that Beaseley did slaughter a bear once and in the following manner: Grub becoming scarce he and a friend went to the mountains early in the fall of 1878 to kill grouse. One was armed with a muzzle-loading shot-gun and the other had an army rifle of the vintage of 1862. While hunting, they flushed a bear which set Beaseley in motion in fine shape. Becoming winded Beaseley sought a tree which was leaning. This tree he mounted with wonderful rapidity, but the bear ascended it right behind him with the same agility, before Beaseley could get to the top the bear had him by the leg. With wonderful presence of mind Beaseley swung from a top most limb, at the same time swinging the bear from his perch. All efforts, however, to shake off the bear, who hung with a tenacious grip to Beaseley’s pant leg were futile. Beaseley yelled to his companion to shoot, but when he went to do so he found that the caps for the shotgun had been forgotten and the balls for the rifle were some four sizes too large. The bear and Beaseley hung, until finally Beaseley with his free foot gave the bear a prodigious kick and broke his neck. Beaseley then dropped to the ground, skinned the bear and came home to forever relate instances of his prowess with bears big and small.