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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago outside of Spokane: Bear cub on the run from Manito Park Zoo eludes capture for third day

For the third day, the escaped Manito Park Zoo bear continued to elude its captors – and had a close call with a shotgun-wielding farmer, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 24, 1916. (SR)
For the third day, the escaped Manito Park Zoo bear continued to elude its captors – and had a close call with a shotgun-wielding farmer, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 24, 1916. (SR)

From our archive, 100 years ago

For the third day, the escaped Manito Park Zoo bear continued to elude its captors – and had a close call with a shotgun-wielding farmer.

While bear hunter Tom Hopper tracked the young bear with his his pack of dogs, Hopper and parks superintendent John W. Duncan saw the bear run across a plowed field near a farmer’s house.

The farmer, under the impression it was a wild and dangerous bruin, rushed outside with his shotgun. Duncan cried out that it was a bear from the zoo, but he was too far away for the farmer to hear. The farmer fired two blasts, but, fortunately for the bear, missed with both of them.

The dogs and the posse kept at the heels of the bear for many miles along Hangman Creek, and were often within 100 feet of the bear. At one point, they were within 10 feet of the bear. The day before, they had the bear treed before the bear jumped down and scampered away.

Duncan said Hopper was at pains to “save his reputation,” and wanted the public to know that he was a bear hunter by trade, as opposed to a bear catcher.

“Had we wanted to kill the bear, we could have shot him a number of times,” Duncan said. “Our plan of capture was to run the bear up a tree and have Felix Paquin, the animal foreman at the Manito Park Zoo, lasso him. The bear wisely steered clear of trees yesterday, as if he were aware of the plan of attack.”

Duncan also said the bear “seemed to view the dogs good-naturedly.” However, he believed they were tiring out the bear.

“Tonight, the bear seemed all in, and ready to drop,” said Duncan, “but he had nothing on his pursuers in this respect.”

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