The bear is possessed of uncommon strength, and when beset, defends itself with most extraordinary obstinacy. A particular instance is thus related by Captain Lewis: "A party of six hunters attacked a bear, and when at the distance of forty yards, four of them fired, and each lodged a musket-ball in its body, two of which passed directly through the lungs. The justify enraged animal ran at them with open mouth, and as it came near, the two men who had reserved their fire gave it two wounds, and broke its shoulder, which retarded its motion for a moment, but before they could re-load, it was so near, that they were obliged to run to the river, and before they reached it, the bear had almost overtaken them: two jumped into the canoe, the other four separated, concealed themselves and fired as fast as they could load; they struck it several times, but this only exasperated it; and at last, it pursued two of them so closely, that they jumped down a perpendicular bank of twenty feet in height into the water; the bear sprang after them, and was within a few feet of the hindermost, when one of the hunters on shore, shot it in the head and killed it. They dragged it to the shore, and found that eight balls had passed through its body." In many instances, the bear has been said to have attacked persons, when not opposed, and an interesting narrative of that fact is related by Barentz in his voyage in search of a north-east passage to China In the island of Nova Zembla, the bears attacked his men, seizing them in their mouths;
Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/186
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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.