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The Bear Doesn't Know

Life and Wonder in Bear Country

Paul Schullery

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: Bison Books
Published: 09/2021
Pages: 256
Subject: Biography and Autobiography
eBook ISBN: 9781496229328


In The Bear Doesn't Know, Paul Schullery honored naturalist, storyteller, and former Yellowstone ranger has given us a bear-lover's book of wonders. It is rich in the joy, beauty, inspiration, and pure fun to be had during a life well lived in bear country. While exploring the cultural complications of an animal we have long both feared and adored, he chronicles the bumpy course of our coming to terms with the mysteries of bear ecology and behavior. Schullery brings to the matter of bears a long view of our centuries-long and always-evolving perception of wild bears, of the scientific exploration of bear ecology and behavior, and of the sometimes bitter struggles to protect bear populations for the future. Featuring Schullery's trademark gifts for historical inquiry and scientific translation, as well as for mixing humor with telling insight, Schullery enlivens The Bear Doesn't Know with many of his own quirky tales of life in the wildlands of North America and in the obscure realms of bear folklore and literature. North America's bears have become universally recognized symbols of wild landscapes and the struggles to preserve them. In this collection, Schullery illuminates and celebrates the bears and their world, making plain why they always have and always will matter so much to us.


Paul Schullery is the scholar in residence at Montana State University Library and a former Yellowstone ranger-naturalist. He is the author of more than forty books, including Old Yellowstone Days and Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness. He wrote and narrated the PBS film Yellowstone: America's Sacred Wilderness.


"Paul Schullery has spent the last fifty years watching and thinking about bears. In this entertaining and informative collection of essays and stories he lets us in on what he discovered. We're lucky he did. Schullery possesses a wonderfully inquisitive mind, a passion for the natural world, and, thankfully for us all, a talent for explaining things with both precision and a wry sense of humor."?Dayton Duncan, writer and producer of The National Parks: America's Best Idea

"Paul Schullery is a master of the essayist's and memoirist's craft. His prose is clean and cogent, witty and wise. He pays great attention. He has been out among the bears?often with the biologists who study them?and this has given him a fine understanding of and appreciation for these formidable mammals. The Bear Doesn't Know is educating and entertaining, a thoroughly delightful paean to these very special creatures with whom we are privileged to share the earth."?Charles Fergus, author of the Gideon Stoltz Mystery series

"From John Muir forward, writers in the American West have been trying to make sense of wild creatures and places. Paul Schullery, with his always lyrical, thoughtful, and, at times, witty prose, has been one of the best modern observers, having close association with this nation's most venerable natural destination, Yellowstone. No animals are more synonymous with Yellowstone than bears. Schullery takes us into Yellowstone and farther afield. In The Bear Doesn't Know, Schullery, much to our delight, comes out of his own thankfully-brief hibernation and regales us with inspiring bear stories. He introduces us to the real bruin, even better than myth, and, along the way, tugs on our heartstrings to have us care more about their survival in this briskly paced world. He bestows bruins with the respect they deserve and reminds us that the responsibility of coexistence is on us. The Bear Doesn't Know is a wonderful read that stays with you long after you turn the last page."?Todd Wilkinson, coauthor of Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek: An Intimate Portrait of 399, The Most Famous Bear of Greater Yellowstone