The Bear Doesn't Know


The Bear Doesn't Know

Life and Wonder in Bear Country

Paul Schullery

248 pages
40 photographs, 18 illustrations


September 2021


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2021


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2021


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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.

Author Bio

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.


"Readable, enlightening and genuinely entertaining, Schullery navigates easily between being conversational and deeply knowledgeable because of his background, experience and research. Rooted in the scientific and historical, the book is humbly philosophical with an imminently humane point of view. In fact, the viewpoint is often that of the bear. And thank goodness it is. Schullery shows quite clearly how danger and fascination go hand-in-hand."—Charles E. Rankin, Roundup Magazine

"This book is a most fitting tribute to everything that bears represent to us and to the bears themselves, even if they don't know."—Frank T. van Manen, International Bear News

"For all his love for bears, Schullery is a well-grounded realist. . . . Schullery tells readers they must not view bears through a human lens, but to instead look, listen, and learn to 'accept that animals are best appreciated on their own terms, no matter how dramatically those terms may differ from ours.'"—David James, Anchorage Daily News

"This book is ideal for those who wish a more realistic glimpse of this wonderous creature."—J. Kemper Campbell, Lincoln Journal Star

“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

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface: Bear Stories and the Art of the Memoir
Part 1. Yellowstone
1. Early Bears
2. The Bear Doesn’t Know
3. Arts and Craps
4. Nervous Neighbors
5. Almost My Favorite Bear Story
6. Bears at the Door
Part 2. Bears at Home
7. Something Like Bear Hunting
8. Embryonic Journeys
9. Ferocious Beasts
10. Bear Attacks: An Appreciation
11. The Question Answered
12. On Skipping The Revenant
Part 3. Alaska
13. Denali Days
14. Brooks Bears
15. Waiting
16. Back to Scary Hill
17. Grizzly Dreams
Part 4. The Literary Bear
18. Bear Books
19. Trailblazers
20. Early Experts
21. Myths, Legends, and a Bear of Very Little Brain
22. The Modern Sensibility 
Epilogue: A Word from the Bear

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