Grizzly Years In Search of the American Wilderness

Doug Peacock

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

288 Pages



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For nearly twenty years, alone and unarmed, author Doug Peacock traversed the rugged mountains of Montana and Wyoming tracking the magnificent grizzly. His narrative takes us into the bear's habitat, where we observe directly this majestic animal's behavior, from hunting strategies, mating patterns, and denning habits to social hierarchy and methods of communication. As Peacock tracks the bears, his story turns into a story about the breaking down of suspicion between man and beast in the wild.


Praise for Grizzly Years

"Peacock is a wonderful writer, a naturalist with a novelist's sensitivity and eye. I found myself holding my breath at the close encounters he relates."—The Chicago Tribune

"Peacock has written about his grizzly bears with a passionate and unguarded heart. Grizzly Years is ultimately a love story about a man who returns from war shorn of his soul, and recovers his soul through his efforts to study and protect the grandest predator on earth, Ursus horribilis. I cannot imagine that a more worthwhile book will be printed this year."—Jim Harrison

"Grizzly Years is an exciting natural history and, more important, a striking metaphor in its impassioned outcry against senseless waste of life on earth—human included."—Peter Matthiessen

"Grizzly Years belongs to a genre of literature written for the soul. Doug Peacock writes with great heart, eloquence, and verve. He calls for a revolution of the spirit through an immersion in the natural world. I believe him, he is trustworthy. This book does not lie."—Terry Tempest Williams

"It's been a long time since I've enjoyed a book so much. It is the saga of one man's spiritual rebirth through contact with wild nature and the primitive American landscape. Like Peter Matthiessen, Peacock writes about the natural world with a novelist's eye and sensibility."—Philip Caputo

"Returning from the war in Vietnam, Peacock sought solitude and peace of mind in the wilderness. Grizzly bears, he writes, saved his life; now he is committed to their survival. From the late 1960s through the '80s, he followed and filmed these animals in an attempt to assemble a collective portrait of all grizzlies south of Canada. Traveling on foot through trailless areas of Glacier and Yellowstone parks and into the Southwest desert and Mexico, he observed the bears feeding, denning, and playing. While one of the grizzlies' attractions for Peacock is their unpredictability, he discusses attacks and offers practical advice on safety. This is natural history writing of a high order and should help campers to overcome their fears of these animals."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

GRIZZLY YEARS (Chapter 1)The Big Snow

November (1980s)

It was mid-November and a winter storm was coming to the mountains of northwest Wyoming. The wind was gentle, chinooklike, swaying the bare branches of an aspen grove against a gray sky. The trees' leaves, already drawn to the forest floor by the October frosts of the brief Rocky Mountain autumn, lay silent under crusted drifts of November snow. I struggled carrying a bulky rucksack up the open slope toward groves of mixed fir, spruce, and pine. I had a 9,000-foot ridge to climb, another valley to drop into and cross, then a steep north-facing

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  • Doug Peacock

  • Doug Peacock lives in the American Southwest.