For the first edition of Backcountry Books, I thought that I would review a book that my dad gave to me a few months ago called Down From The Mountain written by Bryce Andrews.
Down From the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear, as it is officially titled, is the story of a grizzly bear named Millie and her two cubs. Millie lives in the Mission Mountains of Montana on the border of an indian reservation. While the mission range has always been a harborer of grizzly’s, things have become more and more tumultuous over the years as agriculture and people encroach on the bears historic habitat.
The addition of more and more people into historic grizzly country has created a situation where interactions occur. With agriculture expanding in the area, the local bears learn that instead of scavenging high up in the mountains, they can come into the valley and feast on crops like apples and corn. This causes farmers to lose money and alternatives to be sought.
Ultimately, Millie and her two cubs become a tragedy of human expansion into wild areas, but their lives are not lost in vain.
If you are interested in wildlife and conservation books, this is a great read! It’s a fairly quick read at only 284 pages, but there is no detail that’s lost in the lack of pages.
Bryce lays out the struggles of being a bear in the mission range very well. He frames the book in such a way that you are not only able to understand his point of view, but you also get the sense that you understand the bears point of view as well.
After reading, you will get the sense that we need to better understand and manage the interactions between humans and bears and that as humans, we have a responsibility to sure we minimize those interactions.