Scouting, Volume 78, Number 3, March-April 1990 Page: 42
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A Division of The Foreign Candy Company
counters are on the upswing. Six people
were killed by grizzlies in Glacier Na-
tional Park, Montana, between 1967 and
1980. Since 1980 two more people have
been killed by the bears in, or adjacent to,
Yellowstone National Park. And normally
several maulings occur annually in
Among the most recent examples of a
grizzly's wrath took place in August,
1989. Don Coverston, a 32-year-old trap-
per and commercial fisherman, had been
walking through the woods near Cant-
well, Alaska, on some land where he
planned to build a cabin. Attempting to
locate survey markers, he carried only an
He was about a mile from the highway
where his car was parked when he heard a
crackling noise in the brush behind him.
He turned to find a grizzly bear charging.
Coverston whacked the bear in the center
of the skull with the ax as hard as he
could, but that didn't stop the animal. The
bear knocked down the 160-pound, five-
foot 10-inch-tall man and clamped its
jaws on Coverston's neck and shoulders.
Shaking him as a dog would a rag, the
bear sliced Coverston's neck to the bone
from ear to ear, and narrowly missed his
spinal cord. A claw or tooth penetrated
the corner of his right eye two inches deep
and, miraculously, left the eye intact. Co-
verston recalls that the bear tried to pull
his head off, tugging on his head and
pushing down on his shoulders with its
After the grizzly dropped him, it re-
turned and attacked again, then finally
left for good. With the ripped section of
his scalp hanging down over his right eye,
Coverston struggled through thick brush
and waded a swift, icy river to reach the
highway. A passerby picked him up and
took him to a nearby lodge, and from
there a military helicopter flew him to a
Fairbanks hospital where he underwent
9'/2 hours of surgery that required from
1,500 to 2,000 stitches to repair the dam-
age. Interviewed from his hospital bed
while recuperating, Coverston said, "It
can happen to anyone, anytime. I never
thought it would happen to me."
What happened to Coverston was a
highly unusual occurrence, for on any
given day in summer thousands of hikers
and campers peacefully visit the grizzly's
wilderness habitat. In fact, the Alaska
Department of Game states that "the
probability of being injured by a bear in
Alaska is only about 1/50 that of being
injured in an automobile on Alaskan
highways." Nonetheless, the importance
of taking proper precautions against bear
trouble when in their habitat cannot be
March-April 1990 Scouting
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 78, Number 3, March-April 1990, periodical, March 1990; Irving, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353651/m1/54/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.