Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bears and the Bighorns

In Wyoming, black bear populations are widespread, whereas grizzly habitat is primarily confined to northwestern Wyoming, but as populations increase and habitat decreases bears will expand their territory and reestablish in previous historical ranges or in new habitats. Grizzly bears have not inhabited the Bighorn National Forest since the early 20th century, but for the sake of fiction I have hastened the return of a solitary grizzly to the Big Horn Mountains just as a deadly storm is brewing

Black and grizzly bears can be incorrectly identified if attributes such as size or color are relied upon. For a more accurate identification, it’s important to remember that black bears have no shoulder hump, tall pointed ears and a straight facial profile from nose to ear. Grizzlies have a distinctive shoulder hump, short rounded ears, and its facial profile appears dished in.

Bears play a fairly small role in Big Horn Storm, but added to an already dire and deadly situation, the encounter further degrades the characters ability to survive. The novel is a contemporary western romantic adventure set in rugged mountain country. The story combines a foreign invasion, harrowing horseback escapes, a traumatic accident, and a terrifying bear encounter, along with an attempt to reconcile the past in an action-packed thriller.

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