Is there any truth to Seaman chasing off a bear?

painting of a bear hunt

Photo: “Hunting of the Grizzly Bear” by Karl Bodmer, 1842-43.

This question required a bit of journal digging! While Seaman probably was on “guard duty” 24/7, there’s only one instance mentioned where he nearly had a bear encounter. On June 27, 1805, Captain Lewis wrote, “a bear came within thirty yards of our camp last night and eat up about thirty weight of buffaloe suit which was hanging on a pole. my dog seems to be in a constant state of alarm with these bear and keeps barking all night.”

It seems logical that the Newfoundland would have been alongside the men who hunted for bears on several occasions. Unfortunately, none of the writers described his role in the hunts.

However, Seaman nearly did some paw-to-hoof combat with a large buffalo on May 29, 1805 in the area of the White Cliffs. John Ordway documented it: “in the course of last night we were alarmed by a Buffalow Swimming across from the opposite Shore & landed opposite the white perogue in which our Captains Stay. he crossed the perogue, & went with great forse up the bank to the fire where the men were Sleeping & was within 18 Inches of their heads when one man Setting up alarmed him and he turned his course along the range of men as they lay, passing between 4 fires & within a fiew Inches of Several mens heads, it was Supposed if he had trod on a man it would have killed him dead. the dog flew at him which turned him from running against the lodge, were the officers lay. he passed without doeing more damage than bend a rifle & breaking hir Stalk & injuring one of the blunder busses in the perogue as he passed through.”

Last updated: September 4, 2018