There is history, and there are legends. Sometimes the myth becomes the fact. Other times a legend is born around a single grain of truth. Then there is the extraordinary time when the truth and the fable are one. But how to determine which is which is complicated. Then what about the story of C. Dale Petersen who killed a bear with his hands and teeth?

Some are quick to call this story a hoax, but it is too intriguing not to tell. The plaque alongside the taxidermied bear states Petersen overpowered the bear without "modern weaponry." The Jackson Hole hunting guide killed this grizzly with his own hands and teeth.

Bill Schwamle, Townsquare Media

Inside the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson, the bear now rests. The legend goes this bear was aggravating some campers. Shortly after, it then came across Mr. C. Dale Petersen which resulted in a battle to the death. Peterson was able to shove his hand down the bear's throat and pinch the jugular with his teeth. This then caused the bear to pass out. Once the bear was knocked-out, Mr. Petersen delivered the coup de grace with a stick. That is tough even for Wyoming standards.

The plaque at the Cowboy Bar says a game biologist verified the kill; however, there is little data other than this story inside the glass box with the stuffed bear. There are no dates. The name of the biologist who could prove or disprove this claim is absent. Some point out that a bear has two jugular veins - one on each side of its neck, so both veins would need to be blocked for the bear to slumber.

It is a tall-tale with little to prove it is 100% factual. But maybe it doesn't matter. Perhaps it is a rough-and-tumble story told at the bar. Television and moves are fiction, but that doesn't make them less entertaining. It is a possibility that Petersen did kill this bear with nothing but his hands, teeth, and a stick. Regardless, it is a fun story to tell.


Bill Schwamle, Townsquare Media


Bill Schwamle, Townsquare Media

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