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As It Was: Hound-Hunting Gunmen Kill Bears, Bobcats

Well-known Siskiyou County hunters, Gordon Jacobs and Walter Bray, were brought together in 1895 by their love of hounds.

The Bray family frequently took hunters into the mountains and Jacobs signed up.  They were unsuccessful that first season together, but became firm hunting companions for the next 40 years.  A third partner, Billy Roberts, joined them, and they spent many nights hunting for bear, bobcat, and mountain lions.

The Bray family had settled near what became known as the Bray community.  They raised cattle and horses, but claimed mountain lions killed so many colts that they began using hounds.

Jacobs once wrote that Bray, and these are Jacobs’ words, “…never would … let his dogs down...Several times when he and I failed to catch up with a bear or lion we had been trailing and night overtook us, we would call in the dogs with the cow horn …, then fix a place to spend the night, rather than return to camp without the hounds.”

Over the years Bray and Jacobs killed 39 bears and 50 bobcats, but Jacobs wrote, “We never had the luck to catch up with a mountain lion.”

Source: Jones, J. Roy. The Land of Remember. Second ed., Naturegraph, 1971, pp. 236-238.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.