The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, May 31, 1806

Clark, May 31, 1806

Saturday May 31st 1806

Goodrich and Willard visited the indian Village this morning and returned in the evening Willard brought with him the dressed Skin of a bear which he had purchased for me. this Skin was of a uniform pale redish brown colour, the indians inform us that it was not the Hoh-host or white bear, that it was the Yack-kah this distinction of the indians induced us to make further enquiry relitive to their oppinions of the defferent Species of bear in this country. We produced the Several Skins of the bear which our hunters had killed at this place and one very nearly white which Capt Lewis had purchased. the White, the deep and pale red grizzle, the dark brown grizzle, and all those that had the extremities of the hair of a White or frosty Colour without reguard to the Colour of the ground of the poil, they disignated Hoh-host and assured us that they were the Same with the White bear, that they associated together, were very vicisious, never climb the trees, and had much longer nails than the others. The black skins, those which were black with a number of entire white hairs intermixed, the black with a White breast, the uniform bey, brown and light redish brown, they disignated the Yack-kah-; Said that they Climb the trees had Short nails and were not viscisious, that they could prosue them and kill them in Safty, they also affirmed that they were much Smaller than the white bear. I am disposed to adopt the Indians distinction with respect to these bear and consider them two distinct Species. the White and the Grizzly of this neighbourhood are the Same as those found on the upper part of the Missouri where the other Species are not, and that the uniform redish brown black &c. of this neighbourhood are a Species distinct from both Species of our black bear and from the black bear of the Pacific Coast which I believe to be the Same with those of the Atlantic Coast, and that the Common black bear do not exist here. I had previously observed that the claws of Some of the bear which we had killed here had much Shorter tallons than the varigated or White bear usially have but Supposed that they had worn them out by scratching out roots, and these were those which the indians call Yahkah. on enquiry I found also that a Cub of a uniform redish brown Colour pup to a female black bear intermixed with entire white hairs, had climbed a tree. I think this a distinct Species from the common black bear becaus we never find the latter of any other Colour than a uniform black, and also that the poil of this bear is much finer thicker and longer with a greater proportion of fur mixed with the hair, in other respects they are much the same

This evening, Joseph and Reuben Fields returned with the three deer they had killed. The indians brought us another of our Original Stock of Horses; there are only two Absent now of these horses, and these the indians inform us that our Sho-Sho-ne guide rode back when he returned. we have Sixty five horses at this time, most of them in excellent order and fine Strong active horses

The Indians pursued a Mule deer to the river opposit to our Camp this evening; the deer Swam over and one of our hunters killed it. there being a large party of indians assembled on this Occasion on the opposit Side with Tin-nach-e-moo-tolt they attempted to rais our Canoe which was Sunk on that Side of the river yesterday; they made the attempt but were unable to effect it-.