Cree woman kills giant grizzly bear in 1953
South Peace News
It happened in 1953 but it’s still making news.
Bella Twin’s killing of a world record grizzly bear on May 10, 1957 with her Cooey Act #1 .22 is featured in the May-June edition of Bear Hunting magazine.
The article is written by Timothy Fowler, with assistance from Constance Brissenden.
Twin killed the bear near Slave Lake that was a world record holder for many years. Twin was a small woman at five feet tall and lived off the land. Her shot went straight through the eye of the massive bear.
The story cites Twin killing the bear with a single shot but for safety’s sake she fired seven more rounds into its skull.
Award-winning author Larry Loyie, who passed away in 2016, was the grandson of Twin. Brissenden was Loyie’s partner.
Fowler delves into the validity of who actually shot the bear. Some credit Dave Auger with the kill, something that angered Loyie.
“They didn’t believe that a tiny Cree lady could kill a giant grizzly with a single bullet from a .22 held together with chicken wire,” Loyie is quoted in the story.
Loyie’s version of the story is published in his book As Long as the Rivers Flow.
Loyie writes Twin was surprised by the bear that suddenly rises above her and Auger in the bush, arms raised high, grunting and snorting.
The hide was displayed in the Slave Lake beer hall for many years, nailed to the wall. It was moved to the Reynolds Museum in Wetaskiwin when it opened in 1955. Today it is stored in the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, but too threadbare to be displayed.
The bear’s skull was purchased by Reinhold Eben-Ebenau for $15, after Auger returned to the bush to retrieve it. The hole is clearly seen in the skull.
Measurements proved the bear was the largest shot in North America to date.
In his story, Fowler credits Loyie, a noted historian with a passion for accuracy, with clearing up many misconceptions from the kill.