Two-Toes Bear

A Notorious Bear

Long time resident Dan Miles was known to have a story or two to share about something he either heard or experienced while living in the area. One such story involved a pesky bear nicknamed Two-Toes. It seemed Two-Toes was a bear with a hankering for mutton. Without limiting his appetite to sheep however, he would also devour goats from homesteaders in the Maple Creek area. Folks who tracked him thought his name to be suitable since his prints revealed just two toes on a front paw – likely due to having been caught in a bear trap at some point.

In the Fall of 1914, a distraught homesteader who raised sheep devised a plan to prevent Two-Toes from further reducing his herd. He set out a carcass as bait and setup a 14-foot-high platform that would allow him to “stand watch” with a firearm in hand. Expecting a bright moon that night, he planned to watch for the bear until midnight. At that hour, two friends agreed to relieve him and take over until daylight. The arrangement sounded like a fool-proof plan.

By midnight Two-Toes had not appeared. As promised, the homesteader’s friends came to relieve him and take over the watch. By 4 a.m., a heavy fog drifted in, making it impossible to see the carcass bait from the platform. They decided to go home, have a warm breakfast, then return. They did so, and came back to resume their watch. After a while, daylight arrived and as the fog lifted, they realized the carcass was gone and Two-Toes lived on.


Miles, Dan et al.; Maple Creek Homestead. Siuslaw Pioneer, 1973; pgs 1-2