Bears were once a serious threat to the residents of Eastern Kings. The population was large throughout the Island and they were known to be strong and savage. Bears often killed sheep, pigs, cows—and even attacked large bulls. One example is a bull that belonged to Neil Stewart that was attacked one evening by a hungry bear. The bull was leisurely walking home from where it was feeding, when a bear leaped from behind a tree and clang onto it's back. The bull galloped about two or three hundred meters with the bear still slinging to it until it came to a steep hill where the bull lost it's footing. This gave the bear a chance to hold down the bull and kill him. Another time, two cows were attacked and killed by a bear within five meters on each other. It's believed that when the bear attacked the first one, the cow bellowed, causing the second cow to come rescue it.
John “Johnny Jim” Robertson was well known for his skill at bear hunting having killed 14 through the years. He learned his techniques from his father who had also been a bear hunter and was known as “The Old Bear Killer”.
Robertson was well familiar with wild animals and knew how to avoid attracting a bear’s attention at the wrong time. He warned that it was never safe to stay on the ground to watch a bear because they have a very acute sense of smell. When Robertson was hunting, he would use a rope or chain to build a seat in a tree. From there he had a better view of his large prey. But most importantly, he was undetectable by the bear because his scent was off the ground.