Benjamin Vernon Lilly

Winter of 1856 - 12.17.1936

Big game hunter

Referred to Grizzly Bears as "varmints"


Nicknamed Ol' Lilly, he was a notorious big game hunter, hounds-man, and mountain man of the American Old West. 

As a kid, Lilly learned to track and hunt bears and cougars in the Louisiana Wilds. In the early 1900s he killed hundreds of black bears, cougars, and grizzlies in the west and southwest. He was considered to be one of the toughest mountain men of all time.

He is credited with killing the last wild grizzly in the vast Gila Wilderness. It is estimated that he killed between 600 & 1000 mountain lions in his lifetime. He was known to fight in hand-to-hand combat with bears and cougars using a self-made bowie knife, nick-named, "The Lilly Knife."

He was quoted as saying: "Anyone can kill a deer, but it takes a man to kill a varmint." Cougars and bears used to be considered varmints.

ZL Hero Stories