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Title: Wild Animals at Home
Author: Seton, Ernest Thompson, 1860-1946
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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|                                       |
|          BY THE SAME AUTHOR           |
|                                       |
|                                       |
|                                       |
|                                       |
| TWO LITTLE SAVAGES                    |
|                                       |
| BIOGRAPHY OF A GRIZZLY                |
|                                       |
|                                       |
| ROLF IN THE WOODS                     |
|                                       |
| THE FORESTERS' MANUAL                 |
|                                       |

[Illustration: I. A Prairie-dog town
_In N. Y. Zoo. Photo by E. T. Seton_]

At Home_



Author of "_Wild Animals I Have Known_,"
"_Two Little Savages_," "_Biography of a Grizzly_,"
"_Life Histories of Northern Animals_,"
"_Rolf in the Woods_," "_The Book of Woodcraft_."

Head Chief of the
Woodcraft Indians

_With over 150 Sketches and
Photographs by the Author_

_Garden City   New York_
_Doubleday, Page & Company_

_Copyright, 1913, by_

_All rights reserved, including that of
translation into foreign languages,
including the Scandinavian_



My travels in search of light on the "Animals at Home" have taken me up
and down the Rocky Mountains for nearly thirty years. In the canyons
from British Columbia to Mexico, I have lighted my campfire, far beyond
the bounds of law and order, at times, and yet I have found no place
more rewarding than the Yellowstone Park, the great mountain haven of
wild life.

Whenever travellers penetrate into remote regions where human hunters
are unknown, they find the wild things half tame, little afraid of man,
and inclined to stare curiously from a distance of a few paces. But very
soon they learn that man is their most dangerous enemy, and fly from him
as soon as he is seen. It takes a long time and much restraint to win
back their confidence.

In the early days of the West, when game abounded and when fifty yards
was the extreme deadly range of the hunter's weapons, wild creatures
were comparatively tame. The advent of the rifle and of the lawless
skin hunter soon turned all big game into fugitives of excessive shyness
and wariness. One glimpse of a man half a mile off, or a whiff of him on
the breeze, was enough to make a Mountain Ram or a Wolf run for miles,
though formerly these creatures would have gazed serenely from a point
but a hundred yards removed.

The establishment of the Yellowstone Park in 1872 was the beginning of a
new era of protection for wild life; and, by slow degrees, a different
attitude in these animals toward us. In this Reservation, and nowhere
else at present in the northwest, the wild things are not only abundant,
but they have resumed their traditional Garden-of-Eden attitude toward

They come out in the daylight, they are harmless, and they are not
afraid at one's approach. Truly this is ideal, a paradise for the
naturalist and the camera hunter.

The region first won fame for its Canyon, its Cataracts and its Geysers,
but I think its animal life has attracted more travellers than even the
landscape beauties. I know it was solely the joy of being among the
animals that led me to spend all one summer and part of another season
in the Wonderland of the West.

My adventures in making these studies among the fourfoots have been very
small adventures indeed; the thrillers are few and far between. Any one
can go and have the same or better experiences to-day. But I give them
as they happened, and if they furnish no ground for hair-lifting
emotions, they will at least show what I was after and how I went.

I have aimed to show something of the little aspects of the creatures'
lives, which are those that the ordinary traveller will see; I go with
him indeed, pointing out my friends as they chance to pass, adding a few
comments that should make for a better acquaintance on all sides. And I
have offered glimpses, wherever possible, of the wild thing in its home,
embodying in these chapters the substance of many lectures given under
the same title as this book.

The cover design is by my wife, Grace Gallatin Seton. She was with me in
most of the experiences narrated and had a larger share in every part of
the work than might be inferred from the mere text.

                                           ERNEST THOMPSON SETON.



=I. The Cute Coyote=                                                1

    An Exemplary Little Beast, My Friend the Coyote                 3

    The Prairie-dog Outwitted                                       5

    The Coyote's Sense of Humour                                    8

    His Distinguishing Gift                                        11

    The Coyote's Song                                              13

=II. The Prairie-dog and His Kin=                                  17

    Merry Yek-Yek and His Life of Troubles                         19

    The Whistler in the Rocks                                      22

    The Pack-rat and His Museum                                    23

    A Free Trader                                                  25

    The Upheaver--The Mole-Gopher                                  27

=III. Famous Fur-bearers--Fox, Marten, Beaver and Otter=           29

    The Most Wonderful Fur in the World                            32

    The Poacher and the Silver Fox                                 35

    The Villain in Velvet--The Marten                              47

    The Industrious Beaver                                         48

        The Dam                                                    51

    The Otter and His Slide                                        52

=IV. Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed=                            55

    The Bounding Blacktail                                         57

        The Mother Blacktail's Race for Life                       59

        The Blacktail's Safety Is in the Hills                     62

    The Elk or Wapiti--The Noblest of all Deer                     63

        Stalking a Band of Elk                                     64

        The Bugling Elk                                            66

        Snapping a Charging Bull                                   69

        The Hoodoo Cow                                             72

    The Moose--The Biggest of all Deer                             75

        My Partner's Moose-hunt                                    76

    The Siren Call                                                 77

    The Biggest of Our Game--The Buffalo                           80

    The Shrunken Range                                             81

    The Doomed Antelope and His Heliograph                         83

    The Rescued Bighorn                                            85

=V. Bats in the Devil's Kitchen=                                   89

=VI. The Well-meaning Skunk=                                       95

    His Smell-gun                                                  98

    The Cruelty of Steel Traps                                     99

    Friendliness of the Skunk                                     100

    Photographing Skunks at Short Range                           101

    We Share the Shanty with the Skunks                           103

    The Skunk and the Unwise Bobcat                               104

    My Pet Skunks                                                 106

=VII. Old Silver-grizzle--The Badger=                             111

    The Valiant Harmless Badger                                   112

    His Sociable Bent                                             115

    The Story of the Kindly Badger                                116

        The Evil One                                              118

        The Badger that Rescued the Boy                           119

        Finding the Lost One                                      123

        Home Again                                                125

        The Human Brute                                           129

=VIII. The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers=                  133

    The Cheeky Pine Squirrel                                      134

    Chipmunks and Ground-squirrels                                137

    The Ground-squirrel that Plays Picket-pin                     137

    Chink and the Picket-pins                                     139

    Chipmunks                                                     141

    The Ground-squirrel that Pretends It's a Chipmunk             142

    A Four-legged Bird--The Northern Chipmunk                     143

    A Striped Pigmy--The Least Chipmunk                           147

=IX. The Rabbits and Their Habits=                                151

    Molly Cottontail--The Clever Freezer                          152

    The Rabbit that Wears Snowshoes                               154

        The Terror of the Mountain Trails                         156

        Bunny's Ride                                              158

        The Rabbit Dance                                          160

        The Ghost Rabbit                                          163

    A Narrow-gauge Mule--The Prairie Hare                         164

    The Bump of Moss that Squeaks                                 165

        The Weatherwise Coney                                     169

        His Safety Is in the Rocks                                171

=X. Ghosts of the Campfire=                                       175

    The Jumping Mouse                                             177

    The Calling Mouse                                             179

=XI. Sneak-cats, Big and Small=                                   185

    The Bobcat or Mountain Wildcat                                186

    Misunderstood--The Canada Lynx                                187

        The Shyest Thing in the Woods                             189

    The Time I Met a Lion                                         191

    In Peril of My Life                                           194

        The Dangerous Night Visitor                               196

=XII. Bears of High and Low Degree=                               201

    The Different Kinds of Bears                                  202

    Bear-trees                                                    203

    A Peep Into Bear Family Life                                  204

    The Day at the Garbage Pile                                   208

    Lonesome Johnny                                               210

    Further Annals of the Sanctuary                               210

    The Grizzly and the Can                                       216

=Appendix: Mammals of Yellowstone Park=                           221

List of Half-tone Plates

A Prairie-dog town                                      _Frontispiece_

                                                           FACING PAGE

Chink's adventures with the Coyote and the Picket-pin               8

(a) The Whistler watching me from the rocks
  (b) A young Whistler                                              9

Red Fox                                                            32

Foxes quarrelling                                                  33

Beaver                                                             48

Mule-deer                                                          49

Blacktail Family                                                   60

Blacktail mother with her twins                                    61

A young investigator among the Deer at Fort Yellowstone            64

Elk in Wyoming                                                     65

Elk on the Yellowstone in Winter                                   68

The first shots at the Hoodoo Cow                                  69

The last shots at the Hoodoo Cow                                   76

Elk on the Yellowstone                                             77

Moose--The Widow                                                   80

Buffalo groups                                                     81

Near Yellowstone Gate                                              84

Mountain Sheep on Mt. Evarts                                       85

Track record of Bobcat's adventure with a Skunk                    98

The six chapters of the Bobcat's adventure                        102

My tame Skunks                                                    103

Red-squirrel storing mushrooms for winter use                     134

Chink stalking the Picket-pin                                     135

The Snowshoe Hare is a cross between a Rabbit and a Snowdrift     150

The Cottontail freezing                                           151

The Baby Cottontail that rode twenty miles in my hat              162

Snowshoe Rabbits dancing in the light of the lantern              163

Snowshoe Rabbits fascinated by the lantern                        170

The Ghost Rabbit                                                  171

The Coney or Calling Hare                                         178

The Coney barns full of hay stored for winter use                 179

(a) Tracks of Deer escaping and (b) Tracks of Mountain Lion
  in pursuit                                                      186

The Mountain Lion sneaking around us as we sleep                  187

Sketch of the Bear Family as made on the spot                     198

Two pages from my journal in the garbage heap                     199

While I sketched the Bears, a brother camera-hunter
  was stalking me without my knowledge                            206

One meets the Bears at nearly every turn in the woods             207

The shyer ones take to a tree, if one comes too near              210

Clifford B. Harmon feeding a Bear                                 211

The Bears at feeding time                                         218

(a) Tom Newcomb pointing out the bear's mark,
  (b) E. T. Seton feeding a Bear                                  219

Johnnie Bear: his sins and his troubles                           222

Johnnie happy at last                                             223

       *       *       *       *       *


The Cute Coyote

       *       *       *       *       *


The Cute Coyote


If you draw a line around the region that is, or was, known as the Wild
West, you will find that you have exactly outlined the kingdom of the
Coyote. He is even yet found in every part of it, but, unlike his big
brother the Wolf, he never frequented the region known as Eastern

This is one of the few wild creatures that you can see from the train.
Each time I have come to the Yellowstone Park I have discovered the
swift gray form of the Coyote among the Prairie-dog towns along the
River flat between Livingstone and Gardiner, and in the Park itself have
seen him nearly every day, and heard him every night without exception.


Coyote (pronounced _Ky-o'-tay_, and in some regions _Ky-ute_) is a
native Mexican contribution to the language, and is said to mean
"halfbreed," possibly suggesting that the Coyote looks like a cross
between the Fox and the Wolf. Such an origin would be a very
satisfactory clue to his character, for he does seem to unite in himself
every possible attribute in the mental make-up of the other two that can
contribute to his success in life.

He is one of the few Park animals not now protected, for the excellent
reasons, first that he is so well able to protect himself, second he is
even already too numerous, third he is so destructive among the
creatures that he can master. He is a beast of rare cunning; some of the
Indians call him God's dog or Medicine dog. Some make him the embodiment
of the Devil, and some going still further, in the light of their larger
experience, make the Coyote the Creator himself seeking amusement in
disguise among his creatures, just as did the Sultan in the "Arabian


The naturalist finds the Coyote interesting for other reasons. When you
see that sleek gray and yellow form among the mounds of the Prairie-dog,
at once creating a zone of blankness and silence by his very presence as
he goes, remember that he is hunting for something to eat; also, that
there is another, his mate, not far away. For the Coyote is an
exemplary and moral little beast who has only one wife; he loves her
devotedly, and they fight the life battle together. Not only is there
sure to be a mate close by, but that mate, if invisible, is likely to be
playing a game, a very clever game as I have seen it played.

Furthermore, remember there is a squealing brood of little Coyotes in
the home den up on a hillside a mile or two away. Father and mother must
hunt continually and successfully to furnish their daily food. The
dog-towns are their game preserves, but how are they to catch a
Prairie-dog! Every one knows that though these little yapping
Ground-squirrels will sit up and bark at an express train but twenty
feet away, they scuttle down out of sight the moment a man, dog or
Coyote enters into the far distant precincts of their town; and
downstairs they stay in the cyclone cellar until after a long interval
of quiet that probably proves the storm to be past. Then they poke their
prominent eyes above the level, and, if all is still, will softly hop
out and in due course, resume their feeding.



This is how the clever Coyote utilizes these habits. He and his wife
approach the dog-town unseen. One Coyote hides, then the other walks
forward openly into the town. There is a great barking of all the
Prairie-dogs as they see their enemy approach, but they dive down when
he is amongst them. As soon as they are out of sight the second Coyote
rushes forward and hides near any promising hole that happens to have
some sort of cover close by. Meanwhile, Coyote number one strolls on.
The Prairie-dogs that he scared below come up again. At first each puts
up the top of his head merely, with his eyes on bumps, much like those
of a hippopotamus, prominent and peculiarly suited for this observation
work from below, as they are the first things above ground. After a
brief inspection, if all be quiet, he comes out an inch more. Now he can
look around, the coast is clear, so he sits up on the mound and scans
his surroundings.


Yes! Ho! Ho! he sees his enemy, that hated Coyote, strolling away off
beyond the possibility of doing harm. His confidence is fully restored
as the Coyote gets smaller in the distance and the other Prairie-dogs
coming out seem to endorse his decision and give him renewed confidence.
After one or two false starts, he sets off to feed. This means go ten or
twenty feet from the door of his den, for all the grass is eaten off
near home.


Among the herbage he sits up high to take a final look around, then
burying his nose in the fodder, he begins his meal. This is the chance
that the waiting, watching, she-Coyote counted on. There is a flash of
gray fur from behind that little grease bush; in three hops she is upon
him. He takes alarm at the first sound and tries to reach the haven
hole, but she snaps him up. With a shake she ends his troubles. He
hardly knows the pain of death, then she bounds away on her back track
to the home den on the distant hillside. She does not come near it
openly and rashly. There is always the possibility of such an approach
betraying the family to some strong enemy on watch. She circles around a
little, scrutinizes the landscape, studies the tracks and the wind, then
comes to the door by more or less devious hidden ways. The sound of a
foot outside is enough to make the little ones cower in absolute
silence, but mother reassures them with a whining call much like that of
a dog mother. They rush out, tumbling over each other in their glee, six
or seven in number usually, but sometimes as high as ten or twelve.
Eagerly they come, and that fat Prairie-dog lasts perhaps three minutes,
at the end of which time nothing is left but the larger bones with a
little Coyote busy polishing each of them. Strewn about the door of the
den are many other kindred souvenirs, the bones of Ground-squirrels,
Chipmunks, Rabbits, Grouse, Sheep, and Fawns, with many kinds of
feathers, fur, and hair, to show the great diversity of Coyote diet.



To understand the Coyote fully one must remember that he is simply a
wild dog, getting his living by his wits, and saving his life by the
tireless serviceability of his legs; so has developed both these gifts
to an admirable pitch of perfection. He is blessed further with a gift
of music and a sense of humour.

When I lived at Yancey's, on the Yellowstone, in 1897, I had a good
example of the latter, and had it daily for a time. The dog attached to
the camp on the inner circle was a conceited, irrepressible little puppy
named Chink. He was so full of energy, enthusiasm, and courage that
there was no room left in him for dog-sense. But it came after a vast
number of humiliating experiences.


A Coyote also had attached himself to the camp, but on the outer circle.
At first he came out by night to feed on the garbage pile, but realizing
the peace of the Park he became bolder and called occasionally by day.
Later he was there every day, and was often seen sitting on a ridge a
couple of hundred yards away.

[Illustration: II. Chink's adventures with the Coyote and the Picket-pin
_Sketches by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: IV. (a) The Whistler watching me from the rocks.
_Photo by E. T. Seton_
(b) A young Whistler
_Photo by G. G. Seton_]

One day he was sitting much nearer and grinning in Coyote fashion, when
one of the campers in a spirit of mischief said to the dog, "Chink, you
see that Coyote out there grinning at you. Go and chase him out of

Burning to distinguish himself, that pup set off at full speed, and
every time he struck the ground he let off a war-whoop. Away went the
Coyote and it looked like a good race to us, and to the Picket-pin
Ground-squirrels that sat up high on their mounds to rejoice in the
spectacle of these, their enemies, warring against each other.

The Coyote has a way of slouching along, his tail dangling and tangling
with his legs, and his legs loose-jointed, mixing with his tail. He
doesn't seem to work hard but oh! how he does cover the prairie! And
very soon it was clear that in spite of his magnificent bounds and
whoops of glory, Chink was losing ground. A little later the Coyote
obviously had to slack up to keep from running away altogether. It had
seemed a good race for a quarter of a mile, but it was nothing to the
race which began when the Coyote turned on Chink. Uttering a gurgling
growl, a bark, and a couple of screeches, he closed in with all the
combined fury of conscious might and right, pitted against unfair
unprovoked attack.

And Chink had a rude awakening; his war-whoops gave place to yelps of
dire distress, as he wheeled and made for home. But the Coyote could run
all around him, and nipped him, here and there, and when he would, and
seemed to be cracking a series of good jokes at Chink's expense, nor
ever stopped till the ambitious one of boundless indiscretion was hidden
under his master's bed.

This seemed very funny at the time, and I am afraid Chink did not get
the sympathy he was entitled to, for after all he was merely carrying
out orders. But he made up his mind that from that time on, orders or no
orders, he would let Coyotes very much alone. They were not so easy as
they looked.


The Coyote, however, had discovered a new amusement. From that day he
simply "laid" for that little dog, and if he found him a hundred yards
or so from camp, would chase and race him back in terror to some
shelter. At last things got so bad that if we went for a ride even, and
Chink followed us, the Coyote would come along, too, and continue his
usual amusement.

At first it was funny, and then it became tedious, and at last it was
deeply resented by Chink's master. A man feels for his dog; he wasn't
going to stand still and see his dog abused. He began to grumble vaguely
about "If something didn't happen pretty soon, something else would."
Just what he meant I didn't ask, but I know that the Coyote disappeared
one day, and never was seen or heard of again. I'm not supposed to know
any thing about it, but I have my suspicions, although in those days the
Coyote was a protected animal.


The scientific name of the Coyote (_Canis latrans_), literally "Barking
Dog," is given for the wonderful yapping chorus with which they seldom
fail to announce their presence in the evening, as they gather at a safe
distance from the campfire. Those not accustomed to the sound are very
ready to think that they are surrounded by a great pack of ravening
Wolves, and get a sufficiently satisfactory thrill of mingled emotions
at the sound. But the guide will reassure you by saying that that great
pack of howling Wolves is nothing more than a harmless little Coyote,
perhaps two, singing their customary vesper song, demonstrating their
wonderful vocal powers. Their usual music begins with a few growling,
gurgling yaps which are rapidly increased in volume and heightened in
pitch, until they rise into a long squall or scream, which again, as it
dies away, breaks up into a succession of yaps and gurgles. Usually one
Coyote begins it, and the others join in with something like agreement
on the scream.

I believe I never yet camped in the West without hearing this from the
near hills when night time had come. Last September I even heard it back
of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, and I must say I have learned to love
it. It is a wild, thrilling, beautiful song. Our first camp was at
Yancey's last summer and just after we had all turned in, the Coyote
chorus began, a couple of hundred yards from the camp. My wife sat up
and exclaimed, "Isn't it glorious? now I know we are truly back in the

The Park authorities are making great efforts to reduce the number of
Coyotes because of their destructiveness to the young game, but an
animal that is endowed with extraordinary wits, phenomenal speed,
unexcelled hardihood, and marvellous fecundity, is not easily downed. I
must confess that if by any means they should succeed in exterminating
the Coyote in the West, I should feel that I had lost something of very
great value. I never fail to get that joyful thrill when the "Medicine
Dogs" sing their "Medicine Song" in the dusk, or the equally weird and
thrilling chorus with which they greet the dawn; for they have a large
repertoire and a remarkable register. The Coyote is indeed the Patti of
the Plains.


    I am the Coyote that sings each night at dark;
      It was by gobbling prairie-dogs that I got such a bark.
    At least a thousand prairie-dogs I fattened on, you see,
      And every bark they had in them is reproduced in me.


    I can sing to thrill your soul or pierce it like a lance,
    And all I ask of you to do is give me half a chance.
    With a yap--yap--yap for the morning
    And a yoop--yoop--yoop for the night
    And a yow--wow--wow for the rising moon
    And a yah-h-h-h for the campfire light.

    I gathered from the howling winds, the frogs and crickets too,
      And so from each availing fount, my inspiration drew.
    I warbled till the little birds would quit their native bush.
      And squat around me on the ground in reverential hush.


    I'm a baritone, soprano, and a bass and tenor, too.
      I can thrill and slur and frill and whirr and shake you through
        and through.
    I'm a Jews' harp--I'm an organ--I'm a fiddle and a flute.
      Every kind of touching sound is found in the coyoot.


    I'm a whooping howling wilderness, a sort of Malibran.
      With Lind, Labache and Melba mixed and all combined in one.
    I'm a grand cathedral organ and a calliope sharp,
      I'm a gushing, trembling nightingale, a vast Æolian harp.


    I can raise the dead or paint the town, or pierce you like a lance
      And all I ask of you to do is to give me half a chance.
    Etc., etc., etc.

    (Encore verses)

    Although I am a miracle, I'm not yet recognized.
      Oh, when the world does waken up how highly I'll be prized.
    Then managers and vocal stars--and emperors effete
      Shall fling their crowns, their money bags, their persons, at my


    I'm the voice of all the Wildest West, the Patti of the Plains;
      I'm a wild Wagnerian opera of diabolic strains;
    I'm a roaring, ranting orchestra with lunatics be-crammed;
      I'm a vocalized tornado--I'm the shrieking of the damned.




[Footnote A: All rights reserved.]

       *       *       *       *       *


The Prairie-dog and His Kin

       *       *       *       *       *


The Prairie-dog and His Kin


The common Prairie-dog is typical of the West, more so than the Buffalo
is, and its numbers, even now, rival those of the Buffalo in its
palmiest days. I never feel that I am truly back on the open range till
I hear their call and see the Prairie-dogs once more upon their mounds.
As you travel up the Yellowstone Valley from Livingstone to Gardiner you
may note in abundance this "dunce of the plains." The "dog-towns" are
frequent along the railway, and at each of the many burrows you see from
one to six of the inmates. As you come near Gardiner there is a steady
rise of the country, and somewhere near the edge of the Park the
elevation is such that it imposes one of those mysterious barriers to
animal extension which seem to be as impassable as they are invisible.
The Prairie-dog range ends near the Park gates. General George S.
Anderson tells me, however, that individuals are occasionally found on
the flats along the Gardiner River, but always near the gate, and never
elsewhere in the Park. On this basis, then, the Prairie-dog is entered
as a Park animal.


It is, of course, a kind of Ground-squirrel. The absurd name "dog"
having been given on account of its "bark." This call is a high-pitched
"yek-yek-yek-yeeh," uttered as an alarm cry while the creature sits up
on the mound by its den, and every time it "yeks" it jerks up its tail.
Old timers will tell you that the Prairie-dog's voice is tied to its
tail, and prove it by pointing out that one is never raised without the

As we have seen, the Coyote looks on the dog-town much as a cow does on
a field of turnips or alfalfa--a very proper place, to seek for
wholesome, if commonplace, sustenance. But Coyotes are not the only
troubles in the life of Yek-yek.

Ancient books and interesting guides will regale the traveller with most
acceptable stories about the Prairie-dog, Rattlesnake, and the Burrowing
Owl, all living in the same den on a basis of brotherly love and
Christian charity; having effected, it would seem, a limited partnership
and a most satisfactory division of labour: the Prairie-dog is to dig
the hole, the Owl to mount sentry and give warning of all danger, and
the Rattler is to be ready to die at his post as defender of the
Prairie-dog's young. This is pleasing if true.

There can be no doubt that at times all three live in the same burrow,
and in dens that the hard-working rodent first made. But the simple fact
is that the Owl and the Snake merely use the holes abandoned (perhaps
under pressure) by the Prairie-dog; and if any two of the three
underground worthies happen to meet in the same hole, the fittest
survives. I suspect further that the young of each kind are fair game
and acceptable, dainty diet to each of the other two.


Farmers consider Prairie-dogs a great nuisance; the damage they do to
crops is estimated at millions per annum. The best way to get rid of
them, practically the only way, is by putting poison down each and every
hole in the town, which medieval Italian mode has become the accepted
method in the West.

Poor helpless little Yek-yek, he has no friends; his enemies and his
list of burdens increase. The prey of everything that preys, he yet
seems incapable of any measure of retaliation. The only visible joy in
his life is his daily hasty meal of unsucculent grass, gathered between
cautious looks around for any new approaching trouble, and broken by so
many dodges down the narrow hole that his ears are worn off close to his
head. Could any simpler, smaller pleasure than his be discovered? Yet he
is fat and merry; undoubtedly he enjoys his every day on earth, and is
as unwilling as any of us to end the tale. We can explain him only if we
credit him with a philosophic power to discover happiness within in
spite of all the cold unfriendly world about him.



When the far-off squirrel ancestor of Yek-yek took to the plains for a
range, another of the family selected the rocky hills.

He developed bigger claws for the harder digging, redder colour for the
red-orange surroundings, and a far louder and longer cry for signalling
across the peaks and canyons, and so became the bigger, handsomer, more
important creature we call the Mountain Whistler, Yellow Marmot or
Orange Woodchuck.

In all of the rugged mountain parts of the Yellowstone one may hear his
peculiar, shrill whistle, especially in the warm mornings.


You carefully locate the direction of the note and proceed to climb
toward it. You may have an hour's hard work before you sight the
orange-breasted Whistler among the tumbled mass of rocks that surround
his home, for it is a far-reaching sound, heard half a mile away at

Those who know the Groundhog of the East would recognize in the Rock
Woodchuck its Western cousin, a little bigger, yellower, and brighter in
its colours, living in the rocks and blessed with a whistle that would
fill a small boy with envy. Now, lest the critical should object to the
combination name of "Rock Woodchuck," it is well to remind them that
"Woodchuck" has nothing to do with either "wood" or "chucking," but is
our corrupted form of an Indian name "Ot-choeck," which is sometimes
written also "We-jack."

In the ridge of broken rocks just back of Yancey's is a colony of the
Whistlers; and there as I sat sketching one day, with my camera at hand,
one poked his head up near me and gave me the pose that is seen in the


Among my school fellows was a boy named Waddy who had a mania for
collecting odds, ends, curios, bits of brass or china, shiny things,
pebbles, fungus, old prints, bones, business cards, carved peach stones,
twisted roots, distorted marbles, or freak buttons. Anything odd or
glittering was his especial joy. He had no theory about these things.
He did not do anything in particular with them. He found gratification
in spreading them out to gloat over, but I think his chief joy was in
the collecting. And when some comrade was found possessed of a novelty
that stirred his cupidity, the pleasure of planning a campaign to secure
possession, the working out of the details, and the glory of success,
were more to Waddy than any other form of riches or exploit.


The Pack-rat is the Waddy of the mountains, or Waddy was the Pack-rat of
the school. Imagine, if you would picture the Pack-rat, a small creature
like a common rat, but with soft fur, a bushy tail, and soulful eyes,
living the life of an ordinary rat in the woods, except that it has an
extraordinary mania for collecting curios.

There can be little doubt that this began in the nest-building idea, and
then, because it was necessary to protect his home, cactus leaves and
thorny branches were piled on it. The instinct grew until to-day the
nest of a Pack-rat is a mass of rubbish from one to four feet high, and
four to eight feet across. I have examined many of these collections.
They are usually around the trunks in a clump of low trees, and consist
of a small central nest about eight inches across, warm and soft, with a
great mass of sticks and thorns around and over this, leaving a narrow
entrance well-guarded by an array of cactus spines; then on top of all,
a most wonderful collection of pine cones, shells, pebbles, bones,
scraps of paper and tin, and the skulls of other animals. And when the
owner can add to these works of art or vertu a brass cartridge, a buckle
or a copper rivet, his little bosom is doubtless filled with the same
high joy that any great collector might feel on securing a Raphael or a

I remember finding an old pipe in one Rat museum. Pistol cartridges are
eagerly sought after, so are saddle buckles, even if he has to cut them
surreptitiously from the saddle of some camper. And when any of these
articles are found missing it is usual to seek out the nearest Rat
house, and here commonly the stolen goods are discovered shamelessly
exposed on top. I remember hearing of a set of false teeth that were
lost in camp, but rescued in this very way.


"Pack" is a Western word meaning "carry," and thus the Rat that carries
off things is the "Pack-rat." But it has another peculiarity. As though
it had a conscience disturbed by pilfering the treasure of another, it
often brings back what may be considered a fair exchange. Thus a
silver-plated spoon may have gone from its associate cup one night, but
in that cup you may find a long pine cone or a surplus nail, by which
token you may know that a Pack-rat has called and collected. Sometimes
this enthusiastic fancier goes off with food, but leaves something in
its place; in one case that I heard of, the Rat, either with a sense of
humour or a mistaken idea of food values, after having carried off the
camp biscuit, had filled the vacant dish with the round pellets known as
"Elk sign." But evidently there is a disposition to deal fair; not to
steal, but to trade. For this reason the creature is widely known as the
"Trade Rat."


Although I have known the Pack-rat for years in the mountains, I never
saw one within the strict lines of the Yellowstone sanctuary. But the
guides all assure me that they are found and manifest the same
disposition here as elsewhere. So that if you should lose sundry bright
things around camp, or some morning find your boots stuffed with
pebbles, deer sign, or thorns, do not turn peevish or charge the guide
with folly; it means, simply, you have been visited by a Mountain Rat,
and any _un_eatables you miss will doubtless be found in his museum,
which will be discovered within a hundred yards--a mass of sticks and
rubbish under a tree--with some bright and shiny things on the top
where the owner can sit amongst them on sunny days, and gloat till his
little black eyes are a-swim, and his small heart filled with holy joy.


[Illustration: Pack-rat nest]

As you cross any of the level, well-grassed prairie regions in the
Yellowstone you will see piles of soft earth thrown up in little
hillocks, sometimes a score or more of them bunched together. The
drivers will tell you that these are molehills, which isn't quite true.
For the Mole is a creature unknown in the Park, and the animal that
makes these mounds is exceedingly abundant. It is the common
Mole-gopher, a gopher related very distantly to the Prairie-dog and
Mountain Whistler, but living the underground life of a Mole, though not
even in the same order as that interesting miner, for the Mole-gopher is
a rodent (Order _Rodentia_) and the Mole a bug-eater (Order
_Insectivora_); just as different as Lion and Caribou.

The Mole-gopher is about the size of a rat, but has a short tail and
relatively immense forepaws and claws. It is indeed wonderfully
developed as a digger.

Examine the mound of earth thrown up. If it is a fair example, it will
make fully half a bushel. Next count the mounds that are within a
radius of fifty paces; probably all are the work of this Gopher, or
rather this pair, for they believe in team play.

Search over the ground carefully, and you will discern that there are
scores of ancient mounds flattened by the weather, and traces of
hundreds, perhaps, that date from remote years.

Now multiply the size of one mound by the number of mounds, and you will
have some idea of the work done by this pair. Finally, remembering that
there may be a pair of Gophers for every acre in the Park, estimate the
tons of earth moved by one pair and multiply it by the acres in the
Park, and you will get an idea of the work done by those energetic
rodents as a body, and you will realize how well he has won his Indian
name, the "Upheaver."

We are accustomed to talk of upheaval in geology as a frightful upset of
all nature, but here before our eyes is going on an upheaval of enormous
extent and importance, but so gently and pleasantly done that we enjoy
every phase of the process.

[Illustration: The Mole-gopher]

       *       *       *       *       *


Famous Fur-bearers--

       *       *       *       *       *


Famous Fur-bearers


Fair Lady Multo Millionaire riding in the dusty stagecoach, comparing as
you go the canyons of the Yellowstone with memories of Colorado,
Overland, and Stalheim, you, in your winter home, know all about fur as
it enters your world with its beauty, its warmth, its price--its gauge
of the wearer's pocket. Let me add a segment of the circle to round your
knowledge out.

When nature peopled with our four-foot kin the cold north lands, it was
necessary to clothe these little brethren of ours in a coat that should
be absolutely warm, light, durable, of protective colour, thick in cold
weather, thin in warm. Under these conditions she produced _fur_, with
its densely woolly undercoat and its long, soft, shining outer coat, one
for warmth, the other for wet and wear. Some northern animals can store
up food in holes or in the fat of their bodies, so need not be out when
the intensest cold is on the land. Some have to face the weather all
winter, and in these we find the fur of its best quality. Of this class
are the Marten and the Northern Fox. They are the finest, warmest,
lightest, softest of all furs. But colour is a cardinal point when
beauty is considered and where fashion is Queen. So the choicest colours
are the soft olive brown with silver hairs, found in the Russian Sable,
and the glossy black with silver hairs, found in the true Silver Fox of
the North.


What is the Silver Fox? Simply a black freak, a brunette born into a
red-headed family. But this does not cast any reflection on the mother
or on father's lineage. On the contrary, it means that they had in them
an element of exceptional vigour, which resulted in a peculiar
intensifying of all pigments, transmuting red into black and carrying
with it an unusual vigour of growth and fineness of texture, producing,
in short, the world-famed Silver Fox, the lightest, softest, thickest,
warmest, and most lustrous of furs, the fur worth many times its weight
in gold, and with this single fault, that it does not stand long wear.


[Illustration: V. Red Fox
_Captive; photo by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: VI. Foxes quarrelling
_Captive; photo by E. T. Seton_]

Cold and exposure are wonderful stimulants of the skin, and so it is not
surprising that the real Silver Fox should appear only in very cold
climates. Owing to its elevation the Yellowstone Park has the winter
climate of northern Canada, and, as might have been predicted, the
Silver Fox occurs among the many red-headed or bleached blonde Foxes
that abound in the half open country.

You may travel all round the stage route and neither see nor hear a Fox,
but travel quietly on foot, or better, camp out, and you will soon
discover the crafty one in yellow, or, rather, he will discover you.
How? Usually after you have camped for the night and are sitting quietly
by the fire before the hour of sleep, a curious squall is heard from the
dark hillside or bushes, a squall followed by a bark like that of a toy
terrier. Sometimes it keeps on at intervals for five minutes, and
sometimes it is answered by a similar noise. This is the bark of a Fox.
It differs from the Coyote call in being very short, very squally, much
higher pitched, and without any barks in it that would do credit to a
fair-sized dog. It is no use to go after him. You won't see him. You
should rather sit and enjoy the truly wildwood ring of his music.

In the morning if you look hard in the dust and mud, you may find his
tracks, and once in a while you will see his yellow-brown form drifting
on the prairie as though wind-blown under sail of that enormous tail.
For this is the big-tailed variety of Red Fox.

But if you wish to see the Fox in all his glory you must be here in
winter, when the deep snow cutting off all other foods brings all the
Fox population about the hotels whose winter keepers daily throw out
scraps for which the Foxes, the Magpies, and a dozen other creatures
wait and fight.

From a friend, connected with one of the Park hotels during the early
'90's, I learned that among the big-tailed pensioners of the inn, there
appeared one winter a wonderful Silver Fox; and I heard many rumours
about that Fox. I was told that he disappeared, and did not die of
sickness, old age, or wild-beast violence; and what I heard I may tell
in a different form, only, be it remembered, the names of the persons
and places are disguised, as well as the date; and my informant may have
brought in details that belonged elsewhere. So that you are free to
question much of the account, but the backbone of it is not open to
doubt, and some of the guides in the Park can give you details that I do
not care to put on paper.


How is it that all mankind has a sneaking sympathy with a poacher? A
burglar or a pickpocket has our unmitigated contempt; he clearly is a
criminal; but you will notice that the poacher in the story is generally
a reckless dare-devil with a large and compensatory amount of
good-fellow in his make-up--yes, I almost said, of good citizenship. I
suppose, because in addition to the breezy, romantic character of his
calling, seasoned with physical danger as well as moral risk, there is
away down in human nature a strong feeling that, in spite of man-made
laws, the ancient ruling holds that "wild game belongs to no man till
some one makes it his property by capture." It may be wrong, it may be
right, but I have heard this doctrine voiced by red men and white, as
primitive law, once or twice; and have seen it lived up to a thousand

Well, Josh Cree was a poacher. This does not mean that every night in
every month he went forth with nefarious tricks and tools, to steal the
flesh and fur that legally were not his. Far from it. Josh never poached
but once. But that's enough; he had crossed the line, and this is how it
came about:

As you roll up the Yellowstone from Livingston to Gardiner you may note
a little ranch-house on the west of the track with its log stables, its
corral, its irrigation ditch, and its alfalfa patch of morbid green. It
is a small affair, for it was founded by the handiwork of one honest
man, who with his wife and small boy left Pennsylvania, braved every
danger of the plains, and secured this claim in the late '80's. Old man
Cree--he was only forty, but every married man is "Old Man" in the
West--was ready to work at any honest calling from logging or sluicing
to grading and muling. He was strong and steady, his wife was steady and
strong. They saved their money, and little by little they got the small
ranch-house built and equipped; little by little they added to their
stock on the range with the cattle of a neighbour, until there came the
happy day when they went to live on their own ranch--father, mother, and
fourteen-year-old Josh, with every prospect of making it pay. The
spreading of that white tablecloth for the first time was a real
religious ceremony, and the hard workers gave thanks to the All-father
for His blessing on their every effort.

One year afterward a new event brought joy; there entered happily into
their happy house a little girl, and all the prairie smiled about them.
Surely their boat was well beyond the breakers.



But right in the sunshine of their joy the trouble cloud arose to block
the sky. Old man Cree was missing one day. His son rode long and far on
the range for two hard days before he sighted a grazing pony, and down a
rocky hollow near, found his father, battered and weak, near death, with
a broken leg and a gash in his head.

He could only gasp "Water" as Josh hurried up, and the boy rushed off to
fill his hat at the nearest stream.


They had no talk, for the father swooned after drinking, and Josh had to
face the situation; but he was Western trained. He stripped himself of
all spare clothing, and his father's horse of its saddle blanket; then,
straightening out the sick man, he wrapped him in the clothes and
blanket, and rode like mad for the nearest ranch-house. The neighbour, a
young man, came at once, with a pot to make tea, an axe, and a rope.
They found the older Cree conscious but despairing. A fire was made, and
hot tea revived him. Then Josh cut two long poles from the nearest
timber and made a stretcher, or travois, Indian fashion, the upper ends
fast to the saddle of a horse, while the other ends trailed on the
ground. Thus by a long, slow journey the wounded man got back. All he
had prayed for was to get home. Every invalid is sure that if only he
can get home all will soon be well. Mother was not yet strong, the baby
needed much care, but Josh was a good boy, and the loving best of all
was done for the sick one. His leg, set by the army surgeon of Fort
Yellowstone, was knit again after a month, but had no power. He had no
force; the shock of those two dire days was on him. The second month
went by, and still he lay in bed. Poor Josh was the man of the place
now, and between duties, indoors and out, he was worn body and soul.

Then it was clear they must have help. So Jack S---- was engaged at the
regular wages of $40 a month for outside work, and a year of struggle
went by, only to see John Cree in his grave, his cattle nearly all gone,
his widow and boy living in a house on which was still $500 of the
original mortgage. Josh was a brave boy and growing strong, but
unboyishly grave with the weight of care. He sold off the few cattle
that were left, and set about keeping the roof over his mother and baby
sister by working a truck farm for the market supplied by the summer
hotels of the Park, and managed to come out even. He would in time have
done well, but he could not get far enough ahead to meet that 10 per
cent mortgage already overdue.

The banker was not a hard man, but he was in the business for the
business. He extended the time, and waited for interest again and again,
but it only made the principal larger, and it seemed that the last ditch
was reached, that it would be best to let the money-man foreclose,
though that must mean a wipe-out and would leave the fatherless family


Winter was coming on, work was scarce, and Josh went to Gardiner to see
what he could get in the way of house or wage. He learned of a chance to
'substitute' for the Park mail-carrier, who had sprained his foot. It
was an easy drive to Fort Yellowstone, and there he readily agreed, when
they asked him, to take the letters and packages and go on farther to
the Canyon Hotel. Thus it was that on the 20th day of November 189--,
Josh Cree, sixteen years old, tall and ruddy, rode through the snow to
the kitchen door of the Canyon Hotel and was welcomed as though he were
old Santa Claus himself.


Two Magpies on a tree were among the onlookers. The Park Bears were
denned up, but there were other fur-bearers about. High on the wood-pile
sat a Yellow Red Fox in a magnificent coat. Another was in front of the
house, and the keeper said that as many as a dozen came some days. And
sometimes, he said, there also came a wonderful Silver Fox, a size
bigger than the rest, black as coal, with eyes like yellow diamonds, and
a silver frosting like little stars on his midnight fur.

"My! but he's a beauty. That skin would buy the best team of mules on
the Yellowstone." That was interesting and furnished talk for a while.
In the morning when they were rising for their candlelight breakfast,
the hotel man glancing from the window exclaimed, "Here he is now!" and
Josh peered forth to see in the light of sunrise something he had often
heard of, but never before seen, a coal-black Fox, a giant among his
kind. How slick and elegant his glossy fur, how slim his legs, and what
a monstrous bushy tail; and the other Foxes moved aside as the patrician
rushed in impatient haste to seize the food thrown out by the cook.

"Ain't he a beauty?" said the hotel man. "I'll bet that pelt would fetch
five hundred."

Oh, why did he say "five hundred," the exact sum, for then it was that
the tempter entered into Josh Cree's heart. Five hundred dollars! just
the amount of the mortgage. "Who owns wild beasts? The man that kills
them," said the tempter, and the thought was a live one in his breast as
Josh rode back to Fort Yellowstone.


At Gardiner he received his pay, $6, for three days' work and, turning
it into groceries, set out for the poor home that soon would be lost to
him, and as he rode he did some hard and gloomy thinking. On his wrist
there hung a wonderful Indian quirt of plaited rawhide and horsehair
with beads on the shaft, and a band of Elk teeth on the butt. It was a
pet of his, and "good medicine," for a flat piece of elkhorn let in the
middle was perforated with a hole, through which the distant landscape
was seen much clearer--a well-known law, an ancient trick, but it made
the quirt prized as a thing of rare virtue, and Josh had refused good
offers for it. Then a figure afoot was seen, and coming nearer, it
turned out to be a friend, Jack Day, out a-gunning with a .22 rifle. But
game was scarce and Jack was returning to Gardiner empty-handed and
disgusted. They stopped for a moment's greeting when Day said: "Huntin's
played out now. How'll you swap that quirt for my rifle?" A month before
Josh would have scorned the offer. A ten-dollar quirt for a five-dollar
rifle, but now he said briefly: "For rifle with cover, tools and
ammunition complete, I'll go ye." So the deal was made and in an hour
Josh was home. He stabled Grizzle, the last of their saddle stock, and


Love and sorrow dwelt in the widow's home, but the return of Josh
brought its measure of joy. Mother prepared the regular meal of tea,
potatoes, and salt pork; there was a time when they had soared as high
as canned goods, but those prosperous days were gone. Josh was dandling
baby sister on his lap as he told of his trip, and he learned of two
things of interest: First, the bank must have its money by February;
second, the stable at Gardiner wanted a driver for the Cook City stage.
Then the little events moved quickly. His half-formed plan of getting
back to the Canyon was now frustrated by the new opening, and, besides
this, hope had been dampened by the casual word of one who reported that
"that Silver Fox had not been seen since at the Canyon."

Then began long days of dreary driving through the snow, with a noon
halt at Yancey's and then three days later the return, in the cold, the
biting cold. It was freezing work, but coldest of all was the chill
thought at his heart that February 1st would see him homeless.


Small bands of Mountain Sheep he saw at times on the slope of Evarts,
and a few Blacktail, and later, when the winter deepened, huge bull Elk
were seen along the trail. Sometimes they moved not more than a few
paces to let him pass. These were everyday things to him, but in the
second week of his winter work he got a sudden thrill. He was coming
down the long hill back of Yancey's when what should he see there,
sitting on its tail, shiny black with yellow eyes like a huge black cat
unusually long and sharp in the nose, but a wonderful Silver Fox!
Possibly the same as the one he saw at the Canyon, for that one he knew
had disappeared and there were not likely to be two in the Park. Yes, it
might be the same, and Josh's bosom surged with mingled feelings. Why
did he not carry that little gun? Why did he not realize? Were the
thoughts that came--$500! A noble chance! broad daylight only
twenty-five yards! and gone!

The Fox was still there when Josh drove on. On the next trip he brought
the little rifle. He had sawed off the stock so he could hide it easily
in his overcoat if need be. No man knew that he carried arms, but the
Foxes seemed to know. The Red ones kept afar and the Black one came no
more. Day after day he drove and hoped but the Black Fox has cunning
measured to his value. He came not, or if he came, was wisely hidden,
and so the month went by, till late in the cold Moon of Snow he heard
old Yancey, say "There's a Silver Fox bin a-hanging around the stable
this last week. Leastwise Dave says he seen him." There were soldiers
sitting around that stove, game guardians of the Park, and still more
dangerous, a scout, the soldiers' guide, a mountaineer. Josh turned not
an inch, he made no sound in response, but his heart gave a jump. Half
an hour later he went out to bed his horses for the night, and peering
around the stable he saw a couple of shadowy forms that silently shifted
until swallowed by the gloom.

Then the soldiers came to bed their horses, and Josh went back to the
stove. His big driving coat hung with the little sawed-off rifle in the
long pocket. He waited till the soldiers one by one went up the ladder
to the general bunk-room. He rose again, got the lantern, lighted it,
carried it out behind the lonely stable. The horses were grinding their
hay, the stars were faintly lighting the snow. There was no one about as
he hung the lantern under the eaves outside so that it could be seen
from the open valley, but not from the house.


A faint _Yap-yah_, of a Fox was heard on the piney hillside, as he lay
down on the hay in the loft, but there were no signs of life on the
snow. He had come to wait all night if need be, and waited. The lantern
might allure, it might scare, but it was needed in this gloom, and it
tinged the snow with faint yellow light below him. An hour went by, then
a big-tailed form came near and made a little bark at the lantern. It
looked very dark, but it had a paler patch on the throat. This waiting
was freezing work; Josh's teeth were chattering in spite of his
overcoat. Another gray form came, then a much larger black one shaped
itself on the white. It dashed at the first, which fled, and the second
one followed but a little, and then sat down on the snow, gazing at that
bright light. When you are sure, you are _so_ sure--Josh knew him now,
he was facing the Silver Fox. But the light was dim. Josh's hand
trembled as he bared it to lay the back on his lips and suck so as to
make a mousey squeak. The effect on the Fox was instant. He glided
forward intent as a hunting cat. Again he stood in, oh! such a wonderful
pose, still as a statue, frozen like a hiding partridge, unbudging as a
lone kid Antelope in May. And Josh raised--yes, he had come for that--he
raised that fatal gun. The lantern blazed in the Fox's face at twenty
yards; the light was flung back doubled by its shining eyes; it looked
perfectly clear. Josh lined the gun, but, strange to tell, the sights so
plain were lost at once, and the gun was shaking like a sorghum stalk
while the Gopher gnaws its root.


He laid the weapon down with a groan, cursed his own poor trembling
hand, and in an instant the wonder Fox was gone.

Poor Josh! He wasn't bad-tongued, but now he used all the evil words he
had ever heard, and he was Western bred. Then he reacted on himself.
"The Fox might come back!" Suddenly he remembered something. He got out
a common sulphur match. He wet it on his lips and rubbed it on the
muzzle sight: Then on each side of the notch on the breech sight. He
lined it for a tree. Yes! surely! What had been a blur of blackness had
now a visible form.

A faint bark on a far hillside might mean a coming or a going Fox. Josh
waited five minutes, then again he squeaked on his bare hand. The effect
was a surprise when from the shelter of the stable wall ten feet below
there leaped the great dark Fox. At fifteen feet it paused. Those yellow
orbs were fiery in the light and the rifle sights with the specks of
fire were lined. There was a sharp report and the black-robed fur was
still and limp in the snow.

Who can tell the crack of a small rifle among the louder cracks of green
logs splitting with the fierce frost of a Yellowstone winter's night?
Why should travel-worn, storm-worn travellers wake at each slight,
usual sound? Who knows? Who cares?

       *       *       *       *       *

And afar in Livingston what did the fur dealer care? It was a great
prize--or the banker? he got his five hundred, and mother found it easy
to accept the Indians' creed: "Who owns wild beasts? The man who kills

"I did not know how it would come," she said; "I only knew it would
come, for I prayed and believed."

We know that it came when it meant the most. The house was saved. It was
the turn in their fortune's tide, and the crucial moment of the change
was when those three bright sulphur spots were lined with the living
lamps in the head of the Silver Fox. Yes! Josh was a poacher. Just once.



This beautiful animal, the Sable of America, with its rich brown fur and
its golden throat, comes naturally after the Silver Fox, for such is the
relative value of their respective coats.

The Fox is a small wild dog; the Marten is a large tree Weasel. It is a
creature of amazing agility, so much so that it commonly runs down the
Red-squirrel among the tree tops.

Its food consists mainly of mice and Squirrels, but it kills Rabbits and
Grouse when it can find them, and sometimes even feasts on game of a far
more noble size.

Tom Newcomb, my old guide, has given me an interesting note on the
Marten, made while he was acting as hunting guide in the Shoshoni

In October, 1911, he was out with Baron D' Epsen and his party, hunting
on Miller Creek east of Yellowstone Park. They shot at a Deer. It ran
off as though unharmed, but turned to run down hill, and soon the snow
showed that it was spurting blood on both sides. They followed for three
or four hundred yards, and then the Deer track was joined by the tracks
of five Marten. In a few minutes they found the Deer down and the five
Marten, a family probably, darting about in the near trees, making their
peculiar soft purr as though in anticipation of the feast, which was
delayed only by the coming of the hunters. These attempts to share with
the killers of big game are often seen.



In some respects the Beaver is the most notable animal in the West. It
was the search for Beaver skins that led adventurers to explore the
Rocky Mountains, and to open up the whole northwest of the United
States and Canada. It is the Beaver to-day that is the chief incentive
to poachers in the Park, but above all the Beaver is the animal that
most manifests its intelligence by its works, forestalls man in much of
his best construction, and amazes us by the well-considered labour of
its hands.

[Illustration: VII. Beaver: (a) Pond and house; (b) Stumps of tree cut
and removed by Beaver, near Yancey's, 1897
_Photos by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: VIII. Mule-deer
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]


There was a time when the Beaver's works and wisdom were so new and
astounding that super-human intelligence was ascribed to this fur-clad
engineer. Then the scoffers came and reduced him to the low level of his
near kin, and explained the accounts of his works as mere fairy tales.
Now we have got back to the middle of the road. We find him a creature
of intelligence far above that of his near kinsmen, and endowed with
some extraordinary instincts that guide him in making dams, houses,
etc., that are unparalleled in the animal world. Here are the principal
deliberate constructions of the Beaver: First the lodge. The Beaver was
the original inventor of reinforced concrete. He has used it for a
million years, in the form of mud mixed with sticks and stones, for
building his lodge and dam. The lodge is the home of the family; that
is, it shelters usually one old male, one old female and sundry
offspring. It is commonly fifteen to twenty feet across outside, and
three to five feet high. Within is a chamber about two feet high and six
feet across, well above water and provided with a ventilator through the
roof, also two entering passages under water, one winding for ordinary
traffic, and one straight for carrying in wood, whose bark is a staple
food. This house is kept perfectly tidy, and when the branch is stripped
of all eatable parts, it is taken out and worked into the dam, which is
a crooked bank of mud and sticks across the running stream. It holds the
water so as to moat the Beaver Castle.


But the canal is one of this animal's most interesting undertakings. It
is strictly a freight canal for bringing in food-logs, and is dug out
across level ground toward the standing timber.

Canals are commonly three or four hundred feet long, about three feet
wide and two feet deep. There was a small but good example at Yancey's
in 1897; it was only seventy feet long. The longest I ever saw was in
the Adirondacks, N. Y.; it was six hundred and fifty-four feet in length
following the curves, two or three feet wide and about two feet deep.

Three other Beaver structures should be noticed. One, the dock or plunge
hole, which is a deep place by a sharply raised bank, both made with
careful manual labour. Next, the sunning place, generally an ant-hill
on which the Beaver lies to enjoy a sun-bath, while the ants pick the
creepers out of his fur. Third, the mud-pie. This is a little patty of
mud mixed with a squeeze of the castor or body-scent glands. It answers
the purpose of a register, letting all who call know that so and so has
recently been here.

The chief food of the Beaver, at least its favourite food, is aspen,
also called quaking asp or poplar; where there are no poplars there are
no Beavers.


Usually the Beavers start a dam on some stream, right opposite a good
grove of poplars. When these are all cut down and the bark used for
food, the Beaver makes a second dam on the same stream, always with a
view to having deep water for safety, close by poplars for food. In this
way I found the Beavers at Yancey's in 1897 had constructed thirteen
dams in succession. But when I examined the ground again in 1912, the
dams were broken, the ponds all dry. Why? The answer is very simple. The
Beavers had used up all the food. Instead of the little aspen groves
there were now nothing but stumps, and the Beavers had moved elsewhere.

[Illustration: Beaver using his Tail as a Trowel]

Similarly in 1897 the largest Beaver pond in the Park was at Obsidian
Cliff. I should say the dam there was over four hundred yards long. But
now it is broken and the pond is drained. And the reason as before--the
Beavers used all the food and moved on. Of course the dam is soon broken
when the hardworking ones are not there in their eternal vigilance to
keep it tight.

There are many good Beaver ponds near Yancey's now and probably made by
the same colonies of Beavers as those I studied there.

Last September I found a fine lots of dams and dammers on the southeast
side of Yellowstone Lake where you may go on a camera hunt with
certainty of getting Beaver pictures. Yes, in broad daylight.

Let me correct here some popular errors about the Beaver:

It does not use its tail as a trowel.

It does not use big logs in building a dam.

It does not and cannot drive stakes.

It cannot throw a tree in any given way.

It finishes the lodge outside with sticks, not mud.



Every one of us that ever was a small boy and rejoiced in belly-bumping
down some icy hill, on a sled of glorious red, should have a brotherly
sympathy for the Otter.

While in a large sense this beautiful animal belongs to the Weasel
family, it has so far progressed that it is one of the merriest,
best-natured, unsanguinary creatures that ever caught their prey alive.
This may be largely owing to the fact that it has taken entirely to a
fish diet; for without any certain knowledge of the reason, we observe
that fisherfolk are gentler than hunterfolk, and the Otter among his
Weasel kin affords a good illustration of this.

We find the animals going through much the same stages as we do. First,
the struggle for food, then for mates, and later, when they have no
cause to worry about either, they seek for entertainment. Quite a number
of our animals have invented amusements. Usually these are mere games of
tag, catch, or tussle, but some have gone farther and have a regular
institution, with a set place to meet, and apparatus provided. This is
the highest form of all, and one of the best illustrations of it is
found in the jovial Otter. Coasting is an established game with this
animal; and probably every individual of the species frequents some
Otter slide. This is any convenient steep hill or bank, sloping down
into deep water, prepared by much use, and worn into a smooth shoot
that becomes especially serviceable when snow or ice are there to act as
lightning lubricants. And here the Otters will meet, old and young, male
and female, without any thought but the joy of fun together, and shoot
down one after the other, swiftly, and swifter still, as the hill grows
smooth with use, and plump into the water and out again; and chase each
other with little animal gasps of glee, each striving to make the shoot
more often and more quickly than the others. And all of this charming
scene, this group and their merry game, is unquestionably for the simple
social joy of being together in an exercise which gives to them the
delicious, exhilarating sensation of speeding through space without
either violence or effort. In fact, for the very same reason that you
and I went coasting when we were boys.

Do not fail to get one of the guides to show you the Otter slides as you
travel about the lake. Some of them are good and some are poor. The very
best are seen after the snow has come, but still you can see them with
your own eyes, and if you are very lucky and very patient you may be
rewarded by the sight of these merry creatures indulging in a game which
closely parallels so many of our own.

       *       *       *       *       *


Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed

       *       *       *       *       *


Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed


When Lewis and Clark reached the Big Sioux River in Dakota, on their
famous journey up the Missouri, one hundred and ten years ago, they met,
on the very edge and beginning of its range, the Mule Deer, and added
the new species to their collection.

It is the characteristic Deer of the rough country from Mexico to
British Columbia, and from California to Manitoba; and is one of the
kinds most easily observed in the Yellowstone Sanctuary.


Driving from Gardiner, passing under the Great Tower of Eagle Rock on
which an Osprey has nested year after year as far back as the records
go, and wheeling into the open space in front of the Mammoth Hot Springs
Hotel, one is almost sure to come on a family of Deer wandering across
the lawn, or posing among the shrubbery, with all the artless grace of
the truly wild creature. These are the representatives of several
hundred that collect in fall on and about this lawn, but are now
scattered for the summer season over the adjoining hills, to come again,
no doubt in increased numbers, when the first deep snow shall warn them
to seek their winter range.

Like the other animals, these are natives of the region and truly wild,
but so educated by long letting alone that it is easy to approach within
a few yards.

The camera hunter should not fail to use this opportunity, not only
because they are wild and beautiful things, but because he can have the
films developed at the hotel over night, and so find out how his camera
is behaving in this new light and surroundings.


This is the common Blacktailed Deer of the hill country, called Mule
Deer on account of its huge ears and the shape of its tail. In Canada I
knew it by the name of "Jumping Deer," from its gait, and in the Rockies
it is familiar as the "Bounding Blacktail"--"Bounding" because of the
wonderful way in which it strikes the ground with its legs held stiffly,
then rises in the air with little apparent effort, and lands some ten or
fifteen feet away. As the hunters say, "The Blacktail hits only the high
places in the landscape." On the level it does not run so well as the
Antelope or the Whitetailed Deer, and I often wondered why it had
adopted this laborious mode of speeding, which seemed so inferior to the
normal pace of its kin. But at length I was eyewitness of an episode
that explained the puzzle.



In the fall of 1897 I was out for a Wolf hunt with the Eaton boys in the
Badlands near Medora, N. D. We had a fine mixed pack of dogs, trailers,
runners, and fighters. The runners were thoroughbred greyhounds, that
could catch any four-foot on the plains except perhaps a buck Antelope;
that I saw them signally fail in. But a Wolf, or even the swift Coyote,
had no chance of getting away from them provided they could keep him in
view. We started one of these singers of the plains, and at first he set
off trusting to his legs, but the greyhounds were after him, and when he
saw his long start shrinking so fearfully fast he knew that his legs
could not save him, that now was the time for wits to enter the game.
And this entry he made quickly and successfully by dropping out of sight
down a brushy canyon, so the greyhounds saw him no more.

Then they were baffled by Prairie-dogs which dodged down out of reach
and hawks which rose up out of reach, and still we rode, till, rounding
a little knoll near a drinking place, we came suddenly on a mother
Blacktail and her two fawns. All three swung their big ears and eyes
into full bearing on us, and we reined our horses and tried to check our
dogs, hoping they had not seen the quarry that we did not wish to harm.
But Bran the leader gave a yelp, then leaping high over the sage,
directed all the rest, and in a flash it was a life and death race.

Again and frantically the elder Eaton yelled "Come back!" and his
brother tried to cut across and intercept the hounds. But a creature
that runs away is an irresistible bait to a greyhound, and the chase
across the sage-covered flat was on, with every nerve and tendon

[Illustration: X. Blacktail Family
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]

Away went the Blacktail, bounding, bounding at that famous beautiful,
birdlike, soaring pace, mother and young tapping the ground and sailing
to land, and tap and sail again. And away went the greyhounds, low
coursing, outstretched, bounding like bolts from a crossbow, curving but
little and dropping only to be shot again. They were straining hard; the
Blacktail seemed to be going more easily, far more beautifully. But
alas! they were losing time. The greyhounds were closing; in vain we
yelled at them. We spurred our horses, hoping to cut them off, hoping to
stop the ugly, lawless tragedy. But the greyhounds were frantic now. The
distance between Bran and the hindmost fawn was not forty feet. Then
Eaton drew his revolver and fired shots over the greyhounds' heads,
hoping to scare them into submission, but they seemed to draw fresh
stimulus from each report, and yelped and bounded faster. A little more
and the end would be. Then we saw a touching sight. The hindmost fawn
let out a feeble bleat of distress, and the mother, heeding, dropped
back between. It looked like choosing death, for now she had not twenty
feet of lead. I wanted Eaton to use his gun on the foremost hound, when
something unexpected happened. The flat was crossed, the Blacktail
reached a great high butte, and tapping with their toes they soared some
fifteen feet and tapped again; and tapped and tapped and soared, and so
they went like hawks that are bounding in the air, and the greyhounds,
peerless on the plain, were helpless on the butte. Yes! rush as they
might and did, and bounded and clomb, but theirs was not the way of the
hills. In twenty heartbeats they were left behind. The Blacktail mother
with her twins kept on and soared and lightly soared till lost to view,
and all were safely hidden in their native hills.

[Illustration: XI. Blacktail mother with her twins
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]


That day I learned the reason for the bounding flight, so beautiful, but
not the best or swiftest on the plain, yet the one that gives them
dominion and safety on the hills, that makes of them a hill folk that
the dangers of the plain can never reach.

So now, O traveller in the Park, if you approach too near the Blacktail
feeding near the great hotel, and so alarm them--for they are truly
wild--they make not for the open run as do the Antelope and the Hares,
not for the thickest bottomland as do the Whitetail and the Lynxes, but
for the steeper hillsides. They know right well where their safety lies,
and on that near and bushy bank, laying aside all alarm, they group and
pose in artless grace that tempts one to a lavish use of films and gives
the chance for that crowning triumph of the art, a wild animal group,
none of which is looking at the camera.

One more characteristic incident: In 1897 I was riding, with my wife,
from Yancey's over to Baronett's Bridge, when we came on a young buck
Blacktail. Now, said I, "I am going to show you the most wonderful and
beautiful thing to be seen in the way of wild life speeding. You shall
now see the famous bounding of the Blacktail." Then I spurred out after
the young buck, knowing that all he needed was a little alarm to make
him perform. Did he take alarm and run? Not at all. He was in the
Yellowstone Sanctuary. He knew nothing of guns or dogs; he had lived all
his life in safety. He would trot a few steps out of my way, then turn
and gaze at me, but run, bound, and make for the high land, not a bit of
it. And to this day my fair companion has not seen the Blacktail
bounding up the hills.


The Rocky Mountain Elk, or Wapiti, is the finest of all true Deer. The
cows weigh 400 to 500 pounds, the bulls 600 or 800, but occasionally
1000. At several of the hotels a small herd is kept in a corral for the
pleasure and photography of visitors.

The latest official census puts the summer population of Elk in the
Yellowstone Park at 35,000, but the species is migratory, at least to
the extent of seeking a winter feeding ground with as little snow as
possible, so that most of them move out as snow time sets in. Small
herds linger in the rich and sheltered valleys along the Yellowstone,
Snake and nearby rivers, but the total of those wintering in the Park
is probably less than 5,000.



In the summer months the best places in which to look for these Deer are
all the higher forests, especially along the timber-line. I had an
interesting stalk after a large band of them among the woods of Tower
Falls in the June of 1897. I had found the trail of a considerable herd
and followed it up the mountain till the "sign" was fresh. Then I tied
up my horse and went forward on foot. For these animals are sufficiently
acquainted with man as a mischief-maker to be vigilant in avoiding him,
even in the Park. I was cautiously crawling from tree to tree, when out
across an open space I descried a cow Elk and her calf lying down. A
little more crawling and I sighted a herd all lying down and chewing the
cud. About twenty yards away was a stump whose shelter offered chances
to use the camera, but my present position promised nothing, so I set
out carefully to cross the intervening space in plain view of scores of
Elk; and all would have been well but for a pair of mischievous little
Chipmunks. They started a most noisy demonstration against my approach,
running back and forth across my path, twittering and flashing their
tails about. In vain I prayed for a paralytic stroke to fall on my
small tormentors. Their aggravating plan, if plan it was, they succeeded
in fully carrying out. The Elk turned all their megaphone ears, their
funnel noses and their blazing telescopic eyes my way. I lay like a log
and waited; so did they. Then the mountain breeze veered suddenly and
bore the taint of man to those watchful mothers. They sprang to their
feet, some fifty head at least, half of them with calves by their sides,
and away they dashed with a roaring sound, and a rattling and crashing
of branches that is wonderfully impressive to hear, and nothing at all
to tell about.

I had made one or two rough sketches as I lay on the ground, but the
photographs were failures.

[Illustration: XII. A young investigator among the Deer at Fort
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XIII. Elk in Wyoming: (a) "Dawn" _Photo by E. T. Seton_
(b) "Nightfall" _Photo by G. G. Seton_]

This band contained only cows engaged in growing their calves. According
to Elk etiquette, the bulls are off by themselves at a much higher
elevation, engaged in the equally engrossing occupation of growing their
antlers. Most persons are surprised greatly when first they learn that
the huge antlers of the Elk, as with most deer, are grown and shed each
year. It takes only five months to grow them. They are perfect in late
September for the fighting season, and are shed in March. The bull Elk
now shapes his conduct to his weaponless condition. He becomes as meek
as he was warlike. And so far from battling with all of their own sex
that come near, these big "moollys" gather in friendly stag-parties on a
basis of equal loss, and haunt the upper woods whose pasture is rich
enough to furnish the high power nutriment needed to offset the
exhausting drain of growing such mighty horns in such minimum time.

They are more free from flies too in these high places, which is
important, for even the antlers are sensitive while growing. They are
even more sensitive than the rest of the body, besides being less
protected and more temptingly filled with blood. A mosquito would surely
think he had struck it rich if he landed on the hot, palpitating end of
a Wapiti's thin-skinned, blood-gorged antlers. It is quite probable that
some of the queer bumps we see on the finished weapons are due to
mosquito or fly stings suffered in the early period of formation.


During the summer the bulls attend strictly to their self-development,
but late August sees them ready to seek once more the mixed society of
their kind. Their horns are fully grown, but are not quite hardened and
are still covered with velvet. By the end of September these weapons are
hard and cleaned and ready for use, just as a thrilling change sets in
in the body and mind of the bull. He is full of strength and vigour, his
coat is sleek, his neck is swollen, his muscles are tense, his horns are
clean, sharp, and strong, and at their heaviest. A burning ambition to
distinguish himself in war, and win favours from the shy ladies of his
kind, grows in him to a perfect insanity; goaded by desire, boiling with
animal force, and raging with war-lust, he mounts some ridge in the
valley and pours forth his very soul in a wild far-reaching battle-cry.
Beginning low and rising in pitch to a veritable scream of piercing
intensity, it falls to a rumbled growl, which broken into shorter growls
dies slowly away. This is the famed bugling of the Elk, and however
grotesque it may seem when heard in a zoo, is admitted by all who know
it in its homeland to be the most inspiring music in nature--because of
what it means. Here is this magnificent creature, big as a horse, strong
as a bull, and fierce as a lion, standing in all the pride and glory of
his primest prime, announcing to all the world: "I am out for a fight!
Do any of you want a F-I-G-H-T----!-!-!?" Nor does he usually have long
to wait. From some far mountainside the answer comes:

"Yes, yes, yes! _Yes, I Do_, Do, Do, Do!"

A few more bugle blasts and the two great giants meet; and when they do,
all the world knows it for a mile around, without it being seen. The
crashing of the antlers as they close, the roars of hate, the squeals of
combat, the cracking of breaking branches as they charge and charge, and
push and strive, and--_sometimes_ the thud of a heavy body going down.

Many a time have I heard them in the distant woods, but mostly at night.
Often have I gone forth warily hoping to see something of the fight, for
we all love to see a fight when not personally in danger; but luck has
been against me. I have been on the battlefield next morning to see
where the combatants had torn up an acre of ground, and trampled
unnumbered saplings, or tossed huge boulders about like pebbles, but the
fight I missed.

One day as I came into camp in the Shoshonees, east of the Park, an old
hunter said: "Say, you! you want to see a real old-time Elk fight? You
go up on that ridge back of the corral and you'll sure see a hull bunch
of 'em at it; not one pair of bulls, but _six_ of 'em."

I hurried away, but again I was too late; I saw nothing but the trampled
ground, the broken saplings, and the traces of the turmoil; the battling
giants were gone.


Back I went and from the hunter's description made the sketch which I
give below. The old man said: "Well, you sure got it this time. That's
exactly like it was. One pair was jest foolin', one was fencing and was
still perlite; but that third pair was a playin' the game for keeps. An'
for givin' the facts, that's away ahead of any photograph I ever seen."

Once I did come on the fatal battle-ground, but it was some time after
the decision; and there I found the body of the one who did not win. The
antlers are a fair index of the size and vigour of the stag, and if the
fallen one was so big and strong, what like was he who downed him,
pierced him through and left him on the plain.


At one time in a Californian Park I heard the war-bugle of an Elk. He
bawled aloud in brazen, ringing tones: "Anybody want a F-I-G-H-T

I extemporized a horn and answered him according to his mood. "_Yes, I
do; bring it ALONG!_" and he brought it at a trot, squealing and roaring
as he came. When he got within forty yards he left the cover and
approached me, a perfect incarnation of brute ferocity and hate.


His ears were laid back, his muzzle raised, his nose curled up, his
lower teeth exposed, his mane was bristling and in his eyes there blazed
a marvellous fire of changing opalescent green. On he marched, gritting
his teeth and uttering a most unpleasantly wicked squeal.

Then suddenly down went his head, and he came crash at me, with all the
power of half a ton of hate. However, I was not so much exposed as may
have been inferred. I was safely up a tree. And there I sat watching
that crazy bull as he prodded the trunk with his horns, and snorted, and
raved around, telling me just what he thought of me, inviting him to a
fight and then getting up a tree. Finally he went off roaring and
gritting his teeth, but turning back to cast on me from time to time the
deadly, opaque green light of his mad, malignant eyes.

A friend of mine, John Fossum, once a soldier attached to Fort
Yellowstone, had a similar adventure on a more heroic scale. While out
on a camera hunt in early winter he descried afar a large bull Elk lying
asleep in an open valley. At once Fossum made a plan. He saw that he
could crawl up to the bull, snap him where he lay, then later secure a
second picture as the creature ran for the timber. The first part of
the programme was carried out admirably. Fossum got within fifty feet
and still the Elk lay sleeping. Then the camera was opened out. But
alas! that little _pesky_ "click," that does so much mischief, awoke the
bull, who at once sprang to his feet and ran--not for the woods--but
_for the man_. Fossum with the most amazing nerve stood there quietly
focussing his camera, till the bull was within ten feet, then pressed
the button, threw the camera into the soft snow and ran for his life
with the bull at his coat-tails. It would have been a short run but for
the fact that they reached a deep snowdrift that would carry the man,
and would not carry the Elk. Here Fossum escaped, while the bull snorted
around, telling just what he meant to do to the man when he caught him;
but he was not to be caught, and at last the bull went off grumbling and

The hunter came back, recovered his camera, and when the plate was
developed it bore the picture No. xiv, b.

[Illustration: XIV. Elk on the Yellowstone in winter: (a) Caught in
eight feet of snow; _Photo by F. Jay Haynes_ (b) Bull Elk charging
_Photo by John Fossum_]

It shows plainly the fighting light in the bull's eye, the back laid
ears, the twisting of the nose, and the rate at which he is coming is
evidenced in the stamping feet and the wind-blown whiskers, and yet in
spite of the peril of the moment, and the fact that this was a hand
camera, there is no sign of shake on landscape or on Elk, and the
picture is actually over-exposed.


One of the best summer ranges for Elk is near the southeast corner of
the Yellowstone Lake, and here it was my luck to have the curious
experience that I call the "Story of a Hoodoo Elk."


In the September of 1912, when out with Tom Newcomb of Gardiner, I had
this curious adventure, that I shall not try to explain. We had crossed
the Yellowstone Lake in a motor boat and were camped on the extreme
southeast Finger, at a point twenty-five miles as the crow flies, and
over fifty as the trail goes, from any human dwelling. We were in the
least travelled and most primitive part of the Park. The animals here
are absolutely in the wild condition and there was no one in the region
but ourselves.

On Friday, September 6th, we sighted some Elk on the lake shore at
sunrise, but could not get nearer than two hundred yards, at which
distance I took a poor snap. The Elk wheeled and ran out of sight. I set
off on foot with the guide about 8:30. We startled one or two Elk, but
they were very wild, and I got no chance to photograph.

About 10:30, when several miles farther in the wilderness, we sighted a
cow Elk standing in a meadow with a Coyote sneaking around about one
hundred yards away. "That's my Elk," I said, and we swung under cover.
By keeping in a little pine woods, I got within one hundred yards,
taking picture No. 1, Plate XV. As she did not move, I said to Tom: "You
stay here while I creep out to that sage brush and I'll get a picture of
her at fifty yards." By crawling on my hands I was able to do this and
got picture No. 2. Now I noticed a bank of tall grass some thirty yards
from the cow, and as she was still quiet, I crawled to that and got
picture No. 3. She did not move and I was near enough to see that she
was dozing in a sun-bath. So I stood up and beckoned to Tom to come out
of the woods at once. He came on nearly speechless with amazement. "What
is the meaning of this?" he whispered.

[Illustration: XV. The first shots at the Hoodoo Cow
_Photos by E. T. Seton_]

I replied calmly: "I told you I was a medicine man, perhaps you'll
believe me now. Don't you see I've made Elk medicine and got her
hypnotized? Now I am going to get up to about twenty yards and take her
picture. While I do so, you use the second camera and take me in the
act." So Tom took No. 4 while I was taking No. 5, and later No. 6.

"Now," I said, "let's go and talk to her." We walked up to within ten
yards. The Elk did not move, so I said: "Well, Bossie, you have callers.
Won't you please look this way?" She did so and I secured shot No. 7,
Plate XVI.

"Thank you," I said. "Now be good enough to lie down." She did, and I
took No. 9.

I went up and stroked her, so did Tom; then giving her a nudge of my
foot I said: "Now stand up again and look away."

She rose up, giving me Nos. 8, 10 and 11.

"Thank you, Bossie! now you can go!" And as she went off I fired my last
film, getting No. 12.

[Illustration: XVI. The last shots at the Hoodoo Cow
_Photos by E. T. Seton_]

By this time Tom had used up all his allowable words, and was falling
back on the contraband kind to express his surging emotions.

"What the ---- is the ---- meaning ---- of this ----?" and so on.

I replied calmly: "Maybe you'll believe I have Elk medicine. Now show me
a Moose and I'll give you some new shocks."

Our trip homeward occupied a couple of hours, during which I heard
little from Tom but a snort or two of puzzlement.

As we neared camp he turned on me suddenly and said: "Now, Mr. Seton,
what _is_ the meaning of this? That wasn't a sick Elk; she was fat and
hearty. She wasn't poisoned or doped, 'cause there's no possibility of
that. It wasn't a tame Elk, 'cause there ain't any, and, anyhow, we're
seventy miles from a house. Now what is the meaning of it?"

I replied solemnly: "Tom! I don't know any more than you do. I was as
much surprised as you were at everything but one, and that was when she
lay down. I didn't tell her to lie down till I saw she was going to do
it, or to get up either, or look the other way, and if you can explain
the incident, you've got the field to yourself."


The Moose is one of the fine animals that have responded magnificently
to protection in Canada, Maine, Minnesota, and the Yellowstone Park.
Formerly they were very scarce in Wyoming and confined to the southwest
corner of the Reserve. But all they needed was a little help; and,
receiving it, they have flourished and multiplied. Their numbers have
grown by natural increase from about fifty in 1897 to some five hundred
and fifty to-day; and they have spread into all the southern half of the
Park wherever they find surroundings to their taste; that is, thick
level woods with a mixture of timber, as the Moose is a brush-eater,
and does not flourish on a straight diet of evergreen.

The first Deer, almost the only one I ever killed, was a Moose and that
was far back in the days of my youth. On the Yellowstone, I am sorry to
say, I never saw one, although I found tracks and signs in abundance
last September near the Lake.


Though I have never since fired at a Moose, I was implicated in the
killing of one a few years later.

It was in the fall of the year, in the Hunting Moon, I was in the
Kippewa Country with my partner and some chosen friends on a camping
trip. Our companions were keen to get a Moose; and daily all hands but
myself were out with the expert Moose callers. But each night the
company reassembled around the campfire only to exchange their stories
of failure.


Moose there were in plenty, and good guides, Indian, halfbreed and
white, but luck was against them all. Without being a very expert caller
I have done enough of it to know the game and to pass for a "caller." So
one night I said in a spirit of half jest: "I'll have to go out and show
you men how to call a Moose." I cut a good piece of birch-bark and
fashioned carefully a horn. Disdaining all civilized materials as
"bad medicine," I stitched the edge with a spruce root or wattap, and
soldered it neatly with pine gum flowed and smoothed with a blazing
brand. And then I added the finishing touch, a touch which made the
Indian and the halfbreed shake their heads ominously; I drew two "hoodoo
Moose"--that is, men with Moose heads dancing around the horn.

[Illustration: XVII. Elk on the Yellowstone: (a) In Billings Park;
(b) Wild Cow Elk

_Photos by E. T. Seton_]


"You put that on before you catch one Moose, Moose never come," they

Still I put them on, and near sundown set off in a canoe, with one guide
as paddler, and my partner in charge of the only gun. In half an hour we
reached a lonely lake surrounded by swamps, and woods of mixed timber.
The sunset red was purpling all the horizon belt of pines, and the peace
of the still hour was on lake and swamp. With some little sense of
profanity I raised the hoodoo horn to my mouth, gave one or two
high-pitched, impatient grunts, then poured forth the softly rising,
long-drawn love-call of a cow Moose, all alone, and "Oh, so lonesome."

The guide nodded in approval, "That's all right," then I took out my
watch and waited for fifteen minutes. For, strange to tell, it seems to
repel the bull Moose and alarm him if the cow seems over-eager. There is
a certain etiquette to be observed; it is easy to spoil all by trying to
go too fast. And it does not do to guess at the time; when one is
waiting so hard, the minute is like twenty.

So when fifteen minutes really had gone, I raised the magic horn again,
emitted a few hankering whines, then broke into a louder, farther
reaching call that thrilled up echoes from across the lake and seemed to
fill the woods for miles around with its mellifluous pleading.

Again I waited and gave a third call just as the sun was gone. Then we
strained our eyes and watched at every line of woods, and still were
watching when the sound of a falling tree was heard far off on a

Then there was a sort of after-clap as though the tree had lodged the
first time, and hanging half a minute, had completed its fall with
breaking of many branches, and a muffled crash. We gazed hard that way,
and the guide, a very young one, whispered, "Bear!"

There was silence, then a stick broke nearer, and a deep, slow snort was
heard; it might have been the "woof" of a Bear, but I was in doubt. Then
without any more noises, a white array of shining antler tips appeared
above the near willows, and swiftly, silently, there glided into view a
huge bull Moose.

"How solid and beefy he looks!" was my first thought. He "woofed" again,
and the guide, with an eye always to the head, whispered to my partner:
"Take him! he's a stunner."

Striding on he came, with wonderful directness, seeing I had not called
for twenty minutes, and that when he was a mile or more away.

As he approached within forty yards, the guide whispered, "Now is your
chance. You'll never get a better one." My partner whispered, "Steady
the canoe." I drove my paddle point into the sandy bottom, the guide did
the same at the other end, and she arose standing in the canoe and
aimed. Then came the wicked "crack" of the rifle, the "pat" of the
bullet, the snort and whirl of the great, gray, looming brute, and a
second shot as he reached the willows, only to go down with a crash, and
sob his life out on the ground behind the leafy screen.

It all seemed so natural, so exactly according to the correct rules of
sporting books and tales, and yet so unlovely.

There were tears in the eyes of the fair killer, and heart wrenches were
hers, as the great sobs grew less and ceased; and a different sob was
heard at my elbow, as we stood beside the biggest Moose that had been
killed there in years. It was triumph I suppose; it is a proud thing to
act a lie so cleverly; the Florentine assassins often decoyed and
trapped a brave man, by crying like a woman. But I have never called a
Moose since, and that rifle has hung unused in its rack from that to the
present day.



"Yes, that's a buffalo-bird," said the old Indian, pointing to some
black birds, with gray mates, that flitted or ran across the plain.
"Pretty bad luck when the Buffalo gone. Them little birds make their
nest in a Buffalo's wool, right on his head, and when the Buffalo all
gone, seem like the buffalo-bird die too; 'cause what's the use, no got
any nest."

This is a fragment that reached me long ago in Montana. It seemed like a
lusty myth, whose succulent and searching roots were in a bottomless
bog, with little chance of sound foundation. But the tale bore the
searchlight better than I thought. For it seems that the buffalo-bird
followed the Buffalo everywhere, and was fond of nesting, not in the
shaggy mane between the horns of the ruling monarch, but on any huge
head it might find after the bull had fallen, and the skull, with mane
attached, lay discarded on the plain. While always, even when nesting on
the ground, the wool of the Buffalo was probably used as lining of the
black-bird's nest. I know of one case where an attendant bird that was
too crippled to fly when autumn came, wintered in the mane of a large
Buffalo bull. It gathered seed by day, when the bull pawed up the snow,
and roosted at night between the mighty horns, snuggling in the wool,
with its toes held warm against the monster's blood-hot neck.

In most of the Northwest the birds have found a poor substitute for the
Buffalo in the range-cattle, but oh! how they must miss the wool.

[Illustration: XVIII. Moose--the Widow
_Drawing by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XIX. Buffalo Groups (a) Bull and Cow at Banff; (b)
Yellowstone Bulls

_Photos by G. G. Seton_]


It is not generally known that the American Buffalo ranged as far east
as Syracuse, Washington City, and Carolina, that they populated the
forests in small numbers, as well as the plains in great herds. I
estimate them at over 50,000,000 in A.D. 1500. In 1895 they were down to
800; probably this was the low-ebb year. Since then they have increased
under judicious protection, and now reach about 3,000.

In the June of 1897, as I stood on a hill near Baronett's Bridge,
overlooking the Yellowstone just beyond Yancey's, with an old timer,
Dave Roberts, he said: "Twenty years ago, when I first saw this valley,
it was black-speckled with Buffalo, and every valley in the Park was the
same." Now the only sign of the species was a couple of old skulls
crumbling in the grass.

In 1900 the remnant in the Park had fallen to thirty, and their
extinction seemed certain. But the matter was taken up energetically by
the officers in charge. Protection, formerly a legal fiction, was made
an accomplished fact. The Buffalo have increased ever since, and to-day
number 200, with the possibility of some stragglers.

We need not dwell on the story of the extinction of the great herds.
That is familiar to all,[B] but it is well to remind the reader that it
was inevitable. The land was, or would be, needed for human settlement,
with which the Buffalo herds were incompatible; only we brought it on
forty or fifty years before it was necessary. "Could we not save the
Buffalo as range-cattle?" is the question that most ask. The answer is:
It has been tried a hundred times and all attempts have been eventually
frustrated by the creature's temper. Buffalo, male or female, are always
more or less dangerous; they cannot be tamed or trusted. They are always
subject to stampede, and once started, nothing, not even sure
destruction, stops them; so in spite of their suitability to the
climate, their hardihood, their delicious meat, and their valuable
robes, the attempts at domesticating the Buffalo have not yet been made
a success.


A small herd of a dozen or so is kept in a fenced range near the Mammoth
Hot Springs, where the traveller should not fail to try for pictures,
and with them he will see the cowbirds, that in some regions replace the
true buffalo-birds. Perched on their backs or heads or running around
them on the ground are these cattle birds as of yore, like boats around
a man-o'-war, or sea-gulls around a whale; living their lives, snapping
up the tormenting flies, and getting in return complete protection from
every creature big enough to seem a menace in the eyes of the old time
King of the Plains.


The Antelope, or Pronghorn, is one of the most peculiar animals in the
world. It is the only known ruminant that has hollow horns on a bony
core as with cattle, and also has them branched and shed each year as in
the Deer.

It is a creature of strangely mixed characteristics, for it has the feet
of a Giraffe, the glands of a goat, the coat of a Deer, the horns of an
ox and Deer combined, the eyes of a Gazelle, the build of an Antelope,
and--the speed of the wind. It is the swiftest four-footed creature
native to the plains, and so far as known there is nothing but a blooded
race horse that can outrun it on a mile.

But the peculiarity that is most likely to catch the eye of the
traveller is the white disc on its rear.

[Illustration: The Heliograph]

The first day I was in the Yellowstone I was riding along the upland
beyond Blacktail Creek with T. E. Hofer. Miles away to the southeast we
saw some white specks showing, flashing and disappearing. Then as far to
the northeasterly we saw others. Hofer now remarked, "Two bunches of
Antelope." Then later there were flashes _between_ and we knew that
these two bands had come together. How?

When you have a chance in a zoo or elsewhere to watch Antelope at short
range you will see the cause of these flashes. By means of a circular
muscle on each buttock they can erect the white hair of the rump patch
into a large, flat, snow-white disc which shines in the sun, and
shows afar as a bright white spot.

[Illustration: XX. Near Yellowstone Gate: (a) Antelope _Photo by F. Jay
(b) Captive Wolf _Photo by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XXI. Mountain Sheep on Mt. Evarts
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]

This action is momentary or very brief; the spread disc goes down again
in a few seconds. The flash is usually a signal of danger, although it
answers equally well for a recognition mark.

In 1897 the Antelope in the Park were estimated at 1,500. Now they have
dwindled to about one third of that, and, in spite of good protection,
continue to go down. They do not flourish when confined even in a large
area, and we have reason to fear that one of the obscure inexorable laws
of nature is working now to shelve the Antelope with the creatures that
have passed away. A small band is yet to be seen wintering on the
prairie near Gardiner.


At one time the Bighorn abounded along all the rivers where there was
rough land as far east as the western edge of the Dakotas, westerly to
the Cascades, and in the mountains from Mexico and Southern California
to Alaska.

In one form or another the Mountain Sheep covered this large region, and
it is safe to say that in the United States alone their numbers were
millions. But the dreadful age of the repeating rifle and lawless
skin-hunter came on, till the end of the last century saw the Bighorn in
the United States reduced to a few hundreds; they were well along the
sunset trail.

But the New York Zoölogical Society, the Camp Fire Club, and other
societies of naturalists and sportsmen, bestirred themselves mightily.
They aroused all thinking men to the threatening danger of extinction;
good laws were passed and then enforced. The danger having been
realized, the calamity was averted, and now the Sheep are on the
increase in many parts of the West.

During the epoch of remorseless destruction the few survivors were the
wildest of wild things; they would not permit the approach of a man
within a mile. But our new way of looking at the Bighorn has taught them
a new way of looking at us, as every traveller in Colorado or the
protected parts of Wyoming will testify.

In 1897 I spent several months rambling on the upper ranges of the
Yellowstone Park, and I saw not a single Sheep, although it was
estimated that there were nearly a hundred of the scared fugitives
hiding and flying among the rocks.


In 1912 it was believed that in spite of poachers, Cougars, snow slides,
and scab contracted from domestic sheep, the Bighorn in the Yellowstone
Park had increased to considerably over two hundred, and the traveller
can find them with fair certainty if he will devote a few days to the
quest around Mt. Evarts, Washburn, or the well-known ranges.


In September, 1912, I left Gardiner with Tom Newcomb's outfit. I was
riding at the end of the procession watching in all directions, when far
up on the slide rock I caught sight of a Sheep. A brief climb brought me
within plain though not near view, to learn that there were half a dozen
at least, and I took a few shots with my camera. I think there were many
more hidden in the tall sage behind, but I avoided alarming them, so did
not find out.

There were neither rams nor lambs with this herd of ewes. The rams keep
their own company all summer and live, doubtless, far higher in the

On Mt. Washburn a week later I had the luck to find a dozen ewes with
their lambs; but the sky was dark with leaden clouds and the light so
poor that I got no good results.

In winter, as I learn from Colonel Brett, the Sheep are found in small
bands between the Mammoth Hot Springs and Gardiner, for there is good
feed there, and far less snow than in the upper ranges. I have just
heard that this winter four great rams are seen there every day with
about forty other Sheep; and they are so tame that one can get pictures
within ten feet if desired. Alas! that I have to be so far away with
such thrilling opportunities going to waste.


[Footnote B: See "Life Histories of Northern Animals," by E. T. Seton.]

       *       *       *       *       *


Bats in the Devil's Kitchen

       *       *       *       *       *


Bats in the Devil's Kitchen

It is unfortunate that the average person has a deep prejudice against
the Bat. Without looking or thinking for himself, he accepts a lot of
absurd tales about the winged one, and passes them on and on, never
caring for the injustice he does or the pleasure he loses. I have loved
the Bat ever since I came to know him; that is, all my mature life. He
is the climax of creation in many things, highly developed in brain,
marvellously keen in senses, clad in exquisite fur and equipped, above
all, with the crowning glory of flight. He is the prototype and the
realization of the Fairy of the Wood we loved so much as children, and
so hated to be robbed of by grown-ups, who should have known better.

I would give a good deal to have a Bat colony where I could see it
daily, and would go a long way to meet some new kind of Bat.


I never took much interest in caverns, or geysers, or in any of the
abominable cavities of the earth that nature so plainly meant to keep
hidden from our eyes. I shall not forget the unpleasant sensations I had
when first, in 1897, I visited the Yellowstone Wonderland and stood
gazing at that abominable Mud Geyser, which is even worse to-day. The
entry in my journal of the time runs thus:

"The Mud Geyser is unlike anything that can be seen elsewhere. One hears
about the bowels of the earth; this surely is the end of one of them.
They talk of the mouth of hell; this is the mouth with a severe fit of
vomiting. The filthy muck is spewed from an unseen gullet at one side
into a huge upright mouth with sounds of oozing, retching and belching.
Then as quickly reswallowed with noises expressive of loathing on its
own part, while noxious steam spreads disgusting, unpleasant odours all
around. The whole process is quickly repeated, and goes on and on, and
has gone on for ages, and will go. And yet one feels that this is merely
the steam vent outside of the huge factory where all the actual work is
being done. One does not really see the thing at all, but only stands
outside the building where it is going on. One never wishes to see it a
second time. All are disgusted by it, but all are fascinated."

       *       *       *       *       *

No, I like them not. I have a natural antipathy to the internal
arrangements of Mother Earth. I might almost say a delicacy about gazing
on such exposure. Anyhow, we shall all get underground soon enough; and
I usually drop off when our party prepares to explore dark, horrible,
smelly underground places that have no possible claim (I hold) for the
normal being of healthy instincts.

But near the Mammoth Hot Springs is a hellhole that did attract me. It
is nothing else than the stuffy, blind alley known as the Devil's
Kitchen. There is no cooking going on at present, probably because it is
not heated up enough, but there is a peculiarly hot, close feeling
suggestive of the Monkey house in an old-time zoo. I went down this, not
that I was interested in the Satanic cuisine, but because my ancient
antipathy was routed by my later predilection--I was told that Bats
"occurred" in the kitchen. Sure enough, I found them, half a dozen, so
far as one could tell in the gloom, and thanks to the Park
Superintendent, Colonel L. M. Brett, I secured a specimen which, to my
great surprise, turned out to be the long-eared Bat, a Southern species
never before discovered north of Colorado. It will be interesting to
know whether they winter here or go south, as do many of their kin. They
would have to go a long way before they would find another bedroom so
warm and safe. Even if they go as far as the equator, with its warmth
and its pests, they would probably have reason to believe that the
happiest nights of their lives were those spent in the Devil's Kitchen.


       *       *       *       *       *


The Well-meaning Skunk

       *       *       *       *       *


The Well-meaning Skunk


I have a profound admiration for the Skunk. Indeed, I once maintained
that this animal was the proper emblem of America. It is, first of all,
peculiar to this continent. It has stars on its head and stripes on its
body. It is an ideal citizen; minds its own business, harms no one, and
is habitually inoffensive, as long as it is left alone; but it will face
any one or any number when aroused. It has a wonderful natural ability
to take the offensive; and no man ever yet came to grips with a Skunk
without being sadly sorry for it afterward.

Nevertheless, in spite of all this, and the fact that several other
countries have prior claims on the Eagle, I could not secure, for my
view, sufficient popular support to change the national emblem.

From Atlantic to Pacific and from Mexico far north into the wilds of
Canada the Skunk is found, varying with climate in size and colour
indeed, but everywhere the same in character and in mode of defense.

It abounds in the broken country that lies between forest and prairie,
but seems to avoid the thicker woods as well as the higher peaks.

In Yellowstone Park it is not common, but is found occasionally about
Mammoth Hot Springs and Yancey's, at which latter place I had much
pleasant acquaintance with its kind.


Every one knows that the animal can make a horrible smell in defending
itself, but most persons do not realize what the smell is, or how it is
made. First of all, and this should be in capitals, it has nothing at
all to do with the kidneys or with the sex organs. It is simply a highly
specialized musk secreted by a gland, or rather, a pair of them, located
under the tail. It is used for defense when the Skunk is in peril of his
life, or thinks he is. But a Skunk may pass his whole life without using


He can throw it to a distance of seven to ten feet according to his
power or the wind. If it reaches the eyes of his assailant it blinds him
temporarily. If it enters his mouth it sets up a frightful nausea. If
the vapour gets into his lungs, it chokes as well as nauseates. There
are cases on record of men and dogs being permanently blinded by this
awful spray. And there is one case of a boy being killed by it.

Most Americans know somewhat of its terrors, but few of them realize the
harmlessness of the Skunk when let alone. In remote places I find men
who still think that this creature goes about shooting as wildly and
wantonly as any drunken cowboy.


A few days ago while walking with a friend in the woods we came on a
Skunk. My companion shouted to the dog and captured him to save him from
a possible disaster, then called to me to keep back and let the Skunk
run away. But the fearless one in sable and ermine did not run, and I
did not keep back, but I walked up very gently. The Skunk stood his
ground and raised his tail high over his back, the sign of fight. I
talked to him, still drawing nearer; then, when only ten feet away, was
surprised to see that one of his feet was in a trap and terribly


I stooped down, saying many pleasant things about my friendliness, etc.
The Skunk's tail slowly lowered and I came closer up. Still, I did not
care to handle the wild and tormented thing on such short acquaintance,
so I got a small barrel and quietly placed it over him, then removed the
trap and brought him home, where he is now living in peace and comfort.

I mention this to show how gentle and judicious a creature the Skunk is
when gently and judiciously approached. It is a sad commentary on our
modes of dealing with wild life when I add that as afterward appeared
this Skunk had been struggling in the tortures of that trap for three
days and three nights.


These remarks are preliminary to an account of my adventures with a
family of Skunks in the Park. During the summer I spent in the little
shanty still to be seen, opposite Yancey's, I lost no opportunity of
making animal investigations. One of my methods was to sweep the dust on
the trail and about the cabin quite smooth at night so that any creature
passing should leave me his tracks and I should be sure that they were


One morning on going out I found the fresh tracks of a Skunk. Next night
these were seen again, in fact, there were two sets of them. A day or so
later the cook at the nearby log hotel announced that a couple of
Skunks came every evening to feed at the garbage bucket outside the
kitchen door. That night I was watching for them. About dusk one came,
walking along sedately with his tail at half mast. The house dog and the
house cat both were at the door as the Skunk arrived. They glanced at
the newcomer; then the cat discreetly went indoors and the dog rumbled
in his chest, but discreetly he walked away, very stiffly, and looked at
the distant landscape, with his hair on his back still bristling. The
Skunk waddled up to the garbage pail, climbed in, though I was but ten
feet away, and began his evening meal.


Another came later. Their tails were spread and at each sharp noise rose
a little higher, but no one offered them harm, and they went their way
when they were filled.

After this it was a regular thing to go out and see the Skunks feed when
evening came.


I was anxious to get a picture or two, but was prevented by the poor
light; in fact, it was but half light, and in those days we had no
brilliant flash powders. So there was but one thing to do, that was trap
my intended sitters.

Next night I was ready for them with an ordinary box trap, and even
before the appointed time we saw a fine study in black and white come
marching around the cow stable with banner-tail aloft, and across the
grass toward the kitchen. The box trap was all ready and we--two women
including my wife, and half a dozen men of the mountaineer type--were
watching. The cat and the dog moved sullenly aside. The Skunk, with the
calm confidence of one accustomed to respect, sniffed his way to the box
trap with its tempting odorous bait. A Mink or a Marten, not to say a
Fox, would have investigated a little before entering. The Skunk
indulged in no such waste of time. What had he to fear--he the little
lord of all things with the power of smell? He went in like one going
home, seized the bait, and down went the door. The uninitiated onlookers
expected an explosion from the Skunk, but I knew quite well he never
wasted a shot, and did not hesitate to approach and make all safe. Now I
wanted to move the box with its captive to my photographic studio, but
could not carry it alone, so I asked the mountaineers to come and help.
Had I asked them to join me in killing a man, shooting up the town, or
otherwise taking their lives in their hands, I would doubtless have had
half a dozen cheerful volunteers; but to carry a box in which was a wild
Skunk--"not for a hundred dollars," and the warriors melted into the

Then I said to my wife, "Haven't _you_ got nerve enough to help with
this box? I'll guarantee that nothing will happen." So she came and we
took the box to my prepared enclosure, where next day I photographed him
to my heart's content. More than once as I worked around at a distance
of six or eight feet, the Skunk's tail flew up, but I kept perfectly
still then; talked softly, apologizing and explaining: "Now don't shoot
at me. We are to be good friends. I wouldn't hurt you for anything. Now
do drop that fighting flag, if you please, and be good."


Gradually the tail went down and the captive looked at me in mere
curiosity as I got my pictures.

I let him go by simply removing the wire netting of the fence, whereupon
he waddled off under the cabin that I called "home."



The next night as I lay in my bunk I heard a sniffing and scratching on
the cabin floor. On looking over the edge of the bed I came face to face
with my friend the Skunk. Our noses were but a foot apart and just
behind him was another; I suppose his mate. I said: "Hello! Here you
are again. I'm glad to see you. Who's your friend?" He did not tell me,
neither did he seem offended. I suppose it was his mate. That was the
beginning of his residence under the floor of my cabin. My wife and I
got very well acquainted with him and his wife before the summer was
over. For though we had the cabin by day, the Skunks had it by night. We
always left them some scraps, and regularly at dusk they came up to get
them. They cleaned up our garbage, so helped to rid us of flies and
mice. We were careful to avoid hurting or scaring our nightly visitors,
so the summer passed without offense. We formed only the kindest
feelings toward each other, and we left them in possession of the cabin,
where, so far as I know, they are living yet, if you wish to call.



As already noted, I swept the dust smooth around our shanty each night
to make a sort of visitors' book. Then each morning I could go out and
by study of the tracks get an exact idea of who had called. Of course
there were many blank nights; on others the happenings were trifling,
but some were full of interest. In this way I learned of the Coyote's
visits to the garbage pail and of the Skunk establishment under the
house, and other interesting facts as in the diagram. I have always used
this method of study in my mountain trips, and recall a most interesting
record that rewarded my patience some twenty years ago when I lived in
New Mexico.

[Illustration: XXII. Track record of Bobcat's adventure with a Skunk]

During the night I had been aroused by a frightful smell of Skunk,
followed by strange muffled sounds that died away. So forth I went at
sunrise and found the odour of Skunk no dream but a stern reality. Then
a consultation of my dust album revealed an inscription which after a
little condensing and clearing up appeared much as in Plate XXII. At A a
Skunk had come on the scene, at B he was wandering about when a hungry
Wild Cat or Bobcat Lynx appeared, C. Noting the promise of something to
kill for food, he came on at D. The Skunk observing the intruder said,
"You better let me alone." And not wishing to make trouble moved off
toward E. But the Bobcat, evidently young and inexperienced, gave chase.
At F the Skunk wheeled about, remarking, "Well, if you will have it,
here goes!" At G the Lynx was hit. The tremendous bound from G to H
shows the effect. At J he bumped into a stone, showing probably that he
was blinded, after which he went bouncing and bounding away. The Skunk
merely said, "I told you so!" then calmly resumed the even tenor of his
way. At K he found the remains of a chicken, on which he feasted, then
went quietly home to bed.

This is my reading of the tracks in the dust. The evidence was so clear
that I have sketched here from imagination the succession of events
which it seemed to narrate.

[Illustration: XXIII. The six chapters of the Bobcat's adventure. (a)
The Bobcat appears on the scene; (b) "Ha," he says, "A meal for me."
"Beware," says the Skunk; (c) "No! Then take that," says the Skunk; (d)
"Ow-w-ow-w"; (e) "I told you so"; (f) "How pleasant is a peaceful meal"
_Sketches by E. T. Seton_]


It would not be doing justice to the Skunk if I did not add a word about
certain of the kind that I have at home.

For many years I have kept at least one pet Skunk. Just now I have about
sixty. I keep them close to the house and would let them run loose
indoors but for the possibility of some fool dog or cat coming around,
and provoking the exemplary little brutes into a perfectly justifiable
endeavour to defend themselves as nature taught them. But for this I
should have no fear. Not only do I handle them myself, but I have
induced many of my wild-eyed visitors to do so as a necessary part of
their education. For few indeed there are in the land to-day that
realize the gentleness and forbearance of this righteous little brother
of ours, who, though armed with a weapon that will put the biggest and
boldest to flight or disastrous defeat, yet refrains from using it until
in absolute peril of his life, and then only after several warnings.

By way of rounding out this statement, I present a picture of my little
daughter playing among the Skunks, and need add only that they are
full-grown specimens in full possession of all their faculties. Plate

[Illustration: XXIV. My tame Skunks: (a) Mother Skunk and her brood; (b)
Ann Seton feeding her pets
_Photos by E. T. Seton_]

       *       *       *       *       *


Old Silver-grizzle--The Badger

       *       *       *       *       *



Old Silver-grizzle--The Badger

A brilliant newspaper man once gave vast publicity to the story that at
last a use had been found for the Badger, with his mania for digging
holes in the ground. By kindness and care and the help of an attached
little steam-gauge speedometer plumb compass, that gave accurate aim,
improved perpendicularity, and increased efficiency to the efforts of
the strenuous excavator, he had been able to produce a dirigible Badger
that was certain to displace all other machinery for digging postholes.

Unfortunately I was in a position to disprove this pretty conceit. But I
think of it every time I put my foot in a Badger hole. Such lovely
holes, so plentiful, so worse than useless where the Badger has
thoughtlessly located them. If only we could harness and direct such
excavatory energies.


This, indeed, is the only quarrel civilized man can pick with the honest
Badger. He _will_ dig holes that endanger horse's legs and rider's
necks. He may destroy Gophers, Ground-squirrels, Prairie-dogs, insects,
and a hundred enemies of the farm; he may help the crops in a thousand
different ways, _but he will dig post-holes where they are not wanted_,
and this indiscretion has made many enemies for the kindest and
sturdiest of all the squatters on the plains.


From the Saskatchewan to Mexico he ranges, and from Illinois to
California, wherever there are dry, open plains supplied with
Ground-squirrels and water.


Many times, in crossing the rolling plains of Montana, the uplands of
Arizona and New Mexico, or the prairies of Manitoba, I have met with
Mittenusk, as the redmen call him. Like a big white stone perched on
some low mound he seems. But the wind makes cracks in it at places, and
then it moves--giving plain announcement to the world with eyes to see
that this is a Badger sunning himself. He seldom allows a near approach,
even in the Yellowstone, where he is safe, and is pretty sure to drop
down out of sight in his den long before one gets within camera range.
The Badger is such a subterranean, nocturnal creature at most times that
for long his home life escaped our observation, but at last a few
paragraphs, if not a chapter of it, have been secured, and we find that
this shy creature, in ill odour among cattlemen as noted, is a rare and
lovely character when permitted to unbend in a congenial group. Sturdy,
strong and dogged, and brave to the last ditch, the more we know of the
Badger the more we respect him.

Let us pass lightly over the facts that in makeup he is between a Bear
and a Weasel, and that he weighs about twenty pounds, and has a soft
coat of silvery gray and some label marks of black on his head.

He feeds chiefly on Ground-squirrels, which he digs out, but does not
scorn birds' eggs, or even fruit and grain at times. Except for an
occasional sun-bath, he spends the day in his den and travels about
mostly by night. He minds his own business, if let alone, but woe be to
the creature of the plains that tries to molest him, for he has the
heart of a bulldog, the claws of a Grizzly, and the jaws of a small

I shall never forget my first meeting with Old Silver-grizzle. It was on
the plains of the Souris, in 1882. I saw this broad, low, whitish
creature on the prairie, not far from the trail, and, impelled by the
hunter instinct so strong in all boys, I ran toward him. He dived into a
den, but the one he chose proved to be barely three feet deep, and I
succeeded in seizing the Badger's short thick tail. Gripping it firmly
with both hands, I pulled and pulled, but he was stronger than I. He
braced himself against the sides of the den and defied me. With anything
like fair play, he would have escaped, but I had accomplices, and the
details of what followed are not pleasant reminiscences. But I was very
young at the time, and that was my first Badger. I wanted his skin, and
I had not learned to respect his exemplary life and dauntless spirit.

In the summer of 1897 I was staying at Yancey's in the Park. Daily I saw
signs of Badgers about, and one morning while prowling, camera in hand,
I saw old Gray-coat wandering on the prairie, looking for fresh
Ground-squirrel holes. Keeping low, I ran toward him. He soon sensed me,
and to my surprise came rushing toward me, uttering sharp snarls. This
one was behaving differently from any Badger I had seen before, but
evidently he was going to give me a chance for a picture. After that was
taken, doubtless I could save myself by running. We were within thirty
yards of each other and both coming strong, when "crash" I went into a
Badger hole _I_ had not seen, just as he went "thump" down tail first
into a hole _he_ had not seen. For a moment we both looked very foolish,
but he recovered first, and rushing a few yards nearer, plunged into a
deep and wide den toward which he evidently had been heading from the


The strongest peculiar trait of the Badger is perhaps his
sociability--sociability being, of course, a very different thing from
gregariousness. Usually there are two Badgers in each den. Nothing
peculiar about that, but there are several cases on record of a Badger,
presumably a bachelor or a widower, sharing his life with some totally
different animal. In some instances that other animal has been a Coyote;
and the friendship really had its foundation in enmity and intended

This is the probable history of a typical case: The Badger, being a
mighty miner and very able to dig out the Ground-squirrels of the
prairie, was followed about by a Coyote, whose speed and agility kept
him safe from the Badger's jaws, while he hovered close by, knowing
quite well that when the Badger was digging out the Ground-squirrels at
their front door, these rodents were very apt to bolt by the back door,
and thus give the Coyote an excellent chance for a cheap dinner.

So the Coyote acquired the habit of following the hard-working Badger.
At first, no doubt, the latter resented the parasite that dogged his
steps, but becoming used to it "first endured, then pitied, then
embraced", or, to put it more mildly, he got accustomed to the Coyote's
presence, and being of a kindly disposition, forgot his enmity and
thenceforth they contentedly lived their lives together. I do not know
that they inhabited the same den. Yet that would not be impossible,
since similar things are reported of the British Badger and the Fox.

More than one observer has seen a Badger and a Coyote travelling
together, sometimes one leading, sometimes the other. Evidently it was a
partnership founded on good-will, however it may have been begun.


But the most interesting case, and one which I might hesitate to
reproduce but for the witnesses, reached me at Winnipeg.


In 1871 there was a family named Service living at Bird's Hill, on the
prairie north of Winnipeg. They had one child, a seven-year-old boy
named Harry. He was a strange child, very small for his age, and shy
without being cowardly. He had an odd habit of following dogs, chickens,
pigs, and birds, imitating their voices and actions, with an exactness
that onlookers sometimes declared to be uncanny. One day he had gone
quietly after a Prairie Chicken that kept moving away from him without
taking flight, clucking when she clucked, and nodding his head or
shaking his "wings" when she did. So he wandered on and on, till the
house was hidden from view behind the trees that fringed the river, and
the child was completely lost.

There was nothing remarkable in his being away for several hours, but a
heavy thunderstorm coming up that afternoon called attention to the fact
that the boy was missing, and when the first casual glance did not
discover him it became serious and a careful search was begun.

Father and mother, with the near neighbours, scoured the prairie till
dark, and began the next day at dawn, riding in all directions, calling,
and looking for signs. After a day or two the neighbours gave it up,
believing that the child was drowned and carried away by the river. But
the parents continued their search even long after all hope seemed
dead. And there was no hour of the day when that stricken mother did not
send up a prayer for heavenly help; nor any night when she did not kneel
with her husband and implore the One who loved and blessed the babes of
Jerusalem to guard her little one and bring him back in safety.



There was one neighbour of the family who joined in the search that had
nevertheless incurred the bitter dislike of little Harry Service. The
feeling was partly a mere baby instinct, but pointedly because of the
man's vicious cruelty to the animals, wild or tame, that came within his
power. Only a week before he had set steel traps at a den where he
chanced to find a pair of Badgers in residence. The first night he
captured the father Badger. The cruel jaws of the jag-toothed trap had
seized him by both paws, so he was held helpless. The trap was champed
and wet with blood and froth when Grogan came in the morning. Of what
use are courage and strength when one cannot reach the foe? The Badger
craved only a fair fight, but Grogan stood out of reach and used a club
till the light was gone from the brave eyes and the fighting snarl was

The trap was reset in the sand and Grogan went. He carried the dead
Badger to the Service house to show his prize and get help to skin it,
after which he set off for the town and bartered the skin for what evil
indulgence it might command, and thought no more of the trap for three
days. Meanwhile the mother Badger, coming home at dawn, was caught by
one foot. Strain as she might, that deadly grip still held her; all that
night and all the next day she struggled. She had little ones to care
for. Their hungry cries from down the burrow were driving her almost
mad; but the trap was of strong steel, beyond her strength, and at last
the crying of the little ones in the den grew still. On the second day
of her torture the mother, in desperation, chewed off one of her toes
and dragged her bleeding foot from the trap.


Down the burrow she went first, but it was too late; her babies were
dead. She buried them where they lay and hastened from that evil spot.

Water was her first need, next food, and then at evening she made for an
old den she had used the fall before.


And little Harry, meanwhile, where was he? That sunny afternoon in June
he had wandered away from the house, and losing sight of the familiar
building behind the long fringe of trees by the river, he had lost his
bearings. Then came the thunder shower which made him seek for shelter.
There was nothing about him but level prairie, and the only shelter he
could find was a Badger hole, none too wide even for his small form.
Into this he had backed and stayed with some comfort during the
thunderstorm, which continued till night. Then in the evening the child
heard a sniffing sound, and a great, gray animal loomed up against the
sky, sniffed at the tracks and at the open door of the den. Next it put
its head in, and Harry saw by the black marks on its face that it was a
Badger. He had seen one just three days before. A neighbour had brought
it to his father's house to skin it. There it stood sniffing, and Harry,
gazing with less fear than most children, noticed that the visitor had
five claws on one foot and four on the other, with recent wounds, proof
of some sad experience in a trap. Doubtless this was the Badger's den,
for she--it proved a mother--came in, but Harry had no mind to
surrender. The Badger snarled and came on, and Harry shrieked, "Get
out!" and struck with his tiny fists, and then, to use his own words, "I
scratched the Badger's face and she scratched mine." Surely this Badger
was in a generous mood, for she did him no serious harm, and though the
rightful owner of the den, she went away and doubtless slept elsewhere.


Night came down. Harry was very thirsty. Close by the door was a pool of
rainwater. He crawled out, slaked his thirst, and backed into the warm
den as far as he could. Then remembering his prayers, he begged God to
"send mamma," and cried himself to sleep. During the night he was
awakened by the Badger coming again, but it went away when the child
scolded it. Next morning Harry went to the pool again and drank. Now he
was so hungry; a few old rose hips hung on the bushes near the den. He
gathered and ate these, but was even hungrier. Then he saw something
moving out on the plain. It might be the Badger, so he backed into the
den, but he watched the moving thing. It was a horseman galloping. As it
came near, Harry saw that it was Grogan, the neighbour for whom he had
such a dislike, so he got down out of sight. Twice that morning men came
riding by, but having once yielded to his shy impulse, he hid again each
time. The Badger came back at noon. In her mouth she held the body of a
Prairie Chicken, pretty well plucked and partly devoured. She came into
the den sniffing as before. Harry shouted, "Get out! Go away." The
Badger dropped the meat and raised her head. Harry reached and grasped
the food and devoured it with the appetite of one starving. There must
have been another doorway, for later the Badger was behind the child in
the den, and still later when he had fallen asleep she came and slept
beside him. He awoke to find the warm furry body filling the space
between him and the wall, and knew now why it was he had slept so


That evening the Badger brought the egg of a Prairie Chicken and set it
down unbroken before the child. He devoured it eagerly, and again drank
from the drying mud puddle to quench his thirst. During the night it
rained again, and he would have been cold, but the Badger came and
cuddled around him. Once or twice it licked his face. The child could
not know, but the parents discovered later that this was a mother Badger
which had lost her brood and her heart was yearning for something to

Now there were two habits that grew on the boy. One was to shun the
men that daily passed by in their search, the other was to look to
the Badger for food and protection, and live the Badger's life.
She brought him food often not at all to his taste--dead Mice or
Ground-squirrels--but several times she brought in the comb of a bee's
nest or eggs of game birds, and once a piece of bread almost certainly
dropped on the trail from some traveller's lunch bag. His chief trouble
was water. The prairie pool was down to mere ooze and with this he
moistened his lips and tongue. Possibly the mother Badger wondered why
he did not accept her motherly offerings. But rain came often enough to
keep him from serious suffering.

Their daily life was together now, and with the imitative power strong
in all children and dominant in him, he copied the Badger's growls,
snarls, and purrs. Sometimes they played tag on the prairie, but both
were ready to rush below at the slightest sign of a stranger.

Two weeks went by. Galloping men no longer passed each day. Harry and
the Badger had fitted their lives into each other's, and strange as it
may seem, the memory of his home was already blurred and weakened in the
boy. Once or twice during the second week men had passed near by, but
the habit of eluding them was now in full possession of him.



One morning he wandered a little farther in search of water and was
alarmed by a horseman appearing. He made for home on all fours--he ran
much on all fours now--and backed into the den. In the prairie grass he
was concealed, but the den was on a bare mound, and the horseman caught
a glimpse of a whitish thing disappearing down the hole. Badgers were
familiar to him, but the peculiar yellow of this and the absence of
black marks gave it a strange appearance. He rode up quietly within
twenty yards and waited.

After a few minutes the gray-yellow ball slowly reappeared and resolved
itself into the head of a tow-topped child. The young man leaped to the
ground and rushed forward, but the child retreated far back into the
den, beyond reach of the man, and refused to come out. Nevertheless,
there was no doubt that this was the missing Harry Service. "Harry!
Harry! don't you know me? I'm your Cousin Jack," the young man said in
soothing, coaxing tones. "Harry, won't you come out and let me take you
back to mamma? Come Harry! Look! here are some cookies!" but all in
vain. The child hissed and snarled at him like a wild thing, and
retreated as far as he could till checked by a turn in the burrow.


Now Jack got out his knife and began to dig until the burrow was large
enough for him to crawl in a little way. At once he succeeded in
getting hold of the little one's arm and drew him out struggling and
crying. But now there rushed also from the hole a Badger, snarling and
angry; it charged at the man, uttering its fighting snort. He fought it
off with his whip, then swung to the saddle with his precious burden and
rode away as for his very life, while the Badger pursued for a time, but
it was easily left behind, and its snorts were lost and forgotten.


The father was coming in from another direction as he saw this strange
sight: a horse galloping madly over the prairie, on its back a young man
shouting loudly, and in his arms a small dirty child, alternately
snarling at his captor, trying to scratch his face, or struggling to be

The father was used to changing intensity of feeling at these times, but
he turned pale and held his breath till the words reached him: "I have
got him, thank God! He's all right," and he rushed forward shouting, "My
boy! my boy!"


But he got a rude rebuff. The child glared like a hunted cat, hissed at
him, and menaced with hands held claw fashion. Fear and hate were all he
seemed to express. The door of the house was flung open and the
distracted mother, now suddenly overjoyed, rushed to join the group. "My
darling! my darling!" she sobbed, but little Harry was not as when he
left them. He hung back, he hid his face in the coat of his captor, he
scratched and snarled like a beast, he displayed his claws and
threatened fight, till strong arms gathered him up and placed him on his
mother's knees in the old, familiar room with the pictures, and the
clock ticking as of old, and the smell of frying bacon, his sister's
voice, and his father's form, and, above all, his mother's arms about
him, her magic touch on his brow, and her voice, "My darling! my
darling! Oh! Harry, don't you know your mother? My boy! my boy!" And the
struggling little wild thing in her arms grew quiet, his animal anger
died away, his raucous hissing gave place to a short panting, and that
to a low sobbing that ended in a flood of tears and a passionate "Mamma,
mamma, mamma!" as the veil of a different life was rolled away, and he
clung to his mother's bosom.


But even as she cooed to him, and stroked his brow and won him back
again, there was a strange sound, a snarling hiss at the open door. All
turned to see a great Badger standing there with its front feet on the
threshold. Father and cousin exclaimed, "Look at that Badger!" and
reached for the ready gun, but the boy screamed again. He wriggled from
his mother's arms and rushing to the door, cried, "My Badgie! my
Badgie!" He flung his arms about the savage thing's neck, and it
answered with a low purring sound as it licked its lost companion's
face. The men were for killing the Badger, but it was the mother's
keener insight that saved it, as one might save a noble dog that had
rescued a child from the water.

It was some days before the child would let the father come near. "I
hate that man; he passed me every day and would not look at me," was the
only explanation. Doubtless the first part was true, for the Badger den
was but two miles from the house and the father rode past many times in
his radiating search, but the tow-topped head had escaped his eye.

It was long and only by slow degrees that the mother got the story that
is written here, and parts of it were far from clear. It might all have
been dismissed as a dream or a delirium but for the fact that the boy
had been absent two weeks; he was well and strong now, excepting that
his lips were blackened and cracked with the muddy water, the Badger had
followed him home, and was now his constant friend.


It was strange to see how the child oscillated between the two lives,
sometimes talking to his people exactly as he used to talk, and
sometimes running on all fours, growling, hissing, and tussling with the
Badger. Many a game of "King of the Castle" they had together on the low
pile of sand left after the digging of a new well. Each would climb to
the top and defy the other to pull him down, till a hold was secured and
they rolled together to the level, clutching and tugging, Harry
giggling, the Badger uttering a peculiar high-pitched sound that might
have been called snarling had it not been an expression of good nature.
Surely it was a Badger laugh. There was little that Harry could ask
without receiving, in those days, but his mother was shocked when he
persisted that the Badger must sleep in his bed; yet she so arranged it.
The mother would go in the late hours and look on them with a little
pang of jealousy as she saw her baby curled up, sleeping soundly with
that strange beast.

It was Harry's turn to feed his friend now, and side by side they sat to
eat. The Badger had become an established member of the family. But
after a month had gone by an incident took place that I would gladly
leave untold.


Grogan, the unpleasant neighbour, who had first frightened Harry into
the den, came riding up to the Service homestead. Harry was in the house
for the moment. The Badger was on the sand pile. Instantly on catching
sight of it, Grogan unslung his gun and exclaimed, "A Badger!" To him a
Badger was merely something to be killed. "Bang!" and the kindly animal
rolled over, stung and bleeding, but recovered and dragged herself
toward the house. "Bang!" and the murderer fired again, just as the
inmates rushed to the door--too late. Harry ran toward the Badger
shouting, "Badgie! my Badgie!" He flung his baby arms around the
bleeding neck. It fawned on him feebly, purring a low, hissing purr,
then mixing the purrs with moans, grew silent, and slowly sank down, and
died in his arms. "My Badgie! my Badgie!" the boy wailed, and all the
ferocity of his animal nature was directed against Grogan.

"You better get out of this before I kill you!" thundered the father,
and the hulking halfbreed sullenly mounted his horse and rode away.

A great part of his life had been cut away and it seemed as though a
deathblow had been dealt the boy. The shock was more than he could
stand. He moaned and wept all day, he screamed himself into
convulsions, he was worn out at sundown and slept little that night.
Next morning he was in a raging fever and ever he called for "My
Badgie!" He seemed at death's door the next day, but a week later he
began to mend and in three weeks was strong as ever and childishly gay,
with occasional spells of sad remembering that gradually ceased.

He grew up to early manhood in a land of hunters, but he took no
pleasure in the killing that was such sport to his neighbour's sons, and
to his dying day he could not look on the skin of a Badger without
feelings of love, tenderness, and regret.

This is the story of the Badger as it was told me, and those who wish to
inquire further can do so at Winnipeg, if they seek out Archbishop
Matheson, Dr. R. M. Simpson, or Mrs. George A. Frazer of Kildonan. These
witnesses may differ as to the details, but all have assured me that in
its main outlines this tale is true, and I gladly tell it, for I want
you to realize the kindly disposition that is in that sturdy, harmless,
noble wild animal that sits on the low prairie mounds, for then I know
that you will join with me in loving him, and in seeking to save his
race from extermination.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers

       *       *       *       *       *


The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers

You remember that Hiawatha christened the Squirrel
"Adjidaumo"--"Tail-in-air" and this Tail-in-air was chattering overhead
as I sat, some twenty-five years ago, on the shore of the Lake of the
Woods with an Ojibwa Indian, checking up the animals' names in the
native tongue. Of course the Red-squirrel was early in our notice.

"Ad-je-_daw_-mo" I called it, but the Indian corrected me;
"Ah-chit-aw-_mo_" he made it; and when I translated it "Tail-in-air" he
said gravely, "No, it means head downward." Then noting my surprise, he
added, with characteristic courtesy, "Yes, yes, you are right; if his
head is down, his tail must be up." Thoreau talks of the Red-squirrel
flicking his tail like a whip-lash, and the word "Squirrel," from the
Latin "_Sciurus_" and Greek "_Skia-oura_" means "shady tail." Thus all
of its names seem to note the wonderful banner that serves the animal
in turn as sun-shade, signal-flag, coverlet, and parachute.



A wonderfully extensive kingdom has fallen to Adjidaumo of the shady
tail; all of Canada and most of the Rockies are his. He is at home
wherever there are pine forests and a cool climate; and he covers so
many ranges of diverse conditions that, responding to the new
environments in lesser matters of makeup, we have a score of different
Squirrel races from this parent stock. In size, in tail, in kind or
depth of coat they differ to the expert eye, but so far as I can see
they are exactly alike in all their ways, their calls and their

The Pine Squirrel is the form found in the Rockies about the Yellowstone
Park. It is a little darker in colour than the Red-squirrel of the East,
but I find no other difference. It has the same aggressive, scolding
propensities, the same love of the pinyons and their product, the same
friends and the same foes, with one possible partial exception in the
list of habits, and that is in its method of storing up mushrooms.


The pinyons, or nuts of the pinyon pine, are perhaps the most delicious
nuts in all the lap of bountiful dame Nature, from fir belt in the
north to equatorial heat and on to far Fuego. All wild creatures revel
in the pinyons. To the Squirrels they are more than the staff of life;
they are meat and potatoes, bread and honey, pork and beans, bread and
cake, sugar and chocolate, the sum of comfort, and the promise of
continuing joy. But the pinyon does not bear every year; there are off
years, as with other trees, and the Squirrels might be in a bad way if
they had no other supply of food to lay up for the winter.

[Illustration: XXV. Red-squirrel storing mushrooms for winter use
_Sketched from life in the Selkirk Mountains, by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XXVI. Chink stalking the Picket-pin
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]

A season I spent in the Southern Rockies was an off year for pinyons,
and when September came I was shown what the Squirrels do in such an
emergency. All through autumn the slopes of the hills were dotted with
the umbrellas of countless toadstools or mushrooms, representing many
fat and wholesome species. It is well known that while a few of them are
poisonous, a great many are good food. Scientists can find out which is
which only by slow experiment. "Eat them; if you live they are good, if
you die they are poisonous" has been suggested as a certain method. The
Squirrels must have worked this out long ago, for they surely know the
good ones; and all through late summer they are at work gathering them
for winter use in place of the pine-nuts.


Now if the provident Squirrel stored these up as he does the pinyons, in
holes or underground, they would surely go to mush in a short time and
be lost. He makes no such mistake. He stores them in the forked branches
of trees, where they dry out and remain good until needed; and wisely
puts them high enough up to be out of reach of the Deer and low enough
to avoid being dislodged by the wind.

As you ramble through the Squirrel-frequented woods, you will often come
across a log or stump which is littered over with the scales fresh cut
from a pine cone; sometimes there is a pile of a bushel or more by the
place; you have stumbled on a Squirrel's workshop. Here is where he does
his husking, and the "clear corn" produced is stored away in some
underground granary till It is needed.

The Pine Squirrel loves to nest in a hollow tree, but also builds an
outside nest which at a distance looks like a mass of rubbish. This, on
investigation, turns out to be a convenient warm chamber some six inches
wide and two or three high. It is covered with a waterproof roof of bark
thatch, and entered by a door artfully concealed with layers and fringes
of bark that hide it alike from blood-thirsty foes and piercing winter



The Red-squirrel is safe and happy only when in the tall trees, but his
kinsmen have sought out any and every different environment. One
enormous group of his great grandfather's second cousins have abandoned
tree life altogether. They have settled down like the Dakota farmers, to
be happy on the prairie, where, never having need to get over anything
higher than their own front doorstep, they have lost the last vestige of
power to climb. These are the Ground-squirrels, that in a variety of
forms are a pest in gardens and on farms in most of the country west of
the Mississippi.

Standing between these and the true Squirrels are the elegant Chipmunks,
the prettiest and most popular of all the family. They frequent the
borderland between woods and prairie; they climb, if anything is to be
gained by it, but they know, like the Ground-squirrels, that Mother
Earth is a safer retreat in time of danger than the tallest tree that
ever grew.


Conspicuous in its teeming numbers in the Yellowstone Park is the
Picket-Pin Ground-squirrel. On every level, dry prairie along the great
river I found it in swarms.


It looks much like a common Squirrel, but its coat has become more
mud-coloured, and its tail is reduced by long ages of neglect to a mere
vestige of the ancestral banner. It has developed great powers of
burrowing, but it never climbs anything higher than the little mound
that it makes about the door of its home.

The Picket-pin is an interesting and picturesque creature in some ways,
but it has one habit that I cannot quite condone. In this land of sun
and bright blue air, this world of outdoor charm, it comes forth tardily
in late spring, as late sometimes as the first of May, and promptly
retires in mid-August, when blazing summer is on the face of the earth,
and the land is a land of plenty. Down it goes after three and one half
short months, to sleep for eight and a half long ones; and since during
these three and a half months it is above ground only in broad daylight,
this means that for only two months of the year it is active, and the
other ten, four fifths of its life, it passes in a deathlike sleep.

Of course, the Picket-pin might reply that it has probably as many hours
of active life as any of its kind, only it breaks them up into sections,
with long blanks of rest between. Whether this defense is a good one or
not, we have no facts at present to determine.


It has a fashion of sitting up straight on the doorway mound when it
wishes to take an observation, and the more it is alarmed by the
approach of an enemy the straighter it sits up, pressing its paws tight
to its ribs, so that at a short distance it looks like a picket-pin of
wood; hence the name.

Oftentimes some tenderfoot going in the evening to stake out his horse
and making toward the selected patch of grassy prairie, exclaims, "Good
Luck! here's a picket-pin already driven in." But on leading up his
horse within ten or twelve feet of the pin, it gives a little "_chirr_"
and dives down out of sight. Then the said tenderfoot realizes why the
creature got the name.

The summer of 1897 I spent in the Park about Yancey's and there had
daily chances of seeing the Picket-pin and learning its ways, for the
species was there in thousands on the little prairie about my cabin. I
think I am safe in saying that there were ten families to the acre of
land on all the level prairie in this valley.


As already noted in the Coyote chapter, we had in camp that summer the
little dog called Chink. He was just old enough to think himself a
remarkable dog with a future before him. There was hardly anything that
Chink would not attempt, except perhaps keeping still. He was always
trying to do some absurd and impossible thing, or, if he did attempt the
possible, he usually spoiled his best efforts by his way of going about
it. He once spent a whole morning trying to run up a tall, straight,
pine tree in whose branches was a snickering Pine Squirrel.

The darling ambition of his life for some weeks was to catch one of the
Picket-pin Ground-squirrels that swarmed on the prairie about the camp.

Chink had determined to catch one of these Ground-squirrels the very
first day he came into the valley. Of course, he went about it in his
own original way, doing everything wrong end first, as usual. This, his
master said, was due to a streak of Irish in his makeup. So Chink would
begin a most elaborate stalk a quarter of a mile from the
Ground-squirrel. After crawling on his breast from tussock to tussock
for a hundred yards or so, the nervous strain would become too great,
and Chink, getting too much excited to crawl, would rise on his feet and
walk straight toward the Squirrel, which would now be sitting up by its
hole, fully alive to the situation.

After a minute or two of this very open approach, Chink's excitement
would overpower all caution. He would begin running, and at the last,
just as he should have done his finest stalking, he would go bounding
and barking toward the Ground-squirrel, which would sit like a peg of
wood till the proper moment, then dive below with a derisive chirrup,
throwing with its hind feet a lot of sand right into Chink's eager, open

Day after day this went on with level sameness, and still Chink did not
give up, although I feel sure he had bushels of sand thrown in his mouth
that summer by the impudent Picket-pins.


Perseverance, he seemed to believe, must surely win in the end, as
indeed it did. For, one day, he made an unusually elaborate stalk after
an unusually fine big Picket-pin, carried out all his absurd tactics,
finishing with the grand, boisterous charge, and actually caught his
victim; but this time it happened to be a _wooden_ picket-pin. Any one
who doubts that a dog knows when he has made a fool of himself should
have seen Chink that day as he sheepishly sneaked out of sight behind
the tent.


Every one recognizes as a Chipmunk the lively little creature that, with
striped coat and with tail aloft, dashes across all the roads and
chirrups on all the log piles that line the roads throughout the
timbered portions of the Park. I am sure I have often seen a thousand of
them in a mile of road between the Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Geyser
Basin. The traveller who makes the entire round of the Park may see a
hundred thousand if he keeps his eyes open. While every one knows them
at once for Chipmunks, it takes a second and more careful glance to show
they are of three totally distinct kinds.


First, largest, and least common, is the Big Striped Ground-squirrel,
the Golden Ground-squirrel or Say's Ground-squirrel, called
scientifically _Citellus lateralis cinerascens_. This, in spite of its
livery, is not a Chipmunk at all but a Ground-squirrel that is trying
hard to be a Chipmunk. And it makes a good showing so far as manners,
coat and stripes are concerned, but the incontrovertible evidence of its
inner life, as indicated by skull and makeup, tells us plainly that it
is merely a Ground-squirrel, a first cousin to the ignoble Picket-pin.

I found it especially common in the higher parts of the Park. It is
really a mountain species, at home chiefly among the rocks, yet is very
ready to take up its abode under buildings. At the Lake Hotel I saw a
number of them that lived around the back door, and were almost tamed
through the long protection there given them. Like most of these small
rodents, they are supposed to be grain-eaters but they really are
omnivorous, and quite ready to eat flesh and eggs, as well as seeds and
fruit. Warren in his "Mammals of Colorado," tells of having seen one of
these Ground-squirrels kill some young Bluebirds; and adds another
instance of flesh-eating observed in the Yellowstone Park, where he and
two friends, riding along one of the roads, saw a Say Ground-squirrel
demurely squatting on a log, holding in its arms a tiny young Meadow
Mouse, from which it picked the flesh as one might pick corn from a cob.
Meadow Mice are generally considered a nuisance, and the one devoured
probably was of a cantankerous disposition; but just the same it gives
one an unpleasant sensation to think of this elegant little creature, in
appearance, innocence personified, wearing all the insignia of a
grain-eater, yet ruthlessly indulging in such a bloody and cannibal


The early naturalists who first made the acquaintance of the Eastern
Ground-squirrel named it Tamias or "The Steward." Later the Northern
Chipmunk was discovered and it was found to be more of a Chipmunk than
its Eastern cousin. The new one had all the specialties of the old kind,
but in a higher degree. So they named this one _Eutamias_, which means
"good" or "extra good" Chipmunk. And extra good this exquisite little
creature surely is in all that goes to make a charming, graceful, birdy,
pert and vivacious four-foot. In everything but colours it is Eutamias
or Tamias of a more intensified type. Its tail is long in proportion and
carried differently, being commonly held straight up, so that the
general impression one gets is of a huge tail with a tiny striped animal
attached to its lower end.


Its excessive numbers along the roads in the Park are due to two things:
First, the food, for oats are continually spilled from the freighting
wagons. Second, the protection of piles of pine trees cut and cast aside
in clearing the roadway.

There is one habit of the Eastern Chipmunk that I have not noted in the
mountain species, and that is the habit of song. In the early spring and
late autumn when the days are bright and invigorating, the Eastern
Chipmunk will mount some log, stump or other perch and express his
exuberant joy in a song which is a rapid repetition of a bird-like note
suggested by "Chuck," "Chuck," or "Chock," "Chock." This is kept up two
or three minutes without interruption, and is one of those delightful
woodland songs whose charm comes rather from association than from its
inherent music.

If our Western Chipmunk is as far ahead in matters musical as he is in
form and other habits, I shall expect him to render no less than the
song of a nightingale when he gives himself up to express his wild
exuberance in a chant.

I shall never forget the days I spent with a naturalist friend in an old
mill building in western Manitoba. It was in a pine woods which was
peopled with these little Chipmunks. They had hailed the mill and its
wood piles, and especially the stables, with their squandered oats, as
the very gifts of a beneficient Providence for their use and benefit.
They had concentrated on the mill; they were there in hundreds, almost
thousands, and whenever one looked across the yard in sunny hours one
could see a dozen or more together.

The old mill was infested with them as an old brewery with rats. But in
many respects besides beauty they were an improvement on rats: they did
not smell, they were not vicious, and they did not move by night.


During the daytime they were everywhere and into everything. Our slender
stock of provisions was badly reduced when, by mischance, the tin box
was left open a few hours, but we loved to see so much beautiful life
about and so forgave them. One of our regular pleasures was to sit back
after a meal and watch these pert-eyed, four-legged birds scramble onto
the table, eat the scraps and lick all the plates and platters clean.

Like all the Chipmunks and Ground-squirrels, this animal has
well-developed cheek-pouches which it uses for carrying home seeds and
roots which serve for food in the winter. Or perhaps we should say in
the early spring, for the Chipmunk, like the Ground-squirrel, goes into
the ground for a long repose as soon as winter comes down hard and

Yet it does not go so early or stay so late as its big cousin. October
still sees it active, even running about in the snow. As late as October
31st at Breckenridge, Col., I saw one sitting up on a log and eating
some grass or seeds during a driving snowstorm. High up in the
Shoshonees, after winter had settled down, on October 8, 1898, I saw one
of these bright creatures bounding through the snow. On a stone he
paused to watch me and I made a hasty sketch of his attitude.


Then, again, it is out in the spring, early in April, so that it is
above ground for at least seven months of the year. Its nest is in a
chamber at the end of a long tunnel that it digs under ground, usually
among roots that make hard digging for the creatures that would rout
them out. Very little is known as yet, however, about the growth or
development of the young, so here is an opportunity for the young
naturalist who would contribute something to our knowledge of this
interesting creature.


Closely akin to this one and commonly mistaken for its young, is the
Least Chipmunk (_Eutamias minimus_), which is widely diffused in the
great dry central region of the Continent. Although so generally found
and so visible when found, its history is practically unknown. It
probably lives much like its relatives, raising a brood of four to six
young in a warm chamber far underground, and brings them up to eat all
manner of seeds, grains, fruits, herbs, berries, insects, birds, eggs,
and even mice, just as do most of its kinsmen, but no one has proved any
of these things. Any exact observations you may make are sure to be
acceptable contributions to science.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Rabbits and their Habits

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: XXVII. The Snowshoe Hare is a cross between a Rabbit and
a Snowdrift
_Captives; photo by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XXVIII. The Cottontail freezing
_Photos after sunset, by E. T. Seton_]


The Rabbits and their Habits


If the Wolf may be justly proud of his jaws and the Antelope of his
legs, I am sure that the Rabbit should very properly glory in his
matchless fecundity. To perfect this power he has consecrated all the
splendid energies of his vigorous frame, and he has magnified his
specialty into a success that is worth more to his race than could be
any other single gift.


Rabbits are without weapons of defense, and are simple-minded to the
last degree. Most are incapable of long-distance speed, but all have an
exuberance of multiplication that fills their ranks as fast as foe can
thin the line. If, indeed, they did not have several families, several
times a year, they would have died out several epochs back.


There are three marked types of Rabbits in the Rockies--the Cottontail,
the Snowshoe, and the Jackrabbit. All of them are represented on the
Yellowstone, besides the little Coney of the rocks which is a remote
second cousin of the family.


[Illustration: Molly Freezing]

I have often had occasion to comment on the "freezing" of animals. When
they are suddenly aware of a near enemy or confronted by unexpected
situations, their habit is to _freeze_--that is, become perfectly rigid,
and remain so until the danger is past or at least comprehended.

Molly Cottontail is one of the best "freezers." Whenever she does not
know what to do, she does nothing, obeying the old Western rule, "Never
rush when you are rattled." Now Molly is a very nervous creature. Any
loud, sharp noise is liable to upset her, and feeling herself unnerved
she is very apt to stop and simply "freeze." Keep this in mind when next
you meet a Cottontail, and get a photograph.

In July, 1902, I tried it myself. I was camped with a lot of Sioux
Indians on the banks of the Cheyenne River in Dakota. They had their
families with them, and about sundown one of the boys ran into the tepee
for a gun, and then fired into the grass. His little brother gave a
war-whoop that their "pa" might well have been proud of, then rushed
forward and held up a fat Cottontail, kicking her last kick. Another, a
smaller Cottontail, was found not far away, and half a dozen young
redskins armed with sticks crawled up, then suddenly let them fly. Bunny
was hit, knocked over, and before he could recover, a dog had him.


I had been some distance away. On hearing the uproar I came back toward
my own campfire, and as I did so, my Indian guide pointed to a
Cottontail twenty feet away gazing toward the boys. The guide picked up
a stick of firewood.

The boys saw him, and knowing that another Rabbit was there they came
running. Now I thought they had enough game for supper and did not wish
them to kill poor Molly. But I knew I could not stop them by saying
that, so I said: "Hold on till I make a photo." Some of them understood;
at any rate, my guide did, and all held back as I crawled toward the
Rabbit. She took alarm and was bounding away when I gave a shrill
whistle which turned her into a "frozen" statue. Then I came near and
snapped the camera. The Indian boys now closed in and were going to
throw, but I cried out: "Hold on! not yet; I want another." So I chased
Bunny twenty or thirty yards, then gave another shrill whistle, and got
a fourth snap. Again I had to hold the boys back by "wanting another
picture." Five times I did this, taking five pictures, and all the while
steering Molly toward a great pile of drift logs by the river. I had now
used up all my films.

The boys were getting impatient. So I addressed the Cottontail solemnly
and gently: "Bunny, I have done my best for you. I cannot hold these
little savages any longer. You see that pile of logs over there? Well,
Bunny, you have just five seconds to get into that wood-pile. Now git!"
and I shooed and clapped my hands, and all the young Indians yelled and
hurled their clubs, the dogs came bounding and Molly fairly dusted the

"Go it, Molly!"

"Go it, dogs!"

"Ki-yi, Injuns!"

The clubs flew and rattled around her, but Molly put in ten feet to the
hop and ten hops to the second (almost), and before the chase was well
begun it was over; her cotton tuft disappeared under a log; she was safe
in the pile of wood, where so far as I know she lived happy ever after.



The Snowshoe Rabbit is found in all parts of the Park, though not in
very great numbers. It is called "Snowshoe" on account of the size of
its feet, which, already large, are in snow time made larger by fringes
of stiff bristles that give the creature such a broad area of support
that it can skip on the surface of soft snow while all its kinsmen sink
in helplessness.


Here is the hind foot of a Snowshoe in winter, contrasted with the hind
foot of a Jackrabbit that was nearly three times its weight.

Rabbits are low in the scale of intelligence, but they are high enough
to have some joy in social life. It always gives one a special thrill of
satisfaction when favoured with a little glimpse into the home ways, the
games, or social life of an animal; and the peep I had into the Rabbit
world one night, though but a small affair, I have always remembered
with pleasure, and hope for a second similar chance.

This took place in the Bitterroot Mountains in Idaho, in 1902. My wife
and I were out on a pack-train trip with two New York friends. We had
seen some rough country in Colorado and Wyoming, but we soon agreed that
the Bitterroots were the roughest of all the mountains. It took
twenty-eight horses to carry the stuff, for which eighteen were enough
in the more southern Rockies.


The trails were so crooked and hidden in thick woods, that sometimes
the man at the rear might ride the whole day, and never see all the
horses until we stopped again for the night.



There were other annoyances, and among them a particularly dangerous
animal. The country was fairly stocked with Moose, Elk, Blacktail,
Sheep, Goats, Badgers, Skunks, Wolverines, Foxes, Coyotes, Mountain
Lions, Lynx, Wolves, Black Bears and Grizzly Bears, but it was none of
these that inspired us with fear. The deadly, dangerous creature, the
worst of all, was the common Yellow-Jacket-Wasp. These Wasps abounded in
the region. Their nests were so plentiful that many were on, or by, the
narrow crooked trails that we must follow. Generally these trails were
along the mountain shoulder with a steep bank on the upside, and a sheer
drop on the other. It was at just such dangerous places that we seemed
most often to find the Yellow-Jackets at home. Roused by the noise and
trampling, they would assail the horses in swarms, and then there would
be a stampede of bucking, squealing, tortured animals. Some would be
forced off the trail, and, as has often happened elsewhere, dashed to
their death below. This was the daily danger.


One morning late in September we left camp about eight, and set off in
the usual line, the chief guide leading and the rest of us distributed
at intervals among the pack-horses, as a control. Near the rear was the
cook, after him a pack-horse with tins and dishes, and last of all

At first we saw no wasps, as the morning was frosty, but about ten the
sun had become strong, the air was quite mild, and the wasps became
lively. For all at once I heard the dreaded cry, "_Yellow-Jackets_!"
Then in a moment it was taken up by the cook just ahead of me.
"Yellow-Jackets! look out!" with a note almost of terror in his voice.

At once his horse began to plunge and buck. I saw the man of pots
clinging to the saddle and protecting his face as best he could, while
his mount charged into the bushes and disappeared.

Then "_bzz-z-z-z_" they went at the pot-horse and again the bucking and
squealing, with pots going clank, clink, rattle and away.

"_Bzz-z-z-z-z_" and in a moment the dark and raging little terrors came
at me in a cloud. I had no time to stop, or get off, or seek another
way. So I jerked up a coat collar to save my face, held my head low, and
tried to hold on, while the little pony went insane with the fiery
baptism now upon him. Plunging, kicking, and squealing he went, and I
stuck, to him for one--two--three jumps, but at number four, as I
remember it, I went flying over his head, fortunately up hill, and
landed in the bushes unhurt, but ready for peace at any price.

It is good old wisdom to "lay low in case of doubt," and very low I lay
there, waiting for the war to cease. It was over in a few seconds, for
my horse dashed after his fellows and passed through the bushes, so that
the winged scorpions were left behind. Presently I lifted my head and
looked cautiously toward the wasp's-nest. It was in a bank twenty feet
away, and the angry swarm was hovering over it, like smoke from a vent
hole. They were too angry, and I was too near, to run any risks, so I
sank down again and waited. In one or two minutes I peered once more,
getting a sight under a small log lying eight or ten feet away. And as I
gazed waspward my eye also took in a brown furry creature calmly sitting
under the log, wabbling his nose at me and the world about him. It was a
young Snowshoe Rabbit.



There is a certain wild hunter instinct in us all, a wish to capture
every wood creature we meet. That impulse came on me in power. There was
no more danger from wasps, so I got cautiously above this log, put a
hand down at each side, grabbed underneath, and the Rabbit was my
prisoner. Now I had him, what was I going to do with him--kill him?
Certainly not. I began to talk to him. "Now what _did_ I catch you for?"
His only reply was a wobble of his nose, so I continued: "I didn't know
when I began, but I know now. I want to get your picture." And again the
nose wobbled.

I could not take it then as my camera had gone on with my horse. I had
nothing to put the Rabbit in. I could not put it in my pocket as that
would mean crushing it in some early tumble; I needed both my hands to
climb with and catch my horse, so for lack of a better place I took off
my hat and said, "Bunny, how would you like to ride in that?" He wobbled
his nose, which I understood to mean that he didn't care. So I put the
Rabbit on my head, and put the hat on again.


Then I went forward and found that the cook had recovered his pots and
pans; all was well now and my horse was awaiting me.

I rode all the rest of that day with the Rabbit quietly nestling in my
hair. It was a long, hard day, for we continued till nightfall and then
made a dark camp in a thick pine woods. It was impossible to make
pictures then, so I put the little Rabbit under a leatheroid telescope
lid, on a hard level place, gave him food and water, and left him for
use in the morning.


About nine o'clock that night we were sitting about the fire, when from
the near woods was heard a tremendous "_tap-tap-taptrrr_," so loud and
so near that we all jumped and stared into the darkness. Again it came,
"_tap-tap-tap trrrrr_," a regular drum tattoo.

"What is that?" we all exclaimed, and at that moment a large Rabbit
darted across the open space lighted by the fire.

Again the tattoo and another Rabbit dashed across. Then it dawned on me
that that was the young Rabbit signalling to his friends. He was using
the side of his box for a drum.

Again the little prisoner rolled his signal call, and then a third
Snowshoe Rabbit appeared.

"Look at all the Rabbits!" exclaimed my friend. "Where is my gun?"

"No," I said, "you don't need your gun. Wait and see. There is something
up. That little chap is ringing up central."

"I never saw so many together in all my life," said he. Then added:
"I've got an acetylene lantern; perhaps we can get a picture."


As soon as he had his camera and lantern, we went cautiously to the
rabbity side of the woods; several ran past us. Then we sat down on a
smooth place. My friend held the camera, I held the light, but we rested
both on the ground. Very soon a Rabbit darted from the darkness into the
great cone of light from the lantern, gazed at that wonder for a moment,
gave a "thump" and disappeared. Then another came; then two or three.
They gazed into this unspeakably dazzling thing, then one gave the alarm
by thumping, and all were lost to sight.

But they came again and in ever-increasing numbers, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 at
last, now in plain view, gazing wildly at the bright light, pushing
forward as though fascinated. Some two or three so close together that
they were touching each other. Then one gave the thumping alarm, and all
scattered like leaves, to vanish like ghosts. But they came back again,
to push and crawl up nearer to that blazing wonder. Some of the back
ones were skipping about but the front ones edged up in a sort of
wild-eyed fascination. Closer and closer they got, then the first one
was so near that reaching out to smell the lantern he burnt his nose,
and at his alarm thump, all disappeared in the woods. But they soon
returned to disport again in that amazing brightness; and, stimulated
by the light, they danced about, chasing each other, dodging around in
large circles till one of the outermost leaped over the camera box and
another following him, leaped up and sat on it. My friend was just
behind, hidden by the light in front, and he had no trouble in clutching
the impudent Rabbit with both hands. Instantly it set up a loud
squealing. The other Rabbits gave a stamping signal, and in a moment all
were lost in the woods, but the one we held. Quickly we transported it
to another leatheroid box, intending to take its picture in the morning,
but the prisoner had a means of attack that I had not counted on. Just
as we were going to sleep he began with his front feet on the resounding
box and beat a veritable drum tattoo of alarm. Every one in camp was
awakened, and again, as we were dropping off, the camp was roused by
another loud "tattoo." For nearly two hours this went on; then, about
midnight, utterly unable to sleep, I arose and let the drummer go about
his business, do anything or go anywhere, so only he would be quiet and
let us attend to ours.

[Illustration: XXIX. The Baby Cottontail that rode twenty miles in my
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XXX. Snowshoe Rabbits dancing in the light of the lantern
_Sketch by E. T. Seton_]

Next morning I photographed the little Bunny, and set him free to join
his kin. It is a surprising fact that though we spent two weeks in this
valley, and a month in those mountains, we did not see another wild

This incident is unique in my experience. It is the only time when I
found the Snowshoe Hares gathered for a social purpose, and is the only
approach to a game that I ever heard of among them.


An entirely different side of Rabbit life is seen in another mysterious
incident that I have never been able to explain.

At one time when I lived in Ontario, I had a very good hound that was
trained to follow all kinds of trails. I used to take him out in the
woods at night, give him general instructions "to go ahead, and report
everything afoot"; then sit down on a log to listen to his reports. And
he made them with remarkable promptness. Slight differences in his bark,
and the course taken, enabled me to tell at once whether it was Fox,
Coon, Rabbit, Skunk, or other local game. And his peculiar falsetto yelp
when the creature treed, was a joyful invitation to "come and see for


The hound's bark for a Fox was deep, strong, and at regular intervals as
befitted the strong trail, and the straightaway run. But for a Rabbit
it was broken, uncertain, irregular and rarely a good deep bay.


One night the dog bawled in his usual way, "Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit," and
soon leaving the woods he crossed an open field where the moon shone
brightly, and I could easily see to follow. Still yelping "Rabbit,
Rabbit, Rabbit," he dashed into a bramble thicket in the middle of the
field. But at once he dashed out again shrieking, "Police! Help!
Murder!" and took refuge behind me, cowering up against my legs. At the
same moment from the side of that bramble thicket there went out--_a
Rabbit_. Yes, a common Rabbit all right, but it was a _snow-white_ one.
The first albino Cottontail I had ever seen, and apparently the first
albino Cottontail that[C] Ranger had ever seen. Dogs are not supposed to
be superstitious, but on that occasion Ranger behaved exactly as though
he thought that he had seen a ghost.



One has to see this creature with its great flopping ears, and its
stiff-legged jumping like a bucking mule, to realize the aptness of its
Western nickname.

As it bounds away from your pathway its bushy snow-white tail and the
white behind the black-tipped ears will point out plainly that it is
neither the Texas Jackrabbit nor the Rocky Mountain Cottontail, but the
White-tailed Jackrabbit, the finest of all our Hares.

I have met it in woods, mountains, and prairies, from California to
Manitoba and found it the wildest of its race and almost impossible of
approach; _except_ in the great exceptional spot, the Yellowstone Park.
Here in the August of 1912 I met with two, close to the Mammoth Hot
Springs Hotel. At a distance of thirty feet they gave me good chances to
take pictures, and though the light was very bad I made a couple of
snaps. Fifteen years ago, when first I roamed in the Park, the Prairie
Hare was exceedingly rare, but now, like so many of the wild folk, it
has become quite common. Another evidence of the efficacy of protection.

This silvery-gray creature turns pure white in the winter, when the snow
mantle of his range might otherwise make it too conspicuous.


No matter how horrible a certain climate or surroundings may seem to us,
they are sure to be the ideal of some wild creature, its very dream of
bliss. I suppose that slide rock, away up in cold, bleak, windy country
above the timber-line, is absolutely the unloveliest landscape and most
repulsive home ground that a man could find in the mountains and yet it
is the paradise, the perfect place of a wonderful little creature that
is found on the high peaks of the Rockies from California to Alaska.

It is not especially abundant in the Yellowstone Park, but it was there
that first I made its acquaintance, and Easterners will meet with it in
the great Reserve more often than in all other parts of its range put


As one reaches the Golden Gate, near Mammoth Hot Springs, many little
animals of the Ground-squirrel group are seen running about, and from
the distance comes a peculiar cry, a short squeak uttered every ten or
fifteen seconds. You stop, perhaps search with your eye the remote
hillside, but you are looking too far afield. Glance toward the tumbled
rock piles, look at every high point. There on top of one you note a
little gray lump, like a bump of moss, the size of your fist, clinging
to the point of the rock. Fix your glasses on it, and you will see
plainly that the squeak is made by this tiny creature, like a
quarter-grown Rabbit with short, round, white-rimmed ears and no
visible tail. This is the curious little animal that cannot be happy
anywhere but in the slide rock; this is the Calling Hare. "Little Chief
Hare" is its Indian name, but it has many others of much currency, such
as "Pika," and "Starved Rat," the latter because it is never fat. The
driver calls it a "Coney," or "Rock Rabbit." In its colour, size, shape,
and habits it differs from all other creatures in the region; it is
impossible to mistake it. Though a distant kinsman of the Rabbits, it is
unlike them in looks and ways. Thus it has, as noted, the very
un-rabbit-like habit of squeaking from some high lookout. This is
doubtless a call of alarm to let the rest of the company know that there
is danger about, for the Coney is a gregarious creature; there may be a
hundred of them in the rock-slide.

Some years ago, in Colorado, I sketched one of the Coneys by help of a
field glass. He was putting all the force of his energetic little soul
into the utterance of an alarm cry for the benefit of his people.

But the most interesting habit of this un-rabbity Rabbit is its way of
preparing for winter.


When the grass, the mountain dandelions, and the peavines are at their
best growth for making hay, the Coney, with his kind, goes warily from
his stronghold in the rocks to the nearest stretch of herbage, and there
cuts as much as he can carry of the richest growths; then laden with a
bundle as big as himself, and very much longer, he makes for the rocks,
and on some flat open place spreads the herbage out to be cured for his
winter hay. Out in full blaze of the sun he leave it, and if some
inconsiderate rock comes in between, to cast a shadow on his hay
a-curing, he moves the one that is easiest to move; he never neglects
his hay. When dry enough to be safe, he packs it away into his barn, the
barn being a sheltered crevice in the rocks where the weather cannot
harm it, and where it will continue good until the winter time, when
otherwise there would be a sad pinch of famine in the Coney world. The
trappers say that they can tell whether the winter will be hard or open
by the amount of food stored up in the Coney barns.


Many a one of these I have examined in the mountains of British Columbia
and Colorado, as well as in the Park. The quantity of hay in them varies
from what might fill a peck measure to what would make a huge armful.
Among the food plants used, I found many species of grass, thistle,
meadow-rue, peavine, heath, and the leaves of several composite plants.
I suspect that fuller observations will show that they use every herb
not actually poisonous, that grows in the vicinity of their citadel.
More than one of these wads of hay had in the middle of it a nest or
hollow; not, I suspect, the home nest where the young are raised, but a
sort of winter restaurant where they could go while the ground was
covered with snow, and sitting in the midst of their provisions, eat to
their heart's content.

It is not unlikely that in this we see the growth of the storage habit,
beginning first with a warm nest of hay, which it was found could be
utilized for food when none other was available. The fact that these
barns are used year after year is shown by the abundance of pellets in
several layers which were found in and about them.



A very wise little people is this little people of the Rocks. Not only
do they realize that in summer they must prepare for winter, but they
know how to face a present crisis, however unexpected. To appreciate the
following instance, we must remember that the central thought in the
Coney's life is his "grub pile" for winter use, and next that he is a
strictly daytime animal. I have often slept near a Coney settlement and
never heard a sound or seen a sign of their being about after dark.
Nevertheless, Merriam tells us that he and Vernon Bailey once carried
their blankets up to a Coney colony above timber-line in the Salmon
River Mountains of Idaho, intending to spend the night there and to
study the Coneys whose piles of hay were visible in all directions on
their rocks. As this was about the first of September, it was natural to
expect fair weather and a complete curing of the hay in a week or so.
But a fierce storm set in with the descending night. The rain changed to
hail and then to snow, and much to the surprise of the naturalists, they
heard the squeak of the Coneys all night long.

These animals love the sunshine, the warmth and the daylight, and dread
cold and darkness as much as we do. It must have been a bitter
experience when at the call of the older ones every little Coney had to
tumble out of his warm bed in the chill black hours and face the driving
sleet to save the winter's supplies. But tumble out they did, and
overtime they worked, hard and well, for when the morning dawned the
slide-rock and the whole world was covered deep in snow, but every
haycock had been removed to a safer place under the rocks, and the
wisdom of the Coney once more exemplified, with adequate energy to make
it effective.


[Illustration: XXXI. Snowshoe Rabbits fascinated by the lantern
_Sketched in the Bitterroot Mts. by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XXXII. The Ghost Rabbit
_Sketch by E. T. Seton_]


No one has ever yet found the home nest of the Calling Hare. It is so
securely hidden under rocks, and in galleries below rocks, that all
attempts to dig it out have thus far failed. I know of several men, not
to mention Bears, Badgers, Wolverines, and Grizzlies, who have essayed
to unearth the secret of the Coney's inner life. Following on the trail
of a Coney that bleated derisively at me near Pagoda Peak, Col., I began
at once to roll rocks aside in an effort to follow him home to his den.
The farther I went the less satisfaction I found. The uncertain trail
ramified more and more as I laboured. Once or twice from far below me I
heard a mocking squeak that spurred me on, but that too, ceased. When
about ten tons of rock had been removed I was baffled. There were half a
dozen possible lines of continuation, and while I paused to wipe the
"honest sweat" from my well-meaning brow, I heard behind me the "weak,"
"weak," of my friend as though giving his estimate of my resolution, and
I descried him--I suppose the same--on a rock point like a moss-bump
against the sky-line away to the left. Only, one end of the moss-bump
moved a little each time a squeak was cast upon the air. I had not time
to tear down the whole mountain, so I did as my betters, the Bears and
Badgers have done before me, I gave it up. I had at least found out why
the Coney avoids the pleasant prairie and the fertile banks, and I
finished with a new and profounder understanding of the Scripture text
which says in effect, "As for the Coney, his safe refuge is in the


[Footnote C: It proved later to be an albino domestic Rabbit run wild.]

       *       *       *       *       *


Ghosts of the Campfire

       *       *       *       *       *



Ghosts of the Campfire

It is always worth while to cultivate the old guides. Young guides are
often fresh and shallow, but the quiet old fellows, that have spent
their lives in the mountains, must be good or they could not stay in the
business; and they have seen so much and been so far that they are like
rare old manuscript volumes, difficult to read, but unique and full of
value. It is not easy to get them to talk, but there is a combination
that often does it. First, show yourself worthy of their respect by
holding up your end, be it in an all-day climb or breakneck ride; then
at night, after the others have gone to bed, you sit while the old guide
smokes, and by a few brief questions and full attention, show that you
value any observations he may choose to make. Many happy hours and much
important information have been my reward for just such cautious play,
and often as we sat, there flitted past, in the dim light, the silent
shadowy forms of the campfire ghosts. Swift, not twinkling, but looming
light and fading, absolutely silent. Sometimes approaching so near that
the still watcher can get the glint of beady eyes or even of a snowy
breast, for these ghosts are merely the common Mice of the mountains,
abounding in every part of the West.


There are half a dozen different kinds, yet most travellers will be
inclined to bunch them all, and pass them by as mere Mice. But they are
worthy of better treatment. Three, at least, are so different in form
and ways that you should remember them by their names.

First is the _Whitefooted or Deer-mouse_. This is the one that you find
in the coffee pot or the water bucket in the morning; this is the one
that skips out of the "grub box" when the cook begins breakfast; and
this is the one that runs over your face with its cold feet as you sleep
nights. It is one of the most widely diffused mammals in North America
to-day, and probably the most numerous.

It is an elegant little creature, with large, lustrous black eyes like
those of a Deer, a fact which, combined with its large ears, the
fawn-coloured back, and the pure white breast, has given it the name of
"Deer-mouse." It is noted for drumming with one foot as a call to its
mate, and for uttering a succession of squeaks and trills that serve it
as a song.

Sometimes its nest is underground; and sometimes in a tree, whence the
name Tree-mouse. It breeds several times in a year and does not
hibernate, so is compelled to lay up stores of food for winter use. To
help it in doing this it has a very convenient pair of capacious
pockets, one in each cheek, opening into the mouth.


He glides around the fire much as the others do, but at the approach of
danger, he simply fires himself out of a catapult, afar into the night.
Eight or ten feet he can cover in one of these bounds and he can, and
does, repeat them as often as necessary. How he avoids knocking out his
own brains in his travels I have not been able to understand.

This is the New World counterpart of the Jerboa, so familiar in our
school books as a sort of diminutive but glorified kangaroo that
frequents the great Pyramids. It is so like a Jerboa in build and
behaviour that I was greatly surprised and gratified to find my
scientist friends quite willing that I should style it the American
representative of the African group.


The country folk in the East will tell you that there are "seven
sleepers" in our woods, and enumerate them thus: the Bear, the Coon, the
Skunk, the Woodchuck, the Chipmunk, the Bat, and the Jumping Mouse. All
are good examples, but the longest, soundest sleeper of the whole
somnolent brotherhood is the Jumping Mouse. Weeks before summer is ended
it has prepared a warm nest deep underground, beyond the reach of cold
or rain, and before the early frost has nipped the aster, the Jumping
Mouse and his wife curl up with their long tails around themselves like
cords on a spool, and sleep the deadest kind of a dead sleep, unbroken
by even a snore, until summer is again in the land, and frost and snow
unknown. This means at least seven months on the Yellowstone.


Since the creature is chiefly nocturnal, the traveller is not likely to
see it, excepting late at night when venturesome individuals often come
creeping about the campfire, looking for scraps or crumbs; or sometimes
other reckless youngsters of the race, going forth to seek their
fortunes, are found drowned in the tanks or wells about the hotels.

[Illustration: XXXIV. The Coney or Calling Hare
_Photo by W. E. Carlin_]

[Illustration: XXXV. The Coney barns full of hay stored for winter use
_Photos by E. T. Seton_]

Here is a diagram of a Jumper in the act of living up to its reputation.
And at once one asks what is the reason for this interminable tail. The
answer is, it is the tail to the kite, the feathering to the arrow;
and observation shows that a Jumping Mouse that has lost its tail is
almost helpless to escape from danger. A good naturalist records that
one individual that was de-tailed by a mowing machine, jumped
frantically and far, but had no control of the direction, and just as
often as not went straight up or landed wrong end to, and sometimes on a
second bound was back where it had started from.

It is very safe to say that all unusual developments serve a very vital
purpose in the life of the creature, but we are not always so fortunate
as in this case, to know what that purpose is.


One day fifteen years ago I was sitting on a low bank near Baronett's
Bridge across the Yellowstone, a mile and a half from Yancey's. The bank
was in an open place, remote from cliffs or thick woods; it was high,
dry, and dotted with holes of rather larger than field-mouse size, which
were further peculiar in that most of them went straight down and none
was connected with any visible overland runways.

All of which is secondary to the fact that I was led to the bank by a
peculiar bleating noise like the "weak" of a Calling Hare, but higher

As I passed the place the squeakers were left behind me, and so at last
I traced the noise to some creature underground. But what it was I could
not see or determine. I knew only from the size of the hole it must be
as small as a Mouse.


Not far away from this I drew some tracks I found in the dust, and later
when I showed the drawing, and told the story to a naturalist friend, he
said: "I had the same experience in that country once, and was puzzled
until I found out by keeping a captive that the creature in the bank was
a Grasshopper Mouse or a Calling Mouse, and those in your drawing are
its tracks."

At one time it was considered an extremely rare animal, but now, having
discovered its range, we know it to be quite abundant. In northern New
Mexico I found one species so common in the corn-field that I could
catch two or three every night with a few mousetraps. But it is scarce
on the Yellowstone, and all my attempts to trap it were frustrated by
the much more abundant Deer-mice, which sprang the bait and sacrificed
themselves, every time I tried for the Squeaker.

In the fall of 1912 I was staying at Standing Rock Agency in North
Dakota. On the broken ground, between the river and the high level
prairie, I noted a ridge with holes exactly like those I had seen on
the Yellowstone. A faint squeak underground gave additional and
corroborative evidence. So I set a trap and next night had a specimen of
the Squeaker as well as a couple of the omnipresent Deer-mice.

Doubtless the Calling Mouse has an interesting and peculiar life
history, but little is known of it except that it dwells on the dry
plains, is a caller by habit;--through not around the campfire--it feeds
largely on grasshoppers, and is in mortal terror of ants.

       *       *       *       *       *


Sneak-cats Big and Small

       *       *       *       *       *



Sneak-cats--Big and Small

You may ride five hundred miles among the mountains, in a country where
these beasts of prey abound, and yet see never a hair of a living
Wildcat. _But how many do you suppose see you?_ Peeping from a thicket,
near the trail, glimpsing you across some open valley in the mountains,
or inspecting you from various points as you recline by the campfire,
they size you up and decide they want no nearer dealings with you; you
are bad medicine, a thing to be eluded. And oh! how clever they are at
eluding us.

If you turn out the biggest Lynx on the smoothest prairie you ever saw,
he will efface himself before you count twenty. The grass may be but
three inches high and the Lynx twenty-three, but he will melt into it,
and wholly escape the searching eyes of the keenest. One would not think
an empty skin could lie more flat. Add to this the silent sinuosity of
his glide; he seems to ooze around the bumps and stumps, and bottle up
his frightful energy for the final fearsome leap. His whole makeup is
sacrificed to efficiency in that leap; on that depends his life; his
very existence turns on the wondrous perfection of the sneak, of which
the leap is the culmination. Hunters in all parts where these creatures
abound, agree in calling Wildcat, Lynx, and Cougar by the undignified
but descriptive name of Sneak-cat.


The Wildcat of Europe, and of literature, is a creature of almost
unparalleled ferocity. Our own Wildcat is three times as big and heavy,
so many persons assume that it is three times as ferocious, and
therefore to be dreaded almost like a Tiger. The fact is, the American
Wildcat or Bobcat is a very shy creature, ready to run from a very small
dog, never facing a man and rarely killing anything bigger than a

I never saw but one Bobcat in the Yellowstone Park, and that was not in
the Park, but at Gardiner where it was held a captive. But it came from
the Park, and the guides tell me that the species is quite common in
some localities.

It is readily recognized by its cat-like form and its short or bob-tail,
whence its name.

[Illustration: XXXVI. (a) Tracks of Deer escaping and (b) Tracks of
Mountain Lion in pursuit
_Photos by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XXXVII. The Mountain Lion sneaking around us as we sleep
_Sketch by E. T. Seton_]


The southern part of North America is occupied by Bobcats of various
kinds, the northern part by Lynxes, their very near kin, and there is a
narrow belt of middle territory occupied by both. The Yellowstone Park
happens to be in that belt, so we find here both the Mountain Bobcat and
the Canada Lynx.

I remember well three scenes from my childhood days in Canada, in which
this animal was the central figure. A timid neighbour of ours was
surprised one day to see a large Lynx come out of the woods in broad
daylight, and walk toward his house. He went inside, got his gun, opened
the door a little, and knelt down. The Lynx walked around the house at
about forty yards distance, the man covering it with the gun most of the
time, but his hand was shaking, the gun was wabbling, and he was
tormented with the thought, "What if I miss, then that brute will come
right at me, and then, oh, dear! what?"

He had not the nerve to fire and the Lynx walked back to the woods. How
well I remember that man. A kind-hearted, good fellow, but oh! so
timid. His neighbours guyed him about it, until at last he sold out his
farm and joined the ministry.

The next scene was similar. Two men were out Coon-hunting, when their
dogs treed something. A blazing fire soon made, showed plainly aloft in
the tree the whiskered head of a Lynx. The younger man levelled his gun
at it, but the other clung to his arm begging him to come away,
reminding him that both had families dependent on them, and earnestly
protesting that the Lynx, if wounded, would certainly come down and kill
the whole outfit.

The third was wholly different. In broad daylight a Lynx came out of the
woods near a settler's house, entered the pasture and seized a lamb. The
good wife heard the noise of the sheep rushing, and went out in time to
see the Lynx dragging the victim. She seized a stick and went for the
robber. He growled defiantly, but at the first blow of the stick he
dropped the lamb and ran. Then that plucky woman carried the lamb to the
house; finding four deep cuts in its neck she sewed them up, and after a
few days of careful nursing restored the woolly one to its mother, fully


The first two incidents illustrate the crazy ideas that some folks have
about the Lynx, and the last shows what the real character of the animal

I have once or twice been followed by Lynxes, but I am sure it was
merely out of curiosity. Many times I have met them in the woods at
close range and each time they have gazed at me in a sort of mild-eyed
wonder. There was no trace of ferocity in the gaze, but rather of
innocent confidence.

The earliest meeting I ever had with a Lynx I shall remember when all
the other meetings have been dimmed by time, but I have used the
incident without embellishment in the early part of "Two Little
Savages," so shall not repeat it here.


Reference to the official report shows that there are about one hundred
Mountain Lions now ranging the Yellowstone Park. And yet one is very
safe in believing that not twenty-five persons of those living in the
Park have ever seen one.

By way of contrast, the report gives the number of Blackbear at the
same--about one hundred--and yet every one living in the Park or passing
through, has seen scores of Bears.

Why this difference? Chiefly owing to their respective habits. The
Cougar is the most elusive, sneaking, adroit hider, and shyest thing in
the woods. I have camped for twenty-five years in its country and have
never yet seen a wild Cougar. Almost never are they found without dogs
specially trained to trail and hunt them.

Although I have never seen a Cougar at large, it is quite certain that
many a one has watched me. Yes! even in the Yellowstone Park. Remember
this, oh traveller, sitting in front of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel!
you are in sight of two famous Cougar haunts--Mt. Evarts and Bunsen
Peak, and the chances are that, as you sit and perhaps read these lines,
a Cougar lolling gray-brown among the gray-brown rocks of the mountain
opposite, is calmly surveying all the world about, including yourself.


If you consult the witching contraband books that we of a bygone age
used to read surreptitiously in school hours, you will learn that "the
Cougar is a fearsome beast of invincible prowess. He can kill a Buffalo
or an ox with a blow of his paw, and run off with it at full speed or
carry it up a tree to devour, and he is by choice a man-eater. Commonly
uttering the cry of a woman in distress to decoy the gallant victim to
his doom." If, on the other hand, you consult some careful natural
histories, or one or two of the seasoned guides, you learn that the
Cougar, though horribly destructive among Deer, sheep, and colts,
rarely kills a larger prey, and never is known to attack man.

I have had many persons take exception to the last statement, and give
contrary proof by referring to some hair-lifting incident which seemed
to be a refutation. But most of these attacks by Cougars have failed to
stand the disintegrating power of a carefully focussed searchlight.

There is no doubt that the Cougar is addicted to horseflesh, as his
scientific name implies (_hippolestes_=horse pirate). He will go a long
way to kill a colt, and several supposed cases of a Cougar attacking a
man on horseback at night prove to have been attacks on the horse, and
in each case on discovering the man the Cougar had decamped.

This creature is also possessed of a strong curiosity and many times is
known to have followed a man in the woods merely to study the queer
creature, but without intent to do him harm. Nevertheless the timid
traveller who discovers he is "pursued by a Cougar" may manage to
persuade himself that he has had a hairbreadth escape.


A newspaper reporter asked me once for a story of terrible peril from
our wild animals, a time "when I nearly lost my life."


My answer was, "I never had such an experience. Danger from wild animals
is practically non-existent in America to-day."

"Did you never meet a Grizzly or a Mountain Lion?" he asked.

"Yes, many Grizzlies, and one or two Lions. I've had one look me over
while I slept," was the answer.

And now the thrill-monger's face lighted up, he straightened his paper
and stuck his pencil in his mouth by way of getting ready, and
ejaculated: "Say! now you're getting it; let's hear the details. Don't
spare me!"

"It was back in September, 1899," I said. "My wife and I were camping in
the high Sierra near Mt. Tallac. At this season rain is unknown, so we
took no tent. Each of us had a comfortable rubber bed and we placed
these about a foot or two apart. In the narrow alley between we put a
waterproof canvas, and on that each night we laid the guns.

"We had a couple of cowboys to look after the outfit. A fortnight had
gone by with sunny skies and calm autumn weather, when one evening it
began to blow. Black, lumpy clouds came up from the far-off sea; the
dust went whirling in little eddies, and when the sun went down it was
of a sickly yellowish. The horses were uneasy, throwing up their noses,
snorting softly and pricking their ears in a nervous way.

"Everything promised a storm in spite of the rule 'no rain in
September,' and we huddled into our tentless beds with such preparation
as we could make for rain.

"As night wore on the windstorm raged, and one or two heavy drops
spattered down. Then there was a loud snort or two and a plunge of the
nearest horse, then quiet.

"Next morning we found every horse gone, and halters and ropes broken,
while deep hoofprints showed the violence of the stampede which we had
scarcely heard. The men set out on foot after the horses, and by good
luck, recovered all within a mile. Meanwhile I made a careful study of
the ground, and soon got light. For there were the prints of a huge
Mountain Lion. He had prowled into camp, coming up to where we slept,
sneaked around and smelt us over, and--I think--walked down the alley
between our beds. After that, probably, he had got so close to the
horses that, inspired by terror of their most dreaded foe, they had
broken all bonds and stampeded into safety. Nevertheless, though the
horses were in danger, there can be no question, I think, that we were

The reporter thought the situation more serious than I did, and
persisted that if I dug in my memory I should yet recall a really
perilous predicament, in which thanks to some wild brute, I was near
death's door. And as it proved he was right. I had nearly forgotten what
looked like a hairbreadth escape.


It was on the same Sierra trip. Our outfit had been living for weeks
among the tall pines, subsisting on canned goods; and when at length we
came out on the meadows by Leaf Lake we found them enlivened by a small
herd of wild--that is, range-cattle.

"My!" said one of the cowboys, "wouldn't a little fresh milk go fine
after all that ptomaine we've been feeding on?"

"There's plenty of it there; help yourself," said I.

"I'd soon catch one if I knew which, and what to do when I got her," he

Then memories of boyhood days on the farm came over me and I said: "I'll
show you a cow in milk, and I'll milk her if you'll hold her."

"Agreed! Which is the one?"

I put my hands up to my mouth and let off a long bleat like a calf in
distress. The distant cattle threw up their heads and began "sniffing."
Another bleat and three cows separated from the others; two ran like mad
into the woods, the third kept throwing her head this way and that, but
not running. "That one," I said, "is your cow. She's in milk and not too
recently come in."

[Illustration: Milk Lady]

Then away went the cowboys to do their part. The herd scattered and the
cow tried to run, but the ponies sailed alongside, the lariats whistled
and in a flash she was held with one rope around her horns, the other
around one hind leg.

"Now's your chance, Milk-lady!" they shouted at me, and forward I went,
pail in hand, to milk that snorting, straining, wild-eyed thing. She
tried to hold her milk up, but I am an old hand at that work. She never
ceased trying to kick at me with her free hind leg, so I had to watch
the leg, and milk away. The high pitched "_tsee tsee_" had gradually
given place to the low "_tsow tsow_" of the two streams cutting the foam
when a peculiar smell grew stronger until it was nothing less than a
disgusting stench. For the first time I glanced down at the milk in the
pail, and there instead of a dimpled bank of snowy foam was a great
yeasty mass of yellowish brown streaked with blood.

Hastily rising and backing off, I said: "I've got plenty of milk now
for you two. The rest of us don't care for any. Hold on till I get back
to the trees."

Then, when I was safely under cover, the boys turned the cow loose. Of
course, her first impulse was revenge, but I was safe and those mounted
men knew how to handle a cow. She was glad to run off.


"There's your milk," I said, and pointed to the pail I had left.
Evidently that cow had been suffering from more than one milk malady.
The boys upset the bloody milk right there, then took the pail to the
stream, where they washed it well, and back to camp, where we scalded it
out several times.


That night about sundown, just as we finished supper, there came from
the near prairie the mighty, portentous rumbling roar of a bull--the
bellow that he utters when he is roused to fight, the savage roar that
means "I smell blood." It is one of those tremendous menacing sounds
that never fail to give one the creeps and make one feel, oh! so puny
and helpless.

We went quietly to the edge of the timber and there was the monster at
the place where that evil milk was spilt, tearing up the ground with
hoofs and horns, and uttering that dreadful war-bellow. The cowboys
mounted their ponies, and gave a good demonstration of the power of
brains in the ruling of brawn. They took that bull at a gallop a mile or
more away, they admonished him with some hard licks of a knotted-rope
and left him, then came back, and after a while we all turned in for the

Just as we were forgetting all things, the sweet silence of the camp was
again disturbed by that deep, vibrating organ tone, the chesty roaring
of the enraged bull; and we sprang up to see the huge brute striding in
the moonlight, coming right into camp, lured as before by that sinister
blood trail.

The boys arose and again saddled the ready mounts. Again I heard the
thudding of heavy feet, the shouts of the riders, a few loud snorts,
followed by the silence; and when the boys came back in half an hour we
rolled up once more and speedily were asleep.

To pass the night in peace! not at all. Near midnight my dreams were
mixed with earthquakes and thunder, and slowly I waked to feel that
ponderous bellow running along the ground, and setting my legs a-quiver.


"_Row-ow-ow-ow_" it came, and shook me into full wakefulness to realize
that that awful brute was back again. He could not resist the glorious,
alluring chance to come and get awfully mad over that "bluggy milk." Now
he was in camp, close at hand; the whole sky seemed blocked out and the
trees a-shiver as he came on.

"_Row-ow-ow-ow_" he rumbled, also snorted softly as he came, and before
I knew it he walked down the narrow space between our beds and the
wagon. Had I jumped up and yelled, he, whether mad or scared, might have
trampled one or other of us. That is the bull of it; a horse steps over.
So I waited in trembling silence till that horrid "_Row-ow-ow-ow_" went
by. Then I arose and yelled with all my power:

"Louie! Frank! Help! Here's the bull."

The boys were up before I had finished. The ready ponies were put in
commission in less than three minutes. Then came the stampede, the heavy
thudding, the loud whacks of the ropes, and when these sounds had died
in the distance, I heard the "pop, pop" of side arms. I asked no
questions, but when the boys came back and said, "well, you bet he won't
be here again," I believed them.


[Illustration: XXXVIII. Sketch of the Bear Family as made on the spot
_By E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XXXIX. Two pages from my journal in the garbage heap
_By E. T. Seton_]

       *       *       *       *       *


Bears of High and Low Degree

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: The Snorer]


Bears of High and Low Degree

Why is snoring a crime at night and a joke by day? It seems to be so,
and the common sense of the public mind so views it.

In the September of 1912 I went with a good guide and a party of
friends, to the region southeast of Yellowstone Lake. This is quite the
wildest part of the Park; it is the farthest possible from human
dwellings, and in it the animals are wild and quite unchanged by daily
association with man, as pensioners of the hotels.

Our party was carefully selected, a lot of choice spirits, and yet there
was one with a sad and unpardonable weakness--he always snored a
dreadful snore as soon as he fell asleep. That is why he was usually put
in a tent by himself, and sent to sleep with a twenty-five foot
deadening space between him and us of gentler somnolence.

He had been bad the night before, and now, by request, was sleeping
_fifty_ feet away. But what is fifty feet of midnight silence to a
forty-inch chest and a pair of tuneful nostrils. About 2 A.M. I was
awakened as before, but worse than ever, by the most terrific, measured
snorts, and so loud that they seemed just next me. Sitting up, I bawled
in wrath, "Oh, Jack, shut up, and let some one else have a chance to

The answer was a louder snort, a crashing of brush and a silence that,
so far as I know, continued until sunrise.

Then I arose and learned that the snorts and the racket were made, not
by my friend, but by a huge Grizzly that had come prowling about the
camp, and had awakened me by snorting into my tent.

But he had fled in fear at my yell; and this behaviour exactly shows the
attitude of the Grizzlies in the West to-day. They are afraid of man,
they fly at whiff or sound of him, and if in the Yellowstone you run
across a Grizzly that seems aggressive, rest assured he has been taught
such bad manners by association with our own species around the hotels.



Some guides of unsound information will tell the traveller that there
are half a dozen different kinds of Bears in or near the Yellowstone
Park--Blackbear, Little Cinnamon, Big Cinnamon, Grizzlies, Silver-tip,
and Roach-backs. This is sure however, there are but two species,
namely, the Blackbear and the Grizzly.

The Blackbear is known by its short front claws, flat profile and black
colour, with or without a tan-coloured muzzle. Sometimes in a family of
Blackbears there appears a red-headed youngster, just as with ourselves;
he is much like his brethren but "all over red complected" as they say
in Canada. This is known to hunters as a "Little Cinnamon."

The Grizzly is known by its great size, its long fore claws, its hollow
profile and its silver-sprinkled coat. Sometimes a Grizzly has an
excessive amount of silver; this makes a Silver-tip. Sometimes the
silver is nearly absent, in which case the Bear is called a "Big
Cinnamon." Sometimes the short mane over his humped shoulders is
exaggerated; this makes a "Roach-back." Any or all of these are to be
looked for in the Park, yet remember! they form only two species. All of
the Blackbear group are good climbers; none of the Grizzly group climb
after they are fully grown.


There is a curious habit of Bears that is well known without being well
understood; it is common to all these mentioned. In travelling along
some familiar trail they will stop at a certain tree, claw it, tear it
with their teeth, and rub their back and head up against it as high as
they can reach, even with the tip of the snout, and standing on tiptoes.
There can be no doubt that a Bear coming to a tree can tell by scent
whether another Bear has been there recently, and whether that Bear is a
male or female, a friend, a foe or a stranger. Thus the tree serves as a
sort of news depot; and there is one every few hundred yards in country
with a large Bear population.

These trees, of course, abound in the Park. Any good guide will point
out some examples. In the country south of the Lake, I found them so
common that it seemed as if the Bears had made many of them for mere


When we went to the Yellowstone in 1897 to spend the season studying
wild animal life, we lived in a small shanty that stood near Yancey's,
and had many pleasant meetings with Antelope, Beaver, etc., but were
disappointed in not seeing any Bears. One of my reasons for coming was
the promise of "as many Bears as I liked." But some tracks on the trail
a mile away were the only proofs that I found of Bears being in the

One day General Young, then in charge of the Park, came to see how we
were getting along. And I told him that although I had been promised as
many Bears as I liked, and I had been there investigating for six weeks
already, I hadn't seen any. He replied, "You are not in the right place.
Go over to the Fountain Hotel and there you will see as many Bears as
you wish." That was impossible, for there were not Bears enough in the
West to satisfy me, I thought. But I went at once to the Fountain Hotel
and without loss of time stepped out the back door.


I had not gone fifty feet before I walked onto a big Blackbear with her
two roly-poly black cubs. The latter were having a boxing match, while
the mother sat by to see fair play. As soon as they saw me they stopped
their boxing, and as soon as I saw them I stopped walking. The old Bear
gave a peculiar "_Koff koff_," I suppose of warning, for the young ones
ran to a tree, and up that they shinned with alacrity that amazed me.
When safely aloft, they sat like small boys, holding on with their
hands, while their little black legs dangled in the air, and waited to
see what was to happen down below.

The mother Bear, still on her hind legs, came slowly toward me, and I
began to feel very uncomfortable indeed, for she stood about six feet
high in her stocking feet, and I had not even a stick to defend myself
with. I began backing slowly toward the hotel, and by way of my best
defense, _I_ turned on her all the power of my magnetic eye. We have all
of us heard of the wonderful power of the magnetic human eye. Yes, _we_
have, but apparently this old Bear had not, for she came on just the
same. She gave a low woof, and I was about to abandon all attempts at
dignity, and run for the hotel; but just at this turning-point the old
Bear stopped, and gazed at me calmly.

Then she faced about and waddled over to the tree, up which were the
cubs. Underneath she stood, looking first at me, then at her family. I
realized that she wasn't going to bother me, in fact she never seemed
very serious about it, so I plucked up courage. I remembered what I came
for and got down my camera. But when I glanced at the sky, and gauged
the light--near sundown in the woods--I knew the camera would not serve
me; so I got out my sketch book instead, and made the sketch which is
given on Plate XXXVIII; I have not changed it since.

[Illustration: XLI. While I sketched the Bears a brother camera hunter
was stalking me without my knowledge
_Photo by F. Linde Ryan, Flushing, L. I._]

[Illustration: XLII. One meets the Bears at nearly every turn in the
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]

Meanwhile the old Bear had been sizing me up, and evidently made up her
mind that, "although that human being might be all right, she would take
no chances for her little ones."


She looked up to her two hopefuls, and gave a peculiar whining "_Er-r-r
er-r_," whereupon, like obedient children, they jumped as at the word of
command. There was nothing about them heavy or bear-like as commonly
understood; lightly they swung from bough to bough till they dropped to
the ground, and all went off together into the woods.

I was much tickled by the prompt obedience of these little Bears. As
soon as their mother told them to do something they did it. They did not
even offer a suggestion. But I also found out that there was a good
reason back of it, for, had they not done as she had told them, they
would have got such a spanking as would have made them howl. Yes, it is
quite the usual thing, I find, for an old Blackbear to spank her little
ones when in her opinion they need it, and she lays it on well. She has
a good strong paw, and does not stop for their squealing; so that one
correction lasts a long time.

This was a delightful peep into Bear home-life, and would have been well
worth coming for, if the insight had ended there. But my friends in the
hotel said that that was not the best place for Bears. I should go to
the garbage-heap, a quarter-mile off in the forest. There, they said, I
surely could see as many Bears as I wished, which was absurd of them.



Early next morning I equipped myself with pencils, paper and a camera,
and set out for the garbage pile. At first I watched from the bushes,
some seventy-five yards away, but later I made a hole in the odorous
pile itself, and stayed there all day long, sketching and snapshotting
the Bears which came and went in greater numbers as the day was closing.

A sample of my notes made on the spot will illustrate the continuity of
the Bear procession, yet I am told that there are far more of these
animals there to-day than at the time of my visit.

Those readers who would follow my adventures in detail will find them
fully and exactly set forth in the story of Johnny Bear, which appears
in "Lives of the Hunted," so I shall not further enlarge on them here,
except to relate one part which was omitted, as it dealt with a
photographic experience.


In the story I told how, backed by a mounted cowboy, I sat on the
garbage pile while the great Grizzly that had worsted Old Grumpy, came
striding nearer, and looming larger.


He had not quite forgotten the recent battle, his whole air was
menacing, and I had all the appropriate sensations as he approached. At
forty yards I snapped him, and again at twenty. Still he was coming, but
at fifteen feet he stopped and turned his head, giving me the side view
I wanted, and I snapped the camera again. The effect was startling. That
insolent, nagging little click brought the wrath of the Grizzly onto
myself. He turned on me with a savage growl. I was feeling just as I
should be feeling; wondering, indeed, if my last moment had not come,
but I found guidance in the old adage: "when you don't know a thing to
do, don't do a thing." For a minute or two the Grizzly glared, and I
remained still; then calmly ignoring me he set about his feast.

All of this I tell in detail in my story. But there was one thing I did
not dare to do then; that was show the snaps I made.

Surely it would be a wonderful evidence of my courage and coolness if I
could show a photograph of that big Grizzly when he was coming on--maybe
to kill me--I did not know, but I had a dim vision of my sorrowing
relatives developing the plate to see how it happened, for I pressed
the button at the right time. The picture, such as it is, I give as
Plate XL, c. I was so calm and cool and collected that I quite forgot to
focus the camera.



During all this time Johnny had been bemoaning his sad lot, at the top
of the tree; there I left him, still lamenting. That was the last I ever
saw of him. In my story of Johnny Bear, I relate many other adventures
that were ascribed to him, but these were told me by the men who lived
in the Park, and knew the lame cub much better than I did. My own
acquaintance with him was all within the compass of the one day I spent
in the garbage-pile.

It is worthy of note that although Johnny died that autumn, they have
had him every year ever since; and some years they have had two for the
satisfaction of visitors who have read up properly before coming to the
Park. Indeed, when I went back to the Fountain Hotel fifteen years
afterward, a little Bear came and whined under my window about dawn, and
the hotel folk assured me it was Little Johnny calling on his creator.


All of this was fifteen years ago. Since then there have been some
interesting changes, but they are in the line of growth. Thirteen
Bears in view at one time was my highest record, and that after sundown;
but I am told that as many as twenty or twenty-five Bears are now to be
seen there at once in June and July, when the wildwood foods are scarce.
Most of them are Blackbears, but there are always a few Grizzlies about.

[Illustration: XLIII. The shyer ones take to a tree, if one comes too
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XLIV. Clifford B. Harmon feeding a Bear
_Photo by E. T. Seton_]

In view of their reputation, their numbers and the gradual removal of
the restraining fear of men, one wonders whether these creatures are not
a serious menace to the human dwellers of the Park. The fundamental
peacefulness of the unhungry animal world is wonderfully brought out by
the groups of huge shaggy monsters about the hotels.

At one time, and for long it was said, and truthfully, that the Bears in
the Park had never abused the confidence man had placed in them. But one
or two encounters have taken place to prove the exception.

An enthusiastic camera-hunter, after hearing of my experiences at the
garbage pile, went there some years later, duly equipped to profit by
the opportunity.


A large she Bear, with a couple of cubs appeared, but they hovered at a
distance and did not give the artist a fair chance. He waited a long
time, then seeing that they would not come to him, he decided to go to
them. Quitting that sheltering hole, he sneaked along; crouching low and
holding the camera ready, he rapidly approached the family group. When
the young ones saw this strange two-legged beast coming threateningly
near them, they took alarm and ran whining to their mother. All her
maternal wrath was aroused to see this smallish, two-legged, one-eyed
creature, evidently chasing her cubs to harm them. A less combination
than that would have made her take the war-path, and now she charged.
She struck him but once; that was enough. His camera was wrecked, and
for two weeks afterward he was in the hospital, nursing three broken
ribs, as well as a body suffering from shock.

There was another, an old Grizzly that became a nuisance about the
hotels, as he did not hesitate to walk into the kitchens and help
himself to food. Around the tents of campers he became a terror, as he
soon realized that these folk carried food, and white canvas walls
rising in the woods were merely invitations to a dinner ready and
waiting. It is not recorded that he hurt any one in his numerous raids
for food. But he stampeded horses and broke the camp equipments, as well
as pillaged many larders.


One of my guides described a lively scene in which the Bear, in spite of
blazing brands, ran into the cook's quarters and secured a ham. The cook
pursued with a stick of firewood. At each whack the Bear let off a
"whoof" but he did not drop the ham, and the party had to return to Fort
Yellowstone for supplies.

Incidents of this kind multiplied, and finally Buffalo Jones, who was
then the Chief Scout of the Park, was permitted to punish the old
sinner. Mounted on his trained saddle-horse, swinging the lasso that has
caught so many different kinds of beasts in so many different lands, the
Colonel gave chase. Old Grizzly dodged among the pines for a while, but
the pony was good to follow; and when the culprit took to open ground,
the unerring lasso whistled in the air and seized him by the hind paw.
It takes a good rope to stand the jerk of half a ton of savage muscle,
but the rope was strong; it stood, and there was some pretty
manoeuvring, after which the lasso was found over a high branch, with a
couple of horses on the "Jones end" and they hauled the Bear aloft
where, through the medium of a stout club, he received a drubbing that
has become famous in the moving-picture world.


Another of these big, spoiled babies was sent to Washington Zoo, where
he is now doing duty as an exhibition Grizzly.

The comedy element is far from lacking in this life; in fact, it is
probably the dominant one. But the most grotesque story of all was told
me by a friend who chummed with the Bears about ten years ago.

One day, it seems, a Blackbear more tame than usual went right into the
bar-room of one of the hotels. The timid floating population moved out;
the bar-keep was cornered, but somewhat protected by his bar; and when
the Bear reared up with both paws on the mahogany, the wily "dispenser"
pushed a glass of beer across, saying nervously, "Is that what you are

The Bear liked the smell of the offering, and, stooping down, lapped up
the whole glassful, and what was spilt he carefully licked up afterward,
to the unmeasured joy of the loafers who peeped in at doors and windows,
and jeered at the bar-keep and his new customer.

"Say, bar-keep, who's to pay?" "Don't you draw any color line?" "If I
come in a fur coat, will you treat me?" "No! you got to scare him to
drink free," etc., etc., were examples of their remarks.

Whatever that Bear came for, she seemed satisfied with what she got,
for she went off peaceably to the woods, and was seen later lying asleep
under a tree. Next day, however, she was back again. The scene in the
bar-room was repeated with less intensity.


On the third and fourth days she came as before, but on the fifth day
she seemed to want something else. Prompted by a kindred feeling, one of
the loafers suggested that "She wants another round." His guess was
right, and having got it, that abandoned old Bear began to reel, but she
was quite good-natured about it, and at length lay down under a table,
where her loud snores proclaimed to all that she was asleep--beastly
drunk, and asleep--just like one of the lords of creation.

From that time on she became a habitual frequenter of the bar-room. Her
potations were increased each month. There was a time when one glass of
beer made her happy, but now it takes three or four, and sometimes even
a little drop of something stronger. But whatever it is, it has the
desired effect, and "Swizzling Jinnie" lurches over to the table, under
which she sprawls at length, and tuning up her nasophone she sleeps
aloud, and unpeacefully, demonstrating to all the world that after all a
"Bear is jest a kind o' a man in a fur coat." Who can doubt it that
reads this tale, for it is true; at least it was told me for the truth,
by no less an authority than one of Jennie's intimate associates at the


When one remembers the Grizzly Bear as the monarch of the mountains, the
king of the plains, and the one of matchless might and unquestioned sway
among the wild things of the West, it gives one a shock to think of him
being conquered and cowed by a little tin can. Yet he was, and this is
how it came about.

A grand old Grizzly, that was among the summer retinue of a Park hotel,
was working with two claws to get out the very last morsel of some
exceptionally delicious canned stuff. The can was extra strong, its
ragged edges were turned in, and presently both toes of the Bear were
wedged firmly in the clutch of that impossible, horrid little tin trap.
The monster shook his paw, and battered the enemy, but it was as sharp
within as it was smooth without, and it gripped his paw with the fell
clutch of a disease. His toes began to swell with all this effort and
violence, till they filled the inner space completely. The trouble was
made worse and the paw became painfully inflamed.

All day long that old Grizzly was heard clumping around with that
dreadful little tin pot wedged on his foot. Sometimes there was a loud
succession of _clamp, clamp, clamp's_ which told that the enraged
monarch with canned toes was venting his rage on some of the
neighbouring Blackbears.

The next day and the next that shiny tin maintained its frightful grip
on the Grizzly, who, limping noisily around, was known and recognized as
"Can-foot." His comings and goings to and from the garbage heap, by day
and by night, were plainly announced to all by the clamp, clamp, clamp
of that maddening, galling tin. Some weeks went by and still the
implacable meat box held on.

The officer in charge of the Park came riding by one day; he heard the
strange tale of trouble, and saw with his own eyes the limping Grizzly,
with his muzzled foot. At a wave of his hand two of the trusty scouts of
the Park patrol set out with their ponies and whistling lassoes on the
strangest errand that they, or any of their kind, had ever known. In a
few minutes those wonderful raw-hide ropes had seized him and the
monarch of the mountains was a prisoner bound. Strong shears were at
hand. That vicious little can was ripped open. It was completely filled
now with the swollen toes. The surgeon dressed the wounds, and the
Grizzly was set free. His first blind animal impulse was to attack his
seeming tormenters, but they were wise and the ponies were bear-broken;
they easily avoided the charge, and he hastened to the woods to recover,
finally, both his health and his good temper, and continue about the
Park, the only full-grown Grizzly Bear, probably, that man ever captured
to help in time of trouble, and then set loose again to live his life in


[Illustration: XLV. The Bears at feeding time
_Photos by F. Jay Haynes_]

[Illustration: XLVI. (a) Tom Newcomb pointing out the bear's mark.
_Photo by E. T. Seton_
(b) E. T. Seton feeding a Bear. _Photo by C. B. Harmon_]

       *       *       *       *       *


Mammals of the Yellowstone Park

       *       *       *       *       *


Mammals of the Yellowstone Park



_With assistance from the U. S. Biological Survey, and Colonel L. M.
Brett, in charge of the Park._

Elk or Wapiti (_Cervus canadensis_)
     Abundant. By actual official count, and estimate of stray
     bands, they number at least 35,000, of which about 5,000
     winter in the Park.

Mule Deer or Rocky Mt. Blacktail (_Odocoileus heminus_)
     Common. The official census gives their number at 400, of
     which at least 100 winter about Fort Yellowstone.

Whitetail Deer (_Odocoileus virginianus macrourus_)
     A few found about Gardiner, on Willow Creek, on Indian
     Creek, at Crevasse Mt. and in Cottonwood Basin. The official
     census gives their number at 100.

Moose (_Alces americanus_)
     Formerly rare, now abundant in all the southerly third of
     the Park. In 1897 they were estimated at 50. The official
     census gives their number at 550 in 1912.

Antelope or Pronghorn (_Antilocapra americana_)
     Formerly abundant, now rare; found only in broad open places
     such as Lamar Valley, etc. Their numbers have shrunk from
     many thousands in the '70's to about 1,500 in 1897, and 500
     in 1912.

Mountain Sheep or Bighorn (_Ovis canadensis_)
     Formerly rare, now common about Mt. Evarts, Mt. Washburn and
     the western boundary. In 1897 there were about 100, perhaps
     only 75; in 1912 they are reported numbering 210 by actual

American Buffalo or Bison (_Bison bison_)
     Steadily increasing. In 1897 there were about 30; they now
     number 199 by actual count. These are in two herds, of 49
     wild, and 150 in the fenced corrals.

Richardson Red-squirrel (_Sciurus hudsonicus richardsoni_)
     Abundant in all pine woods.

Northern Chipmunk (_Eutamias quadrivittatus luteiventris_)
     Extremely abundant everywhere.

Least Chipmunk (_Eutamias minimus pictus_)
     Common about Mammoth Hot Springs.

Golden Ground-squirrel (_Citellus lateralis cinerascens_)

Picket-pin Ground-squirrel (_Citellus armatus_)
     Abundant on all level prairies.

Prairie-dog (_Cynomys ludovicianus_)
     Gen. Geo. S. Anderson told me long ago that the
     Prairie-dogs, so abundant on the Lower Yellowstone, were
     sometimes seen as far up as the Park at Gardiner.

[Illustration: XLVII. Johnnie Bear: his sins and his troubles
_Sketches by E. T. Seton_]

[Illustration: XLVIII. Johnnie happy at last
_Photo by Miss L. Griscom_]

Yellow Woodchuck, Rock Chuck or Marmot (_Marmota flaviventer_)
     Abundant on all mountains.

Rocky Mt. Flying Squirrel (_Sciuropterus alpinus_)
     Said to be found. I did not see one.

Beaver (_Castor canadensis_)
     Abundant and increasing.

Grasshopper Mouse (_Onychomys leucogaster_)
     I found a typical colony of this species on the Yellowstone
     near Yancey's but did not secure any.

Mountain Deer-mouse (_Peromyscus maniculatus artemisiae_)
     Abundant everywhere.

Mountain Rat, Pack-rat or Wood-rat (_Neotoma cinerea_)
     Said to be found, but I saw none.

Redbacked Vole or Field-mouse (_Evotomys gapperi galei_)
     Not taken yet in the Park but found in all the surrounding
     country, therefore, probable.

Common Field-mouse (_Microtus pennsylvannicus modestus_)
     Recorded by Vernon Bailey from Lower Geyser Basin in the

Long-tailed Vole (_Microtus mordax_)
     Vernon Bailey records this from various surrounding
     localities, also from Tower Falls. Doubtless it is generally
     distributed. This is the bobtailed, short-eared, dark gray
     mouse that is found making runs in the thick grass,
     especially in low places.

Big-footed Vole (_Microtus richardsoni macropus_)
     Not yet taken in the Park, but found in surrounding
     mountains, therefore probable.

Muskrat (_Fiber zibethicus osoyoosensis_)
     Common and of general distribution.

Mole-gopher or Gray Gopher (_Thomomys talpoides_)
     A Gopher of some kind abounds in the Park. I assume it to be

Rocky Mt. Jumping Mouse (_Zapus princeps_)
     Found in all the surrounding country, and recorded by E. A.
     Preble from near Yellowstone Lake.

Yellow-haired Porcupine (_Erethizon epixanthus_)
     Somewhat common in the pine woods on the Continental Divide.

Coney, Rock Rabbit, Pika, or Calling Hare (_Ochotona princeps_)
     Abundant in all slide rock.

Rocky Mt. Cottontail (_Sylvilagus nuttalli grangeri_)
     Plentiful about Gardiner and in some of the lower regions of
     the Park, but not general.

Snowshoe Rabbit (_Lepus bairdi_)
     Common and generally distributed.

White-tailed Jack Rabbit (_Lepus campestris_)
     Common and generally distributed.

Mountain Lion, Cougar or Puma (_Felis hippolestes_)
     In 1897 it was considered extremely rare; probably not more
     than a dozen were then living in the Park; since then it
     seems to have increased greatly and is now somewhat common
     in the mountainous parts. Their numbers are given officially
     at 100 in 1912.

Canada Lynx (_Lynx canadensis_)

Bobcat or Mountain-cat (_Lynx uinta_)
     Somewhat common.

The Big-tailed Fox (_Vulpes macrourus_)

Timber Wolf (_Canis occidentalis_)
     Very rare, noticed only at Hell Roaring Creek and Slough
     Creek. On August 25, 1912, Lieut. M. Murray saw two in a
     meadow two miles southeast of Snow Shoe Cabin on Slough
     Creek. They were plainly seen in broad daylight; and were
     nearly white.

Coyote (_Canis latrans_)
     Abundant everywhere, although officially reckoned they
     numbered only 400 in 1912.

Otter (_Lutra canadensis_)
     Common, particularly around the Lake and the Canyon.

Mink (_Lutreola vison energumenos_)

Long-tailed Weasel (_Putorius longicauda_)
     Said to be found. I did not see any.

Short-tailed Weasel (_Putorius cicognanii_)
     Included because its range includes the Park.

Marten (_Mustela caurina_)
     Found throughout the Park, but not common.

Pekan or Fisher (_Mustela pennanti_)
     Rare. Gen. G. S. Anderson tells me that in the early '90's
     he took the skin of one from a poacher.

Wolverine (_Gulo luscus_)
     Of general distribution, but not common.

Northern Skunk (_Mephitis hudsonica_)
     Rare, but found at Mammoth Hot Springs and Yancey's.

Badger (_Taxidea taxus_)

Raccoon or Coon (_Procyon lotor_)
     Said to occur. Fifteen years ago at Gardiner I was shown one
     that was said to have been taken in the Park, but it was not

Grizzly Bear (_Ursus horribilis_)
     Common. The official count gives 50 in 1912.

Blackbear (_Ursus americanus_)
     Abundant and increasing. The official count gives 100 in

Common or Masked Shrew (_Sorex personatus_)
     Never taken, but included because its known range surrounds
     the Park.

Marsh Shrew or Water Shrew (_Neosorex palustris_)
     Probably occurs there, since its known range surrounds the

Long-eared Bat (_Corynorhinus macrotis pallescens_)
     A few were seen in the Devil's Kitchen, Mammoth Hot Springs,
     and one sent to the Biological Survey for identification.
     This is the only Bat taken, but the following are likely to
     be found, as their known range surrounds the Park:

         Little Brown Bat (_Myotis lucifugus_)
         Silver-haired Bat (_Lasionycteris noctivagans_)
         Big Brown Bat (_Eptesicus fuscus_)
         Great Hoary Bat (_Nycteris cinereus_)

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Bold text is indicated by equal symbols: =text=.

Italic text is indicated by underscores: _text_.

Moved some illustrations from their original positions to avoid
breaking up paragraphs of text. The List of Half-tone Plates displays
the original page numbers. Some apparently missing plates may have
been edited out of the original version.

Corrected minor punctuation errors.

Page 61: Clomb could be a typo for climb:
  (rush as they might and did, and bounded and clomb,)

Page 123: Changed pased to passed:
  (men had passed near)

Page 155: Changed Bitteroot to Bitterroot:
  (This took place in the Bitterroot Mountains)

Page 157: Added missing exclamation point:
  (I heard the dreaded cry, "Yellow-Jackets!")

Page 165: Changed conspicious to conspicuous:
  (might otherwise make it too conspicuous.)

Page 176: Changed inclinded to inclined:
  (travellers will be inclined to bunch them)

Page 196: Changed go to to:
  (We went quietly to the edge of the timber)

Page 210: Plate XL was not included in the original book.
  (The picture, such as it is, I give as Plate XL, c.)

Page 213: Manoeuvring had an oe ligature in the original book:
  (it stood, and there was some pretty manoeuvring,)

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