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Title: Inter-Ocean Hunting Tales
Author: Randolph, Edgar Fritz
Language: English
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Internet Archive)



[Illustration: HERD OF ELK.]



  INTER-OCEAN
  HUNTING TALES

  BY EDGAR F. RANDOLPH

  ILLUSTRATED

  NEW YORK
  FOREST AND STREAM PUBLISHING CO.
  1908


  Copyright, 1908,
  By Forest and Stream Publishing Co.



FOREWORD


In this volume will be found a series of articles which in recent years
have appeared in _Forest and Stream_. The incidents recounted took
place in widely separated parts of the United States and Canada.

As time slips by there is a pleasure in recalling hunting exploits
which have become relegated to a past that can be lived over again only
in memory. Whoever feels the sportsman’s ardor kindle when blood red
tales of the hunt are related--an ardor which the camera enthusiast,
who possesses merely a platonic love of sport cannot appreciate--may
discover an excuse for this book. Its style may strike one as somewhat
informal and lacking in literary finish, but it should be borne in mind
that too much formality is likely to take away the charm of camp life.

If you picture yourself seated on a log by the open camp-fire you will
not be apt to criticize the absence of polish in the composition of the
text. You would as soon ask your guide to substitute patent leather
shoes for his greased boots.

_May, 1908._



CONTENTS


                                                                  PAGE

  A REMINISCENCE OF THE ROCKIES                                      1

  EXPENSE OF AN OUTING                                              33

  A NEW BRUNSWICK HUNT                                              37

  ROUNDING UP CATS IN COLORADO                                      47

  DUCK SHOOTING IN CALCASIEU PARISH                                 69

  OUTING AT TWO-OCEAN PASS                                          82

  CAMP LIFE NEAR THE TETONS                                         96

  BLOODLESS SPORT                                                  122

  WESTERN CAMP LIFE                                                130

  ELK HUNT IN WYOMING                                              143



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                          FACING PAGE

  HERD OF ELK (Frontispiece)

  PACKING A BRONCHO                                                  5

  MARVIN LAKE                                                       47

  HITTING THE TRAIL                                                 65

  THE TETON RANGE                                                   83

  BREAKING CAMP                                                     95

  A GLIMPSE OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN SCENERY                              109

  PACK HORSES ROUNDED UP FOR THE RETURN                            120

  MOUNTAIN CLIMBING                                                130

  VIEW FROM MT. LEIDY                                              140

  GUIDE EDWARD SHEFFIELD AND TWO ELK HEADS                         145

  VALLEY OF GROS VENTRE                                            150

  CHAS. HERDICK SKINNING A BULL ELK, THE AUTHOR AT THE RIGHT       160

  GROS VENTRE RIVER                                                171



INTER-OCEAN HUNTING TALES



REMINISCENCE OF THE ROCKIES


In the fall of 1896 I decided upon taking a hunting trip to the White
River country in Colorado. At that time the White River country was
well supplied with game and might almost be considered a sportsman’s
paradise, or, as an Indian described it to me, like the “happy hunting
grounds.” Deer were very plentiful, and around Hayden and in California
Park antelope were numerous, although very shy. Bull elk occasionally
adorned the landscape with their imposing presence and splendid spread
of antlers. The cougar was heard occasionally, although never seen
unless hunted with dogs. Old “Silver Tip” frequented the neighborhood,
but had a way of making his bulky form vanish like some apparition.
His depredations, where he had mangled the carcass of some animal or
disturbed the habitations of a lot of small fry under a rotten log,
furnished evidence of his presence. There was enough large game in
the country to give some idea of what it had been at a time when the
Redskin was the undisputed proprietor of the soil.

I had secured, through correspondence, the services of a guide who had
been well recommended. Having heard considerably about the cowboy, my
curiosity had been somewhat excited, and I desired to form a better
acquaintance from actual experience. The West was then, to my mind, a
geographical area possessing a certain wildness and wooliness, which
my imagination pictured to me. The rapid trend of events makes a book
describing its general conditions seem behind the times almost as soon
as it is published. Much of what I had read and heard, however, seemed
to me like a fairy tale in the face of actual experience, although,
allowing for exaggeration, back of it all it had a foundation of
facts. Every time I have visited the West I have noticed the rapid
progress of change.

During my first hunting experience, I noticed that the typical bad man,
of whom I had heard so much, with his rough-and-ready manner, accoutred
with dangerous weapons, his social position established by the size
of his private graveyard, was wanting. The facetious desperado, who
had a pleasant way of requesting the “tenderfoot” to dance while he
marked time with his six-shooter, was “non est.” An unappreciative
community had organized from time to time a few “necktie parties,”
and the experience of such gentlemen has since become an interesting
theme for romance. The large settled communities of course had the same
cosmopolitan air and character that one finds in the East. There was,
nevertheless, something in the social atmosphere which impressed you
with the feeling that everything was very different. The cowboy, of
whom I had heard so much, I learned to recognize as generally a very
quiet, civil person, never going out of his way to do extraordinary
things nor to make himself conspicuous. A man of few words and not
inclined to familiarity, he is essentially a man of action, and prefers
to take a short cut to accomplish his purpose. If one should conclude
that his reserve and his reticence were the result of mental torpor,
he would make a great mistake. Apparently taking little interest in a
new acquaintance, and seeming to lack ordinary curiosity, I find that
he is, notwithstanding, a very close observer and has a quiet way of
extracting information without appearing eager to do so.

My guide engaged to meet me at Buford, Colo. Being unacquainted with
the locality, I wrote to obtain information concerning the railroad
station nearest my destination, and learned that it was Rifle. When I
arrived at Rifle, I inquired about the best way to get to Buford,
and was informed, to my surprise, that I had a journey by wagon of
sixty miles to make. This was my first experience with the magnificent
distances of the West. The result was that I miscalculated the time
of meeting my guide by an entire day. When I arrived at Buford on the
evening of the next day, my guide, whom I saw for the first time, rode
up on a mustang, seated in a big Mexican saddle. With an easy air, as
though we had been acquainted all our lives, he expressed his pleasure
at meeting me and advised all necessary arrangements for the morrow’s
start on our hunt back in the mountains.

[Illustration: PACKING A BRONCHO.

Blindfolding a vicious animal is an expedient that generally attains
its purpose.]

It is interesting to notice how quickly and skillfully an experienced
man can pack a lot of horses, apportioning the loads with great
fairness, and balancing the dead weight so that it will ride easily on
the backs of the not overwilling animals. Packing seems easy, and if
you want to know how easy it is, try it. After you have ridden a mile
or so, perhaps, some critical beast will begin to subject your work to
a severe test by bucking. To express the state of your feelings when
this happens would be impossible, unless your sympathetic guide, who is
generally an expert in swearing, can help you out.

The first day’s journey was rather long and tedious, a large part of it
through monotonous stretches of sage brush. When at length the timber
was reached, the change was most agreeable. We arrived at the location
of our first camp without a mishap, unless having my legs squeezed
between the horse and a tree a couple of times could be considered
as such. Although my guide knew his business as a guide, I could not
recommend him as a first-rate cook. His efforts at making bread proved
a flat failure, and we had to do without the staff of life. The canned
provisions, which required practically no skill in their preparation,
made the inefficiency of the cooking less apparent.

The camp being pitched in a well timbered and picturesque spot, we
spent the rest of the afternoon in arranging everything and laying our
plans for the next day. The waning sunlight found us spread comfortably
around a big camp-fire, which sent its genial glow far into the dark
recesses of the gloomy forest. When a great heap of burning faggots
had sunk into a bed of smouldering ashes and the rising wind murmuring
through the pines gave warning of an approaching storm, I concluded
to crawl under the bedding and sleep. The hard, frozen ground is not
as comfortable as a spring mattress, but I had to get used to it,
and was sleeping soundly, when I was awakened in the morning by the
cheerful voice of the guide, who called out, “Breakfast!” as if he were
summoning all the guests of a boarding house to a feast. When I crawled
out of my sleeping bag into the chilly atmosphere, I found the guide
doing the chores in his stocking feet. A few dashes of ice-cold water
from the stream hard by drove away all feeling of drowsiness, and made
me conscious of the fact that I had an appetite.

After breakfast, without waiting to put camp in order, for the morning
was already advanced, we started out in search of game. On coming to
the edge of the timber, where the country opened up into one of the
little parks which we frequently found in that locality, I saw the tall
form of my guide slowly stoop behind some bushes, while, at the same
time, he motioned me to be cautious. I soon saw what had arrested his
attention. A magnificent blacktail deer, with a fine set of antlers,
stood out in full view, not more than a hundred yards away. There were
a half a dozen does nearby, but they did not interest me. I brought
“Old Meat in the Pot” to my shoulders, for that is what my guide had
christened my .45-90, and after taking deliberate aim, fired. Which
was the most astonished, the buck, or myself, I could not say. He
stood perfectly motionless, like an image in bronze. I had evidently
missed him. A second shot fared the same; then the whole bunch of deer
began to scamper off unharmed by any of the shots I had fired at the
buck. I could not account for the bad marksmanship, for I knew that I
did not have the buck fever. The guide said that I had killed one of
the deer, which I disputed, until he pointed to a dying animal lying
in a dense thicket just to the rear of the deer that had served as my
target. I had not even seen it, until it was pointed out to me after I
had shot it. After making several experiments with the rifle without
satisfactory results, I found that the sight had been knocked out of
place. I then handed the rifle over to the guide without correcting the
error and requested him to let me see how a cowboy could shoot. With
evident pride in his skill he brought the gun to his shoulder, but he
shot as badly as any tenderfoot.

In the meantime, the air was full of sounds more terrible than the
report of the rifle. Any one who has heard a cowboy swear when he is
really in earnest can understand what I mean.

At last it occurred to him that the sights might be out of order, and
when he examined them and discovered the trouble, he looked at me, and
seeing my complacent smile, the whole truth dawned upon him. We both
laughed heartily at our mutual discomfiture and pledged each other’s
health from the flask to celebrate the occasion.

I returned to the camp without a trophy to commemorate my first success
in killing deer, although I had secured an abundant supply of meat.

The next day we covered considerable ground on horseback, without
success. I had, however, an interesting experience in climbing a
mountain known as Old Sleepy Cap, sometimes, because of its peculiar
formation at the summit, called the Razor Back. The ascent of this
mountain was not particularly easy, on account of its abrupt elevation,
although the height above the surrounding country was not great. The
formation at the summit, which gave the unpoetical name of Razor Back
to the mass, consisted of a long, narrow ridge, not more than eighteen
inches to two feet in width, bristling with sharp projections of rock
of quite uniform height extending nearly its entire length of about
ninety yards. At each end it broadens out in a space conveniently
large for a temporary resting place. After satisfying my curiosity, I
suggested a descent into the valley, where the cool atmosphere would
afford a welcome relief from the blazing rays of the sun. Much to my
surprise, the guide informed me that the ascent was much easier at the
point we came up than the descent, unless I wished to reach the bottom
in a fashion that would imperil my neck. After discussing the matter
with him a few moments and carefully studying the position, I came to
the conclusion that he was right. We observed that at the other end
we could find an easy way to descend. That meant a rather long and
disagreeable walk on the serrated ridge, attended with considerable
danger, or a still more unpleasant experience if I should attempt to
crawl on hands and knees for greater safety. Like a couple of tomcat
serenaders promenading on the top of a brick wall liberally strewn with
broken bottles, we crawled to the far end of the ridge, where, with
some difficulty, we descended. We returned to camp with no better luck
than securing a snowshoe rabbit, which I shot through the head.

For some days I conscientiously hunted, but found it difficult to
come close enough to get a good shot at deer. I saw quite a number
bounding away far out of range, often stopping at a safe distance
to observe our movements. For lack of better sport, I occasionally
practiced on the “fool grouse”--a bird very similar in appearance to
our Eastern partridge, but about the tamest game I have ever shot. I
could generally have three trials at one before it would move. I would
pace off the proper space, and then aim at the head. The flesh was not
particularly delicate, and would certainly not please the palate of an
epicure.

One day as we were traveling in a blinding snow flurry, we came to a
precipice thickly fringed with undergrowth and small trees. Impelled
by curiosity, I got off my horse and went near the edge to get a view
of the country below. The waving tops of the pines beneath were barely
visible, the force of the wind coming through the great long valley at
my feet, sounded like the hollow roar of the ocean. As I stood upon
the cliff, gratifying my fancy with the weird and strange impressions
the surroundings made upon me, the storm began to abate, and through
the diminishing fall of snow the sun gradually diffused its light,
and presently the atmosphere cleared up, and the entire landscape was
revealed to view as though a great white sheet concealing nature’s
panorama had been pulled aside. On a ledge jutting out from the base
of the precipice, about two hundred feet below, I observed the shapely
form of a deer with a fawn lying on the rock alongside of it. As far as
the eye could distinguish, a great forest of aspen with white trunks
and branches sparsely decorated with yellow leaves, filled the valley.
Dense masses of pines, which completely covered the steep mountain
sides, except where the ragged projections broke through, formed a dark
setting to the brilliant landscape which lay between. My reverie was
finally broken by a voice nearby: “Well, pardner, it’s pretty late and
we are a long way from camp.” Traveling in that rough country after
dark is not attractive to one who is not looking for trouble. So I
mounted my horse and began to occupy myself with observing game signs
and incidentally thought of the camp-fire and kettle.

It is interesting to notice how strangely the element of luck will
enter into a sportsman’s experience. One day, after hunting faithfully
from early dawn until evening without success, I concluded to vary
the monotony by shooting at a mark. I had not been engaged in that
pastime very long before my attention was arrested by hearing something
crashing through the brush at the foot of the hill where I stood,
and presently I saw a fine blacktail buck come bounding up the slope
directly toward me, accompanied by a doe. My rifle was just ready to
bring up to my shoulder, but I remained motionless in plain view,
waiting for the game to come within easy range. A more picturesque
sight than that blacktail, easily and gracefully clearing the fallen
timbers, I have rarely seen. My eagerness did not interfere with my
sizing up the well-proportioned and beautifully poised antlers, which
I regarded as already mine. As I raised my rifle to shoot, although
the action was quite deliberate, it was immediately noticed. The deer
changed its course when not over forty yards away, exposing its broad
flank to my aim. It ran some distance after I fired, clearing with ease
the trunk of a large fallen tree, and giving me no little concern for
a few moments. Following his tracks, I soon came upon the deer, dead.
It was indeed a fine specimen, weighing perhaps two hundred and fifty
pounds, in good condition and with a perfect set of antlers.

I had often heard of the remarkably acute senses of wild animals; the
timidity and keenness of deer are proverbial, and yet here was an
instance which seemed to belie all former stories and past experience.
Standing in plain view while firing at a mark, the buck ran directly
toward me. One would naturally suppose that the noise of the shooting
would have driven the animal away. My theory about the occurrence is,
that when the report of the rifle is first heard, the tendency is for
a wild animal to become alarmed and run in the opposite direction, but
presently when it catches the echo, the real direction of the sound
is misconceived, and it will then run in the direction of the firing.
Other sportsmen have agreed with me in this view. There is no doubt
that deer and other wild animals can tell the direction of sound, and
consequently, when one becomes alarmed by the shooting and runs toward
the place where the sportsman is located, it is not the ear, but the
judgment that is at fault. A wild animal can have no correct idea of an
echo, but undoubtedly imagines that it is an entirely different sound,
and being last heard determines its final course.

This, however, does not explain the action of the deer in running
directly toward me when I was in plain view. All sportsmen soon learn
to recognize the fact that animals, although keen of sight, are not
very discriminating. Birds, as well as wild animals, will frequently
continue their course when it lies in the direction of a human being,
provided there is no perceptible movement to attract their attention.
Any kind of motion is immediately noticed, particularly if it is at all
sudden. Stationary objects are not apt to attract much attention unless
there is something very strange in their appearance, especially if the
coloring does not harmonize with the general surroundings and happens
to be different from what is ordinarily seen.

Animals use their faculties in a very mechanical way, and this
observation is more true of sight than of any other sense. I have seen
a pack of dogs which had followed a bobcat’s tracks to a tree where
they supposed it had taken refuge, baying and standing guard, while it
was perfectly evident to any one who was not blind that the cat had
escaped. The sense of smell had directed the dogs to the spot, and
relying upon the information received in that way, they failed to avail
themselves of the intelligence they might have derived from another
source. I have no doubt that the sight of dogs is particularly keen,
but they rely almost entirely upon the sense of smell. When the mind is
greatly absorbed in one direction, it is for the time being far less
observant or attentive in other ways. A human being depends mostly upon
the sight, and next upon hearing; the sense of smell is the least used
of any of the senses. Among animals, with few exceptions, smell is the
principal sense, and all the others are little used in comparison,
although very acute.

Having secured a good deer trophy, I next turned my thoughts to a
different kind of hunting, and concluded that antelope would afford a
pleasing variety, both as a prize and in the method of hunting.

The next day the outfit was got in readiness and we started for a
place called Hayden, located in California Park. The sun had melted
the snow, and the journey was hot and dusty. Traveling over the steep
mountain trails, the guide gave me the lead, while he rode at the rear
of the pack horses strung out in single file, and made use of all the
arts of persuasion to keep them going, frequently leaning down to pick
up a rock or a stick to hurl at some “ornery” beast that would turn a
deaf ear to the appeal, “Wake up and pay for your bedding.” Speeches in
true cowboy style, with plenty of rhetorical flourishes, were delivered
almost without intermission, when the traveling was particularly
difficult.

After leaving the timber, we had a tedious journey through long
stretches of sage brush. The land where the sage brush abounds seems
desolate and forsaken, and would impress the casual observer as
perfectly worthless. While reflecting upon the forbidding aspect of
the country, I wondered if this land could be rendered productive
upon the arrival of that era “when the desert would blossom as the
rose.” I discovered an answer to my question ere long, when my sight
was gladdened by a neat little ranch located near a stream, with about
two acres of ground irrigated and under cultivation. If it had been
an oasis in a desert, the contrast could not have been more striking.
A great stack of alfalfa hay stood near the ranch, exposing a cut
in its side which revealed the interior perfectly green. At first I
thought that the grass had not been properly cured, but I learned
afterward that the alfalfa contains so much nutriment that it remains
green a long time after it has been cured and stacked. There were
quite a number of fruit trees of small size so laden with fruit that
the branches had to be propped. All that is needed to make the soil
productive, is to clear off the sage brush, and irrigate.

We camped that night by a stream in a clump of aspen trees, many of
which, although dead, were still standing. The aspen when dead becomes
exceedingly dry and light, and makes a very hot and bright fire, but
quickly burns out, leaving a small quantity of ashes to the amount of
wood consumed. After the evening meal, we piled the dead aspen wood
upon the fire until it formed a heap nearly as high as our heads.
The flames shot well into the air and lighted up the landscape for a
considerable distance. Listening to the guide spinning his yarns as we
lay by the cheerful blaze, the time slipped by rapidly. It may not be
out of place to relate one of the stories my guide told me, as a sample
of the kind of intellectual treat they furnished.

Among his acquaintances was a telegraph operator at a place called Red
Wing on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. The operator had taught
the guide a smattering of telegraphy, and the sequel will prove the
truth of the saying that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
The operator was on very friendly terms with a young lady in the
same employment at a station not many miles away, and when business
was slack they freely corresponded in complimentary and sometimes
sentimental messages, until at length their feelings toward each
other had deepened into something more than friendship. One day the
guide dropped into the office, and while he was there, the operator
had to leave for a short time on other business. During his absence
a message came over the wire of the usual sentimental kind. The
“chargé d’affaires” did not recognize the sender nor understand the
message, but being possessed of ready wit and unlimited assurance,
he immediately sent back a reply characterized by brevity, force and
spiciness. When the regular operator returned and endeavored to resume
a tête-à-tête he could get no response, nor was further communication
continued, except in the ordinary course of business. An effort to
obtain an explanation received no notice, as he was supposed to be the
guilty party and naturally would understand the cause of the trouble
well enough without it. While the operator was pouring out the burden
of his troubled soul to the guide a few days after, a suspicion flashed
across the mind of the latter that perhaps the fragrant message he
had sent at random might have been the cause of the misunderstanding.
He so informed the operator, and matters were finally satisfactorily
explained, and the former friendly relations restored.

When California Park was at length reached, we found the country very
hilly, but open. There were a number of antelope in that locality, but
it was almost impossible to get a good shot at one. The atmosphere is
so deceptive that it is very difficult to gauge the distance. I made a
good many quite accurate line shots, but they were invariably either
too high or too low. It was some time before I could form a correct
idea of the distance. I believe it is best for any one shooting in
a strange country where distances are deceptive, to ask information
of the guide, so that he may be able to sight his rifle at the right
elevations. In an open country, where the atmosphere is rarefied and
objects are seen very distinctly, it is easy to underestimate the
range of your mark; while in the timber, particularly if it is fairly
dense, the tendency is to overestimate and consequently shoot too high.
After a couple of days, I at last succeeded in bagging an antelope and
tried to run down on horseback another one that I had creased, but it
managed to escape. It would frequently stop and look back while being
pursued. Once I checked my horse and waited. The antelope stood still
and watched me at a safe distance. I observed that it grew no weaker
from the loss of blood, and when I resumed the chase I became convinced
that it was probably more than a match in speed for my jaded horse. I
did not seem to gain on it, and the horse was showing great distress
under the strain. I had not the heart to apply the stimulus to make him
quicken his pace as the guide did to his horse, fairly raking his sides
from the shoulders down with the great Mexican spurs until they were
red with blood.

My experience in hunting antelope convinces me that a sportsman earns
about every trophy he gets. No man can be a sluggard and succeed in
hunting this kind of game. With senses as acute as any wild animals
possess, they live in an open country, where every object is visible
except for the slight concealment offered by the sage brush or some
depression of the ground. The antelope have one stupid habit--very
remarkable on account of their keenness in other respects. They
will almost always follow their leader, strung out in single file,
notwithstanding that in doing so the end of the line may come close to
a hunter in pursuit who is cutting across their course. When the line
is strung out to a considerable length, and the mounted hunter is not
more than a few hundred yards away and is riding at right angles to the
course that the antelope are pursuing, it can readily be seen that the
last of the herd will have allowed the pursuer to gain considerable
distance. There has been a good deal of discussion in regard to the
possibility of running antelope down by mounted hunters. The stratagem
usually employed is to surround a bunch of antelope by making a wide
circle sufficiently large to avoid giving immediate alarm to the herd.
Several men begin the chase by riding toward them from several widely
separated points and driving the herd in the direction of another
group of hunters, who are concealed from sight in some depression of
the ground. When the herd reaches the point where the other hunters
are concealed, they are pursued by men on fresh mounts. Sometimes the
herd is scattered, and some stray confused animal will try to rejoin
the others, and in doing so will run straight in the direction of his
comrades, quite regardless of the closeness of his pursuers. I saw one
lone distracted animal trying to rejoin the herd come within sixty
yards of a dismounted hunter, who tried to get a shot at it, but was
prevented by his horse straying in front of him and moving in such
a way that his aim was cut off, until the antelope had considerably
increased the distance, and then escaped the shots fired.

My time being limited, I was compelled to cut my antelope hunt short
without having secured a suitable trophy, although I had plenty of
hard riding and excitement. On the return trip, as the guide and
myself sat by the camp-fire, a cowboy joined us who became quite
companionable, and gave us all the news after his mind had been
sufficiently stimulated by several generous pulls at the flask. It
appeared that a couple of days before an attempt had been made one
night to rob the bank at Meeker. Before the robbers could accomplish
their purpose, the citizens discovered what was taking place and
quietly surrounded the building. When the men came out they were shot
down and killed; the ends of justice were thereby satisfied without
the proverbial law’s delay. The cowboy then told me of another bank,
in which he was a depositor, which had been robbed not long before by
one of its officers, who had gotten off with a considerable sum. I
asked him what the liabilities were. The word staggered him. Although I
recognized that he was a man of resources, yet I felt sure that I had
“stumped him,” and felt sorry for it. He stared vacantly at the fire
a few moments and slowly shifted a quid from one side of his mouth to
the other and sent a long, yellow stream into the center of the blaze,
which I thought for a moment would extinguish it; at length he replied
in a leisurely way: “Wal, pardner, the liabilities are--if they catch
him they will hang him.”

Two days afterward I took leave of my guide; I felt as I clasped his
great strong hand that the compression came as much from the heart as
the muscles.

I soon found myself again in civilized surroundings. A barber’s skill,
a warm bath and conventional attire had already wrought a wonderful
transformation. As I sat in a comfortable seat and looked out of the
car window, observing the strange and beautiful scenery, so continually
changing with the rapid movement of the train, every hour covering a
greater distance than I could travel with a pack outfit in a day, I
felt how much easier it was to take it all in this way; no fractious
horse to control; free from the burning sun, which would often shoot
down its rays upon one like the heat waves from a furnace, and while
in the midst of this ordeal, the climate would sometimes suddenly
change with the clouds gathering in the sky, and a cold wave, perhaps
accompanied by a snowstorm, would follow. When I reflect upon my
experience in after years, the scenery I observed so rapidly and with
no effort, reappears to my mind like a blurred photograph as compared
to what I saw while traveling with the pack outfit. The charm of
natural scenery grows upon one by degrees; whoever thinks that the
charm wanes when the novelty has worn off is not a true admirer of
nature.

Whatever opinion one may entertain of the foregoing statement, it is
very certain that the sportsman cannot gratify his favorite desire and
at the same time consult his ease in all respects. A royal sportsman
may afford the luxury of having a force of game keepers drive wild
beasts within range of his rifle, and imagine that he is enjoying the
real thing. The average man has no such opportunity, and I believe
has no reason to regret it. The best hunting sections of the country
are remote from settlements, and are generally somewhat difficult
of access. Game is by no means so plentiful now as it was when the
country was being opened to civilizing influence by the introduction
of railroads. It is no longer possible for a wealthy man, who likes
sport without inconvenience and hardship, to have his parlor car
side-tracked, and to make it a headquarters while enjoying the
pastime. One is compelled to rough it to some extent to obtain success
in hunting big game at the present time. But after all, is that an
objection? Does it not put a keen edge on the sportsman’s desire?
Those hunting incidents which have given me the greatest trouble
and exercised my skill the most are the ones I recall with greatest
pleasure.



EXPENSE OF AN OUTING


The expense of a Western hunting trip after big game, and what is
necessary to make it a success, will largely depend upon how much or
how little one requires. The average man, accustomed to the ordinary
comforts of civilized environment, should be careful to supply himself
with as many of these as possible, without too greatly increasing the
expense and the bulk of what has to be transported.

The season of the year makes a difference also. In the late fall or
during the winter any one who is not accustomed to camping out in cold
weather will find a tent with a light, portable sheet-iron stove, which
can easily be carried on a horse’s back, very serviceable.

My last hunting trip in the West was late in the fall, and I had
everything complete. I will enumerate what I took and then state the
cost: I had a guide and a cook; a tent for myself and another which
served as quarters for the three men and also for a dining pavilion;
a sheet-iron stove for each tent, which, with several lengths of
pipe weighed very little; two folding tables and several chairs that
packed into very small space; plenty of warm bedding and underwear; a
liberal supply of canned stuff--soups, meats, vegetables, preserves,
etc.--besides the usual standbys, flour, bacon, my rifle, ammunition,
etc., and a few books to read when I was tired of hunting and wanted
to loaf in camp. The cost was as follows: Guide, $3 per day; horse
wrangler, $2 per day; cook, $3 per day; eight pack horses, 50 cents
apiece per day; six dogs, no charge.

Provisions, consisting principally of canned stuff, at from 15 to 20
cents a can, I purchased at St. Anthony, Idaho. I had about $60 worth
of canned stuff, and had some left over after camping out thirty
days. In round figures it cost me about $14 a day while camping out.
This expense can be cut down, if one wishes to economize. Great care,
however, should be taken about attempting to cut off too much.

I have heard much adverse criticism in regard to canned goods, but in
my own experience I find them most serviceable. What are generally
sold contain, as a rule, a large quantity of water, and this adds
unnecessarily to the weight and bulk. A great deal of this may be had
in a condensed form; before cooking, water can be added to it.

The success of a hunting trip depends almost entirely upon the guide.
Great care should be taken against securing the services of any one
without first finding out something about him in advance. If you
are fifty or one hundred miles out in the wilderness and your guide
should prove unsatisfactory, you cannot conveniently dispense with his
services. In that case you have nothing to do but to make the best of
a bad bargain.

With the disappearance of big game almost everywhere, and the greater
difficulty of securing it, more skill and special knowledge are
required now than formerly. There are a good many men who have shot
large game and lived in the wilderness who would not make competent
guides. The man whose time is limited must select as his guide someone
who has a good knowledge of woodcraft, understands the habits of wild
animals and is able to furnish a good outfit.



A NEW BRUNSWICK HUNT


The Province of New Brunswick, in the neighborhood of the Tobique
River, was once noted as a favorite resort for caribou, but for some
reason this fickle, migratory animal has become somewhat scarce in
that locality. The moose has become more abundant. Various reasons are
given for the diminishing number of caribou and the increase of moose,
but I do not undertake to explain the cause of the change. There are
certainly quite a number of moose in the country, and if one is not
too eager to shoot the first chance he gets, and will wait till he
sees a good head, a hunt of several weeks ought to secure satisfactory
results. The law allows a sportsman only one moose, and that fact
should make him careful about bagging anything which comes in sight.

The true sportsman should form a resolution to secure a good trophy
or nothing. It is pitiable to see what rubbish some people lug out
of the woods--heads that are wanting in size and defective in fair
proportions. The head of the moose lacks the grace and beauty of
outline which characterize the elk, the only large animal of this
continent which can compare with it in size, and so it must make up in
massiveness what it lacks in other respects. Whether large or small, an
elk’s head is almost invariably beautiful and graceful. In securing a
trophy one can afford to be more independent of size when an elk head
is the object sought, and not the head of a moose.

The attractiveness of a moose head consists largely in its
grotesqueness; the size has quite as much to do with that as its shape.

If one intends to hunt in New Brunswick, a great deal depends upon the
kind of hunting desired, whether one goes early or late in the season.
In the early part of the season, say from the first of September to the
25th of October, there is little or no snow, and at that time it is
extremely difficult to get any large game by stalking, for the ground
is covered with dry leaves and brittle wood, which make considerable
noise at every step. At that season one must depend largely upon canoe
work and calling for moose, while caribou and deer are then still more
difficult to hunt.

Moose frequently come down to the water, of which they are very fond,
and in which they bathe and wallow. Caribou are less apt to frequent
such spots. Calling is a favorite method of bringing moose within
range, but great care has to be exercised, for a single false note and
your noble quarry, instead of accepting an invitation to a funeral,
which he is to grace, will retire to a place of safety.

When there are a few inches of snow on the ground, hunting becomes more
attractive to the sportsman. Instead of sitting in his canoe waiting
for something to come within range, he is vigorously exercising his
muscles and his knowledge of woodcraft to secure a shot, and often his
skill is put to a considerable test in shooting through thick timber.

There is nothing more improving to health and conducive to happiness
than strenuous exercise in the cold, bracing air, with sport as an
incentive. Whatever may be the outcome of your hunting, you are sure
to take out of the woods with you an increased supply of vital energy
and robustness, which, after all, is very important. If your hunting
should not furnish you with such tangible results as you would like to
see, console yourself with the reflection that a very wealthy man once
offered “a million dollars for a new stomach,” and perhaps you have
secured an equivalent for a great deal less.

Early in October of 1904 I joined my guide at the forks of the
Tobique. We immediately started out in a canoe, into which I packed
all my things, to pole up the Little Tobique. The water was pretty
high, and this increased the difficulty of ascending the river, whose
current, naturally strong, was interspersed by rocks and the débris
of stray logs and woodland refuse. The sturdy skill of the guide was
considerably taxed in spite of the small assistance rendered by me with
the paddle; and yet I was of some assistance in forcing the canoe over
places where there was no poling bottom. In about five hours we reached
our destination and put up at the camp, which consisted of a very
commodious log cabin, where we found the cook, who soon began to busy
himself in preparing the evening meal. The two succeeding mornings I
got up before day, while stars were still bright, and returned late in
the morning, having as a reward for my pains a good appetite and plenty
to satisfy it, when I could succeed in getting it down. The third
morning both the guide and myself overslept, and with a blush of shame
I encountered the glare of Old Sol as he fiercely showered his burning
rays upon our heads.

That same morning a lazy bull moose had been guilty of the same
offense, and appeared at the bank of the river to take his belated bath
just as our canoe came dancing and twisting down the swift, turbid
stream toward him. The big bull did not seem in the least concerned,
although every moment we were rapidly drawing nearer. If he had been
standing in the water, I believe he would have let us run into him
had we been disposed to do so. With a quick movement of the paddle,
the guide turned the canoe so that I could secure an easy position to
shoot, and then a sharp crack of the Mauser rifle, followed by the
heavy swaying motion of the animal as he sank down to pour out his life
blood on the sand, closed the incident.

The head measured fifty-two inches, and was quite shapely. As I
surveyed the prostrate form of this pride of the Canadian forest, I
thought that it was no particular skill of mine which had brought it
within easy reach and secured me a fine trophy. It seemed to me as
though the original owner of the antlers had almost made me a present
of them. We do not greatly appreciate things which come too easily into
our possession. I would have been better pleased if the royal beast
had made the shot more difficult and had given me a chance to exercise
my skill. He may have mistaken me for one of those sportsmen who
tremblingly pass the gun to the guide and ask him to shoot.

During that time I saw another moose, which I declined to shoot,
because, as I informed a friend, I had all the law allowed, and for the
further reason that “it had no head.” When I informed my friend that
the moose “had no head,” he seemed somewhat incredulous, but after I
explained that this was an Irish bull, he seemed better satisfied.

During the rest of my sojourn I had considerable amusement in shooting
at a mark with my .22 automatic Winchester, which affords plenty of
practice without making too much noise, and is also useful for small
game.

The return trip home was diversified with the common experiences of
the transition from the rough camp life to your own fireside, when you
sit in an easy chair and talk it all over with your friends. Sixty
miles’ paddling down the Tobique, ever impelled by its rapid though
wayward current, which required the constant correction of your course,
and gave delight in the survey of the beautiful banks, decorated by
the virgin forest for miles, marked the first day’s journey. The next
day a ride in stuffy cars over a second-class railroad, until you
finally land in a Pullman coach and spin along at the rate of sixty
miles an hour. Perhaps you pick up a chance acquaintance in one or
two sportsmen who have just returned from a similar outing, and tell
you of their mighty deeds which lose nothing by repetition; you shrink
within your modest little self as you listen, for you know you have
accomplished nothing which will stand well in comparison.

On my way back I met several sportsmen, one of whom related to me
his exploits, which were very tame on first recital. We were sitting
in the smoking apartment of the Pullman, when presently two other
sportsmen came in and we got into conversation over our different
hunting experiences. The two sportsmen who came in last related the
wonderful feats which they had accomplished. After they had talked
themselves out, my first acquaintance, who had been so modest in what
he related, much to my surprise took a fresh start. I think a couple
of good drinks, which stimulated his imagination and stirred his
personal pride, had something to do with it. With an eloquence which
truly surprised me, he added the “verisimilitude of truth to otherwise
bald and uninteresting statement of facts.” It was evident that the
newcomers were outclassed, for my modest friend was not only gifted of
tongue, but he told his story last. I have discovered that there are
more ways than one of establishing a reputation as a sportsman, and
sometimes the “gift o’ gab” is more important than skill in handling a
rifle.

[Illustration: MARVIN LAKE, COLORADO.]



ROUNDING UP CATS IN COLORADO


The mountain lion of the West is the panther or cougar of our Eastern
States, sometimes called “painter” by the old-fashioned backwoodsman;
in some localities it goes by the name of “Indian devil,” no doubt on
account of the weird, unearthly noises it makes at night. In Mexico it
is known as the “puma,” and grows to a larger size than elsewhere. In
appearance the mountain lion is very similar to the African lioness,
having a smooth, tawny skin, without any mane; a full-grown animal that
will measure from seven to eight feet from its nose to the end of the
tail and weighs about 180 pounds, is considered a large specimen. They
seldom exceed this, and more frequently fall below it.

Although often engaged in hunting big game, I never saw a mountain
lion at large except when one has been rounded up by a pack of dogs.
In their habits they are stealthy and secretive, carefully keeping
concealed, and never willing to fight unless cornered, with no chance
of escape. Occasionally, when the odds are overwhelmingly in its favor,
a lion will provoke a battle, but this is not often the case.

In disposition and character the mountain lion belies its name; of all
carnivorous beasts it is, perhaps, the most cowardly. Being exceedingly
destructive, it not only kills for food, but it also kills out of
wantonness. I have run across numbers of deer that have been destroyed
by the same animal within short distances of each other, the carcasses
being allowed to remain almost entire. It has also been stated on good
authority that one lion will be likely to kill in the course of a year
about one hundred and fifty deer.

Considering its destructive disposition, I have no doubt that in a
country where the deer are at all numerous, this statement is not far
from the truth. The ranchman has a cordial hatred for this destroyer of
his stock, and the cunning displayed by the lion in evading traps and
turning away from poisoned meat makes him all the more unpopular. This
animal will not eat of any kill unless it is his own or that of some
other lion. Extremity of hunger may cause him to act differently, but
it is exceptional. Most success in hunting this game is to be found in
localities where the deer are plentiful. It is practically useless to
attempt any hunting of this kind unless you have a pack of well trained
dogs handled by some one who has complete control over them. Great care
and patience has to be exercised in breaking a pack of dogs for this
purpose, and to prevent them from running other game. If, for example,
a pack should take after a timber wolf, that animal is so fleet that he
would distance most of his pursuers and string them out considerably.
The wolf has been known to turn on the pack thus separated and kill
a number of the dogs, one after the other, before the pack could be
united. The disappointed huntsman, reaching the end of the run on his
jaded horse, might survey the remnants of his pack--first the survivors
with downcast heads and apologetic tails between their legs--and then
some dog fur scattered over the blood-bespattered ground, and here and
there a mangled corpse. It is no joke to have a pack run for miles
after the wrong game over rough country, your whole day’s sport broken
up, and perhaps lose your dogs for several days.

The mountain lion has not much endurance in the chase, although very
fast for a short distance, which he covers by a series of leaps. In
a short time he is treed or driven to the ledge of a precipice or
into some hiding place. If you are fond of hunting with a camera,
you generally have ample time to take a photograph of your prize,
perhaps posing in the branches of a tree and looking as pleasant as
possible--for a mountain lion!

The lively serenade furnished by the dogs, which the lion recognizes
by continual growls, displaying his whole set of ivories, completes
a scene not soon forgotten. Your share of the business is very tame,
although absolutely effective. A shot at close range behind the
shoulder, and the lion tumbles among the savage dogs to engage in a
losing fight; while in the agony of death, not infrequently he leaves
some little reminders of his long claws and strong teeth upon his
assailants.

In the month of January, 1900, I engaged the services of John B.
Goff, who possessed a good pack of dogs to hunt “lions” and “cats” in
Colorado. The “cats” referred to are bobcats, not the Canada lynx with
which they are sometimes confounded. The winter was unusually free from
snowfalls, and the ground being very dry, it made hunting difficult,
because the dogs could hardly follow the scent.

My first destination was a ranch on Strawberry Creek belonging to the
guide, about twelve miles from Meeker. Here for several days we engaged
in a fruitless hunt, until one morning a fresh fall of snow covered the
ground, when our efforts were rewarded by the dogs striking a couple
of cat trails; these we followed a short distance, with the whole pack
tearing away ahead of us in full cry. The dogs followed the trail to
a great pile of massive rocks, which towered a hundred feet above our
heads, and there became bewildered. What had become of the stealthy
bobcats? The guide and myself climbed the rocks to search for them.
Looking down from the summit I saw one of them lying in front of a cave
surveying the dogs, which were silently and swiftly nosing around below
it. It was easy enough to shoot the cat where it was, but as it rested
on the ledge of a rock of some breadth, it was a grave question whether
it might not die there where it would be practically inaccessible, and
we would have all our pains for nothing.

To drive the cat from its position into a better one was more than a
doubtful possibility, as it was likely to run back into the cave. So I
took a chance and fired. Like a crash of lightning above their heads,
the excited dogs heard the report and knew that “there was something
doing.” The wounded cat gave a sudden leap into space and fell among
them. If there is any question about a “cat having nine lives,” it
seems that the dogs were bound to be on the safe side, for they mauled
the remains until I began to fear that the fur might be damaged before
I could come to the rescue. Through a fatal curiosity, the other cat
peeped over the precipice, and paid for its rashness with its hide,
which I added to my collection. The job of skinning the cats I turned
over to the guide.

The big dogs sat around in sullen dignity, particularly avoiding any
familiarity with smaller dogs and with each other. Each one seemed
to consider himself the hero of the occasion. I have had occasion to
observe that the pack would work and fight well together, but after the
fray they seemed to be intensely jealous of each other.

Several of the dogs interested me considerably. One of them was called
“Old Jim,” a big black-and-tan foxhound, with a deep bass voice which
would swell the chorus when the pack was in full cry and sometimes
almost drown it. Old Jim would occasionally provoke the not over
angelic temper of the guide by leading the whole pack after a coyote.
On one occasion he had distinguished himself by whipping a coyote, and
whenever one of these “sassy” prairie wolves would show itself, he
could not resist the temptation of giving chase, leading the whole pack
after him.

Any one acquainted with Western hunting knows how useless it is for
dogs to attempt to outrun a coyote. The coyotes would frequently come
close to the pack, if there was no man nearby, as though to provoke a
chase for our special annoyance. The dogs, however, would never run the
coyotes’ trail; they were broken of that.

Another interesting acquaintance was a dog called Turk, a cross-breed,
but a very strong and stubborn fighter, all seamed with scars. Turk
kept near the guide, and did not run with the pack except when there
was something in view. He was a good-natured dog ordinarily, but an
ugly customer in a scrap.

There was another dog called Boxer which had a very keen scent; long
before the rest could discover a trail one could hear Boxer’s knowing
yelps, which would gradually develop into a chorus, as one by one the
other dogs would detect the scent as it became warmer. Boxer had more
judgment than any other dog in the pack, and was very good in puzzling
out a broken trail.

We spent several days longer at the ranch on Strawberry Creek. While
there the guide purchased a broken-down horse to feed to the dogs. It
is not a particularly easy matter to keep twenty-one dogs supplied
with food. When the horse was led out for execution the dogs became
intensely excited and seemed to know “what was up.” The moment the
animal was shot, and almost before it fell to the ground, the whole
pack of dogs, big and small, was tearing eagerly at the carcass. No
doubt the habit of attacking wild animals as soon as they have been
shot developed their naturally savage dispositions.

At the suggestion of the guide, we decided to go to a ranch near the
Bear River Cañon, two days’ journey from our present location. When we
arrived at the ranch, after a long day’s ride on horseback, we found
the ranchman’s wife keeping house; her husband had left for several
days. She seemed in no condition to entertain us on account of a bad
headache, but kindly offered to do whatever she could. We volunteered
to help her out with her domestic duties. First of all I prescribed for
her headache; the medicine went down the wrong way, which caused her to
vomit, after which she declared she felt better. My professional pride
did not permit me to enlighten her as to the unexpected result of my
prescription. I say professional pride, because I went by the nickname
of the Doctor on account of an emergency case I carried with me.

I made myself useful in doing most of the chores usual on such
occasions, while the guide held the baby, which howled incessantly. The
expression on his face while performing this duty was as angelic as
I have seen it when Old Jim would lead the whole pack off on a chase
after a coyote against his impotent protest. When the meal was served,
two other children turned up, one a little girl nine years old, who
was censured for not taking care of the baby; the other a boy of about
eleven, who was particularly good, according to his mother’s account
of him. Our first day’s experience with these interesting children
caused us to reverse the parental opinion. When we returned from our
hunt the evening of the following day, the guide missed his lasso;
the good little boy had tried to lasso a cat which was selecting some
delicacies from a tin can, the cat took a sudden leap to escape the
lasso, and in doing so shoved its head into the can and cinched the
lasso round its body; cat, can and lasso disappeared in the sage brush
and were never found.

The country around Bear River Cañon is very rough and picturesque. The
cañon is steep and cuts a great gorge in the mountain, and is very
difficult to cross. In one place we were headed off by the precipice,
which must have been fully a thousand feet in depth; I rolled a
stone off the edge, and its descent seemed to take a considerable
time. A shower of broken fragments and dust, followed a second or
two afterward by a dull crash which reverberated through the cañon,
announced the termination of its fall.

The dogs finally succeeded in jumping a lion, running right upon him.
From a distance I could see the chase along the side of a mountain
until it turned in the direction of the cañon. The lion did not seem
to be going very fast while covering the ground by long leaps, which
he appeared to do without much effort; but when I looked at the pack,
which did not seem to be gaining on him, they were straining every
nerve, and looked as if they were “going it for all they were worth.”
No doubt the easy gait of the lion made his speed deceptive. The lion
took refuge upon a ledge of the precipice some fifteen feet below the
crest. When we arrived at the spot the dogs were raising an awful
din in their impotent frenzy, as they looked down upon the smiling
countenance of the lion, which was displaying all his teeth. It was
thought inadvisable to shoot the lion on the ledge where he was,
because there was a good chance of his dying in an inaccessible spot,
so we dropped stones on him, hoping to drive him out of that place and
compel him to run to the top of the precipice and take refuge in a tree.

For some time the lion savagely snapped at the stones, much to our
diversion. In their eagerness to see the lion the dogs crowded one
another near the edge of the precipice, and occasionally crowded me.
As I leaned over to drop a stone on the lion’s tail a big dog planted
his forefeet on my shoulders. Perhaps he did this to get a better
view, or it may have been because he was not able to say “down in
front,” that he adopted this method of giving me a gentle hint that
I was obstructing his view. The action was not pleasant to me. I did
not relish the idea of being shoved over the precipice and dashed to
pieces below, with the possible alternative of landing on the ledge
where the lion was located. Our efforts at last resulted in causing
the tormented beast to seek refuge elsewhere. After abandoning the
ledge he ran upon the top of the precipice and came so close to me that
I could have touched him--but I didn’t. A little foxhound ventured too
close and his impertinence was rewarded by a snap from the lion which
grazed the dog’s head and slit his ear in twain. Instead of taking to a
tree, as we had vainly hoped, the lion discovered a way of getting down
upon another ledge of the precipice, more inaccessible than the first,
and became concealed from view. It became evident that we were taking
too many chances, so the guide and myself found a way, very steep and
rough, below the lion’s last resort, where it was just possible to see,
several hundred feet away, the head and neck of the animal. I took
careful aim and fired. The bullet went a little higher than I intended,
breaking the lower jaw. I wished to preserve the skull entire for a
mount; but the character of the wound inflicted made this impossible.
In spite of the injury received the tawny form glided along the almost
perpendicular side of the precipice, picking out here and there a foot
rest to aid in its ascent. I fired another shot, which struck behind
the shoulder, but did not stop the animal from reaching the top of
the precipice, where the dogs soon discovered him. I was not too late
to see some of the fight. In the scrimmage the lion got Turk’s head
partly in his mouth, and for a moment I felt alarmed on account of the
dog. Fortunately, the lion’s lower jaw refused to work, and Turk got
off with light punishment--merely a scalp wound, from which the blood
flowed freely.

I began to arrange my camera, intending to take a snap-shot of
the melee, but the shade of the trees made the light bad for an
instantaneous photograph, the only one that could be taken of a moving
scene; the guide, seeing my dilemma, caught hold of the lion’s tail,
while still fighting the dogs, and dragged the tangled bunch a few
yards down the side of the hill into the sunlight. When this was done
the lion was dead, and I was not able to accomplish my purpose. As I
surveyed my first lion trophy I could not help admiring the game fight
it had put up against hopeless odds. There could be no skepticism
respecting the execution of its terrible teeth, for not a few wounds
were inflicted on the dogs. The beast must have weighed 170 to 180
pounds, and its skin was in fine condition; but, unfortunately, the
skull was ruined.

After hard hunting for about a week, the dogs took up a fresh scent,
and in a short time they treed a small lion which the guide called a
“kitten,” because it was not full grown. The branches of the tree were
quite close together and near the ground. One of the dogs managed to
climb a considerable way up the tree by the aid of the easy support
the branches afforded, and was in some peril. The report of my rifle
helped to swell the chorus of the dogs, which only abated when their
jaws were employed to a better purpose on the struggling “kitten.” The
poor beast which had climbed the tree remained a disappointed spectator
of the fight, being unable to take part. Afterward I helped him down
from his ridiculous although somewhat dangerous position.

On a number of occasions the dogs have climbed trees for a considerable
distance above the ground. The piñon trees, where the lions frequently
take refuge, are supplied with branches which begin to sprout near the
base, rendering the feat easier of accomplishment, but nevertheless
it is a remarkable sight to see a dog up a tree, sometimes furnishing
an unwilling subject for a camera. Any one wishing to obtain some
impression of how a dog would look in such an attitude can have his
curiosity satisfied by examining the photographs of wild animals in
Mr. Wallihan’s remarkable book, where snap-shots were taken of some of
the dogs which were in the pack I hunted with.

[Illustration: HITTING THE TRAIL.]

We had barely skinned the “kitten,” when at some distance we heard
the pack baying another animal. We rode as rapidly as possible in
the direction we heard the noise. We soon arrived at the edge of the
valley, which lay some five or six hundred feet below. The baying broke
upon our hearing with great distinctness. The country beneath was free
from big timber, being dotted profusely with piñon trees and smaller
growth, with here and there great pillars of red sandstone fashioned
into mushroom shapes by the erosion of the elements through countless
ages. In the clear, bright sunshine every object stood out with great
distinctness, producing a curious and beautiful effect.

It was an attractive sight to watch the pack as it swiftly coursed
about in the valley. It finally disappeared around the base of the
mountain. We took a short cut across the spur of the mountain and
soon caught the steady baying of the dogs, and I knew that something
was treed or cornered. On the side of a steep slope, which extended
hundreds of feet down to the valley, stood a piñon tree with a
fine, large lion perched in its branches--a more beautiful pose for
a photograph I could hardly imagine. The light was good and the
surroundings all that could be desired to produce the proper effect.
The guide suggested a doubt in regard to the lion’s remaining in his
present position very long, and that one of us should cover him with
a rifle while the other used the camera. My love of sport is not so
platonic that I could readily forego the deadly part of the pastime for
the æsthetic. So I held the rifle carefully pointed at a vital spot,
and after a little space the animal quivered, as though just about in
the act of taking a spring out of the tree, which, had he effected,
would have sent him down the slope at a speed that would have distanced
the dogs; once at large in the rough country which spread through the
valley, he would have given us another long and fatiguing chase, with
a good chance of losing him. Before the trembling limbs could launch
into space a bullet pierced his heart and he tumbled from his perch and
rolled nearly a hundred feet down the mountain side, where his further
descent was arrested by the dogs in no gentle fashion. The struggle
with the lion was brief. The guide and myself had more of a struggle
with the dogs in driving them away from the carcass.

I was disappointed to learn that the guide had not succeeded in getting
a photo. If I could have had a snap-shot with the camera at the lion
close by, while in the act of springing, with satisfactory results, I
would have had something of more value than the animal’s skin.

I added a few more trophies to my collection before finishing my
hunt for that season. My experience, however, had convinced me that
the best reminiscences of a hunting trip are good photographs of wild
animals in their natural state. The ease with which trophies can often
be secured, so far as the question of skill is concerned, has somewhat
taken the keen edge off of my desire to kill. Securing a good trophy is
quite as often a question of time and patience as skill. Coolness is
also required, for frequently easy shots are missed through being over
anxious.



DUCK SHOOTING IN CALCASIEU PARISH.


A few years ago, before a great industry had been developed in the
vicinity of Sulphur City, La., the natural conditions in that locality
were favorable to the increase of migratory game. The ground was low
and marshy, but generally quite flat; forests of resinous pine spread
over a considerable portion of the country. In some places the trees
grew to immense size, their massive trunks ascending for seventy-five
or eighty feet without a branch. The soil in such localities being
free from underbrush and covered with thick layers of pine needles,
yielded pleasantly under the step like a soft plush carpet. Currents
of air caressing the treetops imparted the sound of the surf beating
the shore at a distance. Stretches of open prairie covered with tall
grass furnished feeding spots for large flocks of ducks and geese. When
the attention was not too much absorbed with larger game, one might
frequently hear the jacksnipe emit its peculiar whistle as it shaped a
zigzag course in its flight. Other game was in less abundance.

I engaged an old “red bone” to act as my guide. Legrand--the name by
which I will introduce the new acquaintance--was really a Creole,
but was said to have a cross of Indian blood, just enough to enable
him to detect signs which escape the common eye. A faithful,
quiet, uncomplaining man, but an excellent hunter according to his
lights, Legrand had no liking for the new-fangled notions of modern
sportsmen. He could crawl through the brush or long grass with all the
stealthiness of a cat, every sense alert, and in spite of wet, cold
or any kind of discomfort would doggedly stick to his task until his
game was secured. To this old-fashioned hunter every cartridge must
represent something. He was not satisfied with “punching holes in the
air.” A story is told of Legrand upon which I would not care to stake
my reputation for veracity, although somewhat characteristic of the man.

A ranchman living in that locality noticed a small bunch of teal that
were in the habit of using in a pond not far from his dwelling. He
requested Legrand to try his luck with them the next morning, when they
could be easily found. Legrand, however, was short of ammunition, so
the ranchman gave him a shell which he jokingly remarked was enough for
a good shot, and he expected him to come back with the whole bunch,
numbering six. On the ensuing day Legrand departed before sunrise, but
returned to breakfast empty handed. “No ducks, Legrand?” He shook his
head; “No ducks.” The next morning the result was the same. “No ducks,
Legrand?” “No ducks.”

The third morning a shot was heard. Legrand returned with three
beautiful blue-winged teal hanging from each shoulder.

“Legrand, how did you manage to have so much luck all of a sudden, when
you were not able to get anything the two preceding mornings?”

“To-day,” he replied, “was the first time I could get them lined up so
that I could bag them all at one shot.”

It was my good fortune to make another interesting acquaintance in a
somewhat singular way. One afternoon, when shooting on the edge of a
marsh close by the house where I was sojourning, I became conscious
of someone near at hand. Turning around I discovered an elderly man
of dignified bearing, whose round ruddy face, ornamented with a long
white flowing beard, rested upon broad shoulders and sturdy frame.
The expression of his countenance was mild and kindly, possessing a
reflective cast, which was somewhat accentuated by a habit of slowly
stroking his beard. Much impressed, I regarded him with a feeling of
reverence. Had I been present at a revival meeting, the pose and genial
appearance would have suited the occasion, silence having been secured
by the exhortation, “Let us pray.” I broke the magic spell by politely
asking the new arrival whether he was a sportsman and fond of shooting.
“Can I shoot? By----” (a blue streak a yard long imparted all necessary
emphasis). “Young man, before my eyes went back on me, old Uncle Dave
could hit any living creature.”

After a brief conversation my new acquaintance cordially invited me to
visit him, and also extended the privilege of occupying his lodge at
a place called Sabine Pass, about twenty miles away. This is not the
noted Sabine Pass in Texas, but merely a local name. All reports seemed
to confirm the reputation of Sabine Pass, so I concluded to fit out an
expedition. I chartered a prairie schooner and secured two horses which
the guide said he could get for nothing. I was willing, however, to
pay for what I got, but was put off with some dignity. The old saying,
“Never look a gift horse in the mouth” seems somewhat in point, so I
will be sparing of comments. It was a very safe team, but not much at
annihilating space. A young man was engaged as cook. There was no other
addition to the party, save an old one-eyed dog.

A long, wearisome day’s travel brought us to a sheet of water which
surrounded the lodge. This resulted from the great quantity of moisture
that had accumulated from heavy rainfalls. The cook rode ahead,
exploring the way. The team tremulously negotiated the pass, but were
soon in difficulties. One of them falling down in about four feet of
water energetically strove to rise. Legrand, jumping into the icy
water, began to fix the harness, which was no easy task. It was too
dark to do anything, so the horses were uncoupled from the schooner and
driven ashore. I mounted one horse behind the cook. The animal became
refractory and varied the monotonous experience of the day by bucking
for a brief space. Finally the shipwrecked crew were able to leave the
schooner in safety, with a few things absolutely necessary, but by no
means with all that were desired.

The bright glow of a fire in the open hearth of the lodge dispelled
the gloom and discomfort of our surroundings, but Legrand was chilled
to the bone and looked peaked and miserable. My sympathy was excited,
and I prescribed a liberal dose from my flask which immediately revived
him. Fortunately we had taken the precaution to cover the contents of
the wagon, which otherwise would have suffered on account of the rain
that fell during the night. Our meagre repast finished, it was not a
great while before one after another dozed off into fitful slumber. One
blanket covered the forms of three men, and in place of under bedding
and spring mattress we had the board floor. The steady pour of the
rain resounded continually upon the roof, while the snap of the pine
fagots mingled with the hiss of drops of water falling on the burning
embers. It is not easy for three persons to sleep under one blanket
resting upon a hard surface. The disposition to change position became
a fixed habit with all three, but invariably the one who attempted it
met with unreasonable objections and muttered protests from the other
two. If one turned over all three had to follow suit. It seemed to
be a case where the minority ruled, while the majority swore at the
minority. The one-eyed dog, becoming restless from the cold when the
fire went out, repeatedly attempted to find a place for himself under
the blanket, but discovered that a triple alliance had been formed to
eliminate him completely. Finally he offered to compromise by lying
down on the outside of the blanket above our prostrate forms, but this
accommodation was likewise unfeelingly rejected. During that awful
night every man’s hand appeared to be against his neighbor and all
three united against the dog.

I was at length awakened from a semi-conscious condition by Legrand,
who was about to light a fire.

“What is the matter, Legrand?” I inquired. “Are you getting cold?”

“It’s time to get up.”

“What time is it?”

“About 4 o’clock.”

How he knew I could not guess, but I was only too ready to accept
any excuse that would rescue me from almost the worst night I ever
experienced. It was pitch dark, but the rain had ceased, and the noise
of game stirring outside betokened the coming dawn. A dense fog hung
over the prairie and when light began to make an impression it was like
illuminating an opaque substance. It was impossible to distinguish
anything over six yards away. Having removed everything from the
schooner the problem of dragging it to dry land did not concern us.

The growing day was heralded by a perfect Babel of voices. Invisible
flocks of ducks numbering thousands frequently stirred the air with the
rapid movements of their wings, which sounded like an express train.
The measured honk of wild geese gave evidence of their presence in no
beggarly numbers. At intervals the brant in the long sour bog grass
invited an easy shot. When matters were straightened out no time was
lost in starting out for feathered game.

The hunt began as soon as we stepped outdoors. Small bunches of
ducks were passed by unnoticed. Legrand did not believe in wasting
ammunition; I only had five hundred shells. Presently we heard the
calling of a large number of brant. That interested Legrand. The fog
had lifted somewhat, but still rendered objects indistinct unless
they were close at hand. I imitated Legrand in all his movements;
first the quiet, cautious approach, gradually bending, until finally
we were crawling on our stomachs through the grass and mud. We were
already quite near the brant and I was becoming apprehensive lest we
should delay too long. A large flock of teal unexpectedly attracted
my attention on the left side and I motioned to Legrand. He shook his
head, but I signified that I was satisfied to try my luck with them.
Legrand disapproved but yielded to my suggestion, except that he drew a
bead on the brant. The report of four barrels seemed almost muffled in
the uproar caused by great flocks of birds rising in every direction,
churning the air with their wings and filling space with a discordant
conglomeration of sounds from every species of web-footed fowl on the
prairie. When the gray mist had swallowed the black mass, a pleasant
sight welcomed our eyes. The ground was plentifully covered with limp
forms, a handsome tribute to the prowess of our guns. The beam of joy
on Legrand’s weatherbeaten face satisfied me that so far we had not
been unduly wasteful of ammunition. Fearing lest there might be some
lingering doubt in his mind on the subject, I sought to console him
with the reflection that I still had four hundred and ninety-six shells
left.

No time was lost in collecting the game. I stuffed the big pockets
of my hunting coat with teal and brant. Legrand fastened them to
the fringes of his jacket until he was almost covered with the dark
bodies of brant and the beautifully colored teal. I warned Legrand to
kill every bird he gathered, but he was careless in carrying out my
suggestion. On the way back to the lodge I heard behind me a flutter
of wings and several quacks and caught a glimpse of a duck disappearing
in the fog. Legrand was standing in a state of stupefaction, staring in
the direction the duck had flown. I could not help laughing. Needless
to say he made sure of the rest.

Surfeited with abundance of game, the pastime soon palled on me. After
several days’ sport I was ready to return to more comfortable quarters
where the shooting was productive of smaller results, but more to my
taste. Jacksnipe, which were quite plentiful, furnished an opportunity
for skillful marksmanship, but the high standard of economy in using
ammunition established for me by Legrand was shamefully lowered.
Jacksnipe did not swarm before the muzzle of my gun, nor was one bagged
in every shot. This kind of shooting is excellent for training the eye,
and no sportsman need be chagrined at an occasional miss.



AN OUTING AT TWO-OCEAN PASS


“Roughing it” is an expression which we have long associated with
various hardships undergone for the sake of sport. But modern
enterprise has made that phrase a misnomer when taken in the sense
in which it was formerly understood. A number of years’ experience
in camping out and hunting in the West have convinced me that every
reasonable comfort can be enjoyed without sacrificing the principal
object which lies nearest the heart of a thorough sportsman--good
hunting.

The last outing I had in the West, was in Wyoming, in the Jackson Hole
country, and I realized then how thoroughly a guide, who enjoys the
comforts of life himself and has the real love of sport, can contribute
to the success of a hunting trip. A guide who likes to make himself
comfortable will generally think of what is necessary for the comfort
of those who engage his services.

[Illustration: THE TETON RANGE.]

Early in October I started out from St. Anthony, Idaho, with my guide,
Ed. Sheffield, on one of the most pleasurable and successful hunts I
have undertaken. A couple of days’ drive and we reached Shives’ ranch,
at which place we made up the pack outfit. A short rest at this spot
while things were being got in readiness was very pleasant, as it gave
me a chance to stretch my limbs and to admire the grand perspective,
which no words can describe in a way that would bring the natural
picture to the eye. The Teton peaks, covered with perpetual snow and
dazzling bright, furnished an attraction which never palled on the
mind, and they were ever visible from the plain but tidy ranch. Flocks
of ducks frequented the ice cold stream near by.

The horses having been corralled during the day’s wait, everything
was arranged for the morning start. The next day I rose bright and
early to commence the final stage of the journey. When the last pack
had been “cinched” and everything was in readiness, we began our
journey to the hunting grounds. It was a long, monotonous ride--much
of it through thick timber with no stop for lunch or rest, because the
heavily laden beasts could not lie down with their packs on, and we
did not care to delay them. At length, after crossing a rocky ravine
and a swift-running stream and climbing a steep ascent, we arrived at
Two-Ocean Pass. There we found an ideal spot to camp. In a short time
everything was unpacked, and the two tents were pitched. The tired
beasts that had borne the brunt of the work tumbled over and rubbed
their backs in the dust and snorted with delight.

The next morning I started out on horseback with Sheffield, while the
ranchman, Shives, whom I had engaged as cook and general helper,
remained behind and minded camp. We took with us several dogs, because
they might be useful in rounding up lions or “cats,” as they frequently
call the cougar or wildcats in that section. The day passed without
result, except that I lost my Seitz spy-glasses, which hung on the
pummel of my saddle by a leather strap; this had evidently caught on
something and snapped. When the guide heard of the loss, he exclaimed
with great confidence, “We must find them tomorrow.” I was somewhat
inclined to be skeptical about his being able to recover the lost
property, but I assented to his going out with a little dog he called
Maiden, a cross of a black-and-tan foxhound and a bloodhound, as
intelligent an animal as I ever saw. He came back in a few hours with
the glasses, and I was curious to learn how he managed to discover
them. While following our trail of the day before, he had stopped to
call the dog, which had fallen behind and stood yelping at something
which he had passed; upon going to the spot, he found the glasses. They
were not immediately in the line of the trail, but had rolled down
hill and were some dozen feet away from it. I wonder if that dog had
overheard our previous conversation and knew what we wanted!

Although for a couple of weeks the weather had been cool and
exhilarating, often freezing at night, still we had as yet no snow.
Snow was wanted, because it makes the hunting good, and when traveling
the impress of the foot is practically noiseless, and does not alarm
the game. Moreover, when the snow accumulates in deep drifts it drives
the elk and deer out of the higher elevations down into the lower
country, where they collect in large numbers and become less shy.

One evening on the way back to camp the guide was explaining to me
why he thought that we would be apt to find bull elk with the best
heads separated from the bunch of cow elk. The old bulls, it would
seem, after a time are driven off by the younger bulls, which in turn
take charge of the herds of cow elk. The conversation was suddenly
interrupted, for on a knoll about 300 yards distant, we saw two fine
bulls all by themselves. To dismount and take aim with my Mauser after
gauging the space, was a matter of a few seconds. The furthest of the
two bulls was a stately monarch, and he had a set of antlers which
tempted me as much as a crown could have tempted Cæsar. The first shot
fortunately took effect behind the shoulders and made him sag on his
knees, but he immediately recovered and started to run. The next shot
was over him, and, before I could fire again, the other bull ran in
between and blanketed him, receiving the ball. They stood for several
seconds in that position, while two more messengers of death sang a
doleful dirge on their errand of destruction, and they disappeared over
the hill.

The atmosphere in that country is naturally blue; but there was a tinge
of blueness in the air at that time which I am sure was not natural.
Sheffield said he was not the cause of it, and I know that I was not to
blame. I have heard of somebody swearing until the air became blue, but
this does not seem to be one of those cases.

However, we were both convinced that the first bull was hit twice
at least, and more than likely would not go a great ways. It was
inexpedient to follow him up at that time, because he was still fresh
and strong. It seemed best to go back to camp and come out the next day
and track him, because he would be likely to run only a short distance,
and lying down to rest, would become stiff, and incapable of running,
in which case he could be found in the morning. On the other hand, if
pursued, he might continue to run while his strength held.

With anxious hearts we returned to camp, noting with apprehension the
lowering clouds that were beginning to darken the sky. The indications
of a storm which would cover the ground with snow were not welcome now,
as much as I had desired it previously. Fresh snow would conceal the
tracks and destroy the scent on the ground. If that should happen, I
had small expectation of securing my trophy. The next morning the guide
looked into my tent, and said that everything was covered with snow.
I immediately went out to see for myself. There, sure enough, it lay
several inches deep. It covered the trees, bending the branches under
their weight and transforming, as if by magic, the rugged landscape
into a fairyland. It was beautiful--but it was disappointing.

After breakfast we set out, taking one of the dogs with us. When we
reached the spot where the elk had been shot the keen-scented dog began
to sniff the tops of the sage brush which stood about two feet high. We
followed him as he confidently pursued his way through the sage brush
and timber, until finally, ascending a small knoll, I espied, just over
the crest, the tops of the antlers spread out like the branches of a
tree. The elk was stretched out in beautiful repose, his neck supported
against a fallen tree, which held up his antlers.

At last my trophy was won, and I had something to show to admiring
friends.

For the present the keen edge was taken off my desire to kill, because
I had something to take back as a memento of the trip. A fine trophy
serves to identify most appropriately a hunting experience, and as the
years roll by the memories of certain camps cluster about each head and
revive thrilling scenes which might otherwise become dimmed amid an
uncongenial environment.

A considerable portion of my remaining time I spent in easy life in
camp. The meat was a welcome addition to the larder and was much
appreciated by the dogs. When first killed, the flesh of the bull elk
is not particularly toothsome; it should be allowed to hang for a time
until it becomes tender.

It was an entertaining sight to see the dogs catch the large hunks of
meat flung to them, which they often swallowed without masticating
it, unless one or two bites could be exaggerated into an act of
mastication. When hunger was appeased to the extent of a surfeit, the
cunning animals would still continue to accept gifts of raw meat, which
they would carefully cache in some favorite spot. Each dog knew where
he had cached his own supplies, and expected every other dog to respect
it. Occasional disputes arose among them, but--though with a bad
grace--the dog with a guilty conscience generally yielded when detected
in the act of violating the law which holds a cache sacred among dogs
as among men.

There are certain very simple and rudimentary laws which the primitive
life develops. The rule that the cache shall remain inviolate is well
known. The absence of adequate protection for a cache beyond its
secrecy, which is not always sufficient, makes it a point of honor
among the rough denizens of the wilderness to respect property so
deposited. In a primitive state of society, when recourse to such means
of providing for emergency were more frequent, the frontier man was
likely to regard as worthy of death any one who violated this law.

When I read of the ruthless slaughter which has been wrought among the
elk, especially by the detestable tooth-hunter, I recall, with some
degree of satisfaction, the forbearance which I exercised upon various
occasions. One evening, while returning to camp, I saw in the waning
light, about the space of three hundred and fifty yards removed from
where I stood, three bull elk standing on the side of a hill, their
forms fairly well defined against the white background which the snow
afforded. The antlers were less distinct on account of the deadening
effect of some spruce trees, whose branches reached below the spread
of the antlers. I wanted another trophy, but was uncertain about the
quality of any one of the heads in sight. Although I watched the
bulls for some time, while they remained practically without motion,
I was unable to make sure that there was a really first-class head in
the bunch. I finally gave them the benefit of the doubt. If I made a
mistake, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I erred on the right
side.

The time arrived for breaking up camp. When the horses were packed,
the guide and myself separated from the rest of the outfit, in order
to secure better hunting. We had not traveled far, when one of the
dogs stopped and growled. We both reined up, while I dismounted and
approached the edge of a clearing just ahead. Across the clearing some
eighty or ninety yards distant I saw a brown body disappearing amid the
spruces. Aiming at the spot where the shoulder should be, concealed by
the forest growth, a trifle in advance of the brown, which I recognized
as the belly of the elk, I fired. Stunned by the bullet, the animal
broke into another opening, when I emptied my magazine, which contained
several additional cartridges. Fortunately the animal turned out to
be a bull elk with a fairly good spread. I should not have taken the
chance except that my hunting for this season was practically over,
and I had not shot my full allowance. Having dressed the animal so as
to keep its meat from spoiling, we left everything and followed the
outfit. Shives was sent back with a pack horse to get the meat and the
antlers.

At the Shives ranch a hearty welcome was given us. Mrs. Shives proved
herself an admirable hostess. I shall never forget the repast specially
prepared for us by which she proved herself an accomplished cook.
One dish I approached with misgiving, for I could not guess what it
was. I discovered in it a culinary gem which in my judgment will hold
its own with anything ever prepared by the most accomplished chef to
please a capricious palate--elk’s brain scrambled in eggs. My cup of
happiness was filled to the brim, but the guide caused it to run over
when he presented me with a pair of untanned cow skin shaps marked with
red and white spots, which he wore when dressed up to have his picture
taken in correct style.

[Illustration: BREAKING CAMP.]



CAMP LIFE NEAR THE TETONS


One of the most picturesque sections of our country lies in the valleys
and depressions formed by the Gallatin River where it winds its way
among the rugged mountains of Montana. Sometimes the river steals
noiselessly through level spots, forming great pools of clear greenish
water, where the big rainbow trout love to bask in the sunshine which
the gamy fish love for its brightness more than its warmth. Frequently
the stream challenges the obstructions of masses of rock, forcing its
way with angry murmurs to its destination. Amid such scenes I fell into
repose, while sitting near a large camp-fire, yielding to the heaviness
due to a hearty meal and a long day’s travel on horseback.

I do not remember how I managed to make up my rustic bed, or whether I
had anything to do with it at all. I simply recall the quiet scenes
around the camp-fire, the ruddy faces of my companions as they caught
the glow from the burning fagots and the wild scene which surrounded
us. I entered dreamland in the same way everyone else does. The unreal
realm of fancy I accepted as a matter of course, but when the chill
of a cold autumn night gradually revived me to consciousness and the
sullen gloom of the silent forest, only broken by a murmuring stream
nearby, had succeeded the cheerful camp-fire, I returned to the world
of reality with a feeling of strangeness and wonder. I rubbed my eyes
to make sure if I was really awake, and lay watching the stars shining
brightly overhead. The beauty of the night, however, was not sufficient
to keep me awake, and when I had finished my night’s rest it was broad
daylight, and my two companions, Jake and Aleck, were already astir.
Aleck was the cook and general handy man about camp. Jake acted as
guide and horse wrangler. These men could take a turn at helping each
other, but each had his special work cut out for him. In packing and
pitching tents they were mutually helpful. Whenever things went wrong
and descriptive language was required to soothe irritated feelings,
their common desire to aid each other developed into a generous
rivalry. Aleck was busy getting breakfast ready, but the other man was
not in sight.

“Where is Jake?” I asked.

“Gone after the horses,” Aleck answered.

“Do you suppose they are gone far?”

“Oh, maybe a mile, maybe fifteen,” was the enlightening response.

When camping out in the Western country horses are an uncertain
quantity. They are apt to wander over a considerable space in search
of good pasturage, which is not easy to find on account of the extreme
dryness of the soil and the difficulty of any vegetation thriving
which cannot shoot its roots deep into the earth. Fortunately Jake soon
appeared with the stock.

“We will have the tents up so that you can be comfortable to-night,” he
remarked with a look as though he were conveying a most welcome piece
of intelligence, for we had been sleeping out in the open for several
nights.

With the air of one who despised all such things as enervating
luxuries, I replied: “Let that go to some other time; we want to get an
early start after something.”

“It won’t take long to put up the tents and then Aleck can get
everything else to rights while we are hunting,” Jake replied.

I ate a substantial breakfast, and after finishing that meal I ate
a substantial lunch before starting. Needless to say, I felt in no
condition for vigorous exercise which I would be compelled to take when
our course led over ascents too steep to take on horseback. About
lunch time, however, my capricious and unreasoning stomach, like some
people who are mere slaves of custom and routine, demanded a square
meal, which was not to be had.

Two dogs, which served more as sociable companions about camp than in
any other capacity, accompanied us. One of the dogs was a large-sized
bull-terrier, rather old and at times inclined to be cross. This animal
answered to the name of Major. Major had a peculiar trait, which it
is hard to account for. In the evening, when the cook pulled out his
harmonicon and began to perform on it, Major would stick his nose
straight up in the air and emit the most doleful and lugubrious wail I
ever listened to.

The other dog was a fox-terrier, named Jack, like most of his species,
a very animated little creature, always ready for a scrap. This
disposition was a source of annoyance at times, because Jack had a
strong prejudice against porcupines, and on several occasions I have
had to sit on the ground and help pull the quills out of his hide after
one of these encounters.

As I was leisurely riding along some distance behind the guide I saw
him stop on a slight elevation somewhat in advance, and at the same
time I heard the dogs barking very savagely. Jake made a sign to me to
hurry up. When I arrived at the spot I saw a couple of coyotes not more
than forty yards away yelping and tantalizing the dogs. I dismounted,
after pulling my rifle out of its scabbard, and brought it carelessly
to my shoulder. Jake in the meantime had unsheathed his knife ready to
strip the hides.

I fired, and, much to my surprise, both of the coyotes vanished with
startling suddenness. I had evidently missed, probably overshooting.
I think it was about the worst shot I ever made, and I never could
understand it. A sportsman will once in a while flinch through some
muscular contraction which it is hard to account for. The thick sage
brush and intervening hills made a second shot practically hopeless.
Jake seemed overcome with emotion, quite as much as myself. For once
his eloquent tongue failed him; the words appeared to stick in his
throat. His wide open eyes and his distended jaws, which seemed to be
pried open with a quid of tobacco in one corner of his mouth, betrayed
his astonishment. In silence we remounted and rode a considerable space
without speaking a word.

Finally Jake opened the conversation with all the tact of an
accomplished diplomat.

Turning in his saddle and looking intently at me he exclaimed: “Say, do
you know what I would do if I missed a shot like that?”

“No,” I replied.

“I would take that gun and smash it over the first rock I came across.”

I quite agreed with him that it was the fault of the gun, but, strange
to say, I did not take his advice. I still have the weapon and I can
recall some of its achievements, which are not wholly discreditable.

Several days passed quite uneventfully except for a rather novel
experience. While sitting around the camp-fire one evening our
attention was attracted by the noise of some animal breaking through
the undergrowth. The sound of cracking branches and pattering hoofs
seemed to approach closer.

“That’s one of the horses, and he seems inclined to be sociable,” said
Jake as he leaned over to lay hold of a good-sized stick to cast at him.

The animal presently appeared, coming straight to the camp-fire, but
when fairly revealed by the light the horse we were about to drive
unceremoniously away developed a splendid set of antlers. We were
confronted by a black-tailed deer which had been attracted by the
strange fascination of the blaze to within several paces, where
he stood perfectly still. No one moved nor uttered a word for a
considerable space for fear of alarming our timid guest. It was a
charming sight to watch the graceful and shapely form of the deer, his
head crowned with a perfectly balanced set of antlers, the wide open
eyes staring in bewilderment at three rough looking men sitting around
the fire like petrified images. The deer held his position for some
thirty seconds rigid and immovable, except the swelling of his sides in
breathing, while the glowing embers brought out in distinct view every
line and muscle of the body against the dark background of the forest.

He posed like a beautiful statue with all the advantage of picturesque
and weird surroundings to set off his perfect figure.

What a chance for a photographer to take a snapshot of the group with
a flashlight. Sad to relate, the only impression I could take away
with me was that which was photographed upon my mind. In place of a
photograph to show to my friends I am compelled to relate the bare
circumstance with but limited power to portray the scene in words; the
imagination of the reader must do the rest.

How long the tableau would have lasted I cannot say, if I had not
pulled the curtain, so to speak, by attempting to reach out and get my
rifle, which was nearby. I knew it was a desperate chance, but I was
extremely anxious to secure the head of our handsome guest.

Hardly had I attempted to move my hand in the direction of the rifle,
although very slowly, than the watchful eyes seemed to become conscious
of something wrong, and the spell was broken. With a single leap the
deer cleared the lighted space and was lost in the darkness of the
forest.

It is a well known fact that wild animals and birds are stupefied at
the appearance of artificial light. Birds are often attracted by it,
while animals, dazed by the strangeness of the sight and the glare,
seem to lose at times all power of motion. Whether it is because of
curiosity or on account of the judgment becoming paralyzed through
excessive fear, artificial light of great intensity seems to deprive
a wild animal of his usual cunning and alertness. Wildfowl, such as
ducks and geese, are notably affected in the same way. “Firelighting,”
which it is well known, involves the destruction of so many thousands
of game birds every year, fairly illustrates and proves the foregoing
statement. Insects seem strangely attracted by artificial lights and
frequently pay for their temerity with their lives. What impression
artificial light makes upon wild animals it is hard to state. Sportsmen
know how easily a deer can be taken at a disadvantage by “jacking,”
but this does not account for one entering the lighted circle of a
camp-fire. Instances of wild animals being approached when stupefied by
the presence of artificial light are plentiful, but I have never known
before of any animal actually invading a camp and standing in front of
the fire.

When we had exhausted comment upon the unusual incident, which was the
absorbing theme for conversation for the balance of the evening, a good
night’s sleep came as relaxation from the exercise of the day.

The morning broke bright and clear and quite cold. Breakfast was
soon bolted down. An abomination which Aleck called a pancake was
the principal article of our repast. This dish compensated by its
size and quantity for what it lacked in other respects. Even Jake,
whose digestion might excite the envy of an ostrich, hesitated before
tackling a second one. Aleck, seeing his uncertain look, asked him
whether he would have another pancake.

“Only a small piece about the size of your foot,” Jake replied.

Having saddled the horses the guide took a course which led along a
rocky defile for a considerable distance. While looking up at the red
sandstone cliffs, which overhung us, and admiring the contrast their
rugged outlines furnished against the clear blue of the sky, I saw a
large bald-headed eagle perched upon a commanding eminence. His figure
was sharply defined in the clear atmosphere, and although I knew he
was quite a distance off, I was somewhat surprised when the guide
computed the range at 300 yards at least. I reined up my horse and
threw the lines over his head. As Jake saw me alight to take aim, a
sort of weary expression came over his face. He was evidently thinking
of the coyotes. After carefully sighting the bird and gauging the range
according to the estimate I had received, I fired. For several seconds
the wings fluttered, as the eagle strove to balance himself on his
perch, and then he collapsed in a lifeless mass, a few feet below.

[Illustration: A GLIMPSE OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN SCENERY.]

Having watched the lifeless shape a few seconds, I reloaded the rifle
without betraying any signs of emotion or uttering a word. Although
my eyes were turned in a different direction, I felt conscious of a
penetrating gaze which seemed to go through me like an X-ray and read
my inmost thought. Turning to mount my horse, I met the wide-open eyes
of Jake staring at me in astonishment. Neither of us said a word for
some time, but Jake was thinking, wondering whether it was an accident
or a fair exhibition of my skill. The only data he had to work on in
drawing his conclusions was the previous bad marksmanship in shooting
at the coyotes, and the telling recent shot at the eagle, which I
seemed to regard as a matter of course, but I acted the same way when I
missed the coyotes.

Jake displayed the same resourcefulness that a curious woman will
sometimes exercise upon receiving a letter: first she looks at the
post-mark, then at the handwriting of the address and, after exhausting
all the pros and cons to determine what the contents of the letter
are, finally strikes upon a happy idea--she opens the letter and reads
it. After Jake had thoroughly turned the incident over in his mind
he finally remarked, in a tone pitched between an exclamation and an
interrogation point: “I guess you were surprised when you fetched
that bird down?” My presence of mind did not leave me; I gave Jake
good advice about marksmanship and shooting in general. He thanked
me and said he hoped I would give him some points about guiding and
outfitting, as he was trying to learn the business.

Game being rather scarce in this section we concluded to move camp
and try our luck in the Jackson’s Hole country. For a short time I
made headquarters near a ranch on Jackson’s Lake. This body of water
is situated quite close to the Grand Tetons, which tower thousands of
feet above its surface. The crest of these great formations, like a
mighty arm stretching a curtain over the western sky, receives the rays
of the morning sun long before they reach the narrow valley below. It
is interesting and beautiful to see the golden light slowly creeping
down the slopes of these great mountains, until at last the sun, having
climbed well into the sky, suddenly pours its golden flood of light in
one immense deluge into the lake. The transition is startling.

The trout in the lake grow to a very large size and are very gamy.
There are a few hot springs in this locality which, however, do not
affect the temperature of the water, which is very cold the year
round. The lake derives its main supply from the melting snows of the
surrounding mountains.

I concluded to enjoy a morning’s sport fishing, and for that purpose
secured a boat from the ranchman who threw in his services as well. We
poled up the outlet, which was a very clear and swift stream. The trout
swarmed under the boat at times in great numbers and many of them of
considerable size. Flocks of wild ducks and geese, winging their way to
their feeding grounds, broke the stillness of the early morning, for
it was before daybreak that we started, when the stars were beginning
to pale in the sky. The trout made their presence quite noticeable,
frequently disturbing the surface of the water, and sometimes a big
one would stir up an awful commotion. I soon had a seven-pound trout
securely hooked, which I landed as soon as I was able to do so, because
I wanted a change of diet.

Although I had been in camp for a couple of weeks I had been unable to
get a shot at an elk, and had only seen one making its way through the
thick timber. The snow had not fallen as yet, and the ground was very
dry, which made hunting difficult. It was a welcome sight one morning
to look out of my tent and see the ground covered with snow, and it is,
moreover, surprising to notice what a difference it makes in hunting. I
had not traveled more than two miles from camp on foot when I heard a
long, loud whistle--a most pleasing sound. I directed my steps in the
direction whence it came, and was rewarded by catching a glimpse of
half a dozen elk disappearing through an opening in the timber. They
were not going fast, and I do not believe they saw me.

I followed them as quickly and carefully as I could until I came to
the edge of a steep descent, and saw the bunch in the valley below.
In the herd there was a fine bull who seemed proud of his authority,
and occasionally whistled and bugled his challenge to any possible
rival disposed to dispute his lordship over the cows he had assembled
around him, which by this time had considerably increased in numbers.
The distance seemed too great to hazard a shot, and I thought I would
circle around on the higher elevations to secure a closer range and
better position. Although unfrightened, the elk began to move off with
a gentle ambling gait which seems slow, but if one tries to keep up
with it in a rough mountainous country he will find his energy pretty
well taxed. I soon lost sight of the game and stopped partly because I
was almost exhausted and also to locate the herd, if it were possible
to hear it.

At first I thought I heard the hoof beats on the ground, but presently
recognized that it was the action of my heart, which was beating so
forcibly that I could distinctly hear it. The high elevation and the
vigorous exercise often produce that effect upon one who is not used
to the climate. Other sportsmen have had a similar experience. After
pursuing my course some distance along the side of a steep hill my
attention was suddenly arrested by the sound of breaking branches in
the spruce nearby. I had not long to wait before a spike-horned elk
stepped out in front of me not more than twenty-five or thirty yards
off. The large brown eyes were looking straight at me with a mildness
and apparent absence of fear, which removed all thought of slaughter
from my mind, although at that time I had never killed an elk.

The poor quality of the head as a trophy determined my action. After
gazing a few seconds I turned my steps in the direction I thought the
herd had taken its course. A long, shrill whistle, ending in a squeal,
blended with a bray like a donkey, soon informed me of the whereabouts
of the bull I was seeking. Climbing over the crest of the hill I
finally caught sight of the old bull in the valley with a bunch of cow
elk collected around him, which had increased by this time to about
twenty-five or thirty. The bull frequently threw his head up, giving
vent to his peculiar call, which was answered now and then by several
other bulls on the surrounding hills, none of which seemed willing to
venture near him. I watched this spectacle for some time, endeavoring
to get near enough to obtain a good shot.

Being alone and unaccustomed to the country I was unable to gauge
the distance correctly. When finally I stopped at the nearest point
I could reach to secure a fair shot (I was using on that occasion a
.45-90 Winchester, not one of the modern high-power guns with a flat
trajectory), I fired at the bull without effect and saw the whole
bunch of cow elk come together in a solid mass and ascend the slope of
the neighboring mountain. The cow elk acted as though panic-stricken,
all striving to get as near the center of the bunch as possible while
ascending the slope and interfering considerably with the movements
of one another in so doing. The bull remained behind until the cows
had gained a considerable start, and then followed them up the
mountain. When I examined the distance from the spot where I stood
when I fired at the bull to the point where he was located, I found it
over 400 yards. Being unaccustomed to gauging distance at that time,
I underestimated the range. The atmosphere is so clear that objects
obtain a much clearer definition and seem at times nearer than they
really are. A mistake in underestimating distance made a greater
difference with the old .45-90 than it would with modern high power
rifles. I returned to camp burning with a desire to secure a good
trophy.

The next day I went out with Jake. We separated, agreeing to meet at
a certain place, which, through some misunderstanding, we failed to
accomplish. I soon ran upon the tracks of a big bull elk, which led
directly up the steep side of a mountain. This I climbed for about six
hundred feet with some trouble, when I noticed that the tracks had
begun to turn and tended downward. I continued to follow them until
they brought me again to the foot of the mountain, within about thirty
feet of the point where I first started to trace them up. I finally ran
across my guide again, and it was not long before his keen eyes picked
out an elk at a distance of about two hundred and fifty yards, just
visible among some spruce trees. It was a cow elk, and I was indisposed
to shoot it, but being reminded of the condition of the larder I
concluded to try my luck. The crack of the rifle was followed by the
disappearance of the animal in the timber, and I thought I had missed,
but was reassured to the contrary, and when I reached the spot where
the elk had stood I saw a few traces of blood, which shortly led to a
brown form lying among the green spruce trees--the elk was stone dead.
Standing over Jake, who was engaged in dressing the elk, I asked him
if he thought I ought to smash the rifle over a rock. Looking up from
his dirty work, besmeared with perspiration and gore, he replied with a
grin, “Not when she throws lead like that.”

My time was drawing to a close, and although I had abundant
opportunities to kill animals with inferior heads, that kind of sport
did not satisfy me, and I left them to die a natural death, unless some
tooth hunter has cut their existence short.

The final day passed without result, and I had to leave for a later
period a more successful hunt for trophies.

The last night around the camp-fire Jake made entertaining by relating
to me some of his personal experiences. The following story was told me
as absolutely true: The guide had struck the trail of a mountain lion,
which he followed with his pack of dogs to a tree where the trail
ended. Naturally he expected to find the lion in the tree. Much to his
surprise there was no lion in the tree, and no tracks of a lion leading
away from the tree. The only tracks discernible were the tracks of an
elk. Finally a bloodhound in the pack started off on the elk tracks.
This seemed very strange, because the dogs had been thoroughly broken
from following anything except lions and bobcats. The guide tried to
call the dog back, but he continued to follow the elk tracks, and the
rest of the pack joined in the pursuit. Following the tracks about a
quarter of a mile, there appeared in the snow signs of a struggle, and
then an impression upon the ground of a large animal which the elk had
evidently unseated. The lion’s tracks were distinctly visible from this
point for a considerable distance, until he took refuge in a pinyon
tree.

It was plain that the mountain lion had jumped upon the back of a
passing elk and had stolen a free ride, which he enjoyed until his
saddle horse dismounted him. “That shows what a wonderfully intelligent
animal a dog is,” said Jake; “just to think that they should have
reasoned it out that the lion had ridden off on the elk, when I was
puzzled myself to find out what had become of him.”

[Illustration: PACK HORSES ROUNDED UP FOR THE RETURN.]

“Do you suppose,” chimed in Aleck, “that the dogs showed intelligence
because they knew more than you did?”



BLOODLESS SPORT


There has developed in recent years a sentiment which has declared
itself strongly in opposition to taking animal life for the sake
of sport. The camera has been recommended as a substitute for the
death-dealing firearm. A great many people have discussed this subject
without possessing a clear idea of what constitutes real sport.

To obtain a better understanding of the subject we may classify those
who hunt for the purpose of destroying wild life under three divisions:
sportsmen, market hunters and butchers. The last expression I have
employed in a peculiar sense as indicating a very objectionable class
in itself. By a process of elimination one may arrive at the true
conception of a sportsman after first grasping the meaning of the term
market hunter and butcher, and then disabusing the mind of both of
those conceptions. The term butcher is applicable to whomever engages
in the wanton and wasteful destruction of animal life with no idea of
utilizing the remains. To the mind of such persons a sportsman’s goal
is a slaughter pen. The game butcher recognizes no rules, but prides
himself on the amount of havoc he can produce in a flock of birds
or a herd of wild animals, and speaks with glee of the quantity of
game he has destroyed. The market hunter, as the name implies, is out
for business. The rules of sport do not interest him; it is merely a
question of dollars and cents; he kills when it pays to kill, and tries
to make certain every shot, regarding any advantage he can take as
perfectly legitimate. The worst qualities of the butcher and the market
hunter combine in the person who hunts elk for the purpose of securing
the teeth, allowing the antlers and carcass to remain unused. The sins
of these two classes are indiscriminately laid on the shoulders of the
sportsman by people who have a misty idea about real sport.

The desire to kill is instinctive, and, refined under civilizing
influences, produces the sportsman. The mere love of killing for the
sake of doing so soon palled on people who had any conception of sport.
The true theory of sport, whether in playing games or in hunting,
necessarily involves the idea of a contest or trial of skill wherein
there is a certain element of chance. The rapid destruction of game,
consequent upon the easy mastery of nature by man, led in quite early
times to the establishment of game preserves and the enactment of laws
for the preservation of game. The killing of game developed into a
pastime, and rules regulating its enjoyment readily grew out of this
method of recreation. In other words it came to be regarded as a sport
or game wherein the hunted had rights or privileges which had to be
respected the same as those of a contestant in any other game; the
huntsman must exercise his ingenuity and sometimes his daring and
endurance against the cunning and desperation of the wild beast. It is
obvious from the foregoing explanation that no sportsman countenances
killing, except for a purpose, and prefers to give the game a chance to
exercise its cleverness and adroitness in making good its escape; if
it fails, it has been outwitted. The observance of game laws for the
preservation of game find no stronger advocates anywhere than among
sportsmen, and it is to their interest to prevent the extermination of
wild life, because if that should take place their pastime would be
gone.

There are a number of enlightened people, however, who distinctly
disapprove of a sportsman’s favorite amusement and regard hunting and
killing game for recreation as altogether wrong. An examination into
this state of feeling with a view of ascertaining whether it is based
upon a clearly defined reason, or is merely a capricious sentiment,
may be instructive. All animal life in one way or another exists or is
sacrificed for the benefit of humanity. No one can reasonably combat
this assertion. By the very instinct of his being, man assumes to have
an unquestioned right to subject the lower order of created life to
his use. This assertion of his authority dates from the beginning when
the fiat was delivered--“Let him have dominion over the fish of the
sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that
moveth upon the face of the earth!” In what way shall this authority
be exercised? Human necessity or convenience alone has determined that
question without the brute creation being considered. The beast that
is reduced to servitude, and compelled to work the balance of his
existence, finds no advocate for his emancipation; no protest is made
against the wholesale slaughter of cattle to supply the meat market.
But when the sportsman goes forth to exercise his skill, allowing the
hunted prey a chance for its life and freedom, the sentimentalist,
who is generally someone who never took pleasure in that form of
amusement, throws up his hands and exclaims, “How brutal!” It is easy
to discriminate against a practice in which one does not participate.
Self-denial, when you deny yourself nothing, is an easy and convenient
morality. The brute creation is sacrificed for man’s enjoyment, and it
is useless to offer capricious objections to a form of sacrifice which
pleases another and which does not happen to appeal to one’s own idea
of pleasure.

There is a great deal of inconsistency displayed by many who deprecate
hunting with a rifle or shotgun, as the case may be. Cruelty to
animals seems to include birds and quadrupeds, but not fish. I have
heard people who are fond of angling expatiate upon the wickedness of
destroying animal life; yet they saw no harm in catching fish with a
light rod and play their quarry for a long time.

The huntsman endeavors to kill his game as soon as possible; he does
not prolong its agony for his amusement. No protests are made against
fishing as a sport so far as I have observed. The reason for this is
not hard to discover. The fish is a cold-blooded creature to whom the
heart does not seem to go out in sympathy to any extent; the slimy
scales do not invite the contact of the fingers like the warm fur of
a deer or the soft down of a duck; there is nothing in its “yellow
orbs” to excite sentimental regard; it is not an object one would pet
or fondle like a spotted fawn; wanting in qualities which appeal to
the fancy, no plea is set up in its behalf. In further evidence of the
inconsistency in question I have heard ladies almost melt with emotion
while deprecating the destruction of animal life by the sportsman, who
yet seem little affected by the recital of the lingering death agony of
the poor creatures caught in traps to furnish the furs which minister
to female vanity.

The universal custom of sacrificing animal life in some form or another
makes it impossible for one to condemn the sportsman’s method of
destroying it without the charge of inconsistency. Once concede that
the right to take the life of dumb creatures exists, and the individual
must decide in what way that right shall be exercised, with the
limitations which civilization places upon the exercise of all natural
rights.



WESTERN CAMP LIFE


We read of the big game which once frequented the Western part of the
United States in such large numbers; yet in traveling over that section
in a Pullman it is surprising that we seldom see any evidence of it.
Leaving the line of the railway and settlement, the monotony of the
sterile plain covered with sagebrush is unrelieved by signs of animal
life, except horses and cattle and occasionally herds of sheep. The old
life has passed and the new has hardly developed sufficiently to supply
its place.

Here and there may be found spots which excite the ardor of sportsmen,
but they are generally inaccessible except through the agency of a
competent guide. The great herds of buffalo which once swept over
the plains in such vast numbers as to endanger the life of the
pioneer, have disappeared entirely; the elk have almost vanished and
their annual migrations have ceased to be a terror to the ranchman,
who fenced in his hay to protect it from the famished herds. Even the
smaller game has greatly diminished.

[Illustration: MOUNTAIN CLIMBING.

When the ascent is steep and slippery, one is aided by holding on to a
horse’s tail.]

There are yet some localities where primeval conditions still continue
to a great extent; of these the most noted is the country south of the
Yellowstone National Park. To the providential care of the National
Government, in laying out this great preserve, is due the preservation
of the principal sport which now remains. Large bands of elk frequent
this preserve during the greater part of the year, until the heavy
snows drive them down from the higher elevations to obtain pasturage.
Other game besides elk may be hunted in the country adjacent to the
park, such as sheep, antelope and blacktail deer, besides smaller
animals. With a pack of well trained dogs it is also possible to hunt
with success cougars, bobcats, lynx and sometimes bear. Elk and deer
do not, as a rule, frequent the same locality to any extent. If one
desires to hunt sheep and goats a still different plan of operation
must be adopted, while antelope inhabit a country where neither elk,
deer, sheep, nor goats are likely to be found, except by merest
accident.

The time when a sportsman could pitch his tent most anywhere and expect
the wild animal life of forest and plain to come to him as they came
to Adam when he first named them, has long since vanished. To hunt
with success one must be thoroughly versed in woodcraft, be possessed
of a good knowledge of the habits of game and the localities where
they are to be found at different seasons of the year, have a quick
eye to pick out a desirable head, and must be a reasonably fair judge
of distance, to gauge the proper elevation of a rifle. The happy
combination of these qualities make the skilled hunter; marksmanship,
provided it be fair, is the least important of all his qualifications.
There are a great many men who are good shots at a stationary target
who are bad shots at game; there are men who are good shots at game,
who are by no means experts in shooting at a mark. This statement
may seem paradoxical but readily admits of explanation. The marksman
has his range given him, he takes his time, and is not betrayed into
sudden action. Change these conditions and he is out of his element.
If his eye is not trained to judge distance in timber or on the plain,
he can easily misgauge it, and shooting at a moving object he cannot
take his time; the absence of any spot on the animal near the point
he is aiming at is another disadvantage to the man of the target. The
practiced hunter knows his distance; his keen eye readily distinguishes
his quarry, although it may blend with the landscape, so that the
unpracticed eye might easily overlook it; he is accustomed to take a
quick sight and shoot, making proper allowances for the moving object;
if a rapid advance is possible and necessary to cut off the game before
it can pass a given point for which it is heading, the hunter chooses
his course, as if by intuition, and often has a chance to get several
more shots where another would fail of his opportunity. The skill of
a hunter generally brings him within such proximity of game as to
relieve him of the necessity of making an extra difficult shot. It is
surprising how seldom the huntsman discharges his rifle compared to one
who practices at a target. The man who is fond of target practice will
probably use up as many rounds of ammunition in one afternoon shooting
at a mark as the average huntsman will consume in an entire year.

A sportsman who is a fair shot, and who goes to a locality where game
is fairly plentiful, has every reason in the world to expect success,
provided he is accompanied by a real hunter, such an one as I have
above described. It is very important to employ a competent guide if
one expects a successful hunt. When I speak of a competent guide I
mean a man who is a good hunter and also capable of managing a hunting
outfit.

Guides may be divided into three classes:

(1) Ordinary frauds who are watching an opportunity to “work” some
“dude,” by which name sportsmen are sometimes designated in the slang
of the country.

(2) Backwoodsmen who are good hunters and tireless and will supply a
sportsman with the best they know how to provide, but being ignorant of
the ordinary comforts of civilized life, treat their sportsmen with the
same cruel neglect to which they have accustomed themselves.

(3) The man who makes a regular business of acting as a guide, who is a
good hunter and who also knows how to provide a first-class outfit.

Game has greatly decreased before the advance of civilization and
the wanton slaughter which took no thought of the future; the wild
life which survives owes its preservation to the almost inaccessible
character of the country in which it has taken refuge, and to its own
cunning, which of necessity has become very acute.

To know the habitat of game and outwit its wariness requires the skill
of the practiced hunter.

We have heard a great deal about roughing it. That phrase as formerly
understood must be greatly qualified if the modern sportsman patronizes
an up-to-date outfit.

Going to a wild and rather inaccessible country has about it a certain
charm of novelty, and part of that charm grows out of the idea of
roughing it. Some people have a tendency to greatly exaggerate the
ordeals through which they pass in order that they may enhance
the interest of their experience. This goes with the weakness for
overstating the distance and increasing the apparent difficulty of
the shots which they make in securing their trophies, in which error
they are too frequently sustained by the somewhat elastic conscience
of the guide. This is an age of progress, and that phrase applies to
methods of enjoying sport quite as well as it does to anything else.
Having good sport with comfort in camp life is simply a question of
dollars and cents. The average person does not understand the present
conditions of sporting life in a wild country.

It must be borne in mind that in traveling in rough sections of the
West, where big game still abounds, although in much smaller numbers
than formerly, everything has to be carried on pack horses. What you
are to take is limited simply by the supply of pack horses you are to
engage. In an up-to-date outfit the open camp-fire, such a picturesque
feature in an illustration, has been supplanted by a plain sheet-iron
stove which is placed in the tent, with a few feet of pipe attached
to carry off the smoke. If one wants the open fire it of course can
be easily supplied, and at first a good many sportsmen desire it on
account of the romance and novelty of the experience, but the same
pampered tastes, which have forced man from a savage life to adopt the
comforts which civilization supplies, will invariably lead to the open
camp-fire being abandoned for the commonplace sheet-iron stove--very
unromantic but thoroughly practical and useful. The open camp-fire,
with the smoke blowing in your eyes from every direction, which gives
the sensation of being scorched on one side and frozen on the other,
does not appeal to the modern sportsman who disassociates sport from
martyrdom.

Folding tables and chairs can be “packed” quite easily, and it is much
pleasanter to sit in a chair and eat off of a table than to sit on a
log trying to make a table of your knees, and occasionally converting
your lap into a plate for your spilled victuals. A portable rubber
bathtub, if one objects to jumping into cold water, satisfies the
desire for cleanliness. With a fire in the stove one can take a bath as
easily and comfortably in camp as at home. For thorough cleansing it
is best for one to take a bath in a tent in warm water, but I strongly
recommend to those who can stand it a plunge in cold water or being
soused with a bucket or two every morning before dressing for the day.
This stimulates the body and gets the system in fine condition.

For those who find it uncomfortable to sleep on the hard surface of
the ground I would recommend a pneumatic mattress. An ample supply of
canned stuff insures against the chance of bad cooking, because it
requires little or no skill to prepare canned provisions, if the other
food in camp is not particularly appetizing.

This article is not intended for the experienced hunter who has had
plenty of experience of Western hunting; nor is it intended for the man
who has his heart set upon roughing it in the sense that he desires to
see how much he can go through and survive. A great deal of the advice
given to people has been in the opposite direction, namely, to cut out
as much as possible from their hunting outfit. I claim that the average
person who desires sport with as little hardship as possible, except
what is unavoidable, should be very careful about reducing his outfit
too much. Most sportsmen are accustomed to the ordinary comforts and
conveniences of life. It is perfect folly for such people to attempt
in a short time to harden themselves to the frontier life so they may
endure its hardships with the same indifference as the hunter or
trapper who lives that way all the time. I have run across sportsmen
who have had their hunting trips spoiled by attempting to rough it
too much. If you are accustomed to living well and in comfort, it
would be wise to recognize the fact that you are a “tenderfoot” and
act accordingly. For the average sportsman the object of a hunting
trip in the West is to obtain diversion and acquire health. All the
roughing it one requires is the vigorous exercise, the fresh air, with
an occasional dip in ice cold water, which is conducive to health; the
rest of the hardship it is well to leave out as far as possible.

[Illustration: VIEW FROM MT. LEIDY.]

My experience has led me to add to a hunting outfit, the oftener I
go out, rather than depleting it. The first time I really saw an
up-to-date outfit was in 1902, when I engaged as my guide Edward
Sheffield, of Idaho. I joked him about all the things he was taking
along and called him a “tenderfoot.” He replied that “he had had
all the roughing it he wanted in his time, and those who really knew
what it was generally preferred a camp as comfortable as possible.” I
experienced during that trip and a subsequent one I took next fall such
comfort, combined with good sport, as I never had before.

I would advise taking an emergency medical case supplied with all the
ordinary remedies. I have known the time when such a thing has proved
extremely useful, and I have also known of sportsmen who have had their
outing ruined through lack of some simple remedy.



AN ELK HUNT IN WYOMING


When I wrote to my old guide Edward Sheffield, I was somewhat
apprehensive about the outlook for sport, because I had heard that the
best part of the Jackson Hole Country had been included in the reserve
set apart by the State of Wyoming, where sport with big game had been
entirely interdicted.

I was advised, however, that this was not the fact, and pinning my
faith to the good judgment of the guide, I made arrangements for a fall
hunt. Before reaching the terminal of the railroad journey I chanced
to meet some sportsmen who discussed the sport and commented on the
conditions existing in Jackson’s Hole. The criticisms were by no means
favorable, and various instances were cited of parties who had been
disappointed in their expectations. My subsequent experience only
served to convince me how dependent a sportsman has become upon the
services of a good guide.

The trip from St. Anthony to Jackson was without incident worth
relating, except at the start. The pack horses, which, during their
stay in town, had fared handsomely on oats and hay and been well
sheltered, did not look forward to a trip back into the bleak and
sterile mountains with the same pleasure that I did; their refractory
souls yearned for the comfortable quarters they were just leaving with
the same tenacity that the children of Israel in the wilderness “longed
for the fleshpots of Egypt,” but here the comparison ends, for they had
not a guide who was meek and gentle like Moses.

About a mile from St. Anthony the whole bunch turned off on a side road
and went back to their former quarters. After some delay they were
finally got in line again, and with the aid of a couple of Mormons,
who, for a consideration, agreed to help them for several miles, we got
the pack train properly started, and after that had no further trouble
with them.

[Illustration: GUIDE EDWARD SHEFFIELD AND TWO ELK HEADS.]

The journey was a fairly long one, but it became more interesting as
we drew away from civilization and got closer to the place where we
intended to make permanent camp. After the first day we passed the wide
monotonous stretch of sage brush flats which lies between St. Anthony
and Victor; after that the landscape grew more mountainous and wooded.
The country became very picturesque as we proceeded; every mountain
presented a view which was a panorama; every opening in the timber
seemed a natural frame for an entrancing picture; the atmosphere so
clear and bracing gave fine definition to objects in view; the winding
river rushed fretting and foaming between the rocks in the valley
below; large clumps of spruces clustered upon the mountain sides, and
the rough crags were powdered with snow and sometimes glistening with
rills which coursed down their rugged surfaces. After traveling along
the Gros Ventre River for a considerable distance we at last came in
view of Mt. Leidy, superbly situated between two rows of mountains
on either side of a pleasant valley, at the head of which that peak
stands. The ground was covered with a few inches of snow--enough to
make good hunting. We made an early camp and had plenty of time to get
everything arranged before it became dark. The location was ideal;
plenty of timber nearby; a fine stream of clear, cold water, and good
grazing for the horses. It was quite important to have a good range
for the stock, because there were eleven pack horses and three riding
horses--fourteen in all. To take care of these required the services of
a horse wrangler. I had three men, my regular guide, Edward Sheffield;
Charles Herdick, a Wyoming guide, and Marcus Imo, who cooked and
turned his hand to anything else that had to be attended to.

The day being young when we arrived, I employed it in making a short
hunting scout. Charles Herdick went with me, and I soon discovered how
much my wind had deteriorated since I had last been out, for in the
meantime I had lived a life of comparative ease. The general elevation
in this section ranges from 7,000 to 10,000 feet, and it takes a few
days to accustom your lungs to the rarified atmosphere. When one is
not taking any vigorous exercise the climate feels exhilarating and
inspires one with the belief that he is able to perform any kind of
feat; a few minutes of real strenuous exercise and this delusion is
destroyed. I soon discovered that Herdick was a good hand at mountain
climbing, being wonderfully supple and possessed of the best pair of
lungs of anyone I ever knew.

We finally caught sight of a small bunch of elk at a considerable
distance. As they were moving over a crest of a hill it became
necessary to travel with speed to get near enough for a shot, if by
chance there should be a good head in the bunch. The elk had not seen
us, but were moving and might get out of range. Completely exhausted
I finally gained the summit of a hill overlooking the herd, which had
halted. An old bull stood in the quaking aspens, not over sixty yards
away. A glance at the head, and I saw that I had had my pains for
nothing. I watched the animals for a few moments, and they seemed to me
like old acquaintances, for it had been three years since I last hunted
this kind of game. I do not believe they were as pleased to see me as
I was to see them. They soon started to run directly from us in the
direction of camp, which was quite near. My guide, Edward Sheffield,
told me afterward that they came very near, and he was afraid they
would run through camp. He gravely warned me against the danger of
driving a large bunch of “Uncle Sam’s cattle” in that direction.

It was a pleasure after this little excitement to drop into a
comfortable camp and find everything nicely arranged and a good meal
provided. My quarters were supplied with every convenience that could
be expected by one who travels with a pack outfit. It may, perhaps,
interest those who have had no practical experience in Western hunting
to know what can be furnished. We had folding chairs, a folding table,
two tents, and in each a portable sheet-iron stove with a couple of
lengths of pipe to take off the smoke. I had a pneumatic mattress
to save my tired flesh from the hard ground, and whatever else was
required which horses could pack in. When I was tired of hunting I
could rest a day or so and read novels in a comfortable tent, no
matter how cold the weather. This does not seem like roughing it. The
frontiersman of former days would have thought such comfort with a
hunting outfit impossible. Modern progress, however, has caused most of
the inconveniences of camp life to disappear as if by magic. Would that
its magic influence could restock the wilderness with the great herds
of wild animals that have vanished.

[Illustration: VALLEY OF GROS VENTRE.]

The following day I went out with the guide to try my luck. We had
not traveled more than two miles before discovering a small herd of
elk. We circled around them sufficiently to size them up, but could
find no heads worth picking out. Our course was then changed, and we
hunted toward a high mountain north of Mt. Leidy. From this point we
obtained a fine view of the surrounding country, which I carefully
swept with my Seitz glasses in quest of game. Far off on a distant
ridge we finally saw some elk slowly moving out of the timber into
the open. Their brown shapes showed very distinctly against the
snow-covered hills, but, although there was a considerable number in
view, no good antlers were visible. My strong glasses proved of very
great service to me. With them I could ascertain plainly what otherwise
I would have had to guess at, and they saved me many a long excursion
over rough country to determine the value of a set of antlers. My guide
was quite as anxious as myself that I should not have any trophies
unworthy of a sportsman’s ambition. The law allows one only two heads,
and it is necessary to take great pains to avoid making mistakes. I
made up my mind that I would go back empty-handed rather than pack out
antlers which would reflect discredit upon my skill. The guide was
particularly anxious that I should obtain specimens which would do
no injury to his reputation. I think I must have passed unfavorable
judgment upon twenty-five or thirty heads--for which the guide was
mainly responsible--before I finally secured my trophies. Any number of
bulls presented themselves, some of them quite easy marks, only to be
snubbed and turned down. Paris, in passing judgment upon the goddesses
to determine which was the most beautiful, could not have been more
critical or discriminating than the guide. I doubt if the unsuccessful
rivals of the bulls I finally chose as worthy specimens were seriously
disappointed.

To illustrate the ease with which I could have secured my legal
allowance of two bulls, to say nothing of cows, I will cite a few
instances of the opportunities I had. On one occasion I was going
through the timber where I heard a number of elk. The guide called my
attention to a bull lying on the ground not sixty yards away, partly
concealed by the spruce brush. He was facing directly toward us, his
front feet folded under his body and his nose close to the ground. We
stood quite still and surveyed him carefully, sizing up the head, which
had twelve points, but not large nor heavy at the base. The glasses
were brought into service to make a more critical examination. A couple
of minutes we stood discussing him, when finally he gave a brief snort,
which sounded like an expression of disgust at our impertinence, and
then jumped up and loped out of sight.

Shortly afterward we managed to approach close to a very large herd
of elk, mostly hidden in the timber. From our concealment we could
see a number of the animals not over thirty or forty yards away.
About 150 yards off were a couple of young bulls exercising their
skill by fencing with their antlers, evidently in sport. We could
hear the frequent clash of the horns and often got a good view of the
contestants. We waited in this spot over an hour, until despairing
of seeing anything worth shooting at before it grew too dark, we
suddenly rose up in plain view. The peaceful scene was soon converted
into one of great confusion. For a moment the elk stared at us with
their beautiful large brown eyes in astonishment, then a general panic
communicated itself to the herd, and every animal in sight began moving
off. Each clump of vegetation that could conceal a form seemed suddenly
animated by a creature breaking from its hiding place, fleeing for
safety; the cows and calves gave vent to their peculiar bleat of alarm,
while the bulls snorted and rattled their antlers against the trees in
their haste. For some hundred yards in the timber, and well up on the
mountain side, the scene became particularly animated. I hurried to an
opening in the timber, where I could get a good view of the retreating
herd, which had drawn together into quite a solid moving mass. The
number of elk greatly exceeded my expectations. Nine-tenths of the herd
had been as carefully concealed from us as we had been from them.
There must have been at a conservative estimate not less than 400 in
the herd, and possibly 500. A sportsman could only admire this striking
and beautiful spectacle because there was no head worth securing. A
tooth hunter or a butcher, with a high-power repeating rifle, could
have repeated one of those scenes which sickens every lover of sport.

At another time I came upon a band of elk quite as numerous, and,
although there were a couple of good heads in view, yet the number of
cow elk was so great that it was practically impossible to get a good
shot. The entire mass fled straight up the side of a steep mountain
covered with quaking aspen and spruce. For some time we could see them
crowding one another in dense masses in their ascent, but the only shot
attempted was with the camera, and without success.

One more instance, which will not only aid in proving the ease of
securing an indifferent specimen, but goes to show that when game is
too plentiful it is an actual handicap to the sportsman. I saw a fine
head across a gulch at a considerable distance. I fired and missed it
and the animal escaped beyond range. I crossed the gulch to examine the
spot where the bull had stood and followed his tracks to see if he had
been wounded, and if so, how badly. Although the ground was covered
with two feet of snow, yet I could discover no signs of blood. While
discussing the matter with the guide we became conscious that we were
not unperceived, for a great number of elk began to move among the
trees, having evidently “spotted” us. We made at once for concealment
and ran as fast as we could through the deep snow to an open place
toward which the herd was heading.

Carefully hidden from view we saw a great brown mass thunder past,
and before it had disappeared from sight I caught a glimpse of the
precious set of antlers belonging to the bull I shot at carried in
triumph out of sight. They appeared but for a moment in the narrow
opening, in which the intended victim was well protected by cows,
which formed a perfect wall of flesh which no bullet could pierce and
speed on to its mark. We made another run under concealment in the
hope of being able to come upon the herd again in case it should halt,
which it did. In an open space on the further side of the mountain
we confronted the elk at close quarters. The rapid traveling in the
deep snow over rough country left me very much exhausted. The first
object that attracted the attention of the guide and myself was a large
bull of twelve points at very close range. I thought in the hurry of
the moment, my vision perhaps being blurred by nervous strain and
exhaustion, that it was the same magnificent specimen I had shot at
before and was trying to secure, and the animal’s position--turned
quartering toward me--aided the deception. I soon discovered the
mistake, however, my attention being called by the guide to another
bull which proved to be the one I so earnestly desired. I brought my
rifle in position to draw a bead on a vital spot, but the bull was
immediately blanketed by several cows running between. If I could have
had a clear range the shot would have been about the easiest I ever
had, but the faithful cows with their calves swarmed around their
lord, and I beheld with disappointment as fine a pair of antlers as I
ever saw borne safely out of sight. The old bull must have evidently
believed that “there is safety in numbers.”

There is another disadvantage in encountering a great quantity of game
when attempting to secure a good trophy. Each animal, however poor a
head it may possess, has generally a good pair of eyes, a keen scent
and excellent hearing. Each addition to a herd is another sentinel,
always on duty and ready at any moment to sound the alarm. On a
previous hunting trip, when the elk were not nearly so plentiful, I
got the heads I wanted in less time. I cannot place the blame for the
trouble I had in securing my heads on the cows entirely.

A couple of days before the scarlet letter day of my hunt I fired at
a fine bull in a gulch quite a distance off. He immediately quickened
his pace and was soon out of range. I glanced at my rifle and I found
that the elevation of the sight had been misplaced, being ranged for
fifty yards. I think it is best to have the sight of a high power gun
with a very flat trajectory sighted for 100 yards, and to draw a fine
or coarse sight on the object as occasion may require. We examined
the spot where the bull had been seen when fired at and discovered a
sprinkling of blood along his tracks. Tying the horses, we started
to follow the trail on foot. The course the bull took favored the
higher elevations more than the depressions, which was a bad sign, so
with grave misgivings we continued the pursuit. The increasing signs
of blood inspired us with hope; here and there he occasionally stood,
as was evident from the quantity of blood and the character of the
impression his feet made in the snow. In other respects the signs
were disappointing; the tracks showed no indication of weakness, and
frequently led us across high fallen trees and along steep places,
where I followed with difficulty. The blood, although quite plentiful,
was a light red, and not the dark color which would be discharged were
some vital spot injured. Finally, after traveling about six miles,
the flow of blood began to lessen. At length we reached a point where
he entered a tract of thick timber, evidently at a walk. We concluded
that it was best not to pursue him in this retreat, because his
slow pace might indicate exhaustion and a disposition to lie down. The
only hope I had of securing him would be in case of his lying down
and becoming stiff from his wound and not being able to get up. We
concluded to allow plenty of time for this to happen. The guide made
a circuit around the timber and could discover no trace of his having
emerged from it. We then went back to the horses and rode to camp. The
succeeding day we returned to the spot, traced the steps of the elk to
a place where he had lain down, and saw a slight discoloration of the
snow where his brisket had touched it, his tracks led onward, and signs
of bleeding had ceased. All our trouble had been in vain because of an
improperly arranged sight.

[Illustration: CHAS. HERDICK SKINNING A BULL ELK. THE AUTHOR AT THE
RIGHT.]

By this time I had been about ten days in camp and was growing quite
accustomed to the life. Although the weather was quite cold, at times
going to eight or ten below zero at night, yet it often grew warm
enough during the day to thaw, but it was dry, light atmosphere and
always bracing. Every night for a brief interval we were treated
to a serenade from the coyotes, a ridiculous, wild and unearthly
chant, which became a positive nuisance when the dogs undertook an
accompaniment right at our ears. Occasionally a bull elk, feeding
during the full of the moon, would cause the cold atmosphere to vibrate
with his shrill whistle as he loped past the camp. In all other
respects we were entirely alone for the twenty-two days I stayed in
camp except one, when the game warden dropped in to look at my license,
and after a brief stay took his departure. How different this was from
most of the hunting in the East, where the number of sportsmen has
become so great as to render the pastime almost as dangerous for the
hunter as it is for game. Particularly is this the case when “green
sportsmen” persist in shooting at anything that moves without first
finding out what it is. My guide expressed his surprise at the number
of accidents which occur every year in the Adirondacks through gross
carelessness. He remarked that he believed it would be best if one
were hunting in the Adirondacks and saw anything moving in the brush
to shoot without waiting to find out what it was, because the chances
are that it would be a man, and if you did not shoot him he would shoot
you. I was rather amused at this piece of grim humor, which is a sample
of what he generally had on tap.

The sun dawned auspiciously upon what proved to be my luckiest day
in camp. For some days I had hunted diligently without securing the
heads that would satisfy me. We had not journeyed over three miles
from camp before we saw, at quite a distance, a large bull move into
a thickly wooded valley. We turned our course in that direction,
keeping out of view as much as possible, riding along a hill which
overlooked the valley into which the bull had taken refuge. We came to
an open and slightly undulating country, which was covered with about
eighteen inches of snow, and gave evidence that quite a number of elk
had recently passed that way, and about 500 yards off saw a herd with
several good heads. The country was quite open, but broken up with
thick clumps of spruce trees here and there. To get nearer the herd
it was necessary to cross a wide open space, but by a timely maneuver
of the guide we traveled under cover until we reached a point where a
thick clump of trees standing out in the open space obstructed the view
between us and the elk. We then rode out in the open toward the clump
of trees which concealed us from view. Having gained this point, which
was about 175 to 200 yards from the herd, I dismounted and stepped out
in the clearing. The cows again provokingly ran between me and the
largest bull, which I had marked as my own. Fortunately, the cows
ran ahead and I got a quartering view of the large bull. The bright
reflection of the sun on the snow made it somewhat difficult to fully
distinguish the body of the animal in the dense moving mass, but I
succeeded in locating it. Drawing a fine sight on my Mauser I fired.
The entire herd disappeared over the crest of the hill. The guide, who
by this time had mounted his horse, cried, “You have got a bull.” I
asked him if it was the “big one.” He replied, “I don’t know.” In the
confused and changing mass it was indeed difficult to keep track of any
particular one. We urged the horses to their utmost speed; the antlers
of the bull continued growing larger to the view as we drew near.
Finally, with an exclamation of satisfaction, the guide slipped off
his horse and congratulated me upon the kill. “The largest head in the
bunch.” It was indeed a fine bull, with a spread just short of four
feet. There were twelve points on the antlers, six tines on each side.
The bullet had lodged a little back of the shoulder and the animal had
dropped without a struggle. In the space of fifteen or twenty minutes
the carcass was dressed; the mantle had been stripped off, and we were
ready to return for a couple of pack horses to bring in the antlers and
meat.

We had hardly mounted the horses when we saw another bull with a
fine head about 250 yards away. I slid off my horse, and getting the
distance from the guide, I drew a coarse sight and fired as the animal
was going over a hill. We hurried over to the spot where the bull had
been and saw faint splotches of blood on the snow. As we descended the
hill the guide remarked he hoped we would not have as long a chase
after this one as we did after the bull we hunted so long a few days
previous. I replied that I was certain we would not. “How do you
know?” he asked. For answer I pointed to a lifeless form just beyond
lying among some spruce trees. As the guide stepped alongside of me,
where he could get a view, he expressed his surprise at the luck I had
had in getting two such fine heads in so short an interval. It was
barely half an hour since I had secured my first trophy, and now I
had a second one which we both regarded as better than the first. The
ball had struck back of the shoulder a little above the middle of the
body. The spread of this head was a trifle larger than the first one
I had shot; the antlers were more solid, especially at the base. My
hard hunting had been rewarded. I had obtained inside of half an hour
two heads as handsome and large as any that it had ever been my good
fortune to secure. I felt like a school boy about to take a vacation,
for I had hunted faithfully for about eleven days and I promised myself
a rest when I had won out with the bulls.

For several days I took it easy; a large part of the time I sat in a
comfortable chair in camp and read novels and played cards. I also
managed to work up quite a small medical practice, my victims being
Sheffield, Charles Herdick and Marcus Imo, the cock and horse wrangler.
The remedies which some people of the far West prescribe for their
ailments are quite original and simple. One day when I was starting
out on horseback to hunt in company with Herdick, I noticed that he
had not saddled his horse. I asked him the reason. He replied that he
was not feeling well and wanted exercise. Anyone familiar with hunting
in Jackson’s Hole knows how often one has to leave the horse to travel
on foot over rough country through snow and up slippery ascents for
hundreds of feet.

Herdick evidently thought this was not enough exercise to keep him
in condition. Another time Imo had contracted a severe cold which
I wanted to prescribe for. He replied that it had come on without
anything and it would go off without anything. After some persuasion
he consented to take a good dose of quinine and a hot drink before
retiring. The next morning the cold had about disappeared, but when Imo
went out to round up the horses he had great difficulty in hearing the
bell on account of the quinine buzzing in his ear, which confirmed his
bad opinion of medicine.

After I had tired of loafing I hunted with the dogs, tracking cougars,
bobcats and lynx. Occasionally I would take a shot at a coyote to pay
it back for some of the unearthly serenades we had been treated to
at night. One day, while following the track of a lynx, Herdick came
across a No. 5 bear trap. He discovered it by noticing some fresh elk
meat near it. The trap was carefully concealed, and had he been an
inexperienced hunter or perhaps walking along there at night he might
have made discovery by stepping in it. It is against the law to bait
a trap with elk meat, and it should be forbidden to set traps around
indiscriminately where sportsmen are licensed to hunt; the permission
implying reasonable safety, which is not the case when dangerous
traps are set without proper safeguards. We sprung the trap and went
on. Some men, who are acquainted with the danger arising from this
source, always carry a monkey-wrench when hunting or trapping. A steel
trap which could hold a silver-tip would inflict a terrible injury
upon anyone who was unfortunate enough to become entrapped, even if
assistance were promptly rendered, and assistance being remote, might
cause a painful, lingering death. I knew of a case where a trapper had
set two No. 5 bear traps, and upon his return found a large silver-tip
in one of them. Venturing rather close to the bear the enraged animal
made a sudden lunge at him, which the man evaded by stepping back
hurriedly. In doing so he accidentally fell and sprung the other trap
with his knee and was caught in that position. The man was unable to
get to his rifle to dispatch the bear, which was making efforts to
reach him. Being in uncomfortably close quarters to the bear, and
apprehensive of his safety, the trapper devised a clever plan to
dispose of his disagreeable neighbor. Fastening his knife to the end
of a long pole he repeatedly stabbed the bear until death ensued. His
companion, going to examine the traps, at last found him almost dead
with pain and released him.

[Illustration: GROS VENTRE RIVER.]

The end of my outing at length drew near, and it became necessary to
make arrangements to break camp. I had become quite attached to the
beautiful spot where I had spent such a pleasant time and had so much
luck. Although I had not bagged all the game the law allowed me, yet I
felt that I had obtained exceptionally good heads and was satisfied.
I had also collected a considerable number of photographs, of which
Sheffield took the greatest number; in fact, he proved quite an expert
in this line. The horses seemed no more anxious to leave than we
were, and occasionally proved refractory and commenced to buck until
something was bound over their eyes. The first night of the journey
homeward we camped on the banks of the Gros Ventre. We put up no tents,
but slept out in the open, because, as I said to the guide, I wanted to
see how it felt to rough it.

During the day we had descended into a country where the elevation was
considerably lower. The snow, which we had seen continuously in our
former camp, had all disappeared and the temperature was much warmer.
Early the next day we reached Jackson, where we put up at Nelson’s
Hotel and were very hospitably entertained. Although remote from the
regular line of travel and the railroad, the people in this locality
live remarkably well and in comfort, and on reaching this point I felt
I was in touch with the rest of the world. Although it is 100 miles
from the railroad, yet it is connected with St. Anthony by telephone.
A musical entertainment was arranged here for our benefit by the
hospitable inhabitants of the place, which proved very enjoyable.


[Transcriber’s Note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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