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Copyright, 1877, 

RIVERSIDE, Cambridge: 



The natural liistoi'y of those animals, the pursuit of which 
has always been with me a favorite recreation, has occupied my 
leisure for many years. He who would enjoy the full measure of 
field sports must have a good knowledge of the natural history of 
the objects of his pursuit, and the more complete that knowledge 
the more complete will be his enjoyment. 

For many years I have kept in domestication the American 
Antelope and all of the American deer of which I treat, except 
the Moose and the two species of Caribou or American Reindeer. 
This has given me opportunities for making observations of 
them, which I could not make in their wild state, and a habit of 
noting my observations has accumulated a vast amount of facts 
which those quite competent to judge deemed of scientific value, 
and so was I induced to attempt to put them in a form which 
would make them available to others. This I undertook some 
years since, but soon discovered that I should never complete the 
work to my own satisfaction, for new observations constantly de- 
manded additions or changes in what I had thought finished, 
and so might I continue for years to come. I have, how- 
ever, taken the advice of a scientific friend to no longer delay 
in the vain hope of attaining completeness, conscious that 
much remains to be discovered relating to the objects of my 
study, and that many of my conclusions may require modifica- 

I make no attempt to exhaust the natural history of even the 
few animals of which I treat, but content myself with a mere 
monograph of them, leaving their . osteology and anatomy almost 


entirely for other and more competent hands, invading their 
province only so far as was necessary to give completeness to the 
externals of the animals studied. In a utilitarian view the branch 
which I have examined may be of the most interest, but for 
strictly scientific research the others are not less important, for 
all must be exhausted before the natural history of an animal is 

If I have been more minute in describing the characteristics of 
my animals than those who have gone before me, it is because it 
has been possible for me to do so, by limiting my inquiries to a 
few species, while others have embraced in their investigations 
the whole or a large portion of the animal kingdom, and could 
give to each species but a very limited space, and so must con- 
fine themselves to a few facts deemed the most important, neces- 
sarily omitting others, which when properly understood may 
prove of the greatest scientific value. Without facts we can 
have no scientific knowledge, and the more facts we have the bet- 
ter are we qualified to form correct conclusions. My aim has 
been to carefully observe facts and to accurately state them, and 
so truly exliibit nature and her workings. If I have stated 
many facts which others have not observed or deemed worthy 
of note, I have omitted many observations for fear of prolixity. 

It is not to be denied that zoology, especially when treating 
of the larger animals, man alone excepted, has been the subject 
of less careful study than many if not most of the other natural 
sciences. From the great extent of the field it is impossible for 
any one man to originally explore the whole, or any considerable 
part of it, except in the most general way, and so it has been 
impossible for any of our great naturalists to descend to that 
minuteness in their investigations which characterizes the students 
of some other branches of science. Let us admire the painstaking 
archseologist who overlooks nothing which can throw a ray of 
light upon the subject of his inquiry. A chip from a flint im- 
plement ; an impress upon a piece of pottery ; a hole in a pebble ; 
a scratch on a fragment of bone, — all are noticed, recorded, pon- 
dered, and compared with others brought perhaps from a distant 
part of the world, until that which was dark and unmeaning 


now becomes light and instructive. So it is that by patience 
and perseverance the student learns how to observe those letters 
of antiquity, and to comprehend their value and significance, 
and to combine them into words and sentences and discourses, 
while others who have not thus trained themselves, can see noth- 
ing but chips and fragments and scratches. 

The geologist, too, is patiently learning the language of the 
rocks and the drift, written long ages ago, which can alone be 
interpreted by comparing fact with fact, each of which, when 
well authenticated, is a new word in this new language, in which 
nature tells the story of what once was and the changes she has 
wrought in bringing her works to their present state. So must 
the lessons of all the sciences be studied before they can meet 
the demand for knowledge made by the advancing standard set 
np by the inquiring mind of this our day, which we may well 
anticipate, will be greatly elevated in the immediate future. 

If zoology is among the oldest of the natural sciences it is 
among the lowest in its standard of fullness and exact observa- 
tions, and yet without these we can never hope to an-ive at 
correct conclusions. In this work, by confining myself to a 
few objects, I have thought it possible to go beyond my prede- 
cessors in the accumulation of facts, hoping that others may take 
np other divisions of the subject and treat them so thoroughly as 
to leave nothing to be desired, till at last the whole subject will 
be so wrought in detail that the generalizer will find in his hands 
abundant material for his part of the work. His great want 
now is well attested facts. These I have attempted to give 
without adornment as to the animals treated of. In preparing 
ray illustrations, I have tried to make them true to nature, re- 
gardless of the question whether they were ornamental pictures 
or not. In the full figures I have as far as possible drawn from 
photographs, taken when the animals were standing at ease, be- 
lieving that in this way I could give a truer idea of them than 
if they were made to assume striking and unusual attitudes, 
which might be more attractive to the eye. If my animals differ 
in position and appear less elegant in form than the same ani- 
mals are generally represented in books and in paintings, I can 


only say that mine are as near to nature as I could represent 
tliem, without any attempt to improve upon what nature has 
actually done, for so I thought I could be most truthful and most 

I must here acknowledge my indebtedness to many friends for 
encouragement and assistance in the preparation of this work, 
some of whose names will be found in the text. 

Ottawa, III., March, 1877. 




Cervus Alces 

Cervus Canadensis 

Cervcs Tarandus ^^ 


Cervus Macrotis 

Cervus Columbianus ^' 

Cervus Virginianus ^*'" 

Rangifer Groenlandicus ^*^5 

Cervus Acapulcensis ^^^ 


Groupings ^^^ 

Habit and Domestication 276 

Hybriditt of the Cervid^ ^^^ 

Aliment ^^^ 

Congeners ^^-^ 

Diseases of the Deer ^"^^ 

The Chase 344 

Venison -405 

The Skins 4^0 

Appendix *^3 

Index 421 



Adult Male Antelope . . '^ 20 

Kid Antelope 20 

Magnified Section op Hoen of Antelope, showing its Mode of 

Growth 32 

Male Moose fiS 

Female Moose 70 

Male Wapiti Deer 76 

Female Wapiti Deer 79 

Fawn of Wapiti Deer 70 

Male Woodland Caribou 85 

Female Woodland Caribou 88 

Fawn of Woodland Caribou 88 

Male Mule Deer 92 

Male Black-tailed Deer 96 

Male Common Deer 101 

Male Barren-ground Caribou 104 

Female Barren-ground Caribou 104 

Antlers of Moose from Halifax Museum 193 

Antlers with Double Palms of Scandinavian Elk .... 195 

Antler of Swedish Elk 199 

Antlers op Woodland Caribou (two pairs) 201 

Antlers of Female Woodland Caribou 202 

Antlers of Male Woodland Caribou (two pairs) .... 202 

Antlers of Female wild Lapland Eeindeer 203 

Antlers of Male wild Lapland Reindeer 203 

Antlers and Skulls of Male Woodland Caribou (after Hardy, three 

sets) 206 

Heads and Antlers of Barren-ground Caribou (after Richardson) . 207 

Crown Antlers from Wapiti Deer 210 

Common Antlers of Wapiti Deer 210 

Dag Antlers of Wapiti Deer 211 

Ckown Antlers of Red Deer of Europe 214 

Antlers of Wapiti, showing bifid Brow-tine 215 

Triplet Antlers from Red Deer of Europe 216 

Head and Antlers of Hatden's Elk 217 

Abnormal Form of Antler from Black-tailed Deer . . . 221 


Normal Form of Antlers of Black-tailed Deer 221 

Normal Form of Antlers of Black-tailed Deer with Abnormal dis- 
eased Tine 221 

Normal form of Antlers of Mule Deer with Abnormal Tine . . 221 

Antlers of Acapclco Deer 224 

Antlers of Common Deer (2 pairs) 22-1 

Deformed Antlers of Common Deer 226 

Tails op all the Deer (10 figures) 234 

Hind Legs of the Deer with Keference to the Metatarsal Gland 

(7 figures) 250 

Tarsal Gland of Moose . . . ^ 252 

Tarsal Gland of Woodland Caribou , 253 

Tarsal Gland of Male Wild Keindeer of Norway . . . .258 

Tarsal Gland of Female Wild Reindeer of Norway ... 253 

Metatarsal Gland of Mule Deer 258 

Metatarsal Gland of Black-tailed Deer 258 

Metatarsal Gland of Common Deer 258 

Metatarsal Gland of Ceylon Deer 258 

Scandinavian Elk 324 

Wild Male European Reindeer 329 

Wild Female European Reindeer .... .... 330 

Red Deer of Europe 333 



ACCOKDING to tlie arrangement of Cuvier the Eighth Order 
of Mammalia is the 


These are all distinguished by two peculiar and invariable 
characteristics : — 

First. They have no incisors in the upper jaw, and 

Second. They all re-masticate their food. 

Other peculiarities, not observed in the other orders of the 
mammalia, are found in a part of the Ruminantia ; by which 
these may be separated into divisions or classes ; to some of 
which, naturalists have already given appropriate and convenient 
names ; but as we study them and better understand their pe- 
culiarities, we feel constrained to make changes in these classifi- 
cations by enlargement, diminution, or transposition. 

This order may, with propriety, be separated into two impor- 
tant groups : — 

First. Those which have horns or their equivalent, antlers ; 

Second. Those which are without these appendages. 

The first of these may be represented by the ox, the antelope, 
the goat, the sheep, the elk, and the like ; while the second em- 
braces the camel, the llama, the musks, some of tlie chevrotians, 

As we study them still more we feel constrained to further 
classify the first group into divisions, as follows : — 

First. Those which have hollow horns, all of which are epi- 
dermal emanations ; and 




Second. Those which have solid horns, or more properly, 
antlers, which are osseous in their structure and are provided 
with a periosteum. 

Still we find such important differences among those which 
compose each of these divisions, that we are not satisfied till we 
further subdivide them into classes : the first division of this 
group into 

1. Those which have hollow and persistent horns ; and 

2. Those which have hollow and deciduous horns. 

All the hollow horned ruminants have persistent horns, and so 
are of the first class ; except the American antelope (^Antilocapra 
Americmid) which has a hollow horn, which is shed and repro- 
duced annually, and so is the sole representative of the second 
class. Then, again, those which have solid horns or antlers also 
require a further classification : — 

1. Those which have solid and deciduous antlers, which em- 
braces all the solid horned ruminants except 

2. The giraffe, or camelopard, which alone has a persistent 
solid horn. 


Skcond Group of 
THE Eighth Okdek, 

First Group of the Eighth Okdek. 

Second Division of the First 
Group of the Eighth Order. 

First Division of the First Group 
of the Eighth Order. 

Second Class ofiThe First Class Second Class of 

the Second Di- 
vision of the 
First Group of^ 
the Eighth Or- 

of the Second 
Division of the 
First Group of 
the Eighth Or- 

the First Di 
vision of the 
First Group of 
the Eighth Or- 

First Class of the 
First Division 
of the First 
Group of the 
Eigluli Order. 


- 3 





o f= 
- W 



If, however, we look to the feet as a means of classifying the 
ruminants, we should be obliged to make important changes in 


this arrangement, for we find tliat those which have hollow per- 
sistent horns, and those which have solid deciduous horns, or 
antlers, as well as the musks, which have no horns — all have 
feet alike, with four hoofs or toes to each foot, two in front, 
which are active and useful, and two small posterior hoofs quite 
above the others, which seem to be comparatively useless. Then 
we find the camel and the llama have feet quite different from 
the others ; while the American antelope, which alone has the 
hollow deciduous horn, and the giraffe, which alone lias the solid 
persistent horn, have but two toes to each foot, being entirely 
deprived of the small posterior hoofs, yet having the cloven an- 
terior hoofs, like the ox and the stag. 

We may go fui-ther into the anatomical structures of the 
different Ruminantia, and find it convenient to change and inter- 
change these classifications, till at last we despair of arranging 
them into groups, divisions, and classes entirely satisfactory. 

When we descend from these general classifications, and pro- 
ceed to the formation of genera, species, and varieties, the natu- 
ralist meets with difficulties in the expression of general laws 
whose application will lead him at all times to satisfactory re- 
sults. Hence it is that we often find students of nature disagree- 
ing as to the generic or specific disposition to be made of certain 
individuals ; sometimes because of the development of previously 
unobserved characteristics, and sometimes because of the greater 
or less importance attached to certain or peculiar indicia. 

To meet these many disagreements, and to make certain that 
which would be otherwise uncertain, the student of zoology is 
driven to the use of synonyms which in some cases are almost as 
numerous as the authors who have treated originally of the dif- 
ferent subjects. 

It is manifest, then, that I cannot hope to agree either in my 
generic or specific assignments, with all who have gone before 
me, for they do not agree among themselves ; but, beyond this, 
the discovery of new facts will sometimes compel me to make 
new assignments, or to disregard old ones, in obedience to Avell 
recognized and established laws. 

I shall first treat of the Prong Buck or American Antelope, 
which, in the arrangement suggested, fills, so far as is now 
known, the Second Class of the First Division, of the First 
Group of the Eighth Order, or Ruminantia. This animal pos- 
sesses extraordinary characteristics, some of which wei'e not sup- 
posed to exist in the animal economy, previous to its discovery. 



or even for half a century later, and when discovered and an- 
nounced, were discredited, as being at variance with what were 
considered well established zoological laws. These peculiarities 
will be fully considered as we proceed. 


Adult Antelope. 

Kid Antelope. 


American Antelope : Prong Buck. 

Antilocapra Americana Ord.. Jour, de Phys., 80, 1818. 

J. E. Gray, Knowsley Menag- 
erie, 1850. 
AuD. & Bach., N. Am. Quad., 

II. 193, 1851, pi. Ixxvii. 
Baiud, U. S. Pat. Off. Agrl. 

Hep., 1852, pi. 
Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., 

VIII. 666, 1857. 
Harlan, Fauna, 250. 

Autilope Americana Ord., Guth. Geog., 1815. 

Harlan, F. Am., 250, 1825. 
Doughty, Cab. N. H., 49, 1833. 
Maximilian, Reise in das innere 

Nord-Am., I. 403, 1839. 
Antilope Lewis & Clark, Expedition 

by Paul Allen, I. 94 et seq. 

Antilope furcifer Ham. Smith, Lin. Trans., XIII. 

28, 1822. 
Desmarest, Mamm., II. 479, 

Richardson, F. B. A., II. 261. 

Fig. 1829. 
GiEBEL, Zoologie ; Siiugt., 305, 


Antilope (Dicranoceros) furcifer. Ham. Smith, Griff. Cuv., V. 

Wagner, Sup., IV. 403. 

Antilocapra furcifer Dksmarest, Mamm., II. 479. 

Antilope palmata Smith, Trans. Linn. S. Lond., 

XIIL, 28, Fig. 
Ibid., Griff. Cuv., IV. 323. 
Desmarest, Mamm., II. 479. 
"Wagner, Schreb. Siiugt., V., I., 

Ogilby, Pr. Zool. See. Lond., 
IV. 124, 1836. 


Aiitilope (Dicraiioceros) palniata. Ham. Smith, Griff. Cuv., V. 

323, 1827. 

Aiitilope anteflexa Gray, Pr. Zoo]. Soc. Loud. 

Cerviiis liamatiis Blainville, Bull. Soc. Philo- 

mat., 73, 1816. 

Dicranoceros furcifer SuNDEVALL.,Kong. Sv.Vetensk- 

Handl., 1844. 

Ibid. Horns. Archv. Skaud, 
Beit, II. 268, 1850. 
Dicraiioceros Americaiiiis • • • Turner, Pr. Zool. Soc. Loud., 

XVIII. 174, 1850. 

Teuthlaliuacailie Hernandez, Nov. Hisp., 824, 

325, pi. 1651. (Richardson.) 

Cabree Goss, Journ., 49, ill. 

Canadian Votagees. (Rich- 

Cei'VUS bifurcatllS Rafinesque. (Richardson.) 

Apistocllickosllisb Umfreville, Hud. Bay, 165, 

1790. (Richardson.) 

Proiig-horn Antelope Smith, Griff. An. Kingd., IV. 

170. Fig. 
Godman, Nat. Hist., II. 321. 

Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., VIII. 

Pl'Ollg-bllck Bartlett, Pr. Zool. Soc. Loud., 

Caton, Trans. Ott. Acad. Nat. 
Sci., 8, 1868. 

Size less than Virginia deer; form robust; body short; neck short, 
flexible, and erect ; head large and elevated. Horns hollow and decidu- 
ous, with a short, triangular, anterior process about midway their length, 
compressed laterally below the snag and round above. Horns situate 
on the super-orbital arches. Tail short ; legs rather short, slim, and 
straight. Hoofs bifid, small, pointed, convex on top, and concave on 

No cutaneous gland or tuft of hairs on outside of hind leg or inside of 
hock. No lachrymal sinus or gland below the eye. Mucous membrane 
very black ; lips covered with short, white hairs, with a black, dividing, 
naked line in front of upper lip, extending from the mouth to, and sur- 
rounding both nostrils. Face brownish black, with sometimes reddish 
hairs upon it. Top of head above the eyes white ; cheeks and under 
side of head white. Ears white, with dark line around the edges, — most 
pronounced on front edges ; a brown black patch under each ear. Horns 


black, with yellowish white tips. Top and sides of neck, the back and 
upper half of sides, russet yellow ; below this, white, except usually three 
bands of russet yellow, beneath the neck. White extending up from 
the inguinal region involving the posteriors, uniting with a white patch 
on the rump. Tail white, with a few tawny hairs on top. There is an 
interdigital gland on each foot, a cutaneous gland under each ear, another 
over each prominence of the ischium, another behind each hock, and 
one on the back, at the anterior edge of the white patch ; in all eleven. 

While the description already given of this interesting animal 
may enable the naturalist to distinguish it from all other quadru- 
peds, it by no means explains its natural history, nor does it give 
even a synopsis of it. To do this, we must descend to greater 


The native range of the Prong Buck is comparatively limited. 
It is not only confined to North America, but to the temperate 
region of the western part of this portion of the continent. 

We have no account or evidence that the Prong Buck was 
ever an inhabitant east of the Mississippi River, and it only 
reached that river in the higher latitudes. It is now found 
only west of the INIissouri River. Westward, it originally in- 
habited all the region to the Pacific Ocean, within the present 
hmits of the United States, except the wooded districts and 
high mountain ranges. It was very abundant in California, 
twenty-five years ago. My information is full that they were 
equally numerous throughout all the valleys and open country 
of that State. They were by no means uncommon in the open 
portions of Oregon. They are very scarce, if any exist in that 
State now ; and California is at this time almost entirel}^ de- 
serted by them. Their native range extends from the tropics 
to the fifty-fourth degree of north latitude. Within the de- 
scribed limits, they do not invade the timbered country, or the 
high naked mountains. Their favorite haunts are the naked 
plains or barren rolling country. If they endure scattering trees 
in a park-like region, or scanty shrubs, forests possess such terrors 
for them that these animals avoid them at any sacrifice. 

They appear to endure the presence of civilization in the east- 
ern and southern districts of the range better than in the northern 
and western ; although a quarter of a century ago they were 
more abundant in the open country on the Pacific coast than in 
any other locality, — a region which they have now quite de- 



This animal differs, in many important particulars, from all 
other ruminants. It has been long known to the hunters and 
trappers, but the scientific world is indebted to Lewis and Clark 
for the first accurate information concerning it ; not from the 
description of it which they give, for they do not pretend to 
describe it, and only speak of a few of its peculiar habits ; but 
rather from the specimen which they brought with them. They 
sometimes speak of it under the name of goat. Richardson's 
description is the most satisfactory up to his time. Audubon 
and Bachman add valuable information, especially of its habits ; 
while later still, Baird has given us a description which is re- 
markable for its scientific accuracy, especially when we consider 
the means at his command. These gentlemen all labored under 
some very important errors, and were not awai'e, or could not 
believe in the existence of those anomalous characteristics which 
widely distinguish this animal from all other ruminants, and en- 
title it to a separate place in natural history. 

These marks or peculiarities will be considered in their proper 


This animal is not so large as the Virginia deer, and is more 
compactly built. A fair, average adult male, as he stands nat- 
urally on the ground, will measure, from the end of the nose to 
the end of the tail, four feet ten inches to five feet. Height at 
shoulder, two feet ten inches ; at hip, three feet one inch ; length 
of fore-leg, one foot six inches ; and of hind leg one foot ten 


The head is short, and rather broad and deep from the upper 
to the lower side. The face is rather concave. The muzzle is 
fuller than on the deer. The upper lip is covered with hair ex- 
cept a narrow line in the middle, which is naked, and extends up 
so as to embrace the nostrils, which are large. 

The Eye. 

The eye is larger than that of any other quadruped of its size. 
By a careful comparison of the living eye with the taxidermist's 
scale, to enable me to order artificial eyes of the proper size for 
mounting specimens, I found it necessary to select the next to 
the largest. Indeed the eye is very nearly the size of that of the 


elephant, and much larger than that of the horse or the ox. 
Those who examine only the dead subject would most likely 
be deceived in the largeness of the eye. The eye is black — in- 
tensely black — so that it is impossible to distinguish the pupil 
from the iris or its surrounding. No white part is ever visible, 
unless the eye is turned to one side ; but all that is seen is one 
uniform brilliant black. But for all this, the expression is soft, 
gentle, and winning. In this respect, it is the rival of the true 
antelope gazelle. 

I had one of these in my grounds, which came from Asia, and 
at the same time several of the Pi-ong Bucks, including a male 
one year old that was not much larger than the female gazelle, 
which was fully adult. In size, the eye of the Prong Buck was 
larger than that of the gazelle, which, however, was consider- 
ably larger than that of the common deer, more than four times 
her size. In color and expression, the eyes of the two were as 
nearly alike as possible — both very black, but, as stated, of a 
mild, soft, and affectionate expression. 

The eye-winkers are long, coarse, and stiff, more on the upper 
than the lower eyelid, but not very abundant on either. 

The Ear. 

The ear always stands erect when the animal is standing at 
ease. When it becomes excited, the ears are projected forward 
to catch the least sound, which imparts a look of animation to 
the animal. 

The ear is five inches long, and three inches broad at the 
widest part, and terminates in a pretty sharp point, and is 
covered with hair inside and out. 

The Horns. 

As the horns of the American Antelope constitute one of its 
most remarkable characteristics, and one which strikingly dis- 
tinguishes it from all other ruminants, it is proper that we 
should examine them witli considerable care. 

The first allusion which I find to the deciduous character of 
the horns of this antelope is in the letter-press of Audubon and 
Bachman,^ where they say, " It was supposed by the hunters of 
Fort Union that the Prong-horned Antelope dropped its horns ; 
but as no person had ever shot or killed one without these orna- 
mental and useful appendages, we managed to prove the contrary 

^ Quadrupeds of America, vol. ii., p. 198. 


to the men at the fort by knocking off the bony pai't of the horn 
and showing the liard spongy membrane beneath, well attached 
to the skull, and perfectly immovable." 

The hunters were right, and the scientists were wrong ; but 
we see how near Mr. Audubon came to discovering the truth, 
and had he been a little more patient in his investigations, and a 
little less wedded to preconceived opinions, he would have had 
the honor of this important discovery. Bat that was reserved 
to others. 

Some years later, on the 10th of April, 1828, Dr. C. A. Can- 
field, of Monterey, California, in a paper which he sent to Pro- 
fessor Baird of the Smithsonian Institute, communicated many 
new and interesting facts concerning the physiology and habits 
of this animal ; and, among others, tlie surprising announcement 
that although it has a hollow horn, like the ox, yet this horn is 
cast off and renewed annually. This statement by Dr. Canfield 
was considered by Professor Baird so contradictory to all zoolog- 
ical laws, which had been considered well established by ob- 
served facts, that he did not venture to publish it, till the same 
fact was further attested by Mr. Bartlett, superintendent of the 
gardens of the Zoological Society of London, who, in 1855, re- 
peated the fact in a paper pubhshed in the Proceedings of that 
society. In the February following, the paper which Dr. Can- 
field, eight years before, had furnished the Smithsonian Institute, 
containing the first well attested account of the interesting fact, 
was published in the Proceedings of that society. 

At the time I gave an account of Mr. Bartlett's observation, 
in a paper which I read before the Ottawa Academy of Natural 
Sciences in 1868, and which was published by that society, I was 
not aware that the same fact had been previously communicated 
by Dr. Canfield to Professor Baird, else I should have taken pleas- 
ure in mentioning it. 

This animal has a deciduous hollow horn, which envelopes a 
persistent core, which is a process of the skull like the core of the 
persistent horns of other ruminants. This shell is true horn, 
and, as we shall presently see, has the same general system of 
growth as other horns, although it is cast annually like the 
antlers of the deer, and so reveals to us an intermediate link be- 
tween those ruminants which have persistent and those which 
have deciduous corneous appendages. Only the lower part of this 
horn is hollow, the core extending up scarcely half its length. 
When the horn is matured, the portion above the core is round 


and well polished, and is black, except that the top is frequently 
of a white or dull yellowish shade. The lower part, which is 
hollow, is flat, thinnest anteriorly, is striated and rough, with 
more or less hairs on the surface till they are worn off. No 
annular ridges, as is usually observed on the hollow horns of 
other ruminants, are observed. These ridges result from the 
groAvth of the horn being principally at the base, while, as we 
shall see, the growth of the horn of this animal commences at 
the top and proceeds downward to the base. Whoever will 
carefully study the process of the growth of this horn will readily 
understand why it is striated in structure instead of annular. 

The older the animal is the earlier in the season does the horn 
mature, and the sooner it is cast off, in obedience to a universal 
law which governs the growth and shedding of the antlers of the 
deer, although there are occasional exceptions, as to the time of 
the shedding in individual cases in some of the species of deer, 
and possibly more extended observations would show exceptions 
in this animal. The aged specimens usually cast their horns in 
October, while the kid cari-ies his first horns till January. Indeed 
on late kids the horns are but slightly developed the first year, 
and are frequently carried over and grow on to maturity the 
next year, when they become larger than when they mature the 
first season, and are cast earlier. 

The horn of this animal is situated just above the eye, directly 
upon the super-orbital arch ; it rises nearly in a vertical posi- 
tion, or at an angle of about one hundred degrees to the face, 
so far as the core extends, when soon commences a posterior cur- 
vature, growing shorter towards the point, where it much re- 
sembles that on the chamois. The horn of the female cannot be 
detected on the kid, on the yearling it can easily be felt ; later I 
have found them half an inch long, and less than that in diameter 
at the base, and it is only on the' fully adult female that the 
horn appears above the hair. I have never met one more than 
one inch long, but others have found them three inches long. 
The female is less cornuted than the females of hollow horned 
animals which are persistent, while, with one exception, females 
of those species which have deciduous corneous members are en- 
tirely unprovided with these weapons. When looking for some- 
thing intermediate between these two great families of ruminants, 
this feature may be referred to at least as a make-weight in the 

I will first describe the superficial occurrences which are man- 


ifest dui-ino; the growth and the shedding of the horn of the ante- 
lope and will then proceed to examine more minutely the origin 
and process of that growth. 

Although, as before shown, both male and female antelopes 
have horns, we can only distinctly detect even the rudiments of 
the horns on the male at the time of its birth. It then may be 
felt as a slight protuberance on the skull. This rapidly increases 
in size, and when about four months old the horn breaks through 
the skin, and a horny knob appears. At this time it is not 
firmly set upon the core, which as yet is but rudimentary, and the 
little horn may be moved about appreciably. After this the core 
grows pretty rapidly, and soon fixes the horn more firmly in its 
position. On an early kid, in my grounds, this little horn ma- 
tured and was cast off on the second day of January, when I 
found it quite thrown off the core, and suspended by a slight fibre 
on one side, and so I saved it. The next day I found the other 
horn in the same condition, whicli I likewise saved. At this 
time the horn was fully one inch long. 

The new horn had already commenced its growth, and the tip 
was already hardened into perfect horn, and was extended ap- 
preciably above the core, which at that time was less than nine 
lines long. The new horns grew very rapidly through the win- 
ter, so that in six weeks the cores had more than doubled in 
length, and tlie horns were extended more than an inch above 
the cores, and the hardened, perfected horns had extended down 
to near the top of the cores. 

But this process is better observed on the adult males. This 
law seems to govern the times of shedding the horns of the ante- 
lope, — the older the animal, the earlier the horn matures, and 
the sooner it is cast. On old bucks the horn is shed in Octo- 
ber, while on the early kids it is shed in January, and still later 
on later kids, or else it is carried over till the next year. A late 
kid in my grounds on the first of December, the horn was not 
more than a quarter of an inch above the skin. It grew slowly 
all winter, and till the time of its death in May following. 

Let us observe the horn of the adult male antelope, which is 
shed in October. If we make our examination so soon as the horn 
is cast off, we can readily understand the process by which it is 
removed. By looking into the cavity of the cast-off horn, we 
shall see that it extends but about half way its length, or a little 
way above the prong ; and we shall also see that it contains a 
large number of coarse lightish-colored hairs, all of which are 


firmly attached to the horn, and many of them, towards the 
lower part, passing quite through it. We see the core of the 
horn is covered with a thick vascular skin, which is pretty well 
covered with the same kind of hairs as those seen \n the cavity 
of the horn. We now appreciate that these hairs grew from the 
skin, and more or less penetrated the shell' or horn, and when 
this was removed some were torn from the skin and others from 
the horn. 

We observe, further, that the new horn had commenced its 
growth a considerable time before the, old one was cast, for the 
new horn was extended several inches above the top of the core, 
nearly in a vertical direction, thougli with a slightly posterior in- 
clination. The top of this, for nearly half an inch, is already 
hardened into perfect horn. Below this it is softer, and a little 
way down it has lost the horny texture, but is a pretty firm and 
somewhat flexible mass down to the core and around it, at the 
upper part of which, however, it has rather the appearance of 
thick, massive skin, of a high temperature, showing great activity 
in the blood-vessels permeating it. As we pass lower down, the 
skin is thinner, and shows less excitement or activity. Upon 
this skin enveloping the core, we find the hairs already described. 

This was the condition of the new development when the old 
horn was cast off. It shows that the new horn had already made 
considerable upward growth from the top of the core, which only 
extended up into the old horn a little above the snag, or about 
half its length ; all above this, of the old horn, was solid, and 
was not intersected by the hairs as it was below. 

Now it is perfectly manifest that as the new horn was extended 
in length above the core, it must have carried with it the old 
horn which it detached from the core, and tearing out the hairs, 
the roots of which were in the skin, and many of which extended 
into or through the old horn. Until these were mostly torn 
asunder, or were withdrawn from the canals by which they had 
penetrated the shell, they served to prevent it from being easily 
lost ; but finally, when these were all or nearly all severed, it fell 
off, as a favorable position occurred, or some slight violence as- 
sisted the removal. I have never observed the animal to assist 
this process by rubbing its horns against convenient objects, but 
my opportunities have not been such as to authorize the state- 
ment that they do not sometimes do so. 

When the old horn was cast off, the new one, as we have 
already seen, had made a considerable growth above the core. 


wliicli was already tipped with perfected horn, and a section 
below it was more or less hardened, or partially converted into 
horn. This intervening section gi-adaally moved down the horn, 
constantly invading the soft skin below, and followed above with 
perfected horn. All this time the liorn was growing in length 
above the core, and assuming that posterior curvature near its 
upper part which so much resembles the curvature of the horn of 
the chamois. After the horn is perfected down to the top of the 
core, it ceases to increase in length, while the apparently convert- 
ing process steadily progresses downward along or around the 
core. The core being laterally compressed, the horn assumes 
that form, not, however, conforming precisely to the shape of the 
core, but extending considerably in front of it, where it is thinner 
than the posterior part. 

At the upper extremity of the wide, flattened part the snag 
or prong is thrown out, which consists of little more than an 
abrupt termination of the wide part, with an elevated anterior 

By the latter part of winter, on the adult, the horn has at- 
tained about this stage of growth. From this it presses on, hard- 
ening in its downward growth till the latter part of summer, or 
the commencement of the rut, by which time the growth is per- 
fected down to the base, and is a complete weapon for warfare, 
and it so continues during the rut, and until the growth of the 
new horn is commenced and loosens the old one from its core, 
and raises it from its seat, as has been described. 

But science is by no means satisfied with these superficial ob- 
servations. It is exceedingly interesting to watcli the progress 
from day to day ; to observe how the old horn is thrown off and 
the new one grows on to perfection ; but we desire to know liow 
it is that the soft warm skin, everywhere permeated with blood- 
vessels, in a very high state of activity, appears in so short a 
time to be converted into the black, hard shell, as perfect horn 
as grows upon the buffalo or the antelope, which takes a lifetime 
to perfect it. In this investigation I am indebted to the able 
assistance of Professor Lester Curtis of Chicago, whose superior 
instruments and. skill with the microscope, readily solved what 
appears to the superficial observer so exceptional, and I may add 
so wonderful. We found, however, that this growth is not so 
exceptional after all. It is like the growth of the horns of other 
ruminants, like that of the hoofs and claws of animals, and of the 
nails on the human subject. And it is only because of its rapid 


progress, and that we can see more of it than we can of the 
growth of these, that it seems to us so strange. We see horn in- 
vading skin, or skin apparently converted to horn, as we have 
never seen it before ; hence it is that even the general reader feels 
a greater interest to know how this takes place, while he has felt 
no interest to inquire liow his nails grow because he sees nothing 
in their growth which is exceptional, no evidence that the skin 
is converted into nail. We shall, however, find something 
anonymous besides the rapid growth. 

First, it is necessary to inquire what is this core over which 
this horn grows and forms a shell, and what is this covering 
which envelopes it, and which appears before our eyes to be con- 
verted into horn so rapidly ? 

The core itself is a proper bone, a part of the skull itself, 
elevated at its upper part into the form observed, and is persist- 
ent through the life of the animal, as any other internal bone. 
The first covering of this bone, like that of all other bones, is a 
periosteum, traversed by arteries, which throw off great numbers 
of branches which penetrate the bone through canals, thus afford- 
ing to it nourishment, and contributing to its growth. Immedi- 
ately upon the periosteum reposes the skin without the interposi- 
tion of any muscular tissue. This consists, first, of a layer of 
subcutaneous cellular tissue, if that may be called a part of the 
skin ; second, of derma, or corium ; and third, epidermis. All 
these together constitute the skin which immediately overlays 
the periosteum. The naked eye is incapable of individuahzing 
these separate parts composing the skin, and so it appears as if 
the whole were converted into horn, which appears to take its 
place over the periosteum; but, by the aid of the microscope, 
these different parts are plainly revealed, and we readily deter- 
mine to which the growth of the horn is due, and the exact mode 
of that growth. 

The illustrations show the epidermis and the outer section of 
the skin which overlays the periosteum. Fig. 1 under a power of 
60 diameters, and Fig. 2 magnified 296 times. These we shall the 
better understand as we proceed. 

The lightish-colored hairs previously described, which rather 
sparsely cover the skin which envelopes the core before the horn 
is formed, and on the lower part of the horn when its growth is 
completed, passing quite through it, and showing themselves on 
the outside, have their roots in the inner part of the skin tissue 
next the periosteum. 



It will be observed, on examining Fig. 1, that the outer part 
of the skin h, presents an irregular corrugated a25pearance, occa- 
sioned by protuberances and depressions, called j^rt^:)i7Zfe, varj'ing 
considerably in height and depth. With this uneven surface 
terminate those blood-vessels of the skin which carry the red 
blood in sufficient quantities to produce a stain. Upon this un- 
even surface rests the epidermis, or the outside coating of the 

r Fig. 2 





- OF AN INCH X 296. 

Thin section of a ETOwing horn of an antelope, cut perpendicular to the surface. 
Fig. 1 shows the general structure under a low power. Fig. 2, more highly magni- 
fied, shows the cell structure. The letters refer to the same parts in each figure. 

a. The connective tissue continuous with the periosteum of the core of the horn. 

b. The papillie, very large and irregular. 

c. The cell growth upon the papillse. 

d. The outer ])ortion, seen to be made up of the flattened and desiccated cells of the 
layer beneath, already converted into horn. 

skin. If this appears to want uniformity of structure, a critical 
examination shows that this results from a change of form of the 
cells of which it is composed, which become flattened and consol- 
idated by compression, and by evaporation, or by becoming dried 
up. Thus is the epidermis converted into true horn. Chem- 
ically, the constituents of epidermis and of horn are nearly iden- 
tical. The true horn at d is but the flattened and dried up cells 
which were formed upon the papillfe 5, and were pushed up by 
new cell formations beneath them, till they reach their final form 


and destination in the horn. The entire epidermis seems to be 
composed of these minute cells, far too minute to be detected, or 
even their existence suspected, by an examination with the naked 


The source of this horn, then, is the epidermis. This alone 
undergoes a change, and is converted into horn, while the great 
body of the skin beneath remains substantially unchanged. 

Let me be more particular, and endeavor to explain how this 
horn growth proceeds — how this change takes place. 

As before intimated, immediately upon this uneven surface — 
the papilljB, — the derma cells are always being formed with 
more or less rapidity, as the exigencies of the demand may re- 
quire. The new cells formed being always at the bottom, are 
ever pushing up their predecessors to supply the demand above, 
produced either by the ordinary waste at the surface of the skin, 
or the extraordinary demand of a growing horn. At the same 
place, and among the structural cells, pigment cells are formed 
in which the coloring matter is generated and carried up, for 
they accompany the former in their progress. At first these 
cells are nearly spherical, with nuclei in their centres. As they 
are pushed up by new formations beneath, they assume irregular 
forms, and finally they become flattened out, till at last they be- 
come exceedingly thin, with correspondingly expanded surfaces. 
These flattened and desiccated cells become very much compacted 
together and hard, and thus is the horn built up. So we see that 
the horn is but the hardened and thickened outer epidermis. The 
exact progress of this growth may not be stated in its minute de- 
tail with absolute certainty. It is very clear, however, that the 
outer portion of the epidermis becomes consolidated into horn, 
which cleaves off from the softer portion within, always leaving 
a stratum of epidermis covering the corium. The outer hard- 
ened shell, or true horn, seems to be lifted off or sepai'ated by 
the increased cell growth so as to leave a line of demarcation be- 
tween the perfected horn and the ej)idermis beneath, though the 
nutrient vessels still maintain their integrity, as is the case with 
the persistent horn of other ruminants, until they are severed by 
the final catastrophe which loosens the horn from the core, and 
throws it off. 

As the solidification or conversion of this outer portion of the 
epidermis into horn progresses downwards along the core, the un- 
solidified portion remains beneath it, comparatively inactive, and 
undergoes little change till the period arrives in the succeeding 


year when the formation of new cells upon the papilla3 increases 
to a degree commensurate with the demand. 

Tliis increased activity first commences at tlie upper part of 
the core, where the new liorn commences its growth. Here the 
demand is greater than ever occurs lower down on the core ; here 
an increased flow of blood stimulates to a more rapid formation 
of cells, which are successively forced up, flattened, and arranged, 
sufficient to form a considerable part of the cylindrical portion of 
the horn before any great activity is observed below, and these 
act with suflicient force to lift the Jiorn from its seat, tear asunder 
the hairs which connected it with the skin, and finally cast it off. 
An active circulation is still kept up through this newly-formed 
cylinder, which is still somewhat soft and flexible, and quite 
warm, which, however, gradually dries up and hardens into the 
perfect horn, at the upper part first, and progressing downward. 

Now the peculiarity about this is, not that the epidermis is the 
source of the horn, or is converted into horn, but that a very lim- 
ited section should be stimulated to extraordinary activity till its 
work is accomplished, and then subsides into a comparatively dor- 
mant state ; and then another portion wakens to the same vigor- 
ous action, to be again succeeded by another active section still 
lower down ; this state of activity commencing at the top of the 
core and gradually passing along down it, followed by the per- 
fected horn, and the quiet condition of the epidermis lining its 
cavity ; and that this extraordinary phenomenon should occur 
annually. The horn from the epidermis was to be expected, for 
the cells when forced to the surface of the cuticle on our own skin 
even, are always of a horny texture, and in that condition are 
worn away by friction, or are thrown off', with greater or less 
rapidity, and are succeeded by those beneath, which are brought 
to the surface to be thrown or worn off in their turn ; but in the 
ordinary cuticle this process is regular and continuous, while this 
is spasmodic, or rather periodic. 

The horn of the ox grows from the cuticle as well as this, but 
it is of slow and regular growth, and is pushed up from its base, 
while this horn grows from the top downward, taking up or con- 
verting in its progress the epidermis all the way down the core. 
While the growth of this horn is undoubtedly on the same prin- 
ciple as the growth of all other horns, here is an important modi- 
fication of the process rendered necessary by the deciduous char- 
acter of this horn. Its growth must be characterized by extraor- 
dinary energy, when it is to be accomplished in a few months' 


time, while in all other cases the whole life of the animal is 
devoted to the growth of the horn, which is regular and approxi- 
mately nniform, though slower in advanced life than earlier. 

The only exceptional feature observed about the source of this 
cell growth, which manifests such extraordinary activity at 
times, is the very unusual size and great irregularity of the 
papillee, from which the cells originate and receive their nourish- 
ment. It is at this precise point we are to look for this wonder- 
ful phenomenon, having no parallel in the animal economy. 
Nature has provided something in these papillte which produces 
it, and if we knew better how to look for this something, or per- 
haps would more critically compare these papillfe with those of 
other portions of skin, t\\e peculiarity might be detected which 
produces this remarkable result, if we may not attribute it to the 
increased size of the papillce. 


The tail of the Prong Buck bears no resemblance to that of 
any of the smaller species of deer, but remotely approaches to 
that of wapiti. It is very short, not more than three inches in 
length, and is covered with coarse hairs which are a little shorter 
on the under side than on the upper. It is nearly round, and 
maintains its size to near the end, where it terminates with a 
blunt point. It is usually carried closely depressed for so short a 
member, and is never seen erected to a vertical position. When 
the animal is excited or animated the tail may be seen raised to a 
horizontal position or a little above it, but that is all the change 
in its position observed under any circumstances. It is useless 
as a weapon for defense against the attacks of flies and mosqui- 
toes ; from which, however, it does not suffer nearly so much as 
the deer, probably because of the odor with which it always sur- 
rounds itself. 


The feet of the Prong Buck are bifurcous, considerably smaller 
than those of the deer, slim and sharply pointed, strongly convex 
on top, having the outer edges slightly concave. In general they 
resemble the feet of the antelope gazelle, though the latter are 
considerably longer and more pointed, the points inclined to cross, 
or one to overlap the other. I may remark here, once for all, that 
the habits of all these animals have a decided influence on the 
form and the size of the foot, for which allowance must be made 


in all our comparisons. From more constant use, often in rough 
and stony ground, the foot of tlie wild animal, by continual abra- 
sion, is reduced in size and changed in form, as compared with 
those that are kept in parks where they range but little, and then 
generally on the soft grass. 

There is an entire want of even the rudiment of the posterior 
accessary hoofs found on nearly all other ruminants, situate above 
the useful hoofs. The leg or rather foot, where in other rumi- 
nants these accessary hoofs are attached, is as clean and smooth 
on the Prong Buck as on the horse, and even more so, for there 
is no appearance of that tuft of longer hair which is observed on 
nearly all horses at this place. 

The color of the hoof is black throughout. 


The remarkable system of cutaneous glands found on this ani- 
mal is a striking characteristic. In the specific description of the 
Prong Buck, the location of each of these glands — eleven in 
number — is given. These secrete a substance of a waxy con- 
sistence, of a saffron color and of a pungent odor, some more 
copious than others. 

Sir John Richardson was the first to notice any of these glands. 
He says : " There is a dark, blackish brown spot at the angle 
of each jaw which exudes a strong herein odor." ^ Although 
Richardson does not seem to have made any study of the glands, 
nor does he even mention them by name, the passage quoted 
points directly to those found below the ears. 

Dr. Canfield seems to have been the first who bestowed any 
serious study upon the glands of this animal. He says, " The 
strong and peculiar odor comes principally from the ischiadic 
glands." This observation was made on the living animal, while 
Richardson, from the dead subject, ascribed it to the subauricular 
glands. If I agree with Dr. Canfield, that the hip glands are the 
most effective in the emission of this odor, it is because the sub- 
stance secreted is more pungent, for it is less in quantity than 
that secreted by the glands on the head. The single gland on 
the back is large, but not so active on the subjects I have ex- 
amined as some of the others ; but in fact each does its part in 
tainting the atmosj)here which surrounds the animal. If the 
glands between the toes do not conti'ibute much to the odor we 
observe in the atmosphere, they are sufficiently active to taint 

1 Fauna Boreala Americana p. 267. 


the ground at every step. To me, and I think to most pei-sons, 
this is not agreeable, and yet it is not so unpleasant as to make it 
disagreeable to be near to or to examine the animal. It is quite 
different from that of the male goat, and I think less offensive. 
This odor is scarcely noticeable in the fawn of a few months old ; 
is very perceptible when it is a year old, and seems to grow 
stronger with age, until the animal becomes three years old. 
This odor is not entirely due to the secretion of the glands 
proper, but partly arises from the oily secretions of the skin, as 
may be observed by rubbing the fingers upon the skin, at the 
roots of the hair on the sides and back. 

The activity of these glands is not confined to the rutting sea- 
son, but the odor may be observed at all seasons, though it ra&y 
be more marked during the rut. Nor is it confined to the male, 
for the female emits the odor as well, though I think it not so 
strong ; I have no facts which warrant me in saying that the 
flesh is ever tainted by those glands. I have eaten it frequently 
and at different seasons of the year without observing anything 
of the kind ; nor have I been able to learn anything from the 
hunters to warrant such a conclusion. We may well suppose 
that glands confined to the skin would be less likely to taint the 
flesh, than those more intimately connected with the flesh or the 

After Canfield, Bartlett next mentions the glands of this ani- 
mal, but he does not seem to have studied them closely. This 
was reserved to Dr. Murie, to whom we are indebted for the first 
careful examination and descrijation of them. He describes them 
all and gives their correct location, although in his summary he 
omits the large gland on the back. As he only had the dead 
subject to deal with, he could of course form no accurate opinion 
of the relative activity of the different glands. 


The genitals of this animal are much like those of the antelope 
proper. The scrotum, however, is smaller than that of almost 
any other ruminant of its size, and is not a twentieth part the 
size of that of the goat. It is slightly pendent, though less so 
even than that of the common deer. The theca extends up the 
abdomen about four inches on the adult. It has not' any pre- 



Dr. Murie pronounces the hair of the antelope to be like the 
wool of the sheep. He says : " From a review of the foregoing 
anatomy and extei'nals of the Prong Buck, if I were asked by a 
single term to denote what the animal is, I should be obliged to 
Germanize the English phraseology and name it, giraffe -hoofed, 
sheep-haired, deer-headed, goat-glanded antelope, — an expres- 
sion, however rugged, yet explicit enough to baffle those who are 
skeptical of gradational forms." I shall not stop to discuss the 
characteristics stated, but will merely observe that I have been 
unable to detect the resemblance which the hairs of the Prong 
Buck bear to the wool of the sheep. Thej^ are coarser than the 
hairs of any of the deer ; they are hollow, with a larger internal 
cavity, are comparatively non-elastic, and exceedingly fragile. 
When bent short, they break down and never straighten again. 
They terminate in exceedingly sharp points, and although 
crinkled are not wavy, like wool. They have no more felting 
properties than dry brush-wood. The hair is largest a small 
distance above the root, thence it tapers very gradually for a 
short space, and then more rapidly to the sharp point. It is 
very brittle and easily broken off below the point and above 
the middle. The large internal cavity is filled with a light, 
spongy pith, and the whole is so fragile as to be readily 

The lower half of the hair is covered with an oleaginous sub- 
stance which gives it flexibility and endurance. 

Other naturalists have failed to observe the fine under-fur, 
found to a greater or less extent on all of the deer, which cer- 
tainly also exists on the Prong Buck as well, and in considerable 
quantities during the winter and spring. Pluck a lock of hair 
from the side of the mounted specimen in my collection, by 
grasping it near the roots, and sufficient fur will come with it 
to hold the hairs together when suspended by a very few. This 
fur is white, fine, and long, not crinkled, but curved into large, 
iiTegular convolutions. 

This fur, like the fur on the deer, is not pointed, as is the 
hair, but is of a uniform size its whole length, and terminates 
abruptly. ' 

In winter costume, the hair on the body is from an inch and a 
half to two inches in length. On the white patch on the rump, 
it is from two and a half to three inches in length. The mane is 

COLOR. 39 

four inches long. On the legs and face the hair is short, quite 
solid, and without the under fur. On the belly it is not so dense 
as above, but finer and softer, and has the fur beneath. 


The color of this animal is quite uniform on different individu- 
als, though a difference in the depth of the shades may be ob- 
served. On the female, the colored portions are not of so deep 
a shade as on the male, and on the whole the marks ai'e not so 
pronounced, although the white is quite as immaculate. 

At birth, the young have substantially the same markings as 
the adult, though the dark shades deepen somewhat as they grow 
older. Not the least appearance of those spots is observed on the 
fawns, which so beautifully ornament the young of the smaller 

In a large majority of cases, downwai'd from a line drawn be- 
tween the outer base of the horns, the face is a dark brown or 
dull black. Two inches forward from this line the dark portion 
is narrowest, and is scarcely two and one half inches wide, while 
it is nearly four inches broad lower down. While this dark color 
embraces the nostrils, it is separated from them by a white stripe 
along the upper hp, which in front is seven lines broad, widening 
posteriorly, till at the angle of the mouth it is more than an 
inch broad. Here it unites with the white, which embraces the 
chin and most of the lower jaw, and extends along the cheek to 
the eye, the upper portion shaded with red. One inch below the 
eye, and involving the posterior portion of the clieek, is an irreg- 
ular dark brown patch, from two to three inches in diameter. 
This is most conspicuous on the male. This mark is surrounded 
by the tawny yellow of the back, except between it and the 
lower part of the ear, where is a white patch two and one half 
inches long and one and one half inches broad. There is a dark 
circle around the eyes. Above the black on the face, to the ears, 
is white. The ears are white on both sides, but much less pro- 
nounced on the outside. The edges of the ears are black, con- 
siderably less so on the back edge than on the toj) and front. 
The eyelashes are of an intense black. So we may say the whole 
head is white, except the face, the spots beneath the ears, a circle 
around the eyes, the eyelashes, and the edges of the ears ; though 
sometimes the russet yellow marks the back part of the cheeks. 
The long, coarse, stiff, erect hairs of the mane are very black at 
the outer ends ; lower down they are rufous brown shading to 


The prevailing color of the body is a dull rufous yellow. This 
covers the neck, except the mane and the lower portion of it. 
It covers the back and sides half way down, the shoulders and 
hips, except the white patch on the rump. This conspicuous 
white mark commences at the anterior end of the sacrum and 
widens to the extent of eight or ten inches, passes down around 
the tail, and unites with the white below, between the legs. In 
many specimens, this white patch is divided by a slight line of 
yellowish hair extending down the back and along the upper 
side of the tail. Frequently on the male the color over the spine 
is appreciably deeper than on either side. The tail, the lower 
part of the sides, the belly, the inguinal region, the legs, and the 
under side of the neck are white, except that the white under the 
neck is broken by three bands of the yellowish color above, which 
are broader at their base on either side of the neck, and become 
quite narrow, and are sometimes broken by the white under the 
neck. This appearance of the different colors on the neck shows 
the white in pointed sections on the lower sides of it, the points 
projecting into the colored portions above. The white on the 
front of the legs is not as clear as on other parts, and is tinged 
with a russet or brown shade. 

On many specimens a shaded line may be observed from a 
point between the fore legs, extending back to the umbilicus. 

The portions covered by the different colors, or the dividing 
lines between the colors, are somewhat variant on different indi- 
viduals ; but they always preserve their distinct characteristics. 
The white is perhaps most immaculate on the rump, but is very 
pure everywhere, except about the head and on the legs, where 
it is a little more dingy. 

The hairs from the colored portion of the animal, when exam- 
ined singly, are at their lower extremities white, turning to a 
dull bluish shade higher up ; then they become yellowish-tawny, 
and at the tips black. The ends of the white hairs frequently 
become soiled, so that their purity is obscured, but the soiling 
rarely penetrates to a great depth, and by opening them their 
beauty is manifest. 

As stated, all the cuticle not covered with hair — about the 
anus, the eyes, and the mouth, — as well as mucous membrane, is 
very black, while the healthy skin under the hair is of a salmon 
color. These colors remain after the death of the animal, al- 
though, if a patch of hair be removed from the living animal, the 
epidermis thus exposed very soon becomes black. 



Notwithstanding Sir John Richardson informs us that the skin 
of this antelope is of no value as an article of trade, and although 
I learn that at the present day it is not prized by the traders, I 
must say that I have several skins of this animal tanned by the 
Indians, which are remarkable for their whiteness, softness, elas- 
ticity, and tenacity. In all these respects, except in strength, 
they are superior to the skin of the deer, in which respect the 
latter may have a slight preference. I have no doubt it is a very 
excellent article for wash-leather, i-ivaling the skin of the chamois 
for this purpose. I cannot be mistaken in the identity of the 
skins which I have, for enough of the hair remains around the 
edges and on the tail to fix their identity beyond dispute. I 
have had the skins tanned with the hair on for i-obes. Although 
pliant and warm, the hair is so fragile that thej' are of little value 
for this purpose. 


Although Richardson informs us that the Indians -will only eat 
the flesh of the antelope when other meat fails them, I know of 
no one wlio has tasted it that has failed to find it a delicate and 
choice morsel, which is much relished by the invalid. At Chey- 
enne and Laramie, travelers bj' the Pacific road enjoy their ante- 
lope chops very much, manj^ preferring it to the flesh of the deer 
and the buffalo, — all of which are there provided in abundance. 
It is dark colored, fine grained and very tender, with an agreeable 
flavor. It is not as nutritious as the flesh of the deer, and espe- 
cially of the elk. If used as a constant diet one soon cloys of it 
and desires no more. After almost living upon it for two weeks, 
I quite forgot how much I enjoyed it at first, and agreed with 
Richardson's Indians, and rejoiced at the change to the flesh of 
the deer and the buffalo. This meat, however, needs to be well 
dressed with butter to develop its prime excellences and fine 
flavor, even at the first, for broiled without accessaries it is rather 
dry. If butter is not at hand then fat pork or bear's grease will 
do very well as a substitute, but something softer than tallow is 
quite necessary to its full enjoyment. 


Antilocapra Americaiia is not only a vegetarian, but is strictly 
an herbaceous feeder, avoiding arboreous food if left to his own 


choice, although pvobably if driven by dire necessity he might 
take tree food, but tliis is only inference. My observations 
on this point have been careful and continuous with excellent 
opportunities. I have often spent hours watching them when 
feeding. I have frequently tried them, with twigs and leaves 
when these were young and tender, as well as when quite ma- 
tured, of every tree and shrub within my reach, including the 
hazel, sevei-al kinds of oak, the hickory, the sugar-maple, the ash, 
and the raulberrj^, but could never induce them to taste of any, 
though the deer seized them greedily. In winter I have seen 
them pick up the dried oak leaves from the ground possibly for 
the tannin they contained, and as a substitute for some grass 
found in their native range, but was not found in my grounds, 
but I never saw them touch the green leaf of a tree. 

The dried and frosted leaves were not takeu for the nutriment 
they contained, for they practically contained none ; and the blue 
grass was abundant an^l accessible, so that they did not want for 
food. I have observed them once or twice in winter time to 
pick the fine short parasitic lichens from the young live trees, but 
never the coarser mosses. 

They would eat apples sparingly, but I never knew them to 
take acorns, wild plums, grapes, or cherries. They are fond of 
all the kinds of grain which I have ever offered them. In win- 
ter the}^ will pick the leaves and heads of timothy hay and of 
clover, and fine clover rowen they take quite freel}', but prefer to 
scrape away the snow for the grass when that is possible. Per- 
ennial grasses suit them best. In my grounds they preferred the 
blue grass ; but sometimes cropped tlie white clover. I never 
saw them touch the weeds of which the deer are so very fond. 
Bread and cake they took gratefully if it was fresh and good, 
but if stale they rejected it. Altogether, they are dainty feeders 
and very select in the choice of their food. In a wild state they 
no doubt live principally on the various kinds of buffalo grass, 
but probably find many other kinds of herbaceous food with 
which we are not acquainted. 

They are fond of common salt, and should have it always by 
them when in parks ; and if soda be mixed with it, no doubt it 
would be better for them, for their native plains generally abound 
with crude or sulphate of sodium, and long use may make this 
better for them, than in the form of the chloride. At least it is 
worth the trial by those who have pet antelopes. 

HABIT. 43 


The most interestina: features of the habits of this animal, will 
be developed when we come to treat of its domestication. In its 
wild state it is very timid and shy, avoiding its enemies with as 
much intelligence as the deer, except that it is more liable to be 
betrayed into danger by its curiosit3\ In fleetness, it excels all 
other quadrupeds of our continent ; but as might be expected 
from this, it is short-winded and so cannot maintain its wonder- 
ful speed for a great length of time. 

As has been stated, it seeks treeless plains, ravines, and rolling 
foot-hills, avoiding the high mountains and heavily timbered 
regions, though at times it may be found in park-like countries 
where trees are sparse. 

They are exceptionally gregarious in their habits. Dr. Can- 
field saj^s : " From the first of September to the first of March 
anteloijes meet in bands, the bucks, does, and kids all togethei'. 
At the end of that time the does separate themselves from the 
band one by one, to drop their kids ; they produce two at a birth. 
After a little time the does collect together with their young, 
probably for mutual protection against coyotes ; the old bucks 
in the mean time go off alone, each by himself or at most two 
together, leaving the young bucks and young does together in 
small bands. 

" The old bucks now for a month or two wander a great deal, 
and are seen in the timber-lands, and in other places where the}'' 
never go at any other season of the year, evidentl}^ ' tired of the 
world ' and fleeing from society. After two or three months, 
the young bucks and does join the old does and their kids, and 
finally by the first of September, all are together once more in 
bands of hundreds or thousands. Any particular band of ante- 
lopes does not leave the locality where they grow up, and never 
range more than a few miles in different directions." 

The conduct of Mr. Cipperly's tame antelope, which I men- 
tion in another place as the only instance of which I have heard 
of their breeding in domestication, shows that the habit of the 
sexes separating during the latter part of the period of gestation, 
is quite as much attributable to the inclination of the male as of 
the female. I quote from a letter to me by Hon. L. B. Crooker, 
who kindly investigated their habits for me, which shows this, as 
well as illustrates several other characteristics : " In the spring, 
while the female was with young, the male seemed to lose his 


affection for her, and repeatedh^ went away, escaping when it 
could ; and in one instance was caught several miles away. The 
female never escaped or went away without the male. They 
were often allowed to roam about the farm (200 acres) at will, 
and often strayed away to the neighbors, who would dog them 
home ; and the antelopes seemed to enjoy it, and would act in a 
playful manner, apparently exulting in their superior speed, and 
tantalizing the dog by stopping, etc. They were affectionate 
and tame to those with whom they were familiar. During the 
rutting season, the buck was intensely cross and wicked to every 
one who came near." The account given by Dr. Canfield shows 
us that they have strong local attachments, which, however, have 
been bi'oken up by the advance of civilization, not only at the 
place where his observations were made more than twenty-five 
years ago, but in a large portion of the country where they were 
formerly so abundant. Probably in Canfield's time they were 
more abundant in California than anywhere else ; and yet, a 
quarter of a century later, scarcely any were there to be found. 
If they now appear to be less gregarious than he describes, it may 
be because of their diminished numbers every where ; and if they 
wander now more than then, it is probably because they are 
more frequently disturbed. 

Of their combative disposition, I am not enabled to speak 
from personal observation. The three years' old buck I had in 
my grounds never manifested the least disposition in that direc- 
tion, but I did not have him during the rut. IVIr. Crocker's 
letter shows that Mr. Cipperly's manifested as belligerent a dispo- 
sition during the rut as any of the deer, and it is only then that 
any of them are disposed to fight among themselves or to make 
war on others. 

If the accounts of hunters maj'^ be relied upon, the mother does 
not lack courage in defense of her young, as it is said she attacks 
the coyote successfully with both feet and head. Her superior 
agility, no doubt, is of great service in such an encounter. It is 
said she conceals her young with great sagacity, till they are old 
enough- to flee with her from their enemies. 

As to the belligerent disposition of the bucks during the rut, 
I quote from Audubon and Bachman : ^ " The rutting season of 
this species commences in September ; the bucks run for about 
six weeks, and during this period fight with great courage, and 
even a degree of ferocity. When a male sees another approach- 

1 Vol. ii., p. 197. 

HABIT. 45 

ing, or accidentally comes upon one of bis rivals, both parties !'un 
at each other with their heads lowered and their eyes flashing 
angrily, and while they strike with their horns they wheel and 
bound with prodigious activity and rapidity, giving and receiv- 
ing severe wounds, sometimes, like fencers, getting within each 
other's ' points,' and each hooking his antagonist with the re- 
curved branches of his horns, which bend considerably inward 
and downward." 

For myself, I have never seen them in battle, nor have I seen 
any one who had seen them fight under such circumstances as 
enabled him to give me a clear idea of their mode of battle, so 
we may take the description quoted as accurate. In this connec- 
tion, and for the purpose of comparing this habit of our animal 
with the African antelope, I maj^ refer to what Sparrman, who, 
more than a century ago studied the various species of that 
animal in his native range, says : " The last mentioned antelope 
(^Antilope oryx)., according to the accounts given me by several 
persons at the Cape, falls upon its knees when it goes to butt any 
one." ^ He ascribes the same habit to the gnu. Although this 
is the only author I find who speaks of the mode of fighting of 
the true antelope, it is quite probable that this is a generic char- 
acteristic, and if so, it shows how widely they differ in this re- 
gard from our animal. 

The rutting season occurs when the horn on the fully adult 
has about perfected its growth, and before it has been loosened 
by the new growth, and so is best adapted as a weapon. As its 
growth is not completed until July or August, and it is cast off 
in October or November, on the old specimens, and is loosened 
some time before it drops off, we see that the fighting season 
must be limited to the rutting season. Indeed, I have a mounted 
specimen which was killed in the latter part of July, from which 
I had no difficulty in removing the horn, for the purpose of ex- 
amining the core and the cavity of the horn. I confess to a lack 
of that information on the subject which will enable me to say 
how long the horn continues a perfect weapon, and as that must 
measure the time during which the males are inclined to wage 
war on each other, I cannot say how long that continues ; but, as 
the principal cause of hostility must be rivahy in love, it may be 
safe to assume that it is limited to the rutting season. 

Dr. Canfield, speaking of a domesticated American Antelope 
which he had in his grounds, says, " He was the most salacious 

1 Sparrman's Voi/ages, vol. ii., p. 132, also Ibid., p. 222. 


animal I have ever seen. When three months old, he commenced 
to leap upon the other pet antelopes, the dogs, young calves, 
sheep, goats, and even people sitting down or bent over to pick 
up anything from the ground ; and as he grew older the more 
salacious he became. He always raised himself on his hind feet, 
and then walked up behind the animal that he wished to leap 
on, and without sustaining himself at all by his belly or fore-legs, 
he commenced walking around, directing the erected penis only 
by movements of the body, poised on the hind feet, until, having 
introduced the penis, he instantly gave one convulsive or spas- 
modic thi'ust, clasping spasmodically the female with the fore- 
legs, which lie had before held ujd in the air without touching 
her. He would in this way go at anything held up to him." 

From this exhibition of passion, we may well suppose that 
fierce battles must occur among the males during the period of its 
away. A young male which I raised till he was four months old, 
when in perfect health he met a violent death, never attracted 
attention by such exhibitions as described by Dr. Canfield ; but 
the ordinary rutting season of the animal had hardly commenced 
when he Avas killed, so that I am unable to say whether the con- 
duct of the one observed by the doctor waS exceptional or not, 
though I am inclined to think that it was, at least to some ex- 
tent. The traits described strongly suggest the disposition of the 

Our antelope has the faculty of weeping when in affliction. I 
first observed this in a specimen which had been taken wild when 
adult, and still retained all his natural fear of man. I had placed 
him in a close cage in the evening, intending to familiarize him 
• with my presence, and divest him of his fears when he saw me 
by convincing him that I would not hurt him. When I ap- 
proached him the next morning, he seemed struck with terror, 
and made frantic efforts to break out, which he soon found was 
impossible. His great black eye glistened in affright. I spoke 
softly and kindly, while he stood trembling, as I introduced my 
hand and placed it on his shoulder. Despair now seemed to pos- 
sess him, and he dropped on to his knees, bowed his head to the 
ground, and burst into a copious flood of tears, which coursed 
down his cheeks and wet the floor ! My sensibilities were 
touched ; my sympathies were awakened, and I liberated him 
froni that cage as quickly as I could tear the slats from one 
of the sides. Whether he appreciated this or not I cannot say, 
but his great fear seemed to leave him as soon as he was liber- 

HABIT. 47 

ated ; he ran but a little way, and not at full speed, when he 
stopped and began to pick the grass. 

Whenever this animal is excited in play, by fright or by rage, 
the hair of the white patch on the rump rises up and assumes a 
more or less curved radial position, from a central point on each 
side of the vertebrae, as we sometimes see two radial points on 
the human head. From these points the hairs point in every 
direction, only they are as nearly erect as their curved radial 
position will permit. It is impossible to give a just idea of this 
appearance by words, nor could I help the matter much by a 
drawing. It is not the position of the hairs alone which we ad- 
mire, but their immaculate whiteness completes the beauty of 
the display. How much the flashing of the great black eyes 
augments one's sense of admiration, the observer may himself be 
at a loss to determine. As we shall hereafter see, under similar 
excitement, the corresponding white patch on the rump of the. 
elk is elevated, but the hairs do not assume the radial posi- 
tion of the others. Nor is this uniform in degree on the ante- 
lope. On some specimens which I have observed, this curved 
and radial position of the hairs Avas almost entirely wanting, and 
the hairs were simply elevated to vertical positions as observed 
on the elk under similar circumstances. 

Notwithstanding its astonishing fleetness, the Prong Buck can- 
not, or rather I should say does not know how to leap over high 
obstructions like animals which inhabit wooded countries. This 
is well illustrated by Captain Bonneville's account of the manner 
in which the Shoshokoe Indians on the Upper Lewis River cap- 
ture the antelope, as given in Irving's " Bonneville," pp. 259, 
260. I quote : " Sometimes the diggers aspire to nobler game, and 
succeed in entrapping the antelope, the fleetest animal of the 
prairies. The process by which this is effected is somewhat 
singular. When the snow has disappeared, says Captain Bonne- 
ville, and the ground becomes soft, the women go into the thick- 
est fields of wormwood, and pulling it up in great quantities 
construct with it a hedge, about three feet high, inclosing 
about a hundred acres. A single opening is left for the admis- 
sion of the game. This done, the women conceal themselves 
behind the wormwood, and wait patiently for the coming of the 
antelope, which sometimes enter this spacious trap in consider- 
able numbers. As soon as they are in, the women give the sig- 
nal, and the men hasten to play their part. But one of them 
enters the pen at a time, and after chasing the terrified animals 


round the inclosure, is relieved by one of his companions. In 
this way the hunters take their turns, relieving eacli other, and 
keeping up a continued pursuit by relays without fatigue to them- 
selves. The poor antelopes, in the end, are so worried down 
that the whole party of men enter and despatch them with clubs, 
not one escaping which has entered the inclosure. The most 
curious circumstance in this chase is, that an animal so fleet and 
agile as the antelope, and straining for its life, should range 
round and round this fated inclosure without attempting to over- 
leap the low barrier which surrounds it. Such, however, is said 
to be the fact, and such their only mode of hunting the ante- 

When I received a three-year old buck, lately captured on the 
plains, and sent me, I feared he would scale the eight feet paling 
fence which incloses the parks, for I had seen the female which I 
had liad before make most astonishing horizontal leaps across 
ravines in the park, without an apparent effort, which she might 
just as well have walked across. 

Although I had observed this buck, whilst confined in the yard, 
when frightened by a person going in, dash against the palings 
not three feet from the ground, in his efforts to break through 
the fence, without attempting to leajj over it, yet it never oc- 
curred to me that he could not make higli vertical leaps, till I 
met the statement above quoted. Subsequent observation of the 
conduct of these animals in my grounds convinced me that this 
statement might well be true, and that tlie Prong Buck may be 
restrained by a fence which would be sufficient to confine our 
domestic sheep. 

In spealving of Mr. Cipperly's antelopes, Mr. Crooker says, 
" A four foot fence was ample to confine them." 

This inability to leap over high objects may no doubt be at- 
tributable to the fact that they live upon the plains, where tliey 
rarely meet with such obstructions, and so they and their ances- 
tors for untold generations have had no occasion to overleap high 
obstructions, and thus from disuse they do not know how to do 
so, and never attempt it when they do meet them. 

If the antelope on the plains desires to cross the railroad 
track, when alarmed by the cars, as is sometimes the case, he 
will strain every muscle to outrun the train and ci'oss ahead of 
it, as if he suspected a purpose to cut him off from crossing ; and 
thus many an exciting race has been witnessed between muscle 
and steam. The same disposition is manifested by the bison, or 


the buflfalo, as we call him ; and if either is beaten in the race, he 
will turn away to the plains in apparent disgust, but will never 
cross the track immediately behind the train. 

Were our antelope compelled to live in a forest, no doubt, in a 
few generations, they would learn to make as surprising leaps 
vertically as we now see them make horizontally. Then it would 
be a very difficult matter to restrain them hy inclosures. A Vir- 
ginia deer, in attempting to jump a fence when frightened, will 
strike against the palings from six to seven feet high, if on level 
ground, and yet he cannot compare in speed or in horizontal 
leaps with the Prong Buck. 


Under this head I shall find it convenient to further explain 
the habits of this animal, but under diffei^ent circumstances, or in 
different couditions of life. Hitherto we have only considered 
its habits in the wild state, where our observatious have neces- 
sarily been very much circumscribed. In that limited degree of 
domestication to which it has been subjected, we shall observe 
many traits or characteristics, undeveloped or not discovered in 
his wild state, manifesting a degree of intelligence not otherwise 

Considerable numbers of the young are found every j'ear by 
hunters and travelers passing over the plains where they roam. 
If very young, these are taken without difficulty by simply pick- 
ing them up, while those of a few days old will lead a consider- 
able chase before they are captured. These latter ai'e not so 
likely to live as the former. Like the fawn of the deei', if taken 
very young, they will attach themselves to their captors in a/ short 
time, and attempt to follow them as they would their motliers. 

From necessity, these young kids are fed upon the milk of tlie 
cow, or preferably of the goat, if to be obtained. Very soon they 
commence to eat grass, and to ruminate. Experience shows 
that but a small percentage of these are raised. Dr. Canfield ex- 
perimented extensively in this direction at Montera, where the 
wild ones were very abundant all about him. He says they are 
first attacked with diarrhoea. " If they escape this, they live a 
long time, one, two, or three months, growing slowly ; but at 
the end of that time all the female kids, and almost all the male 
ones, become diseased, having scrofulous inflammation of the 
joints, get a cough, become lame and poor, and finally die after 
lingering some weeks. I never yet have known a female ante- 



lope to be raised artificially ; the males are more hardy, and with 
care nearly all can be raised." 

Better success has attended the effort to rear the young ante- 
lope on this side the mountains. The first antelope I ever had 
was a female, sent me by a friend when she was a year old. She 
had followed a wagon into Kansas, from the distant plains, where 
she had been caught the year before and raised on cow's milk. 
Thence she was sent me by express, in a rough cage, five hun- 
dred miles. She was badly bruised in the rough journey, the 
hair being torn from her sides in places as large as my two 
hands, so that I feared she could not recover from these bruises. 
However, so soon as I turned her loose in the park she moved off 
with agility to the rich pasture before her ; but she could not 
wait long to satisfy her appetite, before she exercised her muscles 
in a race among the trees and over the lawn, which, I thought, 
resembled more the flight of a great bird than the running of a 
quadruped. Very soon the new fine hairs appeared upon the 
black naked skin, and rapidly grew to the length of the others. 
During the six months I had her, I never discovered any symp- 
toms of sickness or lameness. She was at last found dead in the 
grounds, with blood in the mouth, evidently from an internal 
injury. She probably came near an elk, and received a fatal 
blow from its fore foot. She was always sprightly and playful, 
and always followed me in my walks and drives in the park. 

In July, I purchased a male kid at Cheyenne, and brought 
him home on condensed milk. The distance is nearly a thou- 
sand miles, and occupied two days. He arrived in apparently 
perfect health, and so continued till October, when he met a 
violent death. He was always sprightly and playful. He was 
kept about the house, and ranged through the flower garden and 
about the lawns at will. Of all the pets I ever had, none was 
ever so much prized by all the household as he. I have had 
many others since, but all have died after a few months, of dis- 
ease, many of them breaking out in sores. I have observed none 
to be troubled with diarrhoea, and rarely a decided lameness, but 
rather a stupid languor seemed to ojDpress them. Most of those 
I have had were one or two years old when obtained, had been 
raised in Kansas, where the wild ones were found, and reached 
ray grounds in apparent health, and so continued for a month or 
two, and would then sicken, and after one, two, or three months 
-would die, much emaciated. The females appeared quite as 
healthy, and survived quite as long, and in some instances 


longer, than the males. Several of my friends have been more 
successful than I have in their attempts to rear this animal. 
Probably my grounds ai'e peculiarly unfavorable for him, being 
almost entirely forest, though mostly open and devoid of under- 
bushes. There are but a few acres devoid of trees. These were 
most affected by the antelope. My information is that in Kansas, 
and in fact in all other places this side of the mountains- wliere 
they are found in a wild state, those which survive for a month 
or so are tolerably healthy, and if they escape accidents, may be 
expected to live for several years at least. It is manifest that 
experiments have shown that, from some unknown cause, there is 
more hope of rearing this animal on this side of the Rocky Moun- 
tains than on the Pacific Coast, where, in a wild state, they were 
once the most prosperous. 

The Prong Buck is very easily tamed, and soon loses all fear 
of man, seeks his society, and enjoys liis company. When taken 
young, and brought up by hand, they become at once attached to 
the one that feeds them. I raised one thus, which was taken 
charge of by a little girl, and nothing delighted it so much as to 
have a play and a romp with her ; and in watclnng them to- 
gether, it was easy to persuade one's self that the little pet showed 
not only observation and intelligence, but even reflection. He 
assumed he had as much right in the kitchen as any of the do- 
mestics; and if he found the doors open, he enjoyed a visit to the 
parlor, and especially a siesta on the lounge in the library. 

When I turned the wild buck loose, as before stated, I was 
agreeably surprised to observe that he made no attempt to es- 
cape, and did not even dash away, as if greatly alarmed. After 
a few leaps, he trotted away two or three hundred yards, and 
then commenced grazing upon the blue grass. For a few days, 
he would not allow me to approach him. 

Whenever I walked in tlie park the younger one, which had 
been brought up by hand and was very tame, the moment he 
saw me, no matter how far away, would rush up to me with the 
greatest delight, and rub his head against me in a most affection- 
ate manner, and receive the gratuity, which he always expected, 
with great satisfaction ; and would follow me constantly where- 
ever I went, gamboling around in much the same way as is 
observed in a young dog. Scarcely a week elapsed before I ob- 
served the older one, which was so wild in close confinement, 
following me at a distance. Each day he ventured nearer and 
nearer, till I observed he would not keep more than twenty or 


thirty feet in the rear, and would so follow me for an hour or 
more, if mj^ walk should continue that long. I now began to notice 
him, and throw him corn, which he took with great apparent 
relish, nor was it long before he would venture to take corn from 
my hand, though Avith timidity, and he never became so entirely 
divested of fear as was the younger one. I know of no member 
of the Gervus family, when taken wild at three years of age, that 
will ever become so tame as did this Prong Buck in a few 

I may quote some remarks of Dr. Canfield, in the paper above 
referred to, upon a young antelope which he had raised in do- 
mestication. He says : " He used to follow the ranch dogs, and 
in the night, if they chased coyotes, he would run after coyotes 
also, always ahead of the dogs, for nothing could outrun him." 

But this antelope would not only hunt coyotes in the night 
with the ranch dogs, but he was fond of hunting other game in 
the daytime with the doctor, and so followed him on his hunting 
excursions ; and on one occasion when twelve miles from home 
they became separated, when the antelope went home alone, 
where his master found him on his return. 

Dr. Canfield tells us that be had another antelope at the same 
time which never became so tame as the fii'st, and after the death 
of the first became uneasy, and finally deserted the ranch and re- 
lapsed to the wild state ; but the wild ones " abounded every- 
where in all the plains and valleys of the western slope down to 
the Pacific Ocean." 

There is evidently a wide difference among individuals, in 
their adaptability to domestication, in sagacity and intelligence. 
Generally, however, it readily becomes attached to one who 
shows it kindness, and it would be unsafe to assert that long con- 
tinued domestication would not develop those traits in as great 
a degree as they are ordinarily found in that great friend of the 
human race, the dog. 

In intelligence, too, and reflective powers, they are exceptional. 
The young specimen of which I have spoken, was allowed to fol- 
low me from one park to another, and even out of the parks into 
the fields and meadows. He frequently followed me into the 
park where the elk or wapiti were kept. These would chase 
him away, when he would look to me for protection, which could 
not always be made effectual, for they would watch for opportu- 
nities to make dashes at him, when he would escape to the out- 
side of the band of elk, but when he saw me approach the gate 


to pass out, he would dasli up almost like a flash to go out with 
me. These visits to the Elk Park soon became disagreeable to 
him, so that when he saw me approach the gate leading into it, 
he would get before me, put his head against my legs and try to 
push me back or retard my progress as much as possible, and 
seemed to beg of me in every way in which he could convey his 
wishes not to go in there. I would frequently yield to his re- 
monstrances and turn away in another direction, when he would 
manifest his satisfaction by gamboling about in the greatest de- 
light. When he was allowed to follow me out of the park into 
the fields and meadows, he would scour away as if to try his 
speed, but in a few minutes would go to hunting about for some 
choice tufts of grass, and would sometimes get two or three hun- 
dred yards away, but he always kept a close eye upon me, and 
when he saw me going towards the park gate, though it was far 
away, would gradually lessen the distance, but so soon as I 
reached the gate, he would rush up at full speed and perhaps 
prance around as if very happy, or rub his head affectionately 
against me. Who will blame me if I loved the little pet and en- 
joyed his company in my walks, and really mourned his loss 
when he died ? He was not singular in his traits of intelligence 
and marks of affection. Before that, the female, already spoken 
of, exhibited the same disposition, though I think in a less re- 
markable degree, probably because I was not so well acquainted 
with the habits of the animal, and did not so well know how to 
develop these peculiar characteristics. 

They seem to be much more nearly allied to the antelope than 
to the deer family. I never observed one to show the least fond- 
ness for the society of a deer, but the young buck I have spoken 
of and the female gazelle from Asia, showed some inclination to 
associate together. Both showed the same disposition to follow 
me in my walks, though the gazelle would follow no one else, 
and was easily diverted from my companionship, by any choice 
spot for grazing she might meet with. If, for instance, she fol- 
lowed me into the North or East Park, she would often desert me 
before my return, and I would be obliged to leave her behind : 
and this at last cost the poor thing her life, for I once left her in 
the East Park, when some dogs broke in and killed her. I found 
her the next day in the corner by the gate, cruelly bitten and 
quite dead. I had less fear of dogs in the Elk Park, for if ever 
the elk see them there, they have no time to hunt anything but 
the place at which they came in. If ever I allowed this gazelle 


to follow me out of the park, she would never return with me 
voluntarily but would immediately start off, exploring in her 
own way. This gazelle and the young antelope would follow me 
together, not only in my walks, but also when I drove, or rode 
on horseback in the parks. She disliked a visit to the elk as 
he did, though she did not resort to as intelligent means to tell 
me so. When both were following me, especially when I was 
riding, they would race together at top speed, all around me and 
sometimes two hundred yards away, as if ambitious to exhibit 
their agility, and would seem to enjoy the gambol together, as 
much as would two young dogs, though I never saw them play 
thus together except when followiug, and the gazelle showed less 
inclination to the sport than the Prong Buck, perhaps because 
she was older. 

After very extensive inquiries on this subject, I heard of a 
single instance of this animal breeding in domestication. Mr. 
Stephen Cipperly, in Bureau County, Illinois, has a pair Avhicli are 
in no way confined, but allowed the range of the neighborhood, 
and frequently visit the neighbors, several miles away, and seem 
to enjoy the sport if they can get dogs to chase them home. The 
female of this pair, when she was two years old in 1876, dropped 
one kid, which, however, was still-born, or at least dead when it 
was found. It can no longer be said that our antelope will in 
no case breed m domestication, but certainly it must be but 
rarely expected. We should have expected this to occur in the 
country where they flourish in a wild state, and it is certainly re- 
markable that it has occurred so far away, and in a region so 
unfavorable to their well-being. 

The reason of the sterility of these animals in domestication is 
not very apparent. There is certainly no want of ardor on the 
part of the male, and the female is not without an inclination to 
breed, but from some unknown cause their union is not fertile. 
That their reproductive powers should be impaired by domestica- 
tion, we should expect, in obedience to a very general law gov- 
erning a very large majority of wild animals and birds, when re- 
duced to domestication ; but this may be largely accounted for 
by the disinclination to breed, manifested to a greater or less de- 
gree by both sexes. Such can scarcely be said to be the case 
with our antelope, yet it is undoubtedly true that its general 
health and vigor is more impaired than is generally the case with 
wild animals when domesticated or confined. Until the one 
taken adult sickened and died after a few months' confinement in 


the park, which is so large that the confinement, one would think, 
could scarcely be felt, I had imagined that the constitutional 
vigor might have been impaired when young, by having been 
nourished by cows' milk ; but such was certainly not the case in 
this instance. If in my grounds they fail to find some kind of 
food which their well-being requires, such could not have been the 
case where Dr. Canfield tried his experiments. Altogether it is 
manifest that further observations must be made, and further 
experiments tried, than I have been able to make or learn, before 
we arrive at a satisfactory comprehension of this branch of our 

I believe, however, that with time and care all the difficulties 
which now present themselves to the complete domestication of 
this interesting animal may be ovei'come, and that without these 
they Avill soon be known only as an extinct race. They would 
require at first to be kept in large inclosures on their native 
plains, with a keeper to show himself among them daily, who 
would introduce them gradually to new food, such as the various 
kinds of cereals, with a careful observation as to how they could 
bear it. Even then, some might sicken and die, but others no 
doubt would be capable of bearing it, and the small restraint and 
partial change of food would leave some of them capable of re- 
production. In that way the moi*e feeble would be weeded out, 
but the more robust would rear a race, whicli, by degrees, might 
be restricted in their range, and live upon different food, and 
gradually be transferred to new conditions of life and ultimately 
become capable of enduring complete and permanent domestica- 
tion. It may be that not more than one per cent, would be 
found capable of enduring the least restraint and change of food, 
but if any could be found which could retain their full vitality 
and vigor and reproductive powers, even with the limited re- 
straint and change of condition suggested, the experiment might 
not prove a total failm-e. At any rate, I think there is little 
hope of their permanent domestication, by suddenly transferring 
them to the east of the Mississippi River, where thej^ never 
roamed wild. We may keep them for a short time, but they 
will not prosper, and will soon sicken and die. We may have 
little hope that any individual will undertake this project ; but 
may we not anticipate that the laudable enterprise which our 
government, especially of late years, has shown in the promotion 
of scientific researches, which has produced such rich results, and 
from which abundant practical benefits may be surely antici- 


pated, will prompt it to undertake to reduce this and many other 
of the wild animals peculiar to this countrj', to complete domesti- 
cation, and thus add largely to our useful agricultural products ? 
We have an abundance of territory well adapted to this purpose, 
now laying waste, and a limited appropriation, to be expended 
under the direction of the Smithsonian Institute, for instance, 
whose expenditure of the funds committed to its charge has been 
characterized by the soundest judgment and the highest integrity, 
might promise success. What would we not give could we re- 
suscitate some of those animals which were formerly abundant on 
our continent, but have recently become extinct? The danger, 
if not the probability is, that our successors in the not distant 
future will make the same reflection in reference to the bison and 
the prong buck, if not the moose and the wapiti. 


The chase of the Prong Buck affords an exciting pastime to 
the sportsman, and has sometimes proved a jjrofitable employ- 
ment to the hunter. He who would study how to pursue the 
antelope with success must learn the character of the ground 
which that animal frequents, his capabilities for escape, and the 
infirmities which beset him. His strength and his weaknesses 
must be well understood and considered. 

We have already seen that he inhabits the treeless plains and 
rolling foot-hills. To call these, naked plains and hills would 
frequently be a misdescription. Often they are so, covered only 
with a light coat of bunch or buffalo grass, so that an antelojje 
may be seen at a great distance, although sometimes the color of 
the country so corresponds with the color of the animal as to 
make it very difficult to distinguish him even at a moderate dis- 
tance, though no object may intervene to obstruct the view. A 
good field-glass is an excellent thing for the antelope hunter 
always to have by him. Bat they frequent grounds more or less 
densely covered with the cacti, the wild sage, and the grease bush. 
These sometimes attain the height of four or five feet, and afford 
excellent covert for the animal. 

A correct knowledge of their sense of sight, of smell, and of 
hearing is necessary for the success of the hunter, for these should 
often control his course. 

Notwithstanding the large, prominent eye, which is of a bril- 
liant black color, the sight of the antelope is not reliable. He 
cannot readily identify unfamiliar objects if they are not in full 


view nor in motion. He cannot readily tell a horse from a buf- 
falo, or a man from a bush, if they are perfectly still, unless they 
are quite near. Their sense of smell is very sensitive and discrim- 
inating. Their sense of hearing is also very acute, though not 
as much so as of many of the deer family. They are naturally 
very timid and shy when their fears become aroused, but they 
are not as suspicious as most of the deer. They have a curiosity 
which is very remarkable, and which prompts them to examine 
every strange object which they see. This completely over- 
powers their caution, and often leads them into danger and to 
destruction. The hunter must remember they are exceedingly 
fleet of foot, far outstripping all other animals of the plains. Au- 
dubon says, " They pass along, up or down hills or along the 
level plains with the same apparent ease, while so rapidly do 
their legs perform their gi-aceful movements in propelling their 
bodies over the ground, that, like the spokes of a fast turning 
wheel, we can hardly see them, but instead observe a gauzy or 
film-like appearance where they should be visible." Colonel 
Redfield once told me that he saw a frightened flock of antelopes 
flee to a very steep and high mound of rather loose scoria, near 
the Yellowstone River, which they seemed to go up almost like 
rockets, the detached material rolling down behind them like a 
line of smoke. Some of them lost their footing on the almost 
vertical side and fell back to the bottom, but the instant they 
reached that they flew back like the rebound of a ball, without 
any appreciable pause. 

I have seen them in my grounds make prodigious horizontal 
leaps across a ravine or depression in the ground from a standing 
position or a leisurely walk when there was no obstruction to 
impede their walking across it if they had chosen so to do. 
These leaps seemed to require scarcely more effort than the walk. 
It was a horizontal bound so light and elastic that it seemed like 
a fleeting shadow, when the gentle walk would be instantly re- 
sumed with no more animation or excitement than if they had 
walked across the space. Still, as has been already explained, 
they are unable to make vertical leaps. I think it safe to say 
they cannot overleap an obstruction a yard in height. As before 
stated, when considering the habits of this animal, it is incapa- 
ble of sustaining its astonishing speed for any great length of 
time. It will soon seek some eminence, if to be found, stop, take 
breath, and look around for the object which alarmed it. 

Another fact should not be forgotten. This animal is remark- 


ably tenacious of life, or if this does not express the exact truth, 
he can sustain himself for a length of time with such severe 
wounds as would prostrate almost any other animal. With a 
broken leg he will flee almost as rapidly as if uninjured, and 
the hunters insist he will maintain the chase nearly as far. They 
insist he will carry off more lead than any other animal of his 
size. I was once on a hunt in the Sierra Madre Mountain, near 
the Laramie Plains, when it was a standing joke in camp, that 
one of the party, a distinguished judicial officer of Wyoming, 
who Avas an excellent sportsman as well as a good judge, had 
shot fourteen balls into a buclc antelope, and only so crippled 
him, that by throwing away his gun in despair of killing his 
game in that way, he was enabled to overtake him on foot and 
knock him on the head with his hatchet. While undoubtedly 
the antelope must fall to the shot if hit in a vital part, he can 
carry severe wounds, and frequently escapes unless these reach 
some part upon which life or locomotion immediatelj^ depend. 

All of these characteristics should be constantly borne in mind 
by the sportsman or the hunter if he would pursue the American 
antelope with success. 

Our antelope was an essential article of food among the ab- 
origines inhabiting the country which it frequented before the 
introduction of fire-arms among them. Thej^ had various modes 
of capturing it, chief among which was with the bow and arrow. 
This mode involved the necessity of their getting a very close 
range. This could only be done by some kind of artifice, or by 
the most skillful and cautious stalking, always remembering its 
defective eyesight, its acute senses of hearing and smelling, as 
well as its inordinate curiosity. The latter infirmity — for such 
it often proves to the animal — was taken advantage of by the 
savage, who, approaching the game as nearly as he safely could 
from behind the sage bushes or other concealing object, exhibit- 
ing in irregular motion a piece of the tanned skin of the animal 
colored red or white, or some other attractive object, would at- 
tract the game. When the attention of the antelope is attracted 
by such an object alternately appearing and disappearing, its curi- 
osity becomes excited, and an interesting struggle commences 
between that and its timidity, and it will approach cautiously, 
then retreat a little, then prance around, drawing towards the 
object gradually till it is finally brought within bow-shot. Then 
it was that the Iiidian would let fly his arrow from his conceal- 
ment, or spring to his feet, the arrow to the string, and the 


bow partly drawn, and strike his victim before his fleetness could 
carry him beyond reach. 

• In stalking this animal the Indians show great dexterity now, 
though we may well assume not equal to that of their ancestors, 
who knew not the use of fire-arms. This feat is extremely diffi- 
cult though not impossible in the naked plains, where neither 
sage-bush or ant-hill is found to conceal the approach, but only 
the short, spai'se grass is found. When this or the former mode 
is resolved upon, the first step of the hunter who sees his game 
in the far distance is by describing a wide circle, if need be, to 
obtain a position to the leeward of the game, so that the odor 
with which he taints the air may not betray him. Thus, if upon 
the naked plain, while j'et a long distance off, he must get down 
upon the ground and crawl as close to it as possible, always 
when moving keeping his eye upon every one of the band, and 
the instant one of them turns his head towards him stop every 
movement, no matter what his position may be, till the animal 
turns away or again goes to feediug. If none of the animals 
smell him or hear him, or see him move, he may steal upon them 
and secure a prize. No matter if they do see him, unless they 
see some motion the chances are that no one of them will recog- 
nize him or suspect that the object is anything harmful. They 
will not notice that they have never before seen an object 
there on the naked plain. If they see the least motion their 
fears are instantly aroused, and they dash away like the wind to 
a safe distance, when they will usually stop and turn round to 
see what it was that alarmed them. If the hunter still remains 
perfectly quiet their alarm will not usually subside entirely for 
some time, but they will soon renew their i*etreat, though per- 
haps not at full speed, and if they even go to feeding not far 
away they are apt to keep a vigilant watch of the object so that 
it is hardly possible to approach them again. 

Stalking among the sage brush is of course much less difiicult, 
for there the hunter has cover, behind which he may conceal his 
approach. Still, when he deems it necessary to get a view of the 
game, he must raise his head above the brush as little as possi- 
ble, and so slowl}^ and cautiously that if one of the animals hap- 
pens to be looking in that direction he will not observe it. Of 
course it is presumed he will already have taken advantage of 
the wind which would help to prevent the hearing of any slight 
noise he might accidentally make, for if the sense of hearing of 
this animal is not as acute as that of the moose, it is so sensitive 


as to require the extremest care to prevent his becoming alarmed 
in that way. 

Formerly the Indians were aware of the fact that our antelope 
will not leap over even moderate obstructions, and took advan- 
tage of it, as was shown under another head. Even small prai- 
ries, nearly surrounded by woods, with but a narrow door to the 
open country, have become slaughter-pens for the timid antelope, 
when they have been bordered by dense under-brush. Their only 
thought seems to be to escape by the same opening they came in 
at. If prevented in this they seem to have no other resource. 
In their fright their wits seem to forsake them, and they become 
confused and distracted. 

As illustrating this characteristic of the animal, I will quote 
from " Adventures of James C. Adams " (pp. 46, 47). With 
several men he had surrounded a drove of about fifty antelopes 
in an open prairie of high grass, when he says : " And upon 
closing in, the animals, seeing too late that they were surrounded, 
became bewildered, and, huddling together, wheeled and tramped 
around in utter amazement, apparentlj^ not knowing what to do 
or where to go. 

" In the mean while, taking care to keep our bodies concealed 
in the long grass, we had continued to approach, and being now 
within sixty yards of the panic-stricken animals, I rose upon my 
feet, took deliberate aim, and fired into their midst. Sykesey and 
Tuolumne followed the example, and the Indians discharged 
their arrows. I reloaded as quickly as possible and fired a sec- 
ond shot, then, dropping the rifle, pulled my revolver in my right 
and my bowie-knife in my left hand, and rushed into the thick 
of the herd, which continued wheeling and tramping around in 
a circle, seeing themselves surrounded on all sides, and too much 
alarmed to fly. At the same time my comrades rushed forward, 
and we were soon all mixed up together, myself, the Indians, 
and the antelopes. Having discharged the shots of my pistol I 
began plying my knife, and as the Indians used theirs we 
wounded several that escaped our fire-arms. In the midst of the 
excitement a buck broke away from the herd and was immedi- 
ately followed by all that were able to get away, some dragging 
lamed limbs after them. As, however, six dead and five wounded 
lay before us, there was no use pursuing the flying band, and 
they were allowed to escape, although we might easily have pro- 
cured a dozen more." 

As we shall hereafter see, this description answers almost ex- 


actly to the conduct of the barren-ground caribou under similar 

They have often been killed by the hunter, who has ridden 
upon them on horseback when they were asleep and alone. If 
the instant the animal starts the horseman will stop he is almost 
sure of a shot. Under these circumstances the antelope will 
make but a few bounds before he will stop and look around to 
see what has alarmed him, when he may be taken at short range. 
The white tent of the hunter on the plains or in the ravines so 
attracts the curiosity of the Prong Buck that he will go quite up 
to it for a close inspection of it if he sees no one about it or in the 
neighborhood, and many a one who has been laying in camp 
from indisposition or for rest has thus secured antelope chops for 
supper as a surprise to his wearied comrade, who may have been 
unfortunate during the day, and when wending his weary way 
back sadly thought of an empty larder near the camp fire. 

I have seen accounts of coursing the antelope with greyhounds, 
but my information is not sufficient to enable me to speak ad- 
visedly on the subject, never having participated in the sport 
myself, nor conversed with one who has done so. I can imagine 
no finer game for this sport than the Prong Buck. A practically 
limitless plain, smooth and level, with no impediments to ob- 
struct the view or the chase, presents the fittest ground for such 
sport. With an animal so fleet that he would leave the hounds 
far in the rear for the first few miles, yet always in sight so as 
to stimulate the dogs in the pursuit, whose better wind would 
soon tell, they would, before many miles were passed over, run 
into the quarry. 

After they obtained horses, and before they procured fire-arms, 
the aborigines pursued the antelope on horseback. Under date 
of August 14, 1805, Lewis and Clark gave an account of a hunt 
on the pass of the Rocky Mountains, between the head waters of 
the Missouri River and Lewis River. They say : " The chief 
game of the Shoshonees, therefore, is the antelope, which, when 
pursued, retreats to the open plains, where the horses have full 
room for the chase. But such is its extraordinary fleetness and 
wind, that a single horse has no possible chance of outrunning it, 
or tiring it down; and the hunters ai-e therefore obliged to resort 
to stratagem. 

" About twenty Indians, mounted on fine horses, and ai'ined 
with bows and arrows, left the camp. In a short time tliey 
descried a herd of ten antelopes ; they immediately separated into 


little squads of two or three, and formed a scattered circle round 
the herd for five or six miles, keeping at a wary distance so as 
not to alarm them till they were perfectly inclosed, and usually 
selecting some commanding eminence as a stand. Having gained 
their positions, a small party rode towards the herd, and with 
wonderful dexterity the huntsman preserved his seat as he ran at 
full speed over the hills, and down the steep ravines, and along 
the borders of the precipices. They were soon outstripped hy 
the antelopes, which, on gaining the other extremity of the circle, 
were driven back and pursued by the fresh hunters. They 
turned and flew rather than ran in another direction ; but there, 
too, they found new enemies. In this way they were alternately 
pushed backwards and forwards, till at length, notwithstanding 
the skill of the hunters, they all escaped ; and the party, after 
running for two hours, returned without having caught anything, 
and their horses foaming with sweat. This chase, the greater 
part of which was seen from the camp, formed a beautiful scene ; 
but to the hunters is exceedingly laborious, and so unproductive, 
even when they are able to worry the animal down and shoot 
him, that forty or fifty hunters will sometimes be engaged for 
half a day without obtaining more than two or three antelopes." 

That the antelope can frequently, on favorable grounds, be run 
into with tlie horse, is established beyond dispute. I have met 
several gentlemen who have done it, or seen it done ; and I once 
had a three years' old male antelope which had been thus cap- 
tured. The marks of the cords with which his legs had been tied 
were still very plainly to be seen, and are even still distinct on the 
mounted specimen in my collection. To do this requires a horse 
of great bottom., or endurance, for, in any event, he must be left 
far behind for the first few miles ; but the great speed of the 
antelope soon tells upon him, and when he begins to faltei-, if still 
pressed, and not allowed to stop and take breath, he fails ver}^ 
rapidly, and almost complete exhaustion ensues. It may be that 
the antelopes thus captured have been exceptionably slow, or 
short-winded, and that even with a majority it is not practicable 
to capture them in this manner. It is very certain, however, 
that it has sometimes been done. 

The antelope, when pursued on the plains, is inclined to run 
in a circle, and thus may be taken advantage of by the horseman 
keeping well within the circle, and as if attempting to head off 
the chase, which is sure to provoke the animal to make everj'- 
effort to avoid this result, which brings his course more in the 


circular form. In this condition the game must soon succumb, 
in consequence of the greater distance he has to run. 


The position in natural history which should be assigned our 
antelope has already occupied the attention of zoologists. If 
Pallas made it but a species of the antelope, later naturalists 
have agreed to assign to it a separate classification, and have 
adopted the name given it by Ord in 1818, Antilocapra Ameri- 
cana, or American Goat-Antelope. Sir John Richai'dson says : 
" The term A^nericana is objectionable as a specific name, where 
more than one species of the same genus exists in that country." 
Subsequent investigations have shown that this objection was 
altogether without foundation, for there is but one species of the 

A careful study of specimens from every part of its range 
shows that there are not even varieties of the species. All are as 
near alike as possible. There is now no pretense for placing 
Capra Americana with our animal, for it is well settled that it is 
a true goat. 

Dr. Murie, to whom we are first indebted for the osteologlcal 
description of this animal, seems inclined to go farther, and assign 
it " a new or a fourth section among ruminants. In regard to 
the second premise, its place, judging from the totality of struc- 
ture (excluding the brain not examined), it appeal's to me that 
the proposal to rank the Cabrit as a family per se {Antilocap)ridce), 
merits attention. Notwithstanding what has been said of transi- 
tional forms, the present career of biological inquiry has not yet 
arrived at the stage when limited divisions can be dispensed 
with, although lines of demarcation are broken apace. Provision- 
ally, therefore, and for aught I can say to the contrary, the single 
genus and species, Antilocapra Americana., may preside as the 
type of a family. Still I am far from the opinion that it will 
long remain in solitaiy grandeur, for I am convinced that its 
more aberrant features are but bridges, the further connecting 
end of which temporarily hazy to us, from our temporary, cir- 
cumscribed view." 

I have already, in another place, quoted a passage from this 
author bearing directly on this branch of our subject ; but, as 
it will be remembered, it is hardly necessary to repeat it here. 
The comparison he there makes between this animal and the 
sheep, the giraffe, the deer, the goat, and the antelope, is for 


the purpose of showing that, in some respects, he partakes of cer- 
tain characteristics supposed to be peculiar to each of these 

We have already seen that to compare the hair of our animal 
to that of the sheep is a strained expression, while the other 
parallels are not without reasonable warrant. I cannot help re- 
marking, however, that it seems to me that the learned doctor, 
in seeking for interuiediate grades in the characteristics of our 
animal, has quite overlooked that which is the most striking of 
all ; and that is the horn. If he combines characteristics resem- 
bling peculiarities of several different genera of ruminants, his 
horn seems to be constructed upon an intermediate plan between 
the hollow-horned ruminants, of which tliere are sevei-al genera, 
and the solid-horned ruminants which may all be embraced in 
the genus Cervus, if we are inclined not to multiply classifica- 
tions too freely. The former have hollow liorns, which are dermal 
emanations with osseous cores, which in fact are processes of the 
skull. So has this ; but all other hollow horns are persistent, 
while this is deciduous. This latter characteristic, has been 
hitherto supposed to be peculiar to the Cervidae, all of which have 
solid horns purely of osseous structure. The only thing in com- 
mon which these two classes of head appendages have, is that 
they may be considered ornamental, and serve as weapons of war- 
fare ; to which, however, we may add that they appear more 
generally on the male than on the female. They are provided 
for both the male and female of our antelope. On no other ani- 
mal do we find a hollow horn which is branched or bifurcated, 
while this is a characteristic of nearly all solid horns. This hol- 
low horn alone is branched, not so distinctly, by any means, as is 
usual with the solid horns, but still there is the rudiment of a 
branch, at least, which has been recognized by all naturalists as 
a prong.' If, then, we are in search of a bridge to span the wide 
space between the hollow-horned and the solid-horned ruminants, 
we find it in this animal and in this animal alone. 

Besides the horns, it more resembles the hollow-horned than the 
solid-horned ruminants, and most of all, the antelope. Its genital 
organs are very nearly like those of the true antelope ; and in my 
grounds it showed a disposition to associate with the antelope 
gazelle, while it was never known to pay the least attention to 
either the angora or the common goat, any more than to the 
deer, the sheep, or the cows. In only two characteristics can I 
find it resembles the goat. One is, that it constantly emits an 


odor, which, however, is mostly confined to the male in the goat, 
while it is common to both sexes in our antelope. Then, again, 
the lachrymal sinus is wanting in both the Prong Buck and the , 
goat ; so it is wanting in many other hollow-horned ruminants, 
as the sheep and the ox, while it is present in the true antelope, 
and, I believe, in all the deer family. In all other respects it 
differs from the goat, except in those things which are common 
to all ruminants. In their food, especially, they are widely apart, 
though both are strictly vegetarians ; so are all ruminants. The 
goat is the most promiscuous consumer in this order of quadru- 
peds ; while no one is more delicate and select in its food than 
the Prong Buck. The goat affects rough and rocky grounds, 
and climbs with ease and safety dangerous cliffs and difficult 
passes, while the habit of our antelope is exactly the reverse. 
I must say that I think if his natural history had been well 
understood, he would never have been charged with a near kin- 
ship to the goat, and Capr-a would not have been a part of his 
name. Surely a more appropriate name could have been found, 
, — one clearly expressive of the striking peculiarities of this ex- 
traordinary animal. But it is now too late to change it. It is 
far better to adhere to a bad name by which it is now known to 
the scientific world, than to attempt to introduce him by a 
new name, no matter how much more appropriate. 

In its osteology. Dr. Theodore Gill, a gentleman eminently 
qualified for the investigation, excludes it from all the classifica- 
tions of the hollow-horned ruminants, and distinctly places it 
among those which have solid deciduous antlers ; while, as we 
have seen. Dr. Murie finds in its anatomy elements peculiar to 
each of these classifications. Like the deer, the female has four 
active mammte, while the goat has but two. In common with 
the hollow-horned ruminants, it has the gall bladder, which is 
wanting in all the Cervidse. 



To the First Class of the Second Division of the First Group of 
Ruminants I have assigned the Cervidae. On this continent they 
are more widely distributed, and more numerous than either of 
the other members of the group, while in some other parts of 
the world they are excelled in numbers by those assigned to the 
First Class of the First Division. 

There are native of North America, eight distinct and well 
defined species of the Genus Cervus, namely : — 

1. Cervus Alces. 
Moose Deer. 

2. Cervus Canadensis. 
Wapiti Deer. American Elk. 

3. Cervus Tarandus. 
"Woodland Caribou. Reindeer. 

4. Cervus Macrotis. 

Mule Deer. 

5. Cervus Columbianus. 
Columbia Black-tailed Deer. 

6. Cervus Virginianus. 
Common or Virginia Deer. 

7. Cervus Tarandus Aectica. 
Barren-ground Caribou. Reindeer. 

8, Cervus Acapulcensis. 
Acapulco Deer. 

There may be and probably are, several other distinct species 
in Mexico and Central America, but I am not sufficiently in- 
formed to speak of them with assurance ; so I leave them as 
proper subjects for future investigation, and confine myself to 
those of which I can speak with some confidence. 

It will be observed that I retain the reindeer in this genus, 
following Cuvier, for instance, leather than go with Hamilton 


Smith and others, who place them in a separate genus — Rangi- 
fer, — for which I fail to find sufficient warrant. I confess I do 
not sympathize with that disposition, which seeks to multiply 
genera and species on slight distinctions, as the presence or ab- 
sence of canine teeth, or the female being provided with antlers or 
not, as constituting a generic difference. Of the first, third, and 
seventh species of which I treat, I do not spealc from that careful 
personal study of great numbers of living specimens, which I 
could desire, and am obliged to depend to a large extent upon 
information derived from the observations of others. Of the 
others I am enabled to speak with assured confidence from per- 
sonal observations of live specimens in my own grounds, where 
1 could study them Avith the greatest care through a course of 
years, and from hunting them in the wild state. 

It will be observed tliat in my list of species I have omitted 
Cerviis leucurus and Cervus Mexicanus. I do this because I find 
them to be simply Cervus Virginianus, with scarcely sufficient dis- 
tinctive characteristics to entitle them to the rank of separate 
varieties. When I come to treat of this species, I shall give my 
reasons in full for writing Cervus leucurus and Cervus Ifexicanus 
out of the list of species of the American Deer. 

Naturalists disagree, and perhaps ever will, as to what diversity 
shall be required to distinguish varieties, species, genera, orders, 
etc. From the nature of the subject it may be impossible to lay 
down a general rule by which even its author Avould in all cases 
be able to place some particular specimen which might occasion- 
ally be selected. 

Nor is it of the first importance that all should exactly agree 
on this point. At least it is more important that we get all the 
facts relating to a particular subject ; and then our disagreements 
about names, although inconvenient, may not be of vital impor- 
tance. I may, however, say, that at least before we can declare 
a species as distinct from a variety, we must find distinctive char- 
acteristics constant and uniform in every individual of the pro- 
posed species, and wanting in every other individual of the same 
genus, which characteristics should not be attributable to facti- 
tious circumstances or local causes, as aliment, climate, altitude, 
and the like, which at most should only be allowed to mark 
varieties of the same species. Still we are liable to meet Avith 
difficulties, which may only be removed, if at all, by long and 
careful observation and study, which may enable us to determine 
upon the thousand points of divergence or similitude which may 
be manifested under a great variety of circumstances. 




Cervns Alces. 

Cervus orignal. . . . 

Cervns lobatiis. . . . 
Alces Americanus. . . 

Alces niflchlis 

Alces inalcliis 

Alces muswa 

Elan, Stag, or Aptapton. 
Eslan on orig'uat. . . 

Alee Alces 

American Black Elk. . 

Moose Deer 


Moose Deer. 

Harlan, Fauna Am., 229, 1825. 
GoDMAN, Am. Nat. Hist., II. 279. 
Griffith, An. King., IV. 72, Fig. 
Richardson, Fauna Boreali Americana, 

232, 1829. 
De Kay, N. Y. Zool., 15, 1842, Fig. 
AuD. & Bach., Quad. N. Am., II. 179, Fig. 
(Dierville) Reichenbach, Vollst., Naturg. 

Siiugt., III. Wiederkauer, 10, 1845, Figs. 

Agassiz, Pr. Bost. Soc. N. H., II. 188, 

Jardine, Nat. Lib., HI. 125, 1835. [Baird.] 
Baird, U. S. Pat. Off. Agr., for 1851, 112, 

Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., VIII. 631. 
Ogilby, Pr. Zool. Soc. Lond., IV. 135, 

Gray, Knows. Menag., 67, 1850. 
Gray, Pr. Zool. Soc. Lond., XVIIL 224, 

Richardson, Zool. of Herald, Foss. 

Mamm., 101, 1852. 
De Monts, Nova Francia, 250, 1604. 
Sagard-Theodat, Canada, 749, 1636. 
Gilpin, Mamm. N. S., 119, 1871. 
Griffith, Cuv., IV. 72. 
Umfreville, Huds. Bay, 1790. 
Herriot's Trav., Fig. 1807. 
Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., VIIL 631, 1857. 
Pennant, Arct. Zool., L 17, Fig., 1784. 
Warden, U. S., L 328. 
GoDMAN, Nat. Hist., II. 274. 
AuD. & Bach., Quad. N. Am., II. 179. 
Richardson, F. B. A., 232. 
Dudley, Phil. Trans., No. 368, 165, 1721. 
La Hontan, Voy., 72, 1703. 
Charlevoix, Nouv. France, V. 185, 1744. 
Deny, Descr. de I'Amer., L 27. 
Du Pratz, Louis., I. 301. 
French Canadians. [Rich. F. B. A., 231.] 



The Elk Griffith, Cuv., V. 303. 

The Moose Hardy, F. L. in Ac, 45, Fig., 1869. 

Largest of all the deer family and most ungainly in form. Head long 
and narrow. Eyes small and sunken. Nose long and flexible and cov- 
ered witli hairs, except a spot between the nostrils. Ears very long and 
coarse. Antlers large and spreading ; broadly palmated with numerous 
sharp points. Neck short and stout and nearly horizontal ; higher at 
the wethers than at the hips. Body short and round. Legs long and 
stout ; fore legs the longest. Accessory hoofs large and loosely attached. 
No metatarsal gland. Tarsal gland inside the hock present but small, 

Female Moose. 

and covered with black reversed hair. Hair long, coarse, and rather 
brittle ; longest about the neck ; color variant from black to brown and 
yellowish gray. Antlers wanting on the female, which is smaller than 
the male and lighter colored in winter. 


I have never attempted tlie domestication of this species, and 
have seen but few live specimens, and then under circumstances 
not favorable to a careful study of the animal. Hence my ex- 
aminations have been principally confined to mounted specimens 


and skins ; therefore, I am vastly more indebted to the trust- 
worthy observations of others, than to my own original observa- 
tions. Fortunately the Moose has been treated of by several 
naturalists of great ability ; each of whom has added something 
to the general stock of knowledge, to which I may be able to 
make but slight additions. That there is much yet to learn, may 
not be questioned, and I much regret the want of opportunities 
for studying this animal under domestication, for in this way 
alone, do I deem it possible to attain anything like a thorough 
knowledge of any member of this interesting family of ruminants. 
I hope it may be my good fortune to do this at some future time, 
but if I should not, then I trust some other person, better quali- 
fied to observe facts and to draw correct conclusions through care- 
ful and patient observations, will feel sufficient interest in the 
subject to incur the expense and take the time to make proper 
investigations, and in the interests of science to make them 


The habitat of this, the grandest of our native ruminants, with 
perhaps one exception, originally extended from about forty- 
three to seventy degrees north latitude, occupying the entire 
breadth of the continent. He was seen as far south as the Ohio 
River, and has been met with as far north as the mouth of 
Mackenzie River ; though I think they should be regarded as 
having been visitoi's rather than settled residents in both these 
localities. In portions of the territory which I have assigned 
them he was rarely if ever found, because of the absence of the 
conditions required by his habits ; but wherever these conditions 
did exist, he occupied the country in numbers proportioned to 
the favorable character of them. Everywhere these conditions 
have been impaired, and in places destroyed, by the presence of 
the white man ; and in proportion as this has obtained has he 
disappeared altogether, or greatly diminished in number. Indeed, 
this may be said of most of our wild animals. They could stand 
the Indians, and could multiply and prosper in their presence. 
The rude weapons of the natives seemed not to have any abiding 
or fatal terror for the Moose, while the weapons and modes of de- 
struction adopted by the white man have either destroyed them, 
or driven them to the most secluded places attainable. When 
Hennepin and Lasalle first visited Illinois, two hundred years 
ago, the bison abounded in prodigious numbers, although the 


whole country was occupied by Indian tribes, who to a great 
extent lived upon them. For the next hundred years but few 
white men visited the country, and scarcely any settled in it ; 
and yet in that time nearly all the bison had crossed the Missis- 
sippi River; and after the most diligent research, I cannot learn 
that one has been seen in Illinois for the last eighty-five or ninety 
years. The last bison were observed in Illinois between 1780 
and 1790. 

If the range of the Moose is more inaccessible than that of the 
bison, and so he has been enabled to protect himself better when 
partially surrounded by civilization, his habitat has been con- 
stantly more and more circumscribed, as civilization has advanced 
upon him, till now he is only found in considerable numbers in 
Northern Alaska. Whimpon, who explored the Yukon River in 
1867, found the moose very abundant in 65° and 66° north lati- 
tude, and about 146° west longitude. He says : " This part of the 
river abounds in Moose. At this season ('June) the mosquitoes 
in the woods are a terrible scourge, and even the Moose cannot 
stand them. He plunges into the water and wades or swims, as 
the case may be, often making for the islands. This is, there- 
fore, a favorite part of the Yukon for the Indian hunter. The 
Moose are scarce at Nuclukayeth, and never known as low as 
Nulato. They must, however, be abundant on the smaller rivers, 
as, for example, the Newicargut, where the meat obtained was 
nearly all of this animal." Nulato is in west longitude 159° 
and within less than two degrees of the Pacific Coast, and but 
little south of Behring Strait. 

Some are met with every year in Montana, where they are 
sometimes called by the hunters Tree Toijpers, and are repre- 
sented as being much taller than the average of the species ; 
though this I much doubt, presuming the size has been exag- 
gerated by hunters desiring to sell me live specimens at exorbi- 
tant prices. They are said to be found in considerable numbers 
in the Dominion north of Montana, whence they are now rapidly 

It is impossible to say how abundant they are in the extreme 
northern part of the continent, but it is probable they are not 
much diminished, for there they were never in great numbers, 
and probably never remained through the arctic winter. A few 
still remain in the extreme northeastern parts of the United 
States. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick a few are taken 
each year, but it requires the most skillful hunters, with patient 


perseverance and hardy endurance to Insure success in hunting 
them. But they are noble game, and worth}^ the ambition of the 
true sportsman. They have probably entirely ceased their visits 
to Newfoundland ; but in Labrador many still remain, though 
gradually retreating thence towards the more secluded and inac- 
cessible portions of the country. From Upper Canada all are 
gone, and but very few remain in Lower Canada, where, fifty 
years since, they were quite abundant. What are left have re- 
treated to the great, dense forests of the north. 


Their principal food is arboreous, though they take for variety 
some of the grasses and mosses freely ; and, when necessity de- 
mands, will live on almost any sort of vegetation found in their 
range. In winter, when all herbaceous vegetation is deeply 
buried in the snow, they depend entirely on the trees and 

Their favorite haunts, especially in summer, are in the neigh- 
borhood of rivers, lakes, and marshy or swampy grounds, where 
the grasses which flourish are long and coarse. In winter, they 
are more inclined to resort to higher ground, but generally where 
dense forests and almost impenetrable thickets prevail. Their 
long legs, and short, thick necks, incapacitate them to gather the 
low grasses upon which most other vegetarian quadrupeds may 
freely feed, so that they can only conveniently feed upon the 
upper portions of the taller grasses. The deep snow in the 
regions in which they live conceals them in winter, when they 
are obliged to depend on the forests for sustenance. This neces- 
sity, of itself, is sufficient to form habits and tastes inclining them 
to this class of food. So it is that we generally find the habits 
of animals spring from constraint or necessity, which conforms 
them physically to the conditions in whicli they live. 

Exceptionally, among ruminants, the Moose feeds upon ever- 
greens, as well as upon deciduous trees and shrubs. 


Even before the introduction of firearms among them the abo- 
rigines were successful in their capture, and even depended 
largely upon the flesh of the Moose for their support. To accom- 
plish this, great ingenuity and perseverance were often exercised, 
while at other times, as in the water or on the crusted snow, it 
was not a difficult undertaking, and even now these conditions 
render them an easy prey to the hunter. 


Under other conditions the keen senses of smell and hearing 
make it difficult to approach the Moose, and the sagacity with 
which he eludes his enemies and the endurance with which he 
flees from them makes his pursuit even with firearms a difficult 
and laborious affair. 


In form the Moose is an ungainly animal ; short body, a very 
short tail and neck with a prodigiously long, ugly head, with a 
projecting nose or upper lip, which give the animal a revolting 
look. He has enormous ears, short spreading palmated antlers, 
and very long legs, to which he is indebted for his great height, 
which some authors have stated has sometimes exceeded eight 
feet. It is safe to say, without the fear of exaggerating, that they 
sometimes attain a height of six feet at the wethers, or even more 
in extreme cases. 

The average weight of the adult male Moose may be given as 
seven hundred pounds, while I think the statement well authen- 
ticated that specimens of twice that weight have been killed. 

The male Moose, and sometimes the female as well, is fur- 
nished with a pendulous appendage under the throat. This may 
vary in length from four to ten inches on different individuals. 
It is covered with long coarse black hairs. Its diameter outside 
the hairs is about one fourth its length. This by some has been 
supposed to be of a glandular structure, but on examination it is 
found to be simply dermal, without any muscular tissue. The 
one I dissected was five inches long, without the hairs, and half 
an inch in diameter ; simply a round piece of skin of uniform 
bigness its whole length, thickly set with the coarse hairs all 
around. These occupy a descending position all the way. They 
are quite firm, elastic, and enduring, like those of the mane of 
the horse, and probably are not shed with the rest of the coat, 
spring and fall.. This hell, as it is called by the hunters, is not 
found on the young male, and disappears when the animal gets old 
and his vigor and vitality are on the decline, so that it is in gen- 
eral confined to the male Moose in the prime of life, although as 
stated it is in rare instances found on the females. I will sug- 
gest, without the authority of positive information, that these 
females would, upon examination, be found to be exceptionally 

I am not prepared to offer any conjecture as to the purposes 
of this appendage, — which after all seems to be transitory, — in the 


economy of the animal. There is no gland or tuft of hair on the 
outside of the hind leg, but on the inside of the back is a small 
gland covered with a tuft of black hair occupying a horizontal 


The summer coat of the Moose is of soft, fine, firm hair, 
while the winter coat, which is at first short, fine, and glossy, as 
the season advances becomes coarse, open, and spory, non-elastic 
and rather fragile, though never as much so as those on several of 
the other species. During the winter the Moose has an abun- 
dant undercoat of fur. 

The early winter coat on the Moose when in the prime of life 
may be said in general to be black. Toward spring it fades very 
considerably, more on the aged than on the younger specimens. 
When the Moose has passed his prime, he loses that glossy bril- 
liancy which once distinguished him, and the color degenerates to 
a dirty gray, especially in old age. 


The rutting season of the Moose, at least in the lower latitudes, 
commences in September, although the females do not reciprocate 
till October ; and during the interval the bucks are almost be- 
side themselves with passion and are avoided by the females. 
At the proper time the female seeks a companion, when they 
retire to some secluded spot and spend the honeymoon together, 
quite contented in each other's society unless disturbed by some 
intruder. They are more strictly monogamic in their habits than 
any other of our deer, or indeed most other quadrupeds. 

In this respect it resembles the roe deer ( Capreolas dorcas) of 
Europe, although it is not as constant in its conjugal relations as 
the roe deer. These continue constant through life, manifesting 
throughout the year the same affection for each other, both 
parents devoting themselves with equal fidelity to the charge of 
their young, while the constancy of the Moose is limited to a 
single season and during the rut. Still this is a great improve- 
ment on the beastly habit of our elk, wapiti, which goes to the 
other extreme, as we shall hereafter see. 



Male Elk or Wapiti, in early winter coat. 


American Elk. Wapiti Deer. 

Cervus Canadensis. 

Cervus Elapbus Canadensis. 

Cervus (Elaplms) Canadensis. 

Desmarest, Mamm., II. 433, 1822. 
Harlan, Fauna Amer., 236, 1825. 
Max von Wied, Reise, II. 24, 1839. 

SCHREBER, Saugt., V. 990. 
GODMAN, II. 294. 

Gray, Pr. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1850, 

GiEBEL, Saugt., 1855, 348. 
Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., VIII. 638. 
Erxleben, Syst, 305, 1777. 
BoDDAERT, Elenchus Anim., 135, 

Smith, GrifF. Cuv., IV. 96. 

Cervus major Ord., Guth. Geog., 292, 1815. 

Desmarest, Mamm., II. 432. 

Cervus occidentalis. . 
Cervus strong-yloceros. 

Cervus Wapiti. 

. . Ham. Smith, Griff. Cuv., IV. 101, 

. . Richardson, F. B. A., 251, 1829. 


SuNDEVALL, K. Vetcuskaps Akad. 
Hand, for 1844. 
. . Barton, Am. Phil. Trans., VI. 70. 
Leach, Jour, de Phys., LXXXV. 67. 

American Elk Bewick, Quad., 112. 

Elaplius Canadensis De Kay, N. Y. Zool., I. 118. 

AuD. & Bach., II. 83. 
Baird, U. S. Pat. Off. Rep. Agr. 
for 1851, 116. 
. . Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 77. 
. . Lewis & Clark, June 18, 1804. 
Expedition, by Paul Allen, I. 19, 
et seq. 
American Frontiersmen and 

E. H. Smith, Med. Rep., IL 157, 

Le Wapiti F. Ccvier, Hist. Nat. des Mamm., 

Liv. 20, 1820. 
St. Hil. & Cuv., Hist. Mammif., IV. 
1819, Fig. 

Alces Americanus, 


Red Deer Umfreville, Huds. Bay, 163, 1790. 

Hudson Bay Traders (Richard- 
son) . 
Stag Pennant, Arct. Zool., I. 27. 

Ibid., Hist. Quad., No. 45. 

The Wapiti Smith, Griffith's An. King., IV. 96. 

Wapiti Barton, Med. and Phys. Journ., III. 


Warden, U. S., I. 241. 
Wewaskiss Hearne, Journ., 360. 

Larger than any known deer except Cerviis alces. Head slim and finely 
formed. Muffle partly naked. Eyes medium size and moderately prom- 
inent. Antlers solid, cylindrical, with many anterior tines, large, ex- 
panding, retreating, deciduous. Ears large and coarse. Lachrymal sinus 
large and naked. Neck rather short and elevated. Body round and 
rather short, hips sloping. Tail very short. Legs well formed and stout, 
but not fleshy. Metatarsal gland high up. Tarsal gland wanting. Body 
yellowish brown. Belly black. Neck brown to black. Legs chestnut 
brown. Rump and buttock white. Hoofs tawny brown. Antlers only 
on the males. Interdigital glands wanting on all the feet. 


For more than fifteen years I have kept our Elk in domestica- 
tion. In all I have had more than one hundred individuals, all 
of which, except twelve, were dropped in my grounds. I have 
had as many as fifty-four at one time, and now have between 
forty and fifty ; and have devoted much time to their study. I 
have hunted and studied them in their wild state, and I have 
corresponded and conversed very extensively with those who 
have observed their habits in their native range. I must claim, 
therefore, that I have had excellent facilities for learning their 
natural history, and if I have not profited by these it is because 
I am incapable of doing so. 


But few quadrupeds in our country have occupied a wider 
range than the American Elk. He was found in evei'y part of 
the present United States and in northern Mexico ; and was 
abundant in both Upper and Lower Canada, and in Labrador. 
In the interior, he was found as far north as the fifty-sixth or 
fifty-seventh degree of north latitude ; but I cannot find any 
evidence that he ever went so far north on either coast. 

Our Elk preferred the woodlands or the mountains, and only 
inhabited the prairies in limited numbers. Like the bison they 


Female Elk or Wapiti, in early winier coat 

Young Elk or Wapiti. 


fled before the approach of civihzation and sought safety in seclu- 
sion, as much as possible, though they remained in mountainous 
regions and in deep forests, long after the bison had been driven 
away by the occasional presence of the white man. Indeed, they 
followed the bison reluctantly, and braved the danger from their 
new enemies with a certain degree of resolution. They were 
found in diminished numbers on our prairies, long after the bison 
had crossed the Mississippi River for safety. Indeed, not until 
the white settlers began to locate on the borders of the groves, 
did they finally depart. The last account I get of their presence 
in northern Illinois was in the year 1820, or thereabouts. In 
1818 they were not observed east of the Illinois River, and but 
few were then found on the western bank of that stream. An old 
settler of high respectability assures me that he saw their tracks 
iu the forest north of Peoria in 1829, but did not see the animals. 

In the Canadas, as also in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and 
in the northeastern parts of the United States, where their range 
lapped over on that of the moose, the fear of the white man's 
weapons has long since driven them all away, although their 
larger relatives still linger there in diminished numbers, no doubt 
because they can evade pursuit more readily in the deep snows 
which there prevail than the Wapiti were alile to do. Mr. J. M. 
La Moine of Quebec, informs me that he can find no account of 
Wapiti having been met with in Lower Canada in the last one 
hundred and fifty years, though their fossil antlers are occasion- 
ally found there. Mr. H. Y. Hind, in his account of " Explora- 
tions of Labrador," says that they i-emained in the seclusion of 
that peninsula till a much later period. 

Till comparatively recent times they were found in northern 
Iowa ; and in 1877 I saw several accounts of them having been 
killed in the northern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan, 
also in Minnesota. So, too, in the southwest, in Arkansas and 
Texas, they still linger where they can find protection in the 
dense thickets. In California, where they were once exceedingly 
abundant, they are now rarely seen, although they maintained 
their ground for some years after the miners had invaded that 
territory. In Oregon and Washington territories, they have 
been driven back by the white settlements, it is true, but still 
they are there though in diminished numbers ; and the same 
may be said of British Columbia. 

From necessity they no longer abandon a country on the first 
appearance of the white settlers, for now scarcely any place is left 


for them to flee to, where they will not hear the report of the 
hunter's, or the miner's, or the herdsman's rifle. They are now 
sometimes met with not far west of the Missouri River in secluded 
places, along the borders of the streams, coming down from the 
far off mountains, as well as along the broken foot-hills of the 
Rocky Mountains ; and high up, on the main ranges, the Elk are 
still to be found, sometimes sincjlv, and sometimes in considerable 
bands. In 1870, Dr. Hayden's party killed one, on the head- 
waters of the east fork of the Yellowstone, at an altitude of 
more than ten thousand feet above the sea. They will no doubt 
continue to maintain themselves in the more secluded parts of 
the country, where this, among the noblest of our game animals, 
will occasionally reward the hardy hunter, who shall with great 
energy and toil seek him in his retreat. 

They have been observed quite lately on the Lower Yellow- 
stone River in greater numbers than in any other place of which 
I have any account. Lieut. L. B. Carpenter, U. S. A., informs 
me that he has seen them there in immense droves containing^ 
perhaps thousands. I have never heard of so large congregations 
of the Wapiti in any other place at any time. 


In size the Elk is only less than the moose, but in this regard 
they vary very much, when adult, as well as in form. The 
southern Elk attain the largest size, which is exceptional among 
the deer. The first male Elk I ever had was sent me from the 
south, and he was the largest I ever owned. When he arrived, 
he was three years old and weighed six hundred and fifty 
pounds after having been four days on steamboat and cars. In 
September, after he was five yeai's old, some reckless or vicious 
person shot and broke one of his hind legs, when I was obliged 
to kill him. He was very fat, and the butcher who dressed him, 
estimated that he would weigh nine hundred pounds live weight. 
He stood over sixteen liands high, at the withers. As the Elk 
grows till he is eight or nine years old, had the Elk we are writ- 
ing about lived his full age I think he would have attained to 
the weight of ten or eleven hundred pounds. I shall always re- 
gret the loss of such an opportunity to ascertain, approximately, 
the greatest weight which the Elk will attain. I have had does 
that would not weigh over three hundred and fifty pounds at full 
maturit}'^, and wei'e scarcely more than three and a half feet 



high. All these small specimens are now eliminated from my 
herd, while the impress of that first large buck is very percep- 
tible on my stock. I think six hundred pounds will exceed the 
average live weight of the full grown buck. 

The Elk is taller and shorter in proportion to his weight, than 
either the ox or the horse. It is to be regretted that I neglected 
to take the measurements of the large specimen of which I have 
spoken ; but the truth is, I did not understand the importance of 
the subject then as I do now, nor did I then feel the scientific in- 
terest in it which I now feel. Our Elk has a small, well-formed 
head, which is very broad between the eyes, which are rather 
prominent and brilliant. The nose is small and naked. The 
lachrymal opening is large, and is situate immediately below the 
inner corner of the eye, and is surrounded by a naked border. 

It has a large, coarse ear. The antlers are cylindrical, with 
anterior tines, which are long, slender, and graceful. The neck 
is rather short. The body is round. It has a very short tail. 
The legs are long, clean, and flat. The fore legs are straight, 
the hind legs rather crooked. The feet are small. 

The shades of color differ considerably on different individuals. 
In general it may be said that the head is a chestnut brown ; 
neck dark brown ; sides, back, and thighs, yellowish gray ; under 
the belly black ; legs, clove brown. On the rump is a -white 
patch which extends down on either side of the tail .and unites 
with the white below between the legs. The lower part of the 
white patch has a black border on either side. 

The metatarsal gland is present, but is overgrown with hairs ; 
the tarsal gland is entirely wanting, in which it differs from all 
the other species of this genus, in this country, though there are 
some in Europe and in India, in which this gland is also want- 

The Elk has a very thick skin, which affords a great protection 

against violence. He minds but little a blow from a club, or a 
whip, or a stone. It takes a hard thrust even with a hay-fork, 
to make him mind it much unless a very vulnerable point is 
reached, as close back of the fore leg. 

The hairs of the summer coat and of the early winter coat are 
short and pretty solid, but as the season advances, on the body, 
thighs, and neck the hairs grow longer, and in diameter and the 
cavity within, are much enlarged ; they become crinkled and 
more fragile, but never as brittle as on some of the other species. 
In winter, a heavy undercoat of fur is always present. 


The flesh is fine flavored, but differs from all other venison. 
It is more nutritious than any other meat of which I have 
knowledge. A hungry laboring man is satisfied with about half 
the amount which would be required of beef. This nutritious 
quality of the flesh of the Elk is first alluded to by Lewis and 
Clark, and is fully confirmed by my observations. 


This animal is the most promiscuous consumer of all the deer. 
All the grasses and most of the weeds within his reach are taken 
freely, and the leaves and twigs of all the deciduous trees are 
alike enjoyed. A considerable proportion of his daily food he 
desires to be arboreous, yet if deprived of it he will keep in good 
condition on herbaceous food alone. 

In winter, he will take the coarsest food ; even that which 
the ox and the horse reject, he eats freely. 

They are gregarious in their habits both in a wild and domes- 
tic state, although they do not keep in close clusters like sheep, 
or gather generally in large droves like the bison. They are 
more separated in summer than in winter. During the rutting 
season, the monarch of the herd drives off the other bucks, and 
gathers the does into a band, which he appropriates to himself 
as much as possible. The other bucks hover around in his vi- 
cinity, generally keeping together, and annoying the chief by 
their unwelcome presence, and occasionally stealing away a part 
of liis harem, for the does will slip away from his tyrannical rule 
whenever they get a chance. He is grossly ungallant in his self- 
ishness, driving a doe from any choice bit she may find, with as 
little ceremony or affection as he would a buck. He has evi- 
dently no idea of love or affection, and is only pleased to act the 
tyrant and seek his own gratification, perfectly regardless of the 
feelings of others. Still there are degrees in this regard among 
different individuals. 

The mother, however, has a strong affection for her young, and 
will defend it with great energy. Their greatest antipathy is 
dogs, and if one gets into the park, they harry him with a ter- 
rible ferocity. The does show this disposition to the greatest 
extent ; but the bucks generally join in the chase, and the whole 
herd go tearing away at a rattling pace through the brush or 
across the open space, uttering their fierce squeal in a waj^ that 
might frighten a lion. If the unfortunate cur is overtaken before 


he can make his escape, a single blow from the fore foot of the 
leading doe ci'uslies him down, and he is trampled to death in a 
trice. If thej^ see a dog through the fence, their combativeness 
is at once aroused, and they will rush toward him and strike the 
fence terrible blows. The dog generally leaves at their first 

Sometimes the bucks are vicious and dangerous during the rut- 
ting season, but a very wicked one is a rare exception ; still all 
at that time are more courageous than at other seasons, and it is 
prudent to avoid any contest and leave him the path if you meet 
one in the park. In the wild state, their timidity prevents them 
from attacking man, and they expend their courage or viciousness 
on their own species. 

In hot weather they are inclined to stand in the pools of water 
in the bed of the creek, and the males wallow in the mud like 
the hog, so that they are often seen well smeai-ed with the adhe- 
sive soil, and present a disgusting appearance. 

The Elk is not entirely voiceless, yet it never utters a sound, 
except under strong provocation, generally of alarm or defiance. 
Either expression is on a very high, sharp key, often uttered with 
great force. During the rut, the master buck is often heard in 
loud defiance, which serves as a warning to the younger males to 
keep clear of him. 

I shall have more to say when we come to compare the differ- 
ent species of the deer, and consider them more in detail. 



Male Woodland Caribou. 

Woodland Caribou. 

Cervus tarandus Harlan, Fauna Am., 232, 1825. 

GoDMAN, Am. Nat. H., II. 283. 
Sabine, Supp. Perr. 1st Voy., cxc. 
Richardson, App. to Perr. 2d Voy., 

Ross, Perr. 3d Voy. 
Cervus tarandus caribou. . • Kerr, Linn. 297, 1792. 

Cervus liastaliS Agassiz, Pr. Bost. Soc. N. Hist., II. 

188, 1846. 

The Caribou Hardy, For. Lf. in Acad., 120. 

Gilpin, Mamm. of Nova, 55. 
Caribou, ou, Asne sauvag-e. . SagardTheodat, Canada, 751, 1636. 

La Hontan, t. i., 77, 1703. 
Charlevoix, Nouv. France, t. v., 
Carre boeuf, or Caribou. . . French Canadians (Richardson). 

Tarautus caribou Aud. & Bach., Quad. N. Am., IIL, 

Iir. 1853, Fig. 
Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., 633, 1857. 

Rano-ifer tarandus De Kay, N. Y. Zool., 121, 1825. 

Raug'ifer liestalis Baird, U. S. Pat. Off. Rep. Agr. for 

1851, 108, 1852. 

Tarandus rangifer Ogilby, Pr. Zool. Soc. Loud., IV. 

134, 1836. 
J. E. Gray, Pr. Zool. Soc. Loud., 
XVIIL 225, 1850. 
Rein-deer, or Rain-deer. . . Drage, Voygs., I. 25. 

DoBBS, Huds. Bay, 19, 22. 
Pennant, Arct. Zool., I., 22. 
Cartwright, Labdr., 91, 133. 
The Reindeer, or Caribou. . Richardson, F. B. A., 238. 

In size less than wapiti. In color lighter than any of the other deer. 
Face, neck, and belly approaching white, and lighter on the back than 
on the sides, a shade darker anteriorly than further back. Tail white 
with a dark tinge on the upper side. Legs dark chestnut-brown. Upper 
lip or muffle covered with short silver-gray hair. Nose and ears have a 
chestnut shade. A white band surrounds the top of each hoof. Hoofs , 


very broad, flat, and short. Inner lines straight, outer convex. Acces- 
sory hoofs very large, broad, and flat, and subject to muscular control. 
Hoofs all black, metarsal gland wanting. Tarsal gland large. Interdig- 
ital glands present in hind feet only. Antlers of male curved, long and 
slender, with branches more or less palmated and very irregular in form. 
Antlers on female smaller and less palmated. 


My opportunities for a personal study of this species have been 
limited, nor have extensive inquiries among those most familiar 
with this deer resulted as satisfactorily as I had hoped. For the 
present, I must say that a broad field is left for future observa- 
tions, before our information will approach completeness. 

The range of this species is confined to tlie northern regions 
of America, Europe, and Asia. It has crossed the great drain- 
age of the lakes and the St. Lawrence, only on the lower course 
of that river, and on Lake Superior. It is still found in New 
Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and possibly in Maine, but is becom- 
ing annually more and more scarce. It resides in great numbers 
in Newfoundland, where it has been little disturbed by white 
settlements, and whence it is said frequently to cross on the ice 
to the continent. 

If it was ever abundant south of Lake Superior, where it was 
found when the copper and iron mines first invited extensive set- 
tlements there, the fact is not well attested, and I cannot learn 
that any have been met with south of that lake within the last 
twenty years or more. In the woodland districts of Labrador 
they have always been at home, extending as far north as Hud- 
son's Bay. 

From Lake Superior they extended west to the Pacific coast, 
and west of the Barren Grounds, their range extends north to 
the limits of the continent. In the northern parts of Montana 
and Washington territories, and in British Columbia, they are 
claimed to be larger than on the Atlantic coast. If they are 
larger in size on the Pacific slope than in more easterly regions 
their numbers are not so great. As they affect wooded coun- 
tries almost exclusively, existence of forests in the far northwest 
may explain their presence there ; still we must remember that 
the isothermal line trends rapidly to the northwest of the one 
hundredth meridian. In portions of the Selkirk settlement, and 
west of Hudson's Bay these deer were formerly very abundant. 
Sir John Richardson says : " Mr. Hutchins mentions that he has 



Female Woodland Caribou. 

Young Woodland Caribou. 


seen eighty carcasses of this kind of deer, brought into York Fac- 
tory in one day and many others were refused, for the want of 
salt to preserve them. These were killed when in the act of 
crossing Hayes River, and the natives continued to destroy them, 
for the sake of the skins, long after they had stored up more meat 
than they required." The half century which has intervened 
since Richardson's observations, has greatly diminished the num- 
ber of these Reindeer, in nearly all the countries where they were 
formerly quite abundant. We have no evidence that they were 
ever abundant in the neighborhood of Montreal and Quebec, 
though a few wanderers found their way to those parts of the 
Canadas after they had been settled by the whites ; but many 
years have now elapsed since any have been heard of there. They 
still maintain their ground in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, 
where they show more persistence in remaining in the vicinity of 
the settlements of the white man than- in any other portion of 
their original habitat. 

The Reindeer branch of the deer family present extraordinary 
peculiarities in their cornute appendages. The most striking is 
the fact that the females have antlers, though of less size than 
those of the males. Then, again, we are struck with the extraor- 
dinary variety, or want of uniformity in the forms of the ant- 
lers, no two, even from the same animal, being alike, usually 
differing as much from each other as those taken from different 
animals. Still there are certain peculiarities about them which 
enable the most careless observer to recognize them at a glance, 
with as much confidence as he can the antler of the wapiti. The 
beam of the antler is usually vei'y long in proportion to its thick- 
ness, and is alwaj's more or less angular instead of round. On the 
adult male, the antler is always more or less branching, and some 
of these branches are usually palmated. The upper branches have 
usually posterior projection, while the lower, that is, the brow 
and the bez tines, are anterior. These latter are usually much 
longer either on one or both antlers in proportion, than the upper 
posterior projections, though frequently one or the other of these 
is but rudimentary, or even entirely wanting. With very rare? 
if any exceptions, the brow tines on one of the antlers is broadly 
palmated, descending between the eyes, the compression being 
lateral. Like the elk, the brow tine usually projects from the 
antler immediately above the burr, which is very small. 

The old males shed their antlers usually before Christmas, but 
the young males carry them later ; the yearlings till spring, and 


the females later still, and until aftei* they have dropped their 

When I come to treat of the antlers of the deer as a distinct 
subject, and compare each with the other, I shall compare the 
antlers of the European reindeer with our own, when it will ap- 
pear that the European are appreciably less palmated than the 
American ; still I agree with those who find no specific difference 
between the reindeer of Europe and our Woodland Caribou. 

The forms of the feet and hind legs enable them to travel over 
the deep snows better than any other ruminant of their size. 
The foot itself is very broad and thin, and the same is true of 
the accessory or hind hoof, which on this animal seems to serve 
a real purpose. In traveling through the snows, or soft marshy 
ground, the Caribou throws his hind feet forward, so as to bring 
the leg into something of a horizontal position, spreads wide his 
claws, and broad accessoty hoofs, and thus presents an extraordi- 
nary bearing surface to sustain him on the yielding ground, and 
so he is enabled to shuffle along with great rapidity, where any 
other large quadruped would mii-e in a bog, or become absolutely 
snow-bound. The Reindeer alone leaves in his track the marks 
of all four of his hoofs belonging to each hind foot, and specimens 
show the effects of attrition on these secondary hoofs, and prove 
that they serve a useful purpose in the economy of the animal. 

The white band around the lower part of each leg, extending 
up so as to embrace the hind hoofs, and even slightly above them, 
is an interesting mark. Its regularity and uniformity at once 
distinguishes it from the erratic and irregular white observed 
about the feet of the Virginia deer, and very rarely on the wa- 
piti deer, while it is entirely wanting about the feet of all the 
other Cervidse, so far as my investigations enable me to speak. 
The di*ess of this animal is admirably adapted to the rigors of 
the climate in which he winters. The hairs are long and spongy, 
containing a large amount of confined air. As the season ad- 
vances, they grow in diameter so that they become very dense, 
even to the degree of forcing them to a certain extent into an 
erect position. Underneath is a dense coat of fur, like that of 
the American elk. The hairs are crinkled, and terminate with 
a sharp point, being coarser in full winter costume than those 
found on most of the other members of this family. 

The skin is thin, and makes soft, pliable leather, and is highly 
prized by the natives for clothing, and, when properly tanned 
with the hair on, makes a suit almost impervious to the cold. 


This deer is fond of arboreous food, grasses, and aquatic plants, 
but its great resource is lichens. It frequents marshy and swampy 
grounds more than any other of the deer family ; for which, as 
we have seen, it is admirably adapted, and where it is well pro- 
tected from pursuit. In the winter it resorts to the dense forests 
on higher ground. 

As an article of food, its flesh is not highly prized. Indeed, it is 
deemed inferior to any other venison, although, when in good 
condition, it is both palatable and nourishing. 

It has been sometimes domesticated in this country, but I have 
heard of no attempt to train it to the harness, as is done with its 
congener in the north of Europe. 

I presume no systematic effort has been made to rear a race of 
domesticated Reindeer in this ountry. To do this, probably the 
same difficulties would have to be overcome that are met with in 
the domestication of other deer, and it would require an effort 
with many generations before habits of domestication would be- 
come established and hereditary. Still, in proper localities, time 
and judicious perseverance would no doubt accomplish the task ; 
when they would become a valuable addition in the north to our 
domesticated animals. Sir John Richardson says : " Contrary to 
the practice of the Barren-ground Caribou, the Woodland variety 
travels to the south in the spring." But if this be a general rule, 
it must admit of exceptions ; for it is established beyond all 
question that many at least pass the entire year in Newfound- 
land, and on the continent, near the southern limits of their range. 
Indeed, so far as I can learn, observations are still wanting to in- 
form us fully of the habits of this animal. It may be found that 
it is rather more restless than strictly migratory, moving in va- 
rious directions at all seasons. We shall discuss the subject fur- 
ther when we come to comparisons. 



Mule Deer 

Mule Deer. 

Cervus macrotis. 

Cervus (Cariaciis), macrotis. 

Cervus auritus. 

Cerf niulet. . . 
Black-tailed Deer. 

Black-tailed, or flule Deer. 

Great Eared Deer. . . 
Mule Deer 

Say, Long's Expd., II. 254. 

Harlan, Fauna, 243. 

Sabine, Frank. Journ., 667. 

GoDMAN, Nat. Hist., H. 204. 

Wagner, Supp. Schreb., IV. 371. 

PuCHERAN, Mon. Cerf. Archiv. du 
Mus., VI. 369. 

Peale, Phila. Ad. Sci., I., II. 

Richardson, F. B. A., 254. 

Baird, Pacific R. R. Surv., 656. 

AuD. & Bach., Quad. N. Am., II. 206. 

Griffiths, An. Kingd., V. No. 794. 

Gray, Knows. Menag. Ung., 67. 

Gray, Pr. Zool. See. Lond., XVIII. 

Warden, Hist. U. S., 640 [Richard- 

Desmarest, Mamm., 443. 

Lewis & Clark, Exped., by Paul 
Allen, L 95, 220, 242, 462. 

GoDMAN, Nat. Hist., IL 305. 

Richardson, F. B. A., 254. 

James, Long's Exped., II. 276. 

Gass, Journal, 55. 

Lewis & Clark, Exped., by Paul Al- 
len, IL 410. 

Griffith, An. Kingd., IV. 133 ; V. 794. 

Lewis & Clark, Exped., by Paul Al- 
len, L 301, 303, 311, 315, 324 ; IL 
211,515, 526,530. 

Warden, U. S. L, 245. 

AxJD. & Bach., Quad. N. Am., IL 206. 

Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., VIIL 656. 

Larger than the common deer, and coarser built. Color dark gray. 
Antlers, only on the male. They are once or twice and sometimes thrice 
bifurcated. Ears long, broad, thick, and clumsy, well covered with hair 
on both sides. Tail, short, small, round, white, terminating with a tuft 


of long black hairs ; naked on the under side. Metatarsal gland very large 
and long. Tarsal gland, present. Hoofs black. No white hairs about 
the feet or the metatarsal gland. A white section opposite and below the 

A;t i- - /y^t-v-yi.^rt-,^t.^ J^ GENERAL KEMAKKS. 

This deer was first discovered by Lewis and Clark on the 18th 
of September, 1804, in north latitude 42° on the Missouri River, 
and called by them Black-tailed Deer. By this name they often 
mention it, until the 31st day of May, 1805, when Captain Clark, 
in enumerating the animals found on the Columbia River below 
the falls, calls it the Blule Deer. And by that name they ever 
after speak of it, except in one instance they again call it the 
Black-tailed Deer. On the 30th of August, 1806, near where 
they first saw this deer in 1804, they procured a specimen to 
bring home and called it the Mule Deer. This is the last men- 
tion they make of it. The excessive development of the ears well 
justified them in the name which they gave it. In the Rocky 
Mountain region where the true black-tailed deer is not found, 
it is still known among the hunters and settlers as the black- 
tailed deer. On the Pacific coast, where the true black-tailed 
deer is known, this is called by its true name, the Mule Deer, by 
which designation it is also recognized by naturalists. 

The original range of this deer has not been very much re- 
stricted since he was first discovered, though he has been driven 
back from the Missouri River, and has deserted other limited 
localities, where the miners or settlers have driven him away. 
Its most natural home is a mountainous region, but it is found on 
the great plains hundreds of miles east of them, and it may not 
be improbable that many ever live there that never see a moun- 
tain. On the great plains it most aifects the borders of the 
streams where the ground is broken and arboreous food can be 

West of the Rocky Mountains this deer is met with almost 
everywhere, though much more abundantly in some places than 
others. In the Coast Range of northern California they are al- 
most entirely replaced by the Columbia black-tailed deer, while 
in the Coast Range of southern California scarcely any other 
deer is met with. Here, however, a very distinct variety of this 
deer occurs, differing in important particulars from those found 
east of the Sierras, as will be more particularly explained here- 
after. In all of Oregon, in Washington Territory, and in Brit- 

jc^ ^^^ eu^^Ac...^^ /j'c'/ . ^./-j^- 


ish Columbia, this deer is met with, though much less abundant 
than the true black-tailed deer, or even the Virginia deer. This 
deer occupies about thirty degrees of latitude, from Cape St. 
Lucas on the south into British Columbia on the north. 

If their numbers are diminished by the intrusion of the white 
man, they still maintain their ground with more pertinacity than 
the elk. They have the same defect of vision as have the other 
members of the cervus family, which however is in a measure 
compensated by an acute sense of smell and of hearing. At the 
present time at least they are wary and not to be taken by the 
inexperienced hunter. At their best speed they do not get over 
the ground fast. They do not run, in a proper sense, but when 
in haste they bound along, all the feet striking and leaving the 
ground at once. For a few minutes they may make pretty rapid 
progress in this mode, but it soon seems to fatigue them. Once 
when sitting on a crag on the Rocky Mountains, nearly ten thou- 
sand feet above the sea, with a glass, I watched one which had 
been started by a companion, while he bounded through a valley 
a thousand feet below me. Though he was in view for less than 
half a mile, he showed evident fatigue before he passed out of 
sight. The labor of such a mode of progress, as compared with 
the long graceful leaps of the common deer when at full speed, 
must be apparent to any one who has carefully observed the two. 

Their legs are much larger and coarser than those of the 
Virginia deer, and so in their every motion they are less agile 
and graceful. In their entire form they are awkward and un- 
gainly. Their great uncouth ears, so disproportioned to every 
other part of the animal, are the most ugly feature about them, 
and in fact give tone to the whole figure and tend to dispel any 
admiration which might otherwise be excited. 

In color, this deer for its summer dress has a pale, dull yellow. 
As this is shed in the latter part of summer, it is replaced by 
a very fine short black coat as it appears in places denuded 
of the summer coat as seen partially through it. It retains the 
black but for a few days. Almost immediately it begins to turn 
gray, so that before the summer coat is fairly shed the black is 
mostly gone. As the hairs of the winter coat grow longer they 
grow larger and so become more dense, while they also become 
lighter in color as the season advances. The front border of the 
ear is black. Generally, though not by any means universally, 
black stripes descend from the inner sides of the eyes and unite 
an inch and six lines below, and from the eyes extend up towards 
the antlers, presenting in the forehead of the deer what the hunt- 



ers call the horse-shoe. A black or dark brown spot also is seen 
below each side of the mouth, growing lighter in color as it passes 
around back of the chin, sometimes uniting there and sometimes 
not. The brisket, and the belly back of the fore legs are black, 
growing lighter towards the umbilicus ; thence backward a 
lighter shade prevails, till at the inguinal region it is a dull 
white ; passing up between the hind legs it becomes quite white, 
widening out towards the tail so as to involve all the buttock, 
where the white portion is from six to eight inches broad, pre- 
senting a very conspicuous appearance when the animal is viewed 
from behind. Unlike the white patch on the elk, the antelope, 
and the big horn, this white portion does not extend up the 
rump above the tail more than about an inch, but spreads out 
from the root of the tail each way to the breadth of three inches 
and then descends, widening and then contracting to the inside 
of the hams ; so that at the top the white is six inches broad, 
lower down it is eight inches, and then contracts to four inches 
between the legs. Below the knees and elbows the legs are of 
a dark cinnamon color. 

He subsists upon the same sort of vegetation as that on which 
the other deer of the temperate regions feed. He seems unable 
to masticate freely hard substances, such as dried corn or hard 
shelled nuts, which the others have no difficulty in grinding to 


Black-tailed Deer. 

Black-tailed Deer. 

Cervus iiiacrotis, var. Coliimbinuus. Richardson, F. B. A., 257. 

Cervus ColumbirtUUS Baikd, Pacific R.R. Rep., 659. 

Cervus Lewisii Peale, Mamm. and Birds U. 

S. Ex. Ex., 39. 
Cervus (Cariacus) Lewisii. . . . J. E. Gray, Pr. Zool. Soc. 

Lond., XVIII. 239. 
Cervus Cariacus lumctulatus. . . Gray, Knows. Menag., 67. 

Cervus Ricliardsouii Aud. & Bach., III. 27. 

Coluiubia Black-tailed Deer. . . . Aud. & Bach., III. 27. 
Black-tailed Fallow Deer. . . • Leavis & Clark, Exped., by 

Paul Allen, II. 209, 210, 

211, 27. 

Black-tailed Deer Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., 

VIII. 659. 

Less in size than the mule deer. Short body and short legs. Ears 
large but less in size than those of the mule deer. Eyes large and bril- 
liant. Tail short and round. One foixrth of the circumference of the 
tail on the under side is white ; the balance is a tawny dull black. 
The black is of the deepest shade on the lower part. Metatarsal gland 
between the tarsus and the middle of the leg, is intermediate in size 
between those on the mule deer and those on the Virginia deer. Tarsal 
gland much the same in size and form as on those two species, and of a 
shade lighter color than the surrounding coat ; color of body a tawny 
gray, with white on back part of belly and inguinal region, extending to 
root of tail. The face is gray with darker forehead. Under the head 
white. Legs generally of a uniform dark cinnamon color, not a white 
hair to be found upon them helow the hock. Antlers once or twice bifur- 
cated. Gait like that of the mule deer. Is found on the Pacific coast of 
the United States and British Columbia only ; having the most limited 
range of all the deer found in the United States, and perhaps on this 


This interesting species of deer was first discovered by Lewis 
and Clark, near the mouth of the Columbia River. They first 
mention it under date of the 19th of November, 1805. They 
say : " This, like all those we have seen on this coast, are much 


darker than those of our common deer. Their bodies, too, are 
deeper, their legs shorter, and their eyes hirger. The branches 
of the horns are similar, but the upper part of the tail is black 
from the root to the end, and they do not leap, but jump like a 
sheep frightened." 

In their general description of the fauna observed during their 
expedition (vol. ii., p. 209), they enumerate the Cervidte thus : 
"■ The common red deer, the black-tailed fallow deer, the mule 
deer, and the elk." They hunted it for the larder, but did not 
admire its flesh, pronouncing it dry and hard. From this we 
may infer that the deer were then in bad condition, for subse- 
quent observations prove that the venison is of good quality. It 
is a cautious and wai-y animal in the forest, which it much affects, 
requiring all the skill and caution of the practiced hunter to se- 
cure success in its pursuit. The most extraordinary fact in con- 
nection with this deer is the extremely narrow limits of its range, 
which is within a narrow belt along the Pacific coast of America, 
in the temperate zone. In many parts of this district it is the 
most abundant deer to be met with. Why it has never wandered 
beyond these bounds, it is hard to say. It has never even reached 
the base of the Rocky Mountains, except possibly in the extreme 
northern part of its range. The mountain barriers could not 
restrain it ; for it ranges high up on the Sierra Nevada, and is 
found at the eastern slope of that range. If the deserts at the 
south would deter it from an eastern migration, the valleys of the 
streams heading in the Rocky INIountaing, and emptying into the 
Columbia River, invited it to follow their banks, and would have 
led it to the summit of the range, and to practicable passes. The 
mule deer, which associates with it on the coast, although less 
enterprising than our common deer, the elk, or the moose, has 
occupied the entire range of the Rocky Mountains, and all the 
habitable parts of the desert countr}^ west of it, and also extends 
its range far down the plains which lie eastward, and formerly 
reached the Missouri River as far down as the Big Sioux, if not 
the mouth of the Platte. In my grounds they have endured the 
change of climate, food, and habit better than the mule deer, if 
there be any difference, so that they were not deterred from 
extending their range further eastwai-d by the rigors of the sea- 
son any more than their larger neighbors. Still some conditions 
exist which I am unable to point out, which seem to confine 
them to that circumscribed, country, beyond which it is impos- 
sible for them to pass. An imaginary line which becomes quite 


as impassable as a Chinese wall to an entire species of animals 
who have full physical power to traverse it, but do not, while 
all others pass it unhesitatingly, is certainly a curious and an 
interesting fact, well calculated to stimulate the naturalist to 
seek for the cause, which has hitherto eluded all inquiries. 

In its own home, this animal seems to be healthy, vigorous, 
and prolific, the females generally producing two and sometimes 
three at a birth. 

The bifurcated antler and the bounding gait observed in the 
mule deer, are found also to be characteristics of this deer, but 
they are strictly confined to these two species ; nor is it easy 
to conceive why this laborious and fatiguing gait has not in 
the course of time given place to the more easy and enduring 
running pace of the Virginia deer, which inhabits the same 

Both these deer know how to gallop, and do so when not ex- 
cited and at a moderate speed ; but when alarmed and seeking to 
make a rapid flight, they strike into the nervous bound, which 
although rapid at first, can be endured but for a short time, and 
is particularly laborious on broken ground. 

Common Deer. 

Cervus VirginianilS Boddakrt, Elenchus Animalium, 

I. 136, 1784. 
ZiMMERMANN, Penn. Arkt. Zool., 

31, 1789. 
Gmelin, Syst. Nat., I. 179, 1788. 
Keur, Linn., 299, 1792. 
Shaw, Gen. Zool., II. 284. 
ScHREBER, Saugt, V. 1836. 
Desmarest, Mamm.. II. 424. 
Harlan, Fauna Am., 238. 
Doughty, Cab. Nat. Hist., I. 3. 
Godman, Am. Nat. Hist., II. 306. 
De Kat, N. Y. Zool., 113. 
Wagner, Supp. Scliieb., IV. 373 
AuD. & Bach., N. Am. Quad., II. 

220; III. 168. 
Baird,- Pacific K. R. Rep., VIII. 

J. E. Grat, Knows. Menag., 66, 

Erxleben, Sjst., 312, 1777. 
Douglas, Zool. Jour. IV., 330. 
Richardson, Fauna B. A., 25. 
Wagner, Supp. Scbreb., IV. 375. 
AuD. & Bach., N. Am. Quad., III. 

Pucheran, Mon. du Cerf, Archiv. 

du Mus., VI. 322. 
Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., VIII. 


Cervus Mexicauus Gmelin, Syst. Nat., I. 179, 1788. 

Wagner, Supp. Sclireb., Saugt., 

IV. 378. 
GiEBEL, Saugt. 1855, 340. 
Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., 653. 

Virginian Deer Pennant, Syn., 51. 

Shaw, Genl. Zool., II. 284. 

Cervus (Cariacus) Virginianus. 

Cervus dania Americana. . . 
Cervus leucurus 

About the size of the Columbia deer, with longer legs and longer 
body ; head lean and slim ; nose pointed and naked ; eyes large and lus- 



trous ; ear small and trim ; antlers have a spreading posterior projection, 
and then curve anteriorly with posterior tines; neck long and slender; 
body long for its size ; tail long and lanceolate in form ; legs straight 
and long. 

Lachrymal sinus covered vfith a fold of skin ; tarsal gland present; 
metatarsal gland small, and below the middle of the leg, naked, and sur- 
rounded by white hairs ; outside of these there is usually a band of dark 
brown hairs, which are surrounded by long reversed hairs of the color 
of the leg. 

Two annual pelages. Summer coat, from bay red to buff yellow ; 
winter coat, a leaden gray, greatly variant. Deciduous antlers, and con- 
fined to the males. 



This deer has the widest range of any member of the family 
in any part of the world. Its range is from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific, extending into Canada and British Columbia on the 
[north, and penetrating far into Mexico on the south. It may be 
found to-day, in every State and Territory of the United States. 
It Inhabits alike the dense woodlands and the open prairies, the 
high mountains and the lowest valleys, the arid jjlains and the 
marshy swamps. 

As we might well expect from its wide distribution and varied 


range, we find several more or less distinctly marked varieties of 
this species, all of which have well defined indicia which deter- 
mine their specific identity. This branch of our subject will be 
considered in another place. 

From its wide distribution and great numbers it is quite famil- 
iar to nearly all Americans, and is almost the only one known to 
most of them. 

In form and action it is the most graceful of all, and has been 
more frequently domesticated than any other, yet rarely have 
persistent attempts been made to reduce it to complete and per- 
manent domestication. When young it is a pretty pet around 
the premises, but in a few years it becomes dangerous, and so is 
generally got rid of. In its markings it is less stable than either 
of the other species. In shades of color there are wide differences 
among individuals in the same neighborhood, while fugitive mark- 
ings are frequently observed, which are present only for a sin- 
gle year, and some individuals have permanent markings which 
are wanting on others. In summer pelage a large majority are 
of a bay red, but with a great diversity in shade, while others of 
the same herd will be of a light buff yellow ; between these ex- 
tremes almost every shade may be seen. 

In a given neighborhood there is a great difference in the size 
of individuals, but there is a permanent difference in size in dif- 
ferent localities ; the smallest being found in the southern part 
of the range, bordering the Gulf of Mexico and in Northern 
Mexico, the westerly ones being the smallest of all, where they 
have been classed by naturalists as a separate species, under the 
name of Cervus Mexicanus. In their northern range and in the 
mountainous regions of the west, the white portions cover a 
larger surface of the body than in other regions, where they have 
been ranked by many naturalists as a separate species under the 
name of Cervus lucurus. By hunters these have been called 
the long-tailed, or white-tailed deer, the latter name having 
been used by Lewis and Clark, while in truth their tails are no 
longer than those found in other regions. From the larger ex- 
tent of white frequently if not generally found on them, we 
might possibly be justified in assigning them the distinction of a 
variety, though this peculiarity is by no means universal, for 
many individuals cannot be distinguished from those found in 
Illinois or Wisconsin. I have one specimen from northwestern 
Minnesota, with all the legs entirely white, to several inches 
above the hocks and knees, with occasionally a tawny hair in- 


terspersed among the white. The white on the belly, too, ex- 
tends up the sides further than is usually observed. This is ex- 
ceptional, though not very uncommon in the northwest, but I 
have never seen it in their middle or southern range. I have 
never found any black on the tails or faces of the northern vari- 
ety, while it is very common on more southern and eastern varie- 
ties. This accords with a law, which however is not universal, 
by which we are led to expect more white on the same species of 
quadrupeds or birds, which are permanently located, in the north 
than in the south. 

The antlers of the Virginia deer are peculiar and easily recog- 
nized. The curvature described is more abrupt than on any 
other species, while the posterior projection of the tines from tlie 
beam is peculiar to this deer, except that it is sometimes ob- 
served on exceptional antlers of the mule deer and the Columbia 
deer, as will be more particularly described in the appropriate 

I have closely studied this interesting animal for many years, 
both in domestication and in its wild state ; and the notes of 
my observations upon it would fill a volume, but I think I can 
better present such of the facts as I can find space to insert, un- 
der the different branches of my subject, where I propose to com- 
pare the different species. Perhaps I should make this mono- 
graph fuller, as I am strongly tempted to do, but I fear I should 
not know where to stop, and so might compel myself to too much 
repetition hereafter, when I shall necessarily have to go over 
many of his leading characteristics, to show where they agree 
with or differ from the other species. 



Barren-ground Caribou, Male. 


Barren- ground Caribou, Female. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 

Rangifer Groenlaudicus. . . . Baird, Pacific R. R. Rep., VIII. 

Cervus tarandiis Groenlandicus. Kerr, Linn., 297. 
Cerviis taraiiilus, var. a, Arctica. Richardson, F. B. A., 241. 

Common Deer Hearne, Journey, 200. 

Barien-ground Cariboo. . . . Richardson, F. B. A., 241. 
TaraudllS arctiCUS Baird, U. S. Pat. Off. Rep. Agr. 

for 1851, 105. 

This animal is of the reindeer type, but is much smaller than G. taran- 
dus, and indeed is smaller than any of the deer which we have hitherto 
described. Antlers much longer and more slender than those of the 
woodland caribou. The tines are very erratic in form, some of which 
are palmated. In color it strongly resembles the larger species of rein- 
deer, though it is of appreciably lighter color. In the specimen before 
me the legs, instead of the brown color of the other species, are white 
with a brown shade on the anterior side, extending half way down. In- 
stead of a white section around the top of each hoof, the whole foot is 
white to some distance above the accessory hoofs, where the brown hairs 
in front begin to invade the white. Metatarsal gland absent. Tarsal 
gland present. 


I confess to feeling a very great interest in this little reindeer, 
and exceedingly regret the want of an opportunity to study it in 
its arctic home, or even to inspect a living specimen ; my own 
observations have been confined to mounted specimens, to skins, 
feet, and legs in my collection. From these I can understand 
sufficient for a simple monograph of the animal, but for all else 
necessarily I am indebted to the observations of others, both 
printed, written, and oral. Fortunately, I have met with some 
very intelligent gentlemen who have spent years of their lives 
where they abound, and whose observations are of the greatest 
value. The specific place to which this animal is entitled in nat- 
ural history, has not been definitely settled by naturalists. Sir 
John Richardson very strongly intimates that it is his opinion 
that it is a distinct species from the woodland caribou, yet he 


does not say so directly. While he treats these two species in 
separate articles, yet he introduces both under the specific name 
of the Lapland reindeer, Cervus tarandtis., the smaller variety he 
designates aretica, and the larger, sylvestris, so that he is far 
from asserting a specific difPerence. Audubon and Bachman, 
with very limited opportunities for judging, incline to the opin- 
ion of specific identity, and Baird leaves the question undecided. 
After much study and reflection I am of opinion that they are 
distinct species. 

The range of this deer extends from the Atlantic Ocean on the 
east, to Mackenzie's River or the Rocky Mountains on the west. 
Beyond this it is replaced by the woodland caribou. On the 
north it extends its range beyond the continent and visits the 
islands of the Arctic Ocean. Richardson fixes tlieir southern 
limits on the east, at Churchill in north latitude 59° on Hudson's 
Bay, but Mr. McTavish, of the Hudson's Bay Company, informs 
me that they are found still further south on the peninsula of Lab- 
rador. Westward of this point they do not come so far south ; so 
that the line of their southern limits from the Atlantic pursues a 
course north of west. This may be accounted for by the fact, 
that the temperature is much colder on the eastern coast than in 
the same latitudes in the interior and on the western coast. 
Captain Hall found them north and east of Hudson's Bay, and 
nearly all arctic explorers have found them on the islands of the 
Arctic Sea, where they serve to supplement the supply of sea 
food to the Esquimaux. They are very abundant on the penin- 
sula east of Hudson's Bay, where from necessity their migratory 
range is very circumscribed. Its habits are more arctic than 
anj'^ other ruminant of this continent except the musk-ox, which 
affects the same frigid temperature, but is even less widely dis- 
tributed and far less numerous. 

The statement of Dr. King, as quoted by Baird, for the pur- 
pose of showing a specific difference between the barren-ground 
and the woodland caribou is this : " that the barren-ground species 
is peculiar not only in the form of its liver but in not possessing 
a receptacle for bile." This implies certainlj^ that Dr. King had 
found on examination that the woodland caribou has the gall 
bladder attached to the liver. This cei-tainly is not so, for the 
gall bladder is wanting in the woodland caribou as well as in all 
of the other members of the deer family, a fact long since ob- 
served and attested by several naturalists and often confirmed 
by critical examination. Notwithstanding there are many strong 


similitudes between our two kinds of caribou, tliere are numer- 
ous well authenticated differences, which when well considered 
not only justify but compel us to class them as distinct species. 

The difference in size, if this were the only distinction, would be 
entitled to but little weight in the consideration of this question, 
especially when we remember that we often find animals of the 
same species occupying high latitudes, smaller in size than those 
of warmer countries. The reverse, however, we find generally 
the case with our Cervidoe. Our common deer are the smallest 
in Texas and Mexico, where, simply on account of their diminu- 
tive size, without any other well established and universal dis- 
tinction, they have been classed as a distinct species, Cervus 
3Iexicanus. The mule deer in Lower California are even more 
diminutive in size, and their antlers have been reduced to a single 
spike. We may find little difference in the size of the moose, 
which we may ascribe to a difference in the latitude of their 
habitat. In the valley of the Mississippi the weight of evidence 
is that the southern Elk are the largest ; but I do not learn that 
this is so on the Pacific slope, or even in the Rocky Mountains. I 
repeat, however, that I should not consider the difference in size, 
which is fully one half, sufiicient of itself to establish a specific 

The proportionate difference in the size of their antlers is still 
greater, and I think possesses more significance. While the size 
of this animal is only half that of the woodland caribou, its antlers 
are fully twice as large. This proportionate difference of four to 
one is entitled to weight in this inquiry. Buffon and some 
others have concluded that the size of the antlers depend largely 
upon the amount and quality of the food supplied the deer. 
This position is not absolutely refuted in this instance, for the 
supply of food to the Barren-ground Caribou is really unlimited, 
and is of the most nuti-itious quality, but the same is true also in 
that portion of Labrador occupied by the larger species. Hind 
assures us that he there found the beds of reindeer moss three- 
feet deep, affording comfortable walking over vast fields of erratic 
rocks, which were almost impassable where the moss had been 
burned off, and yet not a word is said about an excessive de- 
velopment of the antlers of the deer. If the great abundance 
and excellent quality of the food supplied the northern deei', has 
stimulated to this excessive growth of the antlers, it would cer- 
tainly be not unreasonable to expect that it would have equally 
promoted an increase of the body of the animal, for all admit 


that the size of all animals largely depends on the quantity and 
the quality of the food with which they are supplied. This is 
much better established than that the size of antlers is depend- 
ent on the same cause. The question is, why are the larger 
antlers grown on the smaller animal ? Is it due to accidental or 
factitious causes or to a specific difference ? T perceive no cause 
which could have produced this great development of the antlers, 
which would not also have produced an equal development of the 
whole animal. 

In habits, too, they differ very considei'ably. The larger spe- 
cies are much less gregarious than the smaller. I do not know, 
however, that I should make very much out of this, for it may 
be accounted for by their greater numbers. The woodland 
caribou are nowhere so abundant as the others, and are seldom 
found in large bands ; two or three, or a dozen at most, being 
found together, except in the interior of Newfoundland, where 
their numbers are much greater, and there they are found in 
larger herds than on any part of the continent, as far as I can 
learn, except to the west of Hudson's Bay, where Richardson 
informs us that large numbers assemble together and move in 
bodies. Cormack, to whom we ai'e indebted for the first reliable 
information of the habits of this deer in the interior of New- 
foundland, tells us that they migrate in search of food in single 
file, in herds of from twenty to two hundred each, and so the 
whole country is cut up in every direction with their paths. We 
have no account that the northern species travel in this order, 
and they assemble in bands of thousands. 

We may, perhaps, attach more weight to the difference in their 
habits of migration. The northern species are strictly migratory, 
traversing in their migrations some ten degrees of latitude or 
more from the Arctic Ocean, south, excepting where confined bv 
physical barriers, as in Labrador. The woodland caribou are 
migratory too, but to a less extent, or rather the habit is less uni- 
versal. In Newfoundland, their migrations are necessarily lim- 
ited in extent. On the continent, they are at liberty to go to 
the Arctic Sea, but tliey stop short of the sixtieth degree of north 
latitude, and probably but a small proportion reach that. The 
migrations of many, if not of a large proportion, are jjrobably 
from one part of some pretty large district adapted to their wants 
to another part, as may be prompted by circumstances, either the 
disturbed condition of the country, or the exigencies of food sup- 
ply. Those living in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick probably 


rarely leave those provinces, while they may frequently pass from 
one favorite haunt to another. They are very restless animals, 
almost constantly on the move, and, indeed, this is the disposi- 
tion which promotes habits of migration. 

The summary of all the evidence I can gather on the subject is, 
that the woodland caribou are migi-atory in their habits, but to 
a much less extent than the northern species, even where there 
are no physical obstructions to limit their migrations. 

The most singular feature of this habit is thus stated by Sir 
John Richardson ("Fauna Boreali Americana," p. 250), who 
says : " Contrary to the practice of the Barren-ground Caribou, 
the woodland variety travels to the southward in the sjDring. 
They cross the Nelson and Severn rivers in numerous herds in 
the month of May, and pass the summer on the low marshy 
shores of James Bay, and return to the northward, and at the 
same time retire more inland in the month of September." Here, 
then, we find the woodland caribou migrating to the northward, 
on the west coast of Hudson's Bay, and west of it as high as 
55° to 57° of north latitude, which is within one degree of 
Churchill, which is near the southern limit of the range of the 
Barren-ground Caribou in that longitude as given by Richardson, 
though I have authentic evidence that they sometimes come con- 
siderably farther south in exceptional seasons. Mr. McTavish 
assures me, that in the winter of 1856, the Barren-ground Cai'i- 
bou came in great numbers down the Mississague River to Lake 
Huron, about thirty-six miles below the Bruce Mine. This was 
in about 47° north latitude, and the extreme southern point of 
the range of the woodland caribou. This, we may admit, was 
very exceptional, but we may, I think, safely assume, for all the 
evidence clearly establishes the facts to this extent, that the 
northern range of the southern species, and the southern range 
of the northern species overlap each other, for at least a degree, 
and sometimes very much more, not only in Labrador, but also 
west of Hudson's Bay. As we go still further west, even to the 
Coppermine and Mackenzie rivers, which is the western limit of 
the range of the Barren-ground Caribou, the southern line of 
their range trends more to the northward, and so does the northern 
range of the woodland caribou, and as the latter travel north in 
the fall, at the same time that the smaller species return from 
the arctic regions with their young, they must there, sometimes, 
meet on common ground during the rutting season, at least the 
latter part of it. This season, with individuals, continues for 


months after it has passed with most of them, with the species in 
my grounds, and it is no doubt so with all the species. Much of 
the southern or winter range of the Barren-ground Caribou is 
south of the bai'ren grounds, or intersects their southern parts, so 
that there the woodland caribou finds the forest which is indis- 
pensable to his contentment, and to those forests the Barren- 
ground Caribou resort during the winter season. Richardson 
says : " Except in the rutting season, the bulk of the males and 
females live separately ; the former retire deeper into the woods 
in the winter, whilst herds of the pregnant class stay on the skirts 
of the barren grounds and proceed to the coast very early in the 

Now, from all this it is impossible to avoid the conclusion 
that the two species occasionally, yes, frequently, meet on this 
common ground, at times when the sexes are drawn to each other, 
and yet there is no evidence that there has been any intermin- 
gling of the species. Each maintains its individualities as dis- 
tinctly as when first discovered, and no doubt as they have 
existed for ages. This could only have occurred from sexual 
aversion, which does not exist between varieties of the same 
species, but only where there are specific differences. Take a 
white or albino deer of any species, and there is no sexual or so- 
cial aversion between it and the other members of the species, and 
the same is true of all other animals. By some means all seem to 
look beyond the exceptional appearance of the individual and 
recognize their fellow at a glance. This aversion is not absolute 
and universal, no doubt, for we sometimes see individuals of dif- 
ferent species, and even of different genera, contract a fondness 
for each other, even to the extent of sexual intercourse ; but when 
this is entirely voluntary, it is very exceptional. This more fre- 
quently occurs among animals in domestication or in semi-domesti- 
cation than in the wild state, but even there it may sometimes 
occur when a mate of the same species cannot be found. Such 
union between individuals of different species, when it does take 
place, may most likely be fertile, and the hybrids may possess 
the powers of reproduction, and may transmit that capacity to 
their posterity, as we shall see, when we come to treat of Jiyhrid- 
ity, but this is not conclusive of the specific identity of the orig- 
inal parents. 

But for this general sexual aversion between individuals of 
different species, no mere imaginary line could have kept these 
two kinds of reindeer separate, to say nothing of how they origi- 


nally separated with no physical barrier between them. Accord- 
ing to a universal law of selection the larger males of the wood- 
land caribou would have driven off the males of the smaller 
species, whenever they did meet on the common ground, and 
would have left their impress upon their progeny, which being 
larger and stronger than the pure bloods would soon have 
usurped the entire paternity of the race and all distinction would 
long since have been obliterated. It is no answer to this to refer 
me to different varieties of the same species occupying different 
and distant localities, and which vary in size, for instance, as 
much as these do, as the Virginia deer or the mule deer. Those 
species are not migratory, so that they remain substantially in the 
same locality for many generations', if not driven away by vio- 
lence, so that climate, aliment, and other accidental conditions 
may in time produce a hereditary impress upon those occupying 
the particular locality where the particular causes exist. This is 
not possible with migratory animals, where as in this case noth- 
ing but an imaginary line separates the territorj^ occupied by 
each, and where even that line is frequently if not annually over- 
stepped by individuals. Even without the habit, mentioned b}'- 
Richardson, of the southern species migrating north and the north- 
ern species south in the fall, the habit of migration would in time 
have brought them together, when the larger males of the south 
would have become the progenitors of the entire race, and the 
broad distinctions, now so conspicuous and so constant, would 
have been lost. If not migratory, then we might accept the 
explanation suggested by their different localities as a sufficient 
reason for the differences observed. 

Why, then, do these two meuibers of this great family live 
upon contiguous and even overlapping territories and continue so 
completely separated, with no visible cause to keep them apart ? 
It must be because of inherent constitutional, specific differences. 
It is evident that their well-beings require different conditions of 
life arising from organic differences which are permanent and in- 
flexible : one cannot live and prosper where the other must live 
in order to prosper. 

We learn of the differences which have been pointed out, as it 
were, by accident, for their habitat is so remote and inaccessible 
that the Barren-ground Caribous have been rarely visited by com- 
petent naturalists, and I have no doubt that when they shall be 
carefully studied and thoroughly understood by competent ob- 
servers, still broader distinctions between the two species will be 


found to exist, which will remove every doubt which may be still 
entertained as to their specific differences. For myself, I do not 
believe it possible for simple varieties of the same species with 
migratory habits to occupy contiguous territories, and still main- 
tain differences so pronounced and so constant as we find between 
these two kinds of reindeer. When the comparative anatomist 
shall have taken the subject in hand and carefully studied both, 
he will probably find many similitudes not yet noted ; so too he . 
will probably find differences not yet imagined. 

We have many facts stated which will subsequently appear in 
the diffei'ent divisions of this work, and especially " The Chase," 
which tend strongly to show that the eye of the Barren-ground 
Caribou is duller than that of any of the other deer, and that this 
defect is not compensated by so sensitive a smell as is possessed 
by the others. They moreover show that it is a most witless an- 
imal, easily dazed and confused by danger or fright, without strat- 
agem or the capacity to evade its enemies. It seems more likely 
to run into danger than to avoid it, although the way of escape 
may be plainly open before it. In all this it is the very reverse 
of the woodland caribou, except that the latter has an unreliable 
vision, although not to the extent of the former. Even the moose 
is hardly more fertile in resources to elude pursuit, or escape 
from danger than the woodland caribou, and it is a proud tri- 
umph for the sportsman who takes one. 

Of the endurance of the smaller species, I am not sufficiently 
advised to speak understandingly, but from the accounts given of 
their capture I am led to tlie conclusion that they are prostrated 
by a wound which most other deer would survive for a consider- 
able time. 

They have a foolish curiosity fully equal to that of our ante- 
lope, of which hunters know how to take advantage, and by 
which the animal is often beguiled to destruction. 

The young have been often caught and tamed, and like the 
other deer they soon lose all fear of man and become interesting 
pets, but when they have been removed from their native boreal 
regions they have soon perished. 

Acapulco Deer. 

Smallest of all the North American deer. Head broad and full. Eye 
prominent and bright. Ear small and thin, covered with very short, fine 
hair, black outside and white inside. Nostrils large. Nose naked and 
moist. Neck slim, tapering, and elevated. Body short, wund, and com- 
pact. Legs short and slim. Accessory hoofs small. Tail short, bushy, 
and rather flat. Antlers small and short, and flattened towards upper 
part, and notched at end, with small basal snags ; beams are triangular 
near base. Pedicels high and far apart. Metatarsal gland wanting. Tar- 
sal gland present. Face black. Under the head and throat white, but 
proportionally less than on common deer. Neck, back, and sides, dark 
chestnut brown ; darkest on top of neck and back. Brisket nearly 
black. Belly, inguinal region up to the tail, and under side of that mem- 
ber, white. 


After diligent search, I find but one mention of this deer by 
which I am enabled to recognize it. This occurs in a sentence 
in Audubon and Bachman's " Quadrupeds of North America " 
(vol. ii. p. 200), when treating of our antelope. I will quote the 
sentence entire : " The Antelope has no lachrymal pits under the 
eyes, as have Deer and Elks, nor has it any gland on the hind leg, 
so curious a feature in many of those animals of the deer tribe, 
which drop their horns annually, and only wanting (so far as our 
knowledge extends) in the Cervtis RicTiardsonii, which we con- 
sider in consequence as approaching the genus Antelope^ and in 
a small deer from Yucatan and Mexico, of which we had a living 
specimen for some time in our possession." 

I cannot forbear correcting some of the important errors ex- 
pressed in this single sentence. Of all authors which I have 
consulted, here alone Cervus Columbianus is given the name of 
Cervus Richardsonii. Instead of being destitute of the metatar- 
sal gland, it is the most conspicuous on him of any of the deer 
family, except the mule deer, and the learned authors should 
have known that that gland is wanting both on the moose and on 
the caribou. They did not consider this gland of sufiicient impor- 
tance to require particular study, but merely considered it a curious 
feature ; yet for its supposed absence they make an antelope of 



a ueer. The real value of the sentence is in the last two lines, in 
which the author says he had in his possession a small deer from 
Yucatan (?) and Mexico, in which this gland was wanting, by 
which we are enabled to recognize it with as much certainty as if 
he had given the most elaborate description. In our deer this 
gland is wanting also, which distinguishes it from all of the 
smaller deer in this country. 

This exceedingly beautiful animal first attracted my attention 
in Woodward's Gardens in San Francisco, where I found one 
female. The next day I learned that Governor Latham had re- 
ceived a specimen by the steamship Mepuhlic, and hastened to 
his country residence at Menlo Park, where I had the good foi'- 
tune to meet the Governor, who had the deer still in the cage, 
which he at once told me to consider my own. Here I had an 
opportunity to study her with all the leisure and care I desired. 
I then turned her loose in his park to recruit, and examined the 
rest of his herd of deer. I found he had six species : the wapiti, 
the mule deer, the Columbia black-tailed deer, the Virginia 
deer (called in the West the white-tailed or long-tailed deer), 
this same Acapulco or South Mexican or Central American Deer 
(some of which the keeper told me came from Panama, and some 
from Southern Mexico), and one buck from the Island of Ceylon. 
Here was a rare opportunity for study which I enjoyed. The 
keeper took me to the remains of an Acapulco buck, the first ever 
introduced to the park, which had lately died of old age, as he 
said, and was now dried up, but was still susceptible of examina- 
tion, at least in some important particulars. Thex'e was no mis- 
taking its identity with the specimen just presented to me. 
I secured the skin of the outside of one hind leg for microscopic 
examination for the metatarsal gland, the antlers, and a part of 
the skull attached, which ai"e shown in the illustration. These 
antlers differ so widely from any others with which I have ever 
met or seen described or illustrated, that, if typical, they declare 
a distinct species, were there not abundant other specific differ- 
ences to attest the same truth. Under the proper head these will 
be fully described, when they can be compared with the antlers 
of the other species of deer. 

This deer is decidedly darker in color than the common deer, 
with some important differences in the location of the white and 
the dark portions, which will be particularly explained in the 
proper place. 

Mr. Woodward presented me with one female of this species, 


which was ill in his gardens, and died soon after I received her, 
and two Ceylon does. The first was of a much dai'ker color than 
the one presented by Governor Latham, which survived, which 
has always been perfectly healthy. Of all the deer I ever had, 
she shows the greatest tendency to fatten. She remains in fine 
order when shedding the winter coat in the spring, when most of 
the other species of deer become very poor. She even suckles 
two hybrid fawns almost as big as herself, and still remains in 
fine order. I never procured a male of this species till 1876, 
three years after she was turned into my grounds. He was a 
very small specimen, two years old. I do not think they noticed 
each other before September, when I occasionally saw them to- 
gether, or rather the buck seemed inclined to seek her society, but 
she showed herself quite a virago, and would dash after him as if 
she desired above all things to give him a good beating. This, 
however, she was much more inclined to do when I was around 
than when she did not see me. If this was a pretense of mod- 
esty on her part, it was the merest affectation, for, as I shall 
hereafter explain under the head of Sybridity., I fear she has be- 
come thoroughly debauched, by breeding to bucks of another spe- 
cies, and that she will still favor them instead of the male of her 
own species, which she seems so much inclined to punish. How- 
ever, I have lately seen him several times turn upon her, as if 
inclined to defend himself from her vicious attack, and I hope he 
will soon be able to tame the termagant. It is evident she will 
find him a very different subject to deal with from the great 
awkward Mule buck, which she tyrannizes over so wickedly. 

In 1873, at the same time that I procured the Acapulco doe, I 
procured a buck and two does of a size scarcely larger than the 
former, in form and color, and indeed in most characteristics re- 
sembling her very much. The buck was presented to me by Gov- 
ernor Latham, who informed me that he purchased it from the 
deck of a ship just arrived from the Island of Ceylon, whence, he 
was informed, the deer was brought, so that I can no longer doubt 
as to the place of its nativity. The does are undoubtedly from the 
same place. Their close similarity to the Acapulco deer will in- 
duce me to compare them when we discuss tlie different branches 
of our subject. For the present, I will only say that they are 
nearly the same in size, color, and form. Antlers about the same 
size, but differing in form. Both are very courageous, and com- 
bative with other deer. Both are robust, good feeders, and fat- 
ten easily, and bare giving suck remarkably well, though the 


Ceylon does do not keep in as good condition while raising their 
fawns as does the Acapulco doe. The Ceylon deer is of a shade 
the lightest color. The most important distinction is that the 
metatarsal gland is present in the Ceylon deer, while it is wanting 
in the Acapulco deer. Although the Ceylon buck and the Aca- 
pulco doe were brought from California together in a cage, and 
seemed much attached to each other when turned in the park, the 
doe refused to breed to him at the proper season, although there 
was no buck there of her own species. This Ceylon deer is A 
probably the same deer which Sir Samuel W. Baker designates 
as the Red Deer of Ceylon, although I can find no vestige of the 
canine teeth. 

We shall learn more of these beautiful little deer hereafter. 


Having given a description of each of the species of onr deer 
with their characteristics more or less minute, we may find it 
profitable to enter into more detail under different headings, by 
which we may the more completely understand each, and by 
comparison perceive their similitudes and their differences. If 
in doing this we find it necessary or convenient to repeat some- 
thing which has already been said, we may find a recompense 
for it by having the same facts presented in different lights and 
in different connections, and thus the better appreciate their im- 
portance and fix them the more permanently in the memory. 
Indeed much of the value of our investigations must consist in 
comparing the observed facts relating to each species, with those 
of all the others, and to do this we must classify them and bring 
them into as close juxtaposition as practicable. 


It may be proper that we commence the comparison of the 
different species of deer of which I treat by examining their 
respective physical configurations and sizes. In pursuing the 
plan hitherto adopted I will commence with the largest, — the 

Our Moose is not only the largest of the American deer, but it 
is the largest living representative of the family as yet discovered 
in any part of the world. In comparatively recent times a much 
larger species existed in Ireland, whose fossil remains have been 
found complete and are now exhibited as interesting relics of 
foruier times, but our Moose considerably exceeds in size the 
same species in Europe, the Scandinavian elk ; whether he 
has there degenerated in size, may be an open question, but I 
think the weight of evidence shows that he was formerly of a 
larger size than he is now, although individual specimens still 
are sometimes met with as large as the average of our Moose. 

This animal is the most ungainly in form of all the deer tribe. 
Its long head and short neck, its long legs and short body, its 
lack of symmetry in almost every line, leave no room for admira- 


tion, while its small sunken eye, with its sinister expression, com- 
pels the observer to turn away with an unpleasant sensation. 
Still its structure in many respects seems to adapt it to meet the 
exigencies of the life which it is obliged to lead. Its long and 
powerful legs enable it to force its way through snows and 
thickets which it often encounters in winter, and to wade and 
swim in the water, to which its summer habits lead it. Its fore 
legs are considerably longer than its hind legs, which makes it 
much taller before than behind, while its short horizontal neck 
seems to magnify this deformity. 

They vary much in weight as well as in height. The largest 
specimens attain a weight of more than twelve hundred pounds, 
and are six and one half feet tall anteriorly, though the average 
weight and height are much less than this. The female is con- 
siderably smaller than the male. 

The next in size is our Elk, the Wapiti Deer. One is not 
struck with the beauty of this animal when it is listlessly stand- 
ing in some retired shade quietly ruminating, but when awakened 
by excitement it seems to change its form : animation and ex- 
pression pervade every feature of the animal, and we are at once 
charmed by a beauty and a symmetry which before were entirely 
wanting. Though considerably smaller than our moose, it is 
scarcely less in size than the European elk. There is no mem- 
ber of the family in which a greater diversity of size is met with 
than in the adult Wapiti, both male and female. This is es- 
pecially true of the length of their legs. Some having very short, 
and others very long legs. The maximum live weight of this 
deer exceeds one thousand pounds, and in height the largest 
exceeds sixteen hands, or five feet and four inches. I had one 
which was fully that height, and when he was killed at five years 
old he was estimated to weigh nine hundred pounds, which I 
think was not too much, as at three years old he weighed six 
hundred and fifty pounds without antlers. I have had adult 
females of less than four hundred pounds' weight. 

The Woodland Caribou ranges next in size. It has shorter legs 
and is not so high in proportion to weight as those above named. 
Among them, too, is a very considerable difference in size. Four 
hundred pounds is the largest weight I find specified foi- this 
animal, though I think it probable this weight is sometimes ex- 

This animal approaches nearer in form and proportions to our 
domestic ox than any other deer, though the American variety 


is less so than the Lapland reindeer. This is shown more clearly 
by a reference to the illustrations than could be done by any 
verbal explanations. 

The next in size to the woodland caribou comes the Mule Deer 
of the Rocky Mountains and the West. This animal rarely at- 
tains a live weight exceeding two hundred and fifty pounds, 
though individuals have been killed exceeding this ; still the 
average is much less. Its head and neck are well proportioned, 
though its enormous ears greatly disfigure it ; its body is long 
and well poised ; its legs are long, straight, and rather heavy. 
Its unsprightly action contributes more to its awkward appear- 
ance than any disproportion of its members. 

There is a great difference in size among individuals of the 
species, depending much on the altitude of their habitat, those 
inhabiting the higher elevations being the largest. I have re- 
ferred in another place to a remarkable variety of this species 
found by Mr. John Xantus, as I am informed by Pi'ofessor Baird, 
one of the most reliable collectors for the Smithsonian Institute, 
who forwarded several specimens to Washington from Cape St. 
Lucas, in Lower California. With all the other indicia of the 
Mule Deer, they are very diminutive in size, and have spike an- 
tlers about six inches in length. This is one of the most remark- 
able modifications of a well-established species to be met with, 
which we must attribute to peculiar conditions of life ; and yet 
I am not fully informed what these peculiar conditions are which 
produce this remarkable physical change. If mere size and 
peculiarity of antler were alone sufficient to establish a specific 
distinction, we should be justified in pronouncing these to be a 
distinct species. I have not been able to learn that this diminu- 
tive Mule Deer has been met with except in the lower part of 
the peninsula, and the extent of its habitat there is as yet uncer- 
tain. In connection with this deer, this fact should be remem- 

The average size of the Columbia Black-tailed Deer is but little 
greater than that of the common deer, and I have heard of no 
individuals having been met with as large as some of the latter 
species. Its limited range may explain its greater uniformity in 
size. It is probably rare to meet an individual whose live weight 
would reach one hundred and fifty pounds, while the average of 
adults would be considerably below that figure. 

It has a broad head, with a large and bx'illiant eye. Its ears 
are large, but not so disproportloned as to attract attention. Its 


body is rather short and round. Its legs, too, are short and rather 
stout, but by no means chimsy. The position in which the tail 
is curved adds much to its appearance. This is only drooping 
instead of being closely depressed when at ease, as is the case 
with all the other deer. 

Oervus Virginianus varies very much in size, even in the 
same latitude, though as a general rule they are larger at the 
north than in their southern range. About forty years ago I 
saw the carcass of one in the Chicago market, which I was cred- 
ibly informed weighed two hundred pounds. Many years ago 
I killed one near the entrance to Deer Park, in Lasalle County, 
Illinois, which I mention elsewhere, which three stout men found 
a heavy lift to put into the end of the wagon, though it was so 
poor as to be unfit for the table. He must have weighed more 
than two hundred pounds. As he was leaping through the brush 
when I shot him, he looked like a large elk, though the excite- 
ment of the moment no doubt magnified him in my eyes. In 
the fall of 1876, I shot a buck in northeastern Wisconsin, which 
was judged by several experienced huntei's to weigh nearly two 
hundred and fifty pounds. Four of our Indians came from camp 
but would not undertake to carry him in (not more than a third 
of a mile), although we were very anxious to have it done. They 
dressed him on the spot and made four loads of him. The chief 
Indian remarked that one might hunt a lifetime and not see such 
a deer as that, and I deem myself to have been exceedingly for- 
tunate in having met two such deer and bagged them both with 
dead shots. Even a deer cannot travel after the bone of the 
neck is torn to pieces with a bullet, or the vertebra is severed at 
the top of the shoulder. 

The largest Common Deer of which I have any authentic ac- 
count was killed in Michigan, and weighecl before he was 
dressed, two hundred and forty-six pounds. But such speci- 
mens are rarely met with. It is much more common to meet 
adults that will not exceed eighty pounds in weight, and the 
average weight may be set down at not more than one hundred 
pounds. The guesses of hunters often give much larger weights. 

These deer differ very much in form and proportions. Some 
have long legs and long slim bodies, while others have short legs 
and short bodies. This has been so observable among those in my 
grounds, that I have sometimes been inclined to class them into 
varieties, transmitting these peculiarities to their offspring. Since, 
however, nearly 'all of those taken wild have disappeared, and 


I have only the descendants from two does, both of which were 
medium in size and form, there is a great uniformity in their 
proportions among those whicli I now have. 

Of all our deer this is decidedly the most beautiful in form as 
well as graceful in motion. Whether standing quietly on the 
bank of a streamlet, or bounding through the forest, it equally 
challenges our admiration. It is the very embodiment of grace- 
ful form and agile motion. 

The Mexican Deer, which I find to be but a variety of C. Vir- 
ginianus, although it has been often ranked as a distinct species 
(C. Mexicanus'), is much smaller than his northern brother, and 
this, as we shall see elsewhere, constitutes his only claim to a 
specific distinction. This variety of the Common Deer, I find no 
account of north of Arizona, and very rarely north of Mexico. 
They are not uncommon in Texas, but east of Texas in the Gulf 
States, they approach much nearer in size to the common variety 
found in their northern range. 

The next in size is the Barren-ground Caribou, or Arctic Rein- 
deer. In form it resembles the larger species, buti s slimmer in 
proportion to its length, and its legs are a little longer in propor- 
tion to its weight. The illustration is from a photograph kindly 
furnished me by Mr. McTavish of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
whose kindness has been already mentioned. The largest speci- 
mens of this animal are found on the peninsula of Labrador, 
where they seem confined to a more southern range than those 
west of Hudson's Bay. A large specimen may weigh one hun- 
dred and fifty pounds, but the average is much less. Ordinarily 
the hunter can easily throw it on his back and carry it to camp. 

The smallest of the North American deer which I have stud- 
ied, is the Acapulco Deer. None of the specimens which I 
have had, weighed over about thirty or forty pounds. The 
male which died in Governor Latham's park, probably when 
in health would have weighed fifty pounds. The male which 
I now have, is not quite three years old and is the smallest 
I have seen and probably the youngest. I have seen a num- 
ber in California, but none as large as the female in my grounds, 
the measurements of which I give : — 


Length of head from between the ears to end of nose • • lOJ 
Space between the ears ......•• 4 

Length of ear ......... 4J 

Width of ear .......... 3 









From end of nose to root of tail . 

Vertebrte of tail ...... 

Length of hairs beyond .... 

Length of hoof on top ..... 

Length of hoof on bottom .... 

Around both hoofs at top .... 

Height at shoulder ..... 

Height at hips 26 

Tliat we may make the comparison I will here give the meas- 
urements by Lichtenstein, as quoted by Professor Baii'd, of a 
male C. 3Iexicanus, remembering that my measurements are of 
a large female : — 

Feet. Inches. 

Total length to root of tail ...... 4 9 

Length of tail ........ G 

Head to between ears ...... 1 

Horn from the burr to top of posterior point ... 9 J 

Horn from the burr to top of anterior point . . 1 

Length of ears ........ 5^ 

Height of body anteriorly ...... 2 9 

Height of body posteriorly . . . . . . 2 10 

The length of the antlers of the Acapulco which died of old 
age, is seven inches ; they have no prongs proper, but are simply 
notched at top with small basal snags. From these measure- 
ments, we might conclude that the Acapulco deer was not more 
than half the size of the smallest variety of the Virginia deer, 
were it not for the fact that the Acapulco deer is shorter legged, 
and shorter bodied in proportion to its weight than the common 
deer ; still the difference in weight must have been very consid- 

The discussion of other branches of our subject will necessarily 
involve, to a certain extent, allusions to the size and form of the 
different species as they come under review. 


When we carefully examine and well consider the coat, or 
covering of hair with which nature has provided the several 
species of deer, interesting peculiarities are revealed, some of 
which are common to all, while others are confined to species or 
varieties or even to individuals. 

The first to be observed is that the coat on the body is cast off 


and replaced tmce in each year, — a provision peculiar to the deer 
family in a state of nature, and almost as extraordinary as the 
deciduous character of their antlers. These coats are well 
adapted to the comfort of the animals during the different sea- 
sons when they prevail. They widely differ, both in structure 
and quantity. So soon as warm weather is established in the 
spring, as on most other quadrupeds, the heavy winter coat, by 
Avliich they have been pi'otected from the rigors of the season, 
becomes loosened and is thrown off ; and is replaced by another 
coat of hairs of an entirely different texture. The new hairs 
spring from the same roots which nourished the old ones. As the 
new hairs slioot out they gradually loosen the old ones, which 
finallj^ drop off. With some species, the process is quite gradual, 
and occupies a considerable time While with others, all seem to 
be loosened nearlj- at the same time. This is particularly so 
with our Elk (Wapiti), when the winter is being replaced by the 
summer pelage, while the change from the summer to the winter 
coat is ver}^ gradual. The winter coat is all detached so nearly 
together, that if the hairs were dropped off so soon as they are 
loosened, the animal would for a time appear almost naked, so 
short would be the new coat. But the inner coat of fur has 
during the winter become felted together, embracing; and confin- 
ing the long coarse hairs, so that they cover the animal as with a 
blanket, after a considerable portion Iiave become loosened, thus 
allowing the young hairs to attain some length before their pred- 
ecessors are gone. Indeed, this old coat does not in fact drop 
off, as in ordinary cases, but it is torn away in large patclies, by 
contact with the shrubbery. There would be no difficulty in 
gathering many baskets full of this coat from the bushes in my 
grounds in the month of June. The large proportion of fur in 
this pelage would render it quite practicable to convert it into 
yarn and cloth, or into felted goods. When the old coat is gone 
the new one is very short and fine, and fairly glistens in the 
bright sunshine. 

How this process progresses with the moose and the caribou, T 
am not fully informed, only that it occurs at the same time in the 
spring, when other quadrupeds discard their winter garb. From 
the fact that this occurs at a time when the deer are not in sea- 
son for the hunter, but few observations have been made of them 
at this time. Careful observations can only be made when they 
are in semi-domestication or in confinement, where they can 
be studied the year round. 


The other species in iny grounds shed the winter coat gradu- 
ally, much as is the case with the cow, so that the new coat has 
attained a considerable length before the whole of the winter 
coat is gone. On the Virginia deer, and especially on the 
Columbia deer, the young red coat showing through the thin rem- 
nant of the old one, gives the animal quite a curious appearance 
for a few days. 

The hairs of the summer coat differ very materially from 
those of the winter coat. They are small in diameter, and as 
solid and straight as those of the cow. Coming from the same 
roots as the discarded coat, we may assume they are the same in 
number, but they are so much smaller in diameter that they 
present an open and loose appearance, admitting freely the sum- 
mer air. With this coat there is no appreciable coat of under- 
fur. This semiannual change of coat I have only been able to 
clearly demonstrate on the body and neck, while on the head, 
legs, and tail, I can only vouch for one change of garb, which 
seems to take place later in the spring, or in the summer. This 
is certainly so, on the tails of all the species in my grounds. 
There, the old hairs are gradually lost through the summer, and 
the new ones as gradually appear and grow, and only become 
conspicuous when the winter coat comes on in the fall. The 
black tuft on the tail of the mule deer is persistent. 

The length of the summer coat on the moose, the caribou, and 
the wapiti is relatively much shorter than on the smaller species. 
On our elk it is less than one fourth the length of the winter 
coat when both are at the longest. On the mule, the Virginia, 
and the Columbia deer, it is about half the length ; on the 
Acapulco deer, and the Ceylon deer, it is more than half the 
length of the winter coat, which as we shall see is very short. 

On the ears of the Virginia deer and the smaller species, the 
summer coat is very thin and light, so that the blood-vessels 
show plainly through it, and the ear appears translucent when 
the sun shines into the front side of the ear and the observer 
stands behind it. The ears of the larger species are well cov- 
ered with hairs during the summer, although light in comparison 
to the winter coat. 

The hairs of the summer coat are without any crinkled or wavy 
appearance so characteristic of the winter coat of all the Cervidse. 
Indeed, this coat seems well adapted to the transmission of heat 
and to promote the comfort of the animal during the heat of 
summer ; with this great disadvantage, however, that it affords 


slight profcecfcion against the flies and mosquitoes, which so fi-e- 
quently infest the native ranges of these animals. The summer 
coat is longest and most dense on the Columbia deer, and so 
affords the best protection against insects, though it may be too 
warm for comfort on a hot day. 

The great objective point for the flies and mosquitoes, is the 
face, from the eyes to the nose. If there is a fly in the forest he 
will be sure to be found on tlie deer's face, which after a while 
seems to become quite insensible, for I have often observed them 
quite happy taking corn from my hand while the face was half 
covered with bloated mosquitoes. The insects, however, do not 
confine themselves to this favorite locality, but attack every vul- 
nerable point where the hair is thin and short. 

This summer coat is worn but three months or less. By 
August it begins to disappear, and by September is entirely re- 
placed by a new garb. This at first is always fine and short, 
but the hairs grow rapidly in length and diameter, till by winter 
they form a dense mass, which bids defiance to the bleakest 
winds and the coldest storms. 

For some years after I had commenced my observations I 
believed that our Elk had but one i^elage during the year, and so 
was an exception to the general rule which governs this genus. 
One day in September, long after I had publicly announced this 
as a fact to a scientific body, I was startled to observe on the 
side of an Elk a slight difference in the color between the upj)er 
and the lower portions of the side, although the line of demarca- 
tion was not well defined. I at once suspected that I had fallen 
into an error, I continued my observations, long and anxiously 
scrutinizing every part of each individual in the band, which I 
could induce to come sufficiently near for the purpose. At last 
it became perfectly clear that I had been in error. The summer 
coats were disappearing and were being replaced by the new coats, 
but the new were in length and color so nearly like the old, and 
the process was so gradual that it had been hitherto overlooked, 
although it had often been the subject of examination. The 
truth is I had not known hoiv to examine for it, for it had not 
occurred to me that the old and the new could be so nearly alike, 
and that the new hairs could spring up among the old ones so 
gradually, and be so well calculated to elude the scrutiny of the 
observer. After I learned how to examine and comprehended the 
mode of the change, the evidence of the truth rapidly accumu- 
lated, till finally the whole process appeared perfectly plain. I 


could see it now very distinctly, and was surprised that I had 
been so long blind with my open eyes. I could now see that 
some of the animals had already taken on almost the entire new 
suits, while others had hardly commenced to cast off the old ones, 
and yet the difference in color was no more than that observed 
between individuals at any season of the year. 

On our Elk it will be observed that the change of coat in the 
fall is exactly the reverse of that in the spring ; while the former 
is so gradual as nearly to elude detection, it will be remembered 
that the winter coat is cast off in great patches, felted together 
so that large portions are carried dangling in tatters after the 
hairs have been actually detached, and present altogether a very 
extraordinary appearance. On this animal we see the two ex- 
tremes of the process. 

The particulars of this process in the Moose and the Caribou 
has not been carefidly studied by any one, so far as I can learn. 
But few have had facilities for studying it, and these have taken 
no interest in the matter. Naturalists have deemed it of so little 
importance, that they have rarely even mentioned the two pe- 
lages, although the marked difference in color of the two coats on 
the Virginia deer, which has been much more studied than any 
of the other species, has been frequently spoken of. 

The red and the blue coats have been constantly remarked 
by hunters, because the deer are always poor when in the red, 
and are only worth killing when in the blue. If I find occasional 
mention made of the summer and winter coats of the moose and 
the caribou, I lack the necessary facts to give a clear idea of the 
minute differences which they exhibit. 

I have in my grounds all the species of which I treat, except 
the moose and the caribou, and have been enabled to study at 
leisure the living specimens, and so may speak with the utmost 
confidence of them. 

In all, the change from the summer to the winter coat is grad- 
ual, the new displacing the old by dislodging the hairs promiscu- 
ously, till they become so thin that the new coat is seen through 
the old. This is not simultaneous over the whole animal, for the 
neck and shoulders may be clothed entirely with the new dress, 
while the old still prevails on the thighs and rump ; or the win- 
ter coat may have replaced the old on the back, while the belly 
still shows only the summer pelage. In some, the new coat 
attains a greater length than in others before the old disappears. 
For instance, on the Mule Deer, the winter coat is scarcely three 


lines long when it appears in place of the old ; it is very soft and 
fine, of a beautiful glossy black, although it undergoes an appre- 
ciable change every day, so that it very soon loses its fine luster, 
and shows the gray, which is its characteristic color during the 
winter. Were this change of garb to take place simultaneously 
over the whole animal, it would for a short time appear in a 
beautiful black suit ; but the change is usually so gradual, that a 
casual observer might not remember the black appearance at all, 
for the part of the new coat which had been exposed for a few 
days would have already assumed its grayish hue, and a part 
would still be covered by the old yellow summer coat. The finer 
the condition of the animal, the more intense and brilliant is this 
black, and the longer it resists the tendency to turn gray. I once 
had a farrow doe that was very fat, which retained the black till 
the yellow was all gone, so that for a few days she was as black 
as a bear, and specimens of the new coat, plucked from the loin, 
were not more than five or six lines long. An examination of 
these hairs showed that the black was confined to the upper part, 
while the lower was of a considerably lighter shade, but none of 
the annular rings of different shades had yet appeared. 

So it is on all the species, to a greater or less extent. When 
the winter has replaced the summer garb, the hairs are short, 
fine, and soft ; but they rapidly grow in length and diameter, and 
undergo the changes of color peculiar to the species.' At first, 
they lie down smoothly, but presently the diameter become so 
great, that they force each other up to a more vertical position, 
or at right angles to the skin. As the diameters increase, he 
cavities within enlarge and become filled with a very light pith, 
they become brittle, and lose their elasticity, so that the integ- 
rity of the walls is destroyed when sharply bent, and they remain 
in the given position. Towards spring these haii-s become so 
tender near the outer ends that they are liable to be broken off 
by the animals rubbing against the trees. This is especially the 
case with the caribou, which by reason of the darker ends of the 
hairs becoming broken ofT, appears in almost a white garb to- 
wards spring. I have observed the same occurrence in many 
instances in the Virginia deer in my grounds. I have known a 
few instances in which the Virginia deer had bitten off, towards 
spring, almost the entire winter coat. I supposed this was 
caused by their being infected by vermin, but I was unable to 
verify this supposition. 

On all the species, the hairs of the winter coat, except the short 


ones on the face and legs, are crinkled, and all are tipped with 
black, wherever the coat is colored, except on the caribou, where 
this law seems reversed. Even the very white hairs, which are 
always found sparsely scattered through the blackest Moose, are 
provided with a jet black tip, so fine, that the naked eye will 
scarcely discern it, though it may be from two to three lines in 
length. Below this is a tawny annular section of the same ex- 
tent; below this, again, the hairs are as white as snow. All of 
the black hairs on the Moose have the russet or tawny section of 
two or three lines in extent, about four lines below the sharp, 
black points, and are white on their lower parts, for from one 
quarter to one eighth their length. The black hairs are more 
elastic than the white ones, and the lower white portions of the 
black hairs are more brittle than the black portions, so that the 
coloring matter seems to add to the strength and elasticity of the 

On the Caribou, the hairs are much shorter than on the moose, 
but they are very dense and compact, forming a remarkably 
warm covering for winter ; and their skins are highly prized by 
the northern natives, who use them for garments. The hairs are 
more uniform in color throughout their length, than on any of 
the other species. As before stated, they are not like the others, 
tipped with black, while they are lighter near the body. On 
the Caribou, where the white generally prevails, the hairs are 
white the whole length, and where the dark color prevails, they 
are dark colored the whole length. 

On our Elk the hairs are longer, and very abundant. They 
are exceedingly light, and excellent non-conductors of heat. 
They are more crinkled than on any of the others, and although 
less brittle than on the caribou, they are quite non-elastic. 
When used as robes, they are very warm and comfortable for 
covering. When used as a cushion, for riding, or in camp for 
a bed, the hairs break down under the pressure, and their beauty 
and even comfort are spoiled. The surface of the hairs appears 
very smooth, but under the microscope the appearance of minute 
scales is disclosed. In form, the hairs on Wapiti for one fourth 
of their outer length taper, terminating with an exceedingly fine 
point, more difficult to be seen than the point of a fine needle. 
Below this the diameter is nearly uniform till near the end, 
where they contract to the root, the neck of which is about one 
eighth the largest diameter of the hair, then the root swells out 
to double the size of the neck and terminates in a semi-spherical 


form. The length of the root is nearly twenty times its largest 

On both the male moose and the elk a heavy mane is foiind 
under the neck. The hairs of this on our elk are eight inches 
long, but I have not found them so long on the moose, though 
others have. On the sides of the neck they are not so long, still 
t\\ej are very much longer than on any other part of the animal. 
The mule deer also has a distinct mane, but not so long as above,, 
and it is on the top of the neck, and even extends along the back 
sometimes to the hips. This mane falls apart so as to hang over 
on either side along the top of the neck, and this parting of the 
hairs continues down the back for a considerable distance, and 
on one specimen I observed it reached the hips. 

On some aged specimens in my grounds I have found this mane 
less conspicuous, and the parting on the top of the neck less or 
scai'cely observable ; but the darker line along the top of the 
neck and back I have found on all the individuals examined, 
whether in my grounds or in the Chicago market, where I have 
seen liundreds, or ni the woods, though this mark is less pro- 
nounced on some than on others. On the rump, just above the 
white tail, where this dark stripe terminates, the black is deeper 
than it is further forward, especially on those where the dark 
line is the faintest. 

The hairs on all the sj)ecies continue to increase in length and 
diameter till January or even February, by which time, on the 
bodies of the elk and the mule deer, they have attained a length 
of two inches or more. On the foreheads they are an inch or 
more in length, which on the elk lie in wavy tufts, but on the 
mule deer they stand up loosely, and are fine and soft. On all 
the species the hairs on the face below the eyes are short and 
stout, and have a backward or lateral set, which must tend to 
admit the rains when the animals are feeding, but allows them to 
remain undisturbed by contact with the brush, or tall grass, or 
weeds, when running through them, and with the wind when 
facing it. 

On the legs, also, the hairs are short, but are the longest on 
the mule deer. On different parts of the legs, the hairs point in 
various directions. Along the middle of the leg their direction 
is rather lateral and upwards, and near the foot downward. 
Those which cover the glands are described elsewhere. 

On the Virginia deer, the Columbia, and the Acapulco deer, 
I do not find any appearance of a mane, either at the top or 



bottom of the neck, although the hairs may sometimes be found 
a little longer on the neck than on the body. 

I have sought on specimens of the Columbia deer in Washing- 
ton Territory, in Oregon, and in California, for the tuft of long 
hairs near the umbilicus, described by Audubon, but I could 
never detect the least appearance of it. Sir John Richardson's 
figure of the mule deer represents that species as provided with a 
similar appendage, but this I can confidently assert is a mis- 
description, as well as the long bushy tail which he puts on the 
same animal. Indeed I have never found this tuft, which is 
universally found on the common bull, on a single individual of 
either of the deer family, and am very confident it is not an 
ordinary appendage to either one of them. This tuft on the bull 
marks the orifice of the theca, which on both the mule and the 
Columbia deer, is far back between the thighs, as is more par- 
ticularly described in another place. 

On the Moose in my collection, the upper lip or niuzzle is 
covered with hairs, except in front, where there is a naked 
space shaped precisely like the cross section of an H railway 
rail, the head of which is exactly between the nostrils, and is 
one inch and ten lines wide ; and from the top of the figure to 
the mouth, on which rests the foot of the rail, is one inch and six 
lines, and the thickness of the neck of the rail is three lines. 
This figure is surrounded with hairs not more than two lines in 
length, which radiate in every direction from the borders of the 
head of the figure, but below that point the hairs assume a 
descending position. These hairs on the upper lip are of a yel- 
lowish dun color dotted over with black spots, from each of 
which springs a stiff, tapering, black hair from three to six 
lines in length. For six inches above the naked space are found 
sparsely scattered similar hairs, from one to two inches in length. 
On this region, and above, the hairs assume an ascending direc- 
tion, and grow lighter in color till a tawny brown is attained on 
the forehead ; but on the cheeks and the under side of the head 
black prevails. Tliis naked mark on the muzzle, and indeed 
this whole description, answers precisely to my observations on 
the Scandinavian elk, only the shades of color are generally 
lighter on the Moose. 

On the Caribou alone, of all our deer, is the muzzle or upper 
lip entirely covered with short, stiff hairs, except a very narrow 
line along the lower edge of the lip. There is no naked line 
down the middle, as has been stated by some, but the coat is 


perfectly uniform entirely across. Between the nostrils, these 
hairs assume an ascending direction, and are of a light drab 
color, as far up as the middle of the nostrils ; above this point 
they grow a little longer and become a chocolate brown for three 
inches, when they become of a lighter shade, but still the face is 
brown up to the antlers. Below, for say three inches, posterior 
to the light dun, or as far back as the angle of the mouth, it 
may be fairly called black. Back of that it fades out to a dirty 
yellowish white along the under side of the head. Around the 
eyes the brown is of a deeper shade than the rest. No long 
black hairs are found on the upper lip or nose of the Caribou, as 
observed on the moose, but in their place are a few white hairs, 
which show conspicuously on the dark ground. I found the same 
markings on the eastern reindeer's face. 

The upper lip of our Elk is also covered with short hairs, ex- 
cept for seven lines in front and the space between the nostrils, 
which is naked, but a point of the coat above invades the upper 
part of this naked space. The dividing space in front, on the 
upper lip, for nine or ten lines above the mouth, is not entirely 
naked, but is dotted over with tufts of very fine short hairs, 
almost like fur. These tufts are less than a line in diameter, 
and over a line apart. These have something the appearance of 
the little tufts on many of the cacti family of plants, and consti- 
tute really a very distinguishing characteristic of the species. 
The hairs of the face are tawny in color, with a yellowish shade 
around the muzzle, but growing darker above, the under lip 
being lightest of all. 

These three lai'ge species, of which we have just spoken, we 
see have the muzzle or upper lip either partially or entirely cov- 
ered with hair ; but on the smallest of the three it is alone en- 
tirely covered, while the next above in size is the least covered, 
and the largest is intermediate. 

All of our species, inferior in size to those above considered, 
and which in other respects constitute a separate division of the 
Cervidse, have the upper lip and the nose as far up as the upper 
part of the nostrils entirely naked, to about the same extent as 
the ox. This naked portion, when the animal is in health, is 
always moist and is cold to the touch, being the only part of the 
animal where an appreciable perspiration is observed. The form 
and relative extent of the naked portion is precisely alike in the 
mule deer, the Columbia deer, the Virginia deer and the Aca- 
pulco deer, and I may add the Ceylon deer ; except that in the 


largest of these, 'the mule deer, the hah's above extend down 
between the nostrils for half an inch or more, terminating in a 
point at an angle of perhaps eighty degrees, while on all the 
others, the upper border of the naked portion passes directly 
across from one nostril to the other, at their upper extremities. 
This naked portion extends around the upper lip, to a point ex- 
actly below the centre of tlie nostril ; so that the posterior half 
of the nostril is only separated from the hair by an exceedingly 
narrow naked border, while all is naked around the anterior half. 
Always on all the species last named, the anterior point of the 
hair on the upper lip, where it meets the naked muffle under the 
nostril, is white. This white portion, altliough always present, 
varies much in extent. Posterior to this white spot, frequently 
occurs a black section extending back to the angle of the mouth, 
and from the mouth upward, embracing the posterior part of the 
nostril, and uniting on top with a similar black section from the 
other side, constituting a black band passing over the nose from 
the mouth on one side, to the mouth on the other. Not uncom- 
monly, especially on the Virginia deer, this black section is not 
continuous, but is confined to a section back of the nostrils, thus 
not reaching the mouth. On tlie Virginia deer the hair above is 
. separated from the naked muffle by a narrow white band, which 
on some is scarcely more than half a line wide, while on others it 
is fully three lines wide. This white border can generally be 
detected on the other species, scarcely larger than a thread, but 
is always the most conspicuous on the Virginia deer. 

Back of this black section when it descends to the mouth, 
commencing at the angle of the mouth, occurs a white section 
the upper and posterior border of which is not well defined. On 
some specimens it is quite limited in extent, while on others it 
difliuses itself over the whole face, posterior to the black jjortion 
above described, which it sometimes compresses into very narrow 
limits on top, while on others the black occupies the whole face 
up to the eyes. Indeed this is nearly always the case on the Aca- 
pulco and Ceylon deei', though it never occurs on the mule deer 
and rarely on the Columbia deer, but happens ver}' frequently on 
the Virginia deer. Thus it will be seen that the inarkings are on 
all alike till we come to the extent of the white portion posterior 
to the black band which passes over the nose just above the nos- 
"trils. Above that and even in that itself great irregularity is 
observed in the markings, only that there is always some white 
portion adjoining this black, though sometimes it may occupy 
but a small space just above the angle of the mouth. 


On all these species also, just anterior to the angle of the mouth 
oil the lower side, occurs another black section, which in a large 
majority of cases resolves itself into a black band embracing the 
lower jaw just behind the chin, though sometimes this band is 
broken on the under side, and sometimes it widens there, so as to 
cover the posterior part of the chin. I have studied this long 
and carefully to find some distinguishing characteristic as appli- 
cable to each species, but without very satisfactory results. The 
most I will venture to say is, that I am inclined to think that 
the black is not so deep and is rather less in extent on the mule 
deer than on the others, but on all the sjDecies it varies very 
much in individuals, both in extent and in depth of coloring. Its 
great value is that it is always found in each individual in all the 
species of this division of the family, while it is wanting on all 
the others. On all, the anterior part of the chin is always white, 
and so it is of a lighter shade on the elk and the caribou, but 
on the moose it is the blackest part of the head. 

On the Moose, even when in his blackest dress, the forehead is 
a dark chestnut color, while the face is nearly black below the 
eyes, and the lower part near the muffle is reddish gray. The 
rest of the head is black. 

On the Caribou the face and indeed the entire head is brown, 
with a reddish tinge, and is the darkest part of the animal, ex- 
cept the legs. 

There is on all the species, except the moose and the caribou, 
a light colored band surrounding the eyes. Tliis varies consider- 
ably in individuals, but it is always present in all ; sometimes, 
indeed, it is hardly perceptible above the eye, while on others it 
is there the most conspicuous, but this variation is among the 
individuals and not among the species, unless it may be less pro- 
nounced on the smallest — the Acapulco deer, but the number of 
specimens of this which I have examined is too limited to enable 
me to affirm that it is so. Its entire absence on the moose and 
the caribou, and universal presence on all the others, is wortliy 
of particular i-emark. 

The face of the Elk is a uniform russet brown from the antlers 
to the end of the nose, except the white band which surrounds 
the eye. 

There is no white under the head of our Elk, in which it re- 
sembles the other two large species, and differs from all the 
smaller species. 

The forehead of the Mule and the Columbia deer is either 


black or dark gray. Most commonly a black line extends 
from each eye to the base of each antler, and these lines ex- 
tend down the face between the eyes, uniting at a point below 
the eyes, while a lighter shade prevails between these lines, 
which, however, is much darker than below. Below this, the 
nose or face is of a much lighter color ; all this is to a degree 
reversed on the Virginia deer and the Acapulco deer. Their 
faces are blackest below the eyes, in many cases almost entirely 
black, while the forehead is not of so dark a color. In all these 
the under side of the head is always white, which extends back so 
as to cover the throat, and a vei*y little below it, but not down 
the neck. 

The colorings of the legs and about the feet show peculiarities 
worthy of study. On two of the species alone, white hairs are 
found about the hoofs. On the Caribou these white markings are 
constant and uniform. The bristles between the claws are white. 
This white extends up and completely surrounds both the lower 
and the accessory hoofs. On the posterior side, between the 
small and the large hoof, these white hairs are very stout and 
firm, partaking, like those between the toes, of the character of 
bristles, except that near the points they are stouter and less flex- 
ible. These peculiarities are found on all the feet at all ages and 
seasons, and on both sexes, and are peculiar to the Caribou. 

In speaking of the Avhite hairs around the hoof of the Caribou, 
Dr. Gilpin says : " The whole toe is enveloped in a beautiful 
fringe of coarse hair, curling down over the black hoof till it 
nearly covers it, passing between the toes to form a thick mop of 
coarse hair wrapping the sole and dew-claws in a warm cushion. 
On glittering ice or slippery slopes, how secure this ice-foot, with 
its keen, catting edge ; in soft snows, spreading the toes, it forms 
a soft cushion to hold up the deer upon its ti-eacherous sui-face, 
as well as to shield it from the cold. We are immediately struck 
with an analogy most unexpected between the hairy feet of the 
deer and the feathered leg and claw of the falcon and great 
northern owl, and we are apt to speculate how the deer passing 
north has had his limbs thus clothed in hair, and has departed 
from the typical, slender, satin-skinned foot of his race." 

Above the accessory hoofs on the Woodland Caribou, the color 
is variably of a clove brown for the winter dress ; but in obe- 
dience to the general law, this dark color fades more or less as 
the winter advances. 

The Barren-ground Caribou has a foot similarly provided withi 


coarse stiff hairs, but the white is much more extended. Instead 
of being confined to a narrow band surrounding the hoofs, while 
the leg is of a nut-brown shade, the whole foot and leg are white, 
except a tawny brown stripe extending down the front of each 
leg, with white hairs interspersed, diminishing in extent as it 
proceeds downward, till it terminates in front of the accessory 
hoofs. At least this is the case with those in my collection, and 
I learn that mine are not peculiar in this regard. The difference 
in the color of the legs of the two species of reindeer, when placed 
side by side, is very striking. But this greater extent of white on 
the northern species is in harmony with a law already referred to. 
In a great majority of cases, more or less white is found about 
the hoofs of the Virginia Deer, but rarely to the extent of that 
which is uniformly found about the foot of the Caribou, so that it 
must be considered a fugitive and not a permanent mark of the 
species. If present, this white is sure to be seen between the 
toes, and sometimes it is limited to that region. Usually this 
white mark extends in a narrow line up the front of the leg to 
opposite the accessory hoofs. The white also frequently shows 
itself around the upper part of the hoofs, perhaps Qnly for a short 
distance, and sometimes, though rarely, quite around both. Some- 
times these white markings appear on one or more of the feet, 
and sometimes on all. On some, no white ever appears around 
the feet. This white is very pure, not a colored hair being found 
intermixed with it. Above, the leg is of the rufous shade, vary- 
ing very greatly in intensity, from the color prevailing on the body 
to almost pure white. I have in my collection a specimen, the 
legs of which are almost entirely of a yellowish white, only a line 
down the anterior edge of the leg has tawny red hairs inter- 
mixed with the white, imj3arting a sandy shade. The tuft over 
the metatarsal gland is a purer white than on the rest of the leg 
of this deer, but the difference is scarcely perceptible. I remark 
the exceptional feature, that the hairs composing the tuft over 
the tarsal gland are for their whole length a tawny yellow, con- 
trasting strongly with the white, clothing the balance of the leg 
inside and outside. This specimen is from the Rocky Mountains, 
where it is called the white-tailed deer, or, further north, the long- 
tailed deer, or Cervus leucurus of some authors ; and yet the tail, 
although there is no black upon it, cannot be distinguished, either 
in length, form, or color, from many living specimens in my 
grounds. I have in another place assigned the reasons why we 
must class this with the Virginia deer, and it is scarcelj"^ entitled 


to the distinction of a variety, the only peculiarity being, that it 
has on the average more white on it than those native east of 
the Missouri River. This specimen has more white on it than 
any other which I have ever seen anywhere. 

On one specimen only of the Wapiti deer have I found white 
hairs around the hoofs, and I have examined hundreds for them. 
This was a fine buck, sent from Laramie, on the Laramie plains, 
and probably killed in that neighborhood in January, 1875. I 
judge him to have been five years old. Around the hoofs on each 
foot was a band of pure white hairs. It extended quite around 
the upper part of the hoofs, and was about three lines broad, and 
was of the like dimensions on each foot. 

We have seen in another place that white spots, or white 
hairs, frequently appear on the Elk, but they are fugitive, never 
appearing in the same form or place, if at all, the next year. It 
would be interesting to know if this was so on the Laramie elk. 

On all the species, save the caribou and the Virginia deer, not 
a white hair has ever been detected around the hoofs, except the 
single elk just named ; but if there be a distinction, the Iiairs 
around the hoofs are of a darker shade than those above, though 
I was disappointed not to find some white hairs there on the 
Acapulco deer and the Ceylon deer. 

The legs of tlie female Wapiti are of a chestnut brown, and on 
the bucks they are brown black, fading out as the season pro- 
gresses to the color of the females, but on the posterior edges on 
both, at all times, is the stripe of a mucli lighter and more yel- 
low shade elsewhere described. 

The leg of the INIule Deer, although quite dark iu the early 
winter coat, fades out rapidly, so that by midwinter it is of quite 
a light color, and by spring, it is sometimes nearly white, but 
individuals differ very much in this regard. The same remark 
will apply to both the Virginia and the Columbia deer. On the 
Acapulco deer, the leg is of a darker color, and fades less during 
the winter, still it fades to a certain extent. 

I have already spoken somewhat of the general color of the 
Moose. We have seen that the new winter coat on the young 
Moose is black, and so it is till he reaches his prime. Although, 
even before that, the intensity or brilliancy of the color may 
lose its lustre. Captain Hardy says : " The first two or three 
days of September over, and the Moose has worked off (from his 
antlers) the last ragged strip of the deciduous skin against his 
favorite rubbing-post." " His coat now lies close with a gloss 


reflecting tlie sun's rays, like that of a well-groomed horse. His 
prevailing color if in his prime is jet black, with beautiful golden 
brown legs and flanks pale fawn." ^ 

Dr. Gilpin, in describing the color in September, of a male 
three years and four months old, says : " The color of this bull 
was in the highest summer coating of deep glossy black and short 
as a well-groomed horse. The muffle and forehead had a brownish 
yellow cast, the cheeks and neck dark black ; the ears were light 
fawn inside, a little darker outside ; the crest yellowish, mixed 
gray and white, and a yellow gray patch upon the croup. The 
inside of the buttock and all the legs both inside and outside 
were bright yellow fawn, the black of the body running down 
half way to the hocks and to the knees, and ending with an ab- 
rupt line in a point. There was also a black line running from 
each hock and each knee in front and widening to join the hoof. 
This line has heretofore escaped observers." 

Audubon and Bachman, in closing their descrij^tion of the 
color of the Moose, say : " The young animals, for the first winter, 
are of a reddish brown color ; individuals even of the same age 
often differ in color, some being darker than others, but there is 
always a striking difference between the summer and winter 
colors, the hairs in winter becoming darker ; as the Moose ad- 
vances in age, the color continues to deepen, until it appears 
black ; thence it was named by Hamilton Smith, not inappro- 
priately as regards color, ' the American Black Elk.' " Here are 
some errors that require correction. While the winter coat is 
darker than the summer coat the striking contrast is in Septem- 
ber, when the winter coat first appears. From that time onward, 
it grows lighter continually. It is manifest, however, that they 
did not mistake the new winter coat for the summer coat, as very 
often occurs, but they clearly recognized the two pelages in each 
year, in the Moose, as occurs with all the other deer, which, 
however, has been rarely noticed or appreciated by those most 
familiar with the animal. How they fell into the ei,Tor of stating 
that the color of the Moose deepens as it advances in age until it 
finally appears black, it is not easy to explain. All most familiar 
with the animal, agree that after the first year, the winter coat 
is blackest, and that after full maturity it sensibly groAvs lighter 
with advancing age. Captain Hardy says: "In old bulls of the 
American variety the coat is inclined to assume a grizzly hue." 

Mr. Morrow writes me, quoting from a friend who often ac- 

1 Forest Life in Acadie, p. 66. 


companies him in the chase of the Moose : " The younger animals 
are darkest. As winter advances the hair grows longer and 
gradually fades, becoming more gray." This fading out of the 
color to a sort of gray, with advancing age, is a fact so well 
recognized by all familiar with the animal, so far as I have been 
able to learn, that I do not deem it necessary to multiply quota- 
tions on the subject. That this is much more the case witli some 
than with others, we may not question, any more than that indi- 
viduals of all ages differ very appreciably in color, which is ad- 
mitted by all. It is by far the darkest colored of all our deer, 
and it is probably the darkest of any known deer of any part of 
the world. It has always been recognized as much darker than 
the Swedish elk, with which, I am entirely satisfied by critical 
comparison, it is specifically identical. 

As I have expressed the opinion so confidently, that the Moose 
has two pelages in the year, while admitting that I have not had 
the opportunity to personally verify this fact, and have not the 
direct evidence of any observer who has done so, it may be 
proper that I should group together some of the evidence which 
I think tends strongly to establish it. 

Let us again recur to what Dr. Gilpin says of the coat in 
September of the three-year old male Moose : " The color of the 
bull was in the highest summer coating of deep glossy black and 
short as a well-groomed horse." Now this was at a time when 
the other species of deer have just discarded the summer coat and 
the new winter garb is just fairly developed. Had our author 
seen him a month earlier, I am very sure he would have found 
him less attractive, in a shabby fawn-colored summer dress, 
already preparing to give place to the one described. 

At the time the Doctor wrote this description, his attention had 
not been called to this second pelage of the Moose, nor do I any- 
where find a direct examination of the subject by any author, 
nor, so far as I know, have the hunters taken particular note of 
it. Hardy says : " His coat now lies close, with a gloss reflect- 
ing the sun's rays like that of a well-groomed horse." I find 
abundant evidence that the Moose has a new coat in the fall in 
many observations, like the above. Even without these, analogy 
tells us that such must be the case, and we should require the 
strongest evidence to dispute her teachings. The fact that the 
Moose is oii.t of season and is never hunted when in the summer 
coat, — that then they are without their antlers, and seek the 
deepest seclusion, — explains how it is that they ai^e rai-ely seen 


when in that unattractive summer suit. Naturalists, studying 
this animal, have not made this particular point a subject of in- 
quiry, and so their attention has not been directed to the facts, 
even when seen, which would serve to elucidate it. We may see 
a thousand things without observing them, if we do not appre- 
ciate their importance. We see them and pass them by in foi'- 
getfulness, unless we see in them some significance. Even so ac- 
curate an observer and accomplished a naturalist as Dr. Gilpin, 
lived among the Moose, as we may say, for forty years, without 
his attention being directed to this particular branch of the sub- 

In answer to my inquiries in reference to two pelages of the 
moose and the caribou, Mr. Robert Morrow, of Halifax, writes 
me : " They have a summer and a winter coat, but that they 
shed it more than once a year I cannot say. The Indians say 
no, but it is not probable that their attention has been drawn to 
the subject. Dr. Gilpin thinks, reasoning from analogy, that 
they partially shed their coat in the latter part of the summer, 
in which case the coat is shed spring and fall." 

When I remember the difficulty I had to detect the shedding 
of the coat in the fall by the elk, and that after years of observa- 
tion with the best opportunities, I wiis still of opinion that he had 
but one pelage in the year, I can appreciate how little reliance 
can be placed on the negative conclusions of even the Indians, 
who, as Mr. Morrow suggests, probably never thought of the 
subject. The observer who detected a clear and well-defined line 
between lighter and darker shades along the side of the caribou, 
saw the same thing, though more distinctly, that first led me to 
discover the change of coat at the end of summer on the elk. 

The mule deer resembles the Moose most in the black color of 
the new winter coat, but it turns to gray much sooner than the 
black of the Moose fades to the grayish white, which it assumes 
during the winter or towards the spring. I again quote from 
Gilpin : " The winter coating (of the Moose) is formed of long 
hair so stiff as to stand bristly outward, and as each hair is lead 
colored at base, grayish-white in the middle, and black at top, 
the whole animal has a grayish appearance. The crest loses its 
yellowish wash, and the hair on the cheeks and neck is both 
darker and shaggier than on the body. There is still a yellowish 
brown wash on the muffer and forehead, and the ears are brown- 
ish fawn. The beautiful yellow fawn and black stripes of the 
legs disappear, and mixed gray cover them, hiding the abrupt 


lines of black and tan." Although our author was not aware 
that he was describing the same winter coat at two different 
periods of its growth, he has done so with marked clearness, and 
he would have appreciated this, if he had watched many individ- 
uals of most of the species day by day from the first appearance 
of the new winter coat, under the disappeai'ing summer coat, 
through all the changes to the faded and worn out appearance 
of spring, and till it is finally cast off in its turn, — he would 
have appreciated that, like the garment of a man, it is most 
beautiful when it is first put on, and the longer it is worn the 
more faded and shabby it becomes. 

Hardy says, the Moose sheds his winter coat about the middle 
of April. In September we find him with a fine, short, soft, glossy 
coat, as black as night. Can any rational man suppose that that 
is the same coat which he took on in the previous April, and 
which he had worn the whole summer ? Has it been growing 
finer, shorter, softer, and acquiring a finer lustre all the summer? 
On all the others the summer coat continues to increase in length, 
and to lose its freshness during the summer, until, when it is 
thrown away, it has a dirty and ragged appearance, and all at 
once, in September, we find it changed to a rich and beautiful 
nuptial dress, the admiration of all who see him. No one ever 
mentions him in this dress in the summer time, and I imagine no 
one of sense will suppose he ever wears such a dress at that time, 
and to suppose that the same hairs which had been long and 
harsh, and dull of color, all at once become short, and soft, and 
brilhant, seems to me to bespeak an ignorance of the growth of 
the coats of quadrupeds. It seems to me impossible to account 
for this ornamental coat in the early fall, except on the conclu- 
sion that it IS composed of new hairs, which have lately taken 
the place of others of a different color and quality just cast off. 

Audubon and Bachman say : " But there is always a striking 
difference between the summer and winter colors, the hairs in 
winter becoming darker." Now this must be a recognition of the 
two distinct coats of summer and winter ; the former of which is 
certainly lighter than the latter, even after it has faded from its 
first brilliant hues. It would be an anomaly, indeed, for a sickly, 
pale coat to change to a brilliant black. 

Both from analogy and attested facts, when their true import 
is properly considered, I think we are warranted in the conclu- 
sion that the Moose, with the others, has its two distinct pelages 
each year. 


Of the individual hairs, Captain Hardy says : " The extremi- 
ties only of the hairs are black ; towards the centre they become 
of a light ashy gray, and finally, towards the roots, dull white." 
With this description most authors substantially agree. My own 
examination, however, shows many exceptions to this, especially 
upon the neck, where I find many hairs black nearlj^ their whole 
length, and quite a number snow-white, from one extremity to 
the other. 

The coat of under fur, which is almost as abundant as on our 
elk, is of a uniform drab, and does not undergo the same changes 
of color which are observed with the long coarse hair, which 
alone are seen by the superficial observer. 

While the head and the legs of the Woodland Caribou are al- 
ways distinctly colored, in a large majority of individuals white 
predominates, especially on the neck, which is almost universally 
the whitest part of the animal. The long white mane of the old 
buck is a very striking characteristic. Hardy says, "The white 
mane reaching to over a foot in length in old males, which hangs 
pendant from the neck with a graceful curve to the front, is one 
of the most noticeable and ornamental attributes of the species." 
This description is undoubtedly of the late winter coat when the 
hairs have attained their full length. There is less uniformity in 
the colors of the bodies than of the head, neck, and legs. While 
the head and legs are tawny brown of varying intensity, and 
the neck white, on some much more pronounced than on others, 
the body is sometimes nearly all white, while others are a rich 
rufous brown on the back as well as the legs, and only the tail 
and rump are white above and the belly and inside of the legs are 
also white. Like all the others, the early winter coat, which re- 
places the summer coat in September, is of the deepest color, is 
finer, softer, and more brilliant than later, when the clove-brown 
shade which first prevailed has given place to the dirty white of 

Dr. Gilpin thus sums up the colorings of the Caribou : " In 
winter, soiled yellowish white ; neck, rump, tail, and under parts, 
pure white ; legs white inside, outside brown, with white fringes. 
In summer, neck, extending into fore-shoulder, rump and tail, 
under parts, and inside of legs pure white, all other parts clove- 
brown ; sometimes reddish and yellowish, with black patch on 
cheek and eye, with white fringe on hoofs." 

The hairs when separately examined are found to be excep- 
tional in color in this, that the tips are never black, and generally 


the hairs are darker beneath than at or near their outer ends, 
which is the exact reverse of what we observe on the other species. 

The under coat of fur on the Caribou is very abundant, and is 
of the color of the hairs among which it is found. Of the coat 
and coloring of the Barren-ground Caribou, Sir John Richardson 
gives this description : " In the month of July the caribou sheds 
its winter covering and acquires a short smooth coat of hair, of a 
color composed of clove-brown mingled with deep reddish and 
yellowish browns ; the under surface of the neck and belly, and 
the inner sides of the extremities, remaining white in all seasons. 
The hair at first is fine and flexible, but as it lengthens it in- 
creases gradually in diameter at its roots, becoming at the same 
time white, soft, compressible and brittle, like the hair of the 
moose-deer. In the course of the winter, the thickness of the 
hairs at their roots becomes so great that they are exceedingly 
close and no longer lie down smoothly, but stand erect, and 
they are then so soft and tender below that the flexible and 
colored points are easily rubbed off and that the fur appears 
white, especially on the flanks. This occurs in a smaller degree 
on the back ; and on the under parts the hair, although it ac- 
quires length, remains more flexible and slender at its roots and 
is consequently not so subject to break. Towards the spring, 
when the deer are tormented by the larvae of the gad-fly making 
their way through the skin, they rub themselves against stones 
and rocks, until all the colored tips of the hair are worn oil and 
their fur appears to be of a soiled white color." 

This certainly gives us a very clear account of the winter coat, 
from its first appearance till towards the sjjring, at least. It is 
very clear that it never occurred to our author to inquire whether 
the animal has two pelages, or but one during the year. That 
question evidently never engaged his attention, and he made no 
careful observations for the express purpose of elucidating it. 
Had he done so he would no doubt have settled it conclusively. 
As it is, I think further observations are required. 

The new coat described is like the new winter coat of the 
other species, which usually comes on in September, upon the 
loss of the summer coat. It is " a short smooth coat of hair." 
If there are two pelages, the casting of the summer coat could 
hardly have occurred before August or September. But can it be 
that the winter coat is carried till July, 

Our author says : " In May the females proceed towards the sea- 
coast Soon after their arrival on the coast, the females 


drop their young ; they commence their return to the south in 
September, and reach the vicinity of the woods towards the end 

of October, where they are joined by the males Captain 

Perry saw deer on the Melville Peninsula, as late as the 23d of 
September, and the females with their fawns made their first 
appearance on the 23d of April." Now, although the period of 
yeaning is not necessarily identical with the time of shedding the 
winter coat, observation shows that it is intimately connected 
with it where the course of nature is unobstructed. If that is 
true of this animal, also, then the winter coat should be discarded 
in the month of May or June at the latest. Then we should 
have to put back the time when the summer coat is shed and 
the new winter coat taken till August or September or even Oc- 
tober, which Dr. Richardson says is the time when the males join 
the females near the southern borders of the Barren Grounds. 
If, as Richardson says, this animal takes on his most attractive 
attire while he is still poor in flesh, while his antlers are in 
active growth, and three months before the season of love com- 
mences, we must indeed consider it very exceptional and very 
extraordinary. It seems to be a provision of nature, that the 
male should be made the most attractive to the female at this 
season. His antlers, which we may presume, according to cari- 
bou tastes are considered ornamental as well as useful, are per- 
fected just previous to the commencement of the rutting sea- 
son, and at the same time all the others wear their handsomest 
dress, and we pause before we accept the conclusion that this 
animal alone wears his best attire in deep seclusion, and quite 
beyond the notice of the other sex and before he is prompted to 
show himself to these this dress must be despoiled of its beauty 
and its attractiveness destroyed by two or three months' wear. 
This may all be so and this exceptional state of things produced 
by his high northern range and the short summers there, but I 
could not help making these reflections, which suggest the possi- 
bility that Richardson may have been mistaken in the date 
which he gives for the time when the most ornamental coat is 
taken on. I hope I have not been misled in making these sug- 
gestions by a desire to maintain a theory which I confess has 
somehow taken possession of me, that all of our deer must have 
two pelages in the year. I know that the maintenance of theo- 
ries is the great bane to impartial investigation, and I try to 
guard against it, but a great number of harmonious facts all 
pointing in one direction, necessarily so arrange themselves as to 


suggest conclusions which soon crj'stallize into theories, and the 
danger is that when such conchisions have been thus reached, or 
such theories have been once formed, we are loth to see any- 
thing which is not in harmony with them. 

If Dr. Richardson is not mistaken in his dates, then I think it 
surely proved that this deer has but one pelage in the year and 
so is exceptional in this regard among our Cervidae. Well, if 
they differ in this respect from all the others it may go a little 
way to show that they are a different species, which, however, I 
think abundantly proved in other ways. 

I have elsewhere stated that the specimens in my collection 
show that the white embraces most of the legs as well as the 
body of this deer, while the legs of the larger species of reindeer 
are uniformly brown. As we have seen, the same thing occui's 
with the northern varietj"^ of the common deer, but it is hardly 
a make-weight in the determination of the question of specific 
identity or distinction. 

We now come to those species Avhich I have carefully studied 
in my own grounds and where I can depend on my own observa- 
tions entirely. 

The summer coat of the Wapiti deer is shorter and thicker 
than on the other species, and is of a dirty yellowish white color 
on the body, with a chestnut brown on the legs, neck, and head, 
and there is no appreciable difference between the males and 
females. When this coat first appears in June, upon the peeling 
off of the old winter dress, it is of a deeper shade and more 
glossy than is observed at any other season of the year, and so it 
is tlie most beautiful dress the animal ever wears. It is exceed- 
ingly short, fine, and soft, and fairly glistens in the bright 
spring sunshine. The contrast between this new spring dress, 
which may perhaps appear on a part of the animal while the 
balance is covered with the shaggy and tattered winter dress, 
hanging about in torn patches, some dangling a foot or two feet 
from the body, is indeed quite remarkable. The one seems em- 
blematic of poverty and destitution, while the other looks like 
thrift and comfort. One appears like the fag-end of a hard win- 
ter, while the other suggests the freshness and the gayety of 
spring. This soft glossy lustre fades in a short time as the sum- 
mer coat grows longer. During its height tatters of the old gar- 
ment often still hang to the animal. As the summer advances 
these short fine hairs grow longer and coarser, they lose their 
lustre and fade in color upon the body, while upon the head 


neck, and legs the color changes but little through the summer. 
"With this summer coat the fur, which is so ver^^ abundant with 
the winter coat, does not appear. 

In September this coat gives place to the winter dress, but as 
I have elsewhere observed, the change is so gradual as to require 
the closest scrutiny to detect it, although the new coat differs 
very materially from the old in some parts. This difference is 
greatest upon the necks and legs of the males, and upon the 
under sides of the bellies of all ; still the change of dress and con- 
sequently of color is so gradual, that we may watch the herd day 
by day, and note the change of color, without being aware that 
it is due to a change of dress. We merely notice that these dark 
shades are growing deejjer and deeper during the latter part of 
August and in September, and that upon the bodies of all a 
darker shade, which appears softer and more glossy, is creeping 
over the animal. 

When the new winter coat is fairly established, a very marked 
difference in color is observed between the males and the females 
where the darker shades prevail. The neck, legs, and belly are 
a brownish black on the males, and the dark border on the lower 
part of the white posterior patch is a verj^ intense black. At the 
same time, on the female, the head, neck, legs, and belly, are 
a chestnut brown. Under the belly it is the darkest — indeed, 
fairly black on all. We can hardly appreciate this, by observ- 
ing the live animal, but when the animal is killed and turned on 
its back to be dressed, we are surprised that we had so much 
overlooked this darker shade of the belly, which now appears to 
be quite black. 

The white patch on the rump commences at the top of the hip 
and extends back so as to embrace the tail ; its outer border de- 
scends laterally in a circular form, so that when even with the 
seat of the tail, above that member, it nearly describes a semi- 
circle; thence the outer border descends down the ham, gradually 
drawing inwardly, contracting the white section which, however, 
descends to unite with the lighter shades of the inguinal region. 
This white portion is bordered by an intensely black stripe, 
which commences on either side above the region of the tail and 
continues down to the posterior sides of the thighs, where it fades 
out and is lost. This black mark appears on animals of all ages 
and both sexes, but is the most brilliant on the male in the 
prime of life and in the fall of the year. The tawny yellow of 
the body of the Elk, as it appears in the fall, fades out to a sickly, 



dirty white diu-ing the winter, but these shades of color differ 
very much in individuals, while it is dependent on neither age or 
sex. On the body the does are as dark as the bucks at all sea- 
sons. I have sometimes thought I could detect a darker shade 
on the adults than on the young animals, and the next time I 
would examine the herd with a view to this very point I would 
find myself obliged to abandon the distinctions. It is only on the 
dark portions, as the head, neck, belly, and legs, that the adult 
males are blacker than the females and the young in the early 
winter dress, but as before stated this distinction quite disappears 
by spring, except that on the mane of the adult, which may be 
nearly a foot in length, hanging from the lower side of the neck, 
for its whole length there is a black stripe two or more inches 
wide, about two inches from its lower border. These two inches 
of the lower ends of the hairs of this mane are a russet-brown, and 
such is the color also above the black stripe, passing quite over the 
neck to the black stripe on the other side. For a month befoi-e 
the shedding of the coat commences, this black stripe on either side 
of the mane becomes quite conspicuous, from the lighter shade to 
which the balance of the mane has faded. I have noticed that 
this prominent black mark is more conspicuous some seasons than 

Audubon and Bachman have seen young elk, on which the 
white patch of the rump appeared to be wanting till they were 
one or two years old. I have constantly looked for such speci- 
mens, but have failed to find one on which this mark was not 
conspicuous, as far off as the colors of the animal could be dis- 
tinguished, and I have been unable to detect any substantial 
difference in this regard between those of different ages. 

Our Elk, this Wapiti deer, is the only American species on 
which this white patch above the tail distinctly appears, and is 
well defined ; and the European stag or red deer (C. elaphis'), is 
the only European species, so far as I know, in which it is dis- 
tinctly defined as it is on the Wapiti, and on that it is less con- 
spicuous and more variable. We have several other ruminants 
in which this distinguishing mark is equally conspicuous, notable 
among which are our antelope (^Antilocapra Americana)., already , 
treated of, and our Rocky Mountain sheep, or the Big Horn 
(^Ovis montani). 

Of the fugitive white colorings or spots which frequently ap-] 
pear on the adult female Elk, I shall pi'esently speak. 

I have already spoken of the deep black color in which the 


winter dress of the Mule Deer first appears, which distinguishes 
it from all the other members of tlie family except the moose, but 
this dark shade is much less persistent than it is on the moose. 

When this transient black disappears it is succeeded by a dark 
gray, constantly growing lighter. The black shade is most per- 
sistent along the top of the neck and the dorsal line, in which, 
however, individuals differ very much. Under the neck there is 
a dark line for the whole length, which is quite constant. This 
dark line deepens in color as it descends, till at the brisket it is a 
strong black occupying the whole space between the fore legs 
and along the under side of the body till within four inches of 
the thighs, when it grows lighter very fast, so that the inside of 
the thighs and the region between them is a light gray or soiled 
white. This white shade extends down to the gambrel joint, 
occupying the whole inside of the thighs, becoming more pro- 
nounced posteriorly to the seat of the tail. Commencing a little 
above the seat of the tail, extending downward about seven 
inches, is a white section. This is about three inches broad on 
each side of the tail, and from side to side is ten inches broad fol- 
lowing the form of the animal. This is generall}^ a pure white, 
but sometimes, like that on the tail, it has a slightly yellowish 
tinge. This is a very conspicuous mark when the animal is viewed 
posteriorly, and reminds one at once of the white patch on the 
croup of the elk, to which it makes a strong approach. This is 
not bordered with the deep black, as seen on the elk, in the 
region where it occurs on this deer. 

The plain graj^ of the back sides and outsides of the thighs is 
without the tawny tinge wdiich is observed on many of the other 
species, and is of a considerably lighter shade than under the 
belly, in this respect resembling the elk. 

The individual hairs on this species when they have completed 
their growth, are less crinkled than on the elk. Two or three 
lines of the ends of the hairs, which are very sharp pointed, are 
jet black. Then, for two or three lines, they are a dull white ; 
below this they are brown, shading down to a lighter color near 
the lower ends. Some are lighter throughout their lengths tlian 
others. The under fur is not so abundant as on the elk, still it 
is present in considerable quantities, and is of a uniform drab 

In general, the color of the Columbia Deer most resembles that 
of the Virginia deer, but on individuals it is much less variable. 
All the specimens I have had in my grounds, which came from 


Oregon and Washington Territory, were as near alike as pos- 
sible. Nor have I been able to detect an appreciable difference 
in the color of these and those examined in California. The 
limited range occupied by this deer may account for this uniform- 
ity of color among the individuals. 

The general color of the body in winter dress is a tawny gray, 
the red shade being much more distinct than is usually observed 
on the Virghiia deer, and yet I have specimens of the latter in 
my grounds of precisely the same shade as the former. A hun- 
dred times have I studied them when both were eating from my 
hand, and could detect no difference in the shade of color, while 
perhaps another Virginia deer would be standing but a few feet 
awav, so much lighter in color that one would suspect a different 

There is a darker shade of color down the upper side of the 
neck, fading out along the back, but this mark is the most vari- 
able of any observed on the animal ; on some being scarcely dis- 
tinguishable, while on others it is distinct and may be traced 
nearly to the hips. 

On the under side of the neck is a dark line, which descending 
increases in depth till it becomes black on the brisket, with a 
lighter shade on either side as it joins the leg, which extends 
down the inside of the fore leg. Passing back from the brisket, 
the black melts away to a dark brown at the umbilicus, when it 
shades down anteriorly to a fawn color and then white, which 
involves all the inner part of the thighs, and passes up between 
them to the seat of the tail, which in another place will be par- 
ticularly described. The tawny-gray color of the back and sides 
embraces, also, the outside of the thighs down nearly to the hocks, 
and also the fore-shoulder, well towards the knees. I have never 
seen the collar mark observed by Audubon and Bachman. 

The individual hairs on this part of the animal are tipped with 
an intense black, then occurs an annular section of a tawny yel- 
lowish shade ; then below that is brown, shading down to a drab, 
and nearly white on the lower part. The under coat of fur is 
present, but not very abundant, and is of a drab color. 

I have already remarked that there is less uniformity in the 
color of both the winter and the summer coats of the Virginia 
Deer, than in either of the other species. Indeed, this may be 
said of nearly all the markings of this species, except only the 
ornamental dress of the fawns, which are wonderfully uniform in 
the shades of color. 


In some specimens, as already shown, there is no appreciable 
difference in the color of the back, sides, outside of the thighs 
and neck, between the Virginia Deer and the Columbia black- 
tailed deer. But the rich russet shade of the Columbia deer is 
not common on the Virginia Deer. In general, there is a bluish 
shade observed on the Common Deer, which is so prevalent as to 
have given the winter coat the general appellation, as already 
shown, of the blue, among frontiersmen and hunters, who say the 
deer is in the red or the blue, as it may be in the summer or the 
winter coat. But the difference in the depth of this color is so 
very great, as well as the different shades of color, as to sui'prise 
one Avho will examine thirty or forty together. As the winter 
advances, all become appreciably of a lighter color. 

On this deer, as on all the others of the smaller species, the 
white which universally prevails on the under side of the head, 
terminates with the throat, or just after it reaches the upper part 
of the neck. Thence the under side of the neck has no white, 
but is of the prevailing color of the rest of the neck, until we 
reach the lower extremity. There commences a black, or, on 
some specimens, a brown stripe, which is always constant, and 
extends along the brisket to a line even with the posterior part 
of the fore legs. On either side of this black stripe all is Avhite, 
which extends down the inside of the fore-legs to the knees. All 
of the belly is also a very pure white, embracing also tlje inside 
of the thighs and hind legs to the hocks, and up to the tail. 
This is constant on all the Virginia Deer, but on no other species. 
This white of the belly widens all the way back from the fore 
legs to the umbilicus, when it involves all the under side of the 
animal. The white on the lower part of the legs varies much 
in extent on diffei'ent individuals, as has been elsewhere stated. 
On some specimens there is a beautiful gray mark on the inner 
front side of the fore leg four or five inches long, and two inches 
wide at the upper end, and terminating in a point, below which 
it is separated from the white beyond by a tawny stripe extend- 
ing from the body down to, and enveloping the lower leg. 

The individual hairs are always intensely black at their ex- 
tremities, with sharp points for perhaps two lines or more, then 
a lighter shade of about the same extent. Then again they be- 
come dai'kei', but presently begin to grow lighter, till on the 
lower parts they are white or a light drab. 

The under coat of fur is present with the winter coat, but not 
very abundant. It is irregularly and loosely curled around 


among the coarse hairs next the skin, and contributes largely to 
the Avarmth of the dress, which, like all the rest, constitutes a 
very warm covering, and enables the animal to endure the 
severest weather without complaint, if he can but get enough to 
eat. Indeed it is so complete a non-conductor of heat that snow, 
which he has left upon the leaves when he makes his bed, is not 
thawed in any appreciable degree but only compressed. This 
under coat of fur is not foimd with the summer coat, which con- 
sists of rather fine, firm, and elastic hairs. On some specimens 
this summer coat is of a light buff color, while on others it is of a 
bright mahogany bay or red, while others may show every inter- 
mediate shade between these two extremes. 

We now come to the smallest of the North American deer, a 
description of which I have not been so fortunate as to anywhere 
meet, except by a single allusion elsewhere mentioned. 

The color of the Acapulco Deer resembles much that of the 
Virginia and the black-tailed deer, though more the latter than 
the former. In its black face, however, it is more like the Vir- 
ginia deer, and so of the white under the belly, a darker shade 
than either generally prevailing. On this deer, however, the 
white of the belly commences at a point in the middle just back 
of the fore legs. At this point it will be remembered that the 
white on the belly of the Virginia deer commences in a fork, 
being divided in front by the black stripe on the brisket. This 
feature, that the white on the belly of the one is divided in front 
and so forked, while on the other it commences in a single point 
anteriorly', being constant, is worthy of special attention. At the 
umbilicus the white has widened out till it involves the entire 
width of the belly, the inside of the thighs and extending up pos- 
teriorly to the seat of the tail, the color of which is described in 
the appropriate place. This small species, as well as the Ceylon 
deer, fades much less in color than do the larger species. In the 
spi'ing, when the winter coat is cast off, it still preserves its darker 
shades, and the rufous tinge remains to the last, though faded 
very appreciably. The persistency of the deeper colorings is so 
great as to render the animals conspicuous, when promiscuously 
intermixed with a more numerous band of common deer. 

The face of this deer is black, though not very intense, the 
black growing narrower and less intense below the ears and con- 
siderably lighter down the cheeks. The light band around the 
eyes is wanting in its upper half or above the eye, but is present 
below. The ear on the outside is black, and white on the inside, 


the hairs being long, fine, and soft, and slightly curled. Edge of 
the ear is black, which invades the inside on the lower anterior 
part. Below the opening of the ear it is surrounded by white 
which on the back side extends up nearly half the length of the 
ear. On the female is a small place of very black hair where the 
antler is situate on the male. On the Acapulco Deer the brisket 
is brown. The posterior part of the inside of the fore leg is white 
extending to the elbow. The white inside the hind leg is con- 
fined to the broad part, thence down the leg is fulvous yellow, 
lighter behind than below. 

The strong resemblance of the Ceylon deer to this Acapulco 
deer, suggests the propriety of comparing them briefly. 

The Ceylon deer is larger than the Acapulco, but the differ- 
ence is not considei'able. In form they are nearly alike, and in 
the general color of the winter coat there is not much difference, 
but in the summer dress the American species is decidedly 
darker and graj'er than the other and has less of the red shade. 
In detail there is considerable difference in color or niarking:s. 
The forehead of the Ceylon deer is marked much like those of 
the Mule deer and the Columbia deer. This is not observable on 
the female, nor is it seen on the male of the Acapulco deer. The 
faces of the Ceylon deer are grayer than those of the Acapulco 
deer, which are black. The ear is larger and has a denser coat 
of hair than the American species. Both are equally courageous 
and belligerent. The minor differences in color testify to no spe- 
cific differences, and but for the presence of the metatarsal gland 
in the one and not in the other, and the difference in the antlers, 
I should not hesitate to pronounce them specifically identical. 


We have no species of deer, in North America at least, where 
the adult is uniformly adorned with the beautiful spots of the 
fallow deer of Europe. All of our species are born with a coat 
more or less ornamented with spots, generally white on a colored 
ground. These white spots must be considered more or less orna- 
mental. On the young of the moose and the caribou this orna- 
mentation has nearly faded out, so much so that the spots are 
not observed on all the specimens, and indeed only upon a small 
portion of the young of the moose. But because I could not find 
them on the few which I have examined, it would be folly in me 
to say that they never occur and that those who claim to have 


seen them are mistaken. I do not know that any man has ever 
seen the spots on the adult Virginia deer except in my parks, cer- 
tainly I never heard of them having been seen elsewhere. The 
affirmative testimony of one reliable observer who has seen them 
may be held as conclusive that they do sometimes occur, while the 
observations of many who have examined for them without success 
may equally convince us that in a majority of cases they cannot 
be detected. I presume that comparatively but few specimens 
have been examined on this point, and the casual observer, not 
looking for spots at all, would be very likely to overlook them 
when not very distinct. Again they may be evanescent, and 
observable but for a few days and so more likely to escape detec- 
tion on those found in the woods, and we have no account of any 
having been born in domestication in this countrj^, and Dr. Gil- 
pin informs us that it is very difficult to raise them when taken 
young, by hand or even on the cow. 

Of the ground color of the young Moose Dr. Gilpin says, " I 
have seen the young calves in June, when they could not have 
been ten days old ; they Avere a lovely fawn color." For myself 
I have only examined mounted specimens, which were of a redder 
shade than here described, approaching nearer to a light bay. 
But the doctor's observations of a living specimen are far the most 
reliable. This is a point on which the observations of hunters 
would be the least reliable, for they rarely meet with the young 
fawns, and when thej' do, even if they think to notice the color 
they rarely note it down at the time, and without this mere mem- 
ory is of little worth. Only those who are in the habit of mak- 
ing notes of their observations at the time can appreciate their 
value. The very act of making the notes, systematizes and sharp- 
ens the observations and leads one to see many things which 
would otherwise have been overlooked. And he who, some time 
after, writes on a subject from memoiy, and then refers to his 
notes to verify his work, will be astonished at the number of er- 
rors he has to correct. 

The ground color of the young Caribou I have had some diffi- 
culty in ascertaining satisfactorily. If it is given by any author 
I have overlooked it. That they are at least frequently orna- 
mented with white spots is well established. The illustration of 
the young Caribou is from a drawing by Dr. Gilpin, which he 
kindly prepared for me, taken from life. This shows a line of 
seven spots along the flank and should be conclusive, but I may 
add the testimony of Captain Hardy (" Forest Life in Acadie," 


p. 127) : " The young deer (Caribou) are dappled on the side and 
flank with light sandy spots." Wherever I find the subject al- 
luded to I find the spots mentioned, so we may conclude it is 
general if not universal. The Caribou is generally admitted to 
be among the oldest living representatives of the deer in this 
country. Their fossil remains have been found associated with 
the extinct mammals, which is certainly strong evidence of their 
ancient existence. It may be — and yet we cannot affirm that it 
is so — that this ornamentation of the young is fading out and be- 
coming more rare or less distinct with time, but we must re- 
member that the spots are more frequently found on the young 
Caribou than the moose, and yet the same amount of evidence is 
not produced of the great antiquity of the latter as of the 
former. The glandular system on the hind legs is the same in 
both, and this is constantly suggesting itself to me as connected 
with the antiquity of the races — that their ancestors long ages 
ago had the metatarsal gland, as we see it on all our other deer, 
except the smallest, and has in the course of time disappeared, 
whilst the tarsal gland, which is nearly dormant, alone remains, 
and that this too in the course of time will finally die out and 
disappear. I must admit that the want of facts in support of 
this suggestion leaves it scarcely worth the space it occupies ; but 
we all at times admit convictions, for the support of which the 
absolute proofs are inadequate, but then we may be permitted 
to state them as conjectures, honestly admitting the want of 

The young Elk or Wapiti is always provided with the spotted 
dress. The spots are large but not very profuse. They are of 
a dull white, on a yellowish tawny ground. These spots are 
found on the flanks, sides, and thighs, and a line on the neck. 
They are not arranged with any definite sj'stem or order, but 
seem to be laid on rather cai'elessly and as if by accident. 
Neither the ground or the spots have that brilliancy which at- 
tracts admiration. Still the spots are no doubt ornamental and 
are always noticed with pleasure by the observer who looks at 
the Elk fawn for the first time. Half a dozen, by the sides of 
their dams, with high heads and their ears thrown forward and 
their eyes glistening, looking at the stranger, as if influenced 
partly by fear and partly by curiosity', form a pretty sight 
among the trees, which one, though not a naturalist, cannot but 
admire. If when he turns away he is unable to tell you the 
ground color of the fawn or the dam, he will be sure to tell you 
of the spots. 


The young Elk which I had born in November, like those 
born in the spring, had the usual ornamental coat of his species. 
Unfortunately I was prevented from studying this specimen care- 
fully, for I spent the succeeding winter abi'oad, and the keeper 
in charge, having caught and tied him to a post in order to 
put a ring in his nose, the youngster managed to break his own 
neck, and even the skin waS neglected, and the stupid fellow 
could not tell whether he had lost his spots or not, or what 
sort of a coat he had at the beginning of March ; so all that 
I can certainly say is that he commenced the winter in a sum- 
mer dress, but as he was always reported lively and growing 
and in* fine condition, I imagine that natui'e thickened up his 
summer garb, so that it kept him warm during the winter. We 
have all often seen how promptly nature responds to the de- 
mands of necessity in similar cases. The horse that runs in the 
fields and sleeps out in the storms during the winter, will then 
have more than twice the coat which he has when kept in the 
stable, though without grooming ; and the horse which is con- 
stantly blanketed in the stable will have a much lighter coat 
than his mate, that stands beside him without the blanket. I 
have no doubt that my young Elk, under the favor of the same 
law, passed a comfortable winter although he wore a summer 

The fawn of the Mule Deer is well covered with white spots on 
a dirty yellowish ground. If they are smaller than on the young 
elk, it is only in jjroportion to the size of the animal. They too 
lack order in their arrangement. They occupy the same portion 
of the body as the other, but are more abundant on the neck. 
The white hairs constituting the spots generally disappear before 
the body of hairs constituting the ground are shed, so that this 
ornamentation disappears while the first coat is yet worn. In 
the mean time, however, this coat undergoes a gradual change of 
color, the yellowish shade assuming more of a mahogany hue. 
Tliis in the fall is finally cast off and is replaced by the black, 
and then gray coat of the adult. 

The Columbia Black-tailed Deer also produces a fawn which is 
more decidedly ornamented with the white spots than either of 
the others above mentioned. The ground coat is a bay red, the 
white has a cleaner appearance, the spots are smaller and more 
abundant and are more orderly in their arrangement. Now for 
the first time we can trace a line of spots along either side of the 
back and even up the neck. The disappearance of these spots 


progT'esses very much as in the case of the mule deer, but the 
ground coat after the disappearance of the spots undergoes so de- 
cided a change that at first I was inclined to think that an inter- 
mediate coat was supplied. But this is not the case. The first 
coat has grown long and looks rather rough, and has assumed a 
bright bay color, with nothing of the variegated appearance of 
the winter coat of the adult, but is like the universal summer 
coat. The ground color of this fawn is of a deeper or darker 
shade than that of any other of our fawns, except that of the 
Acapulco deer. 

By far the most beautiful, is the ornamental coat of the fawn 
of the Virginia Deer. The spots are a pure white set in a bright 
bay red ground. The contrast is marked, and commands the ad- 
miration of all who see them. This is heightened by the exceed- 
ingly bright eye, erect attitude, elastic movement, and vivacious 
appearance of the little beauty. 

Although a little out of place. I may as well describe the pace 
and motions of this fawn, in connection with his beautiful color- 
ings, for each lends fascination to the other. 

The highest perfection of graceful motion is seen in the fawn 
of but a month or two old, after it has commenced following its 
mother through the grounds. It is naturally very timid, and is 
alarmed at the sight of man, and when it sees its dam go boldly 
up to him and take food from his hand it manifests both appre- 
hension and surprise, and sometimes something akin to displeas- 
ure. I have seen one standing a few rods away face me boldly 
and stamp his little foot, in a fierce and threatening way, as if 
he would say : " If you hurt my mother I will avenge the insult 
on the spot." Ordinarily it will stand with its head elevated to 
the utmost ; its ears erect and projecting somewhat forward ; its 
eye flashing, and raise one fore foot and suspend it for a few mo- 
ments, and then trot off and around at a safe distance with a 
measured pace, which is not flight, and with a grace and elas- 
ticity which must be seen to be appreciated, for it quite defies 
verbal description. A foot is raised from the ground so quickly 
that you hardly see it, it seems poised in the air for an instant 
and is then so quietly and even tenderly dropped, and again so 
instantly raised that you are in doubt whether it even touched 
the ground, and, if it did, you are sure it would not crush the 
violet on which it fell. The bound, also, is exceedingly graceful 
and light. Indeed, the step of the fawn of the Virginia Deer is 
so light that it seems almost worthy the hyperbole of one refer- 


ring to another subject when he said, " It was as light as the down 
of a feather plucked from the wing of a moment." If, as it 
grows up, it loses something of this lightness and elasticity of 
step, it is only because of the increased size of the animal, which 
enables one the more readily to individualize the graceful mo- 
tions which, in the little fawn, seem blended together with a 
charm like the blending of harmonious sounds. There is a timid 
caution expressed in every step, in the presence of the stranger, 
which seems to fear the breaking of the smallest twig. This can 
only be seen in parks where thej^ are subjected to semi-domes- 
tication. It is destroj'ed by extreme fright of the wild deer 
in the woods, and by close confinement in menageries. 

This ornamental coat, with which the fawns are born, not only 
corresponds in color with the summer coat of the adult, — only 
the ground is a deeper red and is brighter, and the white spots 
are wanting in the latter, — but it also corresponds in the struc- 
ture of the hairs, which, as we have already seen, differ widely 
from the hairs of the winter dress. The latter are large, light, 
and open or spongy, presenting large cavities filled with a pithy 
substance and confined air, thus securing the maximum amount 
of warmth, while the hairs of the former are small, hard, firm, 
and elastic, much resembling in structure the haii's of the ox. 
The fawn born in May sheds his ornamental coat in September, 
about the time the adults change dresses, while later fawns carry 
their first coat longer, but never more than the three or four 
months assigned to young and old for the use of the summer 
dress, if the animal is in health and fair condition. The new 
coat which succeeds the first is of the texture and the color of 
the winter coat of the adult. Now, for the first time, appears 
the inner coat of fur, Avhich is found in the winter coat of all the 
species, but is wanting in the summer coat, probably of all. 

Spots appear on about five per cent, of the adult Virginia 
Deer in my grounds. These spots appear with the winter coat, in 
September, and continue visible from three to six weeks. They 
are not white, but simply a lighter shade than the ground color. 
They are located in rows, on either side of the dorsal line, ex- 
tending from the shoulders to the croup. The lines of spots are 
about four inches apart on the loins, are less separated at the 
shoulders and posterior extremities. There are sixteen of these 
spots in each row from the shoulder to the hip, and five thence 
posteriorly. They are a little larger than a dime each. The an- 
terior ones are most distinct. On some specimens but a few 



of these spots ave discernible from the shoulder back ; on others 
they may be counted to the hips, and on others again the entire 

On one specimen only, — an old doe which was raising a fawn, 
and was quite thin, as is always the case under such circum- 
stances, — I observed these spots represented by tufts of the 
summer coat remaining, while all around the summer coat was 
entirely replaced by the new winter dress. It would be curious 
to know what was the condition of affairs beneath the cuticle 
under these spots which had retarded the growth of the new coat, 
and had served to retain the old, while all around was clianged. 
Although I have but once observed this, when I could count all 
the spots thus shown, as it continued but a day or two, it may 
frequently have occurred without observation. I have on several 
others seen a part of the spots shown by tufts of the summer 
coat remaining. 

These rows of spots on the back of the adults occupy the same 
positions as the rows on the back of the fawn, but are more reg- 
ular in form and more detached. While the spots on the fawn 
are more distinct, from the contrast of colors, they are irregular 
in form and many of them confluent. I may make out the six- 
teen spots, for instance, on the fawn, between the shoulder and 
the hip, but I can as well make out twenty or more, for I must 
count several confluent or double spots to reduce them to the 
number to correspond with those on the adult. Again, on the 
neck of the fawn these lines of spots extend quite up to the ears, 
and are there even more brilliant than along the back, while 
I have never detected one on the neck of the adult. Still I can- 
not persuade myself but that there is some connection between 
these spots on the fawns and those on the adults, and the sugges- 
tion sometimes forces itself upon me that the Virginia Deer, at 
least, and, possibly, all the others, were once spotted like the fal- 
low deer, and that this ornamentation has nearly died out on the 
adults, and may in time disappear on the fawns, as it has already 
nearly disappeared on the young of the moose and the caribou, 
and has even now much faded on the elk and the mule deer. 

I believe these spots on the adult Virginia Deer have been en- 
tirely overlooked by naturalists till I mentioned them to Mr. 
Darwin, when he noticed them in " Descent of Man." 

My opportunities for studying the ornamental coat of the Aca- 
pulco Deer have been limited. I have in my collection two 
fawns, produced out of season by a doe of this species in my 


grounds, from a Ceylon buck. As elsewhere shown, these spe- 
cies are nearly alike in size, and in many other respects resemble 
each other. These fawns were dead when found, and, as the 
weather was freezing cold, they probably did not live more than 
a single day. 

The ground color is a deep mahogany bay. They are orna- 
mented quite as profuselj' with white spots as are the fawns of 
the Virginia deer. The white is as pure as possible, and as the 
ground is darker than on the others, the contrast is greater. On 
either side of the neck and down the back these spots are ar- 
ranged in regular lines, while on the sides below these lines, and 
on the thighs, the spots are irregularly disposed. In their ar- 
rangement they are like those on the Virginia fawn. Had these 
lived I think they would have been verj' beautiful. 

The Ceylon fawns, a number of which I have raised, were 
quite as gay and beautiful as the Virginia fawns, and I presume 
the Acapulco fawns would have equaled either. 

The markings on the heads of the fawns where the antlers will 
grow on the males, would seem to have some significance. These 
appear on the fawns of all the species in my grounds. On some 
these spots are blacker than on others, but on all they are of a 
darker shade than the surrounding coat, except on the mule 
deer, on which these spots are of a lighter color than the sur- 
roundings. These spots are more pronounced on the female 
fawns than on the males. On several of the species there are 
protuberances, or the skull is elevated under these spots. 

When the winter coat first appears on the adult deer, it maj'^ 
with propriety be considered an ornamental dress. It is then 
short, fine, and glossy, with deeper colors than later in the sea- 
son. This change of dress takes place in August or September, 
at the latest, while yet the weather is warm, and so it is not 
requisite that the new coat shoixld be as heavy as during the rigors 
of the winter. This is the nuptial suit for all the species, and so 
it is fitting that it should be more beautiful and attractive than 
later when the sexes have become indifferent to each other, and 
so have no desire to attract or please. 

Fugitive white spots often appear on the adults of several of 
the species. I have a large female elk, which was fully adult 
when I procured her, and was then nearly half white. All the 
legs were nearly white. And there were large white spots with 
well defined borders on various parts of the body. The next 
year the well defined white spots disappeared and the white was 


interspersed among the colored Lairs, so that I had a light gray 
elk instead of a spotted elk. The year following that, the white 
hairs were very much diminished in number, but still were dis- 
tinctly observable on several parts of the body and one leg. 
Since then, her coat has been undistinguishable from the other 
females of the herd. I have since several times observed on 
adult female elk, well defined spots of clear white hairs from 
one to four inches in diameter, but I have never found these to 
occur the second time on the same animal. 

On the Virginia deer it is not uncommon to find a white hair 
scattered here and there in the coat, and I once had a doe on 
whose forehead, when a year old, a clear white spot appeared 
about half an inch in diameter. This was observed for two j'ears 
and then disappeared, and never after was anything observed pe- 
culiar about the mai'kings of this deer. Between these fugitive 
and transitory white spots observed on individual members of sev- 
eral species, and the perfect white coat and red eyes of the true 
albino, every imaginable gradation may be met with. I have 
mounted in my collection a Vii'ginia doe about half the body of 
which is white, the balance is the normal color ; the lines of 
junction of the two colors are well defined. While we are in the 
habit of calling such specimens albinos, they are probably not so 
in fact, but rather have exceptional markings which are present 
but a single year, or at most but a few years. These abnormal 
mai'kings are far more abundant on Cervus Cohimbiayius than on 
either of the other species. On an examination of a large lot of 
pelts of this deer in Portland, Oregon, I found a great many thus 
marked. I saw none that were pure white but some that were 
nearly so, others with but a little white upon tliem. I selected 
a skin for my collection, which I thought the most beautiful 
among those I examined, which I have now. The body is cov- 
ered with a white ground. All over this are scattered numerous 
spots of different sizes and various colors. Most of them are 
either black or approaching the normal color of the animal. 

I have met but one true albino deer ; that was of the common 
species, in a park in the city of Philadelphia, many years ago. 
It was a good sized buck, as white as snow all over, and I have 
no doubt had red eyes, though I was not near enough to de- 
termine that question. I have heard of several others. That true 
albino Columbia deer are very common in Washington Terri- 
tory, I cannot doubt. White deer are there so abundant in cer- 
tain localities, that some have supposed they were a distinct spe- 


cies, and others have concluded that the}^ are hybrids from some 
other species. On an island in Puget's Sound they are said to be 
very abundant and indeed to predominate. I have very little 
doubt that a critical examination would prove them to be the 
true Columbia deer, either true albinos or with the white mark- 
ings unusually abundant. If albinos, their peculiarities may be- 
come hereditary, as we often see with the human species. I re- 
gret the want of opportunities to examine critically these inter- 
esting specimens, when there could be no difficulty in settling 
the matter definitely. 


In the specific description of the Moose I have shown that its 
head is of enormous size, ungainly in form and quite devoid of 
beauty, according to our appreciation of beauty. Its great length 
in proportion to its width is magnified by the elongation of its 
upper lip or nose, which at last constitutes the most remarkable 
feature of this remarkable animal. It extends several inches be- 
yond the lower jaw, over which it droops. It is flexible and ac- 
tuated by powerful muscles ; is prehensile in its capacities, and is 
well adapted to the purpose of grasping branches of trees and 
bringing the boughs upon which it feeds within its reach. The 
nostrils are far apart, are very long and narrow, and capable of 
very great extension ; the posterior passages being very large, are 
designed to supply the lungs with a great amount of air, when 
required by hard exercise. The front of the muzzle is flat, as if 
cut square off, and is covered with short grayish hair, except a 
small space below each nostril, and a space about an inch and a 
half in diameter between the nostrils, with a narrow naked strip 
extending from this down to the mouth. This has been already 
particularly described. 

This extraordinary feature — the elongation of the upper lip 
of the Moose — is scarcely apparent on the young calf, and dur- 
ing the first year is by no means remarkable, as will be observed 
by an inspection of the illustration of the young Moose. The eye 
is small, deep set, and has a sinister expression. 

Next to that of the moose, the head of the Caribou is the least 
to be admired. In its proportions, the latter is the reverse of the 
former, for it is shorter in proportion to its thickness than any 
other of our deer. If we are not charmed with the proportions 
of the head of the Caribou, as compared with that of the moose 
we should consider it beautiful. The upper lip, or muffle of the 


THE HEAD. 161 

Caribou, is not extended remarkably beyond the lower, but it is 
round, heavy, and blunt, and is entirely covered with short gray 
hair. In this respect it differs from all our other species, but is 
precisely paralleled in the reindeer of Europe. 

In striking contrast to the head of the moose is that of the 
Wapiti deer. It is symmetrical in form, with a very broad 
though flat forehead, and between the eyes, below which it is 
rather long and slender. It has a well developed eye, which has 
a pleasant expression, except when the animal is excited by an- 
ger or jealousy, when it has a wicked expression. This is much 
heightened especially in the male, in this condition, when he 
throws up his head with the face in a horizontal position, draws 
back his lips so as to show his front teeth, and grates his molars 
with a loud, harsh sound. This is not a pleasant smile but a hor- 
rid grin. It is so threatening that the observer is glad if he is 
separated from the brute by an impassable barrier. This is 
rarely observed in the male except during the rut, or the female 
when she has a young fawn to protect. The head of the elk is 
ornamented with the most beautiful antlers of all our deer, and 
is only disfigured by the coarse, awkward ears. 

The head of the Mule Deer is well enough but for its dispro- 
portioned ear. The ej^e is of medium size, but lacks the ani- 
mated expression of some of the other species. It has a sunken 
forehead with a small volume of brain. Below the eyes the face 
is larger and coarser than on any of the other deer, except the 
moose and the caribou. 

The Columbia Deer has a fuller forehead, a slimmer face, and 
a larger and brighter eye than the mule deer. The ear, though 
large, does not seem to detract from its fine proportions. 

The head of the Virginia Deer is more admired than that of 
any of the others except that of the wapiti. It has a sharp muz- 
zle, rather narrow forehead, eyes rather small and of good expres- 
sion. On the whole, the proportions of this head harmonize ad- 
mirably, and it is carried in such a lofty, lordly way, upon a long, 
slender, and graceful neck, that it may always be looked upon 
with admiration. 

The Acapulco Deer has a short but trim head. Its most 
marked feature is, its broad, full forehead with a very large brain 
cavity, and it certainly knows more than any of our other deer. 
A small, delicate ear does not disfigure it, while the eye is of good 
size and pleasant expression. 

All of the deer show the lachrymal sinus, but it varies some- 


wliat in position and much in extent. On all, it is below the 
inner corner of the eye. On the moose and caribou it is quite 
near the eye, and is covered with hair. Whether it is dilated in 
excitement, I have had no opportunity of observing. On the 
wapiti, we have already seen, the opening is located further be- 
low the eye, is very large and has a naked border, which is con- 
cealed when in repose, though a portion below the corner of the 
eye extending to the orifice is naked. In excitement, the con- 
cealing hairs are thrown back, the lips which were closed are 
widely parted, and the sinus is enormously expanded, which adds 
much to the threatening appearance of the enraged animal. 

I cannot say that similar phenomena might not be observed 
with the moose and the caribou, with the same opportunities for 
observation, but to me these have not occurred. 

In all the smaller species, this opening exists, but is smaller, or 
at least appears to be so, and I have never seen it exposed or di- 
lated in excitement. In all, a sort of thin waxy secretion is ex- 
uded, though not profusely, and I have not observed any odor to 
emanate from it. We may assume that it serves some useful 
purpose in the economy of the animal, undoubtedly as connected 
with the eye, but as it is not embraced within the plan of this 
work, I have not carefully dissected the parts, and so cannot 
speak understandingly on the subject. I leave a broad field for 
the research of the comparative anatomist, which I have but 
rarely invaded. He will no doubt correct some of my conclu- 

I will close this branch of my subject by giving the measure- 
ments of the head of a large male Elk which I killed, five years 


From top of head to end of nose . . . . 18 

Between pedicels of antlers ...... 3 

Between the eyes ....... 8 

Between the eye and the pedicel ..... 4 

Between ear and pedicel ...... 4 

Length of nostril ....... 1^ 

Between nostrils, lower ...... 2 

Between nostrils, upper ....... 3 

Length of mouth ....... 5 

THE EAR. 163 

The Ear. 

The ears of the deer have been ah-eady incidentally or di- 
rectly spoken of and described with more or less particularity, but 
many particulars I'emain to be noticed, which will enable us to 
compare those of the different species, from which I trust we 
shall derive much instruction. 

In many respects the Moose and the Caribou most resemble 
each other, as for instance in their boreal habitat, their palmated 
antlers, their hairy muzzles, and in the shape of the foot ; yet in 
their ears they present the two extremes. Of all the deer fam- 
ily the Moose shows the longest, the coarsest, and the ugliest ear, 
almost as broad as it is long, and nearly thick enough for a plow- 
share. On the other hand, the Caribou shows the least and the 
shortest ear relatively, of all the family, though by no means 
the finest or most delicate. While the Moose's ear may be four- 
teen or fifteen inches long, I have never seen the ear of a Caribou 
over four inches long. 

On a male Moose in my collection, said by experts to be four 
years old, the ear is eleven inches long and seven inches broad. 
It rises from the head nearly two inches in a cylindrical form, 
before we reach the opening. It then varies but little in actual 
breadth for nearly half its height, and thence tapers to the end. 
It is thick and heavy in structure. On the outside it is covered 
with a dense coat of shoi-t, soft hair of a grayish brown shade. 
Inside the ear the hair is abundant, and is longer than on the 
outside. The front lower edge of the ear is black. The rest of 
the edge of the ear is a very dark brown. 

The ear of the Caribou is erect and is much less subject to lat- 
eral motion than the larger ears ; and yet I cannot say that the 
sense of hearing is at all impaired by the small ear, or that the 
large ear makes that of the Moose much more acute. In both 
the sense of hearing is very acute, as well as the sense of smell. 
When the hunter sends off the Caribou by the breaking of a sin- 
gle twig, he will regret that the scared animal was not a Moose ; 
with the hope or belief that the latter could not have heard so 
small an alarm ; but when on the other hand the Moose becomes 
alarmed by the least accidental touch of a rifle while the holder 
is passing a tree or a rock, and the Moose glides away and soon 
starts into his long swinging trot, the hunter regrets that Provi- 
dence had not given the Moose a smaller or less acute ear. 

The ear of the Caribou on the specimen in my collection, is 


four inches long and five inches broad. It is situated behind the 
antlers one inch and four lines, and the ears are five inches apart. 
They are well clothed with hair on both sides. On the outside 
the hair is short and fine, of an ashy white color. On the in- 
side, the hair is not so dense, is longer, somewhat curled, and of a 
lighter color. Of the positions in which the ear is carried in life, 
under different circumstances, I have had no opportunity for ob- 
serving, nor have I any satisfactory information. From the small 
size of the ear, we may assume that it is carried erect, and is not 
so liable as the ears of others to change position under differ- 
ent circumstances. 

On the reindeer of Europe the ear exactly corresponds in size 
and position with that of our caribou. I have never seen them 
■when they were excited. When at rest ruminating, the ears 
stand quite erect, and are not often moved. 

The ear of our Elk, or the Wapiti, is very large and coarse, and 
like that of C. alces, attracts attention by its unusual size. The 
maximum length of the ear of the adult Wapiti, is about nine 
inches, and its breadth seven inches, but there is an appreciable 
difference in the size of the ears, where there is not much differ- 
ence in the height of the animal. The ear is thick and coarse, 
but is well supported, though it is not carried so erect ordinarily 
as the smaller ears of the same species ; and when the animal lies 
quietly ruminating the ears lop, as if their weight was a burden 
upon the supporting muscles ; but when excited or alarmed, they 
are projected forward more nearly to a horizontal position, as if 
to catch the least sound. When a hostile feeling pervades the 
animal, the position varies according to circumstances. If the 
alarm is threatening and he is doubtful of the attack, the position 
of the ear is depressed and set backward. When the attack is 
determined upon and commenced, the ear is projected forward 
even more than in the listening attitude. I have often been 
interested to observe these different attitudes, when separated by 
a secure fence from the wicked buck, during the rutting season. 
If merely giving notice to leave, he would approach with a de- 
liberate, stately step, his ears laid back alongside his neck, his 
muzzle thrown up, so that the antlers were parallel with the 
back, the lips drawn back so as to present to view his front 
teeth, and a constant grating of the molars, which is a habit 
much affected by the male, whenever he feels cross or jealous. 
At such times the stranger, at least, always feels doubtful of the 
sufficiency of the fence which separates him from the threatening 

THE EAR. 165 

beast, and is inclined to retire and observe from a greater dis- 
tance. If, however, an attack is resolved upon, he lowers his 
head so as to bring his face nearly level with the ground, with 
the nose nearly between the fore legs, the ears projected forward, 
and he comes against the fence with a fearful rush, which 
thoroughly tries its stability, and the fence is only enabled to 
withstand the strain, from the great number of the points of the 
antlers, distributing the force of the charge over so many differ- 
ent palings. But few can stand on the opposite side without 
flinching. This position of the ear is also particularly^ observed. 
on the female when she sees a dog, which is her greatest antip- 
athy. If on the opposite side of the fence, she will rush up, her 
ears straight forward, and strike fearful blows with her fore feet 
at the openings between the palings, in a vain effort to reach the 
object of her hate. Half a dozen or more enraged females beat 
a lively tattoo on such occasions, and the dog usually drops his 
tail and leaves without a second bidding. 

Perhaps this characteristic position of the ear is most conspicu- 
ous when a stray dog finds a way into the park. As I was sit- 
ting at breakfast, one beautiful morning in August, the blinds 
of the bay-window which overlooks the South Park being open, 
I saw a flock of the common deer rush up the bank from the 
densely wooded ravine, their flags aloft and spread to the utmost. 
With astonishing leaps they ran towards the gate, where they 
were most likely to find protection. They were closely followed 
by a villainous cur, which gave a yelp of excitement at every 
leap. Barney, the keeper, had opened the gate from the North 
Park, to allow the elk to come down and show themselves to 
some guests, and there was the whole herd clustered around the 
gate, — the bucks, with their scarcely grown antlers still in the 
velvet, and probably a dozen females, with their young by their 
sides. The moment they heard the dog, the does projected 
their ears directly forward, stretched out their necks and started 
for that dog with an earnestness which proclaimed that they 
meant business, while the deer shot through their open ranks. 
The moment the cur comprehended the situation, he wheeled 
and ran as never cur ran before. It was the most exciting and 
laughable chase I ever saw. The pursuers gained on the pur- 
sued, but there was the sheltei-ing thick shrubbery of the ravine 
close by, where was his only safety. The exultant cry of pur- 
suit had been followed by the short quick yelp of despair which 
escaped the dog at every bound, while he would turn his head 


first to one side and then to the other, to watch the progress of 
the pursuit, the danger of which was becoming more and more 
imminent every moment, as the leading doe was already close 
upon him, and had commenced making desperate passes with her 
fore feet, any one of which, had it hit him, would have ended a 
worthless career. But this was in fact his salvation, since by 
striking too soon the elk lost ground, and just as he was about to 
receive the fatal blow, he gained the cover and shot into the 
thicket, where the advantage was all on his side, and thus 
he escaped ; but I never heard of that dog having been seen in 
those grounds again. When the does returned, their ears were 
all thi-own back in a threatening way, as if to challenge any other 
dog to invade their gi'ounds. All this time, the bucks took no 
part in the affray, and manifested little interest in the result. 
They walked down the lawn, elevated their heads and looked 
earnestly if not wisely, — that was all. The chase began scarcely 
a hundred yards from where we sat, or rather stood, for in an 
instant all ran to the window to see the exciting sport, and so we 
had the best jDossible opportunity to observe the habits of the 
animal under such circumstances. 

On another occasion, as I was studying the herd in the east 
park, a large pointer dog found a passage under the fence, and 
went ranging through the grounds in a characteristic way, when 
he espied some of the buck elks, which had strayed a little to 
one side, and started for them with great fierceness. Although 
their antlers were then hard, the suddenness of the onset fright- 
ened them at first, and they trotted in towards the herd, laying 
their ears back. The moment the does saw the dog they charged 
upon him with impetuosity, upon which that dog admitted that 
he had no further business in the park, and, aided by the shrub- 
bery, he succeeded in effecting a safe retreat, which I did not 
regret. The whole herd of forty or fifty joined in the hunt, the 
bucks in the rear, but all with their ears forward, as if their only 
purpose was speed, without a hostile thought ; but the noise they 
made as they crashed through the brushwood was like the rush- 
ing of many waters. As is always the case, on such occasions, 
the hair of the white patches on the rump became elevated like 
the bristles on the back of a boar at bay. 

The Mule Deer (^Cervus macrotis'), has the largest ear of any 
of the species on either continent, in proportion to its size ; hence 
its name. 

The ear of the adult Mule Deer is eight inches in length, 

THE EAR. 167 

whether measured on the outside, or from the opening on the in- 
side. So it will be observed that the opening is at the very base 
of the ear, while, as we have seen, on the other large-eared spe- 
cies, the moose, the opening commences two inches above the 
head, or, for more than one sixth of its length, the ear is a closed 
cylinder. The ear is seven inches broad, is thick and massive. 
The outside of the ear is covered with a heavy coat of soft, gray 
hair. On the inside it is well filled with quite a dense mass of 
long hairs, mostly nearly white, though in the lower front part of 
the ear they are quite dark colored. Those hairs in the front 
part especially are inclined to curl. 

When the animal is at ease the ear is quite erect and a little 
spreading, but when the animal is observing anything with inter- 
est the ears are projected forward, as if to catch the faintest 
sound. When running, the ears incline backward, perhaps from 
the pressure of the atmosphere, to which they expose so great 
a surface. The edge of the ear is black, which color is more 
distinct and is broader along the upper front edge. 

The ear of Cervus Columbianus, the true Black-tailed Deer, is 
next in size to that of the mule deer, and when these and the 
Virginia deer are grouped together, the observer would pronounce 
the ear of the Columbia Deer to be in size about half way be- 
tween that of the mule deer and of the Virginia deer, though 
a careful measurement shows that they are much nearer the lat- 
ter than the former. 

On the adult the ear is six and one half inches long, and at 
the widest part is six inches broad. The outside of the ear is 
covered with a shortish, tolerably dense coat of hair, of the pre- 
vailing color of the body. On the lower front, outside of the 
ear, is a patch of very light gray, nearly four inches long, pointed 
at the top and broad at the base. The hair on the inside of the 
ear is not so abundant as on the mule deer, but there is plenty 
of it, which is mostly white or very light drab. On the lower 
front side, and opposite the gray patch on the outside, is a taw- 
ny section three and a half inches long and an inch or more 
broad, pointed at both top and bottom. The edge of the ear is 
not black, as on the mule deer and the common deer. The ear 
is rather thick and heavy, but much less so than on the mule 
deer. The ear is carried more lazily than that of the mule deer, 
though never wholly drooping, but often partially so. When the 
animal is specially interested the ear is erect or projected for- 
ward. When cross and threatening, the ear is laid back close to 
the neck. 


Not until we come to the Virginia Deer do we find anything 
to admire in the ear. His ear is of medium size, is well shaped, 
is thin and pliable, and is, perhaps, the most speaking feature 
about him. The coat on the outside is fine and soft, and is never 
heav3% while on the inside it is sparse and delicate. 

Although the ear of the Common Deer is scarcely an inch 
shorter, and not more than an inch narrower than that on the 
black-tailed deer, yet the casual observer, when looking at them 
side by side, would believe the difference to be much greater. 
Even half an inch added to the length and breadth of an ear 
makes a greater appreciable difference than would be readily im- 
agined. On the adult, the length of the ear varies from five and 
one half to six inches, whether measured on the outside or from 
the bottom of the opening on the inside, and is in width from 
four and one half inches to four inches and nine lines. On the 
outside, the ear is clad with a short, fine, thin coat of hair, nearly 
black. The ear is thin and delicate, as compared with the ears of 
the larger species. In summer dress, the arteries show plainly, 
and it is so nearly translucent, that when the sun strikes against 
the opposite side, the light shows through, giving it a pink shade. 
It is generally carried erect, a little spreading or inclined forward, 
though this position is not so observable as on the larger eared 
species. In a threatening attitude, the ear is thrown back, 
though not nearly so close to the neck as on the black-tailed deer. 
When running in fright, the ear is inclined forward. 

On the Acapulco Deer, the ear is a little shorter and a little 
broader, and is almost as thin as parchment. On the outside, the 
hair is very short but thick set, of a darker color than on the 
other, and has a sort of lustre, particularly observable in the sun- 
shine. In summer, it seems to be covered rather slightly with a 
sort of fine fuzz, rather than hair. It is rather restless, which is 
more indicative of the sensibilities of this animal than is man- 
ifested by any of the others. Both in anger and in play the ear is 
frequently thrown quite back upon its neck, and this is especially 
so when amusing itself in chasing some of the other deer, which 
may be twice as large as itself, around the park. 

A mule buck, in my park, is very fond of following me in my 
walks through it, and if we accidentally meet this little Acapulco 
doe in our rambles, the chances are that she will try to cut him 
off from my protection, and run him at the top of his speed in 
some other direction. At such times she will make the rush with 
her ears lying flat to the neck, as if terribly in earnest, but after 


a turn or two, he generally manages to run up to me for protec- 
tion, when she will stop a little way off, bring the ears to a ver- 
tical position, and look as if she would like to enjoy a hearty 
laugh at the alarm she had created in the great, cowardly brute, 
that is strong enough to toss her over the fence on his antlers. 

The severe and long continued cold of the winter of 1875 was 
endured well by this tropical deer, and also by the Ceylon deer ; 
but in the spring, I found the borders of the ears of all had been 
so frozen, that they were curled up in a sort of gathers all round 
the edges, but, with one exception, it was only on the very edges 
that the vitality seemed to be destroyed. This when it peeled 
off left the ear without perceptible change. I saw nothing of 
the kind on the ears of any of the Virginia deer, which are next 
in delicacy of structure. The longer these deer remain exposed 
to the cold winters of this latitude, the more dense becomes the 
winter coat on the ears, and even on the other parts as well. 

The Antlers. 

An examination of the antlers of the deer makes it first neces- 
sary that we inquire of their constituents, then of their system of 
nutrition, their mode of growth, their maturity, their decay and 
rejection, and finally of their uses. 

An analysis of these antlers shows that they are composed of 
the same constituents as internal bones ; that they are in fact 
true bones, though in the proportion of their constituents they 
differ slightly from ordinary bones. Healthy ordinary bone con- 
sists of about one tliird part of animal matter, or gelatine, and two 
thirds of earthy matter, about six sevenths of which is phosphate 
of lime and one seventh carbonate of lime with an appreciable 
trace of magnesia. The animal matter gives the bone elasticity 
and tenacity, the earthy matter hardness and rigidity. 

The antlers of the deer consist of about thirty-nine parts of 
animal matter and sixty-one parts of earthy matter, of the same 
kind and proportions as is found in common bone. This is the 
mean of many results of analysis of antlers of different species 
of deer, by diffei-ent processes, among which very little differ- 
ences were found in results. This excess of animal matter seems 
necessary to give the antler elasticity and strength, and fit it for 
the purposes for which it is designed. 

A critical examination shows that their system of nutrition 
and mode of growth are identical with those of internal bones, 


although the growth is much more rapid, and when completed 
other phenomena are noticed not observed in internal bones, 
which are required by the economy of the animal, which demands 
that they complete their growth, die, and be cast off annually. 
These modifications are entirely consistent with the general plan 
of osteal structure. During the period of growth of the antler 
it is provided with a periosteum^ and with internal blood-ves- 
sels as well, though it has no medullary canal filled with marrow 
like the long internal bones. 

As before intimated, the antlers of the deer are not persistent, 
like the other bones of the body, but they are grown from the 
beginning to maturity and then are cast away every year. 

In most cases the matured antler is cast in the fall or winter, 
but in some cases they are retained till spring. 

In those cases where the antler is dropped in the fall or win- 
ter, immediately the periosteum, which surrounds the pedicel or 
the process of the skull on which the antler grows, the edge of 
which was left naked and bleeding when the old antler was cast 
off, commences extending itself over tlie naked end of the bone 
which it surrounds, and which constituted the seat of the antler, 
and in a few days at most it has closed over it, and consists of a 
thick vascular naked covering with a black cuticle, and in this con- 
dition it remains, just fairly filling the concavity which is left by 
the lower convex end of the discarded antler. This vascular cov- 
ering of the concave top of the pedicel, grows no more during the 
winter, but the blood circulates freely though moderately through 
it, maintaining about the same temperature as other portions of 
the skin of the animal which are clothed with hairs. While 
there are no hairs or fur observed on this black skin, a sort of 
scaly dandruff forms on it which the animal, if very tame, will 
allow to be gently rubbed or scraped off with the finger nail, and 
even seems to enjoy that operation. This remains in a quiet 
state till spring, when vegetation begins to shoot forth and a 
scanty supply is procured by the deer. Then those bucks which 
had carried their antlers through the winter, drop them, the old- 
est first. Then the top of the pedicel is immediately overgrown, 
as were those in which the antler had been discarded in the fall 
or winter. Then all commence rising up in a convex form, as- 
suming first the appearance of a great blood-blister. 

Now the antler commences a longitudinal growth, the top 
maintaining its convex form, while the beam attains at once its 
full diameter ; and so it grows in length but never appreciably 


in thickness. When the beam has attained the height where it 
is to throw off a brancli, it first becomes flattened at the end, and 
then the bifurcation takes place, and the two parts grow on pari 
passu, ever increasing in length but not in diameter, that which 
is to be the longest growing faster than the other, and so on to 
the completion of the external growth, so that all the parts shall 
be completed at about the same time. The burr of the antler is 
however an exception. It does not attain its full diameter at 
first, but is gradually enlarged during the growth of the antler, 
though it attains its full size before the growth of the antler is 
completed. When this growth is finished externally, the vascu- 
lar covering, called the velvet, and which consists of the perios- 
teum overlaid with a black thin skin covered with a short dense 
fur, is rubbed off by the animal against small ti'ees or other con- 
venient objects. At the time it is thus rubbed off this outer 
covering is quite tenacious and gorged with blood. I once saw a 
large elk in my grounds, soon after he had commenced this work 
of denudation. This velvet was stripped into long strings, which 
depended from various parts of the antlers, souie reaching as 
low as his knees. These shreds looked like red cords ; the head, 
neck, and breast were covered with fresh blood, and the entire 
antlers appeared smeared with blood still moist. The animal 
appeared flushed and irritated, and soon rushed away to the 
thicket, and when I next saw him not a vestige of the blood or 
the shredded skin remained, but the antlers were clean and very 

I had a vei'y tame bnck of the common species, with which I 
desired to try the effect of castration upon the immature ant- 
lers. I delayed the operation as long as I dared, and then, with 
the aid of some stout men, caught him, but he thrashed about at 
such a rate that in spite of us he hit his antlers against the 
ground and other objects, and to my surprise I observed the skin 
to peel off in long strings, scattering the blood with whicli it was 
fully charged in every direction. I saw at once that it was too 
late to execute my original purpose, and so I contented myself 
with a careful study of the antlers and their late covering, and in 
detaching portions still remaining. The surface of the antlers 
seemed hard and well matured, and the points hard and sharp, 
but I detected no interception of the blood-vessels around the 
burr, although that part of the antler had attained its full devel- 
opment more than a month before. There I could distinctly see 
the unobstructed arteries, some passing through holes and others 


through indentations in the bvirr. So was conclusively refuted 
the old notion that the growth of the burr destroj's those blood- 
vessels by compression, and hence the velvet dies for want of nu- 
triment. This notion was the result of an ingenious guess with- 
out study and investigation. And so it is of many theories in 
natural history. 

The evidence, derived from a very great multitude of observa- 
tions, made through a course of years, is conclusive that nature 
prompts the animal to denude its antlers of theii' covering, at 
a certain period of its growth, while yet the blood has as free 
access to that covering as it ever had. 

While, as I have shown, this is a true bone, and is supplied 
its nourishment in substantially the same way as other bones are 
supplied, it is still an anomalous bone, and nature has provided 
means meet for these anomalies. It springs up rapidly, and, in 
a few months so far matures that it ceases to require nourish- 
ment for its enlargement, but only for its internal solidification, 
and does not, to any appreciable degree, undergo the changes of 
waste or absoi'ption and renewal which take place with the inter- 
nal- bones, but the equivalent of this is provided for by its entire 
removal so soon as it becomes inert, and then succeeds again its 
entire renewal. If the periosteum is destroyed on a portion of 
the internal bone, the part thus denuded is liable to die for want 
of the requisite nutriment and to be thrown off from the rest of 
the bone as foreign matter. In the antler, when the periosteum 
is entirely removed from the whole surface, it still lives for a 
time, and progresses with its internal growth, filling up the cav- 
ities of the cancellous tissue with great rapidity from the abun- 
dant supply of nutriment it receives through the beam from its 
very seat, till the work is done, and the antler becomes an inert 
mass, a foreign substance, and it is tlrrovvn off entire. 

These are the peculiarities of this anomalous member. Now 
let us exiimine and we shall see how beautifully nature has pro- 
vided, in the system for nutrition, to meet these peculiarities, 
these extraordinary requirements. In doing this we shall be 
obliged to run a sort of parallel in the process of growth with 
the internal persistent bones, for so shall I be enabled to explain 
the most intelligibly the results of my investigations. 

In both, the great source of nutriment, during active growth, 
is the arterial system of the periosteum. Within we find the 
Haversian system complete, with only such modifications as the 
exigencies which the peculiarities of this bone present. For in- 


stance, when it is matured it is comparatively a solid bone, with 
more or less branches, and there is an absence of the medullary 
canal, with its marrow, arteries, and nerves ; but, as we shall see, 
we have their equivalents, and more, for the blood vessels trav- 
ersing the interstices within are so expanded during the rapid 
growth of the antlers as to meet the anomalous demand for the 
elements of growth during that short but exciting period. 

I will now explain briefly the system of blood-vessels provided* 
to nourish the antler during its rapid growth. First, the external 
supply from the periosteum. These are an extension of a part 
of the arteries of the periosteum, which persistently covers the 
pedicel which forms the seat of the new antler. Second, a part 
of the arteries of the jjeviosteum of the pedicel turn in and over- 
spread the top of the pedicel at the articulation, and thence pass 
up through the interior of the new antler. And third, we find 
•^ number of arteries which pass up through the interior of the 
pedicel and into the growing antler. During the period of 
growth, many of all these three sets of arteries are of enormous 
size as compared with the blood-vessels with which internal 
bones are supplied. 

Having thus briefly stated the system of blood-vessels pro- 
vided for the growth of the new antler, let us now go back to 
where we left the top of the pedicel, — the concave seat of the 
antler overgrown with the thick vascular covering, Avhich was an 
extension of the periosteum, which persistently surrounds the 
bony process of the skull, upon which the future antler is to be 
grown. Whether this has been accomplished months before, as 
when the antler was cast off early, or but a day or two before, 
as in the case of our elk, at the proper time when the active 
growth is to commence, in the blood-vessels passing up through 
the periosteum, the circulation becomes greatly accelerated, the 
temperature is greatly increased, the parts become exceedingly 
sensitive to the touch, and we have the appearance of a high 
state of inflammation, though in reality but a very active nat- 
ural action. As before stated, the thick, massive periosteum is 
raised up from the hone beneath into a convex protuberance. 
Beneath, the space is occupied by a new system of blood-vessels, 
by far the greatest number shooting inwai'd from the arteries in 
the periosteum, still others rising up through the bone below, 
the canals through which have suddenly become greatly enlarged 
by the absorption of the inner laminae. As yet nothing like 
ossification has taken place, and if the part be now inspected it 


presents simply the appearance of coagulated blood, but, as might 
iDe expected, a closer examination discloses a regular and highly 
organized arterial and venous system, traversing a mass of soft 
and highly excited animal tissue. 

Now commences the process of ossification. First around the 
border of the pedicel the osteal cells and the intercellular tissue 
receive deposits of the earthy particles, and thus the growth of the 
*new bone is commenced at the external portion or the circumfer- 
ence at the seat of the antler. The process now goes on rapidly, 
by the formation of new intercellular tissue and osteal cells on 
the inner side of the membrane, which in turn receive their de- 
posit of earthy matter, rapidly building up the outer wall and 
slowly filling up the interior with cancellous tissue. The cells of 
the cancellous tissue commence filling up with earthy matter, 
and arranging themselves into Haversian systems so soon as they 
themselves are formed, and so the lower circumference of tUe 
antler is first hardened into tolerably compact bone ; but it is at 
this very point that this process goes on the most slowly, else the 
sources of nutriment which rise up through the bony process of 
the skull, upon which alone the antler must depend for nutriment 
to finish its growth after the periosteum shall have been removed 
from its surface, would be cut off while there is much work to be 
done especiall}^ on young animals, after this greatest means of 
supply is gone. I was first made aware of this fact many years 
since, when I caught a young elk with his first antlers about two 
feet long, and finely branched near the ends. These antlers had 
been divested of their velvet for tliree months, and to all appear- 
ance entirely matured. Before putting him into the cage to be 
sent to the Central Park, New Yoi-k, where he played the sov- 
ereign for many years, I sawed oflE his antlers about two inches 
above the burrs. I was surprised to find the blood to flow quite 
freely, sufficient to stain the saw for the whole length used. In 
no other case have I sawed off the antlers from so young an ani- 
mal, but very often from adults of the various species, from none 
of which did I find the blood to flow ; but in all cases, the blood- 
vessels and the color were plainly visible to the naked eye, for a 
greater or less area near the middle of the antler, until near the 
time when it would drop off. 

But if Mr. George Kennan is not mistaken in what he saw, 
the blood circulates still more freely through the apparently ma- 
tured antlers of the adult domesticated reindeer in Siberia. In 
" Tent Life in Siberia " (p. 186), he says : " To prevent the in- 


terference and knocking together of the deevs' antlers when they 
should be harnessed in couples, one horn was relentlessly chopped 
off close to the head by a native armed with a heavy sword-like 
knife, leaving a red ghastly stump, from which the blood trickled 
in little streams over the animals' ears." If he had had the ant- 
lers sawed off instead of chopped off with a heavy knife, I should 
have liked it better and so probably would the deer, for if those 
antlers were as hard as ordinary deer's antlers, it must have been 
a very difficult as well as a very cruel task to chop them off with 
anything. The deer were perhaps castrated, though imperfectly, 
which would render the antler less dense with a more active 
arterial system than in perfect animals ; but certain it is that the 
antlers were well matured, for our author tells us just before that 
the deer were caught hj throwing a lasso over the antlers of the 
deer, which made " tpemendous leaps and frantic efforts to es- 
cape," to have borne which the antlers must have been pretty 
well matured, hard, and strong. This was in November, near the 
Arctic Circle, when on the full bucks, at least, the antlers must 
have been in their prime. However, making every allowance for 
inaccurate observations arising from want of appreciation of the 
importance of what he saw, we may safely conclude, that when 
the strong and pretty well matured antler was severed near the 
head, there was a dischai-ge of blood at least sufficiently copious 
to drop down upon the ears. This is much more tlian I have 
ever observed. 

But all antlers do not show equal solidity at the time they are 
dropped in the course of nature, and it is very uncommon to find 
one that is quite solid throughout. Usually towards the lower 
end and indeed for the greatest portion of it, and even extending 
into the tines, a part of the interior is more or less porous when 
the internal growth ceases, the antler dies and is thrown off. 
This internal growth is arrested before sufficient earthy matter 
has been deposited to fill up the interstices in the cancellous tissue 
and render the antler solid throughout. The result is that the 
antler, instead of being solid has an open interior of greater or 
less extent, which, however, is biaced in every direction by thin 
plates of bone, leaving the antler lighter, more elastic, and jDcr- 
haps as strong as if the solidification had extended thoughout. 
This arrest of the solidifying process, before all the pores had 
been filled up with earthy matter, results from the extreme solidi- 
fication of a thin plate at the lower extremity of the antler, which 
is in actual contact with the pedicel, and through which the in- 


ternal vessels bad passed up into the antler, which had furnished 
the internal nourishment during the growth of the antler, and 
by which the hardening process within had been continued after 
the velvet had been rubbed off. The hardening of this lower 
extremity of the antler, so as to compress the vessels which pass 
through it and arrest the circulation through them, is the means 
by which the interior of the antler is left, to a greater or less 
extent, porous and light as above described, and which, as we can 
readily appreciate, is for the benefit of the animal. 

The diameter of the antler is only enlarged during its growth 
by the elevation of ridges on the surface, so as to make channels 
or beds for the large arteries of the periosteum. These channels 
or grooves can be seen on the antlers of all the species, and show 
that the arteries were enormous for blood-vessels for a perios- 
teum, Avhich on internal bones are so minute that the naked eye 
cannot see them. 

At the lower extremity of the antler, the enlargement con- 
tinues, till the external growth of the autler is well advanced, 
forming what is called the burr, where, when the growth is com- 
pleted, the bone quite surrounds some of the arteries, forming 
canals through which they pass, while others pass through deep 
indentations which protect them almost as effectually as do the 

This shows us that those naturalists who have attributed the 
death of the velvet to the compression at the burr, of the vessels 
leading into it, are mistaken. This burr, instead of compressing 
those vessels by its increased growth, is admirably designed to 
protect them from injury ; and the protecting canals and indenta- 
tions never do fill up by continued deposits of bone material, as 
occurs to the canals leading into the antler above. Hence it is 
that when the velvet is rubbed off or torn away, it is found 
gorged with blood thrown up by these unchecked arteries. 

But there is another set of arteries, as we have seen, coming 
from the persistent periosteum on the pedicel below, which pass 
in at the articulation between the pedicel and the antler. These 
are numerous and so lai'ge that their canals may be readily de- 
tected with the naked eye. Let any one curious to examine this 
interesting subject, take the first deer's head with antlers, which 
he finds in the market, and carefully dissect away the skin below 
the burr, and he will, without the aid even of a pocket glass, find 
both these systems of canals through the burr, for the supply 
of the periosteum, and those passing into the articulation be- 


tween the old and the new bone, for the internal supply of nutri- 

But this is not all. Copious as is the supply of blood which 
these great arteries are capable of furnishing, still it is inad- 
equate for so rapid a growth ; so we find another set of blood- 
vessels, communicating directly between the persistent and the 
deciduous osseous formations. These pass up through the body 
of the pedicel into the antler, and together Avith those just de- 
scribed, perform the office of the medullary artery in the internal 
long bones, supplying it with nutriment internally, and commu- 
nicating, as in the case of common bones, with the Haversian 
systems connected with the periosteum. Let us examine a cross 
section of the pedicel, just below the seat of the antler, when the 
antler is but half grown and the work is going on in its full 
vigor, and we find it open and spongy, apparently composed of 
pretty compact cancellous tissue towards the circumference, but 
with open canals near the middle. In the specimen now before 
me, which is cut across, one of these canals is nearly one line in 
diameter. This is the largest distinct canal for the passage of 
an artery through the pedicel which I have found, but when these 
canals are smaller, there are more of them, if examined at the 
same stage of growth. These canals afford abundant passage for 
the blood-vessels passing up through it into the new-growing 

Let us compare it with another, also on my table, on which 
the antler had become hard, and was nearly readj^ to be cast 
off. Now we find this pedicel, which a few months before was 
so porous, has become a compact bone throughout, with the cav- 
ities so far filled up as to collapse the blood-vessels and obstruct 
the appreciable passage of the red blood, though, of course, the 
laeuuEB and the canaliculi are still preserved as necessary to its 
own continued vitality ; but all the visible canals ai'e now filled 
up. Here, then, is an order of nature found nowhere else, be- 
cause the necessities of the case nowhere else require it. We 
find a persistent bone, alternately compact and porous, alter- 
nating annually, simply because it is necessary to the per- 
formance of a peculiar function, nowhere else in the whole 
range of nature's works demanded. 

When the time approaches for the new antler to commence its 
growth, the laminae which had filled up the canals in the pedicel 
through which the nutriment to promote that new growth is to 
pass, are absorbed away and the canals are thus enlarged, and 



the blood-vessels which liad been compi'essed now swell out and 
become active conduits for the required nutriment for the new 
growth, and everything which had been for several months so 
dormant suddenly becomes the scene of intense activity. Then 
again, as this new growth approaches completion, and the neces- 
sity for this great supply of nutriment diminishes, a new deposit 
of earthy matter takes place, new laminte are formed within these 
canals so lately opened by the absorption of the old, the blood- 
vessels are again gradually diminished, and finally practically 
closed, when their active functions are no longer required. 

Thus we see how complete is the system, and how perfectly 
adapted is it for the anomalous requirements, to supply the nutri- 
ment, for the rapid growth of the deciduous antlers of the Cer- 
vidse, and a perfect comprehension of this Avill enable us to 
understand the remarkable phases, under varied circumstances, 
which it will be necessary to explain before we complete our 
present subject. 

A more particular description of the progress of this growth is 
now necessary, and we are the better prepared for this by the in- 
vestigations already made. 

As has been already said, the first structure is of the outer 
walls, or circumference of the antler forming a hollow cjdinder, 
the cavity being in the form of an inverted cone. The specimen 
before me is a deer's antler less than half grown, and is six inches 
long and one inch in diameter. The ossified walls do not extend 
to the top, which consists of a mass of blood-vessels, the osseous 
wall at the upper end presenting a thin serrated edge, the cavity 
there being nearly one inch in diameter. Below this the wall 
gradually increases in thickness, and is composed of cancellous 
tissue, more dense towards the circumference ; just above the 
burr, the cavity is nearly filled with this tissue, through which the 
blood-vessels pass, with a small open passage near the middle. 
The internal cavity does not entirely terminate at the seat of the 
antler, but continues down into the pedicel in the form of a canal, 
where it soon spreads out into many ramifications, whence come 
the tributaries transmitting the great flow of blood which passes 
through that channel for the nourishment of the rapidly growing 

The butt or lower end of the matured antler is more or less con- 
vex, corresponding to its concave seat at the top of the pedicel. 
This lower extremity of the antler, where the articulation occurs, 
is, as before intimated, exceedingly compact, corresponding, in 
that respect, to the articulate extremities of the internal bones. 


The tips of the antlers, which are the List formed, are the first 
to become solidifiecl quite through, and from these points the so- 
lidifying process goes on down through the branches and the 
beam, till the passages through the surface of the antler, which 
admitted the circulation from the periosteum, have become closed, 
soon after which the velvet is discarded. This circulation from 
the periosteum into the antler is first shut off at the upper ex- 
tremities, and thence downwards, but the blood flows freely into 
this outer vascular covering all this time, for it is provided, 
though imperfectly, with a venous as well as an arterial sys- 

This velvet will never spontaneously disengage itself ; but if it 
is not detached by violence, the blood-vessels which sustain it will 
soon close of themselves, not by mechanical compression at the 
burr, but in obedience to some law of nature not clearly under- 
stood. I think the most probable cause is the imperfection of the 
venous system of this periosteum, which is inadequate to return 
the blood as fast as it is thrown up by the arteries, now that the 
canals to the interior are closed, and so, after a longer or shorter 
struggle, this outer covering must die, if not previously torn 
away. It is rare that a portion of the velvet is thus retained, 
yet I have several specimens in my collection where it has died 
upon the antler, and presents the appearance of a thin sheet of 
gutta percha adhering to the antler with great tenacity, fre- 
quently resisting all subsequent attempts of the animal to remove 
it ; but all the fur is worn off, and it is smoothly polished by sub- 
sequent friction. This rubbing process is not suspended so soon 
as the velvet is removed, but continued throughout the rutting 
season, when the upper part of the antler becomes finely polished, 
and the outer surfaces of the tubercles, which frequently appear 
on the lower part of the beam, are appreciably worn down. This 
process is carried on not only against the trunks of small trees, 
which are sometimes denuded of their bark for several feet, but 
also against the branches which are within reach. Indeed, the 
elk are often seen twisting their antlers among the extremities of 
the branches, and I once found a branch two inches in diameter 
which had been thus twisted off from a hickory tree, and which 
was divided into shreds for several inches at the end. It must 
have taken an incredible amount of hard work, and consumed 
much time in the accomplishment of the feat. 

But we must return to the growth of the antler, and follow it 
to its completion and final rejection. 


When deprived of its external supply of nutriment, by tlie re- 
moval of the periosteum, the outer portion has become thor- 
oughly solidified, but the internal growth, except near the 
points, is still incomplete, and is composed of cancellous tissue. 
This is much more the case on young animals than on older ones. 
As we have already seen, this contingency has been already pro- 
vided for, by the blood-vessels leading in through the lower ex- 
tremity of the antler. Through these, earthy matter is carried 
up and deposited in the proper form of laminre closing up the 
cells and pores, and oblitei'ating the blood-vessels, both above 
and laterally. In the mean time, the arteries which passed up 
through the butt of the antler and supplied the interior, were 
becoming more and more compressed, as the lower part, and 
especially the articular plate, became more and more solidified, 
till finally they become entirely collapsed or cut off, and the cir- 
culation above arrested, and the work of filhng up the inner cavi- 
ties stopped before the interior of the antler had become com- 
pletely solidified, leaving a portion of the interior still porous. 
The extent of this interior spongy part varies considerably in 
different specimens, not depending on a difference of the species. 
This closing up of the arteries, by the solidification of the artic- 
ular plate, takes place much sooner on old animals than on the 
young ; still the canaliculi remain open for a considerable time, 
and maintain a certain amount of life in the antler. But even 
these at last succumb, or cease to transmit sufficient nutriment to 
maintain vitality, when the antler becomes an inert mass of bone, 
still so firmly attached to its seat that no available force can sep- 
arate it from the pedicel at the articuLation. If sufficient violence 
be used, the pedicel will be carried away with a part of the skull, 
or the antler will break off above the burr. However, organized 
matter cannot remain stationary. It must be either growing or 
decaying. So soon as the former process is finished the latter 
commences, at first very slowly, no doubt. 

Nature has made proper provision for this, as is clearly dis- 
closed by a careful study. Let us remember that there were 
three classes of arteries by which the antler was supplied during 
the period of its rapid growth. First, external, through the peri- 
osteum ; another, strictly internal, or those passing up through 
the pedicel into the growing antler, and again, those which 
branch off from the periosteum of the pedicel and pass through 
the articulation into the antler. The first have been destroyed 
by the closing of the surface canals through which they passed 


into the antler ; the second have been cut off by the closing of 
the canals within the pedicel through which they passed into the 
antler ; the third have been cut off by the consolidation of the 
lower extremity of the antler, which I have likened to the artic- 
ular plate of internal bones. But remember, the canals through 
which these pass into the articulation have not been and never 
will be filled ujd, but within the articulation they retain their 
vitality, while above it they are practically destroyed. Now, 
these blood-vessels retaining their vitality within the articulation 
commence a new and important work which is assigned them — 
that is, the work of absorption. Tiiey pick up particles or rather 
groups of granules, of what I call the articular plate, and carry 
them away, and when a sufficient number of these particles have 
been thus removed, the antler becomes loosened from its seat, or 
at least the point of junction becomes weakened, and the antler 
drops off, or is more generally removed by some slight force 
before it has become completely loosened so as to drop off by its 
own gravity. 

The moment the antler is thus removed the blood flows freely 
from the ruptured vessels which had passed into the articulation 
and done the work of absorption, but not a trace of blood can 
be found coming from the antler ; the detached convex surface, 
which is of an immaculate whiteness, though rough like very 
coarse sand-paper, shows plainly where the particles had been 
removed by absorption. 

Blood is frequently found on the end of the antler, which oc- 
curs when some force has been applied to the antler, when it is 
nearly ready to drop off, not sufficient to detach it entirely, but 
which partially separates it from the seat, and ruptures a part 
of the blood-vessels there, when the blood will insinuate itself 
wherever the separation has occurred and stain the end of the 

The fact that blood flows freely from vessels around the bor- 
ders of the pedicel and not a particle from the antler, the mo- 
ment the separation takes place, shows, what a more critical 
examination also proves, that at least some of the blood vessels 
passing into the articulation remain open and active up to the 
time of separation, while they are effectively closed by the solid- 
ification of the lower extremity of the antler. 

I may give one or two examples to illustrate this. Early in 
April, while walking through the park, I met Dick, a very tame 
four-year old buck. One antler was standing, but the other 


was gone, and the seat was covered with fresli blood. As he was 
eating corn from one band, witli the other I seized the remaining 
antler. He immediately jumped back and severed the antler 
with a smart snap. He shook his head and ran away as if con- 
siderably hurt, while the blood flowed so freely from the exposed 
end of the pedicel that it ran down the side of his face and 
dropped to the ground. An inspection of the end of the antler, 
at the point of separation, showed not a trace of blood, but the 
rough convex surface was as vmdefiled and as white as it is pos- 
sible to imagine. It was some minutes before he would so far for- 
give me as to come and take more corn from my hand. Then I 
saw the concave seat of the antler was filled with blood already 
beginning to coagulate, and the hemorrhage had nearly ceased. 

The next fall, early in November, the same animal was follow- 
ing me through the grounds, begging for gratuities, while I 
wished to bestow my attentions more exclusively to a pet gazelle, 
and in my impatience at his persistent importunities, I kicked 
backward, just as he lowered his head, when I knocked off one 
of his antlers. The dislocation took place with a smart cracking 
noise and probably by the use of about the same force as on the 
former occasion, and precisely the same phenomena were ob- 
served. He carried the remaining antler but a day or two when 
it disappeared. On this occasion this was the first deer in the 
park to lose his antlers, while on the other he carried them the 
longest of any. 

While the growing antler of the deer is but indifferently pi'O- 
vided with a nervous system, yet the upper portion, above where 
the ossified wall has become established, is in a situation resem- 
bling a high state of inflammation, and like i*eally inflamed 
parts is exceedingly sensitive. In the deer's antler the apparently 
inflammatory action or high temperature seems to subside so 
soon as the ossified wall becomes established, and the extreme 
sensibility in the outer covering disappears. There the antler 
may be handled, compressed, and even the velvet cut through, 
without manifestations of suffering, while above on the soft and 
yielding part, Avhere the temperature is much higher than it is 
below, the least pressure or even touch seems to produce pain. 

The antler of the deer sometimes though rarely becomes dis- 
eased, when the same phenomena occur as in diseased internal 
bones. The channels of the blood-vessels become large and the 
vessels become expanded, and even the whole diseased part of 
the antler becomes greatly enlarged by the separation of the 


larninse by inflammatory deposits between them, presenting to 
the view a loose and porous appearance. When in this condi- 
tion the diseased portion does not perfect its growth so as to 
dispense with the periosteum, at the time the healthy portion is 
prepared to do so, but even the portion of the velvet remaining 
on the diseased part retains a certain measure of vitality, from 
internal nutriment, when its proper supply is entirely cut off, by 
the destruction and removal of the velvet on the healthy por- 
tion below it. This is beautifully illustrated on the abnormal 
descending tine on the left antler from a Columbia deer shown 
in the illustration hereafter given. This black-tailed deer was 
killed on the dividing I'idge which lies between Cottonwood Creek 
and Clear Creek, extending from Cottonwood station to Igo in 
Shasta County, California. It will be observed that a few 
inches of the outer extremity of the tine is greatly enlarged. 
At the time the deer was killed the velvet was remaining on this 
portion of the antler alone. All the rest was denuded and the 
surface well polished. After that remaining had become well 
dried, I peeled it off and found that the canals for the blood- 
vessels leading from the periosteum into the diseased bone had 
become so enlarged as to be perfectly distinct to the naked e3'e, 
indeed many of them were as large as a small pin. The visible 
mouths of these canals leading to the Haversian systems within 
are exceedingly numerous. Internally the cross section of the 
diseased part of the tine presents that loose spongy appearance 
so often seen in diseased bone. 

When growing, the antler of the deer is quite pliant, and may 
be given almost any shape or direction, without apparent injury. 
Nothing is more common than to meet with antlers from all the 
species of this genus, taken from wild animals, with the beam or 
more frequently some of the tines occupying unnatural positions 
attributable to some force, applied when in an immature state. 

I have never known an instance where such injury to the 
antler has produced disease. 

Once when taking a pair of black-tailed deer from a boat into 
the steamship in the Columbia River in a gale of wind, one of 
the antlers of the buck, which was a few inches long, got crushed 
down, and yet it did not appear to become diseased from the in- 
jui-y. It grew on in the form of an irregular mass, shed its velvet 
at about the same time as the uninjured antler, and was cast off 
about the same time, presenting no such appearance of disease as 
in the case first described. The next year the antler grown upon 


the same side was of perfect form, showing that the pedicel had 
not been injured. 

The Ceylon buck in ray grounds arrived when his antlers 
were about half grown, and one of them was badly bruised afhd 
bent over, yet it gi-ew on to maturity without showing any signs 
of disease, but without symmetry or definable form. 

I have in my collection many specimens of deformed antlers, 
some of which I have illustrated. One without a beam on either 
antler but consisting only of snags or tines growing from the 
burr, others having apparently double or treble beams on the 
same antler. These deformities, I think, have arisen from inju- 
ries received in the early stage of the growth of the antlers. 
They would, I doubt not, have been shed at the proper time, and 
been succeeded by antlers of the proper form. Without injury 
there may be abnormal growths on the antlers. As where tines 
appear in unnatural positions or places, or where the beam is bi- 
furcated with regular palms on each prong, as shown in the il- 
lustration of the antlers of the Scandinavian elk in Stockholm, but 
there are also unusual growths throughout the animal kingdom, 
for which it would often be difficult to assign a satisfactory cause. 

The effect of emasculation upon the growth of the antlers of 
the Cervidae is very marked, and has been the subject of long and 
careful observation. Although it has been long understood that 
this operation does produce some effect upon the growth of the 
antler, ideas have been very crude as to what that effect is. 
This I thought very remarkable, from the well known fact that 
castration has long been practiced by the Lapps upon their domes- 
ticated reindeer, and so its effect should be well understood by 
them, and opportunities for learning these effects by naturalists 
should have been abundant. 

A careful investigation of the subject in Lapland, explained 
the matter very satisfactorily. 

Early in July, when at Tromso, in Norwegian Lapland, I vis- 
ited a wealthy Lapp, named Anders Nilsen Heika, and carefully 
examined his large herd of reindeer, many of which were lying 
about within a few feet of me, and interviewed their owner for 
several hours as to their habits, treatment, etc. He was intelli- 
gent and candid, and seemed anxious to impart all the informa- 
tion possible. Many of my questions involved points which had 
never occurred to him before, and when this was the case, he 
frankly said so, that no undue weight might be given to his recol- 
lection or impression. 


From liim I learned that the male reindeer only are used for 
draft or burden. These are usually castrated when three years 
old. This is not done by amputation as with us, but by bruising 
and ci'ushing the testicle with the teeth, without opening the 
scrotum and removing the member. This of necessity is but 
very imperfect castration, and while it may destroy the capacity 
for generation, it does not entirely remove desire, and moderates 
without destroying the spirits of the animal. Were the opera- 
tion complete, it might leave the animal so dull and stupid as to 
impair, if it did not destroy, his usefulness. 

It had never occurred to the Lapp, that this operation had any 
influence on the growth of the antlers, but he supposed they were 
cast off and renewed on the mutilated as on the perfect animal. 
On reflection, however, he remembered that many carried the 
velvet longer than usual, and that in a few instances the deer 
had carried their antlers through the winter, and it might be 
that the antlers were broken off near the head instead of being 
detached at the articulation as on the perfect animal. 

My conclusion was, from all the information I could gather, 
that complete castration of the reindeer has the same effect on 
the growth of their antlers as on other deer, but that in Lapland 
the operation is usually very imperfect, and so the effect is less, 
and sometimes is so little, that the antler still matures, and is' 
regularly cast off every year, while on others the operation is 
more complete, when the antler never matures, but is broken off 
near the head when it becomes frozen through, and from the 
Stump a new antler grows the following year, as we shall pres- 
ently see is the case with other deer. 

It is not remarkable that facts like these should be quite over- 
looked by the Lapps, for to them they have no interest ; and the 
obliging Lapp was no doubt much surprised that I should come 
so far to make inquiries about matters which to him were so ut- 
terly unimportant, for he could not see how they could help to 
fill the pot. 

But even naturalists, if they have not entirely overlooked the 
subject, have not deemed it of siifficient importance to institute 
careful experiments so as to arrive at correct conclusions. While 
most writers on the Cervidte have alluded to the subject, they 
have generalljr despatched it in a paragraph or two, in which 
they have given vague rumors, or adopted loose statements from 
careless observers, and so as might be expected they have arrived 
at contradictory or very unsatisfactory conclusions. 


Dr. Owens' statements on this subject ^ accord more closely 
with the results which I have obtained than any others which I 
have met. Still they differ in some very important particulars, 
but they are mostly founded on experiments not made by him- 
self ; and I must say that I think it quite probable, from what is 
said, that thei-e was much room for error. It is possible, indeed, 
that a different effect may be produced on some species of deer 
from that produced on others, but all analogy would render this 
exceedingly improbable. When it is said that the antler on a 
castrated specimen has been shed and renewed annually as on 
the perfect animal, a doubt is left whether the animal was really 
or at least completely castrated ; such we have seen was the in- 
formation given me by the Lapp as his first impression, but a 
careful examination showed that he was probably mistaken in 
his supposition, that castration had no effect on the growth of the 
antler on the reindeer. We may still doubt whether the oper- 
ation was complete, or whether the breaking off of the antler 
near the head, and the growing of a new one from the stump, 
which as we shall presently see always occurs on the smaller 
species in this latitude, has not been mistaken for a shedding and 
renewal of the antler. Long practice and great care, as well as 
a full appreciation of the distinctive features to be sought for, 
are indispensable to qualify us to make observations which may 
be absolutely relied upon. 

My experiments have been tried upon two species only in my 
own grounds, but they have been numerous, and upon individ- 
uals of almost every age, and continued through a long course of 
years. I proceed to results. 

If a deer be castrated at any time after the antlers are so far 
matured that their velvet may be removed without material in- 
jury, and while they still firmly occupy their seat, they will inva- 
riable/ drop off within thirty days thereafter, though it may be 
months before the time when they would have been shed in the 
course of nature. In this case, and also when the operation is 
performed after the antlers are dropped naturally, in the spring 
following when the new antlers on the perfect buck commence 
their growth, the same growth commences on the mutilated ani- 
mal, and progresses to all external appearance the same as on 
the perfect animal till they have attained nearly the same size as 
those which were last cast off. If the buck be a young one with 
a spike antler, this will be a spike also of nearly the same length. 

1 Comparative Anatomy and Physiologi/ of Vertebrates, vol. iii., p. 631. 


If an old buck with five tines, these will be of nearl}' the same 
size as the former, with five tines also. These, however, never 
perfect their growth and never lose their velvet ; but at the time 
the antlers on the perfect bucks lose the velvet, those on the 
mutilated bucks stop their growth, but a moderate circulation is 
kept up in the velvet, which remains warm to the touch, and so 
they continue stationary till the severe weather of winter freezes 
the antlers through down to or very near the bvirr, when by the 
application of some accidental force they snap off within a half an 
inch or an inch of the burr, depending on the size of the antler. 
If we now examine the detached portion of an antler we shall 
see that its entire body is loose and spongy, more condensed at 
the circumference than within, but has nowhei'e attained tlie 
consistency of hard bone, so as to close up the blood-vessels lead- 
ing into it from the periosteum. The communication has been 
all the while kept np between the external and the internal cir- 
culation, as was the case during the period of growth of the 
antler on the perfect animal. 

These stumps of the antlers are carried till the next spring, 
when a new antler shoots out from the old stump not so large as its 
predecessor, and grows on in the same way and at the same rate 
as on the perfect animal, till those so far mature as to shed their 
velvet, when as before that on the mutilated animal stops its 
growth. In the meart time the old stump has enlarged its diam- 
eter and put out large tubercles as if supplemental to the burr, 
which is also considerably enlai'ged. The new antler thus pro- 
duced is not so large as the former, and if branched has less tines. 
And so this process goes on year after year, each succeeding 
antler being less in size and perfection than its predecessor, while 
the enlargement at the lower end becomes an exaggerated burr. 
This process of growth differs very considerably in different in- 
dividuals of the same species. In some, in a few years, these 
stumps grow to an enormous size, covered all over with large 
tubercles, some of them amounting to shafts two or three inches 
long, which may be frozen and broken off in the winter, while 
neither may be so conspicuous as to be recognized as a beam. 
The whole of this irregular mass is ever covered with the fine, 
soft, glossy fur. These tvvo large masses in the place of the ant- 
lers, covered all over with these rudimentary shafts, present a 
very curious and interesting appearance on the head of a deer. 

By far the finest specimen of this sort I ever had I pi-esented 
to the Central Park, New York, in 1865. I do not know if he is 


still living, but if he is, and this extraordinary appendage has 
continued its growth in the same unique direction, it must exhibit 
a curious spectacle at this time and be an interesting object 
for study to the naturalist. 

I have several castrated deer in my grounds which were there 
when " Billy " was sent to New York, but none of them have ap- 
proached the specimen mentioned in the redundancy of this basi- 
lar growth. Still the difference is only in degree. This en- 
largement of the base and diminution of the shaft seems to be 
less and less each year as the animal grows older. 

In October, 1865, I castrated my first Wapiti, or Elk, the day 
after he had killed Mr. Demmick, who in spite of locks and a 
very substantial picket fence eight feet high had managed to get 
into the park appropriated exclusively to the elk. That was the 
most terribly wicked elk I have ever seen. For a few days after 
the operation he seemed madder than ever. At length, how- 
ever, his rage gradually subsided, and he was ever after quite an 
amiable brute. 

As I expected, within four weeks the splendid antlers which 
had adorned his head had disappeared, and only the large pedi- 
cels which had supported them remained to disfigure the contour 
of his head. The next year new antlers grew, but smaller and 
with fewer branches than the old, differing in this respect mate- 
rially from those observed on the smaller species castrated when 
fully adult. As was expected, these did not lose their velvet at 
the time it was shed from the antlers of the perfect bucks, but 
the growth was simply suspended. During December, the beam 
of one antler, about eighteen inches from the point, was broken 
off by some accident. This fragment afforded a rich field for 
study, but I was not satisfied with it and killed the animal dur- 
ing the winter, and was so enabled to establish many facts only 
suspected before, but to state each in detail would be too tedious. 

The successor to the deposed monarch of the herd was only 
less wicked than the other. He was castrated on the 1st of 
January, 1867. The present antlers were cast and the new ones 
grew, and suspended their growth as in the former case, and so 
they have continued to the present day. These were too large 
to be frozen throup-h and so were not broken off near the head, 
as has always been the case with the smaller species, but only an 
inch or two of the ends were broken. The next year's growth 
was to teach me something new, and I watched it with interest, 
rather expecting to see active growths shooting out from the 


broken points to unknown lengths. In this I was disappointed ; 
the ends grew over, presenting something the apjjearance of the 
end of an amputated limb after it is healed, but only on one 
point was there any considerable elongation and that did not 
exceed three or four inches. The new growth was principally 
expended in the enlargement of the old remaining parts. Of 
these the actual diameter was appreciably increased, but the 
greatest volume consisted in large tubercles all over the surface, 
some with large bases, others attached to the parent stem by 
small necks. These tubercles are largest on the lower part of the 
antler and especially about the burr, some extending down over 
the pedicel, and one nearly two inches broad now extends down 
over the face nearly to the eye. 

This animal is now carrying these antlers the eighth winter. 
Each year portions have been broken off from the ends by acci- 
dent, so that now but tineless stubs remain scarcely eighteen 
inches lonw. These frao'ments have rarelv been found, and I 
have been able to add but one to my collection. The actual 
diameters of these shafts have been more than doubled. Some 
of the old tubercles are broken off annually, and those remaining 
are enlarged somewhat each year, and new ones crowd their way 
out among the old, but the number of new ones and the growth 
of the old ones seem to diminish each year as the animal grows 
older. One of these tubercles I found hanging by the skin, Avhich 
I secured. That was sufficient to show that they are composed 
of the same cancellous tissue as the main stem on this and the 
growing antler on the perfect animal. The periosteum, and the 
cuticle covering it in which the fine soft fur of the velvet is in- 
serted, expand with the growth of the tubercles, so as to com- 
pletely envelop them, penetrating them with the nutriment con- 
duits, the same as described when treating of the growth of the 
antler on the perfect animal. 

On the 15th of July I castrated a common buck four years old, 
when his antlers were more than three quarters grown. He 
soon recovered from the wound. I watched the result, compar- 
ing his antlers with those of several others of about the same age 
not castrated. I could detect no difference in the progress of 
growth till all seemed to have attained their full size. Those on 
the castrated animal never so far matured as to lose the velvet, 
while that on the perfect animal was of course rubbed off as 
usual. The results of my experiments seem to establish this 
state of facts : that the removal of the testes of the deer whose 


antlers are grown, at once arrests the supply of nutriment which 
has hitherto flowed into the antler which has lost the velvet, 
through its base, the same as when the lower extremity has at- 
tained its maximum density, and that the absorbent process im- 
mediately commences upon the lower surface of the articular 
plate, which in the course of a single month has so far proceeded 
as to loosen the antler at the articulation, and it drops off pre- 
cisely the same as on the perfect animal when the fullness of 
time has arrived. 

If the operation is performed before the antler has so far com- 
pleted its growth, the deposit of earthy matter is arrested before 
the canals leading from the periosteum are filled up and the con- 
nection between the external and internal blood-vessels is cut off, 
when the antler never matures, but retains its vitality and be- 
comes persistent, although it attains a higher degree of perfection 
in its growth than the antler which is wholly grown on the cas- 
trated buck. 

Upon the return of spring the absorption within the pedicel 
commences in the mutilated as in the perfect animal, whereby 
the canals for the passage of the blood-vessels are enlarged, and 
an active circulation is established, and the new antler com- 
mences its growth on both alike, and is so continued, though 
with diminished force on the mutilated animal, till the summer 
wanes and the rutting season approaches. Then a certain point 
is attained in the growth of the antler which can never be passed 
on the animal from which the testes have been completely re- 
moved, while by the stimulating influence which they afford, the 
requisite nutriment is forced into the antlers of the unmutilated 
animal which enables them to grow on to complete perfection. 
This influence seems to be mostly excited in those blood-vessels 
which enter the antler at its base, upon which the internal 
growth of the antler depends, after the destruction of the perios- 
teum, but the latter also is deprived of a certain portion of its 
energy, for it seems unable to so solidify the surface of the 
antler as to close the nutriment vessels which lead from it, and 
through which the blood which ascends through the arteries of 
the periosteum is returned. The greatest deprivation would 
seem to be in the capacity to transport and properly deposit the 
earthy matter by which the bone is solidified, for it is, after all, 
this deficiency which distinguishes the one antler from the other. 
It is after the rutting season is past, and the activity and excite- 
ment of the generative organs have ceased, that the absorbents 


commence their work at the articulation, and so loosen the antler 
from its seat ; but even at that time, in many cases the suspen- 
sion of the circulation through the articular plate is incomplete 
for a time, and then the absorption on its lower surface is very 
gradual, if it has even commenced, and it may take months before 
the antler is loosened, while, as we have seen, if the testes are ab- 
solutely removed, this work is at once commenced and rapidly 
prosecuted, so that within a month at most the antler is thrown 
off. But those who have supposed that the generative organs 
of the male Cervidge are entirely dormant and incapable of ac- 
tion from the time the antler is cast till it is again completely 
renewed, are mistaken in their conclusions. I have seen both the 
wapiti and the smaller deer copulate out of season, and after they 
had cast their antlers, with fruitful results, so that the old theo- 
ries on this subject are not founded on facts. It is no doubt true, 
as a general rule, that the sexual organs are less stimulated, and 
the male is not maddened by desire during the time when he is 
deprived of this weapon of warfare, so much as he is when it is 
in perfect condition ; and this is a wise order of nature to prevent 
those combats which are excited by jealousy at a time when the 
growing of the antlers operates as a sure bond to keep the peace, 
for a single battle would utterly destroy them. No doubt a con- 
sciousness of this weakness may have a quieting effect upon their 
belligerent dispositions, for it does not entirely leave them with 
the rutting season, but is manifested, though less recklessly, so 
long as the weapon remains. 

We may admit that one physical body can only produce a 
physical effect upon another body by a physical medium, and so 
conclude that there must be a physical medium between the 
testes and the antlers, specially designed and qualified to pro- 
duce the effect observed ; but if so it is as yet not identified, and 
we can only hope that some more ingenious and careful observer 
may find it. The utmost we may safely say now is, that in some 
way the testes enable or stimulate the proper blood-vessels to 
carry into the antler a larger amount of earthy matter and there 
properly deposit it, than they can do after the testes are re- 
moved, presuming at the same time that the absence of the gen- 
erative organs deprives these vessels of, or weakens other impor- 
tant functions necessary to the full maturity of the antler. 

When the fact is established, that the testes exercise a potent 
influence over the growth of the antlers of the deer, we might 
expect that such growth would be entirely cut off by their re- 


moval as much as it is by nature in the feniale ; possibly it might 
be so if those organs were removed before they had exercised 
their influence upon the organs of nutrition upon which the antler 
depends for its growth. This is a question I have in vain en- 
deavored to settle ; but T have never been able to save a fawn 
castrated before the first antler had grown. From the fact that 
the antler grown after the operation, never exceeds, or even 
equals in size the one previously grown, I will venture the 
opinion that no antler would grow on the male castrated when 
very young and before the antler has made an appreciable start, 
so that he would always resemble the doe in this regard, but 
in trying this experiment we must remember that the fawn is 
born with the rudiments of the antler already developed, and that 
frequently an appreciable growth may be observed during the first 
year of its life, if it is an early faAvn. In early fawns, this growth 
is sometimes suificient to perforate the skin the first season 

What has been said would be a sufficient answer to Buffon's 
theory, that the antlers of the Cervidse are vegetable growths on 
the animal body, had not all subsequent authors discarded his 
assumption as unworthy of the least consideration. 

It is indeed remarkable that an author so renowned, and who 
devoted so much time and labor to the study of natural history, 
should have observed so superficiall}' as to render such an error 
possible when a yqyj little examination would have prevented it. 

We will now consider the forms and locations and uses of 
the antlers of the different species of the deer. I have already 
alluded to the fact that these have been too much relied upon to 
distinguish species ; still they are by no means to be overlooked 
in determining classifications. True, the fawns and the females, 
with the exception of the reindeer, are always without this evi- 
dence, to tell of the species ; it is much if they can aid us in 
placing the older males. We shall see, however, that even for 
this they are not reliable, for some very distinct species have 
antlers precisely alike, while sometimes we shall find them widely 
variant in different localities on the same species. After all, our 
investigations of the natural history of these animals would be 
very imperfect, without a careful study of the forms, locations, 
and uses of the antlers, in addition to what has been said of their 
structure and mode of growth. 

It may be proper to explain preliminarily, the terms used in 
the description of this appendage of the deer. It has been often, 



though incorrectly, called a horn. As as we have alreadj' seen, 
it is an external osseous member, and is as different in its com- 
ponents from true horn, as it is from muscle. Only in its uses 
as a weapon and in its location does it resemble the horn. 

As a whole, the appendage is properly termed an antler. The 
main stem is called the beam; the larger branches from the 
beam are called tines, and the branches from these and small 
branches from the beam, are called snags. The flattened por- 
tions of either the beam or the tines are called ijalms. The ir- 
regular enlargement at the base, is called the hurr., and the 
warty eminences, more usually found on the lower portion of the 
beam, are called knobs, tvarts, or tubercles. The lower anterior 
conspicuous branch, is called the brow-tine, and the next the bez- 
tine, and the thii'd the royal-tine ; then the sur-royal, etc. 
These are most distinct on the antler of wapiti. Usually the 
first antler grown on the young buck is not branched, but con- 

sists of beam only, and is called a dag or sijihe antler, and the 
latter term applies to the antlers of the adults when they are not 
branched, which is sometimes the case. The pedicel is the per- 
manent process of the skull on which the antler grows. 

The most conspicuous example of palmated antlers is found 
on the largest of the deer family, — our Moose. It, however, 



does not decidedly assume this character till the animal becomes 
nearly adult ; although after the first, it begins to show a ten- 
dency to flatten at the place of bifurcation. 

I have experienced much difficulty in determining the ages of 
the Moose, upon which were grown the different antlers which I 
have examined, nor have I yet arrived at a satisfactory result. 
Hunters, of large experience and also good observers, will dis- 
agree as to the age of a young animal judging from the antlers, 
some believing it to have been one year old, while others pro- 
nounce it to have been two years old. For instance, I have in 
my collection six sets of moose antlers, showing a regular grada- 
tion in size and development ; and yet the largest was sent me 
from Halifax, as coming from an animal four years old, which I 
think is correct, while it is a disputed question, whether the 
smallest are from an animal one or two years old, though I be- 
lieve it to be from the latter. It is almost impossible to settle 
these questions with certainty, except where the animal is grown 
in domestication ; and even then, many specimens must be ex- 
amined to avoid being misled, for on the other members of the 
family a wide difference is observed in the development of the 
first antlers ; some being spikes, while others ai"e bifurcated, as 
we shall have occasion hereafter to notice. 

The character of the palm on the antlers of the Moose is an 
irregular, oblong sheet terminating the beam. It is thinner 
in the middle than at the circumference, and has snags of a 
greater or less length set upon the border ; which snags vary 
very much in number and size. It is rare that more than one of 
these palms is found on the same antler, yet sometimes a 
branch, when it is nearly the size of the beam above the fork, 
has a well-formed palm ; but in that case neither maj' be ex- 
pected to be as large as when the beam alone bears the palm. 
Some specimens have been met with where the beam low down 
has divided into nearly equal branches with palms of nearly 
equal size. 

An example of this is shown in the illustration upon the next 
page, which is from a Scandinavian elk which I met in the Royal 
Museum in Copenhagen. It was difficult to show both palms in 
the drawing. The left antler divides into nearly equal parts, the 
one above the other, four inches from the burr, and on each 
branch is a well-formed palm. In the collection of the Chicago 
Academy of Sciences, which was destroyed in the fire of 1871, 
was a fossil skull and antlers of a Moose, one of which antlers was 
divided near the burr, presenting good palms on each division. 



The pedicels on which the Moose antlers grow are situate at 
the top of the head, and are from seven to nine inches apart, 
with a lateral projection. From these the antlers grow out lat- 
erally in horizontal positions. A few inches from their bases they 
commence an upward and forward curve, so that the palm usually 
occupies nearly a vertical position with an anterior inclination, 
and is laterally compressed. 

I know of no other living species possessing this lateral pro- 
jection of the antler ; but the remains of the extinct Irish elk 
shows not only a lateral, but a depressed position of the antler 

Double-palmed Antler from a Scandinavian Elk. 

for a short distance from the head, when it takes a slightly up- 
ward curve scai'cely more than sufficient to bring it to a horizon- 
tal position, which it maintains for nearly its whole length, so 
that the extreme points of the antlers are about as far apart as 
their enormous length will permit. I believe there is not any 
existing representative of the genus which presents this extraor- 
dinary spread of the antlers. 

The palms on the antlers of the Moose are oblong, say twice 
as long as they are wide, but in this they show great variations. 
The tines on the borders of the palms are variant in size and 
numbers on different individuals, and are stoutest and most abun- 
dant on the anterior borders, a position in which they are pre- 
sented to the adversary in battle. When the edge of the broad, 
thin palm is presented with its deeply serrated blade in front, it 
may bear the shock of battle with more resistance than the same 


volume would do in a cylindrical form, but should the vicissi- 
tudes of battle expose it to a lateral force, it would be less able 
to withstand the shock. As we shall hereafter see, the Moose, 
like all the others of this genus, join battle with a great rush, 
which must often try the strength of the antlers to the utmost, 
vet we have no account of the antlers being broken short off, 
but it frequently happens that the tines or snags are dislocated. 
But for the great elasticity possessed by all antlers over all other 
bones, owing to the larger proportion of animal matter which 
they contain, a single battle would serve to destroy them. 

Another peculiarity of the antlers of the Moose, is that they 
are very considerably less in volume, just above the burr where 
they are cylindrical, than farther up. They increase in volume, 
including the tines and palms, till above the middle of the whole 
length of the antlers, and then diminish to their extremities. 

In proportion to their volume they are much shorter than the 
antlers on any of the other species, very rarely reaching a length 
of thirty inches, although they sometimes exceed sixty pounds in 
weight. This limited length in proportion to bulk, of course 
adds greatly to the strength of the weapon. 

This enormous growth is accomplished in about three months' 
time. The time when the antlers of the Moose are cast is quite 
variant, and depends much on the age of the animal. It seems 
to be a universal law with the Cervidge that the younger the ani- 
mal is the longer is the antler in maturing and the later is it 

The time when the active growth of the antler commences, 
depends upon the latitude, or rather on the advancement of the ; 
season. In its southern range, say in Nova Scotia, the growth ^ 
usually commences late in April, or the time when the sap com- 
mences to flow in the trees. On the adults the external growth 
of the antler is completed by the first of September, when the 
velvet is rubbed off, which is the commencement of the rutting 
season. This lasts from forty to fifty days, as we shall have 
occasion to observe hereafter. It is during this season that the 
antler is most required as a weapon of warfare, when it is all 
alive with the internal growth, and is more elastic and capable 
of enduring a greater strain, than after it dies by the destruction 
of the nutrient vessels, as has been before related. On the older 
specimens the antler is sometimes shed in December, but by far 
the largest proportion are cast during January and February, 
while some of the younger specimens carry their antlers till 


April, or even the May following. After the rutting season is 
past, during which the antlers are still in an effective condition 
as weapons or shields, there is rarely occasion for their use, as 
the belligerent disposition ceases with the rut. 

As ray experiments show that the absorbent process which 
loosens the antler from its seat, requires about one month to ac- 
complish its work, dui'ing which it is an inert foreign appendage, 
we see that the weapon retains its vitality and efficiency for a 
considerable time, when its use would seem to be no longer de- 
manded by the disposition of the animal. 

The following are the observations of Mr. Morrow of Halifax, 
on this subject : " The old Moose shed their liorns in the early 
part of winter, a very few in December, the greatest number in 
January and February. I have seen some in February, which 
had just lost their horns. I once shot a young bull in February, 
which still wore his horns firmly set on his head. The first 
horns I believe are carried nntil early spring. The Moose rub 
their velvet from their horns, just before and during the early 
part of the rutting season." Captain Hardy, in " Forest Life in 
Acadie," says, " The young bull moose grows his first horn (a 
little dag of a cylindrical form) in his second summer, i. e., when 
one year old. Both these and the next year's growth, which are 
bifurcate, remain on the head throughout the winter, till April 
or May. The palmate horns of succeeding years are dropped 
earlier, in January or February, a new growth commencing 
in April. The full development of the horn appears to be at- 
tained when the animal is in its seventh year." 

Dr. Gilpin says,^ " In the bull calf of the first year two knobs 
swell out upon the forehead beneath the skin ; in the second 
year the true horn appears, — a single prong six or eight inches 
long ; in the third year the new horn is usually trifingered and a 
little flattened ; and in the fourth year assumes the adult form, 
though small. The Indians and hunters say, they increase till 
the eighth year. The horn of the adult bull springs at right 
angles from a broad knobby base on the forehead, throws off 
one, two, or three brow-prongs or tines, and then rapidly flat- 
tening, reflects backwards nearly at right angles, forming a broad 
flattened palm, the anterior convex edge of which is subdivided 
into more or less numerous tines. There is some analogy be- 
tween the number of these tines and the age of the owner, but 

1 la Art. iv., On the Mammalia of Nova Scotia, by J. Barnard Gilpin, A. B., M. 
D., M. E. S. C. 


not accurate enough for calculation. About seven or eight tines 
are the usual number. The largest pair of horns I have seen, 
measured five feet and two inches from tip to tip, the heaviest 
weighed about fifty pounds They shed them in Febru- 
ary, and I have seen the young velvet horn in April." 

These quotations are from the very best authorities, — good 
observers, with the very best attainable opportunities for observ- 
ing. Mr. Morrow's observations, that some old specimens drop 
their antlers in December, merely establishes a fact which had 
not been observed by the others, but which he had himself wit- 
nessed. It is the general impression that the antlers of the 
Moose attain their gi'eatest development when the animal has 
reached his full maturity ; and that when advancing age begins 
to impair his vigor the antlers grow less in size and are less per- 
fectly developed, and that this deterioration progresses as age 
enfeebles the animal ; and I think the weight of the evidence is in 
favor of this conclusion ; but if this be so I think it is exceptional, 
for with the other members of the family, judging from my own 
observations and the best evidence I can get from others, the 
antlers increase in size after the animal has attained his full 
development, and probably so long as he lives, in health at least. 

The antlers on the young Moose are of a chestnut brown ; as 
they grow older they lose the chestnut shade and become a gray 
brown, and as they grow older still, they assume a lighter shade, 
till finally on aged animals they become fairly white. 

These observations apply equally to the Scandinavian Elk, 
only as a general rule the antler on the latter is less palmated 
than on our Moose, and the tines are longer and larger, although 
specimens may be found from the American variety, presenting 
this peculiarity to as great an extent as in Europe, and there too 
antlers are found as much palmated as here, so that it is only of 
the average that the remark just made is applicable if a number 
ai'e compared together. By reason of the exceptional structures 
met with on both continents, it is never safe to declare the oi-igin 
of any single specimen presented, although an inspection of a 
considerable number together might leave little doubt as to 
whence they came. Those from America Avould be found to be 
larger, by reason of the increased size of the animal here, as well 
as more palmated, with smaller tines. 

As we have already seen, bifurcated antlers with double palms 
are met with in both countries, though tliey are very rare. 

I here present an illustration of an antler of a Scandinavian 



Elk, procured in Berlin, whicli with those shown on page 195 
and on the animal shown hereafter under the head " Congeners," 
will give a fair idea of the proportions of palm and tines of the 
antlers of that animal, and so they may be compared with the 
several antlers of the Moose shown in the illustrations. That on 
page 193 is an extreme specimen, showing a greater proportion 
of palm than is usual with the Moose, and I have never seen any- 

Swedish Elk, from Berlin. 

thing approaching it on the Scandinavian Elk. I think enough 
has been shown to verify the conclusion that the palm contains 
a larger proportion of the antler on the American variety than 
on the European variety. Still, for all this, they are specifically 
identical, as we shall hereafter see. 

We shall better understand the comparisons by next examin- 
ing the antlers of the Reindeer, which are the only other species 
whose antlers are decidedly palmate as a constant characteristic. 

Of the antlers of the Woodland Caribou, Dr. Gilpin, in the 
paper from which I have already quoted, says : " Both sexes 
have horns, the doe comparatively small, with great irregularity of 



form. These horns are all regular in two or three typical forms. 
They have almost always one brow antler, broad and palmated 
over the eye, the other corresponding antler round. A second 
brow antler fronting forwai'd, a few inches above this, and the 
main shaft of the horn turned forward, more or less palmated, 

Male Caribou Antlers. 

and with more or less tines, all coming from the back or convex 
surface of the horn. I possess a pair of horns in which the two 
brow antlers are symmetrical, resembling clasped hands over the 
forehead. I possess another pair of small horns, with one single 
brow antler, and but one tine from a scarcely palmated horn. 


This last came from Labrador, and I think grew upon a doe. 
The other may be either a Nova Scotian or Newfoundland speci- 
men. Between these two, which may be considered the ultra 
extremes, the variety is endless." 

Another typical feature is, that almost always one, and gen- 
erally both, of the brow tines, project downwards over the face, 
reaching with the spurs on the palms, nearly to the end of the 
nose, and very frequently obstructing the vision more or less. 
Sometimes both the brow and the bez tine descend from the 
same antler together, and are broadly palmated at the ends. 
These palms generally stand vertically, or nearly so, or are com- 
pressed laterally. 

I have in my collection four sets of male caribou antlers, and. 
in all, the antlers on each head are exceptionally alike, as will be 
seen in the illustrations. 

The largest (Fig. 2) are three feet long each. The beams are 
nearly cylindrical, or rather triangular, to near their ends, where 
they have small palms bordei'ed with spurs. Each brow tine 
which descends over the face is seventeen inches long. They are 
compressed laterally' towards their ends to widths of three and 
four inches respectively, the spurs of which approach each other 
to within three inches, while they are apart ten inches at the 
beams. Each in my collection, except the smallest, throws off 
one or more posterior tines. These show an exceptional absence 
of palmation, and much more resemble the antlers of the Euro- 
pean variety than is usually met with in this country. A glance 
at the illustrations of the antlers of the Reindeer of Europe 
and of the Woodland Caribou will show this, but that the com- 
parison may be the better understood I will give the measure- 
ments of the antlers of the male wild Reindeer which I brought 
from Lapland, shown in the illustration. (Fig. 7, p. 203.) The 
right antler is thirty-eight inches and six lines long. On that 
the brow tine is twelve inches and eight lines. It has two pos- 
terior tines near the end of the beam, the first of which is eight 
inches and three lines in length, and the other is six inches and 
nine lines. There is no bez-tine on this antler. The left antler 
is thirty-five inches and six lines long. The brow tine is nine 
inches and three lines in length, and the bez-tine is thirteen 
inches long. While these tines are flattened they are not pal- 
mated, as is usually observed on the American variety. Al- 
though the burrs are not entirely wanting they are very insignifi- 
cant, as is always the case on both continents, and the pedicels 



are shorter than on any other of our species. Near the upper 
part of the beam three posterior tines are thrown off, the longest 
ten and one half inches, and the shortest two inches and nine 
lines. As I do not find the antlers of the female Caribou else- 
where described, only as that they are smaller than on the male, 
I will give a particular description of a pair in my collection 
(Fig. 3), in addition to the illustration. They stand on conical 

3. Female Caribou Antlers. 

4 and 5. Male Caribou Antlers. 

pedicels, which are nearly four inches apart, and which at their 
tops are one inch in their longest diameter, and nine lines in the 
shortest, which represents about the size and shape of the antler 
at the butt, where there is scarcely any burr. The pedicel is 
seven lines long. The entire length of the right antler is eleven 
and a half inches. The brow-tine is seven inches long, is thrown 
off one and a half inches above the butt. This tine is forked 
two and a half inches from the end. Six inches above the brow 
tine a posterior snag is thrown off, nine lines long. 



The whole length of the left antler is thirteen inches ; above 
the butt, two inches, the brow-tine is thrown off, which is six 
and a half inches long and not forked. Six inches above this, a 
posterior snag shoots off, which is two inches long. No broad 
palms are shown on these antlers. Both beams and tines are 
greatly compressed laterall}^, thickest in their middle and di-aw- 
ing quite regularly to edges each way. These are interesting 
for the entire absence of any palm, although the flattened form 
shows a strong tendency throughout to palmatation. Our au- 
thors and hunters seem to have equally overlooked the impor- 
tance of a careful studv of the antlers of the female and the 

6. From Female Wild Reindeer from Lapland. 

7. From Male Wild Reindeer from Lapland. 

young male of this species, though the difference to me is very 
plain. These certainly bear a strong resemblance to the small 
pair in Dr. Gilpin's collection, his description of which I will re- 
peat : " I possess another pair of very small horns with one sim- 
ple brow-antler and but one tine, from a scarcely palniated 
horn. This last came from Labrador, and I think is a doe's." 
Now these are the only words of any author which I find, tend- 
ing to give the least idea of the antlers of the doe, except that 
they are much smaller than those of the buck. 

An examination of many specimens, especially from the Eu- 
ropean Reindeer, shows that the Doctor was undoubtedly correct 
in his conclusion that his specimen was from a female Caribou. 
Compare his description with the illustrations of the antlers of 


the American and European female Reindeer, and any doubt re- 
maining must be removed. 

Let us now give a description and measurements of the pair of 
female wild Reindeer antlers which I brought from Lapland. 
(Fig. 6 on p. 203.) 

The right antler is eighteen inches and five lines long, with a 
bx'ow-tine seven inches and three lines long, and two posterior 
tines, the longest five inches and three lines in length. The 
left antler is nineteen inches and four lines in length. The 
brow-antler is six inches and seven lines in length, with a small 
snag above it and then an anterior tine five and a half inches 
long. There are four posterior tines or snags. There are no 
palms on these antlers, though the tines are considerably flat- 
tened, especially the brow tines, which descend over the face as 
is invariably the case with the antlers of the Reindeer. These 
we see are considerably larger than those from the American 
variety, but this is accidental, for such is not usually the case. 

Ordinarily the antlers of the Caribou spring from the head in an 
oblique direction, about forty-five degrees from the horizontal, or 
ninety degrees from each other ; their direction is first backward 
and outward for about half their length, and then forward, up- 
ward, and inward, so that the terminal points are neai'er together 
than the beams are at the angle of the curvature, and about as 
far forward as the seats of the antlers ; many, however, depart 
from these characteristics. Strangely variant as these antlers 
often are fi'om each other, even when grown on the same head 
and at the same time, yet they possess features never to be 
mistaken by the careful observer, who will at once recognize the 
Caribou's antler, no matter what its form. 

In another respect the antlers of the Caribou and also of the 
European Reindeer are quite peculiar. They have by far the 
least burr of any antlers grown upon any deer. Generally they 
have what may be called a rudimental burr, and very few are 
destitute of it, but on all it is very insignificant and on most it 
is quite wanting on some part of the circumference. 

A glance at the illustrations will show, while the antlers of the 
Woodland Caribou and the Barren-ground Caribou are formed 
on the same general plan, they present differences generally suffi- 
cient to identify the species on which they grew. 

The most striking difference between the two species is in their 
relative size. The Woodland Caribou is twice as large as his more 
northern relative, and the antlers of the latter are twice as large 


as those of the formei-, so that the smaller animal has antlers 
which are four times as large in proportion to the size of the 
animal as the former. As the antlers of the Woodland Caribou 
are as large in proportion to his size as those of any of the other 
species, we see that those grown on the Barren-ground Caribou 
are so excessive in growth as to excite our wonder. It creates 
the impression that he must be fairly laden down with their 
weight, and that the drain upon the system to supply this enor- 
mous growth of bone in a few months, must enfeeble the animal, 
for the time at least. This is not so, however, more than with 
the other species. All the other species which I have personally 
observed, while the antler is growing, seem to be more or less 
enfeebled and in poor condition, and most of all is this the case 
with the Virginia deer. During the same period the females are 
suckling their young, which would seem to be a sufficient ex- 
planation why they are poor also ; but my observations teach me 
that the barren does maintain a better condition of flesh during 
the summer than the others, though these also become quite poor 
in early summer. 

How far the Barren-ground Cai'ibou are an exception to this 
rule, I am not prepared to say. " The reindeer, " says Captain 
Lyon, " visits the polar regions at the latter end of May, or early 
part of June, and remains until late in September. On his arrival 
he is thin and his flesh is tasteless, but the short summer is suffi- 
cient to fatten him to two or three inches on the haunches." 
Richardson (p. 243) says : " When in condition there is a layer 
of fat deposited on the back or rump of the males to the depth of 
two or three inches or more immediately under the skin, which is 
termed depouille by the Canadian voyagers ; and as an article of 
Indian trade it is often of more value than all the remainder of 
the carcass. The depouille is thickest at the commencement of 
the rutting season : it then becomes of a red color, acquires a high 
flavor, and soon after disappears." 

One not familiar with the habit of the deer, would be likely to 
understand Captain Lyon's remark as stating that the animal 
had been increasing in flesh during the whole time his antlers 
had been growing. This would be a great mistake. The fact 
that the deer are in the finest condition at the beginning of the 
rut, which is shortly after the velvet is rubbed off the antlers, 
is not confined to the Barren-ground Caribou, but applies to all 
of the family. It does not require the whole of even the shortest 
summer for any deer to improve from a lean condition to that of 



Woodland Caribou. [Copied from Hardy.] 

8. The Ordinary Canada Type. 9. Caribou Horns from Newfoundland. 

10. Horns from Labrador. 



Barren-ground Caribou. [Copied from Richardson. 1 


a very fat one. Our common deer, wliicli is usually very poor 
during the growth of the antlers, until they are very nearly 
formed, suddenly commences to improve in condition, and in a 
very short time after the velvet is rubbed ofE is fatter than at 
any other time. We need not doubt that a very few weeks at 
the most are required to effect an equal change in this Caribou 
when feeding upon an abundance of the most nutritious vegeta- 
tion known to botany. 

We may safely assume that this deer is in the poorest condi- 
tion at the time when the other deer are poorest, that is, when 
the antlers are in their most vigorous growth ; and we may well 
conclude that the larger proportionate size of the antlers of this 
deer must make a greater demand on the system than occurs in 
the case of the others. Hence we see that the deer is not only 
poor, but as Richardson tells us, a large proportion of the elements 
of initrition are drawn from the flesh, so that it is nearly worth- 
less as food, while the meat of the moose, whose antler is not one 
sixth the relative size, is still nutritious though the animal be 

Buff on thinks that the size of the deer's antler depends on the 
amount of nutriment wliich he takes ; that a well-fed deer will 
have larger antlers than one even of the same species not well 
nourished. If this be so, then by applying the theory to this 
species, we may find some explanation of the enormous develop- 
ment of the antlers, for the very nutritious lichens on which 
they feed are practically unlimited within their range. 

In form, too, as well as in size, there is an appreciable differ- 
ence between the large and the small Caribou, although they 
possess the same general characteristics which distinguish them 
from those of the other Cervidse. As a general rule the beam 
of the antler is longer in proportion to its diameter than on the 
larger species ; it has less tines, is less palmated, and presents 
more curvature, although exceptions to this general rule are fre- 
quently met with. 

In speaking of the Northern Indians, Richardson says : " Of 
the caribou horns they form their fish spears and hooks, and 
previous to the introduction of European iron, ice-chisels, and va- 
rious other utensils were likewise made of them." This is cer- 
tainly suggestive of the solidity and tenacity of these antlers, 
and shows that although so large and grown in so short a season, 
their growth is quite as perfect, and they are as well matured as 
the antlers of any of the other deer. 


My only information is that the old bucks shed their antlers 
by the end of November, while the young bucks carry theirs 
until spring, and the females retain theirs until May or June, 
when they are about to drop their young. 

In one respect only do the antlers of the Barren-ground Cari- 
bou resemble those of the Lapland Reindeer more than do those 
of the Woodland Caribou, and that is in the feature that they are 
less palmated in proportion to their volume. In this we observe 
the same distinction between the reindeer of the Old World and 
those of America that we see between the elk of Europe and the 
moose of this country. In both a larger proportion of the antler 
is in the palms on the American varieties than on the European, 
and yet we find both extremes in this regard in both countries. 

With the female Caribou the dropping of the antlers seems to 
be intimately connected with the time of parturition, and yet we 
would suppose that that of all the year would be the time when 
she most needs weapons for the defense of her young. If, as a 
general economy of nature, parts are adapted to wants or ends, 
this would seem to be an exception ; yet I think it not improb- 
able that a more intimate acquaintance with the subject would 
explain these phenomena consistently with the general rule. 

The naturalist must remember that he is not required to ex- 
plain the purpose of every provision in nature which he ob- 
serves, or else abandon this law, at least till he is sure that he 
understands all its uses ; and yet so thoroughly imbued is the 
mind with the integrity of this law that one is often tempted to 
conclusions from partially observed facts when a more intimate 
acquaintance with the subject would instruct jiim that he had 
been too hasty in reaching conclusions, or convince him that he 
has not yet discovered the purposes designed by the provision. 
We must not understand this law as requiring that everything 
is designed for the benefit of the individual, for it may be de- 
signed for the benefit or protection of others. Hence some nat- 
uralists have concluded that the early shedding of the antlers of 
the male deer is designed to deprive him of the means of de- 
stroying the young of the species, when these are too feeble to 
escape his persecutions. Now this assumes that the aged males 
have such destructive dispositions, without, so far as I know, a 
single fact to warrant it, and especially does it overlook the fact 
that all the members of this family use the fore feet as powerful 
weapons, except in earnest combat, when the antlers serve as 

shields as well as swords. Undoubtedly were the male disposed 



to destroy the young fawns, he would use his fore feet for the 
purpose instead of his antlers, even though the latter were in 

13. Crown Antler of American Elk. 

14. Common Form of Antler of American Elk. 

I must close this branch of my subject with the remark that 
further observations are necessary to enable us to fully under- 
stand this interesting feature of the economy of this animal, and j 



if what I have said shall induce any who have the opportunity 
for making the necessary observations to do so, I shall feel 
highly gratified. 

Of all known deer the male Wapiti, or American Elk, is pro- 
vided with the longest, the most graceful and symmetrical antlers, 
and which are also most effective as both weapons and shields. 
Not only the beam but the tines are cylindrical in form, althouo-h 
on adults they are more or less flattened toward the ends, where 
forks with nearly equal branches occur, — a form of manifest 

They are grown on pedicels which rise somewhat obliquely 
from either side of the crown of the head to a height of four 
inches, more or less, and are much longer than those on any 
other American deer, though the barking deer of Asia ( Cervus 
muntjaTc) far exceeds it in this respect, having a pedicel equaling 
in length the antler above it. 

First or Dag Antlers of a Young American Elk. 

The dag antler of our Elk has a form peculiar to itself. It is 
usually a spike from a few inches to twenty-four inches in 
length. It is larger at the base and for two or three inches 
above, in proportion to the size of the rest of the antler, than 
any subsequent antler grown on the same, or on any other deer. 
However, no one familiar with them can ever mistake one for 
the spike antler of any other deer. They arise from the head 


with a posterior and lateral inclination, and tlien at half their 
length they curve anteriorly and inward so that the points ap- 
proach each other more or less. The lower part of the beam is 
more angular or less round than the subsequent antlers. The 
taper, from a few inches above the burr to the point, is very uni- 
form and the curvature is graceful. 

In several instances in my grounds, the dag antler on the 
young Elk has been bifurcated. This took place near the upper 
end, and the prongs were not widely different in their lengths. 
This has occurred on the large specimens, though not neces- 
sarily the largest, for the largest it has hajopened were spikes. 
These large specimens are divested of their velvet in October or 
November, and are dropped in April or May ; and are only 
grown on the earliest fawns dropped in May or early in June ; 
later fawns have smaller antlers when they become yeai'lings, 
and I have had some dropped late in July, whose first antlers the 
next season would be but a few inches in length, and the velvet 
would remain till late in the winter, and they would retain their 
antlers till June, or even later, and I once had a very late fawn 
whose antlers did not mature the first season of their growth, 
but carried the velvet all winter, and grew on and matured the 
next season. These are phenomena not likely to have been ob- 
served, except by those who have a large number in confinement, 
and who have studied them for a number of years in succession ; 
which, may serve to explain why hunters, of even the largest ex- 
perience, may sometimes disagree as to the age of the deer on 
which given specimens grew. It is not sufficient to enable a per- 
son to arrive at correct conclusions to have five or six sets of 
antlers grown in successive years on the same animal to judge 
from, for as we have seen, even the first may be quite different 
from those grown on another individual of the same age. 

There is more uniformity in the second antlei's grown on the 
Wapiti. On all these which have been reared in my grounds, the 
second antlers have both the brow and the bez tines, and some- 
times a snag or tine in addition, has appeared on one or both 
antlers, though I have met with specimens elsewhere, on which 
the bez-tine was wanting or was merely rudimentary. 

The third antlers almost uniformly have the royal-tine, and 
rarely more. The fourth and the fifth year may, or may not, 
produce the sur-royal on one or both antlers. Those of suc- 
ceeding years may be expected to have additional tines, but their 
presence one year furnishes no certain evidence that they will 


appear the next ; still the four first tines and a bifurcation above 
them, may, with considerable confidence, be rehed upon, for all 
after the first are forked near the ends ; frequently the specimens 
taken from the older bucks show three tines at the upper fork. 

The second and subsequent antlers present forms of the same 
general characteristics, though they are subject to considerable 
variation in detail. These antlers rise with a lateral inclination 
more or less pronounced, some being very spreading while others 
are much more vertical. They assume at first an anterior direc- 
tion, and then curve backward. All the normal tines have an 
anterior projection, though frequently abnormal tines or snags 
occur which violate this law. 

The burr is large and rough. The brow-tine springs from 
immediately above the burr, in a descending and lateral direc- 
tion ; but at about one third its length from the point, it com- 
mences a graceful upward curve so that the point stands nearly 
vertical. The terminal point is very sharp. Immediately above 
the brow-tine, the bez-tine springs out in a less depressed and 
more lateral direction. It is nearlj' the same length and form as 
the brow-tine ; above this the beam becomes reduced in size and 
rises as a naked round shaft, till the royal-tine is thrown out. 
This is generally considerably^ smaller than those below, and has 
an upward inclination. In this it differs from the antlers on the 
stag of Europe, where the royal-tine is usually larger than the 
brow-tine. In Europe, also, on the red deer, the bez-tine is 
usually much smaller than the brow-tine, though I have met with 
specimens there, which correspond with our Elk in these par- 
ticulars, and I have met with specimens grown here, having the 
small bez-tine and more frequently with the large royal-tine. 
I have in my collection a very large fossil antler, on which the 
royal-tine is as large proportionately as any I ever saw from the 
red deer. 

U]3 to and including the royal-tine, usually both antlers are 
very much alike. Above this, while they generally nearl}^ cor- 
respond in length and volume, they are quite likely to differ in 
the number and size of their prongs ; but we may always expect 
to find them near the ends, either bifurcated or trifurcated. On 
the red deer it is not uncommon to find the upper part of the 
antler greatly expanded, with a deep indentation, forming a cup 
of the capacity of a gill or more, from the irregular I'im of which 
several tines, probably of unequal length, spring up. These are 
called crown antlers. When studying these abroad, I regarded 



this indentation in the top of the enlarged antler as a modifica- 
tion, though an important one, of the forked extremity of the 
antler of our Elk ; some of which I had seen approach it in exter- 
nal appearance. I have since met with a pair of Elk's antlers, 
one of which has the indentation described, and is as perfect a 
crown antler as is often met with from the red deer, while the 
other approaches it very nearly. These are illustrated in Fig. 13, 
page 210. There may be many of these antlers found on the 
Wapiti deer, but this is the only one I have ever met with, hav- 
ing a dish at the end, with a capacity sufficient to hold a good 
drink of wine. These antlers may be compared with crown ant- 
lers of the red deer by examining the illustrations. 

Crown Antlers of the Red Deer or Stag of Europe. 

Abnormal snags may frequently occur on any part of the beam 
or the tines, more frequently on the brow-tines. These more 
rarely occur on the Atlantic than on the Pacific coast. There, I 
have found the brow-tine forked near the end into equal branches, 
— an illustration of which I give. This I have never observed 
on an eastern Elk, or on the red deer. On about five per cent, 
of the antlers grown on Elk in the Rocky Mountains and east of 
them, a short snag, more or less developed, appears on the upper 
side and usually nearest the end of the brow-tine, and sometimes 
on the bez-tine. This may be ah inch long or a mere protuber- 
ance. I examined a large collection of the antlers of the red deer 
in Berlin, and found the same development on these tines there 
and in about the same proportion. Those from Bohemia and 


Hungary were much the largest antlers, and not easily distin- 
guished from the antlers of our Elk, of which there were a num- 
ber in the collection. There were several specimens, which I 
was at a loss to determine whether they were grown in America 
or Europe. I must say that the typical indicia of the antlers of 
both these varieties are precisely alike. 

I present upon the next page (Fig. 18) an illustration of trip- 
let antlers on the same head, from a Red Deer, which I saw in 
Rosenburg Castle, Copenhagen, said to have been killed by the 
king several centuries ago. Each, it will be observed, has a dis- 
tinct and independent pedicel. The right antler is thirty-two 

From a California Elk. 

inches long. The upper left antler is twenty-nine and a half 
inches long, and the lower left antler is twenty-five inches in 
length. A similar abnormal growth occurred in this State (Illi- 
nois) some years since, on, an American Elk, only the extra ant- 
ler was between the other two, nearer to one than the other, 
and was relatively smaller than the European specimen. It had 
a distinct pedicel, and seemed to grow quite independently of 
the other antlers. The specimen was in the collection of Dr. 
Velay and was destroyed in the great Chicago fire in 1871. I 
have never heard of an instance where triplet antlers have grown 
upon any other species of deer. 

On both our Elk and the European Stag, those antlers which 
spread the most are usually the longest, are the most symmetri- 
cal, and are the most admired. 



Five feet is the extreme length of the antler of the Elk, of 
which I have any anthentic account. These are now in the col- 
lection of the late Mr. W. F. Parker, of West Meriden, Conn. 
On the right antler the sur-royal tine is bifurcated, the two 
points of which are of about equal lengths. Around the burrs 
they are thirteen inches, between the burrs and the brow-tines 
the circumference of the beam is ten and one half inches. The 
right antler presents eight, and the left six points. These ant- 
lers are as remarkable for their symmetrical and elegant form 
and graceful curvatures as for their extraoi-dinary size. 

The type of the antler is established when the animal is in his 
third year, that is, with his second antlers. If these antlers are 

Triplet Antlers from a European Red Deer. 

remarkably large, or remarkably broad or spreading or the re- 
verse, the same characteristics may, with confidence, be expected 
in all the antlers subsequently grown on that animal. 

Witli many other interesting views, Dr. Hayden, U. S. Geol- 
ogist, presented me with the photograph, by Jackson, of an Elk 
killed on the 28th of August, 1871, at an altitude of about 10,000 
feet above the sea, on the divide between the Yellowstone Lake 
and the head waters of the East Fork of the Yellowstone River, 
which is shown in the illustration. Both these antlers show re- 
markable imperfections in their growth, which may, no doubt, be 
attributed to some injury received in their early stages. This 
Elk was two years old, or in his third year's growth with his second 


set of antlers. The antlers were in the velvet, were inferior in 
size as Avell as imperfect in form. Their deficiencies in tines are 
manifest at a glance. They were about equal in length to the 
dag antler of an early fawn, but the tines show that they were 
second antlers. 

Fig. 19. Hayden's Elk. 

But the most remarkable feature of these antlers is their re- 
tarded growth, which may be attributed to the altitude of the 
home of the individual, for injuries to the antler when growing 
do not retard their maturity. With the photograph before me, 
I spent much time in comparing it with the growing antlers on a 
number of two year old Elks in my grounds. It was early ap- 
parent that these were much in advance of those on the Hayden 
Elk. I was from home at the time when mine reached the same 
stage of maturity which Dr. Hayden's had attained when it was 
killed ; but on the 29th of July, just one month earlier than 
that time, I had a fine view of the whole band of Elk, with most 
of the two year olds together, and as near to me as I desired 
them for the inspection. All showed both brow and bez tines, 
completeljr formed ; showing upon one or both antlers a royal- 
tine, all being bifurcated near the ends. So far as I could judge, 
these were about two weeks in advance of those on the Hayden 
Elk ; and as that was killed a month later than the time when I 
made these observations, we see that from some cause the growth of 
the antler on the mountain Elk was retarded at least six weeks. 


as compared witli tliose in my grounds, besides being very in- 
ferior in size and very deficient in members. We may not account 
for this marked effect by a want of food, for it was in the midst 
of forests and shrubbery, which is its favorite aliment ; neither 
could it have suffered from want of grasses, for Ave hear no 
complaint that the numerous horses of a large expedition did not 
find plenty for their subsistence while in the same country. We 
may safely assume, however, that in that region vegetation was 
as much retarded in the spring as was the growth of these antlers 
in the summer; and this I think the most probable explanation of 
their late growth, for everywhere the commencement of the growth 
of the antler of the deer seems to be about the time when veg- 
etation begins to shoot forth. 

I may say here, that I think the antlers of all the deer are not 
as largely developed when they are confined in parks of even 
lai'ge extent as when running wild. This may be partly attribu- 
table to change of habit, but more probably to a want of that 
selection of food which they find in the wild state. They suf- 
fer most for the lack of an abundance of arboreous food, for they 
seem to make it their first business to kill off all the shrubbery 
within their reach. However, I have had some very fine antlers 
grown in my grounds. The antler of the Elk continues to in- 
crease in volume long after the body has attained its full size, and 
in many cases, probably, through life. I have heard no sugges- 
tion from any source that the antlers of the Elk decrease in size 
after the animal has passed its full vigor, nor have I made any 
observation to warrant such conclusion, as is said to be the case 
with the moose. The largest antlers are not necessarily from the 
largest animals. The largest ever grown in my grounds were on 
a medium sized animal, and he was always subject to the control 
of a larger buck with smaller antlers. Indeed, there were sev- 
eral in the band with antlers larger than those on this monarch. 
He is now a mounted specimen in the Roj'^al Museum in Chris- 
tiana, Norway. 

After the first set of antlers, usually, a line drawn from the 
seat of the antler to the tip will be in a line Avith the face, so 
that when running through the bush with the nose thrown up so 
as to bring the face in a horizontal position, the butts and the 
tips of the antlers will be on the same level with the face. Then 
all the tines are curved backwards, so that they cannot become 
entangled in the brush. Still these immense antlers are a serious 
impediment to their speed through dense thickets. Hence we 



always find tlieir paths avoid such places when practicable, and 
are made through the open glades ; though they seem to have 
no objection to the deep shades produced by dense foliage above. 
In our latitude, the velvet on the antler of the aged elk is with 
great uniformity discarded in August, and the antler is invari- 
ably dropped in April. The Wapiti is the only species of our 
deer which carries its antlers for so long a time, or so late in the 
spring, and is so uniform in the time of shedding them. I was 
for a long time disinclined to credit this exceptional uniformity, 
but its recurrence for many years and with every individual (and 
I have had large numbers to observe), compelled me to relinquish 
my doubt. That the times of shedding may differ in different 
latitudes is no doubt true, but I feel confident that the same 
uniformity prevails evexywhere. I may remai'k here, that the 
European red deer also carries its antlers throughout the winter, 
and with the same uniformity drops them in the spring about 
the season that fresh vegetation begins to shoot forth. Such is 
the information given me by the director of the zoological gar- 
dens at Berlin, where there are a considerable number of red 
deer, and I found his observations corroborated by others. 

Although possessing many marked specific differences, the Mule 
Deer and the Columbia Black-tailed Deer have antlers so nearly 
alike in all their features, even in their eccentricities, that I, at 
least, am unable to distinguish them from each other, and so shall 
treat of them together. 

As might be expected, the first antler on the young buck is 
usually a spike from six to nine inches long. 

The first which I had di'opped in my grounds was a Columbia 
Deer, with a spike antler about six inches in length. The next 
was a Mule Deer. It was an early fawn dropped the last of May. 
His first antlers were eight inches long, and both were forked at 
the ends with tines two inches long. Another Mule fawn had 
spike antlers about six inches long. 

The antlers of these deer start from the head in a direction 
inclining backward and outward ; but below the middle of the 
antler, commence a graceful forward curve. They present a 
slightly crinkled appearance and are not perfectly round. 

After the dag antlers, their distinguishing characteristic is a 
bifurcation into pretty nearly equal parts, and on old specimens 
a second bifurcation, or a division of these parts into nearly equal 
tines ; but there is less certainly in the regularity of these divis- 
ions than in the former. These characteristics I find as constant 


and uniform on animals found on the east side of the Rocky- 
Mountains as on the Pacific Coast. 

The second and subsequent antlers grown on these deer usually 
have a very small snag an inch or two above the burr, on the 
upper or inner side of the beam, standing in nearly a vertical 
position, but sometimes curved one way or the other. This an- 
swers well to the basal snag on the antler of the Virginia deer, 
only it is very much smaller. The lower part of the beams of 
the antlers of these are covered more or less with tubercles, those 
near the burr being the largest and quite disappearing at the first 
fork, but these are mostly confined to the upper side of the beam, 
These tubercles also appear on the antler of the Virginia deer, 
even more abundant, for they are found on the lower side of the 
beam as well. 

A medium pair of antlers in my collection and shown in the 
illustration (Fig. 21, p. 221), may be briefly described. They 
arise from the head, in a line with the face, but spread laterally. 
Two and a half inches above the burr, a basal snag appears on 
the upper side, which is two inches long. From this point the 
beam has a slight anterior curvature for seven and one half 
inches, then it divides. The anterior prong of the left antler 
continues with the same curve, for six inches, when it forks ; 
the front tine being four inches and three lines long, and the 
other four inches in length. The posterior prong of the first 
bifurcation curves posteriorly for six inches, where it forks into 
quite unequal tines, the front one being five inches long and the 
other three inches and three lines in length. The exti'eme length 
of this antler is twenty-one inches. The same description will 
answer for the right antler, except that the first posterior prong 
rises eight inches before it forks, with tines but two inches and 
three lines long. These antlers are from a Columbia Black-tailed 
Deer, and as before remarked, are of medium size. I have a 
much larger pair from the same species, taken near Igo, in Shasta 
Countj?^, California, already referred to (p. 183), and illustrated 
in Fig. 22, p. 221, which exhibit the abnormal diseased prong 
descending from the lower side of the beam of the left antler. 
These antlers are twenty-four inches long. They have an un- 
usual spread at the tips. Another pair of antlers, also illustrated 
(Fig. 23), are from a Mule Deer from the Black Hills ; these 
are also twenty-four inches long, but have not so broad a spread. 
An abnormal descending tine is also found on the beam of the 
right antler of this pair. Both of these pairs of antlers show the 



double bifurcations charactei'istic of the antlers of these two 
species, and are here illustrated on the same plate, to show how 

Fis;. 20. 

Columbia Black-tailed Deer and Mule Deer. 

20. Abnormal Form of Antler from Black- tailed Deer. 

2t. Normal Form of Antler from Black-tailed Deer from California. 

22. Normal Form of Antler from Black-tailed Deer from California, with an Abnormal 

Diseased Tine on tbe Left Antler. 

23. Normal Form of Antler from Mule Deer from the Black Hills, with an Abnormal 

Tine on the Right Antler. 

exactly alike they are in general features. I express the confi- 
dent opinion that no one, no matter how long and carefully he 


may study the subject, can ever decide by their inspection from 
which species either came ; while he will readily determine that 
they grew on no other species of deer. 

There is, however, another form of antler sometimes met with 
on both the Columbia and the Mule deer, much more resembling 
the antler of the Virginia deer, and which one who had not care- 
fully studied them might readily mistake for the antler of the 
latter. One of these in my collection is from a Columbia Deer, 
killed near the Calaveras grove of big trees, in the Siei'ra Ne- 
vadas, and is shown in Fig. 20, and another specimen is now on a 
two year old Mule Deer in my grounds ; they are his second 
antlers, the first having been medium sized spike antlers. Those 
on the Mule Deer are about the same size as those from the Colum- 
bia Deer, which were probably also from a young animal. They 
are considerably smaller than the usual size of the antlers grown 
on the adult of both these species. From this we might be led 
to the conclusion that this exceptional form is usually grown on 
young animals, and it may be so, but it certainly is not always so, 
for there is a skeleton of a fully adult Mule Deer in the museum 
of the Chicago Medical College, which has this form of antler 
with all its peculiarities ; nor do the young males always have 
this form of antler, for as we have seen, I had a Mule Deer Avith 
dag antlers which were forked, with tines of equal lengths ; and I 
have seen many specimens not fully adult, with antlers of the 
usual form grown on these species. This exceptional form of 
antler for its lower part has a posterior inclination, and then 
curves anteriorly like the beam of the Virginia deer, but the ra- 
dius of the curve is much longer than that on the latter animal ; 
nor does the upper part of the beam ever point so directly for- 
ward. If this form of the beam is ever found on the Virginia 
deer it must be very exceptional, for I have never observed it. 
The next departure from the antler of the Virginia deer is in 
the basal snag, which is much smaller, corresponding in size with 
that on the usual bifurcated antler. The tines are all projected 
posteriorly from the beam, like those on the Virginia deer, but 
they are proportionally much longer, are not curved, and are of a 
different form. On the common deer if the tines are flattened at 
all it is at their base, where they always show their greatest diam- 
eters. On the others the lower part of the tine is always round,, 
one quarter or one third of the way up, where it flattens out into 
something of a triangular form, so that it there shows a larger 
diameter than below. As we proceed toward the point, how- 


ever, it gradually resumes the cylindrical form, so that its upper 
part is again round. This form is more observable on the lower 
tine than on those above it. On all the specimens I have met 
with the beam is round, while on the Virginia deer the beam is 
frequently flattened, having a lateral compression. 

Altogether the careful observer will have little trouble in dis- 
tinguishing this exceptional form of the antlers of these deer 
from those of the Virginia deer, although the resemblance is 
very strong in some of their features. Indeed, the basal snag 
alone would in most cases be sufficient to distinguish them be- 
yond a doubt. To me it was an interesting fact to observe that 
not only the antlers of the ordinary form on these two species 
are indistinguishable from each other, but that on both are some- 
times found this exceptional form, having the same peculiarities 
which distinguish it from that of the Virginia deer. This form 
is not by any means anomalistic, for when it occurs it conforms 
to those described, and so seems to obey an established law, but 
it is simply unusual. The Mule Deer in my grounds whose first 
antlers after the spikes were of this exceptional form, the next 
year had antlers of the same form, and had he lived we may con- 
clude would always have had them. So we may strongly sus- 
pect it is a characteristic of the individual. I wish I knew if it 
is hereditary. 

In comparing this unusual antler with that of the Virginia 
deer, I find that the tubercles found on both, for some distance 
above the burrs, are nearly all confined on the former to the up- 
per side while the lower side is quite smooth, as is usually the 
case on those of the ordinary bifurcated form, while on the antler of 
the Virginia deer the tubercles are found on the lower as well as 
the upper side, and are larger and more abundant than on either 
form from the Mule Deer or the Columbia Deer. 

What has been already said must give some idea of the pe- 
culiar characteristics of the antlers of (7. Virginianus, — our 
Common Deer. 

They are in form quite unlike those of any other of the genus, 
unless it be the exceptional form of the antlers of the mule and 
the Columbia deer, already described. Their great characteris- 
tic, which distinguishes them from the antlers of all the other 
Cervidse, except as before stated, is that all the normal tines have 
a posterior projection. This necessitates a peculiar shape of the 
beam in order to present these tines to the adversary to make 
them efiicient weapons of ofifense or defense in their battles. 



Generally the antlei- of the Virginia Deer arises from the pedi- 
cel in the facial line spreading more or less to the basal snag. 
From that point it commences to curve upward and forward, and 
then downward and inward, till the extremities of the beams re- 
motely approach each other. This enables the animal by bow- 
ing his head in battle, as is his habit, to pi-esent the tines to the 
adversary in front. When two meet in the shock of battle thus 
armed, these antlers form so complete a shield that I have never 
known a point to reach an adversary, as will be seen when we 

24. Acapuico Deer. 25 and 26, Common Deer. 

come to describe their mode of warfare. The basal snag starts 
about two inches above the burr and rises to the height of from 
two to five inches at an angle of from fifteen to thirty degrees to 
the beam. This snag is usually more covered with tubercles 
than the tines above, and on very large specimens from aged ani- 
mals is sometimes bifurcated, and sometimes flattened as in Fig. 
26 ; sometimes a small supplemental snag occui-s near the base, 
and I have occasionally observed one or more of the tubercles 
of the burr extend to snags an inch long. Usually from one to 
half a dozen tines occur on each antler, the lower ones being the 
longest and largest ; on vei-y large specimens some of these tines 
may produce snags, or a snag may arise from the beam at about 
the same point where a tine occurs. On the smaller specimens, 
the tines usually correspond on the two antlers on the same head, 
but as the animal grows older and the antlers larger this is less 
likely to be the case, though if one antler has an extraordinary 


number of points, the other is quite sure to have an unusual 
number also. 

A very common idea has prevailed among hunters and fron- 
tiersmen that the number of tines on the antlers of the deer in- 
dicate its age, each point representing a year. This certainly is 
a popular error, though it approximates the truth more with 
young animals than with old ones. The most that can be said is, 
that the older the animal the more prongs are likely to occur 
on the antlers. In domestication, I have never seen one grown 
with more than five points. I have, however, in my collection 
two pairs of antlers of the Common Deer, both of which were 
killed in this vicinity (La Salle County, 111.) in 1848, which are 
of nearly equal size, and the largest I ever remember to have 
seen. The antlers of the one which fell to my own rifle weigh 
five pounds and eleven ounces ; each antler has six points besides 
the stub of a broken prong on the left antler. The other, killed 
by Mr. JNIackey, weigh five pounds and one ounce. The right 
antler has eleven points, and the left twelve. Thus we see that 
the largest antlers have but about half the number of points that 
are found on the smaller ones. On each of these antlers the 
basal snag is bifurcated, which only occurs on the largest speci- 
mens. One of the prongs of the basal snag of the left of the 
largest antlers is five inches in length. The size and positions 
of these basal snags would almost entitle them to the name of 
brow-tines, although ordinarily that term would be quite inap- 
propriate to this member on the antlers of the Virginia, the 
mule, or the black-tailed deer. 

Many abnormal growths of the antlers of the Common Deer 
are to be met with, one of which now in my collection is illus- 
trated on p. 226, and was referred to when considering the mode 
of growth of antlers. In these we see there is no beam, but they 
consist entirely of tines an,d snags starting out from the circum- 
ference of the bases of the antlers. The bases of these tines 
constitute rims of depressions forming cups, each of which would 
hold a quantity of water, and so in this regard resemble the 
crown antler of the red deer and wapiti. Others have the ap- 
pearance of two beams arising from the same pedicel with an un- 
common system of snags or tines. Probably all of these cases 
are due to accidental injuries, either to the pedicel or to the 
antler in its early growth, as was no doubt the case with the 
spike antler on the deer in Lincoln Park, which has proved so 
destructive a weapon in battle, with which he killed all the other 

1 K 



bucks in the park. If the injury was to the pedicel, disarrang- 
ing the nutrient vessels within it, we might expect that all sub- 
sequent antlers grown on it would be deformed. If the injury 
was simply to the antler in its early growth, then it would have 
no influence on that of the next year's growth. 

Abnormal Antlers of Common Deer. 

I ought not to close this part of my subject without referring 
to three fossil antlers in my collection, found in the lower drift in 
the valley of the Fox River, near Ottawa, Illinois. Here has 
been an upheaval which elevated the coal measures, and exposed 
all to the action of the great currents which sweep southward, 
and which carried away everything, down to the St. Peter's sand- 
stone, except in a few places where, for a few hundred acres, 
the lower vein of coal remains. Over this sometimes a portion 
of the soapstone remains, and in others it is gone. Where these 
fossils were found, about two feet of the soapstone remained in 
place over the coal ; the deep furrows on the top of which show 
plainly the glacial action, or rather the plowings of the icebergs, 
which drifted down with the great current and grounded two or 
three miles lower down, where the extent and forms of many may 
now be seen and traced, by the clusters of great bowlders which 
they left when they melted away, as plainly as if marked on a 
map. After this denudation there was deposited a stratum of 
gravel six inches thick and above that, more than sixteen feet 
first of sand and gravel, then sand, then sand and clay, then clay, 
and lastly, surface loam. In this lowest stratum of gravel, which 


was the first deposit after the icebergs had ceased to drift, and 
tlie denuding process was finished, these antlers were found, in 
positions showing beyond doubt that they were drifted in with 
the gravel. They were not found together but at considerable 
distances apart, and are from different animals. In the same 
vein of gravel are found a considerable variety of fossil woods ; 
several specimens of which I have submitted to the inspection of 
the learned professor, Leo Lasquereaux, who, forty years ago, 
examined the peat-beds of Denmark, and distinguished the suc- 
cessive generations of trees there deposited, which had grown, 
flourished, decayed, and disappeared, leaving only that decayed 
record of their having once existed in a land where for unknown 
ages they have been entire strangers. These he finds to be arbo- 
rescent conifers which are not now found nearer than the regions 
of Lake Superior, and oaks which are now flourishing here but 
are not growing there. 

Two of these fossil antlers exhibit all the peculiar characteris- 
tics of the antlers of the Virginia Deer now inhabiting this coun- 
try in the most pronounced form : one from a fully adult animal 
and the other about four years old. They had both been 
dropped in the course of nature. The other presents but about 
six inches of the lower part of the beam and before any of the 
tines had occurred, and so it may not be identified with certaint}^ 
The basal snag is rudimentary, and the beam is straighter than is 
usual on the Virginia Deer. And in these respects it resembles 
the exceptional form of the antler of the mule deer and the 
Columbia deer, but it is not safe to declare that it did grow on 
a deer of one of these species. 

In the same locality and at the same depth, in a pocket of 
clay deposited in the lower sti'atum of gravel, I found nearly the 
entire skeleton of a female Virginia deer. With great pains I 
have compared these bones- individually with the bones of a fully 
adult female Common Deer that died in my grounds, and can 
discover no appreciable difference in size or form. They are as 
nearly identical as possible throughout. These were evidently 
deposited at a later period than were the antlers. 

We learn from those relics that our Common Deer was an in- 
habitant of our elevated plains or at least of a region north of 
us, soon after the waters left them and while this great valley 
from a mile and a half to two miles wide and more than one 
hundred feet deep was yet filled with the great current which 
swept down from the north and brought with it and deposited 


the first drift, after the more rapid current with its icebergs had 
swept off most of the surface material down to the bed rock, — 
the St. Peter's sand-stone, — and at the same time the oaks and 
the conifers which formed his shelter. I am not aware that we 
have satisfactory evidence that any other of our existing fauna 
lived here, even at that time. So far as the proof goes, we may 
pronounce our deer the oldest of our extant fauna. The late 
Dr. J. W. Foster carefully examined the locality with me, and 
he pronounced it the oldest of the valley drift which had depos- 
ited these remains, and considered the find of the highest geo- 
logical interest. 

The antlers of the Acapulco Deer, which is the smallest of all 
our North American species, are widely separated from those of 
either of the other species both in size and form. I have but 
one pair of these in my collection from an adult, though I have 
several from young bucks. The large ones were from an animal 
that died of old age in the park of Governor Latham in Cal- 
ifornia, to whom I am indebted for a female of the same species. 

It is unfortunate that I have not antlers from a considerable 
number of full grown bucks of this species so that I could feel a 
confident assurance that I am presenting typical characteristics. 
Now there is a bare possibility, that the antlers before me are 
exceptional in their forms. However, in describing this single 
pair we may provisionally assume that the peculiarities are char- 
acteristic of the species, admitting that there may be minor dif- 
ferences in individuals, as we observe with all the othei's. They 
are illustrated in Fig. 24, on p. 224. 

These antlers spring from pedicels of unusual height for their 
size, which at their tops are two and one half inches apart. 
The extreme length of these antlers is seven inches and three 
lines and above the burr the circumference of each is two inches 
and nine lines where they are nearly round, but they very soon 
assmne a triangular shape, and at two inches above the burrs 
from the inner side of the beams, the basal snags arise. That 
on the right antler is one inch in length and on the left it is nine 
lines long. Above these snags, the antlers flatten out from the 
triangular form into distinct palms, increasing in width and di- 
minishing in thickness to their ends, which are notched, the right 
deeply and the left slightly. At the broadest part, just below 
the notch, the right antler is one inch and ten lines wide, and 
the left is one inch and seven lines wide. The beam above the 


notch, which is an extension of the posterior edge of the palm, 
extends two inches and three lines to the point on the right 
antler, and on the left one and one half inches. The anterior 
edge of the palm is thickest and it thins down gradually to the 
posterior edge, which is sharp for its whole length. The com- 
pression is lateral. The directions of the antlei's for the lower 
half are outward, then they gracefully curve in slightly inward 
directions, when they approach each other for the upper half, 
so that the points are but four and one half inches apart, while 
at the point of widest separation they are six inches and ten 
lines asunder. 

No tubercles appear above the burrs, but the longitudinal 
channels for the arteries of the periosteum are very distinct. 
There are no tines proper on these antlers, but the basal snags 
are unusually developed for the size of the antlers. The notches 
at the ends present distinct points, so that we may be justified in 
saying that each antler presents three points. These antlers are 
remarkably stout for their length and worn quite smooth by 
abrasion . 

These antlers, it will be observed, are much more palmate than 
any of the others, except the moose and the cai'ibou, which this 
deer also resembles, as we have already seen, in the absence of tlie 
metatarsal gland ; and so in another important feature, also, we 
see these extremes meet where they widely differ from the inter- 
mediate species. 

On a young buck which I have of this species, the first antlers 
were deformed from injuries. The second antlers are two and 
one half inches long, with a rudimentary basal snag, showing as 
yet no tendency to flatten. I have another pair from a two-year 
old buck much smaller than these, but with the same character- 

The antlers on the Ceylon buck in my grounds, which in size, 
form, and color, most resembles the Acapulco deer, may not be 
entirely neglected. Those of the first pair grown on this buck 
after I got him are considerably smaller than those first described ; 
they are straighter and much more cylindrical, although they 
show a little disposition to flatten towards the ends. 

But the most striking feature is a long brow-tine in place of 
the basal snag. This tine is stout and nearly half the length of 
the antler. 

The second antlers grown on this buck in my grounds more 


nearly resemble those from the Acapulco deer, while they resem- 
ble the first in most of their characteristics, except that the long 
tine is now reduced to a snag scarcely more than an inch long, 
and the left antler is more flattened at the end. These are more 
fully considered under the title " Analogues." 

Mr. Darwin, the distinguished naturalist, when preparing his 
celebrated work, " The Descent of Man," for the press, asked me 
for my observations as to the utility to the animal of the 
branched forms of the antlers of the Cervidge. This is a question 
certainly not easily solved, and yet the mode of warfare of these 
animals may serve to throw some light on the subject. 

The mode of joining battle, as we shall see in another place, 
with all the cervine species, is with a tremendous rush together. 
Some species fall back and repeat the rush many times, like the 
ram, while others, after they thus meet continue pressing and 
worrying each other, maneuvering to break each other's foil. 
Now if the antlers on each presented but single points, death to 
one or both the combatants would almost surely ensue upon the 
first collision, and thus would the species soon become extermi- 

There was in the fall of 1875, in Lincoln Park, a Virginia 
buck five years old, whose left antler Avas a spike about ten 
inches long with a largely developed basal snag, while the right 
antler was of the ordinary form and size. The keeper informed 
me that this buck had killed the two others in the same enclos- 
ure, the last but the day before my visit, and that it was this 
sharp, straight spike which did the mischief. Always before, the 
antlers of this buck had been of the ordinary form and size, with 
which he had never injured the other deer. He thought the sin- 
gular growth was due to an injury to the antler in the early 
stage of its growth. 

The many branches with which the antler of the deer is pro- 
vided, undoubtedly impair its efficiency as a weapon of attack, 
but they convert it into a shield which effectually foils the blow 
from a similar weapon, though it may not certainly ward off a 
blow from a single shaft. I have never yet known an instance, 
except in the case of the spike antler, in which either combatant 
received a wound in these sudden onsets. The battle is won by 
persistent endurance, or by some accident or want of skill or 
agility which exposes one to the reach of the other. If the 
branched antler is a disadvantage to the individual, there can 


be no doubt that it contributes largely to the well being, the 
preservation, and the improvement of the race. The most vigor- 
ous and active males are still left masters of the field and so 
become the progenitors of succeeding generations. 

It has long been a prevalent opinion among hunters, and to 
some extent has been adopted by naturalists, that a race of com- 
mon deer the adults of which have antlers without branches, have 
established themselves in the northeastern part of the United 
States and in Canada, whence they are driving out the prong- 
antlered bucks. 

This is a matter of the greatest scientific importance, and I 
have taken" pains to investigate it to my satisfaction, and am 
entirely convinced that it is a popular error, founded upon in- 
complete observations. The spike bucks found in the Adiron- 
dacks are all yearling bucks with their first antlers. The uni- 
versal testimony, so far as I have been able to gather it, is, that 
they are smaller than the average of the prong-antlered bucks, 
and that their spikes vary in length from eight inches, or ten 
inches at the very utmost, down to two or three inches in length. 
It is only the largest of these, that any have claimed to be 
adults. It is very easy for a hunter to say, and even believe, 
that he has killed deer with spikes ten inches long, but did he 
actually measure them, and make a note of the fact, with time and 
place, describing its appearance, and take and note the measure- 
ments of the animal, or did he preserve the head, so th^it he 
could carefully examine it, after the excitement of the chase was 
over, or so that he could submit it to the examination of others ? 
I have never heard of such a case ; such a head and antlers 
would bring more than many times the value of the largest 
carcasses ever sent to market. It is never safe for an observer to 
guess at dimensions, but he should always resort to measure- 
ments, and even then he must not trust his memory. All obser- 
vations should be noted down on the spot and at the time, even 
while the eye is upon the object, and be sure that every impor- 
tant fact is stated. . He who waits till he gets to camp to make 
his notes, is sure to make them of little value. The very act of 
noting down our observations, leads us to notice many im]3ortant 
things, which would otherwise be entirely overlooked. If hunt- 
ers and anglers would generally provide themselves with note 
books and measure, and whenever they kill an interesting speci- 
men would make careful measurements and minute notes of 
them, they would soon educate themselves into excellent natural- 
ists, and would add vastly to our fund of reliable zoological 


knowledge, and I trust the time is coining when sportsmen will 
generally adopt this course. In this way, they will double the 
pleasures of the chase, and when they meet in the camp or at the 
club house, to recount their triumphs and compare their observa- 
tions, they will enjoy an intellectual treat, far surpassing the 
story of the simple score or the skillful shot. 

But let us retui'n to the consideration of the spike buck. I re- 
peat, so far as I know, we have no well authenticated, reliable 
observations to justify the conclusion that these spike antlers are 
ever grown upon adult animals. All we have on the subject is a 
sort of general conjecture, founded no doubt upon exceptional 

Continued observations upon the young deer in my pai-ks, have 
enlightened me much on this subject. For several years, I j-eally 
persuaded myself that I had the true spike-antlered bucks, and 
set myself to carefully note their peculiarities, and fondly believed 
that I was about to add an important chapter to scientific knowl- 
edge. But these careful and continued observations soon unde- 
ceived and disappointed me. By marking the spike buck of one 
year, which was as lai'ge as one feeding by his side, having two 
or three tines on each antler, I found the next vear that his ant- 
lers were also branched, and my spike-antlered buck had become 
a fine specimen of the ordinary kind. And then the early fawn 
of the ye&.r before, dropped from a fully adult vigorous doe, 
which had furnished him plenty of milk, had now grown to the 
size of a medium adult, and had fine spike antlers, resembling in 
all things his older brother of the preceding year now bearing 
the pronged antlers. And so I anxiously pursued my observa- 
tions for a number of years, ever looking in vain for a second 
antler without prongs. Without this certain means of knowl- 
edge, T should have believed that those large spike-antlered bucks 
were more than yearlings and nearly adult. It is true the den- 
tition might have undeceived me, but this I could not ascertain 
while the animal was alive, and this test has probably been 
rarely examined and carefully studied by those hunters, who 
believe they have killed adult deer, with spike antlers. I feel 
quite sure that they had not the means of accurately determining 
the true ages of the wild deer which they had killed ; and what 
I have already stated may serve to show how very liable all are 
to be misled in relation to a point, upon a certain knowledge of 
which the whole question depends. 

I think the evidence satisfactory to establish the fact, that in a 
few instances female Virginia deer have been killed having small 



spike antlers, and I have noticed an account of one in California, 
probably a Columbia deer. One example is found in the Smith- 
sonian collection which I have had an opportunity of studying. 
The antlers are on low, small pedicels. They are in the velvet, 
but appear to have been nearly matured. They are about six 
inches in length and half an inch in diameter, and have a grace- 
ful anterior curvature, and spread apart less than is usual on the 
spiked buck. The spike on the perfect buck is always straight, 
so far as my observations extend, and I have examined hundreds, 
I presume, so that this anterior curvature distinguishes it from 
the spike on the male. I have, however, noticed a similar cur- 
vature on the velvet antler of a castrated buck, where the opera- 
tion was performed when he carried his spike antlers, and had I 
met with this specimen without information that it was from a 
female, I should have concluded it was from a young castrated 
buck. But I am willing to accept the statement that it was from 
a female. 

Such an occurrence may be as probable as that a woman should 
have a full flowing beard, which we sometimes, though very rarely, 

I have noticed many other accounts in sporting papers and in 
the journals of the day, of antlered does having been killed, and 
if mention was made of their form and condition, they were 
always small spike antlers and in the velvet ; and the periods 
when the notices appeared would indicate that they were killed 
when the antlers on the bucks had perfected their external growth 
and lost their velvet. Now this has suggested to me the pos- 
sibility, that when the antler is found upon the doe, it is still of 
an imperfect growth, like the antlers upon the castrated buck, so 
that it never matures so far as to lose its velvet, and that in win- 
ter it is frozen and broken off without being shed as is the antler 
of the perfect buck. It may not be improbable that these antlered 
does will always be found to be barren. My observations upon 
the effect of castration on the growth of the antlers of the buck, 
show that there is an intimate connection between the repro- 
ductive organs and the growth of antlers, and so it is not un- 
reasonable to suppose, that the phenomenon of antlers upon a 
female deer may arise from some peculiarity in the ovaries, or 
some other of the genital organs. 

I make these suggestions more with the hope that those who 
may have the opportunity, may be induced to make careful ob- 
servations on the subject, than for any other value which they 
may possess. 



The tails of the deer have been mostly described when treat- 
ing of the different species separately, so that now a little rep- 
etition may become un- 
avoidable when it be- 
comes necessary to com- 
pare them. 

As the tails of the 
three largest species 
(Figs. 8, 9, 10) most 
resemble each other, 
and are quite unlike 
those of any of the 


species, we 


treat of them first and 
together. The tail of 
the Moose is longer than 
that of either of the oth- 
er three, and is longer 
and larger than that of 
its European congener. 
Audubon and Bachman 
give us the measure- 
ments of two, one of 
which was eleven and 
one half inches, and the 
other nine inches long. 
Should we take these 
for a fair average, we 
find them much longer 
than those of the Wa- 
piti. Both are car- 
ried closely depressed, 
though that of the 
Moose is the most util- 
ized. The tail of our 
Elk is never elevated, 
and rarely moved at all, 
whether standing at 
ease or going at their 
best speed. Flies or 
mosquitoes may annoy 

THE TAIL. 235 

them never so much, still the tail remains quiet, while they 
may be stamping with their feet or thrashing about the head in 
a frantic way. 

On both these animals the tails are round ; on the Moose they 
are somewhat tapering, while on the Elk the tail is of a uniform 
diameter, with an abrupt termination. 

The tail of the Caribou is something longer than that of the 
Elk. It is somewhat flattened, very broad at the base, tapering 
all the way to the end. It is very short for so large an animal, 
but is more active than on the Elk. 

On the Moose the color of the tail vai'ies from very light to 
dark brown. 

The tail of the Caribou is of a dark shade on top, approaching 
a brown, and on some specimens it is decidedly so. 

On all the smaller species the tail is found to be a pi-ominent, 
and to some extent, a useful member. Each has a tail con- 
structed on a plan peculiarly its own, by which it may be read- 
ily distinguished, and by this mark alone may the species be 
identified. While each may vary from the others in length, all 
are of sufficient size to harmonize with the general structure of 
the animal. 

The largest of this group, and the one which we shall first con- 
sider, is the Mule Deer. In many respects this tail differs from 
all the others of the species, and its individualities are such as to 
identif}^ it at once and everywhere. 

In mv earlier studies I was led into some erroneous conclu- 
sions as to the tail of this deer, which I have been able to cor- 
rect by subsequent observations. 

The most striking peculiarities and which first strike the ob- 
server, are that it is of a yellowish white color except a tuft at 
the lower end which is black, and for most of the way it is naked 
on the under side ; the color of this tail is a shade the lightest 
on the under side bordering the naked part. 

There are two varieties of the Mule Deer. The eastern or 
Rocky Mountain variety I shall first consider. While in color 
the tails of different specimens are quite alike, in form they are 
quite variant. Most are large at the base, tapering to small 
dimensions to the limit of the white hair, and then terminating 
with a large black tuft. 

This form is most observable on the aged animals. In other 
specimens the white hairs are nearer of a uniform length, so that 
very little taper is observed. In these specimens the white hairs 


overlap the upper part of the black so as to hide a portion of it. 
This condition usually occurs in the fall of the year and on 
young animals not more than three or four years old. The 
former condition is, to some extent at least, artificial. It results 
from those white hairs near the lower part of the tail becoming 
worn off so that they are shorter. This is rendered possible 
from the white hairs being open, spongy, non-elastic, and brittle, 
so that they are readily broken off by coming in contact with 
objects when the tail is moved by the animal. Those hairs near 
the upper end of the tail are less exposed to abrasion than those 
lower down and near the end. The black hairs composing the 
switch are different. They are quite solid, firm, and elastic, 
like those on the tail of the horse, and so can bear a great 
amount of friction without being broken off. They endure the 
violence, while the white hairs just above them become worn 
down short. The two extremes and an intermediate form are 
shown in the illustrations. Figs. 2, 3, 4, p. 234. 

Independent of this abrasion there is in most specimens a cer- 
tain degree of taper resulting from the fact that on them the 
white hairs are shorter on the lower than on the upper part of 
the tail. On aged specimens these white hairs are more brittle 
than on younger animals, hence they are worn shorter on them 
and so present a much more tapering form. 

Take a specimen about the first of August, when the old white 
hairs are nearly shed and the new ones are still short, and above 
the black tuft the tail is verj^ small all the way up, while the 
black hairs which are constant, like those on the tail of the horse, 
remain conspicuous throughout the year. These black hairs are 
genei'ally shorter and stand in a more radical position on the old 
sj)ecimens than on the young. On the young, that which is 
worn off of the black hairs is replaced by new growth which is 
more vigorous on the young than the old ; on the latter the growth 
is tardy and does not fully repair the loss, so that on the young 
the black tuft appears longer and of less diameter than on the old. 

I have said that the under side of the tail of the Mule Deer 
is naked down to near the end, like tlie horse's tail. This is 
not absolutely so, for even the on young specimens a careful in- 
spection will reveal to the naked eyes a number of scattering 
very short fine hairs, more abundant towai'ds the lower end of 
the naked space ; these grow somewhat larger as the animal 
grows older, but are always kept worn short, so that on old 
specimens the lower part of the naked portion exhibits a good 

THE TAIL. 237 

many short stubs of hairs, of ahiiost the diameter of the hairs 
on the upper side, which they are like in color and texture. 

The black hairs cover from one eighth to one tenth of the 
vertebrEe at its extremity, and as before stated are not shed with 
the general coat as are the white hairs on the rest of the tail. 
This black portion is clothed as abundantly on the lower as on 
the upper side. Altogether the characteristics of the tail of this 
deer are so peculiar that any one of the least observation can 
readily distinguish it in any of its forms, at any season of the 
year or at any age. 

I have only had in domestication six specimens, taken wild, of 
which three were of each sex. They exhibited these several 
forms, but the specimens killed by hunters which I have exam- 
ined showed greater extremes than those in my own grounds, es- 
pecially did they show the hairs more worn off on the parts most 
exposed ; that is, I have found on the wild animals tails more 
tapering from the upper end down to the black tuft and on the 
oldest and largest the most so. I think the males show this 
more than the females. 

These tails always appear to be round. Even the absence of 
hairs on the under side fails to give them the flat appearance 
always seen on the Virginia deer. By measurements, taken on a 
female Mule Deer four years old in my grounds, I find the diam- 
eter of the tail at the base, measuring from the ends of the hairs 
in their natural position, is two and one half inches, and five 
inches lower down I find the diameter to be one and one half 
inches. The diameter of the tuft of black hairs corresponds 
with that at the base of the tail. 

Another specimen in my collection (Fig. 2), from a very large 
buck killed in the Black Hills, shows that the diameters are 
nearly half an inch less at all the points indicated, which gives 
the tail a much more tapering appearance than the first. The 
length of the vertebras of this tail is eight and one half inches, 
while the black hairs extend three and one half inches further, 
making the tail twelve inches long. I have another specimen in 
which the vertebrse is five and one half inches long, while it is 
fully ten inches to the end of the black hairs. This was from a 
young animal killed early in the season. The white hairs are 
but little worn down, and they overlap the black hairs for more 
than half their length, so that the black tuft is no larger than the 
white hairs above it, but there is a gradual though slight taper all 
the way from the base to and including the black tuft in its 


largest part ; thence it tapers to a point. I have in my grounds a 
Mule buck in his second year, whose taiL in December was almost 
the counterpart of this. In the latter part of winter it was con- 
siderably diminished in size towards the lower portion of the 
white, showing the tapering form down to the black tuft. In 
July following, the white hairs were nearly all shed, leaving the 
tail scarcely larger than one's finger, while the tuft of black hairs 
maintained its original bigness. The vertebrje was six inches 
long, and to the end of the tuft the tail was ten inches long- 
On the California variety of this deer, the tail has nearly the 
same form but averages a little longer. Its great distinction is 
in the color of the tail, which alone is sufficient to declare it a 
-very distinct variety, were other indicia, which are plainly de- 
clared, wanting. It has the naked portion on the under side the 
same as the eastern variety, but instead of all being white above 
the black tuft at the end, a stripe of the color of the back above 
the tail, with which it unites, runs down the upper side of the 
tail and unites with the terminal black tuft. On some specimens 
this brown stripe grows darker towards the lower end, and on 
some the tawny brown shade of the stripe invades the black tuft. 
Ordinarily the tail of the Mule Deer is carried depressed, close 
to the body. In running it is elevated a little but not generally 
above the horizontal ; but when the male is very happy and feels 
very self-important he will strut about with the tail elevated to 
a vertical position or inclining a little forward, reminding one of 
the actions of the male goat when he feels his self-importance in 
a high degree. This is peculiar to the Mule Deer, certainly among 
the American species. 

It is to be regretted that this deer, with more of a white tail 
than any other of our deer, — with in fact a white tail tipped with 
black, — is universally called b}^ the hunters of the Rocky Moun- 
tains the Black-tailed Deer. As they know nothing of the true 
black-tailed deer of the Pacific Slope, it creates no local incon- 
venience, but whenever one's inquiries extend west of this local- 
ity confusion necessarily results. Whether this inappropriate 
local name will ever be given up by those who do not extend 
their observations beyond that region, I very much doubt. 

The tail of the Columbia Deer is peculiar and characteristic of 
the animal, and shows the appropriateness of the name given it 
by Lewis and Clarke, of Black-tailed Deer. It is short, or about 
the length of the tail of the mule deer. It is very nearly straight, 

THE TAIL. 239 

though a slight upward and then reversed curve may be observed. 
It is an active member that is capable of being whisked about, 
though it is not much used in that way. The position in which 
the tail is carried is in marked contrast to that of all the other 
deer. This position is not vertical or depressed against the body, 
but it stands out in a drooping or inclined position about in a line 
with the backbone, from the top of the hips posteriorly, or per- 
haps a few degrees more depressed. 

In form the tail is round, terminating with a sharp but abrupt 
tip, the point of which is on a line with the lower side of the tail 
or a little depressed. It is covered all around with hairs of nearly 
a uniform length, giving it the form described. 

On top and on the sides at the lower end for half its length 
the tail is black. Thence upward the ends of a part of the hairs 
become tipped for a quarter of an inch or more with a tawny 
shade. The number of these increase rapidly as we ascend in 
the examination, and the bodies of the hairs become lighter, 
especially on the lower half, until near the root of the tail the 
lower half of the hair becomes a light gray, then intervenes a 
considerably darker shade, terminating with the tawny tip which 
gives a reddish cast to the upper portion of the tail. The under 
side of the tail is white, near the root fully one half of the cir- 
cumference ; but a little lower down, not more than one quarter 
of the circumference is white, so that we may properly say that 
there is a white stripe along the under side of the tail which is 
bordered by a russet streak on each side along the lower half 
more conspicuous towards the end, and as these russet hairs and 
even some of the white ones are longer than the black, the ex- 
treme point of the tail is a tawny white. A careful inspection 
shows that the hairs attached to the lower side of the last inch 
of the vertebrae are all black, with different degrees of intensity 
on their outer parts and the inner portions white or tawny, 
whereas above that point the white hairs maintain that color the 
whole length. The tail tapers slightly and has a slight upward 
curve, as shown in the illustration. 

The above descriptions are from the only four I have, one male 
and three females now in ray grounds, whose tails are almost ex- 
actly alike ; yet I have a number of specimens which I obtained 
from di'ied skins at Victoria, B. C, and Portland, Oregon, some 
of which are considerably longer and a little more pointed at the 
ends. Still all hold their bigness with great uniformity to very 
near the extreme ends, and in this respect differ very much from 


the Virginia deer. In color, I cannot perceive any appreciable 
difference between my live specimens and those obtained at Vic- 
toria and Portland. 

The white between the hams, under the tail of this deer, is 
wider than the tail itself, so that when looking at the deer from 
behind, it is seen about one inch broad on each side of the tail 
for its whole length. 

The tail of the Virginia Deer exceeds in length that of any 
other of our deer. It varies very much on different adult indi- 
viduals, on some being not more than eleven or twelve inches long, 
while on others it is found to be sixteen or even eighteen inches 
in length. In shape it is flattened, being the broadest a little 
posterior to its base ; thence it contracts in width gradually and 
quite regularly to a point at the end, giving it a lanceolate form, 
as shown in the illustration. 

On the under side and on the edges it is always white, but 
on top it is very variant in color. I have some specimens in my 
grounds which are jet black for the lower half, growing lighter 
towards the anterior or upper part by the interspersion of gray 
hairs with the black, which become more abundant anteriorly. 
These very black specimens are quite rai-e, but a majority have 
more or less black towards the extremities. Very many, how- 
ever, have no black upon them, but are of a tawny gray on top. 
Scarcely any two are exactly of the same shade of color, some 
being of an exceedingly light gray on top, and between these and 
the black every intermediate shade is to be found. 

The blackest specimens are met with east of the Mississippi 
River, In the Rocky Mountains and west of them, the lightest 
colored specimens are met with, and I have never met with one 
there with any black upon it. Hence in that region they are 
called the White-tailed Deer. In the northwest they have been 
called the Long-tailed Deer, not, I imagine, because the tails 
there are longer than on the same species east, but because they 
have longer tails than any other deer in that region. 

When viewed posteriorly, the white of tlie edges shows dis- 
tinctly as a border to the colored portion on top. And when the 
tail is elevated and the hairs radiate in excitement, nothing but 
the white is seen, except from an anterior view. The natural 
position of the tail is depressed or vertical. When the animal is 
excited, as by seeing a dog, for instance, the tail is elevated to a 
horizontal position, and the hairs become radiate, while the ani- 

THE TAIL. 241 

mal is standing deliberating whether to run or not ; and so it is 
when the deer approaches an object in a threatening way. When 
it runs away in fright, it generally raises the tail to a vertical 
position, the hairs still spread out so as to much enlarge its ap- 
pearance. This, however, is by no means universally the case. 
They frequently run at full speed with the tail as much depressed 
as when quietly standing. I have often observed a lot of a dozen 
or twenty when alarmed, running from one part of the park to 
another to escape a supposed danger, and usually have seen 
one, or perhaps several, with the tails depressed. Indeed, a larger 
proportion will have the flag elevated when running at a mod- 
erate speed than when apparently doing their best. 

When a Virginia Deer is wounded, he almost invariably drops 
his tail and runs with it pendent, or if much hurt, he will lash it 
from side to side, and by this, more than any other indication, the 
hunter determines the extent of the injury inflicted by his shot. 
As the tail of the Virginia Deer is longer than that of any of the 
others, so it is more used or is more frequently in motion, but 
with all this the hairs are never perceptibly worn off as on the 
tail of the mule deer. All the hairs on the tail are much more 
solid, elastic, and enduring, than on the body. 

No matter what the size or color of the tail of this deer, its 
flattened and lanceolate form and white borders will always de- 
clare its identity to even an indifferent observer. 

As I have said, the tail of the Virginia Deer is flat and taper- 
ing to a point. The anterior part is twice as wide as it is thick. 
The white at the under side and the borders occupies fully two 
thirds of the circumference of the tail. 

The tail of the Acapulco Deer more resembles that of the Vir- 
ginia deer than any of the others ; yet it has its distinctive char- 
acteristics. While it is considerably flattened, it is not as much 
so as on the common deer, yet much more so than on any of 
the others. By reference to the illustration it will be seen that 
it does not taper regularly from the root to the point, but nearly 
maintains its width till near the end and then tapers rapidly to a 
much more blunt point. 

The under side is pure white, but this does not extend around 
the sides or edges so it can be seen from a posterior view as on 
the common deer when the position of the tail is depressed, but 
only the colored portion which pervades the top of the tail is 



I have already stated that the color of this species is very va- 
riant on different individuals, from a dark russet gray to a russet 
brown ; and the same is true of the color of the upper part of the 
tail, — some are decidedly brown, approaching a dull black, which 
is more pronounced on the lower part, while others are of a light 
tawny shade, with no part black or even brown. The length of 
the tail may be stated at eight inches. 

The position of the tail on the Acapulco Deer is usually closely 
depressed, and ordinarily is but little raised from this when run- 
ning, especially when pursuing the other deer to amuse itself. It 
is more frequently raised when fleeing from supposed danger, but 
not as much as is usual with the common deer. When excited 
the hairs are radiated as on the common deer. 

I am unable to distinguish any appreciable difference between 
the tail of the Acapulco deer and that of the Ceylon deer. 

On the tails of all the deer the hair is shed but once in the 
year, which process is gradual and occurs in the summer time, 
while, as stated, the black switch on the Mule Deer is not shed 
at all. 


The forms of the hoofs of the different species of the deer may 
receive our attention for a short time. I have found them so de- 
pendent on circumstances that it is not practicable at all times to 
determine to which of several species a given specimen belonged. 
This is more particularly the case with the smaller species ; that 
is, those less in size than the caribou, at the head of which stands 
the Mule Deer. If the hoofs on these smaller species differ 
somewhat in the proportions of length to breadth, still in general 
configurations they are alike, and the difference in their propor- 
tions is so slight that observei"s do not always agree in their con- 

Those inhabiting rocky or gravelly ground become worn down 
so as to change their size and proportions, as compared with 
those which live on the prairies and travel principally on the soft 
grass. When examining a specimen, therefore, it is necessar}' to 
inquire as the chai-acter of the country which it inhabited. This 
is no doubt the principal cause of disagreement among observers, 
as to the form and extent of the hoofs of the different species. 
When all are grown in the same place, as in a park for instance, 
then the equality of condition renders our observations of more 
value than when they are limited to wild animals. 

THE FOOT. 243 

The form of the foot combines with other causes elsewhere 
mentioned to establish a line, which separates our deer into two 

The first, embracing the moose, the wapiti, and the two species 
of caribou, which have shorter, broader, and flatter hoofs than 
the second, which embraces the mule deer, the Columbia deer, 
the Virginia deer, and the Acapulco deer, which have higher, 
longer, and narrower feet. 

The hoofs of the INIoose are not remarkably large, considering 
the size of the animal, and would seem to be less than would be 
convenient for him in the deep snows of winter and the soft 
marshy grounds which he affects in summer. They are not long 
but broad, and convex at the outer edges. They spread only less 
than those of the caribou. The hoofs themselves are not rigidly 
attached, but have considerable involuntary motion, when the foot 
is lifted from the ground, especially if the animal is traveling 
fast, so that they strike together at every step, producing a loud 
clacking noise, which the hunters used to ascribe to the cracking 
of the joints. 

The hind hoofs or dew claws, as they are often called in this 
country, are rather loosely attached and are far apart. The foot 
has more spread than any of the other species, except the car- 

Our Elk has a neat and well shaped foot, longer and narrower 
than the ox in proportion to his size. It is convex at the lower 
outer edge. The false or hind hoofs are small and point well 
downward, never touching the ground unless it is very soft, so 
that the track is deeply impressed. 

The foot of the Caribou has more remarkable characteristics 
than any other of the deer family, and is peculiarly adapted to 
sustain it in snows and in soft swampy ground. The hoof is 
large and very broad, maintaining its breadth well to the point. 
The cleft between the toes extends far up, and enables the foot 
to spread so as to expose a large bearing surface, so that the foot 
at some times appears nearly twice as large as at others, and the 
imprint in soft ground is so much larger than on a hard surface, 
as to require the eye of a practical hunter to recognize the track 
as made by the same animal. Each hoof is surrounded with an 
abundance of coarse stilf hairs extending quite down the cleft, 
which add to the bearing surface when the animal is traveling 
over soft material. The "hind or accessory hoofs on this animal 
are of real use, which will be readily appreciated upon careful 


observation. These are larger than on any other quadruped of 
its size. Their position is more lateral than on the other species, 
which enables them when required by circumstances to add much 
to tlie bearing surface of the foot. 

The following is Captain Hardy's description of the foot of the 
Woodland Caribou in the winter : " But for the Caribou I can 
aver that its foot is a beautiful adaptation to the snow-covered 
country in which it resides, and that on ice it has naturally an 
advantage similar to that obtained artificially by the skater. In 
winter time the frog is almost entirely absorbed, and the edges of 
the hoof, now quite concave, grow out in thin sharp ridges ; each 
division on the under surface presenting the appearance of a 
huge muscle shell. According to ' The Old Hunter,' who has 
kindly forwarded to me some specimens shot b}^ him in New- 
foundland in the fall of 1867, for comparison with examples of 
my own shot in winter, the frog is absorbed by the latter end of 
November, when the lakes are frozen ; the shell grows with great 
rapidity, and the frog does not fill up again till spring, when the 
antlers bud out. With this singular conformation of the foot, its 
great lateral spread and the additional assistance afforded in 
maintaining a foothold on slippery surfaces by the long stiff bris- 
tles which grow downwards from the fetlock, curving upwai-d 
underneath between the divisions, the Caribou is enabled to pro- 
ceed over crusted snow, to cross frozen lakes, or ascend icy prec- 1| 
ipices, with an ease which places him, when in flight, beyond 
the reach of all enemies, except, perhaps, the nimble and untir- ,^ 
ing wolf." 1 "^ 

These judicious observations show the appreciative naturalist 
in the study of his subject, and should teach us not to pass by 
facts which appear to be unimportant as unworthy of our atten- 
tion. In this case our author readily perceived their significance, 
and points out their importance in the economy of the animal. 
They show us how readily nature interposes to change structural 
formations to meet emergencies arising from peculiar conditions 
of life. We can readily understand how such a foot is required to 
secure safe and rapid locomotion in the winter season in the frigid 
zone and a rough and broken country, intersected by ice-bound 
lakelets and frozen streams. But these conditions only exist for a 
part of the year, and it is only during that season that the foot 
of the Caribou is made to conform to the exigencies which they 
impose. Upon the disappearance of the snow and ice, the sharp 

1 Forest Life in Acadie, pp. 129, 130. 

THE FOOT. 245 

and concave foot which these made necessary to the well-being 
of the animal, fills up with a more elastic substance, better 
adapting it to the conditions of its summer range. 

If I do not quite agree with Captain Hardy that the frog of 
the foot of the Caribou disappears in the fall by absorption, still 
the fact which he first mentions, so far as I know, is none the 
less significant. My own observations incline me to think that 
the frog disappears by abrasion and detachment. By taking 
the foot of the Caribou with the full frog and soaking it 
in diluted alcohol, or even in a weak brine, we may observe that 
the frog is laminated or arranged in layers, and after a while it 
becomes almost as soft as muck, and may be all removed by the 
finger up to a hard horny crust, capable of resisting abrasion 
almost as effectually as the outside of the hoof, leaving the hoof 
a thin plate, senseless and elastic. My own conclusion is that 
this inner wall, which is less dense, and through which the blood- 
vessels pass during the summer, and nourish the frog during its 
growth and maturity, becomes more indurated towards fall, and 
finally gradually closes those blood-vessels, when for the want of 
nourishment the frog dies, and becomes a dead, inert substance, 
and then decay and destruction commence. This first occurs on 
the lower surface, where it is exposed to abrasion, and proceeds 
gradually till all is gone ; in the spring, when this peculiarity of 
the foot is no longer required, this plate, which constitutes the 
wall on which the frog is built, becomes softer, and allows the 
blood-vessels which pass through it to resume their functions, 
when the growth of the new frog is commenced, and proceeds 
rapidly till the foot is again filled with the rather soft, tough, 
and elastic mass, which comparative anatomists call the frog. 
The truth, however, can only be revealed by the microscope, 
and I now feel a self-reproach for leaving this undetermined. 
Others, I trust, will assume the task, who can perform it better 
than I can. These peculiarities in the feet of the Woodland 
Caribou I find even amplified in the Barren-ground Caribou. 
The hind feet are larger and broader than the fore feet. The 
hoofs on the hind feet of the former in my collection are two 
inches and six lines long at the cleft, and three inches broad, and 
measure five inches around the sharp edge from the point to the 
heel. The accessory hoof is two inches long, and one inch and six 
lines broad. In the accessory hoof the frog is but partially gone, 
but the edge is very sharp, especially at the point. The hoof of 
the fore foot is also two inches and six lines long, but is only two 


inches and three lines broad, and four inches around the outer 
edge. The accessory hoof on the fore foot is one inch and eleven 
lines long, and one inch and five lines broad. The edges are less 
worn or sharper on the fore feet than on the hind feet. It is 
evident that the hind feet are prepared for, and endure much the 
hardest service. On the fore feet the lower phalangeal bone, to 
which the accessory hoof is attached, is half an inch long above 
the hoof, the next, or upper phalangeal bone between the articu- 
lations, is ten lines long and six lines in diameter, and the splint, 
or accessory carpal bone, above the articulation, is three inches 
long and half an inch in diameter at the lower end, tapering to a 
blunt point at the upper end. This accessory carpal bone, which 
possesses an imperfect facet of articulation, is attached longitu- 
dinally to the carpal bone for its whole length by ligamentary 
tissue which admits of great vertical and lateral motion, thus 
facilitating the great spread of these members of the foot ob- 
served in the reindeer. All the bones connected with this ac- 
cessory hoof in the reindeer, are more than ten times as large as 
they are in the common deer. This alone should convince us 
that real work is expected to be performed by this accessory hoof 
of the Caribou. These bones are appreciably larger and stouter 
in the hind foot than in the fore foot. 

That we may compare the foot of the Barren-ground Caribou 
with that of the Woodland Caribou, I give the measurements of 
a fore foot of this last species in my collection. It is two inches 
and six lines long at the cleft, and is two inches and six lines 
broad ; measuring around the curved edge, it is four inches and 
nine lines. 

When we remember that the Barren-ground is but half the 
size of his Woodland cousin, it will be observed that its foot is 
much the largest proportionally, and that the outer edge is much 
more convex, that is, it maintains its width towards the point 
much better, thus presenting more bearing surface in proportion; 
to its length and greatest width. This peculiarity is very strik- j 
ing to the eye when they are viewed side by side. On the 
smaller animal the accessory hoof is, in fact, larger than on the \ 
other. On the specimen before me from the larger species, i 
the accessory hoof is one inch and nine lines long, and one inch 
and six lines broad. This much greater bearing surface of the 
foot, it being about twice as large in proportion to the size of the 
animal, would seem to be required by the more northern and 
snowy region occupied by the deer. The hoofs of the hind foot : 


of tlie wild reindeer from Norway, are at the cleft two inches 
long and are two inches and six lines broad, and measure around 
the curved edge three inches and six lines. The accessory hoof 
is one inch and nine lines long, and one inch and six lines broad. 
The accessory carpal bone is two inches and six lines long. 
This hoof corresponds in shape with that of our Woodland Car- 
ibou, with which the deer is specifically identical, and is of about 
the same proportionate size. I regret that I have no specimens 
of the Woodland Caribou from the northwest, where it reaches 
the frozen ocean west of the Mackenzie River, nor have I reliable 
information as to the size of this animal in that region. 

I hav^ already shown that there is no marked peculiarity about 
the forms of the feet of the other species of our deer, nor is the 
distinction between them very marked. I have spent much time 
in examining their tracks in light snows, and could generally dis- 
tinguish the track of the mule deer by its being longer and slim- 
mer than the other ; but even as to this, I was sometimes in doubt, 
except in the cases of fully adult specimens, the feet of which are 
larger than the feet of the largest Virginia deer. 

When compared with that of any other quadrupeds, the track 
of the smaller deer is readily distinguishable. Its narrow heel 
and sharp points — its length in proportion to its breadth and 
graceful outside curvature, can never leave a doubt of the iden- 
tity of the track of a deer. It can never be mistaken for the 
track of the sheep, the goat, or the antelope. 

The white fugitive marking around the feet of the Virginia 
Deer, and its absence on all the others, except the caribou, has 
been explained in another place. 


From necessity the naturalist must ever be in search for pe- 
culiarities in organized beings whicli will enable him satisfac- 
torily to separate them into divisions, orders, genera, and species, 
and it is not remai'kable that some more than others should at- 
tach importance to peculiar characteristics. 

On the 28th of June, 1836, Dr. Gray made some observations 
before the Zoological Society of London — see its proceedings of 
that date — " On the tufts of hair observable on the posterior 
legs of animals of the genus Cervus, as a characteristic of that 
group and a means of subdividing it into natural sections." 

These tufts are found on the inside or the outside, or sometimes 
on both sides of the hinder legs of all the deer which Dr. Gray 


had had an opportunity of examining, with the exception of the 
muntjak, and he thought that if upon more critical examination, 
both were wanting on this animal, together with its having a 
persistent horn and some other peculiar characteristics, it would 
afford an additional motive for excluding it from the genus 

He says truly that these tufts are found at all ages and on 
both sexes, and hence their value to determine the species of 
hornless females, and that the horn is unreliable as being un- 
stable and only on the males. From these tufts Dr. Gray di 
vides the Cervidaa into sections as follows : — 

1. The first has a pencil of hairs seated on the outsid? of the 
hinder part of the metatarsus, about one third of the distance 
from the calcaneum, towards the hoof. In this section he in- 
cludes C. elaphus, 0. Canadensis, 0. axis, C. porcinus, C. hippi- 
lap>hus, C. clama and its varieties, and 0. niger, etc. 

2. In the second section, in which he includes C. Virginianus 
and its variety C Blexicanus, there exists two tufts of hair, one 
seated on the outer side of the hinder part of the metatarsus, 
about two thirds of the distance from the calcaneum to the hoof, 
and the other on the inside of the hock or heel. In this sec- 
tion would also be included C. macrotis and C. Columbianus, 
although the outside tufts differ very widely in extent and loca- 
tion from 0. Virginianus, as we shall hereafter explain. 

3. The third section comprises those which have a distinct tuft 
inside the hock and none on the outside of the metatarsus. Dr. 
Gray found this on two species from Demei'ara and one allied 
species from South America. He thought he could discern the 
internal tuft on the reindeer in the Society's museum, but no 
trace of one on the outside of the metatarsus, which was covered 
by a very uniform thick coat of hair. In this section would be 
included our moose and caribovi, as we shall presently see, and 
also my diminutive Acapulco deer. 

4. Of the fourth section he speaks with doubt, but assigns to 
it the European elk, Gervus alces, on which he found distinct 
tufts on the inside of the hock and on the outside of the meta- 
tarsus, about one third of its length from the heel, as in the first 
section, but of the existence of the latter tuft he is by no means 
certain on account of the age and state of the specimen. 

I must say that I have carefully examined the Swedish elk, 
and am enabled to say that there is no tuft of hair on the out- 
side of the hind legs, and that the metatarsal gland is entirely 


wanting. In this regard he is precisely like our moose, so we 
must dispense witli his fourth section. 

We may briefly summarize these sections thus : First, where 
the outside tuft is present and the inside wanting, Second, wlffere 
both are present, and Third, where the inside tuft is present and 
that on the outside wanting. This certainly divides the genus 
into very natural sections easily recognized. 

By a careful study of these tufts of hair and the structures 
which they indicate and cover, I find we are enabled with equal 
certainty to subdivide these sections and designate the species 
composing them respectively. Dissection, with aid of the micro- 
scope, shows us that each of these tufts of hair indicates the place 
of, and covers and surrounds a cutaneous gland, a distinct organ 
which in the economj^ of the animal has its proper and peculiar 
functions to perform. When we find such an organ present in 
one class of animals, and absent in another class sufficiently re- 
sembling them to be ranked in the same genus, we are almost 
prepared to declare them to be specifically different, and are led 
at once to look for other difference to corroborate the suspicio«, 
A distinct member, always constant in all its features, among all 
the individuals of a class who freely associate together, wherever 
such association is permitted without restraint, and who avoid 
the society of all other similar animals destitute of that member, 
— this peculiarity adds to the suspicion of a specific difference ; 
and so on, whenever we can find differences either in structure 
or habit which cannot be assigned to accidental or factitious cir- 
cumstances or surroundings, such as climate, altitude, aliment, 
and the like, we are more and more inclined to draw the dividing 
line of species. But whenever we can ascribe peculiarities either 
of structure or habit to such accidental surroundings, we may 
conclude that the differences would gradually disappear on a 
change of circumstances ; then we may be justified in the opinion 
that the change is transient and we have but a vai'iety. 

I know of no feature or member of any of these animals so 
exactly alike, in dimensions, location, coloring, and structure, on 
every individual of each species of our deer, as these tufts of 
hair and the glands which they conceal, and yet those on the 
outside of the metatarsus are entirely different from each other 
on the different species, and this difference is so great that when 
one's attention is once called to them the most casual observation 
is sufficient to identify them, and enable us to say, with certainty, 
to which species they belong. We look in vain for any other 



mark so limited in extent which so distinctly declares the 

Unless I exaggerate to myself the importance of these indicia, 
I sBall be justified in describing them on each of the species of 
which I treat with such particularity as will enable any one to 
distinguish them. 

The gland on the outside of the hind leg has long been desig- 
nated the metatarsal gland, from its location. That on the in- 
side of the hock, for the sake of distinction and from its location, 
I have called the tarsal gland. Both occupy the whole body of 
the skin where they are situate. I here present figures showing 

3 4 .5 G 7 

I. Moose. 2. Wapiti or Ell<. 3. Caribou. 4. Mule Deer. 5. Black-tailed Deer. 
6. Common Deer. 7. Acapuico Deer. 

the outside of the hind legs of all the species of which I treat, 
except that of the barren-ground caribou, which would only dif- 
fer from that of the woodland caribou in size and in having 
more white upon it. The location and extent of the metatarsal 
gland is shown on Figs. 2, 4, 5 and 6, while it is entirely want- 
ing on Figs. 1, 3, and 7. These marks or their absence are 
shown on the full figures of the animals. 

If we commence with the largest in our examination, we find 
that the metatarsal gland is entirely wanting on the Moose, nor 
is there any tuft of hair on the outside of the metatarsus. All 
the hairs are of an even length, and lie smooth and flat. I have 
been led to a more careful examination for this gland, or some 
tuft of hair in its place, from the fact that Dr. Gray, in "Knows- 


ley Menagerie," describes this gland as present in the Swedish 
elk, which I have found by careful study to be specifically identi- 
cal with our moose. In his specific description of C. alces he 
declares its presence in these words, " hind legs have the tuft of 
hair rather above the middle of the metatarsus." He had pre-- 
viously stated to the Zoological Society at the meeting to which I 
have referred, that he had examined the elk at the British Mu- 
seum and " it appeared to have very distinct tufts on the inner 
side of the hocks, and others also on the outside of the metatar- 
sus about one third of its length from the heel," though of the 
latter tufts he says he was by no means certain on account of the 
age and state of the specimen. 

I have been to no small pains to satisfy myself by a personal 
examination, and find that there is no gland or tuft of hair on 
the outside of the hind leg of the Scandinavian elk, so that it 
exactly resembles our Moose in this regard. The best observer 
is liable to be misled when examining mounted specimens, es- 
pecially of quadrupeds. 

There are some features of the tarsal gland found on the inside 
of the hock, which are common to all, which may be first men- 
tioned. All are entirely overgrown with hairs which are ele- 
vated to a greater or less angle from the skin, and more than the 
surrounding coat. 

Except on C. alces, the rise or elevation of the hairs com- 
mences at the upper and smaller end of the tuft, at which point 
the hairs are longest and extend down to the large end of the 
tuft, which is the highest, and terminates rather abruptly. The 
skin under this tuft is occupied with the gland composed of secret- 
ing ducts, with their canals extending to the surface, now par- 
tially obliterated and nearly dormant. The skin presents to the 
casual observer a spongy appearance, of twice the thickness of 
the surrounding skin. A peculiar muscular and nervous ai-range- 
ment enables and prompts the animal, whenever excited by fear 
or hostility, to elevate the hairs of this tuft, so that they stand 
out at right angles to the skin. 

On our Moose and on the Swedish Elk, the tuft of hair cover- 
ing the tarsal gland differs in size, position, and color from that 
on any of the other species. It commences at a point at the pos- 
terior extremity of the hock : from this point a seam slightly 
elevated, caused by the meeting of the short hairs which ap- 
proach from above and below inclining forwai'd, extends ante- 
riorly on the inside of the hock for one inch and three lines. 



Here this seam divides so as to embrace the tuft proper. This 
tuft is one inch and nine lines long, widening out from the point 
of commencement for one inch of its length, where it is nearly 
nine lines wide ; thence it narrows down to its anterior extremity, 
where it is rounded off. From all directions the hairs on the 
surrounding region, — which are of a very light roan color, or dull 
white with red hairs sparsely scattered through them, — point to 
this tuft and overlap its borders. Most of the hairs in the tuft 
are a dull black, but a few are white and some a russet red ; on 
many the general appearance is jet black. The contrast in color 
of most specimens make this a conspicuous mark, but on some 
the surrounding coat is much darker, and others are ligliter than 
that from which the above description is taken, so that the con- 


Fig. I. Tarsal Gland of Moose and Swedish Elk. 

trast may be more or less striking, but the initial radial point, 
the seam and the tuft itself, are found just alike on all, in 
position and color, only vai'ying in extent with the size of the 

It will be observed that this differs from those on all the other 
species, in that it occupies a horizontal instead of a vertical posi- 
tion ; is black, and is much smaller in proportion to the size of 
the animal. No one who has carefully studied it could ever hesi- 
tate to declare the species, from an inspection of this tuft alone. 
It is as certain indicia of the species, as is the metatarsal gland 
on the mule deer to be hereafter described. It is more indi- 
vidualized than is the tuft covering the tarsal gland on either of 
the other species. 

To sum up, we may say that the glandular system on the hind 
leg of the Moose, which is the largest of the species, is much 



nearer obliterated than on any of our other species, as not a ves- 
tige remains of the metatarsal gland, and the tarsal is the least 
of all in size. As we shall hereafter see, the metatarsal gland is 
wanting on three of the other species, yet on all these the tarsal 
gland remains in full size or nearly so in proportion to the size of 
the animal. 

P"lG. 2. 

Fig. 3. Fig. 4. 

2 is from the Woodland Caribou. 3 is from the Male, and 4 is from the Female Wild 

Reindeer of Norway. 

On the Woodland Caribou the tuft of hairs over the tai'sal 
gland also has its characteristics, which enable one who has 
studied it to readily recognize it, though it is more variable in 
size and shape than on the moose. The hairs composing the tuft 
occupy a descending position. From the upper end the tuft 
commences to rise up gradually, and so continues to the lower 


end, where the elevation is greatest. The length of this tuft is 
two inches, while the breadth is one inch and three lines. The 
middle of this tuft is a yellowish white, for a horizontal extent of 
two inches, and a vertical extent of one inch and three lines. 
The greatest diameter of the white portion is near the lower 
border of the tuft. Below the white portion the tuft shades 
down to the olive brown of the rest of the leg. It occupies the 
internal cavity of the hock posterior to the central part. It is 
not quite so large in proportion to the size of the animal as on 
most of the other species, neither is it much below them in rela- 
tive size. It is not so exactly alike on each individual of this 
species as it is on the smaller species. 

A careful examination of his congener, the European Reindeer, 
shows that they correspond in the glandular system on the hind 
leg as well as in other respects. The illustrations show the tufts 
of hair on the inside of the hocks of both varieties of this deer. 
It will be seen that they correspond both in location, form, and 
extent. Those from the male and female wild European Rein- 
deer, were drawn from a pair I obtained from Tx-omso, within the 
arctic circle on the west coast of Norway. It will be observed 
that they do not correspond exactly with each other or with that 
on the Caribou. Those on the female reindeer and the Caribou 
being more alike than those on the male and female Reindeer. 
They vary a little in size, that on the female being the largest as 
well as most irregular at the lower part of the tuft. Altogether 
the difference is more marked than is to be found amonrr individ- 
uals of any of the other species, and to that extent it impairs the 
reliability to be placed upon this tuft as a distinguishing mark, 
and yet they are quite unlike those found on any of the other 
species. After all they have distinct characteristics which tell 
us their origin at once. I studied several hundred tame Reindeer 
in Lapland, and observed that those general characteristics pre- 
vailed, while the difference in size and form here represented 
was observed among them. 

This tuft of hair on the inside of the hock is present on the 
Barren-ground Caribou, and the specimen in my collection is 
much more circular in form, wanting the long, sharp point at the 
upper end which is so observable on the Woodland Caribou. 

On both species of our Caribou, as well as on the European 
Reindeer, the most careful scrutiny fails to disclose the least vesr 
tige of a gland or tuft of hairs on the outer side of the meta- 
tarsus, and in this respect it corresponds with its neighbor, 


THE GLANDS. . 255 

occupying the same sub-Arctic region, the moose and the Swed- 
ish elk. 

The specific identity of our Woodland Caribou with the Lap- 
land Reindeer, C. tarandiis, has long been a subject of discussion, 
if not of controversy, among naturalists ; but I have studied them 
in vain to find any specific difference between them, and the cor- 
respondence of this mark, to say the least, harmonizes with this 
conclusion. In another place, I assign the reasons which incline 
me to think that there is a specific difference between our north- 
ern and southern Reindeer, which it is unnecessarv to here antici- 
pate, and if this conclusion be justified, it would follow that the 
European species could not be the same as our Bai-ren-ground Car- 
ibou. The Woodland Caribou is undoubtedly larger than either 
the wild or the tame Reindeer of Europe, but there is said to be 
a vai'iety of Reindeer in northeastern Asia corresponding in size 
to our Woodland Caribou. It was the Lapland Reindeer which I 
personally studied, on all of which the metatarsal gland was 
entirely wanting, and so I am constrained to conclude that Dr. 
Gray was in error, when, in his specific description of the same 
animal, he said : " The external metatarsal gland is above the 
middle of the leg." Howevei', the same careful and intelligent 
observer tells us that upon an examination of the reindeer in the 
British Museum, he thought he could observe the internal tufts, 
but no trace of the external, the entire hinder edge of the met- 
atarsus being covered with a uniform very thick coat of hair, 
thus corresponding with ray observations of the same animal and 
of our Woodland Caribou. I will add that I was unable to de- 
tect the metatarsal gland or any outside tuft of hair on the 
mounted specimen of the European Reindeer in the Smithsonian 
collection, but the difficulty of making sure work with dried 
specimens always leaves me in doubt as to correct conclusions, and 
especially on this particular point. I sought long and carefully 
for this gland on a dried skin of a deer from South America 
without detecting a trace of it, but after softening the skin with a 
day's soaking, a very little examination plainly revealed it un- 
covered with hair, but with the horny scale, as on the Virginia 
deer or the mule deer. 

On the two specimens of the Barren-ground Caribou I find the 
same glandular system on the hind leg as on the larger species. 

Our Elk, C. Canadensis, is the only species of North American 
deer which is without the tarsal gland, and so falls into the first 
section of Dr. Gray's classification, as elsewhere stated, although 


he cites a number of other species from other countries possessing 
the same pecuharity. 

The first and the only mention I find of this interesting fact, 
as connected with our Elk, is by Professor Baird in his descrip- 
tion of the quadrupeds in Pacific Railroad Reports, but the hesi- 
tancy with which he mentions it shows how remarkable he con- 
sidered it, and that he thought it possible that the specimen 
which he examined might be exceptional in this i*egard. It is 
also wanting on the red deer of Europe. 

The metatarsal gland on the outside of the hind leg of the 
Wapiti, and so of the red deer, is conspicuously present, though 
we may with propriety say that it is more obliterated than on the 
others which still retain it. On this animal alone this gland is 
entirely overgrown with hairs. It is situated on the outside, near 
the back edge, and about two inches below the upper end of the 
cannon bone, and is covei'ed with a tuft of long white hairs, ou 
the outside of which there is a border of long colored hairs (see 
Fig. 6, p. 258). The tuft is ovate in shape, is from three to four 
inches long, and is one inch and six lines broad. The space occu- 
pied by the white hairs is about one inch and six lines long, and 
less than one inch broad. These white hairs are frequently con- 
cealed by longer surrounding hairs overlaying them, and some- 
times the white hairs are much longer than the others, and become 
quite conspicuous, and extend themselves posteriorly as if they 
would embrace the back edge of the leg. When the surrounding 
hairs are the longest, and overlay the white, they unite in a seam 
which has a descending posterior direction. Suri'oiinding the long 
colored hairs is a border of short cinnamon-colored hairs. This 
border of short hairs is of a much lighter color than those on the 
leg beyond it, and is about half an inch broad. From the bot- 
tom of the tuft descends a stripe of the same rufous color, nine 
lines broad, down the posterior edge of the leg to between the 
small hind toes or accessory hoofs. The structure of the gland 
beneath is much like that of the tarsal gland on the other mem- 
bers of this family. This metatarsal gland has almost become 
inactive on Wapiti, and presents a massive spongy appearance, 
making the skin appear much thicker there than on the surround- 
ing parts ; or perhaps it has not yet attained that vitality and 
activity which enables it to obliterate the hairs which cover it, as 
is observed on the other species where it is present. 

In this connection it is interesting to repeat, that no remnant 
or rudiment of this metatarsal gland is found on the two other 


large species of deer — the INIoose and the Caribou. The extent 
of the tarsal gland on the Moose is less than is the metatarsal 
gland on the Wapiti, while the latter is something less in relative 
extent than the tarsal gland on the Caribou, which is a smaller 
animal than our elk while the Moose is larger. We might infer 
from this, that with the advancement in size the demand in the 
animal economy for this glandular system is less urgent, and 
with the decrease of this demand the glands themselves are grad- 
ually disappearing, and in the process of time may finally become 
extinct altogether. 

But here we are met with the fact that the smallest of our 
species as well as the largest, is also without the metatarsal 
gland, which is not compensated by an increased development of 
the tarsal gland, so that at last we may not be at liberty to at- 
tribute the disappearance of these glands to the increased size of 
the species. But my object is to state impartially observed and 
well authenticated facts, rather than to speculate upon them or to 
deduce or sustain theories from them. 

On the other extreme of development of the metatarsal gland 
is the Mule Deer (Fig. 5, p. 258), which animal is next in size 
to the woodland caribou, on which as we have seen it is entirely 

On the inside of the hock of this deer the tuft of hair cover- 
ing the tarsal gland is larger than on any of the preceding, is of 
pear shaped form, and occupies a vertical position with the small 
end uppermost. Like the others it is composed of long, elevated 
hairs, those on the top being the longest and finding their seat at 
or near the upper point and descending to the abrupt lower end. 
In color, the; tuft on the surface is of a lightish tawny yellow, but 
upon opening it appears black within. When examined separ- 
ately the hairs are found to be from an inch and six lines to an 
inch and nine lines long. . For one quarter of their length, at 
their upper ends, they are of the tawny yellow shade stated, 
and the lower three quarters black, less intense towards the 
lower ends. A few white hairs are found among them. When 
the animal is excited this tuft is raised up and spreads out like 
a fan, when the dark shade below overpowers the lighter shade 
of the ends, and the whole tuft appears black. 

The metatarsal gland is situate on the outside and near the 
posterior edge of the metatarsus. The tuft of hairs covering 
and overlaying the gland commence just below the tarsus, and 
extends down the leg eight inches, and is in width about one inch 







/ 1 








o ^ 

r, « 


and six lines at the upper end, but is narrower below the gland. 
About six lines below the upper end of this tuft commences the 
upper end of the naked space over the gland. This naked space 
is from five inches and one line to six inches long on very lai'ge 
specimens, and from four lines to half an inch broad, and is cov- 
ered by a black scale of the concentrated exudation. (Fig. 5, p. 
258.) The gland extends beyond the naked portion so that its 
borders are under the tuft of hairs, but the portion covered with 
hairs is much less active than the naked portion, so that the 
encroachment of the hairs would seem to be gradually obliter- 
ating the gland, or the advancement of the gland, by degrees 
displacing the hairs. The elevated hairs on either side of the 
gland approach each other over its centre, and then when they 
meet turn back and so form a sort of seam directly over the organ. 

I have critically examined a great number of specimens, and 
have found this organ remarkably uniform in all, varying only 
in extent according to the size of the animal. Not a single white 
or black hair ever occurs in the tuft, but the whole surface is a 
uniform, tawny yellow of exactly the same shade as on the rest 
of the leg. Nor is the inside black as is the tuft on the inside 
of the hock just described, but the lower part of the hairs is of 
a lighter shade than the outer portion. I could never observe 
these to be disturbed by excitement as is the case with the other. 

I here present illustrations of these glands of all our species on 
which they are found, and also on the small deer from Ceylon, 
with the tufts of hair which cover them, opened so as to expose 
the naked portions covered with the black incrustations. By 
seeing them thus brought together, we are the better enabled to 
compare them. 

In this glandular system the Black-tailed deer, C. Oohimbianus, 
as well as in some other peculiar characteristics, is nearest allied 
to the mule deer, as we shall see in another place, although in 
other respects these species are widely divergent. The meta- 
tarsal gland commences a little lower down on the metatarsus, 
than on the mule deer, and its tuft of long partially reversed 
hairs occupies a space about four inches long and fully one inch 
broad. On a large specimen the naked crusted portion is two 
inches in length and scarcely three lines broad. The hairs of 
this tuft are disposed much as on the mule deer, though the 
central seam over the gland is not so well defined.. Like the 
other it corresponds exactly in color with the hairs on the rest of 
the leg, without a single white or black hair in the region, and 


altogether is scarcely distinguishable from that on the mule deer, 
except from its diminished size. These indicia of species I have 
found exactlj^ alike, whether taken from specimens captured a 
thousand miles apart or bred in my grounds. 

The tarsal gland on this deer occupies about the same position 
as on the mule deer, is similarly shaped, but is a little less in 
extent. The tuft covering it differs from the other most strik- 
ingly in color. Instead of presenting a lightish yellow color on 
the surface it is a foxy red, and it presents but little change when 
opened, although careful inspection shows a dai'ker shade near the 
skin ; the hairs when individually examined are for the upper half 
a foxy red color, then tliey begin to turn a little gray, and near 
the lower end are a light brown. When the hairs of this tuft 
are spread out in excitement, no appreciable change of color is 
observed in the appearance of the tuft. Its individual character- 
istics are sufficiently pronounced to declare the species to which 
it belongs. 

Scarcely less characteristic are these glands on the Virginia 
Deer, though from their wide distribution slight variations in size 
are found on those taken from widely different localities. Still, 
they possess such distinctive qualities as never to leave the least 
doubt as to the species to which they belong when nothing but 
the skin of that portion of the leg is examined. 

The tuft of hairs covering the metatarsal gland on the Virginia 
Deer commences six lines above the middle of the cannon bone, 
and extends downward one inch and six lines, and is nine lines 
broad, the posterior line extending a little beyond the posterior 
edge of the leg, as in all the other species. On the fully adult 
the naked portion, which is covered with the same hard black 
scale as the others, is nine lines long, the upper end of which is 
as near as possible at the longitudinal middle of the leg and is 
about two lines wide. 

The largest proportionate specimens I have found were on the 
coast of the Gulf of Mexico, although the animals are smaller 
than further north. The longest I have ever met with, on a me- 
dium sized animal, was one inch and one line long, and taken from 
an animal I found in the Mobile market ; and on a yearling buck 
we killed on Negro Hummock near the mouth of Burwicks Bay, 
I found the naked portion nearly one inch in length. From all 
the specimens I have been able to examine, from near our south- 
ern border, I can scarcely doubt that this gland is appreciably 
larger on the Virginia Deer there than it is in this latitude, and 


this, beside the diminished size of the animal, is the only pe- 
culiarity I have been able to discover in the animals found in the 
far south. On the very large buck which I killed in Wisconsin, 
in 1876, the metatarsal gland Avas one inch and six lines long, 
which, however, was no larger proportionately than is observed on 
animals of the ordinary size. The smallest I have ever found on 
on adult was on a small female and was six lines long. In all, 
both wild and in parks, from one ocean to the other, in the mid- 
dle States and north of them, I have found a wonderful uniformity 
in the size of this gland, varying, of course, with the size of the 

Immediately around the naked space is a band of white hairs, 
which occupies a space on the skin about two lines broad, al- 
though from their being longer than those around them they 
appear to occupy a greater space. Immediately outside this 
white band there is usually a very narrow dark border, shading 
down to the prevailing color of the balance of the leg, which is 
more generally of a fawn color, though there is great variation in 
the color of the leg of the Common Deer, even more than on 
other parts of the body. Sometimes the band surrounding the 
white hairs is fairly black with the outer border adjoining the 
rufous colored and shorter hairs well defined. 

On the specimens found in the western mountainous regions 
and in the high northern latitudes — where they are called the 
white-tailed or the long-tailed deer, and have been doubtfully 
named Q. leucurus — this dark border is wanting, and this is the 
only difference I can find in and about this gland from the com- 
mon variety here. In location, formation, size, and covering, 
they are precisely alike, save only this small pencil of deeply 
colored hairs surrounding the white tuft, which would never be 
noticed by the casual observer, and which would be unworthy 
the attention of the most critical inquirer, were it not for their 
constant presence and exact uniformity, except as to the depth of 
the color on nearly every specimen found east of the Rocky 
Mountain slope and south of latitude forty-three degrees north. 

On specimens from the far north and west, the white portions 
of the animal are appreciably more extensive than on specimens 
found here, as we have seen, when speaking of the coat and 
color ; and on one specimen in my collection from the far north- 
west, not only all the hairs in the region of this gland, but the 
whole leg, including the hock, is white, with a few red hairs in- 
terspersed along the lower front part. I cannot think that the 


absence of tlie pencil of dark hairs aronnd the white which sur- 
rounds the gland, is sufhcient to justify us in setting up a new 
species or retaining an old one. Many individuals from each re- 
gion may be met with exactly alike in color, only this little dark 
pencil of hairs is almost universally found on those native here, 
and generally wanting on those grown there. 

The tarsal gland and the tuft of hairs covering it on the Vir- 
ginia Deer, are just alike on all the varieties. It is larger than 
on any of the other species. It is pear-shaped, and is placed 
with the small end upwards, from the upper end of which the 
tuft gradually rises to its lower broad extremity, where it ter- 
minates abruptly. The hairs composing this tuft are white, but 
are generally more or less stained, so that at first we would often 
suspect them to be of another color, and very frequently the cen- 
tre of the lower extremity of the tuft is stained to a deep black 
color for a space the size of a dime or larger. It is, however, 
only the extreme tips of the hairs that are stained sufficiently to 
show when they lie compactly together. Let but a dog come 
along on the outside of the fence and look in, and these tufts on 
every deer near enough to notice him, will immediately rise up 
and spread out, presenting the appearance of a great snow-ball 
of the purest white on the inside of each hock, and not a trace 
of the stains will be observed. 

Lastly, we come to my little Acapulco Deer, which may be soon 
disposed of, for as previously remarked, the metatarsal gland is 
entirely wanting, as it is on the moose and the caribou. But the 
tarsal gland is present, with the tuft of hair covering it of a good 
size, considering the size of the animal. It bears the same gen- 
eral appearance as on all the other species, except the moose, but 
is of the same color as the regions surrounding it. 

The want of the metatarsal gland separates it more distinctly 
from the Ceylon Deer in my grounds than any other character- 
istic, though it is something smaller in stature, and the antlers 
differ somewhat, as we have seen, when that branch of my sub- 
ject was considered. The tarsal gland is present on this Ceylon 
species as well, resembling much those on the others, while the 
gland on the outside of the leg is situated lower down, and is 
much smaller than on any of the other species (see Fig. 8, p. 258). 
A few white hairs are observed about this gland, though the tuft 
is so small as to elude detection, except on a close examination. 

Dr. Gray expressed the opinion when he first suggested the im- 
portance of the tufts of hairs covering these cutaneous glands as 


a means of dividing the genus, that domestication or confine- 
ment tends to diminish the size of these tufts. Fi'om this sug- 
gestion I have been led to carefully look for such effect under 
the conditions suggested, but I have been unable to detect any 
difference in the size of these tufts, on the wild animals and 
those reared in parks or kept in close confinement. 

While on each of the separate species the tarsal gland and the 
tuft of hairs covering it, is not so marked in its distinctive char- 
acteristics, except indeed upon the moose, yet there is quite 
a plain difference between those found on any one species and 
those on either of the others. The fact that they are just alike 
on each individual of either species, renders these marks of great 
value, and justifies a cai'eful study of each so as to clearly appre- 
ciate differences between those found on the different species. 

There is another set of glands, which, though not found on all 
of the species, are constant on some, and would seem to be usual, 
to say the least, on others. These are interdigital glands, and 
like the others of which I have treated, are conglomerate and 
dermal. They are situated between the upper phalangeal bones. 
They are in the form of small sacks opening anteriorly. On 
some species they are larger in diameter and in depth, propor- 
tionally, than on others, and in a given species they vary accord- 
ing to the size of the animal, as do the other glands treated of. 
All have more or less hairs growing within the sack, and they 
vary considerably in their activity. On the more active ones, at 
least, when dissected out from the recently killed animal and ex- 
amined on the flesh side, they seem to be literally covered with 
ducts or divided into lobules readily distinguished by the naked 

So far as I have been able to make a personal examination I 
have found them the most extensive in the smallest species, the 
little Acapulco Deej". On a fnlly adult doe I find the sack to 
be about one inch in depth and five lines in diameter. The sack 
contains a limited amount of hairs and a considerable amount of 
secreted matter which has a pungent, disagreeable, musky odor. 
I find it on all the feet in all the specimens I have had an oppor- 
tunity to examine, and all substantially corresponding to the 
above description, only on smaller specimens it is proportionally 
less. About the same may be stated of the Ceylon Deer. 

Of the Virginia Deer I have examined great numbers for this 
gland. It is always present in all the feet. It is about the 
same size in both sexes. On a medium sized animal it is fully 


one inch in depth and seven lines in diameter. On very large 
animals I have found it fully one inch and a half in depth. 
Hairs, though to a limited number, are found within it. On this 
deer I have found this gland more active than on any of the others. 
It always contains a considerable amount of the secreted matter, 
which is about the consistency of cerumen, and a portion of it 
frequently assumes the form of pellets about the ^ze of a small pea, 
which, however, ai'e so soft as to be more or less flattened. This 
substance is of a grayish color, and emits an odor which is strong 
and offensive to most nostrils. I have never seen a white man 
smell of it who did not look and express himself disgusted. 

The Columbia Deer possess this gland in each foot. While its 
location is the same its position seems to be a little different from 
that on any of the others, and it is more massive, and has the ap- 
pearance of muscle attached to the inner side of the skin, 
though in fact it pervades the whole skin. The lobules are 
larger than on any others examined, being half a line in diameter, 
and sexangular or octangular in form, and readily distinguished 
by the naked eye. 

The direction of the opening is more parallel with the line of 
the foot, the opening being found by passing the probe up the 
deep indentation between the phalangeal bones. The sack is 
about seven lines deep and five lines in diameter at the orifice, 
contracting toward the end. It contains a limited amount of 
hairs, and the amount of secreted matter within is moderately 
abundant. Tlie gland is not confined to the sack, but extends 
down to the extreme point of division between the hoofs, the 
hairs overgrowing it at the bottom of the indentation, all the 
way down, being stained a yellowish shade by the exudation. 
This retains its pungent odor a long time after the death of the 
animal. This gland is appreciably larger, as we shall see, than 
is that on the mule deer, which has identically the same gait 
when at its best speed. 

My opportunities for examining the Mule Deer have been suffi- 
ciently extensive to be satisfactory. This gland is present in all 
the feet, but is much less extensive than in the Virginia deer 
and proportionally less than on the Columbia deer. On a fully 
adult animal the sack is six lines deep and five lines in diameter. 
This sack is more abundantly lined with hairs than that on the 
Virginia deer. These hairs are fine, soft, and elastic, and from 
their confinement have assumed a curled or curved form. The 
secretions I found less abundant, and less pungent to the smell 
than in the Virginia deer or the Columbia deer. 


My opportunities to examine the Barren-ground Caribou for 
this gland have been limited. I have but two hind feet and one 
fore foot of this animal, which I have carefully dissected. On 
the fore foot there is no appearance of the gland. On one liind 
foot 1 found it very conspicuous. It was an inch and five lines 
in depth and six lines in diameter, and was literally filled with 
coarse, stiff hairs, pointing to and even protruding from the ori- 
fice. All of the hairs within the sack were stained a tawny yel- 
low color, deepest near the orifice, but beyond it the ends faded 
out to nearly white. When soaked and washed much of this 
coloring matter is removed, but still the hairs do not become 
white. This coloring matter is the exudation of the glandular 
ducts, which is very abundant upon and near the skin among the 
lower part of the hairs, and is found in detached particles adher- 
ing to the hairs for some distance up from their roots. I observed 
no odor from this secretion, nor should I have expected any after 
the specimen had been dried for a year or two. On the left 
hind foot as well as on the fore foot of this Caribou, this gland 
was entirely wanting. The fact that it was consjjicuously pres- 
ent in the right hind foot and wanting in the left foot of the 
same animal, shows that in that species at least this mark is not 
reliable. The same thing may occur in other deer, but I have 
heard of no example of it unless it be in the Woodland Caribou. 
I have not had an opportunity to examine the feet of the Wood- 
land Caribou, but Dr. Gilpin informs me that he finds these 
glands in the hind feet of this animal and not in the fore feet of 
the adult, though he found them distinct though very small in 
a fawn of this species, which suggested to him the possibility 
that they might be present in the fawns and become obliterated 
in the adult. This I understand also corresponds with the obser- 
vations of Mr. Morrow of Halifax. My examination of the wild 
reindeer which I brought from Norway shows that they agree 
with the Woodland Caribou in having the interdigital glands in 
the hind feet and not in the fore feet. 

From the many specimens examined of our Elk, I think I may 
safely say that this gland is entirely wanting in all of its feet ; 
at least I have never found a vestige of it in any specimen. The 
cleft or indentation between the phalangeal bones is very deep, 
but that is all. 

I have no reliable information whether this gland is present in 
any of the feet of the Moose or not, and so must leave that to 
future observations. 


That the odor emitted by these glands is left uj^on the track 
of the deer may be presumed, but as the trail of other animals 
not provided with these organs seems to be as readily followed 
by the hounds, we may safely conclude that they are not the 
only sources of the scent left in the track. The capacit}^ of an 
animal to leave a scent which may be followed b}^ an enemy, 
would seem to be detrimental to its safety or well being, es- 
pecially in a wild state, but it is common to most if not all ter- 
restrial animals. There are compensating advantages, no doubt, 
at least to some extent, for it enables them to find companions 
which they might otherwise seek in vain. 

Whatever may be the uses of tliese glands, certain it is that 
they are very active, constantly secreting matter ; and this, in 
everv case where I have examined the live or recently killed 
animal, emits a pungent odor. 

I prefer rather to give the facts, than to advance or maintain 
doubtful theories. 

The longer and the more minutely I have examined this gland- 
ular system on the hind legs of the different species of this genus, 
the more I have become impressed with its importance in the 
division into or identification of species. As Dr. Gray justly 
remarked, they are not transient, or exceptional, like the antlers, 
but are present on both sexes and at all ages, and had he studied 
them with care he would have added that they are as near alike 
as possible on each individual of each species, and that those on 
the outside of the legs, when present, are entirely unlike on the 
different species ; so that upon an examination of the part of the 
skin containing this gland, no one familiar with the subject could 
hesitate to declare with certainty from which species it came. 
Hardly any other single mark pervading so many species is so re- 
liable as this, and certainly none of so small dimensions. The tail 
of the mule deer, no doubt, will always declare itself, and so will 
the foot of the caribou : but still they vary in size even propor- 
tionately, while this gland is so exact that from it alone one may 
closely approximate the size of the animal. Should I be presented 
with a piece of skin, containing a gland similar to the one which 
I have above described, yet differing from it, I should conclude 
that it came from some distant country, and that other distinc- 
tions would probably be found establishing a species differing 
from any of ours. As, for instance, should I find one resembling 
that on our Virginia deer, but without the white band, or es- 
pecially with a black band around it, or one otherwise corre- 

THE GLANDS. ' 267 

spondlng to that of the mule deer or the Columbia deer, with 
either a white or a black band around it, I could not hesitate to 
declare that it belonged to neither of those species, nor yet to any 
of the others which I have described. 

It will be observed that there is a great similarity in the color, 
and not a very wide difference in the extent of the tufts over the 
metatarsal glands on the Virginia deer and the wapiti, while 
they differ widely in tlieir location, and especially in that on the 
latter the gland is entirely overgrown with the white hairs, while 
on the former the gland is covered with a hornj^ scale and is en- 
tirely destitute of hairs, except around its outer and nearly dor- 
mant border upon which most of the white hairs grow. 

In the mule and the Columbia deer they closely resemble each 
other, in shape and location, and differ principally in extent, and 
appreciably in color ; and this is so marked on all the individuals 
of each species, as to separate them widely, and leave no difficulty 
in determining as to which any given specimen belonged. If 
from the fawn of the mule deer and so no larger than from an 
adult black-tailed deer, the entii-e absence of the horny crust, 
or concentrated exudation from the gland, would remove all doubt 
as to where it should be placed. 

I now see that I have omitted to mention in the proper place, 
that this horny crust does not appear upon the fawn, but later, 
after the secretions of the gland have been emitted and concen- 
trated, and this increases in thickness and in density with the 
age of the animal. 

Once I had three female black-tailed deer sent me from Ore- 
gon, by Dr. Plummer. The long voyage told severely upon them, 
and all arrived very poor, and one sick. In defiance of the most 
careful attention, she continued ill for two months, when she 
dropped two fawns. She lived a month longer and died. The 
fawns were scarcely a third the natural size and were unable to 
stand, but when fed Avith warm cows' milk they were soon able to 
stagger about, but both died in a couple of days. On both these 
premature fawns, as I suspect they were, the metatarsal glands 
were entirely overgrown with soft, fine hairs. About a month 
later both the other does dropped a fawn each, which were small 
and emaciated, but I think mature, on which this gland was 
naked, in the middle at least, but appeared to be more encroached 
upon by fine, short hairs than on the adults. These fine hairs 
soon disappeared from the spaces where there are no hairs on the 
adults. These seemed to thrive moderately well for about four 

268 The deer of America. 

months, and till they had shed their ornamental coat, which was 
replaced by a full coat of bay red hairs, when they died, and their 
skins were added to the Smithsonian collection. 

From the fact observed, as above stated, we may infer, that 
when the coat of hairs appears on the foetal fawn, it pervades the 
whole surface of the gland, but that even before birth it ordinarily 
disappears, at least partially, and very soon after to the same ex- 
tent as on the adult. Those acquainted with the subject will rec- 
ognize that this is not an uncommon occurrence to foetal growth ; 
still it seems to me not without interest in connection with the 
other facts I have stated, of the present condition of this glandular 
system on the different species of which I particularly treat. 



I HAVE already shown that there are many means which we 
might adopt for classifying the deer of our country, but none 
which would be completely satisfactory. If we make a class of 
those whose antlers are palmated, and another of those whose 
antlers are cylindrical, we should find ourselves in harmony with 
another mode of classification, for on all the former, the metatar- 
sal gland is wanting, while it is present on all those which have 
cylindrical antlers. In this first class, I repeat, we include the 
largest and the smallest of the species, that is, the moose and the 
Acapulco deer, and it would also embrace the reindeer. Al- 
though the palmatation is less pronounced on the smallest species, 
it is very distinct on the upper part of the antlers of the adult, 
being flattened out, almost like a knife blade. 


The genital organs afford us another and very distinct mode of 
classification, as will be seen by a more particular description of 
them. On all, the scrotum is moderately pendent, more so than 
that of the horse, but less so than that of the bull, the ram, or the 
goat, and it is much less in size than on either of these. It en- 
larges very decidedly during the rut. 

On the Moose the theca extends up the abdomen about half 
way to the umbilicus and terminates with a simple orifice without 
a prepuce. The same description answers for the Caribou as well. 

On the Elk, the theca . extends up the abdomen appreciably 
further than on either of the others, full}^ two thirds of the way 
or more to the umbilicus, much like that of the bull, terminating 
also without a prepuce, but at times during the rut the limp 
male organ is partially exposed, which might be mistaken by a 
casual observer for a very conspicuous prepuce. On neither is 
there a tnft of long hairs at the orifice of the theca as is seen on 
the bull. In these characteristics, I find the European elk to 
correspond with our moose, the reindeer of Lapland to agree 
with our caribou, and the red deer of Europe to be like our 


In all the other species of our country the theca extends up 
the abdomen hardly at all, but is quite detached from it, and 
drops down vertically close to the scrotum, to a length of two 
inches or more. From this case, ordinarily, the penis does not 
entirely retreat. This is a feature which I have not elsewhere 
met among ruminants ; nor do I remember to have observed it 
on any other quadruped. 

Here, then, is a very distinguishing characteristic common to 
all the lesser species of the deer, while the three larger species 
resemble- in this part of their organization most other rumi- 

There is nothing remarkable in the location of the female 
organs of any of the species, except in our Elk. In her this 
organ is situated much further below the anus than in the other 
species. It is so far down that it is not covered by the short tail 
of the animal, which, as we have seen, is about four inches long. 
In this respect, that is, in the length of the tail, the red deer 
differs from the Wapiti. In the former, the tail is generally 
sufficiently long to cover the female organ. 


In beauty of both form and motion the Virginia Deer far sur- 
passes either of the other species of the genus. Its slender, deli- 
cate legs, and its symmetrical proportions, make it an object of 
universal admiration ; but it is the indescribable ease and gi^ace of 
its motion which fill one with absolute delight. These I have 
already described on page 155, in connection with the ornamental 
coat of this fawn, which have always associated themselves in 
my mind, each seeming to add a charm to the other, It is un- 
necessary to repeat here what was there said of the graceful 
step of the fawn of the Virginia Deer. The trot, both of the 
fawn and the adult, frequently varies to a graceful amble when 
it is about to stop, but does not change to that pace when it 
is about to increase its speed. When startled by surprise the 
Virginia Deei"'s first gait is a canter, which it pursues for two, 
three, or four jumps, when it makes a high, long leap, as if to 
enable itself to take a broader survey of surrounding objects ; 
then follow a few of the ordinary lower and shorter jumps, 
which are again succeeded by the high, long leaps, and so on 
till it becomes satisfied that its apprehensions are groundless, 
when it subsides to a trot or amble, and then stops, with head 

GAIT. . 271 

and ears erect, and looks with great earnestness at the object 
which startled it. If, however, it is pursued by a dog, for in- 
stance, it runs at great speed, with a low, long gallop, entirely 
omitting the high leaps, which but impede his progress. These 
are never repeated when the deer is running at speed. In a 
large majority of cases, in all of these paces, the Virginia Deer 
elevates its tail, all the hairs of which are radiated, or spread 
out, so as to form a veiy conspicuous white object as it wags 
from side to side, but at high speed the tail is less elevated, and 
the wagging motion is less observed than when at a more mod- 
erate pace, and quite often when running the tail is carried close 
down, and all hunters know that, when a deer is wounded, it will 
drop its tail and switch it from side to side when it runs away, 
and by this means they judge whether the game is hit or not, as 
has been already explained. 

In addition to the gaits above specified, this deer has a slow, 
quiet walk, and a leisurely short trot, as for instance, when he 
sees corn in my hand which he is invited to come for, or falls a 
little behind his fellows, and wishes to overtake them. He rarely 
goes out of a walk when passing from one part of the grounds to 
another of his own volition. 

There is another step taken by the Virginia Deer which displays 
a graceful elasticity, which must be mentioned to complete the 
description of its locomotion. When standing at a little distance 
from a passer-by, and staring with a timid look, as if suspicious, 
but not really alarmed, it will quickly raise one fore foot, suspend 
it for a moment, the foot itself pendent, and then quickly drop it 
to the ground with a threatening stamp, and then repeat the 
same motions with the other foot, again bringing it to the ground 
with a stamp in a threatening way, as if to try the courage of 
the exciting object. This motion may terminate with a stand 
still and an earnest gaze, or in the graceful trot above described, 
or he may rush away with a loud whistle or snort. 

The gaits of the Acapulco Deer and of the Ceylon Deer are 
the same as those of the Virginia deer, only they are less grace- 
ful and agile. When they run the back assumes more of a con- 
vex curvature. They run, however, with great speed, especially 
the Ceylon Deer. I have no observations indicating whether they 
are capable of maintaining this high speed for a great length of 
time. Their shorter legs and shorter, thicker bodies explain the 
want of that graceful elasticity observed in the Virginia deer. 

There is nothing graceful or attractive in any of the paces of 


the Mule Deer, according to iny appreciation, though less so in tlie 
wild state than in semi-domestication. It has an awkward and 
shambling walk, and its trot is still less to be admired. Mollie, 
an old doe, was fond of following me around the grounds when I 
was riding in a buggy, and when she had to trot to keep up, she 
presented so ludicrous an object as to be quite laughable. I 
never saw her or any other adult of the species in my grounds at 
full speed, but I have seen the wild deer in the mountains when 
fleeing fi'oni danger. Then it is that the gait exactly resembles 
that of the musk deer (^Moschus moschiferus, Linn.), of the Him- 
alayas. It is not a leap but a bound, all the feet leaving and 
striking the ground at the same time. These bounds display 
wonderful elasticity for a time, but after a while they seem to 
become fatiguing, and the stride becomes less, and the speed 
slackens. It is evident that this motion is less adapted to a long 
and rapid flight than the long, leaping gait of the Virginia deer. 
The fawns, when started, from their concealment in my grounds, 
would spring up with a high bound, alighting on all the feet at 
once, and bound away with astonishing swiftness in the same way 
as the adults. The walk, the gallop, the trot, and the bound, as 
above described, are the only paces I have observed practiced by 
the Mule Deer. The three first are always performed in a lazy, 
leisurely way, and the last is resorted to only in alarm and ex- 

The same description may be given to the gait of the Colum- 
bia Black-tailed Deer, except that the walk may be a little 
slower and more deliberate, and the trot is less awkward and less 
frequently practiced. Notwithstanding this apparent want of 
elasticity in the motions of these two species as compared with 
the Virginia deer, they are much more inclined to leap fences. 
Mollie would leap a fence four feet high into a yard, the gate of 
which was open, as soon as go six feet further to pass through 
the gate, and Albert, the Black-tailed buck, would climb up four 
feet upon the hay which had been left against the fence, eight 
feet high, and jump into the road, appearing as indifferent to the 
drop of eight feet upon the frozen ground, as if it were but two 
feet. Their strong bony legs seem to stand them well in hand 
on such occasions. I have seen the Black-tailed buck at full 
speed. When I was quietly standing near the edge of the bluff in 
the North Park, he came rushing up the steep hill at a fearful 
rate, and was about to pass me when I spoke to him. He at 
once stopped his tremendous bounds, and walked up to me, not 

GAIT. 273 

rapidly, but in an agitated way, as if glad of my protection. 
Something must have greatly alarmed him, though I could not 
discover what it was. His tail was elevated, though not vertical, 
and the hairs spread out, as described on the Virginia deer, under 
similar circumstances. His bounds were on all the feet at once, 
precisely as described for the mule deer. I repeat, I think the 
paces of the two species, as well as the antlers, are as nearly alike 
as possible, and quite unlike those of any of the other species. 

The INIoose walks, trots, gallops, and makes long horizontal leaps. 
When pressed his principal gait is a long, swinging, and rapid 
trot. He thus passes through deep snows, over the high trunks 
of fallen trees, and through thick brush in a manner truly aston- 
ishing. He very rarely resorts to a running gait, unless when 
thrown off his balance by excitement, as when charging an ad- 
versary. His stealthy and rapid walk when he sees or smells 
approaching danger is well calculated to astonish the hunter. 
The latter gets a glimpse of the game, and supposing himself un- 
observed, thinks it cannot escape without his knowledge, and com- 
mences stalking it, while the animal snuffs the taint in the air 
and stealthily glides away almost before his eyes and at a rapid 
rate, without the least rustling among the leaves or the crack- 
ing of a twig, and is miles away before his escape is even sus 
pected. All agree that the Moose will escape with great celerity 
and witliout noise over ground where an Indian with moccasoned 
feet could not go without being heard, unless at a very slow and 
cautious rate. 

The gaits of the Caribou are, the walk, the trot, and the run, or 
gallop. When undisturbed and migrating from place to place, 
the gait is invariably a walk, unless one lags beliind the band to 
pick up some choice morsel which has tempted it, when it may 
strike into a. moderate trot to overtake its companions. When 
the Reindeer becomes alarmed, he will strike into a Ions: swine- 
ing trot, which he maintains for hours, and he allows nothing to 
divert him, till he has fairly left the country, or at least till he 
has placed many miles between himself and the object which 
alarmed him. His ordinary traveling gait then, is a walk ; when 
in haste he trots, but when greatly alarmed he runs with speed. 
When Captain Hardy missed his first Caribou, wliich was lying 
down in the snow, he says : " Up they jumped, five of them, ap- 
parently rising from all directions around us, and, after a brief 
stare, made off in long graceful bounds." ^ Before, on p. 230, 

1 Forest Life in Acadie, London ed., p. 148. 


he says : " The pace of the Caribou when started is like that 
of the Moose, — a long steady trot, breaking into a brisk walk, 
at intervals, as the point of alarm is left behind. He some- 
times gallops, or rather bounds for a short distance at first. 
This the Moose never does." 

The paces of the Wapiti Deer are, the walk, the trot, and the 
gallop, or run. When moving voluntaril}^, not hastened by any 
sense of alarm, his pace is always a walk. This may be very 
rapid if bent on changing his feeding grounds to a distant region. 
This is always done in the night, and even when feeding by the 
way he frequently will cover an immense distance in a single 
night. But he is a natural trotter. This is the crait which he 
always adopts when fleeing from danger, unless he is thrown off 
his feet, when he may break into a run ; but this is so unnatural 
a gait for him that if he is fat it soon worries him and breaks 
him down. When the animal is lean, and so it is with the young 
animal, he is much more inclined to break his trot and adopt the 
running gait. He can run faster than he can trot, and if in con- 
dition to maintain that pace it increases his chances for escape, 
but when the fat buck is once forced into a run, he must soon 
come to bay. 

On this subject Colonel Dodge ^ says : " Singular as it may ap- 
pear, plains huntei's are equally divided in opinion as to the gait 
of the Elk when going at his best speed. Some old hunters who 
have bagged their hundreds of Elk, stoutly maintain that the 
Elk only trots when at his best pace ; while other equally good 
authorities insist that he runs like a deer. The truth is, both are 
somewhat right and both wrong. The Elk trots with great 
speed, and this seems to be his easiest and most natural gait. 
He can, however, and does run much faster than he can trot, but 
it is a great effort and soon tires him out." 

In my grounds the Elk have learned to come to the call, though 
in the summer time, when the weather is warm and the pas- 
turage is abundant, the keeper may call till he is hoarse, before 
one will get up in the cool shade, but when the weather gets 
cooler, they will come towards him in a slow, lazy walk, but after 
the frost has come, and they have had a few tastes of maize (an 
old one will crunch an ear ten inches long, and an inch and a 
half in diameter, without making two bites of it), they answer | 
with alacrity though half a mile away. The whole herd will | 
start at first quite leisurely ; presently, one or two will strike a 

1 The Plains ofthz Great. West, p. 16-i. 

GAIT. 275 

trot, when all will do so, except the young ones, which break into 
a run. The pace is increased by all, till they reach a bluff, or 
ravine, when all break into a furious run, and come thundering 
down the cliff like an avalanche. When you see forty or fifty 
Elk, more than one fourth of them having huge antlers, come 
rushing down towards you, you feel glad there is a good fence 
in front of you. Such a sight is worth going many miles to see. 
When chasing a dog in the grounds, or when pursuing each 
other in animosity, they always run. The Elk is undoubtedly a 
natural trotter, and Colonel Dodge says : " I believe an Elk will 
trot across ordinary prairie at the rate of about a mile in three 
minutes thirty seconds." There is, however, about the same 
difference in speed among Elk as among horses. 


All of the deer family are easily tamed. In a wild state they 
flee from man and all their natural enemies, and except during 
the rutting season they are peaceable among themselves. When 
stimulated and even goaded on by their passions during the rut, 
the males become very belligerent towards each other, but this 
arises from jealousy or rivalry alone, for even at this season 
their timidity generally restrains them from attacking other 


From this general remark we may possibly except the Moose, 
whose great size and strength emboldens him in rare instances so 
as to make him voluntarily attack even men, during the rutting 
season. Dr. Gilpin says : " Towards the end of the rut some few 
bulls become infui-iated, attacking the cow equally with the 
bull, — attacking everything." ^ Some other authors make simi- 
lar statements ; but the general conclusion is that the Moose very 
rarely attacks the hunter in the woods unless he is both wounded 
and very hardly pressed, seeing no reasonable chance for escape. 
He does not attack from rage or for revenge but for defense. 
There are, however, a few cases recorded where the wounded 
Moose has pursued and attacked the hunter, but such cases are 
very exceptional. In domestication, like the other members of 
this family, they lose their fear of man to a certain extent, when, 
at particular seasons, they are inclined, to attack him. Mr. Mor- 
row writes me': " When a boy, I recollect that a Moose which 
was brought from the country in a semi-domesticated state and 
kept in a barn adjoining my father's house (I think in the latter 
part of the month of September), would attack any one who, 
while visiting it, showed any signs of fear." We may safely con- 
clude that it is not from an innocent disposition but from a lack of] 
courage that they do not attack the hunter in the forest. From! 
timidity or fear they flee from him. If this is lost by intercourse] 
with him, their naturally wicked disposition asserts itself. Thisj 
timidity is much overcome, no doubt, by the stimulant of desirej 
during the rut, but it is not destroyed. Then they are the morel 
easily provoked and are much the most dangerous. Then theyl 

1 On the Mammalia of Nova Scotia, p. 111. 


will attack an enemy or defend themselves under circumstances, 
when they would only think of escape at other seasons. 

The female also loses her timidity sometimes, and becomes 
courageous and even desperate in defense of her young. Mr. 
Gilpin, son of Dr. Gilpin, of Halifax, once met one when hunting 
small game, that charged him on sight, most furiously, but he 
had the presence of mind to meet the charge with his fowling 
piece, and severed her windpipe with a charge of shot. Her 
fawn was too young to escape, and in her maternal solicitude 
she forgot her fears of even her most dreaded enemy. 

These deer are less migratory than the caribou, and so con- 
fine their range to more limited areas, nor are they so easily 
driven away from their usual haunts by the encroachments of 
the white settler. Though very wary and ever on the look-out 
for an enemy, they will listen with complacency to the distant 
sound of the woodman's axe, the rumbling of the railroad train, or 
the sound of the whistle of the engine, without being driven to 
another country, or even being much disturbed. 

The Moose has often been reared and tamed in this country ; 
but I know of no systematic attempt to domesticate them, nor 
have I ever heard of their breeding in domestication. They 
have been sometimes broken to the harness and proved them- 
selves able to draw good loads ; and yet I know of no regular 
etfoj-t that has been made to reduce them to servitude. When 
tamed, they are reasonably docile, except the males during the 
rutting season, when, as might be suspected, they become fero- 
cious, and should be kept in close quartei's where they can do no 
harm. If castrated young, and early taught obedience to man, 
we may not doubt that they would readily submit to his domin- 
ion, and their great strength would give promise of useful beasts of 
draught, especially in countries where deep snows prevail, through 
which they pass with facility where ordinary cattle could make no 

Of his European brother, Louis Figuier, in " Mammalia," says : 
" The elk when caught young may be completely tamed with- 
out difficulty. It recognizes the person who takes care of it and 
will follow him like a dog, manifesting considerable joy on see- 
ing him after a separation. It goes in harness as well as a rein- 
deer, and can thus perform long journeys. For two or three 
centuries it was used for this purpose in Sweden, but the custom 
is now given up." If in this the learned author is not mistaken, 
then the Swedish Elk at that time must have been bred in do- 


mestication, else sufficient stock could not have been procured for 
general use. If once fairly subjected to domestication and use it 
may be difficult to understand why it was given up in a country 
so well adapted to its use. On this subject we may receive the 
statement of Mr. Lloyd in explanation. He says : " Formerly 
these animals were made use of in Sweden to draw sledges ; but 
owing, as it was said, to their speed frequently accelerating the 
escape of people who had been guilty of murders or other crimes, 
their use was prohibited under great penalties. Though I ap- 
prehend those ordinances, if not abrogated are obsolete, I am 
not aware that the elk are ever made use of in that kingdom at 
the present day either to draw a sledge or for other domestic 
purposes." ^ Again, in a subsequent and more elaborate work,^ 
the same author says : " The elk can be easily domesticated. 
Several instances have come to my knowledge, when brought 
up from a tender age, have become nearly as tame as the cattle, 
with which they were, not unfrequently, allowed to consort and 
pasture. But I never heard of this animal being trained to har- 
ness as formerly was often the case in Scandinavia." 

It is to be deeply regretted that some one, in a locality in this 
country adapted to their natural wants, has not thoroughly tried 
the experiment of domesticating our Moose, and determined the 
practicability of breeding them in domestication and of their 
uses. We may fear that there would be found difficulty in pro- 
curing an abundance of their favorite food, around habitations 
or in enclosures, but as we shall presently see that our elk is 
healthy and thrives well on herbaceous food almost entirely, so 
it might prove that the Moose can prosper on a less proportion of 
arboreous food than he gets in the wild state. 

One of the most remarkable features of this deer, which dis- 
tinguishes it from all our other species, is its monogamous habit. 
While seeking a companion during the rutting season the male is 
no doubt very much in earnest, and manifests a high state of ex- 
citement. When he finds himself accepted by an agreeable part- 
ner they retire to a deep, secluded thicket in low marshy ground, 
where they spend their honeymoon of three or four weeks quite 
contented with each other's society, never leaving the locality, the 
male at least scarcely taking food, living a rather quiet and re- 
spectable life, quite in contrast to the one he led while he was a 
roving bachelor seeking an associate. If, however, his quiet pri- 

^ Field Sports of the North of Europe, p. 331. 

^ Scandinavian Adventures, 2d. edition, London, 1854, p. 102. 


vacy is disturbed by a rival, his fierceness and rage are at once 
kindled into a fury, and he goes to meet the foe beyond the pre- 
cinct of his lair. In his private retreat he paws up the soft, 
moist earth till he makes a considerable excavation, in which he 
wallows, having sprinkled it with his urine, and which becomes 
scented with a very powerful odor which is said to be so offen- 
sive that none but an Indian cares to encounter it. It is interest- 
ing to observe how exactly the habits of his European congener 
correspond with those of the Moose in this extraordinary feature. 
Mr. Lloyd says : " Although just prior to the rutting season the 
males wander greatly in search of mates, yet as soon as they have 
found a partner the pair retire together to a dense brake, gener- 
ally consisting of fir or spruce, in the Aviidest recesses of the for- 
est. Here the male forms a gross or cavity in the ground, which 
he very plentifully besprinkles with urine, and hence the term 
gross. It is said that for some three Aveeks, during which the 
rutting season continues, the pair confine themselves to the imme- 
diate vicinity of the spot, to within a space, indeed, of some few 
feet in diameter, which spot of their own accord, they will on no 
account desert ; and even should they be scared from thence by 
people or dogs, they will, as soon as the pursuit has ceased, return 
to it again. Several pair of elk are sometimes found near to the 
gross, the selection of which is frequently made known by the 
males scoring the small trees in the vicinity with their horns, or 
it may be in twisting them in the manner of withs." ^ Here is 
an exact correspondence in habit with the Moose in a very ex- 
traordinary disposition, Avhich is something more than acciden- 
tal, occurring with animals separated by a great ocean, which of 
itself would suggest a near relationship. We are even more sur- 
prised at the detail than at the monogamic habit itself, still 
this is exceedingly exceptional among quadrupeds, although quite 
common among birds. This habit is said to be sometimes ob- 
served among the monkey tribes, and there is one other species 
of deer, in which it is more marked than in O. alces, that is 
the roe-deer of Europe, where the male and female, once having 
made their selection, continue constant to each other through life, 
ever associating together, eschewing the society of all others 
even of their own kind, except their own offspring, to the care of 
which both parents devote themselves, as we have seen in another 
place. But to return to the Moose. 

During this connubial period the male Moose becomes emaci- 

1 Scandinavian Adventures, by L. Lloyd, 2d London ed., 1854, vol. ii., p. 100. 


ated, and at its termination retires to still deeper seclusion, where 
with returned apj)etite he tries to recruit his flesh and strength, 
wherewith to meet the rigors of winter ; but if he be an old buck 
he bnt partially succeeds in this, and if the hunter has to depend 
on his flesh to supply his camp he needs sharp teeth and a good 
appetite to make it tender and delicious. 

The rutting season with the old animals commences in Sep- 
tember and the fawns are dropped in May. With young ani- 
mals this season is later with both sexes. In general it may be 
said to commence at the time the antlers of the males are di- 
vested of their velvet, and this remark is equally applicable to all 
of this great family of ruminants, though, as I have shown else- 
where, they are capable of procreation at any other season of the 
year, and when oj^portunities are wanting at the proper season 
they at least sometimes breed at other times of the year. 


Of the disposition of our Caribou I know nothing from my 
own observation, and learn nothing from others, except of their 
fear of man and their efforts to escape his pursuit. I find no rec- 
ord of a manifestation of courage even in desperate circum- 
stances, and I learn nothing from the hunters of such an occur- 
ence. Of the domesticated reindeer, in Northern Europe, which 
is identical in species with ours, we know that they frequently 
become dangerous during the rut, and even at other seasons 
they sometimes become unmanageable and attack their driver, 
but this frenzied state lasts but a short time, and thej'' are soon 
induced to resume the journey. As only the castrated reindeer 
are worked in harness by the Lapps, this vicious disposition 
which thus sometimes manifests itself when at work should be 
considered exceptional did we not remember that the operation 
of emasculation is very imperfectly performed , so tliat the stim- 
ulating, or provoking influence is still felt, at least partially. In 
all of the species with which I have experimented in this direc- 
tion, after complete emasculation every vestige of wickedness 
seems to be eradicated, and scarcely any courage, even, seems to 
be left ; and I doubt much if the reindeer should be considered 
exceptional in this regard. 

But few efforts have been made to domesticate either species 
of our Caribou. The Woodland Caribou, at least, seems to be a 
wild, restless animal, even during the winter ranging through wide 
districts of country, and often changing his home, and very sus- 


picious and wary. An alai-ni, from which the moose would only 
flee a few miles, will send away the Caribou a whole daj^, at a 
rapid pace, which takes him quite out of the country, and defies 
the pursuit of the hunter. These are characteristics which do 
not promise well for their domestication. When raised as pets, 
like all the other deer, they lose their fear of man and become 
very tame, and systematic effort through a long course of years 
might, no doubt, bring them to a state of semi-domestication, 
which, after all, is about as much as can be said of the domesti- 
cated reindeer of Northern Europe and Asia. There is no other 
domestic animal which propagates its species in that condition 
which retains so much of its wild nature as these reindeer. This 
possibly may be accounted for by the frequent intermixture of 
wild blood among the domestic herds, which is said to be en- 
couraged by the Lapps, as it is supposed to infuse vigor into the 
stock. This is not a difficult end to accomplish, as the wild deer 
often range the same mountains which are inhabited by the tame. 
The domestication of our Caribou should only be attempted in 
situations where the climate and food are adapted to the well 
being of the animal in the wild state. 

In the few instances recorded, or of which I have heard, no 
attempt has been made to breed them in the domestic state, but 
they have been simply kept as pets, or for exhibition. So far 
as I am informed, most of the efforts to transport them to Europe 
have failed, they dying during the voyage. This may, possibly, 
have resulted from a neglect to take along the reindeer moss, 
which, as I have shown, is indispensable to the health of the 
European reindeer, whether tame or wild. It is not too late yet 
for a fair trial of the experiment of domesticating this deer ; still 
it might be better to try and import those already domesticated 
from Lapland, and if the greater size of the Caribou be desired 
they could be bred to them. I am a little surprised that the 
Hudson's Bay Company, which has ever shown remarkable enter- 
prise and perseverance in the conduct of its business, has never 
imported the reindeer for transportation purposes, wherever the 
proper food is found, as they would certainly be more economical 
than dogs for that purpose. 


I have had a good opportunity to study the disposition of our 
Elk and of all the other smaller species in my own grounds. 
After all it is only in semi-domestication that we are enabled to 


sufficiently observe the animal in various circumstances and con- 
ditions, to determine his real nature. 

There is not the least reason to believe that our Elk have ever 
shown belligerent dispositions in the wild state, except towards 
each other. Although very powerful animals, they are timid and 
wary. They do not confine themselves to a limited range, but 
are liable to roam over extensive districts of country : now high 
up the mountains, again in the deep canons or fertile valleys, and 
again, far out on the plains along the borders of some water- 

When carefully studied in parks, they manifest dispositions 
not altogether lovely, nor yet desperately wicked. The males 
show no sense of gallantry towards the females, nor do any of 
them manifest a sympathy for each other. At any time the 
buck will drive the doe ruthlessly from any choice thing she may 
be eating, in his brutish selfishness, having not the least regard 
for anything but his own gratification. Even in the season of 
love, as we shall see, he rules his harem with a brutal despotism, 
without the least manifestation of affection. Even with the 
females, only the maternal instinct shows any trait of tenderness 
or regard for the comfort or welfare of another. Indeed, the 
doe is much more likely to ill treat a young member of the fam- 
ily, not her own, than a buck. If the latter will drive it away 
quietly, the former will hit it a fearful bat if it comes in her 
way, and if she knocks it down, she will very likely stamp it to 
death. I have lost two Elk, less than a year old, by being thus 
roughly handled. One had received a blow on the back, and it 
never again rose to its feet without assistance. When it was re- 
ported to me as ill, I went and examined it. Suspecting the 
trouble, I pressed my finger along the spinal column without 
its flinching, till two thirds back from the shoulders to the hips, 
when it fairly screamed, in so piercing a tone that it startled me, 
and its whole frame quivered from the pain. It must have been a 
fearful blow to have thus disabled the poor thing. It died in 
two days in spite of all I could do for it. The other I found 
bruised in a frightful way, indicating that it had been murdered 
in malicious wickedness. I am sorry to write such unkind things 
of pets, for which I have kindly cared for so many years, but I 
must tell the truth. 

I think the females show more real courage than the males. I 
was once driving tlirough the park, when we observed an old doe 
whose anxious look excited suspicion ; we hitched the horses, and 


commenced a search for a fawn ; at last we saw it curled up in 
the leaves, perhaps two hundred feet from the dam, who faced us 
all the while. When she saw we had discovered it, and were 
going towards it, she uttered a succession of threatening squeals 
which sounded to us anything but musical, at the same time 
walking slowly towards us, with an air and a gleam of the eye 
not to be mistaken. We did not count the spots on that fawn 
that day, but retreated in as good order as possible with our 
faces to the foe. My friend, who was not used to the animal, 
remarked — while I was admonishing him to show no signs of 
fear but to retire as if it was quite voluntary — "I would give a 
big check to be in that buggy now ! " Had we run from her, 
we might not have won the race without trouble. 

At another time, when alone, I came across an old doe which 
was very tame, and which I had very often fed from my hand. 
She was licking her young fawn, probably not two hours old. I 
spoke to her kindly, as usual, and she received me with great 
cordiality, and when I petted her baby, and even lifted it to its 
feet, she seemed pleased with my attentions, and rather proud 
of her offspring. She had no fear that I would hurt her darling, 
but rather remembered the many ears of corn 1 had given her, 
and no doubt expected some then, as usual. It evidentl}^ did not 
occur to her that I could hurt anything. She associated nothing 
of harm with my presence, while in the other case, the mofiier 
thought of nothing else, when she observed that we had found 
her fawn. This one was never tame like the other, and so had 
never received so many of my favors. But the amiable one was 
not always amiable, and not always to be trusted. I once came 
across her when walking through the park with my little daugh- 
ter. I left her feeding the Elk, and walked away, perhaps to 
pick some wild flower, and turned round just as the brute struck 
at the child ; fortunately, she was not quite in reach. I spoke to 
her in no very mild terms, and the blow was not repeated. There 
was manifested a disposition to strike the child simply because 
she knew it was unable to protect itself. 

The animosity to dogs seems to be much stronger in the fe- 
males, and appears to be all the same with those that have young 
and those that have not. If a dog gets into the park the does 
always lead the chase, while the bucks go lumbering along be- 
hind, as if rather to see the result than to join in the fray. 
While the females show the ferocity of tigers, the bucks do not 
seem to care very much whether the dog gets away or not. It 


is the females that rush at the fence to get at the dog on the 
opposite side, Tvhile the males stand back and treat the matter 
with apparent indifference. If a dog gets into the park and first 
meets a band of buck Elk, they will take fright and break away 
towards the does ; but, when he falls in with even a single doe, 
the white patch upon the rump rises up immediately ; her eyes 
flash with rage, and, without an instant's hesitation, she pitches 
at him, while the bucks will fall in the rear, and perhaps stop or 
follow up, rather than join in the chase. Indeed, I am obliged 
to say that the buck Elk is not only extremely selfish and tyran- 
nical, but, as is' usual with tyrants, is an arrant coward. He 
may be ferocious, but not courageous. Neither in the wild or 
the domestic state will he make an effort to protect or defend 
either the young or the female, but seems willing to sacrifice 
them all for his own safety. 

Individuals differ very much in their dispositions, some being 
much more vicious than others, or rather some being naturally 
very wicked, while a large majority show no such disposition. 
I have had more than one hundred in my grounds altogether, 
and yet I never had but two that were positivel}^ wicked. These 
reached as near the point of total depravity during the rutting 
season as I think it possible for a brute to do. Both these 
animals I purchased with four does. They were probably raised 
b}- hand, which, as we shall see, tends to divest all the deer fam- 
ily of their natural fear of man, which allows their native vicious- 
ness to manifest itself, which is very apt to happen, at least with 
the males, during the rut. This, no doubt, tended to aggravate 
the innate wickedness of these Elk, but is quite insufficient to 
explain it all. I had previously had a very fine specimen, five 
years old, which had not only been brought up by hand, but 
kept in a show for a long time, and, although during the rut he 
would make ugly faces, utter the threatening squeal, and make 
threatening gestures, especially to strangers, he never made an 
assault upon any one, and not only his keeper but strangers 
were in the habit of going through the park at all seasons. 

The fall after he was three years old, having returned home 
after a short absence, I went into the park and met the Elk 
which proved to be so wicked. During my absence, he had shed 
the velvet from his antlers, which were now well polished. As 
soon as he saw me he walked towards me in a confident and 
rather impudent way. I picked up a hickory club I found near, 
and stepped behind a small tree, which he directly straddled 


with his antlers, and tried to reach me, not very viciously, but 
still in an unpleasant way. I struck him a good blow on the 
head, the force of which, however, was pi'incipally spent on his 
antlers. The only effect was to increase his efforts to reach me. 
I did not much like the situation and proposed a compromise. 
I threw down an ear of corn a little to one side which he readily 
took, and another thrown still further away was accepted as a 
peace offering. When he had finished them he walked quietly 
away, and as I could not remember any other important busi- 
ness in the park just then I concluded to return home. I gave 
orders to have all the Elk turned into the North Park the next, 
morning, the propriet}' of which was the more apparent when 
I learned that he had run every man out of the park that went 
into it that same evening. 

In the morning he was absolutely furious, and would rush 
against the fence with great force, at the sight of a man on the 
opposite side, and would follow him along the fence, fighting it 
all the way, and by this means alone was he transferred from 
the South to the North Park, and led to the north part of it 
quite out of the way, while the balance of the herd were trans- 
ferred to the same inclosure, the gates securely locked, and the 
fence examined and repaired with the utmost care. If he did 
not grow more vicious as the season advanced it was simply 
because there was no room for him to do so. He was already at 
the extreme point of wickedness, and so he could not go beyond 
it. He was truly terrible.* 

All visitors were of course excluded from the North Park, and 
every possible notice given of the danger of invading it. Within 
a month three men, who thought they knew best and were not 
afraid of anybody's Elk, scaled the fence, and quietly walked 
along till they met the herd of Elk, when the leader started after 
them in a very dignified walk. They thought they had seen 
enough, and commenced an orderly retreat. The Elk increased 
his pace, and soon treed two of the party and killed the other. 
One of them, a yovmg, active, athletic man, left his tree and by 
running from tree to tree finally escaped, gave the alarm, 
raised a pai'ty who fought the Elk with pitch-forks till they 
finally drove him off, although at first he drove the three resolute 
active men, thus armed, several hundred feet before they could 
sufficiently break his guard to compel him to acknowledge the 
virtues of their sharp hay-forks. He did not charge upon them 
with a rush, in the ordinary mode of joining battle practiced by all 


the deer, but lowered his head so as to bring his face nearly par- 
allel with the ground, presenting his great antlers to the enemj'-, 
rendering it difficult for the men to reach him with their weap- 
ons. In order to see before him he was obliged to turn his head 
more or less sideways when one of the antlers would reach the 
ground and raise the head somewhat. At length the flankers 
were enabled to reach him low down back of the fore leg, where 
the skin is thin. This caused him to give way and finally to re- 
tire, but slowly and sullenly and without flight. We may well 
suppose that under the circumstances, trying to drive an infuri- 
.ated brute from a dying man, they struck heavy blows with their 
sharp forks, either one of which would no doubt have killed a 
horse or an ox, and yet they barely sufficed to keep this Elk a 
short distance away. And after the wounded man was placed 
in the carriage and guarded by all but the driver he followed 
them closely and threateningly till they passed out of the gate, 
and they no doubt felt relieved when the high fence was between 
them. After they left he seemed beside himself with rage, and 
towards evening, when his keeper, who had often punished him 
severely with the fork, was walking along the fence, he rushed at 
him as if he desired an opportunity to settle all scores at once, 
and no doubt he would have done so could he have got at him. 
The keeper passed down the fence, the deer following screaming 
with rage all the way to an opening left for the smaller deer. 
Through this he thrust his face, when the man struck him with 
all his might with a heavy hickory club with the purpose of kill- 
ing him if possible. The blow staggered him, but that was all. 
The man quickl}^ passed through the opening to repeat the blow 
before the brute could recover. The punishment was so severe 
that the Elk retired a little way and would retreat so long as he 
was pursued, but so soon as the man turned to leave the park 
the brute followed, though at a respectful distance. 

The next morning I went with the keeper and two other ac- 
tive men and castrated the buck. We had no trouble to catch 
him, for so soon as we came in sight outside the park he rushed 
to the fence and tried to break through. The keeper had but to 
get on to the upper rail and with a strong rope throw a noose 
over the end of one antler below the first prong while the ani- 
mal was making frantic efforts to reach him. So soon as this 
was done we bore willing hands and drew the antler tight 
against the palings. He made tremendous efforts to break loose, 
and I expected to see the antler give way, but it held him, al- 


though it sprung very much under the great strain, nor would 
he break his neck, a result which I rather desired. After he had 
become well worried I took a long chain and after a while suc- 
ceeded in getting it secured around his neck, and fastened it 
firmly to a post. We then detached the rope from his antler 
and went inside and commenced operations to cast him. This 
we at last succeeded in doing and in tying all his feet firmly to- 
getlier, when the operation was readily performed. We then un- 
did the chain, and then his feet, and let him up, appreciating that 
he was too much exhausted and subdued to attack us. Still he 
retired in good order, and repeatedly looked around savagely, but 
that was all. By evening, however, he got wicked again and 
tried to break the fence to reach his keeper. The next day he 
showed less vicious symptoms, and his wickedness seemed to 
abate day by day, and by the end of a week all had disappeared 
and he was ever after as docile as a lamb. This was soon dis- 
covered by the other buck, which was a year younger and over, 
which he had tyrannized in a lordly way. Long before his antlers 
dropped off, which occurred in about four weeks, the young fel- 
low was taking his revenge abundantly, and my sympathies were 
very little excited, when I saw him chasing the "old tyrant 
through the brush at a rattling pace, whenever he ventured near 
the harem, the govei'nment of which the young buck assumed 
and exercised with the same despotism which had characterized 
the rule of the other. This was in September, the height of 
the rutting season. In a very short time this young buck devel- 
oped all the wickedness of the first, but as I had no other one 
old enough for breeding I was obliged to endure him till a year 
from the first of the next January, when I castrated him also. 
And now for the last ten years he has been the tamest and most 
inoffensive Elk in the band. Even the monarch holds him in such 
contempt that lie allows him to run with the does during the 
I'utting season, although if he comes near him he will most 
likely get an admonition to keep at a respectful distance. 

I have been thus particular in describing the conduct of these 
two animals, because it serves to convey a more correct idea of 
their dispositions than I could give by any general explanation. 
These, however, must be regarded as showing the extreme of 
wickedness. The one that succeeded to the rule when he was two 
years old, after the second was castrated, never offered to attack a 
person, and manifested about the same disposition as the first 
which I had, of which I have before spoken. He felt his courage 


stimulated, no doubt, during the rutting season, and was as 
wicked as he need be towards the younger bucks ; nor did I con- 
sider it safe for a stranger to go into the park, but my own men 
went through it at all times in security. One fall, I sent my 
teams in to haul stone from the Elk Park during the rutting sea- 
son. It was manifest he did not like it, but he made no attack 
upon them, though he would frequently place himself in the road 
and face them, but would allow them to quietly turn out and 
drive around him. Of course, they were prepared for emergen- 
cies, and were ordered to diminish the number by one if he of- 
fered to attack. The other bucks — and there were at least a 
dozen about as large as he was — never showed the least vicious- 
ness at any season, and so it was with the second one during the 
reign of the first as above described, and yet as soon as he suc- 
ceeded to the rule his whole disposition seemed changed at once, 
and he immediately became as bad as the other. As we shall 
hereafter see, this was the last of my very vicious Elk. 

I think that the very wicked bucks are exceptional, probably, 
as much so as vicious bulls among our common stock. We all 
know that occasionally a bull is met with which will attack any 
person on sight, still they are generally docile. Perhaps with 
some limitations, I think the same law governs the Elk, and that 
we shall rarely find specimens as vicious as those described. The 
first and finest male Elk I ever had was brought up by hand, 
was well halter broken, had been constantly handled, and yet he 
was not vicious in disposition, although he would often make 
demonstrations towards strangers during the rut. While they 
seem to have no individual attachments, and no affection for each 
other, and are very selfish, they are still social in their nature, 
and so are gregarious in their habits. It is rare to find a soli- 
tary individual, and then I think it is the result of accident rather 
than choice. They are easily alarmed, and when one shows 
signs of fear it instantly communicates itself to the whole band. 
The first to take alarm is most likely a buck. If they see the 
keeper coming towards them, and a single one fails to recognize 
him, and dashes away on that long trot, and with a high head 
indicating alarm, the chances are that all will take fright and 
dash away into the woods, or onto the next side-hill, and there 
stop and turn around to see what frightened them. A few calls 
and his well known voice is recognized, when they will come 
towards him. Since the band has got large and they have been 
more confined to the secluded East Park, those does which were 


formerly so very tame have been less petted and have become 
more shy, and do not come up to me with the confidence and 
familiarity they once manifested. 

I often see the young bucks, that is, those three or four years 
old and younger, engaged at play with their antlers as if in sham 
fight, in the fall and winter. This is the only amusement I have 
ever seen them engaged in. I have never observed tlie least dis- 
position in the young fawns or the does to play together in any 

Our Elk is more polygamous in his habits than any other deer 
except his congener the Red Deer of Europe ( C. elaphus), or 
even any other quadruped with whose habits I am acquainted. 
Although they show such a lack of affection or sympathy for each 
other individually, still all are generally found together through- 
out the year till the commencement of the rut, when the master 
Elk asserts his prerogative, drives from the band all the other 
bucks, and gathers the does around him and keeps them together 
as much as possible. During this time the young bucks submit 
with tolerable grace to this discipline, and mostly keep together 
by themselves in a distant part of the park, generally with a few 
does that have eluded the vigilance of the master. But some- 
times a refractory young fellow will be seen hanging around the 
skirts of the band of does and gives the despot great trouble, 
which seems to be a real source of enjoyment to his tormentor. 
If he shows himself too near, his senior will rush at him with 
a wild ferocity and chase him, with threatening squeals, perhaps 
one or two hundred yards, making a terrible crash in the brush 
during the chase, for the pursued seeks the thickest shrubbery 
in his flight, and, if hard pressed, the youngster will utter a 
shrill scream of alarm, but always manages to save his hide, and 
stops short so soon as the pursuit is over, and follows back 
pretty close upon the heels of the old buck, who hardly gets his 
family well collected before his jealousy is again excited by the 
impertinence of his tormentor, when another rush is made and 
the maneuver is repeated. Where there are a dozen or more nearly 
as large as himself, with twenty or thirty does to watch, the old 
fellow has a distressing time of it, and sometimes he gets so 
enraged that his defiant and threatening notes may be heard at 
a great distance. This note so nearly resembles that of a steam 
whistle, when pitched on a high key, that I have sometimes mis- 
taken the one for the other when half a mile away. This note 
is heard in the night much more than in the day time. This is 



sometimes so continuous as to disturb the rest of tlie keeper's 
family, whose house is little more than a quarter of a mile from 
the Elk Park. This note of rage is sometimes really appalling, 
and, when the animal is half a mile away, sounds as if it were 
right under the window. In the height of the season these revels 
seem to be kept up nearly the whole night, during which the rev- 
elers give the master no peace of his life. Why do not two or 
more form an alliance and attack and whip the master ? But 
their philosophy does not reach to that extent, and it is well or- 
dered that it should not, for should one attack him with vigor 
while lie is engaged with another he would be surely killed at 
the first charge, and if such a system were followed up the bucks 
would soon be reduced to two ; so we see it is better as it is. Ex- 
cept during the rutting season, in my grounds at least, the Elk 
can hardly be considered a nocturnal animal, though in the wild 
state, and when surrounded by dangerous enemies, he will seek 
his food at night and ruminate in some secret place during the 

I never see the bucks chasing the does at speed during the 
rutting season, as is the constant habit with the common deer, for, 
after all, they seem less importunate, and so the does are not 
driven to shun the society of the males before their proper time 
aiTives, which is not till some time after the bucks become very 
ardent. If the female Elk desires to get away from the control 
of the master she slips off quietly while his attention is engaged 
in another direction, when she generally resorts to the band of 
younger bucks, who seem to pay scarcely more attention to her 
than to each other. 

This continual excitement and activity reduces the flesh of the 
old buck so that he always commences the winter poorer than 
any of the others, although at the first of September he was 
fully up to the average in condition, as round and sleek as one 
could wish. During the rut, and while supreme, he is rarely 
seen to feed, but seems to live in a round of excitement and rage. 
He loses flesh pretty rapidly, looks hollow and gaunt, the fii'e of 
his eye only testifying to his continued vigor, or rather energy, 
for he maintains his sway for a considerable time by his un- 
daunted mien, after his actual strength no longer entitles him 
to the mastery. In this condition he is sometimes attacked by 
another buck nearly equal to him at the best, and is driven from 
the harem with contumely, and sullenly takes his place on the 
outside among the young bucks, when the new sovereign lords it 



over him and his own late companions with whom, but the day 
before, he had grazed some secluded corner of the park in peace 
and friendship. His continued reign, however, is not always 
assured, for once, at least, I observed that the deposed monarch, 
after recruiting for a week or ten days, had attacked and deposed 
the usurper, who again retired to private life with the best grace 
possible. The does seem to look upon these struggles with great 
indifference. What matter to them whether a Bourbon or a 
Bonaparte rules, as it is nothing but tyranny always, at least 
during this exciting season? 

About the commencement of the rut, the male Elks have fre- 
quent battles to settle the question not only of sovereignty^ but of 
superiority ; nor are these settled by a single victorj^ between the 
individuals. While it is rare that one is actually injured by these 
contests, they are sometimes fatal. I have lost two adult Elks in 
this way. In the fall of 1875, one was found badly gored, and 
appeared to have been dead several days, and in November, 
1876, the monarch was found dead, exhibiting many wounds. 
Like the other deer, the Elk always join battle with a rush, when 
the shock is really terrific, and the clash of antlers may be heard 
for a great distance ; they then push and worry each other for a 
time, till one finds himself to a disadvantage in some way, when 
he will quickly jump to one side and course around a little way 
and again face his antagonist, when another rush and collision 
takes place ; and this may be repeated several times before one 
finally acknowledges defeat. In none of the battles which have 
been witnessed in my grounds, has either sustained injury, so 
that I cannot explain the incidents of those which have been ac- 
companied with fatal results, but probably some obstacle has in- 
tervened which prevented the escape of the vanquished, which 
has always been effected when the contests have been observed. 
I have never witnessed one, of these meetings myself, but several 
have occurred in view of my men, who had received particular 
instructions how to observe, and from them I have obtained what 
I believe to be full and reliable information. 

The Wapiti is much better adapted to domestication than any 
of the other deer with which I have experimented. In the first 
place, they are much more healthy. Indeed, I never had a sick 
Elk in my grounds to my knowledge. They are liberal feeders, 
no doubt, but then they are not particular about their diet. 
Mildness and timidity are not so ingrained with them as with 
the others. The men who feed them in winter go among them. 


and are shunned scarcely more, by either old or young, than they 
would be by our common cattle, that have no more constant as- 
sociation with man than they have. They will not submit to be 
driven from one park to another through the gate, for instance, 
or into a yard, but so soon as they perceive the object, their sus- 
picions seem to be aroused and they will bi-eak back and retreat 
to a distant part of the park. This no doubt results from want 
of breaking. Had we practiced driving and herding them from 
the beginning, I have no doubt thej?^ could have been as readily 
handled as our sheep or cattle. They are very easily broken, 
when they quietly submit. A young Elk may be caught up and 
put in the stable, and so soon as he appreciates that lie cannot 
get away, that his efforts to escape avail him nothing, and that 
he is kindly treated and has nothing to fear, he submits to be 
handled and harnessed like a colt, though in this experiment I 
have found individuals to differ much in disposition. I have 
found no difficulty in completely subduing the fully adult Elk, 
and this must be done before it is safe to put him in a cage to 
send away. I once had to ship a pair to friends in California, and 
got a number in the yard and captured and caged the buck (he 
was a fine specimen, weighing eleven hundred and fifty pounds 
with the cage, which may have weighed three hundred pounds). 
We concluded, as it was getting late, to catch the doe in an easier 
and quicker way : so we removed a board from the side of the yard 
and placed the cage in front of it ; she saw the opening and dashed 
in and was secured in a moment. I saw she made a good deal of 
fuss about it, but thought she would be quiet by morning, and so 
she was, for I found she had broken her neck during tlie night, 
when we had to catch and subdue another, and had no further 
difficulty. A short explanation of how this is done, taking a 
lai'ge buck, for example, may be interesting. For the purpose I 
have a Spanish lasso, the noose of which is spread upon the 
ground in the yard or on the feeding grounds, when we manage! 
to get him to step into it with a hind foot ; then three stout men 
on the outside spring it and draw him towards the fence, being] 
sure at all times to keep the leg drawn out. That is all they are] 
to do without drawing him home too fast. His efforts to escape! 
are at first almost appalling. Directly he throws himself and! 
perhaps will roll quite over and endeavor to spring up, and if tooj 
near the fence he must be allowed to do this, at least so far as to 
get further away, when another strong pull will bring him down, 
and then when he goes to rise again a good pull will prevent I 


him, and so he is allowed to struggle till he is fairly exhausted. 
A man then goes in and throws the noose of a long rope over an 
antler. The gate is now opened quickly and he is dragged out 
and the gate closed on the remaining Elk. So soon as this is 
done the man at the rope snubs it around a post or a tree, while 
those at the lasso pull away till he is fairly stretched out and is 
perfectly helpless, when all is made fast. In this condition two 
men will stand upon the antler which lies upon the ground, when 
a cord is attached to the loose hind foot, which is drawn up and 
tied to the opposite fore foot. The other hind foot is now drawn 
up by the lasso and securely tied to the other fore foot. A stout 
halter is now put upon the head ; first one and then the other 
antler is sawed off just above the burrs. He is then rolled about 
to see if he can be induced to make another struggle, but never 
struck or hurt more than is necessarily involved in this unpleas- 
ant operation. When he has completely submitted to his fate, 
the open end of the cage is brought up, the fall of the halter 
passed through it, the head is raised and put into the cage as far 
as it will go, when the feet are loosened, and as he rises the men 
at the halter pull him in, and by the time he is fairly on his feet 
he is completely within his prison. The open end is now closed, 
the halter tied to the cage, and the job is done. After this treat- 
ment I have never known one to make a struggle, though the 
cage be tipped and carried about as it must necessarily be in 
being put into a wagon or car. In short, they are fairly sub- 
dued, acknowledge their weakness, and resign themselves to what- 
ever may come. Generally in a few minutes after they are in 
the cage they will go to eating hay and corn as if nothing had 

Last fall I directed a female Elk to be caught and caged. The 
men caught her by the hind leg, as described, and when they 
supposed she was well worried, one went into the yard to throw 
a noose over her head, when, in a great struggle, the lariat which 
held the hind foot broke. She made no attempt to run away, 
but went for the man in a way that left no mistake as to her 
purpose. He showed unwonted agility in dodging behind the 
trees, and leaping to the upper rail»of the fence, and so escaped. 

The most prominent instinct in the young fawn, is that of de- 
ception. I have several times come across fawns evidently but 
a few hours old, left by the mother in supposed security. They 
affect death to perfection, only they forget to shut their eyes. 
They lay without a motion, and if you pick them up, they are as 


limp as a wet rag, the head and limbs hanging down, without 
the least muscular action, the bright eye fairly sparkling all tlie 
time. The first I met really deceived me, for I thought it had 
met with some accident by which it was completely paralyzed, 
and returned the next day expecting to find it dead. It was 
gone, and soon after I found it following its dam as sprightly as 
possible. Last spring I found one, picked it up, and carried it 
some distance and laid it down, and watched for some time from 
a distance, but not the least sign of life would it manifest, save 
only in the bright eye. 

The Elk's fawn follows its dam much sooner than most of the 
other deer. At most it is left in seclusion but a day or two, 
when the mother takes it in immediate charge, and they mingle 
with the herd. In this regard the habit of Wapiti differs from 
that of the smaller deer, who keep their young secluded for 
several weeks. 

The result of my experiments shows that the confinement of 
this deer in parks of even considerable extent, impairs its repro- 
ductive powers. This result, I think, is attributable to both 
sexes. On the part of the female the inclination to breed seems 
much diminished, and this is especially so with the young ones. 
In the wild state they breed at two J'ears old, while in my 
grounds I do not think one has ever bred till after she was four 
years old, and scarcely more than half of the older females may 
be expected to produce young. This, however, may be attrib- 
uted to the male. With him the inclination to breed seems to be 
unimpaired, at least it is strong enough, but the limited range 
gives the monarch such an opportunity to indulge liis propensity 
to appropriate all the does to himself, and there is such a constant 
effort required to keep them together, when the number is con- 
siderable, besides the continual worry occasioned by a dozen or fif- 
teen other large bucks, some of which, at least, intrude upon his 
privacy, and seem to take delight in teasing him, and provoking 
him to paroxysms of ungovernable rage, that his vital powers 
are soon impaired, and his capacity for reproduction, if not de- 
stroyed, is greatly reduced. This was especially manifest with j 
the " Sultan," who reigned supreme the longest in my grounds, 
and now may be seen as a mounted specimen in the Royal Museum I 
at Christiana, Norway. At first his progeny were reasonably 
numerous, but during the last three years of his life they gradu- 
ally diminished from a dozen down to a single fawn in 1875, with 
about twenty-five females, more than half of which had pre- 


vioiisly produced fawns. It was now evident that his day of use- 
fuhiess was passed, and he was transhited to a very respectable 
position under Professor Esmark, as stated above. He was suc- 
ceeded by a buck not more than a year younger, who lost, and 
then regained, his sway during the season. The result was that 
I had twelve fawns the next season, including one pair of twins, 
which are rare from the Elk in domestication. Such is the 
character of the evidence which induces the conclusion at which 
I have arrived as to the diminished reproductive powers of the 
Elk in semi-domestication. The disinclination of the female, 
especially the young, may be partly owing to the limited selec- 
tion of food, or want of proper aliment ; but as she keeps in per- 
fect health, and in fine condition, it can hardly be attributed to 
this entirely. After all, I think the partial restraint to which 
they are subjected, which is so unnatural to them, their ancestors 
for untold generations having had unlimited range to go when 
and where they pleased, and to select such associates as thev 
pleased, is the greatest cause of the disinclination of the females 
to reproduce, and no doubt has its influence upon the fertility 
of the male. In the wild state the female is believed to breed at 
two, or at most three, years old, the young females producing one 
fawn at a birth, and the old ones generally twins, and three are 
sometimes produced at a birth. The fact that in my grounds the 
females, never, to my knowledge, have bred before four years old, 
and never, I think, more than two thirds of these have bred in 
any one year, and that twins are of very rare occurrence, certainly 
shows a sad degeneracy. The last summer I saw three great fel- 
lows sucking a large doe at one time, and she bore their rough 
treatment with maternal resignation ; but I suspect that one of 
them, at least, was a poacher on the others' preserves. Remember 
that all the deer tribe have four active mammfe. No doubt lona; 
domestication of Wapiti would produce such a change in the con- 
stitution of the race that it would so conform itself to the changed 
condition that its reproductive powers would be practically re- 

I have never experimented with this deer as a beast of draught, 
which, after all, as a question of practical utility, is one of great 
importance. I have a pair of castrated fawns now in the stable, 
which promise good results. I have seen them a few times in 
harness, but always too young to work. I once bought a pair of 
yearling does in harness, but they were only partially broken, and 
were overloaded with a light buggy and man in it, and so would 


have been two heifers or colts of the same age. I never harnessed 
them afterwards. They are undoubtedly as strong as a horse of 
the same size, and are much more natural trotters than the horse, 
and -with training, I think, would fully equal him in speed and 
endurance, and would, when fully adult, probably surpass him in 
both. The Elk has not the weight for heavy draught, but seems 
well adapted for light, quick work. I confess I have too long neg- 
lected this practical question. 


The disposition of the Mule Deer presents a study of more in- 
terest than that of any of the others. In some respects they 
are worse and in otliers better than either of the other species. 
The adult bucks when brought up by hand are wicked during 
the rutting season, and seem to take a positive delight in threat- 
ening if not in attacking their best friend, so that it is never safe 
to venture very near to them without a good club during the 
rut. The old does, too, are treacherous at all seasons, and are 
liable to attack children whenever they find them unprotected ; 
at the same time they are the greatest cowards alive. I had an 
old doe, almost as large as a small elk, that would even attack 
women if she met them alone in the park, while she would be 
very complacent to a man whom she thought able to defend him- 
self ; still she was so great a coward that the smallest Virginia 
deer would drive her wherever it pleased. I have been vastly 
amused in observing the little Acapulco doe chasing an adult 
Mule doe around the grounds. The little thing does not appear 
to be actuated by malice, but does it rather for amusement. The 
Mule Deer would be following me through the park, and when- 
ever it would happen to get a little way from me the little one 
would dash in between us and run it off, while the Mule Deer 
would make a circuit and as soon as possible run to me for pro- 
tection, when the little tease would stop a little way off and 
look as if it would enjoy a hearty laugh. This was repeated 
many times during a single walk. The larger one is fully three 
times the size of her tormentor, but I have never seen it offer 
the least resistance to these attacks. I have often seen her chase 
a Mule buck, which was two years old, in the same way. 

The Mule Deer is the only one I have ever seen manifest a 
clear and decided disposition to play. This they do something 
after the manner of lambs, by running courses and gamboling 
about and running up and down the bluffs manifestly for amuse- 


ment only. I have once noticed something like this in a common 
deer, but at the best it was the faintest sort of a play, if indeed 
that was its meaning. And this pestering of the Mule Deer 
was the only amusement I have seen the diminutive species in- 
dulge in. But the Mule Deer not only amuses itself in the way 
described but loves to have me join him in a little sham fight, 
and if I handle him a little roughly, or try to throw him down 
when he rears up and places his feet on my shoulders, he will re- 
cover and jump sideways and backwards twisting himself into 
grotesque attitudes, though he does this in an awkward way. I 
have not observed this disposition to play after the animal is two 
or three years old, and the male seems more inclined to it than 
the female. I elsewhere mention that he sometimes appears to be- 
come very appreciative of his own importance, when he will strut 
around, his tail elevated to a vertical position, as is observed 
with the male goat. 

Altogether there is little to admire in the disposition of the 
Mule Deer beyond his taste for amusement as above described. 
The viciousness of the adult male during the rutting season ex- 
ceeds that of any of the others, in my grounds, at least, which 
is far from commending him as a familiar pet. This may arise 
from the fact that they have not the natural fear of man of the 
Virginia deer, for, as we shall see, when the 3'oung are raised by 
their dams in the park they become much more tame than the 
others, indeed nearly as much so as if raised by hand. 

The Mule Deer manifests by far the most salacious disposition 
of any of the deer which I have had an opportunity of closely 

My efforts to domesticate the Mule Deer and the Columbia 
Deer have been practical failures. For the last eight years I 
have with great care and. at considerable expense, experimented 
with both these species, and have brought many individuals from 
great distances, and have studied their wants and cared for them 
with unwearied pains, but now all are dead. The last died but a 
few weeks since. My failures, however, by no means assure us 
that they may not sustain the burden of domestication in coun- 
tries wliere they live and prosper in a wild state. Both are na- 
tives of the far West. The Mule Deer I brought from Utah 
and Nevada, distances from fifteen hundred to two thousand 
miles, and the Columbia Deer from Washington Territor}^ and 
Oregon, say three thousand miles away. No wild Mule Deer 


was ever heard of within five hundred miles of here, and no wild 
Columbia Deer was ever seen either in or east of the Rocky 
Mountains. We may well suppose that the change of climate 
and probably of aliment was too great for them. All have died 
of one disease, — diarrhea. I hope some one in a congenial lo- 
cality will make a serious effort to domesticate both these species. 
Of both species the first I had dropped in my grounds were 
twins. Those from the Mule doe lived nearly a year and a half, 
which gave me a good opportunity to observe the habits of the 
young. They grew to a fair size ; and on the male grew very 
large antlers for his age, both of which were bifurcated. Neither 
of these fawns showed the least inclination to breed the summer 
they were a year old. The conduct of the mother as connected 
with these fawns, of course interested me. She hid them in 
separate places, and only sought them at intervals to give them 
nourishment, and would never go near them, if she suspected she 
was watched, imitating exactly in this regard the Virginia deer. 
When one was found and placed in a yard with a fence four feet 
high, she would sometimes jump the fence and visit it, but re- 
fused to allow it to suck till the other was found and placed in 
the same yard, when she nursed them both indifferently. I 
could not imagine the cause of her conduct to the first till I 
found she had another, for which she was evidently saving all 
the milk. I kept them in the yard but a couple of weeks, where 
they were visited frequently in order to tame them, but we made 
little progress in that direction ; and believing they would do 
better at large I turned them out, when she immediately secreted 
them, and it was six weeks more before she allowed them to 
follow her, never being seen to visit them except very early in 
the morning, or late in the evening. I would sometimes come 
across one in its seclusion, when after the manner of the Virginia 
fawn it would crouch as low down as possible, with its chin 
upon the ground and great ears laid back upon its neck, and if it 
believed itself undiscovered would remain perfectly still, following 
me with its bright eyes till very near it, but as soon as it ap- 
preciated that it was discovered would bound away with the 
jumps before described, towards some ravine or thicket till out of 
sight, never stopping once to look back, as is frequently the case 
with the fawns of the Virginia deer. In the fall, however, they 
become much tamer than the Virginia fawns raised in the same 
grounds and under the same circumstance, except the two weeks' 
confinement before mentioned. By November they would can- 



tiously venture to take corn from my hand, a familiarity never 
indulged in by a Virginia deer raised by its mother. Ever after 
they were almost as tame as the Virginia deer raised by hand, 
ever ready to come to vcij call and take food from my hand when 
offered, and follow me all over the grounds, being sure of getting 
something to encourage them, — still they would never allow me 
to handle them, as their dam or sire did who were raised by 
hand, evidently thinking it a great condescension if they al- 
lowed me to rub their faces a little. How much I am indebted 
for this familiarity to the short confinement when they were very 
young, it is impossible to say, but I think not very much, for they 
seemed as wild immediately after they were let out as Virginia 
fawns of the same age, and so continued till in the fall, when they 
followed their mother up and began to get feed. The Virginia 
fawns tliat follow up in the same way soon learn what shelled 
corn is, and in the course of the winter become so emboldened as 
to pick it up within ten feet of the keeper, who feeds them 
every day. All the deer, as well as the flock of wild turkeys, 
the sand-hill cranes, and the wild geese, and Southdown sheep in 
my grounds, soon learn what the rattling of the corn-sheller 
means, and it is one of the pleasantest sights I have among my 
pets, to see all start at this sound and make a rush for the feed- 
ing grounds where all eat together pretty harmoniously, the 
wildest of each always showing a little suspicion and keeping 
well on the outer borders. 


The male of the Columbia Black-tailed Deer is only less wicked 
than I have reason to believe the fully adult mule deer, when 
he has been raised by hand. How he would behave if raised by 
his dam in the park I cannot say. I have never observed any 
vicious manifestations by the adult does, as is the case with the 
mule does. 

The first of C. Columhianus which I ever had I procured on 
the Cowlitz River in Washington Territory, in 1870. The male 
was then one year old and the female two years old. They stood 
the journey of three thousand miles by sea and land well, and 
arrived in fine condition. Both had been brought up by hand, 
but the doe had never been subjected to the halter, and for a 
time gave me some trouble in transferring her from one convey- 
ance to another, but by the time she got througii she was well 
halter- broken. 


They appeared to thrive well when turned into the parks in 
July, and showed no symptoms of salivation from the white 
clover, which was so severe upon the mule deer tlie year before. 
In the fall they were turned into the orchard and vineyard with 
a pair of mule deer, a year or two older than they were. Here 
they remained till early winter, when they were all returned to 
the parks. In the late winter the Columbia doe died, having in 
her two fawns sufficiently developed to show they were from the 
Columbia buck. For the next two years I only had the buck of 
this species. He continued as tame as any deer in my grounds, 
but always manifested a morose if not a vicious disposition. 

At first, the doe, being a year the oldest, tyrannized over him 
in a very undutiful way, but so soon as his spike antlers, nearly 
seven inches long, were matured, the mastery was changed and he 
returned her attentions in kind. While in the vineyard by them- 
selves neitlier of the four deer seemed inclined to associate with 
either of tlie others, but I always found them solitary, even dur- 
ing the rutting season, although both does became enciente while 
there by the bucks of their own species. I never saw either of 
these bucks make the least attempt to chase the does, which is so 
prominent a habit with the Virginia deer. 

During the next summer and after, so long as he lived, the buck 
ranged the parks at will, but generally solitary. So soon as his 
second antlers matured he showed such signs of viciousness that 
I sawed them off, which reduced his threatening demonstrations, 
but still his conduct seemed to say that he wanted to hurt some- 
body. This was when he was two years old past, an age at which 
I have never observed a Virginia buck to show the least wicked- 
ness. He walked about the grounds, even while his antlers were 
growing, with a slow and measured step, with his ears laid back 
upon his neck, when there was nothing in sight to excite his ani- • 
mosity. He would come to my call to take corn from my hand, 
but he approached not with gladness but slowly and with that 
everlasting leer, as if he would prefer to strike me rather than 
take the corn. I think, however, that sometimes at least this 
expression did him injustice, for he would frequently lay his 
head upon my breast in an affectionate way as if to invite ca- 
resses, which he seemed to enjoy. After his antlers were sawed 
off he would follow a pedestrian in the road, for half a mile along 
the fence, as if he would be glad to get at him. A month or six 
weeks after his antlers were taken off, he somehow escaped from 
the park and went up the road half a mile, when he met a man 


and a boy with whom he disputed the right of way at once. The 
man broke up a fence board over his head, but went to grass 
twice in the conflict and received some bruises from his fore feet, 
but the fence saved him from serious injury. So soon as his es- 
cape and this feat were reported, the keeper went for him and at • 
tempted to put a strap around his neck and lead him home, when 
he knocked hijn down, but was satisfied with that, and quietly 
submitted to be led back to the park. Indeed I think he showed 
as much wickedness as did the mule deer at his age ; and during 
the entire winter he looked and acted as if troubled with bad 
digestion, and consequently in an ill humor with everybody and 
everything. However, he eat full rations and grew fat. The 
next year we were again obliged to remove his antlers, but to- 
wards winter he began to show symptoms of disease ; though he 
eat his allowance well, in the latter part of winter he failed rap- 
idly and died in the spring. 

I never knew him to take any notice of a Virginia deer, ex- 
cept to drive it away from some food he coveted, but he some- 
times condescended to play, in a very lazy way, with the young 
mule buck that sported his first antlers, by rubbing their heads to- 
gether, as if in mimic battle. He evidently thought the mule 
deer more worthy of his attention than the Virginia deer. 

This was the only manifestation of a disposition to play which 
I have ever observed in the Columbia Deer. The Columbia 
Deer are not the arrant cowards which the mule deer proved 
to be. 

I never raised a Columbia fawn. None survived more than a 
few days, though, as is elsewhere explained, I think this was due 
to accidental causes. Under more favorable circumstances, the 
fawns might live for a year or two, but I do not believe it practi- 
cable to bring them directly from their native haunts and propa- 
gate successfully from them here. However, we cannot tell. I 
have inquired for many years why the Columbia deer never comes 
east of the Sierras in California, or even into the western slopes 
of the Rocky Mountains further north. When I consider the 
variety of climate which he endures on the Pacific coast, and that 
there is no kind of food there which he could not find elsewhere, 
I am surprised that their range is circumscribed by an imaginary 
line, beyond which they cannot pass more than if the boundary 
were a Chinese wall. 



By nature the Virginia Deer is more timid than either of the 
above. When raised by hand the male forgets that man is its 
natural enemy, and so ceases to fear him, and then he is very apt 
during the rat to become wicked and dangerous. This dispo- 
sition, however, is not manifested till he is thre^ or four years 
old ; nor is it universal, for I have had some that never be- 
came vicious even during the rut, though this is exceptional. 
But very few can, be safely kept as pets after they become adult, 
unless one has proper facilities for confining them. Usually 
sawing off the antlers will so moderate their viciousness as to 
render them comparatively harmless, but not always. Gener- 
ally it may be said that the Virginia does never become vicious, 
though I have had one or two that would strike a child when 
feeding them, if one thought she did not get her share, or it was 
not given her as fast as suited her. 

When raised in the park by its dam, the Virginia Deer never 
loses its fear of man so as to show the least disposition to attack 
him, or to come near enough to take food from his h;ind. Still 
there is a great difference among them in this regard, some 
venturing within a few feet to pick up corn from the ground, 
while others will always keep at a wary distance. They soon 
learn to come to the call of one who feeds them, and it is a pretty 
sight to see twenty or thirty, which were quietly lying down 
ruminating, at the first sound of the keeper's voice all jump to 
their feet like a flash, dash away without a moment's pause, flags 
lifted high, and course among the ti'ees ,and across the ravines, 
as if each life depended on being first. 

The great characteristic of the Virginia Deer is its natural 
wildness, which it never overcomes so as to lose its dread of man, 
unless taken when a few days old and fed by his hand and kept 
in constant and intimate association with him ; for if separated 
from him but for a single season, associating with the wilder 
deer he forgets the kindness he has received, and resumes, though 
to a less extent than the others, his wild timidity. If taken very 
young, like all the other deer of the same age, it seems to know no 
difference between its captor and its dam. Pick one up from its 
leafy bed, and carry it a few minutes, petting it tenderly, and 
then set it down, and it will follow you with the same confidence 
it would its own mother; and then if this intercourse and kind- 
ness be continued, it bestows its confidence upon the hand that 


feeds it without stint and without i"estraint. If taken after a 
few months old, its wildness seems ineradicable. I once caught a 
fawn in December in the deep snow, which had become so ema- 
ciated that it could not escape, and placed it in a comfortable 
stall in the barn. So soon as it became warm, and recovered 
something of its vitality, it made frantic efforts to escape. It, 
however, soon commenced to eat, if no one was present, when it 
recovered its strengtli and spirit. It was kept in the same com- 
fortable quarters during the winter, and got in fine condition, but 
seemed absolutely untamable, though daily efforts were made by 
the keeper to acquire its confidence. Whenever he would go into 
the stall and try to pet it, it would make strong efforts to escape 
by jumping against the sides, and when it found that impossible, 
it would turn and fight him, dealing jBerce blows with its little 
feet ; and when it was turned out in April, it seemed as wild as at 
the first, though it had received nothing but kindness from him 
during its four months of confinement. It hastened away to the 
flock, and was the sleekest deer of them all, and by this means 
it was recognized for a time, but none of them was wilder than 
he was so long as he could be identified. 

More efforts have been made to domesticate this deer than any 
of our other species, and generally under more favorable circum- 
stances than my grounds afford. Some years since I visited the 
plantation of General Harding, near Nashville, Tennessee, to learn 
the result of his experiments. I found his parks much larger 
than mine and the conditions much more favorable for success. 
Here was a large, gently rolling lawn carpeted with a heavy coat 
of blue grass, and scattered through it a great number of mag- 
nificent old oaks, whose broad spreading branches afforded a de- 
lightful shade everywhere. Beyond, and separated from it by a 
low fence which the deer could easily scale, was an inclosure of 
high rolling ground densely covered with a thicket of evergreen 
cane and several other kinds of shrubberj^, of which nearly all 
ruminants are very fond. The grounds were well watered. 
Here we find every condition requisite for the well being of 
the deer, with little restraint and conditions nearly approach- 
ing the wild state. The deer we met with in driving through 
the grounds were wilder than most of mine, and yet they did 
not seem alarmed when we approached them but trotted away so 
as to keep some distance off. I learned they were reasonably 
fertile, though not as much so as in the wild state. At the com- 
mencement of the late war there were about eighty deer in these 


grounds, but the march of great armies is not favorable to the 
prosperity of deer in such a place, and soon all were either driven 
away or killed. The General was surprised and gratified to ob- 
serve that after the war was over and peace and quiet once more 
reigned about their old home, the deer began voluntarily to return, 
so that in a few years the grounds were again well stocked. I 
thought it a fact of much interest that the deer returned volun- 
tarily after an absence of three or four years. 

I have heard of some deer parks in the upland portions of 
Virginia where deer were successfully entrapped as well as 
reared. To accomplish the former the well known habit during 
the rut, of the doe fleeing from the pursuit of tlie buck was 
utilized. The inclosure along a steep hillside was so prepared 
that the deer could easily jump into the park but could not 
jump out. An old doe, which had been brought up by hand and 
always accustomed to the place and well acquainted with this 
runway, was turned loose in the surrounding forest and roamed 
about at will,, till she met with a gallant buck when the race 
would commence ; the ardent lover would be quickly led to the 
runway and into the park from which there was no escape. 

When I first began to gather my stock of Virginia Deer I suc- 
ceeded in obtaining about sixteen individuals in the course of 
three years, mostly females, all but one born in a wild state. 
For two or three years they were moderately prolific, rarely 
breeding till they were three years old, and still more rarely hav- 
ing twins. A few died from age, but the fawns seemed reason- 
ably vigorous, and my stock increased to about sixty, notwith- 
standing considerable losses from a swelling under the jaw. 
The fawns, however, came later and later each succeeding year ; 
the bucks showed less inclination to pursue the does, and a less 
proportion of the does had fawns, showing altogether a great de- 
crease in the vigor of the herd genei'ally ; but this was more es- 
pecially manifest in the fawns, a very large proportion of which 
died before cold weather set in. I sometimes found two or three 
dead fawns in a morning's walk through the ground. A perusal 
of my note-book shows that at that time I absolutely began to 
despair of perpetuating the species in domestication ; one season, 
particularly, I did not winter more than three out of more than 
twenty fawns. This, however, was the culminating point of my 
misfortune. The most feeble ones had been evidently eliminated 
from the lot, while the numbers had been reduced more than one 
half from the highest point, though I had taken but few of the 


bucks for my own table. I had observed two or three does that 
generally had two fawns at a birth which appeared vigorous and 
healthy, while the other does that survived became or always had 
been barren. I think I may safely express the opinion that from 
a few exceptional individuals that could bear domestication and 
who were capable of imparting similar vigor to their descend- 
ants, I have obtained a stock of Virginia Deer, which though not 
as prolific by any means as the wild deer, are still moderately so 
and have sufficient vigor to insure the success of my experiment, 
while the descendants of ninety per cent, of those taken from 
the wild state will degenerate in domestication, so that in a few 
generations they will become extinct. This want of vigor does 
not show itself so much in the first stock as in the second and 
third generation, while but very few will reach the fourth gen- 
eration. I am now passing the fifth winter with what I may 
call vigorous fawns, none of which have died from an appar- 
ent want of vigor, as was the case before, so that my stock has 
actually increased, while I have supplied my table abundantly 
with venison from the bucks. A majority of the does are still bar- 
ren, but this I deem fortunate, for they are not giving me en- 
feebled descendants to perpetuate for a time a stock which cannot 
bear domestication. However, a part of the barrenness of one 
year may probably be attributed to my attempt to force a cross 
between the Virginia does and the black-tailed buck, to effect 
which I kept quite a number of the does in one of the parks with 
that buck alone, but none of them had fawns, and my experiment 
was a failure. Indeed, the buck paid no more attention to the 
does, so far as we could observe, than did the Southdown ram 
in the same inclosure. Each would drive a doe from coveted 
food with equal rudeness. 

The want of vigor and reproductive powers in the deer are prob- 
ably due, to some extent at least, to the want of arboreous food, 
of which the Virginia Deer have to a large extent been deprived. 
However, a want of proper food is not the sole cause of the dete- 
rioration produced by domestication. The confinement which 
prevents them from roaming abroad, the want of exercise, and 
the absence of that constant vigilance, prompted by the instinct 
of self preservation to avoid enemies, no doubt, have a large in- 
fluence to produce the result I have observed. But we may not 
be able to wholly explain why it is that a considerable propor- 
tion of the Common*Deer taken from the wild state and subjected 
to the influence of domestication, so deteriorate as to become 



either wholly or partially barren, and their progeny in a few 
generations become so enfeebled as to die out altogether. But 
we liave seen that a few do apparently retain much of their 
native vigor, and reproductive powers, which they transmit in a 
large degree to their descendants. " Gipsy," a favorite doe 
now ten years old, taken in the wild state when a fawn, did, 
for several years at least, produce healthy vigorous twins, al- 
though she rarely got arboreous food, except what was broken 
from the trees by storms, or fell in the course of nature, — for in 
the North and South Parks the deer have killed off all the 
shrubbery, which was there originally, and while the deterioration 
in vigor and reproductive powers was not observable, was very 
abundant. I do not despair of finally producing a race of deer 
that will be both healthy and prolific in domestication, and that, 
too, when confined entirely to herbaceous food. To accomplish 
this, I have no doubt much weakness must be eliminated from 
the stock, but nature is doing that, and if but some survive the 
test then is the experiment a success. Could we go far enough 
back in history to learn of the particulars of the domestication of 
many of our domestic animals, which now breed and thrive well 
in our hands, we should probably find some such experience as I 
have related. However, if this be generally true of the quad- 
rupeds, it is scarcely so of all the feathered tribes. My experi- 
ments with the wild turkey show that the wild birds reared in 
domestication are remarkably vigorous and healthy, much more 
so than the common domestic turkey, while they are equally pro- 
lific, though in many instances both the male and female are a 
year later in breeding than the domestic bird. Probably, as a 
general rule, the reproductive powers of birds are less impaired 
by domestication than are those of quadrupeds. 

The young bucks seem to quite forget their dams after they 
are one year old. The habits of the wild deer are not very 
much modified by partial domestication, although after the rut- 
ting season is over they seem to be more gregarious in a wild 
state than in the parks; yet soUtary deer are frequently met 
with in the prairies and in the forests. 

There is no recognized monarch among the bucks, though 
where they meet frequently a superiority is soon settled which, 
for the time, is respected ; but if separated for some months a 
new contest is required to determine which is the better deer. 

The passage between the North and East Park was closed dur- 
ing the last summer, and there was a large buck in each of 


about equal age and size. In September, after their antlers had 
become hard, they occasionally saw each other on opposite sides 
of the fence, when they would make faces at each other, with 
various threatening demonstrations, showing that both were ready 
for the fray. I directed the passage to be opened ; and when the 
one in the East Park came into the North Park he soon met his 
antagonist, when a terrific battle ensued. The battle was joined 
by a rush together like rams, their faces bowed down nearly to 
a level with the ground, when the clash of horns could have been 
heard at a great distance ; but they did not again fall back to 
repeat the shock, as is usual with rams, but the battle was con- 
tinued by pushing, guarding, and attempting to break each other's 
guard, and goading whenever a chance could be got, which was 
very rare. It was a trial of strength and endurance, assisted by 
skill in fencing and activity. The contest lasted for two hours 
without the animals being once separated, during which they 
fought over perhaps half an acre of ground. Almost from the 
beginning, both fought with their mouths open, for they do not 
protrude the tongue prominently, like the ox, when breathing 
through the mouth. So evenly matched were they that both 
were nearly exhausted, when one at last suddenly turned tail to 
and fled ; his adversary pursued him but a little way. I could 
not detect a scratch upon either sufficient to scrape off the hair, 
and the only punishment suffered was fatigue and a conscious- 
ness of defeat by the vanquished. I may remark that the victor 
was the intruder from the East Park, where he had lived with 
perhaps a dozen companions, almost as wild as in a state of na- 
ture, for it is mostly appropriated to the elk, where visitors are 
not allowed. There they can be as secluded as they please. It 
contains sixty-five acres, is broken with several broad ravines, 
and is covered with a young forest with many dense thickets of 
shrubs, and is a real paradise for the Virginia Deer whose timid- 
ity prompts him to seek seclusion. 

The pursuit of the doe by the buck commences before her 
season has arrived, and hence for two or three weeks she remains 
as secluded as possible. He follows her track with his nose to 
the ground, and when started from her bed the race is very 
spirited ; but she manages to elude the pursuit by mingling with 
the other deer and again slipping away. No attempt is made by 
a buck to herd the does, as is the custom of the elk, and but 
few of these deer are found associating together during the rut- 
ting season ; but after it is passed they assemble in larger herds 
than at any other season. 


The fawns are weaned by the time they are four months old, 
but they follow the dam, — the males for one year, and the fe- 
males for two years. After the fawns are weaned, the does im- 
prove very rapidly in flesh. Indeed it is astonishing to see how 
rapidly a buck or a doe will improve so soon as the acorns begin 
to fall. Ten days are sufficient to change a poor deer to a fat 
one, at the time when the summer coat is discarded and the 
glossy winter dress appears. 


While I cannot charge the Acapulco Deer with having a wicked 
disposition, it certainly has more courage and combativeness than 
any of our other deer, and corresponds in these respects with the 
Ceylon deer. This is apparent from what has been already in- 
cidentally mentioned in several places in this work. They do not 
hesitate to attack deer of the other species three times their size 
and strength, and beat them by mere force of courage and will. 
I shall not now repeat examples to illustrate this. 

They seem to be hardy in domestication, but whether they i 
would continue so and would be prolific through succeeding gen- I 
erations, are questions yet to be proved. So far both they and 
the Ceylon deer have proved hardy and prolific, but so it was 
with the Virginia deer at first, and it was not till the third or 
fourth generation, that the great want of vigor and reproductive 

1 While this work is going through the press, I find in the Museum of Compara- 
tive Zoology of Harvard College a mounted specimen of this Acapulco Deer marked 
" Cerviis il/ea:i'caHi/s " and referring to " Hassler Expedition," and giving Acapulco 
as its location. Cery»s il/aricanHs of the naturalists is much larger than this deer, 
and has all the indicia of C. Virginianus, only it is smaller than the same species far- 
ther north. I have found the best representatives of C. Mexicanus in the gardens of 
the London Zoological Society. Without again going into the detail of the indicia 
observed, I may say that the metatarsal gland is present on C. Mexicanus, and is in all 
respects case marked precisely as on the common deer; while this gland is entirely 
wanting on C. Acapidcensis, and so it is on the mounted specimen referred to. It is , 
not remarkable that one who has not made a special study of the deer, should con- 
found the two, and so give the smaller and more southern species the name of the! 
other, actually believing them to be identical. Had not the name Cervus MexicanusX 
been long appropriated to a variety of the Virginia deer, I should have selected it fori 
the name of this small species, which, so far as I know, I have for the first time ac- 
curately described, but to have given it that most appropriate name would have ever 
confounded it with the variety of the common deer to which the name has been so 
long attached. Hence I was compelled to give it another name in order to preserve 
the proper distinction. If travelers, and even naturalists, have hitherto supposed 
these two species of small Mexican deer to be identical, I trust hereafter they will 
have no trouble in distinguishing and identifying a specimen of either whenever met 


powers were so fatally manifest. The second generation of the 
Ceylon deer are good breeders, bat I think are not as hardy as the 
first. At least I have lost two the past summer, one in yeaning, 
and the other when I was absent, and from an unknown cause. 
The fact that they never saw snow till they came into my 
grounds, when they were fully adult, and have borne three win- 
ters, the two first very severe, without injury, except the loss of 
small portions of the ears, would indicate that they have hardy 
constitutions, naturally ; but that two of the second generation of 
the Ceylon deer have had the swelling under the head indicates 
a tendency to weakness ; but the fact again, that both recovered 
without treatment, while the disease, if left to take its course, 
has alvvays proved fatal to the common deer, encourages the be- 
lief that they possess a large amount of vitality. Certain it is 
that they have been much more healthy in domestication than 
either the mule deer or the Columbia deer, although much further 
removed from their native habitat, and from the torrid zone to a 
rigorous climate, where they have endured a temperature at times 
forty or fifty degrees below the freezing point of water, while the 
home of the latter is at least as cold as it is here. It is safe to 
say then, that they are capable of enduring greater changes in 
the conditions of life than the larger species, which are sure to 
die in a few years, upon being brought from the Pacific coast, 
or even the Rocky Mountains, to the east of the Mississippi 


As has been already several times intimated, nature seems to 
have established a law of sexual aversion not only among the 
genera, but even among the species of animals and plants, which 
is more or less intense as the dividing line which separates the 
species is more or less pronounced. This aversion is more potent 
with the female than the male, and is more commanding in the 
wild state than when they are brought together in confinement, 
and partial or complete domestication. This aversion is sufficient 
to prevent the commingling of blood of species very nearly 
allied when unrestrained in the wild state, though inhabiting 
abundantly the same wild range, and perhaps this law of sexual 
aversion may furnish as safe a rule as any to distinguish species 
from varieties. Varieties are never constant and distinguishable 
in the same district of country, for the simple reason that there 
is no sexual restraint, which absolutely prevents the maintenance 
of hereditary distinctions which distinguish varieties, and so would 
it happen among species, were there no natural restraint to keep 
them asunder. When such restraint exists which amounts to 
practical prohibition, nature itself declares a purpose to maintain 
a specific distinction. 

If we recognize the law of evolution, then the lines of separa- 
ration of divergent families from an original stock, have become 
so widely separated as to interpose this law of sexual aversion 
between them, and we shall be sure to find permanent physical 
characteristics dependent not upon factitious circumstances, but 
solely on hereditary influences, which, uniting with the law of 
sexual aversion, satisfactorily declares distinct species, where, a 
long time before, when the lines of divergence were less sep- 
arated, they were but varieties, with scarcely impaired sexual 
inclinations for each other. 

We may admit that sexual intercourse sometimes occurs be- 
tween individuals of different species in the wild state, just as 
we see unnatural impulses manifested sometimes in both man 
and brute, but they are so exceedingly rare as to be entitled to 
no influence in the general discussion, and we may if you choose 
asrree with those who contend that when such intercourse does 


take place it is more apt to be fertile, than when the individuals 
are in confinement or serai-domestication. Indeed we should an- 
ticipate such a result, for as I show elsewhere, nearly all wild 
animals are less fertile in confinement than in the wild state, and 
this arises not so much because of less inclination to sexual inter- 
course, but because such intercourse when it does occur is less 

But it is not my purpose to go far back of the present and 
grope my way in intricate paths which at best must be but im- 
perfectljr lighted up, and discuss subjects not embraced in my 
"present inquiry, and which I am less qualified to examine than 
others who can bring to their elucidation a much broader inquiry 
and much more abundant facts than are at my command. My 
ambition rather is to bring new facts arising within the limited 
sphere of my observations, which will seiwe as a single brick to 
be placed by other and more competent hands in the great struc- 
ture of ultimate truth, the construction of which is already com- 
menced in the world of science. He who shall furnish the most 
accurately observed facts, will provide the most acceptable mate- 
rial for the hands of the architect, and an exhaustive inquiry as to 
facts even within a very narrow sphere will have only done that 
which must be done in reference to all other subjects before tlie 
skillful generalizer will be provided with the necessary material 
for his great work. 

A very common error has prevailed, even to some extent in 
scientific quarters, that hybrids, or the issue of parents of different 
species, are necessarily unfertile ; in other words, if a supposed 
hybrid is capable of propagation it is conclusive evidence that the 
parents were of the same species. 

The fact that hybrids are less likely to be productive or are 
less fertile than the progeny of parents of the same species is 
undoubtedly true, and a fertile offspring goes a very long way to 
prove that the parents were of the same species ; but there are 
many well authenticated cases of fertile hj'brids. 

The most common and familiar hybrid is the cross between the 
ass and the mare, which as a general rule is incapable of propaga- 
tion, either among themselves or with either parent, and this no 
doubt has had a large influence in creating the general belief re- 
ferred to; still there are many cases where the mule has bred 
from the horse ; and Dr. Morton says that this is very common 
in Spain. In his essay on hybridity, published in the " American 
Journal of Arts and Sciences," 1847, page 212, Dr. Morton has 


collected together many facts on this subject, tending to show 
the fertility of many hybrids produced from very distinct species, 
and some from distinct genera. Although many of the cases 
cited are of doubtful authority and may have been pressed into 
the service to support a favorite theory, enough is left to con- 
vince us that hybrids from some distinct species are uniformly 
fertile and in others they are exceptionally fertile. At any rate 
"we may consider it too well settled to admit of successful con- 
troversy that fertility of offspring is not conclusive evidence that 
the parents were of the same species, although in the investiga- 
tion of that question it should by no means be overlooked. 

Indeed it is not improbable that some of our well established 
species, of quadrupeds, birds, fishes, and plants, may have had 
their origin in hybrid ancestors, although, as a general rule, we 
may expect that they would gradually revert to one or the other 
of the original parents. 

A hundred years ago Count de Buffon" examined this subject 
with great industry, and collected many facts tending to throw 
light upon it ; and 1 can do no better than to quote his conclusions 
as recorded in Smellie's translation, London edition of 1812, vol. 
iv., p. 29. He says : " However this matter stands, it is certain 
from what is above remarked, that mules in general which have 
uniformly been accused of sterility are neither really or univer- 
sally barren ; and that this sterility is particularly apparent only 
in the mule which proceeds from the ass and horse, for the mule 
produced by the he-goat and the ewe is equally fertile as its par- 
ents ; and most of the mules produced by different species of 
birds are not barren. It is therefore in the particular nature of 
the horse and ass that we must search for the cause of the ster- 
ility of the mules which proceed from their union ; and instead 
of supposing barrenness to be a general and necessary defect 
common to all mules it should be limited to the mule produced 
by the ass and horse ; and even this limitation ought to be re- 
stricted, as these same mules in certain circmnstances become 
fertile, particularly when brought a degree nearer their original 

I have for many years sought to produce hybrids from the va- 
rious species of deer in my grounds, but have succeeded in but 
four cases. The first of these was a cross between a male 
Columbia deer and a female mule deer, the second was between 
the Ceylon buck and the doe from Acapulco. The third was 
between a Virginia buck and a Ceylon doe, and the fourth was 


between tlie Virginia buck and the Acapulco doe. In the first 
case the male was three years old, in full health and vigor, and 
the female was two years old, in fine condition. During that sea- 
son there was no buck of her own species about the place old 
enough for service. She did not receive the Columbia buck, with 
which she had been long acquainted, till six weeks after the usual 
season. Before the fawn was dropped she had become sickly 
and both the mother and offspring died within four montlis after. 

I had previously kept the same male with an older female 
mule deer confined together in a small inclosure for some 
months during the proper season, but she refused all his advances 
persistently, nor did he manifest much ardor in the pursuit. The 
year before I had kejDt this same female mule deer with a male 
of the same species, and a female Columbia deer with this same 
male of that species in the vineyard, and each doe produced a 
pair of fawns true to their species, although the male of C. ma- 
crotis was older and stronger than that of 0. Coluvihianus, and 
always manifested a hostile disposition towards him, so that it 
was clearly the choice of the female which determined the pater- 

In the second case, both male and female were in fine condi- 
tion ; had been brought from California in the same cage, and for 
a time at least after their arrival associated much together ; and 
I had no male deer of the same species with the female, and still 
they passed by the ordinary season without coupling, and the 
union only took place six months later, and the offspring when 
produced was still-born, or at least was dead when found. 

The next fall the Ceylon buck met with an accident and died 
before the rut. In his absence the Ceylon does associated, prob- 
ably reluctantly, with a Virginia buck, from which the oldest 
produced two hybrids, and the youngest one. These were born 
after the usual season, but have always been healthy and vigor- 
ous, and partake largely of the qualities of the sire. They are 
nearly as large as the Virginia fawns of the same age, and the 
tuft of hair over the metatarsal gland is so conspicuous that 
it may be seen nearly as far as on the Virginia deer, while on 
their mothers it can only be seen on very close inspection. All 
the Ceylon does have freely bred to the Virginia buck ever since. 

The Acapulco doe which had reluctantly bred to the Ceylon 
buck six months after the usual time, after his death refused the 
advances of the Virginia buck for the first season, but finally 
submitted, and produced two fine hybrids, which, by November, 


■were nearly as large as the mother. On these, the tuft of hair 
over the metatarsal gland is plainly seen, while, as I have stated, 
the hybrids from the Ceylon buck, on which this gland is ex- 
ceedingly small, showed no vestige of the gland, the absence of 
which they inherited from the mother. The hybrids from the 
Virginia buck, on which the gland is conspicuous, inherited it 
from the sire. 

The readiness with which the Ceylon does bred to the Vir- 
ginia bucks would point to the conclusion that they are specifi- 
cally more nearly allied than are the Ceylon and the Acapulco 
deer, although in the former case one is more than twice as large 
as the other ; besides, they differ very much in form, color, and 
habit, for the Virginia deer are very gregarious, while the Ceylon 
deer are quite solitary in their habits, never associating together, 
except the doe with her fawns. In the other case, where I found 
so much reluctance to inter-breeding, there is very little differ- 
ence in size, and scarcely an appreciable difference in form, and 
in color they are very much alike ; and, as I have in another 
place stated, no one would suspect a difference of species, were it 
not for the presence of the gland in the one and its absence in 
the other, to which must be added the sexual aversion already 
noted. None of these hybrids have as yet bred, though I shall 
be disappointed if they do not prove reasonably fertile. In every 
instance where I have succeeded in procuring hybrids the females 
have not had access to males of their own species. Wherever 
there has been such opportunity, they have always bred true to 
the species. Now that I have procured an Acapulco buck, it 
will be interesting to know whether the female of that species 
will forsake her unnatural associations with the Virginia buck. 
During the summer, these Acapulco deer seemed to take no 
notice of each other, but in September I generally found them 
in the vicinity of each other ; but the doe, which was fully one 
third larger than the young buck, showed herself a vicious ter- 
magant, and chased him about fearfully, especially if she saw me 
feeding him. By November he began to resent this, and would 
turn upon her and exchange a few passes, and by the first of 
December he succeeded in conquering her, and now seems to lead 
a more peaceable domestic life. I never saw him appear to pay 
the least attention to any other doe in the park, though I was 
very anxious to see him with the Ceylon does. Still I have my 
apprehensions that both the Ceylon and Acapulco does will again 
breed to the common bucks, for my observations have convinced 


me that when a female has once bred to a male of anothei* species 
she becomes debauched and so demoralized that she is inclined 
to receive anything that comes along, no matter how repulsive 
he may have been at first. Had not this Acapulco doe first 
allowed herself to be seduced by the Ceylon buck, which so much 
resembled her in size, form, and color, and with whom she was 
so well acquainted, I very much doubt whether she would ever 
have received the attentions of the Virginia buck, nearly three 
times her size, and differing from her in so many important par- 
ticulars. But once having submitted to the Ceylon buck, she 
coquetted a while with the larger species, and finally submitted. 
Still I hope she has virtue enough left to return to her own 
species, now that she has an opportunity. 

While it is undoubtedly true that the sexes of the same species 
will, as a general rule, associate together when they can, and 
manifest no inclination to interbreed with a nearly allied species, 
yet we sometimes see unnatural attachments between opposite 
sexes of different genera even, in domestication at least, which 
seem to overcome the natural repugnance which ordinarily pre- 

A remarkable instance of this once occurred in my grounds. 
When I had but one male elk, with several females, a strong at- 
tachment grew up between the buck and a two-year old Durham 
heifer, so that he abandoned the society of the female elk, as the 
heifer did that of the cows in the same inclosure with which she 
had been reared, and they devoted themselves exclusively to each 
other. When they laid down in the shade to ruminate, they 
were always found close together, and when one got up to feed, 
the other would immediately follow. They kept away by them- 
selves, always avoiding the society of all the other animals. 
Whenever the heifer was in season, which occurred quite regu- 
larly every month, she accepted the embraces of the elk, without 
showing an inclination to seek the other cattle ; nor did this seem 
to be the result of any constraint. This intercourse continued 
throughout the summer, during the entire growth of the antlers 
of the elk, but unfortunately he was killed before the rut com- 
menced with the female elk. It is hardly necessary to state that 
no impregnation ever occurred from her intercourse with the elk, 
and so far as this instance may go to establish it, we may con- 
clude that the constitutional differences of the elk and the cow 
are so great that they cannot successfully interbreed. 

Probably no intelligent naturalist of the present day would 


give the least ci-edence to the stories of the ancients of a hybrid 
from the bull and the mare, which the French called jumar. 
Although they are less unlike each other than the wolf and the 
sheep, still the boundary between them is far too broad to render 
interbreeding in the remotest degree prdbable. Still less dissim- 
ilar are the Cervidse and the Bos, for their digestive and genei'a- 
tive organs are on the same general plan, but in other respects 
they are so very dissimilar in their organization and economy, 
that we should require the most conclusive proof before we could 
believe that their union could ever prove fertile. The most con- 
spicuous, or at least obvious distinction is, that one has a hollow, 
permanent horn, while that of the other is solid and temporary. 
A much closer alliance, or at least similitude, is found between 
the goat, the sheep, and the antelope, and yet all naturalists have 
agreed in placing them in separate genera ; but for all this, I 
know not how to reject the evidence that the sheep and the goat 
have sometimes propagated together, and that their hybrid off- 
spring have proved permanently fertile. How much more read- 
ily, then, may we admit the interbreeding of closely allied species 
— as all the deer certainly are, — and that their hybrids should 
sometimes be capable of reproduction, although the repugnance is 
so great that when unconstrained they do not approach each 
other. The wapiti deer is so much larger than any of the other 
species in my grounds, that I have never conceived the possibility 
of hybridizing them ; and indeed the moose is the only member 
of the family on this continent, with which we might expect no 
great difficulty in an attempt to breed them together, although 
the size of the woodland caribou is not so inferior as to render 
the attempt absolutely unpromising. 

The red deer of Europe (C elaphus), resembles most our elk 
or wapiti deer, and I state my reasons in another place, for con- 
sidering them if not absolutely identical in species, at least very 
nearly allied, and that probably they have descended from the 
same ancestors. I have been so much interested with the fol- 
lowing account of hybridizing the wapiti and the red deer, — if 
that be the true term, — from " Land and Water," that I cannot 
do better than to copy it : — 

" The Prince Pless, who has large possessions in Silesia, has suc- 
ceeded, after repeated trials, in obtaining a cross between the Wapiti 
( Cervus Canadensis) , and the common red deer. 

"In 1862 the Prince bought fourteen "Wapitis from Count Arco, a Ba- 
varian gentleman, who had reared these from four brought from Canada 


six years previously. They had thriven and bred well in the bleak 
mountain climate of the Berchtesgaden. 

" Out of the fourteen, seven were hinds far gone with calf. The keeper 
who had charge of them entered at the time of the purchase into the 
service of the Prince. It took three days to transport the animals by 
rail to Pless, where they were provided on their arrival with accommo- 
dation similar in every respect to that which they had enjoyed in Berch- 
tesgaden. At the end of a week two died, and a few days later seven 
more, after an illness of some hours. Three more were attacked, but 
saved by the use of proper remedies. The disease was a distemper 
brought on by feeding on the sour-forest grass, and is called in German 
' Anthraxkrankheit,' of which there are diiferent phrases, Milzbrand, 
Lungenbrand, Karbuncles Euche. 

" The survivors were removed to higher and healthier ground. An- 
other fell a victim to the distemper, and four now remained, which mul- 
tiplied rapidly. Every hind dropped her calf regularly. The deer 
were unaffected by cold ; for in a tempei'ature of fifteen degrees to twen- 
ty-three degrees below zero (Reaumur), they lay out in an exposed 
windy spot. Still the distemper renewed its attacks every year, and 
sometimes with deadly result, so that the stock fluctuated in numbers be- 
tween two and fourteen. 

" The breeding of the pure Wapiti appearing to be a failure, it was 
decided to try a cross with the native red deer, although zoologists had 
pronounced this to be an impossibility, or at least had predicted that the 
offspring would be sterile. 

" Fifteen hinds of the common red deer breed were taken and en- 
closed in the neighborhood of the Wapitis ; and in the rutting season a 
three-year old Wapiti stag was admitted to them. A two-year old 
Wapiti stag got five calves. Half-breed hinds, when three years old, 
bore calves, and thus the fecundity of the hybrids was a fait accompli in 
spite of the zoologists. As the supply of two-year old Wapiti stags 
failed they were replaced by yearlings, which, however, invariably died. 
The two-year old stags of half breed were enclosed and separated from 
the hinds. A two-year old Wapiti stag admitted to the half bred hinds 
was replaced by one of mixfed breed. The produce of the hinds proved 
that the cross of the Wapiti stag with half breeds was a success. 

"Early in 1868 all the pure Wapitis except one had died, and there 
remained twenty-eight head of half breeds, of which three or four had 
been twice and some once, crossed with pure Wapiti. The breeding 
with the half blooded stock is to be continued, and they are to be let 
into the open forest when the present space becomes too small. 

" The half breed deer is of colossal size, little inferior to a Wapiti in 
bulk and antlers. Its roar is less sonorous than that of the red deer. A 
four-year old half breed, twice crossed, carries large antlers with four- 
teen points. In general appearance it resembles the red deer but is 



Let me again repeat that I am strongly inclined to the opin- 
ion, however, that this is not a real case of hybridity, but that 
the European stag and our wapiti should be ranked as specifically 
the same, having descended originally from the same progenitors, 
though for a long time they have been separated by impassable 
physical barriers, and so have descended in separate lines, during 
which permanent changes have taken place in each, many of them 
diverging, or opposite, while in other and more permanent char- 
acteristics, no change has taken place. But this question I con- 
sider elsewhere. I regret that similar experiments have not to 
my knowledge been tried with our moose and the European elk, 
and our caribou and the Lapland reindeer. I doubt not that 
they would breed freely together, with a fertile progeny. 


So much 1ms been said in other places, of the food upon which 
the various species of our deer subsist, that we need devote but 
little space to this branch of our subject now. 

All the Cervidae are strictly vegetarians ; generally, they con- 
sume more arboreous food than most other ruminants, but none 
depend upon it exclusively. The Moose alone habitually eats 
the leaves and twigs of the conifei's. In the winter, particu- 
larly, they subsist largely upon these, and, indeed, they take 
them at all seasons when met with. Mr. Morrill says, that this 
is so much the case that their droppings emit a very pungent 
odor, derived from their evergreen food, which, like musk, is very 
agreeable to some people, while to others it is very offensive. 
They consume largely, also, the leaves, twigs, and bark of the 
deciduous trees, to obtain which they bend down large saplings ; 
and in their winter yards they denude the large trees of their 
bark as high up as they can reach. To do this they place the 
extremity of the upper jaw, which is furnished with a sort of 
pad, against the tree, and scrape upwards with their powerful 
incisors, tearing off the thick, rough bark with astonishing force 
and facility. But they partake of herbaceous food as well, 
though they cannot conveniently graze like other ruminants, but 
they can crop the ends of long grass, which is often found in the 
marshy grounds which they frequent in the summer time. At 
this season, also, they depend largely on aquatic vegetation, found 
in lakes and rivers. The long grasses and lily pads, which grow 
along the borders of the lakes, are favorite articles of food for 
the Moose, which they readily reach by wading into the water ; 
and after the appetite is satisfied they submerge themselves all 
but a part of the head in the deeper water to escape the flies and 

The Wapiti Deer selects his food from the trees and shrubs, 
the grasses and the weeds, though he is not so fond of the latter 
as some of the others. Like several of the other species he pre- 
fers the bitter and the astringent, like the hickory and the oak, 
to the hazel and the maple. He may be often seen standing 
erect on his hind feet, stretching his neck to the utmost to get a 
bunch of leaves nearly beyond his reach. In the winter, he 


frequently pulls down the twigs bearing the dry oak leaves, and 
eats them with apparent relish, though he is rarely seen to pick 
up those which have fallen after maturity. If deprived of ar- 
boreous food he will keep healthy and fat on grass alone. In 
winter he will scrape away deep snow with his feet to obtain the 
grass beneath it, and by some unexplained means seems always 
to select the best places. 

I feed my herd of Elk in winter almost exclusively on corn 
(maize) stalks, and they will keep fat upon them if only they get 
enougli, though they be compelled to eat all the stalks not larger 
than one's finger. They are promiscuous consumers, though great 
feeders, requiring as much to keep them as the same number of 
our black cattle ; but they will eat greedily damaged hay, which 
the cattle or horses would reject. After we commence feeding 
them in winter they stop foraging for themselves, until their 
rations are stopped, and they are forced to it by two or three 
days' fasting. They make no attempt in the winter to strip the 
bark from even the wild apple or the poplar, although they do 
this sometimes, though rarely, in summer. In a very few years 
they killed out all the shrubbery in their park, and keep the 
trees thoroughly trimmed as far as they can reach. I am not 
aware that they ever eat the leaves or twigs of evergreens, nor 
have I ever known them to eat the parasitic lichens which fre- 
quently grow upon the trees, or the mosses found on decaying 
logs. They are very fond of all sorts of grain, and it is astonish- 
ing to see what an enormous ear of maize they will take and 
crunch up at once. Even the cob, after the corn has all been 
removed, I have never known them to reject. They soon learn 
to come to the call of one who feeds them, in the latter part of 
the season, but in the summer, when the grass is sweet and ten- 
der, they are more indifferent, and may refuse to answer. 

Both species of Caribou live largely upon a variety of lichens 
found in their respective ranges, and indeed these seem indis- 
pensable to their well-being. At least it is so with the European 
reindeer, for wherever they are kept in gardens or menageries 
the mosses from their native ranges have to be imported for 
them. This, however, is not their only food. They, too, feed 
upon the trees and shrubbery, and upon the grasses, wherever 
they find them. The experienced hunter follows them through 
the bush with great facility by noticing where they have cropped 
the twigs or stripped the moss from the trees in passing, and by- 
careful inspection will judge something of their number, and 


how recently they have passed. This cropping is done by the 
animal without stopping to feed, but as it walks along. They 
take the various kinds of grasses found in their range freely, 
though I lack the evidence to show that they are as fond of 
aquatic vegetation as is the moose. After all, their great re- 
source is the reindeer moss, which, in many places, buixlens the 
grouud to great depths, sometimes even two or three feet, where 
scarcely any other vegetation can survive. 

Of the Woodland Caribou, Captain Hardy says : " The 
Caribou feeds principally on the Oladonia rangiferina, with 
which barrens and all permanent clearings in the fir forests are 
thickly carpeted, and which appears to grow more luxuriantly in 
the sub-arctic regions than in more temperate latitudes. Mr. 
Hind, in ' Explorations in Labrador,' describes the beauty and 
luxuriance of this moss in the Laurentian country, ' with ad- 
miration for which,' he says, ' the traveler is inspired, as well as 
for its wonderful adaptation to the climate, and its value as a 
source of food to the mainstay of the Indian, and consequently 
of the fur trade in these regions, — the Caribou.^ The recently 
announced discovery by a French chemist, who has succeeded in 
extracting alcohol in large quantities from lichens, and especially 
from the reindeer moss (identical in Europe with that of Amer- 
ica), is interesting, and readily suggests the value of this prim- 
itive vegetation, in supporting animal life in that boreal climate, 
as a heat-producing food. Besides the above, which appears to be 
its staple food, the Caribou partakes of the tripe de roche {Sticta 
pulmonaria), and other parasitic lichens growing on the bark of 
trees, and is exceedingly fond of the JJsnea which grows on the 
boughs (especially affecting the tops) of the black spruce, in 
long pendent hanks. In the forests on the Cumberland Hills, in 
Nova Scotia, I have observed the snow quite trodden down during 
the night by the Caribou, which had resorted to feed on the ' old 
men's beards' in the tops of the spruces, felled by the lumberers 
on the day previous. In the same locality, I have observed such 
frequent scratchings in the first light snows of the season at the 
foot of the trees in beech groves, that I am convinced that the 
animal, like the bear, is partial to the rich food afforded by the 
moss. I am not aware that the favorite item of the diet of the 
Norwegian reindeer (^Ranuncidus glacialis) is found in America, 
and the Woodland Caribou has no chance of exhibiting; the 

1 Mr. Hind describes the reindeer moss as covering the broken, rocky surface to 
a great depth, and which, when burned off, they found almost impassable on foot. 


strange but well authenticated taste of the former animal by 
devouring the lemming ;^ otherwise the habits of the two vari- 
eties are perfectly similar as regards food." 

Speaking of the Barren-ground Caribou, Sir John Richardson 
says : " The lichens on which the Caribou feed whilst on the 
barren grounds are the Cornicularia tristis, divergens, and ochri- 
leuea, the Cetraria nivalis, cucuUata, and Islandica, and the 
Cononyce rangiferinar 

In the southern part of their range, to which they retire in the 
winter season, these deer find forests bordering the barren 
grounds, and no doubt here they partake more or less of ar- 
boreous food. 

Of the four other species of deer it may be said in general that 
they all affect the same kinds of food. The leaves and twigs 
of trees and shrubs, all the finer kinds of grasses, at least a great 
variety of weeds, especially the bitter sorts, the seeds of grasses, 
the fruits of trees, as the wild apples, and plums, and cherries, 
acorns, and all sorts of berries and rose apples, and all sorts of 
grain and seeds to which they have access, are freely taken by 
them. The Virginia Deer alone seems capable of masticating 
the hickory nut, and it is with difficulty that the Mule Deer and 
the Acapulco Deer can masticate the well dried grains of the 
maize, but they soon learn to swallow them whole, and after 
they have been well softened in the stomach they are ruminated 
with great apparent satisfaction. 

In my grounds, they will only eat the blades and heads of the 
coarser hay, like timothy and clover, and I find it best to provide 
a good supply of fine rowen hay for their use, or better yet, a 
fodder consisting mostly of weeds, no matter how large and 
coarse, well cured. This they will pick over with great satisfac- 
tion. A good coat of blue grass under the snow is the best pro- 
vision for a winter supply for them. This they reach with great 
facility by scraping away the snow ; bat with all this, no matter 
how abundant, they do not consider themselves well used without 
a ration of corn every day in the winter. I have never seen any 
of the deer ruminating, except when lying down. All are fond 
of salt, and they should have that condiment always accessible, 
and even then the want of an abundance of arboreous food seems 
to impair their health and vigor. 

1 I frequently meet with the statement, even in respectable works on natural his- 
tory, that the Lapland reindeer are in the habit of devouring the lemming, but I do 
not remember to have met the statement by any one that he has actually seen it . 
done, so that I do not really know how authentic the statement is. 


Our study of the American Deer would be quite incomplete, 
were we to omit a comparison of them with European species 
and see whether we there find their analogies. I have pursued 
this inquiry with some industry, and find nothing there, bearing 
such a similitude to our mule deer, our black-tailed deer, our 
Virginia deer, or our Acapulco deer, as to suggest a common 
origin, at least in modern times, even in a geological sense. In 
the form of the antlers there is nothing which suggests a near 
relationship, although all are composed of the same material, and 
are grown in the same way, and all are more or less branched, 
characteristics which distinguish the Cervidse from all other rumi- 

In other parts of the world we find many species of deer with 
important peculiarities, which are entirely wanting in all onr 
species. We have others, however, which are so nearly like 
European species that Ave feel constrained to declare that there is 
no specific difference between them. 


The first of these which demand our attention are the Ameri- 
can Moose and the European Elk. These are not alike abso- 
lutely, nor are the individuals composing the distinct varieties in 
each country ; but the distinctions, whatever they are, must be 
determined by the average of large numbers in each country, 
when, we may fairly conclude, they arise from the different con- 
ditions in which they have lived, during the many ages they 
have been separated by impassable physical barriers. I present 
an illustration of the Scandinavian Elk, and the reader can read- 
ily compare with him the Moose at page 68. 

The American Moose is larger in size and darker in color than 
the European Elk. These distinctions have been recognized ever 
since the American variety was first discovered by those familiar 
with the other variety. This is only ascertained by observing a 
large number, for individuals may be found which, if considered 
by themselves, would contradict the conclusion. There is, no 



doubt, more variation in color as well as in size observed among 
our Moose than among the Eastern Elk. Some attain to enor- 
mous size, larger than any individuals found in the north of 
Europe, and some are black to a degree never met with among 
the others, while other smaller and lighter specimens are met 
with here not essentially differing from the average of those 
found in Europe. 

Scandinavian Elk. 

There is, too, an observable difference in the antlers, although 
in both the general characteristics are the same. The antlers are 
not much smaller on the Elk than on the Moose, in proportion to 
the size of the animal, but they are less palmated, that is, a less 
proportion of the volume of the antler is spread out in the 
palm, and a greater proportion devoted to the cylindrical parts. 
Besides the palms being less, relatively, the tines, set upon their 
borders, are larger and longer than on our variety. While this 
is true as a general rule, it is by no means universally so. I have 


seen specimens of the Moose antlers, where the tines upon the 
palms were quite as stout and as long as on any from the Euro- 
pean variety, and the examiner would be inclined to assign to 
them an eastern origin, though the large size might make him 
hesitate, while I met with no specimens in the east where it 
would be little exaggeration to say that the whole antler was one 
great palm, as in the Halifax specimen shown in the illustration 
(^ante, p. 193). I think all careful observers who have examined 
large numbers of both varieties, will agree with me that the 
antlers of the Moose are, as a general rule, moi-e palraated, and 
have less conspicuous tines than those of the Swedish Elk. While 
I have selected those for illustration, which I believed would give 
a fair idea of the average form of the Elk's antlers, I met with 
none of those extreme cases sometimes met with here, and none 
showing larger relative palms and less tines than some of these 
illustrated (see ante, pp. 195, 199). I may say the same of the 
illustrations of the American variety, though the specimen from 
the Halifax museum should, undoubtedly, be considered as bor- 
dering on the extreme. 

The difference, then, consists in the size and color of the an- 
imals, and in the form of the antler, though in the latter the 
same general characteristics prevail in both. While these dif- 
ferences occur in a majority of cases, they are by no means uni- 
versal, nor are entire similitudes in these regards extremely rare, 
or even uncommon. 

Some comparative anatomists or osteologists have supposed 
they could discover a difference in the forms of the crania, which 
others could not see. While the form of the skull in each of 
the species of this genus is very constant, and so of great value 
in this investigation, a slight, and at most a doubtful, difference 
cannot be allowed a controlling influence. For myself I have 
been unable to find the supposed difference, and am by no means 
prepared to admit its actual existence. The most that has been 
claimed is, that one is a little broader than the other, which, 
however, I repeat, is not an accepted fact. Were the difference 
really appreciable, it would be universally recognized, for it is 
open to the inspection of all. 

In all other respects these animals are precisely alike, at least 
I can detect no other differences, and I know of no one who has 
pretended to do so. 

I will refer to a few of the similitudes, some of which are 
peculiar to this animal. 


They occupy the northern portions of both continents, being 
only exceeded in their nortliern range by the reindeer. They 
must live in a wooded country. They affect the same kinds of 
food, and are the only deer which we find habitually browsing 
upon conifei's. The whole form of the animal presents many 
peculiar characteristics, entirely wanting in all other animals ; 
among which I cannot overlook, that peculiar tuft of black hair 
on the inside of the hock, which is exactly alike on every indi- 
vidual of both varieties, so far as it has been possible to examine, 
while never a gland or tuft of hair is found on the outside of the 
hind leg, although this is exceptional in the genus. 

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of all is, both are monog- 
amous in their habits, with strange peculiarities, which are par- 
ticularly described on p. 278, et seq., where I also show that 
with the exception of one other species of deer (C. capreolus}, 
found in Europe, and some of the monkey tribe, so far as I recol- 
lect, I have never seen this habit ascribed to any other quadruped. 
At any rate it is exceedingly rare, and so has the more value in 
the catalogue of similitudes when comparing these animals. How 
strikingly in every detail this peculiar habit is pi-acticed by the 
Elk in Europe as it is by the Moose in America, is there shown. 
One could write a book almost, without exhausting the similitudes 
between these animals, many of which are peculiar to them, while 
their few and slight differences are specified in a few words, every 
one of which may be found in individuals on either continent. 


That the Reindeer and our Woodland Caribou are specifically 
identical, I think equally clear. The divergence which has 
resulted from long separation under somewhat different condi- 
tions of life is even less, if possible, than that which has occurred 
with the two varieties of Alces. Their differences are easily enu- 

The first to be noticed with them is in the antlers. The gen- 
eral configuration is the same in both. With a long and slender 
beam, first retreating and spreading, and then curving forward 
and inward, they present fundamental peculiarities observed in 
none others of the genus, except that which is closely allied to 
them, to say the least, namely, the Barren-ground Caribou. Both 
have brow-tines exceedingly variant on individuals, and even in 
different antlers on the same animal, with the universal charac- 


teristic, however, that they spring from the beam in front just 
above the biuT in a descending direction nearly in the facial line 
one or both of which usually extend nearly the length of the face 
and is palmated at the end, presenting numerous snags curving 
inward. Above, the antler is more or less palmated. The ant- 
lers on both varieties are of about the same magnitude propor- 
tioned to the size of the animal. 

As with tlie moose and the elk, the difference in these consists 
principally in the extent of the palmatation. This feature is 
even more marked in Tarandus than in Aides. They are also 
less branched in the European variety than in the • American. 
These differences will be better understood by an examination 
of the illustrations • than they could be by verbal descriptions. 
Those copied from Captain Hardy's " Forest Life in Acadie," ^ 
present nearly the extreme of palmatation in the American 
variet}'^, and for that very reason are valuable as showing to what 
extent this feature sometimes occurs in this country, — an extent 
which I have nowhere found paralleled in the European variety, 
either in life, in collections, or illustrations. I have met with a 
few fancy sketches greatly exaggerating the extent and number 
of branches on the European variety, which were evidently de- 
signed to impress those who saw them rather than instruct the 
student of natural history. These should not mislead us. The 
illustrations of the antlers of the Woodland Caribou (^ante, pp. 
200, 202) are carefully drawn copies of specimens in my own 
collection, and are selected to give the fair ordinary form of the 
Caribou's antlers, that is, the average form. One of these, from 
the Caribou, shows as little palmatation as that from the Euro- 
pean Reindeer and may be considered the other extreme in this 
regard, and should be set opposite those from Hardy, while the 
mean between them may be considered the truth. It will be 
observed, that the nearly palmless antlers of the Caribou are very 
much stouter than those from the European Reindeer. 

If we take mounted specimens, to be met with in public collec- 
tions, they would generally be found more palmated, for the sim- 
ple reason that we are apt to select the best, that is, the largest, 
the most branching, or most palmated specimens for mounting ; 
and indeed the hunter is more apt to save these than inferior or 
ordinar}' specimens, for the reason that they will bring him a 
higher price. These are matters ever to be borne in mind by 
him who would study or illustrate nature as it actually exists. 

1 Ante, p. 206. 


One set of the illustrations of antlers on the European Reindeer, 
are from a living pair in the Zoological Gai'dens at Berlin, and 
the others are faithful copies of the antlers of a male and female 
wild Reindeer, which I brought from Arctic Norway, procured in 
Tromsoe (see ante, p. 203, and joos^, 329, 830). I have not illus- 
trated any extreme cases of palmatation of the European variety, 
for the simple reason that I have not met with them, though I 
have examined many collections in Europe ; still I have no doubt 
they exist, though far short of those copied from Captain Hardy's 
valuable work. Those presented I believe fairly illustrate the 
average antler of the European variety, and by comparison the 
reader will readily appreciate the difference in structure which 
my investigations teach me exists. 

There are two other peculiarities common to these varieties 
and not observed on the antlers of the other deer. The first is 
the exceedingly small burr, which frequently in some portions of 
the circumference is quite wanting, and in no part is ever promi- 
nent ; and the other is that the beam is never round, but its sur- 
face presents rounded angles and partially fiat spaces between 
them, approaching nearer to a triangular form than any other 

In size the European Reindeer, whether wild or tame, is appre- 
ciably smaller than our Woodland Caribou, though much larger 
than the Barren-ground Caribou. There is as great a difference 
in size between the American and the European varieties of the 
Reindeer as there is between the moose and the elk, the differ- 
ence in both cases being in favor of the American varieties. Thus 
we see that in the American varieties we have the most palmated 
antlers and the largest size. 

The Woodland Caribou in exceptional cases attain to a very 
large size ; and from the best examination I have been able to 
give the subject, I think it safe to say that they average one 
quarter to one third larger than the wild Reindeer in Europe. 
Captain Hardy supposed that they attain their best development 
and perfection on the Atlantic side of the continent ; but further 
investigations I think tend strongly to show that they are quite 
as large on the western side of the continent. 

In Northeastern Asia the Reindeer ai'e represented, as we have 
elsewhere seen, as attaining an extraordinary size in domestica- 
tion ; and as the experiments in Western Europe do not show that 
man's direct care and dominion over them have tended to in- 
crease their development, we may fairly presume that the same 



improvement in size may be met among the wild specimens in 
that far eastern country. The difference in size, therefore, be- 
tween the eastern and the western varieties is not universal, but 
is only observed when ours is compared with those of the North 
of Europe. 

In form, also, there is an appreciable difference between the 
American and European varieties of tliis deer. This will be 
readily appreciated by comparing the illustrations here presented 


Wild European Reindeer, Male. 

of a pair of wild Reindeer in the Zoological Gardens at Berlin, 
which were drawn by a skillful artist there under the supervision 
of Prof. William Peters, expressly for this work, and the illustra- 
tions of the Woodland Caribou (see pp. 85, 88). The former 
has more the form of a prize bullock than of a deer. Ours is a 
little more graceful in form, but still lacks those symmetrical pro- 
portions, which would suggest those agile movements of which 



they are certainly capable. We must remember, however, that 
the animals are represented when standing perfectly at ease rumi- 
nating. When excited they present an animated appearance, and 
would hardly be taken for the same animals. The extraordina- 
rily broad foot is common to both, though moi-e conspicuous on 
the European than the American variety. Altogether these ani- 
mals are so strikingly alike, even in their exceptional forms, as to 
at once suggest a relationship. I have had no more interesting 
study during my investigations than comparing these animals. 

Wild European Reinaeer, Female. 

In color, also, there is a marked difference between the wild 
deer of Norway and our Caribou, but unlike the larger species, 
in which the Swedish elk is lighter than the moose, we find the 
Norwegian Reindeer in the wild state are very appreciably dai'ker 
than ours and much more uniform in shade on the different indi- 
viduals, and especially with less white about the neck. A study 
of the domesticated Reindeer in Lapland of course can teach us 
nothing on this point, for as with other domesticated animals 
their color has become unstable to a very considerable extent, al' 
though even with them a large proportion retain the dark brown 
chocolate shade which is quite uniform on the wild deer, in that 
region, especially in early winter coat. 

In all else I have been unable to detect any difference in these 



two varieties of reindeer ; and unless we are very ambitious to 
multiply species, it seems to me that we cannot be justified in 
declaring that these slight and comparatively unimportant dis- 
tinctions, which are also quite common among individuals of 
each variety, constitute specific differences. If any one of these 
distinctions were found to be strictly uniform on each individual 
of the respective varieties, we might well pause before conclud- 
ing that the difference was owing to factitious causes. If, for in- 
stance, we had found that the antlers on each individual of the 
Caribou were formed exactly alike, and on each individual of the 
Eastern Reindeer the antlers were found invariably of a precise 
pattern, but sensibly differing from the others, we might be led 
to suspect a fundamental cause for the variation. 

In all else the similitudes are perfect, so far as I have been 
able to discover, in habits, structure, and markings. Many of 
these are peculiar to this species, and very remai'kable. 

What more can I, or need I, say in vindication of those zoolo- 
gists, who have concluded that the Reindeer of Europe and Amer- 
ica are of the same species ? 


We now come to the third and last species in which strong 
analogies ai'e found between the specimens found on the two con- 
tinents. These are the American Elk (C. Canadensis^), and the 
Red Deer, or Stag of Europe (C. elaphus'). That there are more 
discrepancies and fewer analogies between these than between the 
species just considered, is very plain to the careful observer, 
especially if he only examines the specimens of the present day. 
It is necessary, however, if we would fully understand their 
natural history, to study them in the light of the past as well 
as of the present, for the important inquiry is as to a com- 
mon origin, even in remote antiquity. If in this we can trace 
two separate lines constantly diverging, though it may be but 
little, we may rationally conclude that, could we trace them back 
far enough while they are constantly approaching each other, 
we should at last find them uniting at some point whence they 
commenced their departure. 

If originally from the same stock, long ages must have elapsed 
since their final separation by the interposition of a physical 
barrier which could not be overstepped, during which they have 
grown on independently with no possibility of intermingling, to 


bring them back to greater similitude to the common parent, 
during which their different conditions of life must have estab- 
lished physical peculiarities in each, which would finally become 
hereditary, and these peculiarities must have become multiplied 
and magnified in each with the continuance of time and genera- 
tion, and so the diverging lines would become continually more 
and more separated. It is a divine law stamped on all mat- 
ter, that nothing is stationary ; change, pei'petual and unceasing 
change must ever occur, else the work of the Supreme Architect 
would be at last finished, and when finished, his supervising 
care would be no longer required. Such a time, we think, can 
never come, even as to the minutest particle of matter, else it 
would at last arrive as to all things. If the law of change is 
ever active ; if destruction and reconstruction are always at 
work, observation tells us that every reconstruction differs in 
some respect, however minute, from all that had been before ; 
the long aggregation of minute changes must in time become very 
great, how great no one may venture to define. The extrac- 
tion of single drops of water would at length dry the bed of the 
ocean ; the removal of single grains of sand would displace a 
desert in the coui-se of time. If change is ever continuous, who 
shall fix limits to ti'ansformations which may at length occur. 
These are considerations which may be well remembered when 
we approach the present inquiry. 

We all know that there are certain features in the animal 
economy which are comparatively transitory, and so are easily 
obliterated or changed, while others are more persistent, and 
maintain their integrity to a greater or less degree under almost 
all circumstances or conditions. The nearer alike these pecul- 
iarities are found to be on all the individuals of a species, we 
may reasonably conclude the more persistent they are and the 
less change they have undergone during the course of time. 

How long the physical condition of the earth has rendered it 
impossible for these two varieties to intermingle, and so keep up 
an absolute identity, of course it is impossible to conjecture; but, 
at the shortest, it must have been a very long time. At least 
the generations must be counted by very many thousands. 

During that time we first notice that a great change has taken 
place in the size : the western has become much larger than the 
eastern. That one may have increased in size on the western 
continent, while the other has grown smaller on the eastern, at- 
tributable to physical causes, as aliment, climate, or the like. 



may be supposed, although we may be uuable to recognize these 
causes with certainty. 

The most remarkable difference, besides the size, is in the 
longer tail of the Stag, the partial obliteration of the white sec- 
tion on the rump on many of the individuals, and on others the 
presence of a line of spots along the flanks on either side of the 
dorsal line, similar to those which I have mentioned as sometimes 

.^J-AW A\(/1V\ \f/ 

Red Deer or Stag of Europe. 

observed on the common deer, though more distinct and more 
persistent, I observed these spots only on a very few of the Red 

In size the antlers vary much on different individuals of both 
species, but I judge they would average about the same in pro- 
portion to the size of the animals. There are some characteris- 


tics of tlie antlers of the Red Deer in which a difference may be 
observed from those of our Elk, but the more the subject is 
studied the more these differences disappear. 

On page 383 I present the figure of a Red Deer in the Zoolog- 
ical Gardens in Berlin, drawn from life, by the same artist who 
drew the reindeer. By comparing it with the Wapiti (ante, p. 
76), their likeness will be seen ; and by comparing its antlers and 
the antlers of the Red Tfeev^ante, pp. 214, 332), with the common 
and crown antlers of our Elk (ante, p. 210), it will be readily seen 
how peculiar and yet how alike they are. While the general 
figures of these antlers are quite unlike those of any other mem- 
ber of the family, they are strictly alike in design, though in 
detail there are some differences, which are frequent though not 
universal. The first to be noticed is that the bez-tine is much 
shorter than the brow or the royal tine on the Red Deer, while 
on our Elk it is usually about the same length as the brow-tine, 
and the royal is usually shorter than either ; still this is not 
universally the case, and formerly these peculiarities were less 
observable in both than now. This is manifest from an examina- 
tion of a great number of fossil antlers found in both countries. 
And this is true of another characteristic as well. It is now ex- 
ceedingly rare to find the snag on the upper side of the brow- 
antler of the Red Deer. Of all that I examined in Eurojje, I 
found it well developed only on one pair of antlers of the present 
day, and they were from Bohemia, and would have been taken 
at once by any naturalist to have come from America, and yet 
we have seen that this snag is developed in about five per cent. 
in this country. 

The crown antler, which is shown in the illustrations, is very 
common in Europe, but is very rare in this country ; and until 
quite lately I had no evidence of its existence here ; but I am now 
enabled to illustrate a pair of antlers from an American Elk from 
the Rocky Mountains, both of which are crown antlers, as well 
developed as is often met with in Europe (ante, p. 210). 

The fossil antlers found in Europe show a much larger propor- 
tion with the snag on the brow-antler, and a less proportion of 
crown antlers than are grown there at the present day, while 
these antlers are much larger and about the size of our Elk 

If we should take all the fossil antlers of this animal which I 
have examined in Europe and America, and arrange them to- 
gether promiscuously, I at least should have difficulty in cor- 


rectly classifying tliem, while I would make few mistakes in 
classifjnng those of the present day. 

The finest collection of both together which I have ever seen 
was in Berlin, where they were kept for sale, and where I had 
an excellent opportunity of studying them, to which I have al- 
ready referred in the chapter on antlers. Those from Northern 
Europe were easily distinguished from those from America, but 
those from Silesia, Bohemia, and Hungaiy were much larger, and 
in all things much more like those from the American Elk, and 
in many of the specimens I was at a loss to declare on which 
continent they grew. 

Judging from the antlers alone, upon all the evidence I have 
been able to accumulate, I could hardly hesitate to say that the 
Stag of Europe is a degenerate descendant of the same parents to 
which our Elk owe their origin, and that this degeneracy is most 
marked in those of the most northern countries. I have else- 
where remarked that our own Elk grow larger in the southern 
ranges, than in the northern, while the reverse is the case with 
most if not all of the other species of the famil3\ 

Another exceptional feature as connected with the antler, may 
not be without significance. In no case does the Wapiti or 
American Elk shed its antlers in the winter, but always carries 
them till spring opens, if the animal be in health. All the other 
members of the family drop their antlers at irregular intervals, 
from November till spring, excej^t the female caribou, as is more 
fully explained in the article on the antlers. In this very re- 
markable habit the Red Deer corresponds with our Elk. On this 
point Professor William Peters of Berlin writes me : " Concern- 
ing the shedding of the horns of our Cervus elaphiis, I can give 
you for Germany the following data : generally, they drop the 
horns in March ; very strong stags sometimes already in Feb- 
ruary, and younger ones carry them often till the month of May." 
This is a confirmation of the information which I have received 
in answer to all the inquiries I had made in Europe of those 
whose opportunities enabled them to observe the occurrence and 
whose observations would be considered valuable. Of the Red 
Deer, Cuvier says : " The antlers are shed in spring, the old ones 
losing them first." How exactly this corresponds with the 
habit of our Elk may be seen by turning to what is said of them 
in the article on the antlei-s. The absence of the tarsal gland in 
both, which is entirely exceptional in this country, and the exact 
similitude of the metatarsal gland in all its minute characteristics. 


when we consider its extraordinarj^ constancy in all the species, 
speaks very much in favor of their common origin. In both, 
this gland is located in the same place, in both it is entirely 
covered with white hairs, which are surrounded by a tuft 
of darker hairs ; this again is surrounded by a border of tawny 
color, which unites below the tuft, the tawny shade continu- 
ing down the posterior edge of the leg to the foot, and in both 
the tuft is of the same relative size. While these are so exactly 
alike on all the individuals of both these varieties, on none of the 
other members of the genus, in this country, at least, is this gland 
overgrown with hair, a very remarkable coincidence if they are 
not relatives. 

There is a difference in the color of these animals which seems 
to have become permanent and characteristic. The general color 
of the body of the Wapiti is a yellowish gray on the back and 
sides, with a darker shade on the belly, neck, and legs. The Stag 
shows a reddish gray, instead of the yellowish gray, also with a 
darker shade below as on the American variety, but the differ- 
ence in color is no greater than on the two other species whose 
analogies we have already considered. The white border around 
the eye, a mark observed on most though not all of the deer fam- 
ily, though varying greatly in extent on different individuals, is 
still generally present on the Stag, is more faded on Wapiti, and 
on some individuals seems wanting. 

After all, the greatest distinction I have been able to discover 
is in the tail, that on the Red Deer being appreciably longer in 
proportion to the size of the animal than on our Elk, it having 
more of a rufous shade of color and terminating less abruptly, or 
being more pointed. On our Elk the tail is so short that it does 
not cover the genital organ of the female, while this is completely 
hidden on the Red Deer. Of all the differences which I have 
been able to discover between these two animals, this to nie has 
seemed the most important and has made me hesitate longest in 
making up my mind as to the identity of the species. 

The difference in size of the animals, though very great, say 
more than one half, has very little significance in determining 
the question. Very great differences exist among individuals on 
both sides. I have seen some Red Deer as large as some of my 
smallest Elk, although this is no doubt of rare occurrence. 

But we have still greater differences in size among some of our 
undoubted species. The average of the Virginia deer is twice as 
large in the north as when found in its most southern range, 


while ill all otbei* respects they exactly correspond, and no ra- 
tional doubt should exist of their specific identity. The mule 
deer in the Rocky Mountains is four times as large as in Lower 
California, which difference is also supplemented by the fact that 
the cliange in the antler is quite as great, for on all of the small 
variety the antler has ceased to be bifurcated, but presents a 
spike like that of the yearling deer of the north ; or if ever bi- 
furcated that feature is as rare as on the first antlers of the bet- 
ter developed variety of the north, and yet I do not hesitate to 
rank them in the same species from their exact similitude in all 
other respects, according to the reliable information I have re- 
ceived of them. With the same propriety might we deny that 
the P\iegian and the Patagonian are of the same species. 

In considering this question of specific identity we should by 
no means forget that these animals freely interbreed whenever 
they have opportunity, and their progeny proves as fertile as 
either of the parents, as has been shown in the article on Hy- 
bridity. While this should not be considered as conclusive evi- 
dence of specific identity, it is important cumulative evidence in 
that direction. If in the wild state in the forest it were found 
that the sexes showed the same inclination for each other which 
they show for the opposite sex of their own varieties, this would 
add vastly to the weight of the evidence and would make out a 
very ?,tvong primd facie case at least ; for, as is shown in another 
place, the sexes of separate species have a natural sexual avei'sion 
for each other which is more marked in the female, and although 
this no doubt may be sometimes overcome in the wild state and 
Avithout constraint, and so hybrids produced voluntarily, probably 
if the truth could be known we should find that the female re- 
ceived the embraces of the male only when she could not find a 
male of her own species. After years of experimenting with as 
great facilities as are likely to be often enjoyed, I at least have 
been unable to obtain a hybrid under other conditions, and even 
when no proper male has been on any part of the grounds suc- 
cess has very rarely 'attended my efforts, as is more fully shown 
in another place. 

After the best investigation and consideration I have been 
able to give the subject — and my opportunities have not been 
stinted, — I am inclined to fall back into the ranks of those nat- 
uralists who first compared the two animals, who failed to find 
sufficient differences to justify the erection of a new species to 
accommodate the new variety found on this continent, and I 



should have been well justified in dropping the specific name of 
Cervus Canadensis and returning to that of Cervus elajjhus. 


The similarity in size, form, color, and habits of our little Aca- 
pulco Deer and the Ceylon Deer in my grounds, is so great, that 
no naturalist would be inclined to declare them specifically differ- 
ent, but for the absence of the metatarsal gland in the one, while 
it is very distinctly present in the other (see illustration, ante, 
p. 258). Even the antlers have a striking similarity, although I 
have but one set grown on the adult Acapulco Deer, and two sets 
grown on the Ceylon buck in my grounds, and those grown in 
1874 differ in an important particular from those grown on the 
same animal in 1878, in that the latter showed a very long 
anterior prong in proportion to the length of the beam, while on 
the former it is but a snag, although still longer than the snag 
on the Acapulco deer. In both there is a decided tendency to 
flatten towards the end of the beam, but the foreign deer has the 
longest and slimmest beam. Still it would be necessary to com- 
pare a much larger number than I have been able to do, before 
we can pronounce definitely as to positive distinctions, if there 
really be any. 

At last we are brought face to face with the question whether 
the entire absence of the metatarsal gland on one, and its distinct 
presence on the other, is sufficient to establish a specific differ- 
ence. For myself I am prepared to recognize such difference. 
I am undoubtedly strengthened in this conclusion from the fact 
that they come from places separated by ten thousand miles of ^ 
ocean, and one from an isolated island in the ocean, presenting 
insuperable obstacles to a common origin within an immense dis- 
tance of time, to say the least. 

Lest there might be some mistake as to the habitat of this 
Ceylon Deer, which after a careful study showed so great a sim- 
ilarity to the deer from Mexico, I wrote to Governor Latham, 
who presented me with the buck, inquiring if it were not pos-l 
sible that there was a mistake as to its origin ; to which he| 
answered that there could be no mistake, for he took it from 
sailing vessel which had just arrived at San Francisco from Cey- 
lon, which had not touched at any intermediate port. The other' 
arrived at San Francisco while I was there, on a Pacific mail 
steamer, from Panama, which touched at Acapulco, where the 


deer was taken on board. On the question of the habitat of these 
animals, I have deemed it important to be very particular, and 
the result is that I cannot doubt that their nativities are as 

Had both been found in the same range, I confess I should 
have long hesitated before concluding that the absence of the 
metatarsal gland in one, and its presence in the other, would 
alone justify us in declaring a specific difference; nor would it in 
any case, but from the fact that an examination of a great num- 
ber of individuals of most of the species, and a considerable num- 
ber of all, enable us to say that it is the most constant and uni- 
form of all the indicia to be found on any of them. Where it is 
wanting on one individual of a species, it is wanting on all, and 
where it is present on one, it is present on all, and is precisely 
alike on all of the same species, and entirely unlike that found on 
either of the other species ; so that no two of different species at 
all resemble each other in this regard, while in no two of the same 
species can any difference be detected. If other naturalists have 
attached less importance, or even no importance, to this than I 
do, I must be pardoned for saying that I think it is because they 
have studied it less. 

Had I found this gland present or absent in both, and so been 
unable to point out any substantial difference between them 
although coming from so widely separated localities, what should 
I say then as to their specific identity ; when it is certain that 
the races must have been separated for an immense period of 
time, to say the least? He who will answer the following ques- 
tion will answer that. When races or animals are alike, but in 
nowise related to each other, are they of the same species ? In 
connection with this subject, I repeat, that under the most fav- 
orable circumstances I found these deer to interbreed very reluc- 
tantly, and months after the proper season, but then the union 
was fully fertile, for the doe produced twins; however, these 
were still-born, or died very soon after birth. Not the least indi- 
cation of the metatarsal gland can be found on either of these 
fawns, which, of course, are added to my collection. I do not 
know but hybrids are as liable to be twins as others. Mares 
very rarely have twins, and yet I have heard of one well au- 
thenticated instance of twin mules in my own neighborhood. 

Altogether I think it very clear that there is a sexual aversion 
observed in these deer which is usually observed between individ- 
uals of different species, which augments the evidence of specific 


difference very much. In this we have the testimony of tlie an- 
imals themselves, which is scarcely less satisfactory than manifest 
physical differences ; nay, I am not prepared to say that this 
sexual aversion, which is so clearly manifest, is not more conclu- 
sive than very considerable variations of physical structure. 
Should we bring together two parties of deer, of several individ- 
uals, brought from distant localities, different physically in what 
we might consider important features, and find them associat- 
ing and interbreeding without the least restraint or reluctance, 
we should regard it as conclusive of specific identity, notwith- 
standing the physical differences. A white crow is recognized by 
his black brethren as a good crow, notwithstanding his degener- 
ate color, and the albino deer is regarded by the others as 
good a deer as the best of them. The doe in my collection was 
shot when standing by the side of a buck of the ordinary color. 
The social standing and sexual inclination manifested must be 
allowed to overcome serious difficulties in establishing relation- 
ship, and so on the other hand where aversion exists instead of 
inclination, it assures us of a radical difference though we may 
be unable to detect it on mere inspection. In this case the sex- 
ual aversion adds much to the significance of the absence of the 
gland on the hind leg, and leads us to expect that the compara- 
tive anatomist will surely find other differences which we cannot 
now detect. It is an additional evidence of the importance of 
this gland in classifying the deer. 


It is only when the deer ai'e in confinement that we can study 
the diseases to which they are subject and tlieir mode of treat- 
ment. That they are liable to distempers in the wild state 
either epidemic or contagious, which sometimes carry off great 
numbers, we may not doubt, as we sometimes receive pretty well 
authenticated accounts of such calamities. Such accounts as I 
have noticed have, however, been confined to the Vii'ginia Deer. 

If the moose or the caribou are in the wild state subject to dis- 
tempers I do not know it, and yet it is not improbable that such 
calamities may sometimes befall them but have not been observed. 

The Wapiti are undoubtedly very healthy and hardy, and ca- 
pable of enduring great vicissitudes. I have for many years had 
large numbers, and am not aware that one was ever sick. If 
only they get enough to eat, it scarcely matters what, they re- 
main healthy and in good condition. 

With me the Mule Deer have not proved healthy. The first 
pair I procured, I turned into the park where a considerable 
growth of white clover had established itself among the blue 
grass. In about a month I observed them drooling, and exam- 
ination showed that both were badly salivated. This I attributed 
to the white clover, and I immediately turned them into the 
flower garden where they could not find the clover, but a great 
variety of other food. All the deer are very fond of flowers and 
flowering plants and shrubs. The female, which was the oldest 
and not so badly affected as the other, recovered in a few weeks, 
but the buck was too far gone ; his teeth finally dropped out and 
he died. The doe was never again afflicted in the same way, 
— nor for that matter any other deer, — though she ran in the 
same grounds for several years thereafter. 

The next Mule buck I procured seemed quite healthy for sev- 
eral years; when at last, in the month of May, I found him in 
the East Park with hoofs grown to fully four inches in length, so 
that he could only walk with great difficulty and on his heels. I 
sawed about an inch from each toe, which enabled him to walk 
more comfortably, and turned him into the orchard. Although 
he seemed to eat and ruminate pretty well, still he grew worse. 


and died within a month. His liver was greatly enlarged and 
gorged with bile. In both the East Park and in the orchard 
this deer had fonnd a plenty of arboreous food. 

When the Mule fawns were about a year old, they both showed 
the same symptoms, — elongation of the hoofs. I immediately 
took them up and put them on dry feed, and gave them small 
doses of fodo'p'hyUum^ and tonics, as ginseng, quassia, quinine, 
and the like, giving them daily a small supply of the foliage and 
twigs of the wild cherry. Their hoofs immediately stopped the 
abnormal growth, and in ten days they commenced ruminating 
again, and in a month they were turned out quite well. These 
are all the cases of this distemper I have ever had. In the fall 
both these fawns were attacked with a diarrhea when they were 
again put in hospital and treated as before, with promising re- 
sults. The disease was checked, and returned several times, but 
before winter the female died. The buck struggled with it for 
two months, till finally he seemed quite recovered and did finely 
till spring. The disease then returned and he succumbed when 
two years old. In short this is the history of all the Mule Deer 
I have had except the two first, and the one which died having 
the elongated hoof. This disease has proved fatal to all the 
Mule Deer after remaining healthy for one or two or three years, 
and most of the Columbia deer have died of the same disease. 
I have had a pretty extensive practice with these deer, and have 
often been able to afford relief, but this disease was sure to re- 
turn, perhaps, on some slight provocation. The last I had was 
when the acorns were ripe, which I gathered and fed to her. 
For a day this seemed but to aggravate the distemper, but being 
persisted in she got much better, but my hopes were again dis- 
appointed, and she died in November. Only these two species , 
have been afflicted with diarrhea. 

I have lost many Virginia Deer with a swelling under the 
lower jaw. It commences two or three inches back of the chin, 
and finally swells out so as to involve the whole head below the 
eyes ; sometimes it gathers in a sac of half an ounce of pus-like 
matter, one of which I opened, but the deer died. I never knew 
one to break itself. When the tame deer are attacked with this 
distemper, and it is observed in time, I have never failed to cure 
it. If when it first appears it is examined, a small hard kernel 
is found just under the skin. If this is then cut out the deer gets 
well at once. Later, the lump seems to be dissipated, but if the 
swelling has not extended above the lower jaw, though it may be 


three inches long, and the protuberance an inch thick, and really 
has an alarming appearance, a deep central incision an inch or 
more long has always proved effectual. But as only the tame 
deer, which can be caught, can be treated, all the wild Virginia 
Deer which have been attacked, so far as I know, have died. In 
the early part of ray experiments, this disease was much more 
prevalent than in later years, and so I conclude that those more 
remotely descended from the wild stock are the least liable to it. 
It only attacks the adults, or those more than two years old. 

Two of the Ceylon adult does have been attacked with it, both 
of which were dropped in my ground. They were too wild to 
be taken and treated, but to my surprise both recovered, which 
has I think never happened with the Virginia Deer. I have no 
account that this disease has ever been observed among the wild 
deer of the forests ; certainly, I have never seen one afflicted with 

I have never observed any syrtiptoms of it either among the 
Elk, the Mule deer, the Columbia deer, or the Acapulco deer. 


No saint in the calendar has had more devoted or more pains- 
takhig disciples than Saint Hubert. In savage life, the pursuit 
of wild beasts or the capture of fish has always been a necessity, 
and in all ages, and in all civilized countries, many persons have 
found their most exquisite enjoyments in the same pursuit. As 
a general rule, these persons are lovers of nature unmarred by 
the hand of man. They love to hear the rushing of mighty 
waters, and they love the soft cadence of the murmuring brook. 
They love the deep shade of tlie primeval forest, and they love 
the broad expanse of the wild prairie, with its green, grassy car- 
pet, gemmed all over with brilliant wild flowers whose fragrance 
they inhale with a new delight. They love the rocky canon and 
the mountain ci'ag, where the throes of nature have upheaved the 
earth's deep crust and thrown all into a wild confusion, as if in 
anger an Almighty hand had there dashed the debris of another 
world. They love to sleep beneath the old pine tree, and listen to 
the sighing of the wind as it softly creeps through its long and 
slender leaves, or upon the soft grass by the side of the sweet 
spring of water under the broad spreading oak, the rustling of 
whose leaves soothes to quiet repose. They love to listen to the 
raging storm, and see its wild work all around them; and so they 
love the soothing influence of the quiet calm, when nature seems 
in profound i-epose, and all is still as the infant's slee2D. At 
the break of day upon the mountain side they love to count the 
stars, and witness the waking of animated nature, when the 
birds fly forth to sing, and the beasts leave their lairs to seek 
their food while yet the dew softens the herbage which they love 
the best. They love to catch the sun's first rays as they dart 
from beneath the distant horizon, feeling new life and vigor as 
they shine upon them, and with swelling heart they watch him 
rise, as if from a bed of rest, and cast his smile upon the new- 
born day. Oh, it is a glorious joy to be where the defacing hand 
of man has never marred the harmonious beauty which pervades 
Nature's handiworks. There we look with reverence and awe 
upon what God has done, and what God alone could do, and re- 
joice, even in our insignificance, that we are permitted there to 


contemplate sucli sublime display. Far away from ever-restless 
city life, and its surging crowd and its tainted air, we love to 
breathe the air of freedom sweet and uncontaminated, where 
every breath revives the spirits, stimulates the circulation, awak- 
ens the dormant energies, and inspires new life within us. If 
this be savage life, then am I a savage still. If these be traits 
of character inherited from remote barbaric ancestors, I rejoice 
that civilization has failed to strangle what in them Avas purest 
and most elevating. 

But the sportsman of the present day is admitted to a higher 
pleasure than those of ancient times could ever know. For this 
he is indebted to our civilization, which while it could not eradi- 
cate in him a love of nature, has enabled him to understand na- 
ture, — to become a naturalist ; to know about that nature which 
surrounds him, and which he loves so well ; to appreciate the 
characteristics and the peculiarities of those objects whose chase 
and cap>ture fills him with such a thrill of pleasure. When he 
has shot a bird, captured a quadruped, or taken a fish, he takes 
it up and examines it as he would a book full of knowledge, and 
is enabled to see its peculiarities, and discover its many points of 
beauty and harmony, which those who simply kill to eat, or per- 
haps from a love of blood and slaughter, can never see, or seeing 
could not appreciate, and so enjoy. 

The cougar seeks his prey to satisfy his hunger, the sportsman 
that he may study nature in her various phases and understand 
her haruionies ; the better he is qualified to do these, the higher 
will be his sense of pleasure at his captures. I am gratified to 
observe among modern sportsmen a more elevated tone, a higher 
culture, by which they the better understand the natural history 
of the various objects which they pursue. Of all men they have 
the greatest opportunities to observe the characteristics of the 
animals which they meet, with in the chase, and the better they 
learn how to observe, the more will they observe and compare, 
and note down, and through them may we soon hope to gather a 
fund of scientific observations, which will leave far behind all 
that has been written or known of many of our most familiar 
animals. Even now he takes with him to his camp in the forest 
works on natural historj^ treating of those animals which he pro- 
poses to pursue, and critically compares his captures with the 
observations of the authors, and corrects or confirms their state- 
ments. To the pot hunter, who kills the game to sell as a butcher 
does a sheep, pursues it not because he is a lover of nature, and 


takes no more pleasure in it than he would in weeding a bed of 
onions, of course a study of the animals he kills would afford him 
no pleasure, but to the cultivated mind capable of understanding 
and appreciating the works of the Divine hand, the pleasures of 
the pursuit are immeasurably enhanced by a capacity to under- 
stand the object taken. 

No other genus of quadrupeds is distributed over so large a 
portion of the earth's surface as the Cervidse, no other has so 
largely contributed to the sustenance of uncivilized man, and the 
flesh of no other is so generally admired as food. From the fact 
that it has contributed moi-e than any other quadruped to the 
support of savage life, it has been more the object of pursuit 
than any other by uncivilized races. 

In the border settlements of our own country, the deer has 
been an important source of food supply to our frontier settlers, 
who might justly be called a race of hunters; very few indeed 
have made it a constant business, but nearly all have made it an 
occasional and incidental pursuit. 

From the earliest times to the present, the deer has occupied 
the first rank as a game animal, affording exercise and excite- 
ment to the sportsman. In Africa alone the deer are not abun- 
dant, but the antelope, the buffalo, and the elephant, are there the 
principal objects of pursuit by the savage and the civilized. 

In a very limited area in our own country, the bison is, or 
was, more important than the deer, but the district is so small 
where the bison is or was found in plenty, that it loses all com- 
parison with the deer, which are abundant, in mountain and val- 
ley, in forest and prairie, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 
from Cape Horn to the frozen islands in the Arctic Sea. 

In savage life, without the means furnished by civilization, 
the capture of the deer and other game was accomplished to a 
considerable extent by bows and arrows, but chiefly by means of 
traps or inclosures of various kinds, and the promptings of want 
developed contrivances which insured a large measure of success. 
These are all based upon the capabilities of the animals, de- 
veloped by their habits, which were a life study of the Indian 
hunter, and were comprehended by him in a remarkable degree. 

The principal of these, or at least the most important, are the^ 
defect of vision and the acuteness of the senses of smell and of 
hearing. These are characteristics which are common to all deer, 
and must never be forgotten by thej^savage hunter or the civilized 


sportsman. All have recognized the acute senses of smell an 
hearing, and so thej? have acted upon the defective vision, some- 
times without clearly comprehending why it was that they were 
required so to act in order to insure success. 


We have reason to believe that the Indian was not partic- 
ularly successful in the capture of the Moose with the bow and 
the arrow. The great size, strength, and endurance of the an- 
imal rendered it difficult to bring him down with that weapon, 
unless at very close range, and his ability to detect the least 
sound, and to notice the least taint in the air, rendered a close 
approach very difficult. In summer time he was more fre- 
quently captured in the water. At that season he affects marshy 
grounds, where lakes and lakelets abound, and into these he 
plunges to escape the torments of the flies and mosquitoes, 
deeply immersing himself much of the time, generally with only 
his nose above water. In this position he could be successfully 
attacked by the Indians in their canoes, at sufficiently close 
quarters to make their arrows effective, or they could even dis- 
able him with blows before he could escape. This was often 
dangerous sport or business, whichever you please to call it, for 
a single blow from the antlers or the foot of a moose was suffi- 
cient to demolish or sink a canoe, when the hunter would be 
fortunate if he escaped with his life. This mode of pursuit was, 
however, generally successful, and much meat was obtained in 
that way by the natives. 

The Moose, and so of the other deer, have their favoiite paths 
or highways in the forests where they abound, and in these they 
were frequently captured. For this purpose a lasso was cut from 
the green hide of the Moose, by following round it, cutting wider 
at the thinner portions, till the desired length was attained. The 
hair was then closely shaved off, the thong twisted to the proper 
degree, and then stretched to the utmost, and in this position 
dried. After this it was made pliable to a certain degree, by 
working or use, retaining, however, sufficient rigidity for the 
purpose. This was suspended across a convenient limb, with a 
running noose at one end, which was suspended directly over the 
path, abundantly large for the head and antlers of the largest 
Moose to pass through, but sufficiently high from the ground to 
obstruct the passage of the feet. To the other end a heavy 


weight, usually a log of wood, was attached. This was held 
suspended high above the gi'ound by a trip, properly arranged, 
which was to spring by the least strain from the loop of the 
thong. Through this the Moose would unsuspectingly pass, till 
his breast, or fore legs should touch the lower line of the noose, 
when the trip would spring, the weight would drop, and the line 
would be drawn tightly around the neck of the animal. The 
attachment to the limb not being rigid, the animal could go some 
distance by drawing the log up to the limb, but by the time this 
was done, the animal would be nearly choked down, the drag of 
the weight always maintaining the severe tension. A few 
minutes rearing and struggling must always end in the death of 
the animal. In this mode the Indians captured many moose, 
elk, and other animals, before they obtained fire-arms ; and even 
since, it has been sometimes resorted to with success. 

Whymper describes the mode practiced by the Indians in 
Alaska, of pursuing the Moose in the summer time. He says : 
" One was killed in the water by the knife of the Indian. The 
natives do not always waste powder and shot over them, but get 
near the moose, maneuvering round in their birch-bark canoes 
till the animal is fatigued, and then stealthily approach and stab 
it in the heart or loins." ^ 

All agree that they take to the water readily, and are good 
swimmers, though they swim higher than the common deer. In 
the summer they are usually hunted about the lakes and rivers 
which they frequent, and probably more are killed in the water 
and on the islands than on the main land. The author above 
quoted, in a note, says : '■ In some cases, the Indians in numbers 
surround an island known to have moose or reindeer on it, when 
a regular battue ensues." 

The greatest slaughter of the Moose by the natives — and so it 
has been by the white men since — took place in the winter, when 
the country was covered over with deep snow. With the aid of 
snow-shoes, the Indians could pursue them at a rapid pace, while 
the Moose had to struggle through the snow, into which he 
would sink his whole depth at every step. No endurance could 
sustain him a long time with such labor, and his prodigious 
strength must at last succumb, while the Indian was rapidly pur- 
suing him on the surface of the light snow on his broad snow- 
shoes. Later in the season, when the surface of the snow was 
softened or melted by the sun during the day, and became frozen 

1 Travels in Alaska and on the Yukon, p. 246. 


hard during the night, a crust would be formed sufficient to bear 
a man or a dog, but incapable of sustaining the Moose. When 
a Moose was found under such conditions, he was quite at the 
mercy of his pursuers. For a short distance he could force his 
way through the treacherous snow, into which he would sink at 
every step, but in rising from it the sharp edges of the icy crust 
would cut and bruise his legs in a cruel way, and he would soon 
be overtaken and dispatched. 

This cruel mode of pursuing the deer has not been confined to 
the northern regions, where alone the Moose are met with, nor 
yet to the aborigines, who hunted for the necessaries of life, and 
whose greatest resource was the deer, but whenever the condi- 
tions permitted, great numbers of the Virginia deer were thus 
pursued and slaughtered, not only by the aborigines, but by 
our frontier settlers as well. Fortunately, in the lower latitudes, 
where the Virginia deer are most abundant, deep snows covered 
with this strong crust have been of rare occurrence. 

In these conditions the deer are more helpless than any other 
quadruped, by reason of the small, sharp foot, Avhich cuts through 
the crust, while most other animals would be supported upon it. 
The reindeer or caribou, whose foot presents a much broader 
surface for support, has been less persecuted in this way than the 
other members of the familJ^ 

Both the Moose and the caribou, during the winter, when 
deep snows are frequent in the forests which they inhabit, collect 
together in small bands and form what are called yards., gen- 
erally the females and young by themselves. Some of these 
are more complete than others, and it is only the most perfect 
which have been usually described by authors and hunters. In 
these the deer tramp the snow down to a hard floor throughout 
the yard, leaving it surrounded by a vertical wall of the untrodden 
snow. The places selected for these yards are dense thickets, 
affording the greatest abundance of shrubbery, yielding their 
favorite food, which is arboreous. This they utterly destroy 
within their yard, by consuming the twigs and stripping off the 
bark. Even the large trees which they cannot bend down to 
reach the tops, they denude of the bark so far as they can reach. 
If they do not relish this coarse, dry bark of the large trees, 
they consume it all to satisfy their hunger. When all the food 
within the yard, — which sometimes becomes considerably ex- 
tended to reach the shrubbery, — is consumed, they break their 
way to another location where a fresh supply may be found, and 
form a new yard. 


It is rare, however, that these yards have all the surface com- 
pactly trodden down. They make paths from the radial points 
to reach the trees or shrubbery in the neighborhood, so that the 
area of their habitation is much extended by streets or paths, 
well packed down, between which the deep snow remains undis- 
turbed, and frequently this system of paths constitutes the yard, 
with but a very limited central area, quite trodden down. When 
the snow is deep and covered with a hard crust, the deer are 
sought in these yards, but not exclusively. 

The reindeer are much less accustomed to yard in winter than 
the Moose, and it is a habit rarely observed in any other of the 
deer family, so far as I have information. 

Since the appearance of civilized man with firearms, and the 
introduction of those weapons among the savages, a change has 
necessarily been made in the chase of the deer, as well as other 
game, or at least the old modes are less relied upon, and the new 
weapon has become the principal dependence. The mode of 
hunting this deer now is, in general, the same with the civilized 
and the savage hunter, especially on the frontiers and with the 
larger species, which are only found in the wilderness beyond the 
borders of the white settlements. 

More endurance and sagacity are required in the chase of the 
Moose Deer than anj' of the others, for they are more suspicious 
and cautious, and seem to possess the senses of smell and hear- 
ing in a higher degree than the smaller species. Indeed, it seems 
to be a general rule that the older and tlie larger specimens of 
a given species are more difficult to capture than the smaller, 
as well as that the larger species are more cautious than the 

A life-long experience and study of the habits of the animal 
and of wood craft, seem to have endowed the Indian with 
greater skill than the white man, especially in the pursuit of the 
Moose and the Caribou ; hence the white hunter generally secures 
the services of an Indian when he goes in pursuit of this noble 

The proper season for hunting the Moose is at the commence- 
ment of the rut, say in September, when his antlers have per- 
fected their growth, the velvet has been rubbed off, and they 
have become finely polished against the trees. Then it is, that 
he is in the best condition and the venison is the choicest ; then 
it is, that his desires have stimulated his courage and deprived 
him of a portion of that caution which makes his capture so dif- 



ficult. Then it is, that he may be met with, rashly roaming 
through the forest hunting for a mate, at tlie same time seeking 
combats with his own species and sex. After he has found the 
mate he desires, and they have retired to the secluded place se- 
lected for their home where they are to pass the honey moon — 
I have already stated that they are monogamic — they give up 
this roving habit and remain quietlj^ at home, till the season is 
passed, unless disturbed by the hunter or the male is divorced 
and expelled by some powerful rival. When his domestic rela- 
tions are thus broken up he again starts on his travels more mad- 
dened and fierce than before, and although he may be an ugly 
brute to meet and provoke, the lack of his customarj^ caution 
makes him fall a more easy prey to the cautious hunter. 

Two modes of hunting the Moose at this season are chiefly re- 
lied upon, and in both of these the skill of the Indian is quite 
indispensable. The first is the still hunt, iti which the track of 
the animal is followed over the most difficult ground in profound 
silence and with the greatest caution, till the game is seen be- 
fore he suspects the presence of his pursuer, and is then ap- 
proached with still greater labor and care, till within rifle range, 
or is discovered in his secluded lair, and is crept upon by the 
cautious liunter, till he can be reached by the leaden missile 
which is to crown the hopes of the hunter and reward him for 
all his pains. The other is the call., in which the Indian imitates 
the voice of the Moose either male or female in all its variations, 
and by this means induces the deluded animal to approach the 
concealed hunter, till he comes within shooting distance. The 
former must be pui'sued in the day-time, while the night or par- 
tial darkness are generally deemed necessary to insure success in 
the other. Long experience and a close habit of observation 
alone can qualify one to detect the foot-prints of the animal pur- 
sued, over the barren rocks or the yielding and elastic moss, 
where the unpracticed eye can detect no sign that the animal has 
ever been there ; and an intimate knowledge of the habits of 
the animal is necessary to determine the course he has taken 
when the track is finally lost, and to determine the places 
where he would be most likely to stop to feed and rest, or the 
covert where he would be most likely to take up his abode dur- 
ing the conjugal relation. The call can only be successfully re- 
sorted to by those who after infinite practice are enabled at will 
to imitate to perfection all the notes uttered by the Moose of both 
sexes, and all ages, and under all circumstances, from the feeble 


call of the young calf, the anxious call of the solicitous mother, 
the amorous note of the female seeking a mate, or the masculine 
response of the male, to the fierce and defiant challenge of the 
bull when a rival is suspected to be near. Each of these, on oc- 
casion, must be perfectly expressed, or the counterfeit will be de- 
tected and the suspicious game will instantly disappear. 

I can best illustrate the first mode of hunting the Moose by an 
extract from that ardent and experienced sportsman and admir- 
able writer, Captain Campbell Hardy, in "• Forest Life in Aca- 
die," p. 91. I have no fear that my extract will be too long, for 
it is instructive as well as interesting : — 

" Presently the canoe was signaled, and going down to the 
water's edge I embarked, and in a few minutes stood before Joe's 
castle. It was a substantial farm-house, evidently built by some 
settler who had a notion of making his fortune by the aid of a 
small stream, which flowed into the lake close by, and over which 
stood a saw-mill. An old barn was attached, and from its rafters 
hung moose-hides of all ages and in all stages of decomposition ; 
horns, legs, and hoofs ; porcupines deprived of their quills, which 
are used for ornamental work by the women ; and in fact a very 
similar collection, only on a grander scale, to that which is often 
displayed on the outside of a gamekeeper's barn in England. 

" A rush of lean, hungry looking curs was made through the 
door as Joe opened it to welcome me. ' Walk in Capten — ah, 
you brute of dog, Koogiviook ! Mrs. Cope from home visiting 
some friends in Windsor. Perhaps you take some dinner along 
with me and Jim before we start up lake.' 

"■ ' All right, Joe ; I'll smoke a pipe till you and Jim are ready,' 
I replied, not much relishing the appearance of the parboiled 
moose-meat, which Jim was fishing out of the pot. ' No chance 
of calling to-night, I'm afraid, Joe ; we shall have a wet night.' 

" ' I never see such weather for time of year, Capten ; every- 
thing in woods so wet — can't hardly make fire ; but grand time 
for creeping, oh, grand! everything you see, so soft, don't make 
no noise. What sort of moccasin you got ? ' 

" ' A good pair of moose-shanks, you sold me last winter, Joe; 
they are the best sort for keeping out the wet, and they are so 
thick and warm.' 

" The moose-shank moccasin is cut from the hind leg of the 
Moose ; it is in shape like an angle-boot, and is sewn up tightly 
at the toe, and with this exception being without seam, is nearly 
water tight. The interior of Cope's castle was not very sweet, 


nor were its contents arranged in a very orderly manner — this 
latter fact to be accounted for, perhaps by the absence of the 
lady. Portions of moose were strewn everywhere ; potatoes were 
heaped in various corners, and nothing seemed to have any cer- 
tain place allotted to it ; smoke-dried eels were suspended from 
the rafters in company with strings of moose-fat and dried cakes 
of concrete blueberries and apples. Joe had, however, some idea 
of the ornamental, for parts of the 'Illustrated News' and 
' Punch ' divided the walls with a number of gaudy pictures of 
saints and martyrs. 

" The repast being over, the Indians strided out, replete, with 
lighted pipes, and paddles in hand, to the beach. Some fresh 
moose meat was placed in the canoe, with a basket of Joe's 
' taters,' which Jim said, ' 't was hardly any use boiling ; they 
were so good, they fell to pieces.' A little waterproof canvas 
camp was spread over the rolls of blankets, guns, camp-kettles, 
and bags containing the grub, which was strewed at the bottom ; 
and, having seated myself beside them, the Indians stepped 
lightly into the canoe and pushed it off, when, propelled by the 
long sweeping strokes of their paddles, we glided rapidly up the 

" Indian lake is a beautiful sheet of water, nearly ten miles in 
length, and, proportionately, very narrow — perhaps half a mile 
in its general breadth. Rolling hills, steep and covered with 
heavy fir and hemlock wood, bound its western shore ; those on 
the opposite side showing a dreary, burnt country. The' maple 
bushes skirting the water were tinged with their brightest au- 
tumnal glow ; and in the calm water in coves and nooks on the 
windward side of the lake, the reflections were very beautiful. I 
longed for a cessation of the rain, and a gleam of sunshine across 
the hill-tops, if only to enjoy the scenery as we passed. And cer- 
tainly a seat in a canoe is a very pleasant position from which to 
observe the beauties of lake and river scenery, the spectator being 
comfortably seated on a blanket, or bunch of elastic boughs in the 
bottom of the canoe, — legs stretched out in front, back well sup- 
ported by rolls of blankets, and elbows resting on the gunwale 
on either side. 

" 'Ah ! here is the half-way rock, what the old Indians call the 
Grandmother,' said Joe, steering the canoe so as to pass close 
alongside a line of rocks which stood out in fantastic outlines from 
the water close to the western shore of the lake. ' Here is the 



Grandmother, — we must give her something, or we have no 

" To the rocks in question are attached a superstitious attribute 
of having the power of influencing the good or bad fortune of the 
hunter. They are supposed to be the enchanted form of some 
genius of the forest ; and few Indians, on a hunting mission up 
the lake, care to pass them without first propitiating the spirit of 
the rocks, by depositing a small offering of a piece of money, to- 
bacco, or biscuit, 

" ' That will do, Capten ; anything a'most will do ; ' said Joe, 
as one cut off a small piece of tobacco, and another threw a 
small piece of biscuit or potato to the rock. ' Now you would n't 
b'lieve, Capten, that when you come back you find that all gone. 
I give you my word that 's true ; we always find what we leave 
gone.' Whereupon Joe commenced a series of illustrative yarns, 
showing the dangers of omitting to visit the ' Grandmother,' 
and how Indians who had passed her had shot themselves in the 
woods, or had broken their legs between rocks, or had violent 
pains attack them shortly after passing the rocks, and on return- 
ing and making the presents had immediately recovered. 

" ' It looks as if it were going to be calm to-night, Joe,' said 
I, as we neared the head of the lake. ' Which side are we to 
camp on ? Those long, mossy swamps which run back into the 
woods on the western side look likely resorts for Moose.' 

" ' No place handy for camp on that side," said Joe;- ' grand 
place for Moose though. Guess if no luck to-morrow mornin' 
we cross there ; I got notion of trying this side first.' And so 
having beached the canoe, turned her over, and thrown her into 
the bushes secure froni observation, we made up our bundles, 
apportioning the loads, and followed Joe into the forest, now 
darkened by the rapidly closing shades of evening. In a very 
short time the dripping branches discharging their heavy showers 
upon us as we brushed against them, and the saturated moss and 
rank fern made us most uncomfortably wet ; and as the difficul- 
ties of traveling increased as the daylight receded, and the tight, 
wet moccasin is not much guard to the feet coming in painful 
contact with unseen stump or rock, we were not sorry when the 
weary tramp up the long, wooded slope was ended, and a faint 
light through the trees in the front showed that we had arrived 
at the edge of the barrens. ' It 's no use trying to make call 
to-night, that sartin,' said Joe ; ' could n't see Moose if he come. 
Oh, dear me, I sorry for this weather. Come, Jem, we try make 

THE CHASE. ' 355 

camp right away.' It was a cheerless prospect as we threw off 
our bundles on the wet ground ; it was quite dark, and, thouo-h 
nearly calm, the drizzling rain still fell and pattered in large 
drops, falling heavily from the tree-tops to the ground beneath. 
First we must get a good fire, — no easy thing to an un- 
practiced hand in the woods, saturated with a week's rain. 
However it can be done, so seek we for some old stump of rot- 
ten wood, easily knocked over and rent asunder, for we maj^ per- 
haps, find some dry stuff in the heart. Joe has found one, and, 
with two or three efforts, over it falls with a heavy thud into the 
moss, and splits into a hundred fragments. The centre is dry, and 
we return to the spot fixed upon with as much as we can carry. 
The moss is scraped awaj^ and a little carefully composed pile of 
the deadwood being raised, a match is applied and a cheerful 
tongue of flame shoots up and illuminates the dark woods, en- 
abling us to see our way with ease. Now is the anxious time 
on which depends the success of the fire, a hasty gathering of 
more dry wood is dexterously piled on, some dead hardwood 
trees are felled and split with the axe into convenient sticks, and 
in a few minutes we have a rousing fire which will maintain 
itself, and greedily consume anything that is heaped upon it, in 
spite of the adverse element. A few young saplings are then 
cut and placed slantingly, which rest in the forks of two upright 
supports ; the canvas is unrolled and stretched over the prim- 
itive frame and our camp has started into existence. The branches 
of the young balsam firs, which form its poles, are well shaken 
over the fire and disposed in layers beneath to form the bed ; 
blankets are unrolled and stretched over the boughs, and I find 
to my joy that the rain had not reached the change of clothes 
packed in my bundle. I presently recline at full length under the 
sheltering camp, in front of a roaring fire which is rapidly va- 
porizing the moisture contained in my recent garments, sus- 
pended from the top of the camp in front. Joe is still abroad, 
providing a further stock of firewood for the night, while his son 
is squatting over the fire with a well filled frying-pan, and its 
hissing sounds drown the pattering of the rain-drops. 

" After our comfortable meal, followed the fragrant weed, of 
course, and a discussion of what we should do on the morrow. 
The barrens we had come to were of great extent, and of a very 
bad nature for traveling, the ground being most intricately 
strewed with dead trees of the forest which once covered it ; and 
the bi'iars and bushes overgrowing and concealing their sharp, 


broken limbs and rough granite rocks often cause a severe bruise 
or fall to the hunter. It was, as Joe said, a ' grand place ' for 
calling the Moose, as in some spots the country could be scanned 
for miles around, whilst the numerous small bushes and rock 
bowlders would afford a ready concealment from the quick sight 
of this animal. However, time would show. If calling could 
not be attempted next morning, it would most likely be suitable 
for creeping ; so, hoping for a calm morning and a clear sky, or, 
at all events for a cessation of the rain, we stretched ourselves for 
repose ; and the pattering drops and the crackling and snapping 
of the logs on the fire, and the hooting of the owls in the distant 
forest, became less and less heeded or heard, till sleep translated 
us to the land of dreams. 

" To our disgust, it still rained when we awoke next morning ; 
the wind was in the same direction, and the same gloomy sky 
promised no better things for us that day. The old Indian, how- 
ever, drew on his mocasins, and started off to the barren by 
himself, to take a survey of the country wliilst the breakfast was 
preparing, and I gloomily threw myself back on the blanket for 
another snooze. After an hour or so's absence, Joe returned and 
sat down to his breakfast (we had finished our's and were smok- 
ing), looking very wet and excited. ' Two Moose pass round 
close to camp last night,' said he. ' I find their tracks on bar- 
ren. They gone down the little valley towards the lake, and I 
see their tracks again in the woods quite fresh. You get ready, 
Capten ; I have notion we see Moose to-daj'. I see some more 
tracks on the barren going southward ; however, we try the 
tracks near camp first, — may be we find them, if not started by 
the smell of the fire.' 

" We were soon at it ; and left our camp with hopeful hearts, 
and in Indian file, stepping lightly in 'each other's tracks over the 
elastic moss. Everything was in first-rate order for creeping on 
the Moose ; the fallen leaves did not rustle on the ground, and 
even dead sticks bent without snapping, and we progressed rap- 
idly and noiselessly as cats towai'ds the lake. Presently we came 
on the tracks, here and there deeplj^ impressed on a bare spot of 
soil, but on the moss hardly discernible, except to the Indian's 
keen vision. They were going down the valley ; a little brook 
coursed through it towards the lake, and from the mossy banks 
sprung graceful bushes of moose-wood and maple, on the young 
shoots of which the Moose had been feeding as they passed. The 
tracks showed that they were a young bull and a cow, those of 

THE chase: 357 

the latter being much larger and more pointed. Presently we 
came to an opening in the forest, where the brook discharo-ed 
itself into a large circular swamp, densely grown up with alder 
bushes and swamp maple, with a thick undergrowth of gigantic 
ferns. Joe whispered, as we stood on the brow of the hill over- 
looking it, ' May be they are in there lying down ; if not they 
are started ; ' and putting to his lips the conical bark trumpet 
which he carried, he gave a short, plaintive call — an imitation 
of a young bull approaching and wishing to join the others. No 
answer or sound of movement came from the swamp. ' Ah, I 
afraid so,' said Joe, as Ave passed around and examined the 
ground on the other side. ' I most all the time fear they started ; 
they smell our fire this morning, while Jem was making the 
breakfast.' Long striding tracks, deeply plowing up the moss, 
showed they had gone off in alarm, and at a swinging trot, their 
course being for the barrens above. It was useless to follow 
them, so we went off to another part of the barren in search of 
other tracks. The walking in the open barren was very fatiguing 
after the luxury of the mossy carpeting of the forest, slipping con- 
stantly on the wet, smooth rocks, or slimy surfaces of decayed 
trees ; forever climbing over masses of prostrate trunks, and for- 
cing our way tlirough tangled brakes, and plunging into the ooz- 
ing moss on newly-inundated swamps, we spent a long morning 
without seeing Moose, though our spirits were prevented from 
flagging by constantly following fresh tracks. The Moose were 
exceedingly ' yiuy,' as Joe termed it, and we started two or 
three pairs witliout either hearing or seeing them, until some ex- 
clamation of disappointment from tlie Indian proclaimed the un- 
welcome fact. At length we reached the most elevated part of the 
barren. We could see the wooded hills of the opposite shore of 
the lake looming darkly through the mist, and here and there a 
portion of its dark waters. The country was very open; nothing 
but moss and stunted huckleberry bushes, about a foot and a half 
in height, covered it, save here and there a clump of dwarf maples, 
with a few scarlet leaves still clinging to them. The forms of 
prostrate trunks, blackened by fire, lying across the bleached 
rocks often gave me a start, as, seen at a distance, through the 
dark, misty air, they resembled the forms of our long-sought 
game — particularly so, when surmounted by twisted roots up- 
heaved in their fall, which appeared to crown them with antlers. 
" ' Stop, Capten ! not a move ; ' suddenly whispered old Joe, 
who was crossing the barren a few yards to my left ; ' don't 


move one bit!' behalf bissed and balf said tbrougb bis teeth. 
' Down ! sink down — slow, like me ! ' and we all gradually 
subsided in the wet bushes. 

" I bad not seen bim ; I knew it was a Moose, though I dared 
not ask Joe ; but quietly awaited further directions. Presently, 
on Joe's invitation, I slowly dragged my body through the 
bushes to him. ' Novp you see him, Capten ; there — there! 
My sakes, what a bull ! What a pity we not a little nearer — 
such open country ! ' 

" There he stood — a gigantic fellow — black as night, moving 
his head which was surmounted by massive white-looking horns, 
slowly from side to side, as he scanned the country around. He 
evidently had not seen us, and was not alarmed, so we all 
breathed freely. This success on our part was partly attributa- 
ble to the suddenness and caution with which we stopped and 
dropped, when the quick eye of the Indian detected him, and 
partly to the haziness of the atmosphere. His distance was 
about five hundred yards, and he was standing directlj^ facing us, 
the wind blowing from him to us. After a little deliberation, 
Joe applied the call to bis lips and gave out a most masterly imi- 
tation of the lowing of the cow-moose to allure him towards us. 
He heard it and moved his bead rapidly as he scanned the hori- 
zon for a glimpse of the stranger. He did not answer, however; 
and Joe said, as afterwards proved correct, that he must have a 
cow with him, somewhere close at hand. Presently, to our great 
satisfaction, he quietly lay down in the bushes. ' Now we have 
him,' thought I ; ' but how to approach him ? ' The Moose lay 
facing us, but partly concealed in bushes, and a long swampy 
gully, filled up with alders, crossed the country obliquely between 
us and the game. We have lots of time, for the Moose generally 
rests for a couple of hours at a time. Slowly we worm along 
towards the edge of the alder swamp ; the bushes are provok- 
ingly short, but the mist, and the dull gray of our homespun 
dresses favor us. Gently lowering ourselves down into the 
swamp, we creep noiselessly through the dense bushes, their thick 
foliag-e closinfj over our heads. Now is an anxious moment — the 
slightest snap of a bough, the knocking of a gun-barrel against a 
stem, and the game is off. 

" ' Must go back,' whispered Joe close in my ear, ' can't get 
near enougb this side — too open,' and the difiicult task is again 
undertaken and performed without disturbing the Moose. What 
a relief on regaining our old ground, to see his great ears flap- 


ping backwards and forwards above the bushes. Another half 
hour passes in creeping like snakes through the wet bushes, 
which we can scarcely hope will conceal us much longer. It 
seems an age, and often, and anxiously, I look at the cap of my 
single-barrel rifle. I am ahead, and at length judging one hun- 
dred and twenty yards to be the distance, I can stand it no 
longer, but resolve to decide matters by a shot, and fire through 
an opening in the bushes of the swamp. Joe understands my 
glance, and placing the call to his lips, utters the challenge of the 
bull-moose. Slowly and majestically the great animal rises, 
directly facing me, and gazes upon me for a -moment. A head- 
long stagger follows the report, and he wheels around behind a 
clump of bushes. 

" ' Bravo ! you hit him, you hit sure enough,' shouts Joe, level- 
ing and firing at the cow-moose, which had unknown to us been 
lying close beside the bull. ' Come along,' and we all plunge 
headlong into the swamp. Dreadful cramps attacked my legs, 
and almost prevented me from getting through, — the result of 
sudden violent motion, after the restrained movement, in the. 
cold, wet moss, and huckleberry bushes. A few paces on the 
other side, and the great bull suddenly rose in front of us, and 
strided on into thick covert. Another shot and he sinks lifeless 
at our feet. The first ball had entered the very centre of his 
breast, and cut the lower portion of the heart. 

" Late that night our canoe glided through the dark waters of 
the lake towards the settlement. The massive head and antlers 
were with us. 

" ' Ah, Grandmother,' said Joe, as we passed the indistinct out- 
lines of the spirit rocks, ' you very good to us this time, anyhow ; 
very much we thank you. Grandmother ! ' 

" ' It 's a pity, Joe,' I observed, ' that we have not time to see 
whether the offerings of yesterday are gone or not ; but mind, 
you go up the lake again to-morrow to bring out the meat, 
and don't forget your Grandmother, for I really think she has 
been most kind to us.' " 

All the essential elements for still-hunting the Moose are man- 
ifested in this single narrative. 

A thorough knowledge of the habits of the animal must teach 
the hunter where to look for him at certain seasons of the year, 
or at particular times of the day, in fair or in stormy weather. 
The superior vision of man over that of the Moose, is more than 
compensated to the latter by the advantage of his position, being 


generallj^ still himself, while the hunter is in motion, which helps 
out his defective sight, and enables him to identify the moving 
object. But few animals have a more correct vision than man. 
It enables him to identify objects at a great distance, without the 
aid of motion, but for successful Moose hunting — and the same 
remark is generally true of other game as well — the vision 
must be cultivated by long practice and careful study. This the 
Indian has succeeded in doing to a greater extent than the cul- 
tivated man. The reason of this is obvious. The mind of the 
Indian is occupied with few and simple thoughts, and to these 
he can devote all the energies of whatever intellect he has, 
and hence we might expect great proficiency in the few pursuits 
to which he devotes a life-time. But few white men make a life- 
long business of hunting, and even these few have learned to think 
of more subjects than the Indian, and those subjects will intrude 
themselves, more or less, upon the cultivated mind, when not 
under the strong excitement arising from the immediate presence 
of game, and so he does not cultivate those senses, the highest 
order of which are indispensable to meet the sharpened instincts 
of the larger game whose constant apprehension makes them ever 
on the alert. The improved vision of the Indian hunter, — and 
that is the occupation of nearly all Indians, from childhood to 
old age, — and that class of observations which enables him to 
draw correct conclusions from slight evidence which would escape 
the notice, or not arrest the attention, of the ordinary white 
man, has been noticed by all who have hunted much with the 
aborigines, and has been recorded by all who have written of 
their experience. The instance just narrated, when the Indian 
recognized the moose, when he was not moving, the instant he 
came within the line of vision, and before the moose observed 
the hunter, although in motion, is not singular, or even excep- 

But the hunters knew they had keener senses to deal with than 
the dull eye of their game. His quick ear would detect the least 
noise, and his acute sense of smell would detect the least taint in 
the air, which would tell him of the presence of his enemies, when 
the game would be lost. How these embarrassments were over- 
come, is well explained, and they are always to be met with in 
still-hunting the deer, and so indeed in many other modes of his 

While the still hunt may be followed at all seasons of the year, 
and is available for all the species of the deer, the call hunting is 


peculiar to the pursuit of the Moose, and is substantially con- 
fined to the amorous season, although the call is available, as we 
have seen, as auxiliary to other modes of hunting, and at other 

In general the deer is a very silent animal, and the use of the 
voice is almost entirely confined to the two largest species, the 
Moose and the wapiti. The Moose, most of all, expresses his 
passions or his sensibilities by uttering sounds expressive of dif- 
ferent passions and sensibilities, which are intelligible not only to 
his own kind, but are understood by the hunter as well. To im- 
itate these, sometimes an instrument, made of bark or a hollow 
horn, is used as an aid, while others succeed well by muffling the 
mouth with the hands ; some possess this faculty of imitation in 
a much higher degree than others, and some even can never 
acquire it. 

During the rutting season, as has been said, the male Moose 
especially, impelled by the ardor of his passions, loses a part of 
that timidity and caution by which he is governed at other 
seasons. They become not only ardent, but courageous and 
combative. Until mated with a female, they crush through the 
forests and swamps in a half frenzied condition, seeking the 
desired object, and apparently aching for a fight. Now it is that 
the hunter seeks to take advantage of his temperament, by im- 
itating such calls of his kind as are most likely to allure him to 
love or to combat. In the call hunt the hunter has compar- 
atively little to fear from the sight of the Moose, but from the 
senses of smell and hearing he has everything to apprehend. 
The time chosen is either night or early morning. He must 
make his camp a sufficient distance from the ground selected for 
the hunt, to prevent its giving notice to the game of his presence 
in the neighborhood. There must be no wind to carry the odor 
of the hunter in any direction, else the sagacious and suspicious 
animal will be sure to take advantage of it, to approach the 
hunter from the leeward, and so detect the fraud at once, when 
the hunt is spoiled. A full moon is required to enable the hun- 
ter to see the game when it approaches, and to shoot with ac- 
curacy when in range. 

On a still night in September or October, with a good moon, 
after the antlers of the Moose have become nicely polished by 
being rubbed against the tree-stems, the experienced hunter re- 
pairs to the well-known resort of the Moose, selecting an elevated 
position in a country as open as may be found, and conceals him 


self behind some prostrate tree or great rock in a dark shadow, 
where he remains for a time in perfect quiet, listening for the 
well-known call of the cow or the bull Moose seeking for a mate. 
If heard, a fitting answer is imitated, and the game is allured 
within fatal range of the deadly rifle. No matter how perfect 
the imitation, a doubt seems to rest in the mind, especially of an 
old bull, and his appi'oach is slow and cautious, frequently pass- 
ing quite around the place where the hunter is concealed, snuff- 
ing the air to catch the scent of an enemy, if he has been de- 
ceived, or of a mate, if his hopes are to be realized, and if the 
least breath of air is stirring to carry the scent, he is sure to 
catch it, and beats a retreat so quietly that not a twig snaps be- 
neath his feet, while before the cracking noise of his great 
antlers thrashing among the dry limbs, could be heard at a great 
distance. When suspicion is thus confirmed, the retreat of the 
Moose is so quiet, the hunter will sti'ain his eyes to get a glimpse 
of the game where he last heard him, when he is rapidly re- 
treating a long distance away. If no suspicious scent or noise 
confirms the fears of the Moose, he gradually approaches the spot 
where the call was heard, which he readily locates with unerring 
certainty, till at last his great form looms up against the horizon, 
and then it is the fault of the hunter if Moose steaks are not 
over the camp-fire the next morning. 

The bull Moose is the principal object of pursuit in call hunt- 
ing, the cow being rarely enticed by the call. 

■ Although this is no doubt exciting sport at times, for it is diffi- 
cult to conceive of a feeling more intense than that inspired by 
the crashing tread of the advancing bull or the rolling of his 
great antlers among the dry limbs, as he thrashes them about in 
defiance of a supposed adversary, whose challenge he thinks he 
has heard, and with whom he is ambitious to do battle, yet this 
is not in general a successful mode of hunting the Moose, and 
failures are many, while successes are few. 

In Scandinavia, Mr. Lloyd tells us that the elk is successfully 
hunted with dogs held in leash. He cautiously follows in the 
track till the game is approached, when the dog is tied to a tree 
and the hunter stalks the quarry alone. This mode only meets 
with qualified success there. I have no information that this 
mode of hunting the Moose has ever been practiced here. 



The endowments of this animal render its pursuit a work of 
care and labor in those regions where it has been much hunted, 
and so the excitement of the chase is enhanced in a corresponding 
degree. Indeed none other of the deer family abhors civilization 
so much as this, and none so quickl}'^ desert a country upon its 
approach. While it occupies the range jointly with the moose, ' 
they are by no means social neighbors, and the Caribou hastens 
away, whenever it finds itself in close contact with its larger 

Except in unfrequented regions it is only found in timbered 
lands or in the bushy barrens, where it can find safe covert from 
its pursuers. If once alarmed by the hunter, it flees away in 
continued alarm, nor stops to rest or feed, till it has gone so great 
a distance that pursuit is quite out of the question. If the ex- 
perienced hunter wounds the Caribou, he makes no attempt to 
follow him, unless he believes him so disabled that he lacks the 
physical strength to escape to any great distance, for he knows 
he will never stop till compelled by absolute exhaustion, or a per- 
fectly safe distance has been attained. 

If, like the other deer, it does not readily recognize objects by 
sight alone, its senses of hearing and smell are acute and discrim- 
inating, and this must be ever borne in mind by the successful 
hunter. The habits of this deer vary very much in different 
localities, so they must be specially studied under varying circum- 
stances. The mode of pursuit which may be very successful, in 
remote seclusion, where it is rarely alarmed, might be quite 
fruitless where it is frequently pursued, and so has become ever 
watchful and vigilant. 

Although the Caribou is nearly voiceless, yet it is not wholly 
so. During the love season the male expresses his desires, and 
invites a mate, by a short deep note, something approaching a 
bellow, but the Indians, of the present day at least, do not at- 
tempt to imitate it and so attempt to call the deer within range 
of the rifle, as we have seen they do the moose, though they claim 
that in former times this was successfully practiced by their an- 
cestors. Stalking or creeping is the only resou.rce left to the 
sportsman in regions at all accessible to him, where the deer 
have been rendered cautious and wary by pursuit. In the interior 
of Newfoundland and the sterile regions of Labrador, where the 
country has not been harried by the white man, the case is quite 


different. I may here repeat, what I have intimated in another 
place, that the Indian, even since he has acquired the use of fire- 
arms, does not ordinarily drive game from a country, as the white 
settler or even the white hunter is quite likely to do. His quiet, 
stealthy mode of proceeding does not create that permanent im- 
pression of alarm, which results from the boisterous and careless 
proceedings too often indulged in or practiced by the white man. 
If he kills his game, it is done so quietly and everything is so 
quiet afterwards, that those escaping are hardly able to appre- 
ciate what enemy has thinned their ranks. 

In what may be termed the alarmed districts, nothing short of 
the skill of the Indian can successfully pursue the Caribou, and 
so it is indispensable to the sportsman who would hunt him, to 
secure the services of a native hunter, whose life-long training 
alone could qualify him for the difficult task. The sport is de- 
feiTed till earl}'^ winter sets in, when the ground is covered with 
snow, which reveals the tracks of the deer, and finds more or less 
lodgment in the boughs and on the bark of the trees, making 
everything so nearly correspond with the color of the Caribou, 
that nothing short of the quick eye of the Indian can detect him, 
till he bounds away forever. 

Many expert Indians have for many years almost made it a 
profession to assist the sportsman in the pursuit of the moose and 
the Caribou, in those few districts where these deer are found 
and are still accessible to the sportsman. These Indians are not 
only skillful hunters, but are often amusing companions and use- 
ful camp servants : making camp, supplying the fires, cleaning 
the guns and cooking the meals, and bringing in the game. 

It is in the damp and fresh fallen snow that the Caribou is 
most successfully stalked. Then it is that the foot, clad in the 
moccasin, made from the skin of the hock of the moose, returns 
no sound to the hunter's step, and he is enabled to glide through 
the dark forest or the bleak barren as noiselessly as a cat upon a 

The Caribou, like the moose, frequently crops the parasitic 
mosses or the twigs of bushes while he is traveling, and by this 
means the experienced hunter is assisted in following his trail 
when his tracks are indistinct ; and from the freshness of these 
signs he judges how recently the animal has passed. 

In districts where the Caribou is not hunted except by the 
Indians, as in the interior of Newfoundland and Labrador, they 
are less suspicious, and less difficult to approach. There they 


have their regular trails and runways, which they pursue in their 
regular migrations, always crossing the streams at favorite fords. 
In these migrations the deer march in small bands, in single file, 
generally several feet apart, in well beaten paths. Their march 
is leisurely made, and rather slow, frequently picking the lichens 
as they pass, unless they observe something to excite their sus- 
picions. This is the time for the natives to make their harvest 
of meat. The greatest opportunity is at the ford of a broad 

Dr. Richardson, in treating of the Woodland Caribou, says : 
" Mr. Hutchins mentions that he has seen eighty carcasses of this 
kind of deer brought into York Factory in one day, and many 
others were refused for the want of salt to preserve them. These 
were killed when in the act of crossing Hays River, and the na- 
tives continued to destroy them, for the sake of the skins, long 
after they had stored up more meat than they required. I have 
been informed by several of the residents of York Factory that 
the herds are sometimes so large as to require several hours to 
cross the river in a crowded phalanx." 

On the island of Newfoundland, this deer is equally migratory ; 
but necessarily its migrations are more limited territorially, ex- 
cept in the few instances when they cross the broad waters which 
separate the island from Labra,dor, in the winter on the ice ; but 
this rather facilitates than impedes this mode of capture by the 
natives, for it compels them to pursue their travels within more 
defined routes, and so they are the more easily waylaid and 

In the interior of Labrador this deer, especially in the winter 
season, contributes largely to the sustenance of the natives, who 
still pursue it with the bow and arrow with some degree of suc- 
cess. Hind, standing on the divide between the waters of the 
Miosie and the Ashwanipi, listened to the story of the Indian, 
Michel, the theatre of which lay before them, and gives it thus : 
"He had been watching for some hours with his compaxiion when 
they heard the clatter of hoofs over the rocks. Looking in a 
direction from which they least expected Caribou would come, 
they saw two Caribou, pursued by a small band of wolves, mak- 
ing directly for the spot where they were lying. Thej^ were 
not more than three hundred yards away, and coming with tre- 
mendous bounds, and fast increasing the distance between them- 
selves and the wolves, who had evidently surprised them only a 
short time before. Neither Michel nor his companion had fire- 


arms, but each was provided with his bow and arrows. The 
deer came on ; the Indians lay in the snow, ready to shoot. The 
unsuspecting animals darted past the hunters like the wind, but 
each received an arrow, and one dropped. Instantly taking a 
fresh arrow, they waited for the wolves. With a long and steady 
gallop, these ravenous creatures followed their prey, but when 
they came within ten yards of the Indians, the latter suddenly 
rose, each discharged an arrow at the amazed brutes, and suc- 
ceeded in transfixing one with a second arrow before it could get 
out of reach. Leaving the wolves, they hastened after the 
Caribou. There," said Louis (the interpreter), " quite close to 
that steep rock, the Caribou which Michel had shot was dead ; 
he had shot it in the eye, and it could not go far. Michel 
stopped to guard his Caribou, as the wolves were about ; one of 
his cousins went after the deer he had hit ; the other went back 
after the wolves which had been wounded. The wolf cousin had 
not gone far back when he heard a loud yelling and howling. 
He knew what the wolves were at : they had turned upon their 
wounded companion, and were quarreling over the meal. The 
Indian ran on and came quite close to the wolves, who made so 
much noise, and were so greedily devouring the first he had shot, 
that he approached quite close to them and shot another, killing 
it at once. The Caribou cousin had to go a long distance before 
he got his deer." 


The Barren-ground Caribou is never an object of pursuit by the 
mere sportsman. His habitat is so remote from civilization, and 
so inaccessible, that he is sought only as a matter of business and 
not of pleasure. Only the Indian and the fur trader frequent his 
haunts, and they hunt him for his meat and his pelt. 

In its southern range, this deer finds forest lands which it in- 
habits during the winter season, making excursions into the 
mossy plains for food, but in its northern migration in the sum- 
mer, it goes beyond the forest regions, and dwells upon the bar- 
ren grounds exclusively, where it finds an abundance of lichens, 
which are its favorite food. 

Dr. Richardson says : ^ " The Chepewyans, the Copper Indians, 
the Dog-ribs and Hare Indians of Great Bear Lake, would be 
totally unable to inhabit their barren lands, were it not for the 
immense herds of this deer that exist there." 

1 Fauna Boreali Americana, p. 244. 


On the next page, the same learned author says : " The Cari- 
bou travel in herds, varying from eight or ten to two or three 
hundred, and their daily excursions are generally tovs^ards the 
quarter from whence the wind blows. The Indians kill them 
with the bow and arrow or gun, take them in snares, or spear 
them in crossing rivei-s or lakes. The Esquimaux also take them 
in traps, ingeniously formed of ice or snow. Of all the deer of 
North America they are the most easy of approach, and are 
slaughtered in the greatest numbers. A single family of Indians 
will sometimes destroy two or three hundi-ed in a few weeks, and 
in many cases they are killed for the sake of their tongues 

The Esquimaux trap these deer, using the reindeer moss for 
bait. The trap is constructed of frozen snow or ice, inclosing a 
room of sufficient dimensions to hold several deer, and over this 
is laid a thin slab of ice, supported on wooden axles forward of 
the centre of gravity. The top of this is only accessible bj^ away 
prepared for the purpose, and beyond the tempting moss is laid. 
In reaching it, the deer passes over the treacherous slab of ice, 
which is tilted by the weight of the deer, and he is precipitated 
into the room below, when the top, relieved of the weight, 
resumes its horizontal position, and is ready set for another 

They are snared with thongs made of the skin of the animal, 
by placing the noose in positions where the head will pass through 
it, something in the manner described in snaring the moose, and 
if they do not find a tree convenient to which the line may be 
attached, they will hitch it to the middle of a loose pole, which 
soon becomes entangled in the bushes and among the rocks, so 
that the animal cannot escape to any great distance. 

Great numbers are captured by the Indians by driving them 
into pens or inclosures made of bushes, and placed in the course 
of some well beaten path, where a narrow gateway is left, from 
either side of which a diverging line of bushes or piles of stone, 
perhaps one hundred feet apart, are placed. Tliese may extend 
a mile or two, and at their extremities be far apart. A watch is 
kept from some high point of observation, and when a herd of 
deer is observed approaching, the whole family, men, women, and 
children, quietly skulk around them, and drive them within the 
converging lines of objects which, in their stupidity and defective 
eyesight, they regard as impassable barriers, and so rush straight 
forward upon the path into the inclosure, in which is a labyrinth 


of ways made by rows of bushes, where the deer become fairly 
dazed, and are slaughtered with spears, and even clubs, the 
women and children in the meantime guarding the outside of the 
inclosure to prevent the escape of any. The number slaughtered 
in this way is very great, and furnishes the natives with provision 
in great abundance. 

We have many facts related of the Barren-ground Caribou 
which serve to inform us of the degree and accuracy of their 
powers of vision, and from these I think we may safely conclude 
that if their sense of sight is quick it is not reliable. Indeed 
we are led to the conclusion that they identify objects with less 
certainty than any of the other deer. As we have just seen, 
rows of bushes or piles of stone placed at considerable distances 
apart serve to prevent them from passing tlie lines, and guide 
them to the pound into which they are driven. This shows that 
they do not identify the objects which guide them, nor do they 
in their confusion even individualize those objects, but to them 
they are so confused that they appear to form continuous lines 
on either side, else they would pass out between them. This 
defect of vision is further illustrated by what Captain Franklin 
says of this deer, as quoted by Richardson : " The Reindeer has 
a quick eye, but the hunter, by keeping to the windward of 
them, and vising a little caution, may approach very near, their 
apprehensions being much more easily aroused by the smell than 
the sight of any unusual object. Indeed, their curiosity often 
causes them to come close up to and wheel round the hunter, 
thus affording him a good opportunity of singling out the fattest 
of the herd ; and upon these occasions they become so confused 
by the shouts and gestures of their enemy that they run back- 
wards and forwards with great rapidity, but without the power 
of making their escape. The Copper Indians find by experience 
that a white dress attracts them most readily, and they often 
succeed in bringing them within shot by kneeling and vibrating 
the gun from side to side in imitation of the motion of the deer's 
horns, when he is in the act of rubbing his head against a 
stone. The Dog-rib Indians have a way of killing these ani- 
mals which, though simple, is very successful. It is thus de- 
scribed by Mr. Wentzell, who resided long amongst that people. 
The hunters go in pairs, the foremost man carrying in one hand 
the horns and part of the skin of the head of a deer, and in the 
other a small bunch of twigs, against which he, from time to 
time, rubs the horns, imitating the gestures peculiar to the animal. 


His comrade follows, treading exactly in his footsteps and hold- 
ing the guns of both in a horizontal position, so that the muzzles 
project under the arms of him who carries the head. Both 
hunters have a fillet of white skin around their foreheads, and 
the foremost has a strip of the same around his waist. They 
approach the herd by degrees, raising their legs very slowly but 
setting them down somewhat suddenly, after the manner of a 
deer, and always taking care to lift right or left feet simultane- 
ously. If any of the herd leaves off feeding to gaze upon this 
extraordinary plienomenon it instantly stops, and the head begins 
to play its part by licking its shoulders and performing other 
necessary movements. In this way the hunters attain the very 
centre of the herd without exciting suspicion, and have leisure to 
single out the fattest. The hindmost man then pushes forward 
his comrade's gun, the head is dropped, and they both fire nearly 
at the same instant. The deer scamper off, the hunters trot after 
them. In a short time the poor animals halt to ascertain the 
cause of their terror ; their foes stop at the same moment, and, 
having loaded as they run, greet the gazers with a second fatal 
discharge. The consternation of the deer increase ; they run to 
and fro in the utmost confusion, and sometimes a great part of 
the herd is destroyed within the space of a few hundred yards." 

This long extract is fully justified by the amount of real infor- 
mation which it contains as to the habits of the Barren-ground 
Caribou. From the facts stated I arrived at a different conclu- 
sion from that stated by Captain Franklin. He says the Rein- 
deer " has a quick eye ; " but his conduct shows that he has the 
dullest eye of the genus. Any of the others with whose habits 
we are well acquainted would have detected the counterfeit, es- 
pecially when one hunter was following the other, long before 
they reached the herd. The facts related demonstrate that the 
sense of smell is not so reliable as has been often stated, else the 
hunters, under no circumstances, could have reached the middle 
of the herd without creating alarm. 

As further illustrating the habits of this animal, I must quote 
from what Captain Lyon says of the mode of hunting it by the 
Esquimaux. " The Reindeer visits the Polar regions at the lat- 
ter end of May, or early part of June, and remains till Septem- 
ber. On his first arrival he is thin and his flesh is tasteless, but 
the short summer is sufficient to fatten him to two or three 
inches on the haunches. When feeding on the level ground an 
Esquimau makes no attempt to approach him, but should a few 



rocks be near, the wary hunter makes sure of his prey. Behind 
one of these he cautiously creeps and having laid himself very 
close, with his bow and arrow before him, imitates the bellow of 
the deer when calling each other ; sometimes for more complete 
deception the hunter wears his deer-skin coat and hood so drawn 
over his head, as to resemble in a great measure the unsuspecting 
animals he is enticing. Though the bellow proves considerable 
attraction, yet if a man has great patience he may do without it 
and may be equally certain that his prey will ultimately come to 
examine him ; the Reindeer being an inquisitive animal and at 
the same time so silly that if he sees any suspicious object which 
is not actually chasing him he will gradually and after many ca- 
perings and forming repeated circles approach nearer and nearer to 
it. The Esquimaux rarely shoot till the creature is within twelve 
paces, and 1 have been frequently told of their being killed at a 
much shorter distance. It is to be observed that the hunters 
never appear openly, but employ stratagem for their purpose ; 
thus by patience and ingenuity rendering their rudely formed 
bows, and still worse arrows, as effective as the rifles of the Eu- 
ropeans. Where two men hunt in company they sometimes pur- 
posely show themselves to the deer, one before the other. The 
deer follows and when the hunters arrive near a stone the fore- 
most drops behind it and prepares his bow, while his companion 
continues walking steadily forward. This latter the deer still 
follows unsuspectingly, who thus passes near the concealed man 
who takes deliberate aim and kills the animal. When the deer 
assemble in herds there are particular passes which they invaria- 
bly take, and on being driven to them are killed by arrows by 
the men, while the women with shouts drive them to the water. 
Here they swim with the ease and activity of water-dogs, the 
people in hayaks chasing and easily spearing them. The car- 
casses float and the hunter then presses forward and kills as many 
as he finds in his track. No springs or traps are used in the 
capture of these animals, as is practiced to the southward, in con- 
sequence of the total absence of standing wood." 

We nowhere else find in the same space so much valuable in- 
formation concerning this animal as in this extract. 

It tells us of the great curiosity of this deer, which so often 
leads it to destruction, in which it most resembles our antelope, 
but it conclusively proves as well that the vision is so defective 
that even with the aid of motion it cannot identify objects. The 
facts stated also show that this deer has not the acute sense of 



smell which is possessed by the other deer, or else when follow- 
ing up the track of the hunters their presence would have been 
detected. Add to these infirmities their stupidity, and the fact 
that they are easily distracted so that they are incapable of es- 
cape even in the open plain, and we have the picture of an ani- 
mal which is very useful to the natives who have to depend on 
the rudest and most imperfect weapons to procure subsistence, 
but it should hardly be called game more than a flock of sheep. 
Another remarkable fact is mentioned in this extract, and that is 
that the deer floated after being killed. This I am very sure is 
quite exceptional. From my own experience, and from all the 
information I have been able to obtain from others, the other 
species of deer sink so soon as they are killed if in the water, 
and this is the case of tliose without antlers as well as those that 
have antlers. The fact stated is the more remarkable, because 
of the immense antlers which the males have, Avhich as we have 
seen are much larger in proportion to their size than those of any 
other deer. " The carcasses float." No exception is made in the 
case of the bucks. The winter coats on the bodies of all deer 
consists of hollow cylinders which are, to be sure, very buoyant, 
but this coat must be enormous to sustain so great a weight in 
the water, but then undoubtedly they require a very warm coat 
to protect them in that arctic region. 

From all the accounts we have of the mode of taking this lit- 
tle arctic Reindeer and its capabilities for self-protection, its pur- 
suit could never become an object of interest to the sportsman. 
Indeed, it is too stupid an animal for its capture to create an in- 
terest in any but a hungry man or a butcher. The pleasure of 
the sportsman in the chase is measured by the intelligence of 
the game and its capacity to elude pursuit, and in the labor and 
even the danger involved in the capture. 

The sportsman is better rewarded by the capture of a single 
woodland caribou, which has required all his skill with infinite 
pains and labor and exposure and privation, than to participate 
in the slaughter of a thousand of his stupid cousins of the north, 
which he would look upon with indifference rather than with 
pleasurable excitement. Among the former it is a contest with 
sharp wits where satisfaction is mingled with admiration for the 
object overcome. With the latter it must be — nothing I The 
difference in the endowments for self preservation of these two 
species of deer, if not the most marked of those which declare 
them of different species, is still very remarkable and interesting. 




The American Elk, or Wapiti Deer, is noble game, and its pur- 
suit affords exciting sport to the hunter. His range is much 
more diversified than that of the moose, for he ranges the prai- 
ries and the plains, as well as the forests and the mountains. 
If he does not make his home on the barren plains of the far 
■west, he ranges across them from one belt of timber to another, 
which are usually found along the streams which intersect them ; 
and before the white man had driven him from the fertile prairies 
of the Mississippi valley they were extensively grazed by the Elk. 
Almost the only mode of hunting the Elk, either by the Indian 
or the white man, is by stalking, or the still hunt, or sometimes 
by pursuit on horseback. Being social and gregarious in their 
habits, they are usually found in bands of greater or less numbers, 
although it is by no means uncommon to find solitary individuals 
scattered through the country, — usually young males. They are 
less suspicious than the moose, and their senses of smell and hear- 
ing are less acute, while few other animals excel them in. these 
regards. But, as the hunters express it, they have less sense than 
the moose, or, indeed, most of the smaller deer, but they are by 
no means so simple as to destroy one's interest in them, or make 
their capture an easy matter. 

When sought for in prairie countries, the hunter expects to 
find them along the creek or river bottoms, where the grasses are 
more abundant and sweeter, and where they find arboreous food, 
which they crave to mix with the herbaceous. Here, too, they 
find the shade in which they delight. Thus occupying lower 
ground than the surrounding country, the hunter from elevated 
positions may overlook the valley, till the game is discovered 
either grazing in security below, or quietly ruminating in the 
shade of the trees. He has already studied the course of the 
wind, so as to be always to the leeward of the game. A careful 
study of the ground then ensues, and objects sought which may 
be made to cover the approach to within range. This is not so 
difficult as the approach to the moose, still it is indispensable to 
study the course of the wind, for if the wind wafts to him the 
least taint from his enemy, the Elk detects it in an instant, and 
is off. He is not sent away by the snapping of a twig, or the 
rustle of a leaf, if he cannot see the cause, still the hunter must 
observe great caution in his approach, and especially not to al- 
low the game to get a glimpse of him when in motion. In stalk- 1 


ing the Elk, the hunter must be particularly cautious not to 
stumble upon a deer, while his attention is intently devoted to 
another ; many are lost in this way. A thick bunch of willows, 
or tall bottom grass, may be selected as the object to cover his 
approach. Such is a most likely place for an Elk to make his 
bed, and he may spring up before you not ten feet away, when a 
single bound may take him beyond view, even if you see him at 
all. If it is an old buck a loud whistle of alarm may be sounded, 
but without this, his flight will alarm the whole band, and your 
sport is pi'obably up for the day. 

When started, the Elk does not, like the moose and the car- 
ibou, push right awaj% without a pause and swiftly ; but most 
likely after running a few hundred yards, the whole band will 
stop on some commanding elevation to see what is the matter. 
If he does not see his enemy, as he probably will not, still he is 
not quite happy, and will not delay till he has placed many miles 
between him and the hunter. If a lone animal is thus started 
from his bed of willows or high grass, before he sees the pursuer, 
he is very likely to stop for a moment or two after making a few 
leaps, and that momentary pause has been the opportunity for 
many a fatal shot, which has laid low the head which bore mag- 
nificent antlers. 

The Elk is often found among the foot hills of the mountains, 
and in very broken, rocky ground. This is the most killing 
ground, I m^an for the hunter to pursue him in, for you must 
leave your horse below and clamber through on foot, when you 
ai'e liable to come upon a lone Elk suddenly, and close before 
you, when a quick shot settles the matter ; or if you see one on 
considerably higher or lower ground, one hundred yards or more 
away, with a favorable wind, he may stand several shots, if youi 
bad shooting allows it, before he will take serious alarm and 
make off. 

It is not easy to determine the highest altitude of the range of 
the Elk, but it is probable that they go to the utmost of the tim- 
ber line. I have found their tracks more than ten thousand feet 
above the sea level, on the Sierra Madre Mountains. Whether 
those that frequent these high altitudes ever visit the plains, or 
abide permanently in the mountains, I have no means of deter- 
mining. When the severe winter sets in they descend into the 
basins and cailous, where the mountain streams have their sources, 
and Avhere they find grass beneath the snow, and in these pockets 
in the mountains the hunter seeks them, keeping on the higher 


ground which surrounds them. Instances are related where bands 
of Elk have been thus observed from high, overlooking points, 
when a gale of wind was blowing, whence the hunter has shot 
down a considerable number before the balance would take the 
alarm. They would look upon the struggles of the dying in 
amazement, but without suspecting it was the work of an 

There is no doubt that our Elk has less tenacity of life than 
any other American member of the family. I have inflicted a 
wound upon an Elk through the head, quite below the brain, 
and without cutting an artery, and without occasioning much 
hemorrhage, which a common deer would have carried fifty miles, 
and found the Elk dead in half art hour after, and within half a 
mile of the place where he was shot. My own observations have 
been confirmed by the testimony of old hunters of vastly more 
experience than I can claim, and if my recollection rightly 
serves me, the observations of Lewis and Clarke were to the same 

I have seen a few accounts of their being pursued with grey- 
hounds on the western plains, by army officers stationed at fron- 
tier posts, but, from the accounts, I judge they are not as gamy 
as the common deer, — though they may equal in endurance the 
European stags, — and they undoubtedly lack the endurance of 
the moose or the caribou. When pursued on horseback the Elk 
makes for broken and rocky ground, if any be accessible, where 
the pursuit usually terminates, but if away on the plains, the 
chase is an exciting and an interesting one. The Elk leads away 
in a rapid trot, which if not broken he holds for a long distance, 
but Avhen forced from this into a run, if the animal be fat, he soon 
breaks down, but if lean he endures it well, and leads a fine chase 
before he is run into. 

None other of our deer fatten so kindly or get so fat as the 
Elk, and possibly this may account for their lack of bottom in 
the chase. 


The pursuit of the Mule Deer is almost entirely confined to 
stalking or still hunting. They are found in the high mountains 
as well as in the valleys of the creeks and rivers in the plains. 
Where they are much pursued they are wary, and tax the skill 
of the hunter to approach them. They are fond of browsing on 
the young cottouwoods, which grow along the streams and in 


marshy places up the mountains. Hei'e they are found at the 
first dawn of day, and before tliis time the hunter should secrete 
himself in a favorable location, which his experience and knowl- 
edge of the animal's habits will enable him to select, when he 
may hope to get a shot. They are not as gregarious as the Elk 
or the common deer, so he may expect to find but few together, 
if more than a single individual is met with in a place. They 
leave their favorite feeding grounds early in the morning, and if 
in hilly or mountainous regions, are sure to go to higher grounds 
to repose and ruminate. Here they are sought by the experi- 
enced hunter, who rarely sees them in their lairs but relies upon 
a snap shot when they jump up ; and, as they cannot be de- 
pended upon to stop after making a few leaps, he never waits 
for such an opportunity, but fires at the first sight as the best 
probable opportunity he will get. 

In remote mountain districts, where the Mule Deer are seldom 
hunted, they are not remarkably shj^ and the careful stalker may 
meet one at any time of the day feeding on favorite grounds, 
which one familiar with their tastes and habits has no difficulty 
in recognizing. 

Lieutenant W. L. Carpenter, U. S. A., with whom I have had 
the pleasure of climbing the mountains in the pursuit of the deer, 
a sportsman of very large experience, especially in the mountain 
regions, writes me : — 

" I have never seen or heard of any other deer in the Rocky 
Mountain region than the elk ( 0. Canadensis)., the black-tailed 
deer ((7. macrotis'), and the white-tailed deer (C leuciirus'). 

" I have found the black-tailed deer most abundant in North- 
ern Colorado, and the white-tailed deer on the Upper Mis- 
souri. Both species are found abundant on the treeless plains, 
and it is my opinion that a great many of them never see the 
mountains. The Republican, the South Platte, the North Platte, 
the White River, and the Upper Missouri, have both species in 
common, hundreds of miles from the Rocky Mountains. But the 
black-tailed deer always prefer the high bluffs and deep ravines 
near the rivers, while the white-tailed deer selects the thickest 
brush in the river bottoms that he can find, and will often allow 
you to walk within a few feet of him without moving ; he is sel- 
dom found far from cover. 

" I think that 10,500 feet may be safely set down as the limit 
of elevation for the white-tailed deer. I have never heai'd of 
one being seen anywhere near timber line. Several times this 


season, in climbing the mountains in North New Mexico, I have 
found white-tailed deer from the foot hills up the mountain side 
to about 10,000 feet, and then seen no more deer till an elevation 
of about 12,000 feet was reached, when the black-tailed deer ap- 
peared, and were often seen above timber line. This was in the 
summer. On the approach of winter, both species range lower." 

Altogether the Mule Deer does not afford as varied and exciting 
sport as some of the other deer, still they are well worthy the pur- 
suit of the sportsman, who is inspired by that peculiar spirit 
which shrinks at no labor or fatigue, and finds a rich reward for 
all hardships and discomforts in the excitement of the chase, and 
the ecstasy which he experiences, when he sees such noble game 
answering discharges of his rifle by falling in his tracks if stand- 
ing, or by turning a high somersault and then tumbling to the 
ground with a fearful crash, if on the run. There is a thrill of 
joy at such a moment, only known to the sportsman, which per- 
meates every nerve of the human system, and which is in excite- 
ment far beyond the experiences of the sordid man, who spends 
his time and thoughts, and laboi's day and night, to win more 
gold or add a few more acres to his estate. I cannot explain it. 
It is not that brutal, sanguinary joy which gladdens at the pain 
it may inflict, or takes pleasure in the death of innocence ; for 
the true sportsman will never take life for the mere pleasure of 
killing, if he must leave his victim to rot upon the ground. He 
must associate his triumph with the consideration of utility to 
some one, no matter whom. It may as well be a total stranger 
or a band of savages in whom he feels no interest beyond that of 
common humanity. Immaterial to him who may be the benefic- 
iary, so that his capture may be utilized, he enjoys his success 
scarcely less when his own camp is well supplied than when the 
gnawings of hunger stimulate his effort. 

There ai'e those no doubt who will slaughter for the mere love 
of slaying and leave a multitude of carcasses to fester on the 
plains ; but these are not sportsmen ; they are mere butchers, 
and their proper place is in the abattoir, where they may satiate 
their desire for blood without useless destruction and to a useful 


Although the range of the Columbia Black-tailed Deer is lim- 
ited, its pursuit affords exciting sport. This deer avoids the 
open country more than any of the other species, excepting the 


moose and the woodland caribon. It is fond of the broken foot- 
hills and rocky mountain sides, as well as the deep seclusion of 
the dense forests of the lowlands. In California it is more fre- 
quently found in such localities as first desci'ibed ; while in Oregon 
and Washington territory, it finds a welcome home in the deep 
shades of the vast forest regions which there abound, preferring 
localities not too remote from the broken rocky country, to which 
it can retreat in case of danger. In the southern part of their 
range, or as far south as San Francisco, along the coast, they fre- 
quently occupy the ground which they inhabit, to the almost en- 
tire exclusion of the other species of deer, while in the neighbor- 
hood of the Columbia River, they are associated with a variety of 
C. Virginianus, called the white-tailed or long-tailed deer, which 
in many localities outnumber them. Further north again, and 
on the islands of Puget's Sound they assert their numerical supe- 

In the mountainous regions, the common mode of pursuing 
this animal is by the still-hunt or stalking. As the animal is an 
early riser, the still hunter must be astir betimes, and by the 
first dawn of the morning must be far beyond the influence of his 
camp upon ground previously selected, and there, in profound 
stillness, he must attentively listen for the least sound which 
may advise him of the approach of the game ; and as the increased 
light enables him to survey a wider region from some command- 
ing position he may have taken, he scans the valley beneath and 
the mountain side, among the rocks and the bushy thickets. 
If at last no sound or sign from these is heard or seen, he cau- 
tiously moves along the ridge, if in the wet season, in search of 
a track, and when that is found, the course of the wind in refer- 
ence to the direction taken by the deer is first considered, and a 
direct pursuit or a detour is made, as his judgment may dictate. 
A rapid pursuit is not so important, as the extremest caution. 
The whole field of observation must be constantly and carefully 
scanned. Every step must be taken, as if in close proximity to 
the game. Not a stick must be broken under the feet, not a 
stone dislodged to go thrashing down the cliff, no bush shaken, 
which may give warning of his presence. The silent solitude 
must remain unbroken, while the closest attention must be given, 
to catch even the faintest sound from any quarter. True, the 
game may be miles away, but then, again, the hunter may be 
close upon it. If he relaxes his caution, it may be at the critical 
moment when the prize is just within his grasp, and his only 


chance will be lost. This the experienced hunter will never do, 
for well he knows that care will in the end be rewarded with 
success. He only expects to find a solitary individual, for these 
deer are less gregarious than the others, and seldom wander far 
in company. He may, as he cautiously peeps over the ridge or 
from behind the rock, first sight the game within close range 
cropping the leaves from the shrubbery, or the grass from the 
valley, or the wild oats from the whitened field, or he may see 
him half a mile away, clambering up the opposite mountain side 
among the broken and scattered rocks. In the first case a single 
deliberate shot ends the chase ; in the other, success is scarcely 
less assured, for now that he sees the object of his pursuit, the 
hunter watches his movements, according to which he lays his 
plans and makes his approach with continued caution, which in 
the end will surely bring him within range of the buck, whose 
first notice of the presence of an enemy will be the fatal bullet 
crashing through his frame, when he will leap high and fall 
among the rocks, and in his dying struggles will roll far down 
into the valley below. Sometimes the pursuit is ended while it 
is yet early morning, and sometimes it lasts until the evening has 
come, when the hunter will make a fire beside a broken rock, 
cut out a steak and broil it, eat his supper, smoke his inevitable 
pipe, and then lay himself down beside his trophy and count the 
stars till he goes to sleep, all the time having his trusty rifle 
within his reach. 

Such was the history of the chase and capture of the last 
Black-tailed Deer which I helped to eat. He was a noble buck 
with magnificent twice bifurcated antlers, which no doubt still lie 
bleaching high up a canon of the Coast Range, about fifteen miles 
from the Geyser Springs of California. It took the captor half 
of the next day to bring out the meat to where he could reach it 
with a mule, when he became too fatigued to go back for the 
head and antlers, exceptional as they were in size. I do not be- 
lieve there is any more fatiguing sport than this ; yet for all that 
it is the more keenly relished, since sport without fatigue is often 
too cheap to have a relish, is too insipid to have a flavor. 

Another favorite mode of chasing this deer is with hounds, 
much after the manner of chasing the Virginia deer, notably in 
Old Virginia, only it is generally done upon more level ground 
and in heavier forests, though sometimes among the foot-hills 
and even in the mountains. Even here the deer have their run- 
ways, which the sportsmen of the neighborhood soon learn, 


where they station themselves listening for the coming of the 
pack to indicate who is to be favored with the presence of the 
deer which may be looked for far in advance of the hounds. 

When the watchei's are warned by the hounds that the game 
is afoot, in those regions where both abound, to determine 
whether it is a black-tailed or a white-tailed deer is very desir- 
able. If the former is approaching, probably but one has been 
started ; if the latter, there may be two or more. If the former, 
he may run in a large circle, and if in the lowland forest and 
hard pressed, will make for the mountains or rocky broken 
ground, where he can the more readily throw the dogs off the 
scent and elude pursuit, and only when all other resources fail 
him will he make for the water if lake or river be in reach ; if the 
latter, they may be expected to scatter if there be more than one, 
but all will probably be found making their way to a river or 
lake if one can be found within any reasonable distance. To 
determine the course of the deer, therefore, it is important to 
know which species has been started. 

Some hunters claim to be able to determine this fact at an 
early stage of the run, from the course the hounds may pursue 
and from other sagacious observations. From the dense covert 
in which these deer are found in the lowlands, when their pursuit 
is practicable by the hounds, the shot is usually at very close 
range, and must be made on the instant or the deer is again lost 
to view, hence a heavy fowling-piece with buck-shot is gener- 
ally preferred to the rifle. 

When they are hunted with hounds in the vicinity of large 
bodies of water, as the Columbia River, or on islands in the Sound, 
when hard pressed they take to the water and swim with scarcely 
less dexterity than the other species, crossing the river to escape 
their pursuers or making for another island, but if the distance 
be too great for them to undertake, they return to shore sooner 
than the common deer. When they take to the water they may 
be pursued in a boat if one be convenient, with which they may 
be readily overtaken, seized by the antlers and drowned, if the 
pursuer chooses, or is obliged to despatch them in that way. 

The still hunt is quite practicable in the forest of the lowlands, 
and throughout the country ; ten are killed in this way, where 
one is taken before the hounds. In the still hunt in the forests 
they are more generally jumped up, as the hunters express it, 
when they must be shot on the instant, or they will make good 
their escape. The hunter, therefore, must be ever on the alert, 


and has no business to be studying mathematics when he is still- 
hunting the Columbia Black-tailed Deer. 


The Virginia Deer is not only the most abundant, and hence 
the most useful of all the American species, but its capture af- 
fords the most varied and the most exciting exercise to the 
sportsman. Its sight is fully equal if not superior to that of any 
of the other species, while its senses of hearing and smell are 
only inferior to those of the moose. It has an intelligence which 
enables it to resort to expedients to baffle its pursuer, and it pos- 
sesses a vitality which enables it to escape with wounds, which 
would prostrate some other species at once. If its actual endur- 
ance is inferior to some others, in fleetness it surpasses all of 

In all the territory now occupied by the United States and 
Northern Mexico at least, the Common Deer was a large resource 
for food to the aborigines, and hence the pursuit of them was a 
life study with the Indian. His principal weapon of destruction 
was the bow and arrow ; to make this effective, it was necessary 
to approach the game within very short range, and to accomplish 
this his ingenuity was taxed to the utmost. To be successful he 
must be familiar with the habits, the tastes, the instincts, and the 
capabilities of the animal. Taking advantage of the wind he 
waylaid him on his known routes from one place to another, he 
secreted himself in trees near the salt licks, to which the deer 
paid nocturnal visits. At other times he would assume the skin 
with the head and antlers of the deer, and thus disguised, cau- 
tiously approach his game to within shooting distance. He 
would sometimes imitate the call of the youag fawn, and thus 
allure the mother within his reach. In deep snows, he pursued 
the deer on snow-shoes, and soon exhausted the strength of the 
latter in the unequal chase, or followed him on the crust, through 
which the struggling animal would sink and lacerate his legs in 
his efforts to escape. 

The early settlers of this country, depended largely upon this 
deer for their provisions, and their mode of pursuing it was gen- 
erally the still-hunt. When the deer were abundant in all the 
forests the new comers had little trouble in securing an abundant 
supply of venison, without even much effort or the loss of much 
time. In the winter, when they cut down trees to browse their 


cattle for the want of hay, it was not an uncommon thing in the 
early morning, to see several deer among their stock nipping off 
the buds from the lately fallen trees, and they rarely failed to 
stalk them successfully. The use of oxen was often resorted to 
for the accomplishment of this purpose. The oxen were yoked 
and hitched to a sled, with hay or straw, or other cover placed 
upon it, beneath which the farmers would be concealed, when, if 
the wind should favor they would make their way into the midst 
of the herd of browsing cattle, without alarming the deer : and 
then if the farmer made a close shot the venison would soon 
hang in his larder. 

In those districts, where the first settlers had to clear off the 
heavy forest to make room for crops, they cut down an abun- 
dance of trees in order to feed their stock, during winter, which 
they cleared away in summer, and for the first few years these 
clearings would be close by the log cabin; and when I was a boy 
those who did this laborious work in the eastern States, were still 
in active and vigorous life. If they seemed to me then to be old 
men, as I estimate age now, they were scarcely past the prime of 
life. They never wearied of relating their eai4y experiences of 
perhaps thirty years before, and surely I never wearied of listen- 
ing to them. Their hunting expei'iences, when deer, bear, and 
wild turkeys were so abundant as to be almost nuisances, fairly 
transported me to the wild woods and wild scenes, and the ex- 
citing chase which they so graphically described ; and I longed 
for the time to come, when I should be old enough to carry a 
rifle, and when I might wend my way to a new country such as 
they described, where I too might revel among game which had 
scarcely ever been alarmed by civilized man. 

It might not be difficult to remember enough of these narra- 
tives to fill a book. One shall suffice, as it illustrates a fact not 
generally recognized. A settler had made a deep excavation for 
a cellar, with a narrow sloping way leading to it. A deep, light 
snow had fallen, which the wind had blown into the excavation 
until it was even with the surrounding surface. The settler's 
cattle were bi'owsing in sight of his door, Avhen he saw among 
them a deer. He seized his rifle and made a circuit so as to 
approach the game behind a convenient shelter, which was just 
on the opposite side. By the time he reached the covert a slight 
breeze had sprung up and admonished the deer of his approach, 
"when it started directly away from the danger which it snuffed, 
and made almost directly for the cabin, in the door of which the 


good housewife was anxiously watching the result. But when 
she saw the game gracefully bounding away, her hopes of veni- 
son nearly died out. Soon the deer passed close by the house, 
when in her excitement, she started after it as if she intended to 
run it down in a fair field. As she was a large, fat body, though 
ycung, healthy, and powerful, this to the average hunter might 
have seemed a desperate undertaking, and probably the act itself 
was solely one of impulse. However fortune kindl)^ favored her, 
for in a few leaps, the deer plunged into the excavation just de- 
scribed, which had a vertical wall on the opposite side, which the 
deer failed to scale, and fell back. The excited woman compre- 
hended lier chance at a glance, and rushed down the inclined 
way, seized the deer by the hind legs and held it, till the husband, 
hastened by her outcry, ran up and ended the scuffle with his 
hunting knife. This great feat made the woman a heroine, the 
cause of which she could long years after relate to her grand- 

Now this was looked upon by those old, experienced hunters 
as scarcely less than a miracle, for with the attributes they 
had always ascribed to the deer, it should have kicked her to 
death, or at least freed itself from her in an instant ; and so it 
would have done, had she seized but one of the hind legs, for 
with either hind foot loose it would have made bloody work with 
the adversary. My own experience shows that a man can readily 
hold a deer if he can seize both hind legs at once ; but if he 
grasps but one, he must let it go immediately, or he will be sure 
to suffer. When the hind legs are well stretched out, and not 
allowed to touch the ground, the animal is almost powerless. He 
is always urging himself forward as much as possible with his 
fore legs, and unless the man holding him is so light that he can 
draw him up, he has no purchase with his hind legs, and cannot 
kick at all. It is the rapidity of the muscular action of the deer 
that makes it appear so strong. Its motions are so very quick, 
that it is the most unmanageable animal of its actual strength I 
have ever encountered, if it can but get a chance to act. I have 
seen two men try to force a pet yearling deer into a park from 
which it had escaped, by their carelessly leaving the gate open, 
when their clothes would fly off in shreds. Two strong men, 
with a strap around the deer's neck, can do it ; but they have no 
leisure to do anything else at the same time. Either one of them 
could have walked right away with it by the hind legs. I have 
found this the easiest way to handle the Common Deer when 



The opportunities first described afforded but one mode adopted 
by the early settlers for supplying their families with venison. 
In the winter time, they followed the deer through the snow, and 
seldom failed of success. They soon learned their habits, their 
favorite ranges and feeding grounds, and early learned where to 
look for them ; and could judge with great accuracy as to their 
destination, when they had followed a track but a short distance, 
and could so anticipate their arrival at a given point. 

In the fall of the year, when the deer are in the finest condi- 
tion, many made a business of hunting them, to lay in a store of 
provisions. The still-hunt was their favorite mode. They 
silently threaded their way through the quiet forest, frequently 
with a trusty dog, well trained, close behind them, seeking those 
places which their observations had taught them were most fre- 
quented by the deer, either for shelter or food. Oak or chestnut 
or beech groves always invited the deer, which sought in them 
their favorite food. But above all, hazel thickets, where they 
abound, are the favorite resort of the deer, not only for the nuts 
which are here found, but for the dense covert which these 
thickets afford. 

The dog was seldom nsed, in those early times, until the deer 
had been wounded. The instant the gun was fired, the hunter, 
unless satisfied he had missed altogether, instantlj^ started the 
dog, which followed by sight, and so soon as he came up with 
the wounded deer, brought him to bay, rarely attacking, if 
the deer stopped to fight him, but detained him with loud bay- 
ing till his master should come up and with another shot secure 
the prize. If the deer dropped to the first shot, the dog was 
slipped, for the chances were that the deer would soon get up 
and be off, and though mortally wounded, would give the 
hunter a long chase before he would finally capture him. But 
few animals will go so far and so fast, after receiving a mortal 
wound, as a Virginia deer ; although, if not pursued, he will go 
but little ways after he is out of sight, before he will lie down, 
and, if not disturbed, may never rise again. The best deer dog 
I have ever seen, for service in the still-hunt, was a cross between 
the greyhound and a bull-dog. He was fleet, sagacious, and very 
powerful. If his master did not soon arrive after he had brought 
the wounded deer to bay, he was sure to take him down and 
kill him, and then seek his master and lead him to the spot. 
This might be miles away, for if the wound is not very severe a 
strong deer will lead the best dog a long chase through the forest 


before he is overtaken. The best dog I ever owned for the still- 
hunt was a pointer. Though not so fleet or so powerful as the 
other, his fine nose and great sagacity compensated for all else. 
He would take the track of the deer and follow it by the scent 
just us fast or slow as directed, and as still as a cat. When he 
brought a wounded deer to bay, he would give tongue as furi- 
ously as one could desire, and hold bim at bay with great per- 
tinacity : but of course he never seized the animal. 

Those early settlers often hunted the deer on horseback, and 
may have thought the game was more easily approached thus 
than on foot ; but my own experience has led me to a different 
conclusion. The deer when thus hunted soon learned that the 
inounted hunter was as dangerous as if on foot, while conceal- 
ment was almost impossible. On the prairies the horse was 
preferable, for concealment was difficult in either case. 

The mounted hunter in the event of success had the means of 
taking home his game when captured. If the deer was too large 
for him to lift to the horse's back, with a cord or the bough of 
a tree he might be attached to the horse's tail, and thus drawn 
home, and this was the usual practice of some who insisted that 
a horse could draw the largest deer in that way, without the 
least appearance of distress. 

When the pedestrian hunter killed his deer, he bled him and 
removed the viscera, and then hung him in a tree beyond the 
reach of the wolves, until he could come for him with the means 
to remove him. This might seem a diflficult matter with a heavy 
deer, but it is not so. Of course a long cord should be carried 
in the pocket for the purpose. If the deer is too heavy to be 
sustained by a sapling which the hunter is able to bend down, 
he selects the largest he can manage near to a larger tree. The 
sapling is bent down and fastened in that position. To it, ten 
or twelve feet from the ground, the deer is attached by the heels. 
The sapling is then allowed to spring back with the cord at- 
tached near the top. This cord is then passed over a limb of the 
larger tree, when a moderate pull will assist the small tree to 
assume a vertical position and your deer is safely suspended. Of 
course you must go as far from under the limb as possible to save 
friction. In this way a man of moderate strength can hang the 
largest deer quite beyond danger. 

Let me say here to the honor of frontiersmen, as well as sports- 
men, that I never knew a deer thus left in the woods to be 
stolen. I really believe a man who would not hesitate to steal 


a horse would revolt at the thought of stealing the hunter's 

These same frontiersmen in time became country gentlemen 
with improved farms and plantations. In the level or even hilly 
country the deer mostly disappeared before the march of civil- 
ization, while in the mountainous regions they remained and still 
remain in considerable numbers. The whilom hunters for meat 
became sportsmen for the excitement of the chase, or where the 
old stock have passed away, the new generation allowed the long, 
faithful rifle which had done sanguinary service in the early set- 
tlement of the country, to repose on the rack, and pursued the 
deer more for the sport than the saddle ; more for the prize than 
the real profit. The silent and sagacious deer dog was no longer 
prized but gave place to the slow, and boisterous, and I may add 
stupid, hound. The sublime stillness of silent nature in the 
solitude of the dark forest is broken by the noisy bay of great 
packs of hounds, and the timid deer goes rushing through the 
woods frightened out of his native gracefulness. 

It is where the country is divided into ranges of wood-clad 
mountains, or high hills divided by valleys, down which rivers or 
creeks run, or in which lakelets are situated, that the proper 
theatre is found for running the deer with hounds. For this pur- 
pose packs of greater or less numbers are kept as in different 
countries of Europe. In such localities different runways are 
adopted by the deer, where they pass the watercourses in going 
from one elevation to another, or where they approach the little 
lake for bathing. Several sportsmen engage in the hunt. Early 
in a still, frosty morning they repair to the ground, generally on 
horseback, when one, and sometimes two, are stationed at each 
of the well-known runways, when their horses are concealed and 
the hunters secretly station themselves so as to command the 
crossing place and its approach. The hounds, in leash, are sent 
on to the mountains, and at a likelj^ place they are slipped, and 
the hunt commences. So soon as the deer is started, the hounds 
give tongue. This is the signal anxiously listened for by the 
watchers at the several runways. Far away in the distant moun- 
tain, at first like a faint mitrmur, the sound is heard, uncertain 
whether it is the baying of the dogs or the whisper of an insect. 
The note soon becomes more distinct, and it is certain that the 
game is afoot. Anxiety now increases to determine who occu- 
pies the favored location. All along the line the attention of 
each watcher is strained to the utmost tension, to detect by the 


sound the course selected by the deer. Rifles are cocked, not a 
whisper is breathed, not a twig is broken, not a leaf is stirred. 
Every wandering thought is summoned back and absoi'bed in the 
excitement of the moment. The course of the hounds may be 
traced by their voices, each listener calculating the chances of 
their arriving at his stand. 

This is the moment when the inexperienced hunter is liable to 
make his greatest mistake. He forgets that the deer is not with 
the dogs, but may be a mile or more ahead of them. He listens 
to the dogs, and his eyes are in the direction whenoe the sound 
comes. If they seem to approach him, he forgets that the game 
may be already upon him. When he least expects it, there is a 
rushing noise, a crackling of the brush, and the deer emerges 
from the thicket, and with an elastic bound is already at the ford, 
and with a few lofty leaps is across the creek, and like a flash 
disappears in the dark covert beyond before the startled watcher, 
quaking from head to foot witli the hucJc-fever, could more than 
bring his gun to his face and fire a random shot, when all is still 
again, save the tumultuous beating of his own heart. 

Less fortunate is the deer if he makes the runway occupied by 
the experienced sportsman. Only thinking of the danger behind 
him, and confident of his powers to far outstrip the baying 
pack, he bounds through the forest, proudly throwing aloft his 
great branching antlers, as if in derision ; bidding defiance to his 
pursuers, nor dreaming of danger before, he fearlessly rushes to 
the little opening on the bank of the stream, where he is accus- 
tomed to make the crossing, whether at his leisure or when pur- 
sued. This is just what the watcher is hoping and expecting. 
While he hears the distant baying of the pack, he is intently 
listening for the least noise in the near forest which could indi- 
cate the approach of the game. And now he hears the breaking 
of a dry limb, or the heavy tramp among the rustling leaves. If 
his pulse quickens a little, as it surely will, still no tremor or 
agitation is felt, but only tension and firmness are established in 
every nerve and in every muscle. The trusty rifle is quickly 
brought to the cheek, and the next instant, with a lofty bound, 
the magnificent but graceful form of' the stately stag bursts from 
the box'der of the covert, his face in a horizontal line, his antlers 
thrown back upon his shoulders, so that every branch and vine 
must easily glance from the backward-pointing tines, his scut 
erect, and his bright eye glistening in the excitement of the 
moment, when instantly and while he is yet in mid-air, a sharp 


repoi-t is heard, when, to use a hunter's expression, " he lets go 
all holds," his hind feet, propelled by the great momentum, are 
thrown high in the air as if his very hoofs would be snapped off, 
and he falls " all in a heap,'" or turns a complete somersault, and 
then rolls upon the ground pierced through the heart, or with 
both fore shoulders smashed ; or if the deer was descending in his 
leap, perhaps the shot was higher than was intended, and a 
stitch is dropped in the spinal column. In either case, the mon- 
arch of the forest is laid low, never to rise again. It is a glorious 
moment, and unsurpassed by human experience. I have been 
there, and know how it is myself, and so I speak from knowledo-e. 
Had the deer been standing, and with a full inspiration, he might 
have made a few bounds before he fell, but in the position de- 
scribed he could never rise as:ain. 

When the fatal shot has been fired by the successful sports- 
man, he winds his horn as a signal of his triumph, and to call his 
companions at the other stations, and the congratulatory meeting 
takes place over the prone form of the noble game. All admire 
his great antlers, which are lifted and dropped by each in turn. 
All admire his glossy coat which glistens in the bright sunshine 
like a silk robe, and all feel of the thick coat upon the ribs, and 
with watering mouths — remember they have laeen fasting since 
daylight — think longingly of the rich venison steaks in a chafing- 
dish for each, dusted with capsicum, seasoned with salt, laved in 
butter ; or, better still, lubricated with some slices of hard, fat 
pork, and flavored with a dash of good old port. Around the 
board so furnished, the sportsmen, after the fatigues of the day, 
with appetites sharpened by long abstinence as well, — selecting 
for the feast a saddle which has hung a few days to ripen and 
flavor, — while the venison slowly simmers in the rich compound, 
recount their experiences, tlieir hazards, their exposures, their 
fatigues, and their triumphs. Then it is that the old settler, whose 
hair is white as snow, but who is yet hale and hearty, and is 
able to mount his horse and to ride him, too, with the best of 
them, is a most welcome companion. Seated at the head of the 
table, he is apt to monopolize the conversation, especially after a 
time, and may even become a little garrulous too, still all listen 
to him with anxious attention and deepest resjDect. He has been 
there from the beginning. He can tell when all was forest, when 
the first cabin was built, and who made the first clearing. He 
remembers when the whole country was full of game, when a 
slice of pork was a welcome change from venison, bear meat, or 


wild turkey. Then it was he learned to use the rifle, and com- 
menced the study of the habits of the various animals he hunted, 
as much for sustenance as for the sport. He learned all their 
hiding places and runways, and grew cunning in every mode of 
their pursuit, and has watched the changes which new condi- 
tions have introduced in the mode of hunting the different game. 
These were frequently men of marked intellect and culture, and 
their observations with tongue and pen have contributed mate- 
rially to the cause of science. 

The mode of hunting the deer upon the prairies, or rather in 
the prairie countries, is in many respects different from those 
practiced in mountainous and timbered countries. Where prairies 
predominate, as in Illinois, for instance, they are frequently dotted 
with isolated groves, and are intersected by skirts of timber along 
the borders of nearly all the water-courses which traverse the prai- 
ries, so soon as the streams become large enough to arrest a prairie 
fire. These groves are of various sizes, from a few acres to many 
miles, and the belts of timber along the streams vary from a few 
rods to miles in width. 

The real home of the deer is always in the timber, but he is 
fond of visiting the prairies, and indeed at favorable seasons 
spends much of his time there during the day at least, though 
as a general rule he repairs to the timber to pass the night, un- 
less indeed he is prowling about in the farmer's maize or wheat 
fields, which he very much affects. Very often the deer may be 
seen leaving the forests for the prairies in the gray of the morn- 
ing and returning again in the dusk of the evening. Daring the 
day, too, they ai'e often seen passing from one forest to another, 
whether the intervening prairie be one mile or ten miles wide, 
though generally where there are long stretches, they will stop 
and rest on the way. They find much of their aliment in the 
prairie grasses, but they will have their arboreous food if any be 
accessible, and this they usually take in the timber in the night 
time. Indeed they spend most of the day in repose, well se- 
creted in the high slough-grass, or if the flies and mosquitoes are 
troublesome they resort to the high prairies where the pests 
are likely to be kept down by a smart breeze ; and there conceal 
themselves in a clump of tall grass which may afford a partial 
shade and there enjoy their quiet siesta. All these conditions 
and habits the experienced sportsman has well and carefully 
studied, and having observed the time of the day, the season of 
the year, the state of the weather, the topography of the coun- 



trj', and the relative position of the timber and the prairie, and 
acting upon the combined suggestion of all these, he regulates 
bis course. 

A very enjoyable mode of hunting the deer in the prairie 
country is for a party of four or six to make the hunt in com- 
pany. The time selected should be in the autumn, say October. 
The outfit should consist of two or three tents, with the neces- 
sary utensils and provisions, a cook, a teamster, and one servant, 
besides a good pair of horses and large wagon to transport the 
impedimenta, a well trained strong horse, who should be a good 
goer, and a good deer-dog for each man. A double-barreled 
gun, — one barrel a rifle and the other for buckshot, — a few extra 
guns, ammunition, and a kit of fine tools, blankets, robes, etc. 

Having arrived on the ground, make your camp in some grove 
or belt of timber near a spring of water, where good grass may 
be found for the spanceled horses. 

The hunt commences with daylight, and may be around the 
borders of the timber, each one pursuing his own course, depend- 
ing on his judgment of the ground. The question is at what 
points the deer will be likely to make their exit into the prairie. 
Here the hunters place themselves sometimes on liorseback and 
sometimes on foot. The sportsman being secreted in a com- 
manding position favored by the wind, by the time the first rays 
of light stream up from the east he listens with the deepest at- 
tention for the rustle of a leaf, the cracking of a twig or other 
slight noise, to indicate that the game is astir, and to determine 
the course it is pursuing, and if a change of position is necessary 
to intercept it. If he has not scented his enemy, the deer 
emerges from the thicket to the prairie in a leisurely walk, and 
becomes an easy mark for the rifle, if within a reasonable range. 
If there should be several deer, as is apt to be the case, and the 
distance not too great, the buckshot are first discharged and the 
rifle used at the longer range, or if they are in close range a 
deadly shot is made with the rifle and the other barrel used for 
the running shot. 

After the morning hunt the part)^ assemble at camp, where 
the cook has prepared breakfast, which each one takes as he 
comes in, if all do not arrive together. The team is sent to 
bring in the game, and its return is expected by the time break- 
fast is over, and the pipes smoked. Preparations are now made 
for the day's hunt in the prairie. Each one takes in his pocket 
a lunch (they always use the abbreviated word) of bread or 


crackers and cold venison steak. The course for the day is 
agreed upon, and the wagon is taken along and the teamster is 
directed to keep upon the most elevated ground and to observe 
as well as he can the position of tlie several hunters, to listen for 
the reports of shots, and to look out for signals, which he is to 
answer, and to take the game on board. 

The horsemen separate, according to the nature of the ground, 
generally following the sloughs wliere the long grass is usually 
left standing, even when the high ground has been burned over. 
Here they usually expect to find the deer concealed in their lairs. 
The dog is taught to follow close to the heels of the horse, and 
on no account to leave that position till he is commanded to go, 
and if he is properly trained he will keep his position, no matter 
how many deer get up around him, or how many shots are fired. 
The horse is kept upon a slow walk through the tall grass, while 
the elevated position of the horseman enables him to command 
the entire view. The bridle-reins usually lay on the pommel of 
the saddle, across which, also, the rifle is carried, or in the angle 
of the left arm, usually cocked, but not always so. For myself, 
I never cock the gun till the game is up, whether it be bird or 
quadruped, always carrying it with my thumb on the hammer, 
at half-cock, and finger on the trigger, and if I have a double 
shot I lower the breech and cock the other lock, and I have al- 
ways found I could shoot right and left as quickly as those who 
carry their guns cocked. I have never hunted with but one man 
whose habit was the same, though I presume there are many 
others. It is all a matter of practice, and, if commenced young, 
the act becomes automatic, and is performed as unconsciously as 
I now form my letters, and more unerringly. It has always 
seemed to me the safest way, though others may think differ- 

The deer usually lay till the horseman gets nearly upon them. 
If there be more than one, which is usually the case, they will be 
found lying within a few rods or even feet of each other, but 
never actually together. At the least, a considerable belt of the 
tall grass will be found separating their beds. Usually the near- 
est will be the first to rise, and the first bound he makes will 
arouse all the others. The second bound the deer jumps high, 
as if to survey the situation, and this is the best for the shot, for 
it will likely be within ten or twenty yards. When a double 
shot is offered the hunter it is frequently advisable to take the 
longest shot first, and his own practice will suggest whether to 
open with the ball or the buckshot. 


He must never expect the deer to stop after a few bounds, as 
he usually will when aroused by some object which he does not 
see. Here he sees you at a glance, and has no occasion to stop 
for a more minute survey. Indeed, he is likely to lie quiet for 
some time after he hears your approach, in the hope, probably, 
that you will pass him unperceived, and many deer are thus 
passed unnoticed in broad swales. If the dog is well up to his 
work he may scent the deer as you pass him, and by a low 
whining noise he may arrest your attention, and by his actions 
indicate the direction of the game. 

After the shot is fired it is a question to be decided on the 
instant, whether to send off the dog or not. If the deer is badly 
wounded, and is not hotly pui'sued, he is sure to lie down soon, 
where he can conceal himself ; while if pressed by the dog or 
horse, he would run for miles. If the ground is such as to give 
you a good view, it may be best to let him go off quietly and 
lay himself down where you can readily find him, and settle 
matters by another shot, though you must not expect him to lay 
as close the second time as he did at the first. The wounded 
deer is not so readily brought to bay in the prairie by the dog, 
as he is in timber ; probably because he can see the mounted 
hunter at a greater distance ; so he will keep on until he is actu- 
ally in danger of being pulled down by the dog, before he will 
stop to fight him. 

When the game has been secured and bled, and the viscera re- 
moved, the hunter rides away to the high ground to signal the 
wagon to come and take it on board. To accomplish this he 
may have to go several miles, and unless he is well up to prairie 
craft, he may never be able to find his deer again. He must not 
fail to mark well the immediate surroundings, and all landmarks 
which he passes on the way. This the experienced hunter does 
almost involuntarily, and will return to the same place without 
an effort ; v/hile a stranger to the prairies must give his undivided 
attention to marking the localities, and as objects look very dif- 
ferently when passing one way from what they do when going the 
other, he must frequently look back and mark the general topog- 
raphy of the prairie as well as the minuter objects. By consult- 
ing his pocket compass he will find his task very much simplified, 
though the old hunter rarely has occasion to do this, unless a 
dense fog comes on, which sometimes happens late in the fall, 
when the compass is indispensable. I was once caught in such a 
fog without a compass. I went six miles with unerring certainty 


and struck an object witliin two miles of camp, whicli I knew 
was on the way, and then I spent two hours or more circling 
round on a section of land ; every half hour or so I would pass 
close by the object, with the same bearing and distance as the 
first time. Though I was perfectly familiar with every object on 
this portion of the prairie, nothing at this time looked natural ex- 
cept the stake stuck in a little mound or ant-hill, with that ever- 
lasting owl sitting upon it. That looked natural, and I knew I 
could leave it in the proper direction for camp, but before long 
the inevitable owl on the stake would again appear not a hun- 
dred feet away on my right. At length I detected the faint trail 
of the wagon, which I knew had gone out over the same ground 
that morning. I dismounted, carefully examined for prints of 
the horse's feet ; and when found, I discovered I was headed the 
same way they had gone. No one who has not tried it, can ap- 
preciate how difficult it is to make the inclination yield to the 
judgment. I /t?Zt that I was headed directly for camp. \ kneu\ 
from the evidence before me, that I was faced the other way. 
Judgment prevailed, and I carefull}^ followed the faint back trail, 
and in half an hour I reached camp just before dark. Then and 
not till then did familiar objects look natural. I had been lost. 
The mental faculties had become bewildered. Why people in 
this condition should incline to wander in a circle, it is not my 
place now to inquire, but such is frequently though probably not 
always the case. Nor does it seem to make much diffei'ence 
whether one is lost in the woods or on the prairie, the same sys- 
tem or the want of it in bewilderment seems to prevail. It 
comes on when one is not suspecting it, or looking out for it, else 
by watchfulness it might be guarded against. 

Frequently in this kind of prairie hunting, one hunter may 
drive the deer upon another. The instant, therefore, a shot is 
heard, the hunter should stop and remain perfectly still. If he 
does not move, the deer may come directly upon him if he is in 
their selected course, witliout recognizing him, and he may get a 
shot as it passes, or what is much more likely, he may trace its 
course at a distance, and watch it to a new bed. 

" I was returning towards camp one evening," said my friend, 
who was an expert at this mode of hunting the deer, and enjoyed 
it more than any other, " slowly walking my horse along a high 
ridge in the prairie, when I discovered a large buck on the op- 
posite ridge, half a mile away. He was evidently intently watch- 
ing me. He stood in a narrow belt of grass which had been left 



by the prairie fire. I did not halt, and gave no sign that I saw 
him, but slowly pursued my way, bearing, however, to the left, 
so as to get more between the deer and the timber. The position 
of the deer commanded a view of the intervening valley. Pi'es- 
ently he laid down in a bunch of high grass. I continued to 
walk my horse slowly across the valley, graduallj^ drawing more 
in the direction of the deer, he believing he was entirely con- 
cealed, and evidently thought he had not been discovered. I ap- 
proached the buck in a direction which would pass him not more 
than thirty yards distant. I kept whistling a low tune all the 
way, and assumed as careless an attitude and action as I could, 
appearing always to look in another direction, though now and 
then a quick glance showed the great antlers, which looked like 
a rocking chair, through the dried grass. I had for the last hun- 
dred yards or more been changing the position of my gun, some- 
times to my shoulder, sometimes to my left arm, and sometimes 
to the pommel of my saddle. When I got opposite him I could 
see the outline of his head laying flat on the ground, but the 
body was concealed. At the proper moment I checked my horse 
by a word, turned in the saddle, raised the gun and fired the 
rifle, before the deer had fully made up his mind that he was dis- 
covered, reserving the buckshot for a fairer mark in case the 
ball missed, and he should jump up. But he did not. He 
straightened himself out, and gave up the struggle with a few 
spasmodic kicks. That was the largest deer killed by the party 
during the hunt, and was a satisfactory conclusion of a fine day's 
sport. An old buck is as cunning as a fox, but if you under- 
stand his ways, it is possible to circumvent him, and to do so is 
the very essence of sport. My companions were returning with 
the wagon half a mile away, and had been watching my move- 
ments for some time, but having seen no deer, supposed I had 
fired to bring them that way rather than go out of my way to 
join them, and so were reluctant to answer my signal to come. 
But they came at last, duly admired my trophy, assisted to put 
him on the wagon, when we all returned to camp together with 
as fine a load as I have ever seen brought in from the prairie in a 
single day. We were tired and hungry, no doubt, but all bore a 
hand to hang up the deer, and in a few minutes the trees 
around that camp were festooned in a way to make a hunter's 
heart rejoice. After bathing the face and hands in the cool 
spring water which burst from beneath the bank below, we 
gathered around our venison stew, which was our favorite dish in 


camp, and it seemed as if each one was determined to spoil more 
of it than another. At first ravenous, tlien moderate, then del- 
icate, picking over the savory mess to get a sweet morsel." 

The sapper in camp is not a hasty meal, towards the end 
at least, and is usually accompanied by full accounts of the in- 
cidents of the day and of former sporting experiences, which 
are continued long after the pipes have been lighted and the 
weary hunter is stretched out upon his robe at the mouth of the 
tent, enjoying the soothing influence of the burned herb, without 
which camp life would lose half its charms. 

Perhaps the most exhilarating mode of chasing the deer, is in 
the prairie with the greyhound. The broad, unbroken prairie 
presents a field for this sport unsurpassed. After the prairie fires 
have left most of the elevated portions of the great plain quite 
naked, and the dry seasons which generally prevail in the fall of 
the year leave the sloughs sufficiently hard for the free passage of 
the horse, while the tall grass which covers them and has been by 
moisture kept too green to feed the fire, which consumed that 
which had matured and withered on the dry upland, the proper 
conditions for this unparalleled sport exist. 

The dogs should be well trained to the sport, should be strong 
and enduring, and the more experience they have had the better. 
The horse as well as the dog soon learns to enter eagerly into 
the spirit and the excitement of the chase, and evidently enjoys 
it as much as his master. It takes a smart greyhound to come 
up to the average deer on the prairies, and only one that has 
learned his lesson severely can handle the deer after he is over- 
taken. Much of this he must learn by experience aided by his 
own sagacity. His master is rarely up at the first encounter, 
and the neophyte is sure to be cut by the feet and antlers of the 
deer, which the latter knows how to use with great dexterity. 
These wounds are the chastening lessons of the tj^ro, and if intel- 
ligent, he soon learns how to avoid them. But the experienced 
dog appreciates help, and will prolong the chase in order to secure 
it, if it is in prospect, either from the hunter or the rest of the 
pack, and will only close when he sees that he alone can over- 
take the quarry. The expert greyhound will not attempt to 
pull down his game by main force, but will take advantage of 
his momentum to throw him, when the fall must be severe ; and 
I have seen this done repeatedly before closing. In this way he 
greatly exhausts the deer by these repeated hard falls, and gives 
time for the slower dogs to come up, or his master to arrive to 
assist at the death. 


When the party is made up, the ground agreed upon, and the 
time fixed, the dogs should be well fed over night, but they must 
not be allowed to take food in the morning, which will require 
much time for digestion. An early start should be made and 
the party proceed to the field at a smart walk. The dogs should 
follow on foot for two or three miles, when they should be taken 
into a wagon, in which they should ride the balance of the way. 
The deer, it will be found, have long since left the timber to seek 
repose through the day in the high grass, and generally will be 
found in the sloughs, but in unburned prairie, sometimes in patches 
on the high ground. In the fall of the year, or in the winter, of 
course the deer can remain in the low ground undisturbed by the 
flies and mosquitoes. 

Arrived upon the ground, the hunters should arrange themselves 
abreast across the slough, so separated as to beat the whole. 
The progress is up the slough from the timber and towards the 
wide open prairie, so as to enable the flankers to cut off: the deer 
from the timber and drive them into the field, for if they once 
reach the timber they are safe from the pursuit of the grey- 
hound. Being thus arranged, the hunters proceed up the slough 
through the high grass, the pack i-eraaining near the centre of the 
line with their master. When a deer is started a shout is raised, 
and a rush is made in the direction of the game. This is in- 
stantly understood by the pack, and they spring forward in the 
direction thus indicated, jumping high to get a sight of the game. 
Their observation and progress are obstructed by the tall grass, 
so that by the time they reach the open ground the deer has at- 
tained a considerable start. Now the real chase commences. 
The dogs and horses, stimulated by excitement and the loud 
shouts of the hunters, lay down to their work beautifully. The 
deer shapes his course for the nearest point of timber. With 
long and rapid strides he' skims the ground almost like a bird on 
the wing, never spending his strength by high bounds, but running 
low and rapidly he passes over the ground with great swiftness. 
But if the ground is well chosen there will be miles of naked 
prairie before him, and he soon feels the pressure of his great ex- 
ertions. He improves his chances by taking advantage of the 
inequality of the ground or tall grass, which may hide him from the 
sight of the dogs ; but the experienced hunter anticipates these 
movements and turns them to the disadvantage of the pursued 
by making a shorter cut when the deer makes a circuit, or gains 
upon him when he is obliged to slacken his pace in the denser 


covert. The elevated and dispersed positions of the horsemen 
enable them to always keep the chase in sight, and so the well 
trained hound is kept upon his course without loss, though the 
game may frequently be lost to view. It is a glorious sight 
when the horsemen and the hounds draw near the game, when 
evasion or concealment is no longer possible, and it becomes a 
mere question of muscle and endurance ; when the shouts of the 
riders stimulate both the horses and the hounds, and madden the 
frightened deer to the last possible effort of every sinew. The pack 
is strung out in a long and scattered line and so are the horse- 
men, each striving to the utmost to gain on the quarry, to keep 
the lead or to make up the lost distance. To be the foremost in 
such a chase, to keep even with the leading hound, and see that 
each stride lessens the intervening space between the pursuers 
and the pursued, is the culmination of excitement only known to 
the ardent sportsman. 

At each stride the leading hound draws nearer to the deer 
that is straining everj' muscle to maintain his distance, his wild 
eye protruding from its socket, his mouth wide open, and his 
tail occasionally lashed between his legs, as evidence that he is 
pressed beyond his strength, and is already distressed with his 
great efforts. At length as he sees his pursuers are gaining upon 
him, and the friendly thicket is yet far distant, fear comes and 
increases the embarrassment of fatigue, and he begins to jump 
wildly, which retards his flight. The horseman, meantime, urges 
his steed to the utmost to keep up with the hound, which, how- 
ever, he fails to do ; but, as he sees the race is soon to terminate, 
he strives to keep as near as possible. Now the leader of the 
pack is up with the game. He seizes him a little inside the thigh 
just as the hind feet leave the ground, and by a side jerk throws 
him heavily to the ground, letting go as the quarry falls. If an 
experienced dog, and sure of speedy support, he will wait till the 
deer gets up and resumes his flight, when he will again throw 
him in the same way, and so repeatedly till others of the pack 
come up, when all will close in upon the exhausted animal and 
usually make short work of it. But great vitality remains in an 
old buck. If an inexperienced dog exposes himself to the blow 
of a wounded buck he may be knocked ten feet away by either 
foot, or he may be impaled by a single dash of the sharp antlers. 
One severe lesson, aided by the example of the older dogs, 
is generally enough to make the beginner cautious even in the 
midst of the excitement. One or two dogs at the throat laying 


upon the shoulders and neck, and one or more behind can, in an 
incredibly short time, dispatch a large buck ; but before this is 
accomjDlished the huntsmen are generally up, when the hunting- 
knife puts an end to the struggle. 

The most successful dog I ever followed always threw his deer 
in the way described, and I never knew him once to fail ; but 
I have known other dogs to seize the deer in the lower flank and 
throw him by so doing. 

A short time gathers the horsemen around the prostrate buck, 
when each may have something to relate. A horse or two may 
have stumbled in the chase, whose riders have been dashed to 
the ground ; possibly a broken limb, but probably a few bruises 
would sum up the casualties ; and after the panting horses have 
taken breath, and the wounded have been cared for, another 
start is made and the scene again repeated. 

It often happens that several deer are started at the same 
time which run in different directions, whereupon the party and 
the pack divide, and may be seen scouring over the prairie, pur- 
suing the flying game, and at the conclusion of the run are sep- 
arated by many miles ; sometimes, indeed, so far that they are 
not again united the same day, unless at the dinner-table, when 
the incidents of the day are recounted, with such extravagant 
embellishments as may be necessary to enable each to outdo the 

Of all the modes of chasing the deer, its pursuit over the prai- 
rie with horse and hound is b}^ far the most exciting and exhil- 
arating ; and, I may add, the most expensive, also, especially to 
the inexperienced rider ; for, if he returns with a sound horse 
and a sound body, he may consider himself fortunate. Practice 
is required in this as well as in other modes of pursuit, though in 
none can the neophyte in deer hunting take so active a part as 
in this. 

There is as great a difference in speed and endurance among 
deer as among horses. Some may be taken almost immediately, 
while others can only be captured by the best dogs and best 
horses, after a chase of many miles, when half the party may 
have been left quite out of sight. Take a long-legged, lean buck, 
in the prime of life, and he is a marvel of speed and endurance, 
and will satisfy the most ambitious sportsman before he is run 

Another mode of hunting the deer is called the Fire Hunt. 
As I have never tried it, I am unable to describe it from my own 


obsevvations. It is not much favored by sportsmen, but is rather 
considered as befitting what are c^WQd. iJOt-hunters. 

The deer is largely a nocturnal animal, especially in the 
neighborhood of settlements, or in regions much hunted. For 
this mode of hunting a still, dark night is selected. The place 
chosen is Avhere indications are abundant that the deer make 
their nocturnal visits, and where the covert is not so thick as to 
obstruct the artificial light too much. It may be in the farmers' 
grain fields, around salt licks, or along the margins of rivers. 

Generally, two go together in this sort of hunt. They are 
provided with an artificial light, usually made of pitch-pine knots, 
or the loose outside bark of the hickory tree, which contains an 
inflammable oil, and makes an admirable torch. This is so ar- 
ranged, and carried in such a position, that none of the rays of 
light fall upon the hunters, one of whom either precedes or fol- 
lows close behind the other, who carries the torch above his head 
or in front of him, higher than his head. A supply of material 
to renew the torch, is taken along and used as occasion requires. 
The hunters of course proceed with care and watchfulness and 
without noise. 

The deer sees the light slowly approaching and is rather fas- 
cinated than alarmed by it, and so he faces and starts at it in 
wonderment, when his eyes act as mirrors and reflect back the 
light, and appear to the hunters like two great stars, or as they 
sometimes express it, like two balls of fire set in nothing but 
darkness ; but neither of these expressions give a correct idea of 
the appearance of the light i-eflected by the eye. The radiation 
of the star is not seen, and the light is white instead of the red 
light of fire. Nothing else of the deer is seen. The advance 
should be made with extreme caution, for the least noise would 
be sure to scare away the game. The shot, if low, should be 
fatal ; yet it is, I am told, very frequently not so. It has some- 
times happened when several deer have been thus found together 
that those not hit have seemed to be so fascinated with the light, 
that after a few bounds away they stopped to gaze upon it, and 
were prevented from going further. This sort of hunting can 
never be safely practiced in the neighborhood of settlements 
where cattle are running at large, or the hunter may have to 
pay for a colt or a cow. 

Nearly allied to this is the jack-hunting, or night hunting 
upon the water, of which I cannot plead entire innocence. 
When thick underbrush obscures the view, and not a breath of 


air stirs a leaf upon the trees, when everything is dry, and every 
leaf will rustle, and every twig will snap under the lightest step, 
and day after day of diligent toil has failed of a single sight of 
game ; when the larder is low, and you are thrown back upon 
your reserved stores of pork or bacon, even if any of this be left, 
then you are ready to go jack-hunting. This is done upon a 
river or a lakelet. Along the margins of these in shallow waters 
grasses grow (yallisneria — deer grass, tape grass), of which 
the deer are very fond, for which they make nocturnal visits to 
favorite places. By previous examination these localities are 
easily discovered. This must be done by water, for the footsteps 
of men along the shore would be detected by the keen-scented 
animal, when he would leave in haste. A light boat or canoe, 
which must be paddled, not rowed, and an expert Indian at 
the paddle, is much to be desired. A light is carried upon the 
head. Various devices have been invented for this light, called 
jacks^ but a watchman's lamp, attached to the front of a fire- 
man's leather hat, answers the purpose well. The light should 
be covered by a leather shield, or cap, which can be removed and 
replaced instantly and without the least noise. This must be so 
adjusted that the light falls upon the gun barrel for its whole 
length when the aim is being taken, and at all times when not 
covered throws a strong light ahead. A dark, still night is desir- 
able for this spoj't. 

The hunter is seated near the prow of the canoe, and the 
paddler in the stern. If in a river it should be where the cur- 
rent is gentle, and unless it is a large river the canoe is allowed 
to float down in mid-channel ; if in a lake the canoe is gently 
paddled along within from one to two hundred yards of the 
shore. Everything is profoundly still, both listening, to hear the 
deer come into the water at their favorite places. In a still 
night this may be detected by the quick ear of the Indian two 
or three hundred yards away. When the step of the deer 
in the water is heard the Indian quickly turns the canoe to 
the point whence the sound is heard, and the hunter removes 
the cap from his light, if it has been concealed, and instantly a 
strong column of light is thrown ahead till it is lost in the gloom 
beyond. Presently, two balls of light are seen. These are the 
eyes of the deer reflecting back the light of the lamp. The deer 
seems to take no notice of the rapidly approaching light, but the 
head is alternately elevated and depressed in the act of feeding, 
though I have been at a loss to conceive how we could get the 


full reflection from the eyes when the head? was depressed to the 
very water, gathering the aquatic grass, but no matter what the 
position is, the reflection seems always equally bright as if look- 
ing directly towards you, and it is only by the movements that 
you know that they are not, and that the animal is feeding un- 
concernedly. When suiEcientlj'' near, deliberate aim should be 
taken, not between the eyes, but about four inches below them. 
Unless one is much accustomed to this kind of shooting, he is 
almost sure to over-shoot, and if the face of the deer is nearly 
horizontal, as it will be if he is looking at you, one inch too high 
will miss the deer, while if you shoot too low, a shot in the neck 
is as fatal as if in the head. The great excitement in this mode 
of hunting is, when the Indian is rapidly paddling you toward 
the splashing in the water, while the paddle dips so softly that 
it gives out no sound, and all you can hear of your own advance 
is a gentle murmur at the bow as it swiftly divides the waters. 
You are then earnestly looking into the still gloom, and when 
the orbs of light ahead are seen moving up and down and from 
side to side, while you are yet too far away to shoot, but with . 
the gun to your face waiting for the Indian to say shoot, if you 
do not breathe rapidly, and your heart does not thump as if it 
would break your ribs, or appear to get into your throat and half 
choke you, then you have become a hardened hunter, and lost a 
part of that nervous sensibility, which affords such exquisite 
pleasure, if not too painful, for the line between these sensations 
I know to be very thin. With the light upon your head you 
cannot so well judge of distance as the Indian in the stern, so 
leave that to him. 

The last time I was in such a place, — and it is not many 
months since, — there broke out from the darkness four balls of 
light, both deer evidently feeding a little way apart. The Indian 
pulled first for the one on my right, and he dropped with a shot 
in the neck close to the head. Immediately I cocked the other 
lock for the one on the left, but when the gun came to the face I 
could see nothing for the smoke, but the Indian understood his 
work, and shot me out of the cloud of smoke in a fraction of a 
second, and before the big doe could turn half round to jump the 
bank, presenting the left hip, a shot in the loin, ranging far for- 
ward, dropped her on the spot, and it took two men to pull her 
out of the water and up that bank. They were a pretty pair as 
they lay side by side, and the loud whoop of the Indian showed 
that he thought it a well executed right and left. 


Sometimes the deer are disturbed by tlie night hunter, in 
deeper water where they can submerge themselves to escape the 
flies and mosquitoes, but I have never seen it. 

Not the least exciting of the different modes of pursuing the 
deer is in the water Avith a light boat or canoe. A single inci- 
dent of this mode will serve for illustration. Opportunities for 
this sport occur when deer are driven either into a lake or river, 
or when they take to the water voluntarily, for the purpose of 
swimming across. 

We had made camp near the foot of the lower of two small 
lakes on the head waters of Pike River in Wisconsin, which were 
connected by a narrow strait only navigable by canoes.^ Night 
hunting had developed the fact that the waters swarmed with 
black bass, which were continually breaking water with loud 
splashes, sometimes within two feet of the canoe, and frequently 
with such energy as to fairly startle those within it. They had 
been tried with fly and spoon, but were too far back in the wild 
country to have received the proper education to appreciate these 
allurements. One of my companions had induced his Indian to 
secure a good lot of dace from five to seven inches long, and in- 
vited me to join him to try and ascertain what kind of fish they 
were which made such an uproar during the whole night. So we 
started with a couple of eight-ounce trout rods. Stockton Avas 
in the bow of the canoe, while I occupied the middle, and bis In- 
dian, John Komoska, took the paddle. S. placed his rifle beside 
me, and said we might see a deer, when he should depend on 
me for the venison, although the camp was well supplied with 
fresh meat, but Lucius wanted a chowder. (His great weakness 
and his greatest strength is a chowder in camp.) We passed 
through the lower lake and half way through the upper lake 
without a bite, and came to a pause at the border of the lily 
pads (iV. advena), opposite the mouth of a little creek. John 
said we would get them there if anywhere. We exhausted all 
our skill in all the ways we knew for luring bass, and only took 
a few small ones. At length in disgust I threw my hook, with 
a large bait upon it, into the water, and let it sink to the bottom, 
perhaps twelve feet, and there let it rest. After half a minute 
I attempted to move it, and then the sport commenced. I had 
hooked a five-pound bass. Fortunately, the first dash was into 
the lake and the reel sung a merry tune. John was well up to 

1 A rare sensibility on my part prevents lakelets, since they were named for the 
me from giving the name of these twin writer ! 


the business and run the canoe into the lake, to keep him beyond 
the lily stems, for if he had got among them, my tackle would 
have been no more tlian a cob-web there. So soon as I got sea 
room I was sure of him, for the line was long though small. He 
bit as lazily as a sucker, but after that there was not a lazy 
muscle in him. He fought like a tiger, or rather like a salmon ; 
several times running away and then running in, repeatedly 
throwing himself out of water and trying to shake the hook 
from his mouth, but I managed not to give him an inch of 
slack. After a long and gallant struggle, he surrendered and 
rolled over on his side, when I floated him up to the bow of the 
canoe and Stockton lifted him in without a struggle. He had 
fought till he was completely exhausted. He was as black as 
night, excepting on the belly, which was partly gray. He was 
hump-shouldered and thick meated, and altogether the finest bass 
I had ever seen. It proved to be 3Iicro2Jteriis ingrecans, Baird. 

The secret was now out. At almost every cast we took a fish, 
but never felt a bite. More than half of the time Ave were strug- 
gling with a big fish simultaneousl3^ If it was exciting, sport it 
was hard work After we had each smashed a tip, we took time 
to look at the pile in the canoe, and concluded there was enough 
for that chowder. There were seventeen fish weighing seventy- 
five pounds. The largest was over six jwunds. When we got 
to camp, Stockton laid him on a piece of paper, and cut out his 
profile. It is twenty inches and three lines long and six inches 
deep, and he was very thick. That was a nice chowder we had, 
and when the fish was fried with pork it made a hungry man 
amiable to eat it. 

We reeled'in our lines, and John headed the canoe for camp. 
As we wei-e passing through the strait, we heard a pack of 
wolves far away in the woods, but they seemed to be approach- 
ing, and when about in the middle of the lower lake neai'ly 
ahead of us we saw a large buck dash from the thicket into 
the shallow water, which was covered with lily-pads, and rush 
thi'ough it, slacking his speed, however, as the water deepened. 
When he reached the edge of the lily-pads, and the deep clear 
water was right before him, he stopped short, threw high his 
head, displaying to the best advantage his great branching ant- 
lers, and looked back and listened at the yelping of his pursuers. 
The Indian had stopped paddling, not a breath of air was stirring, 
and the water was as smooth as a mirror, while the bright de- 
clining sun cast the shade of the tall pines on shore far out upon 


the lake. " There," said Stockton, " is tlie first full realization I 
have ever seen of Landseer's glorious picture, ■ The JNIonarch of 
the Glen.' " And so it was. The ideal of the great artist stood 
before us in all his magnificence, an actual verity. There stood 
the monarch of the forest in the border of the quiet lake, where 
the deep solitude is rarely broken by invading man, not dreaming 
there were enemies before him more dangerous than those behind, 
of escape from which he now felt assured. "■ ffist" said the 
Indian, and the word fairly hissed between his teeth, " he come 
here straight," and at the same instant the deer plumped into 
the deep water and swam directly towards ns. No one moved, 
but if truth must be told, there was hard breathing in that canoe 
as the deer rapidly approached us. When he was within fifty 
yards or less, the Indian rose to his feet, gave a loud whoop, and 
dashed his paddle into the water. At the same instant the deer 
turned for shore, and swam like a race-ho'.vse. That Indian was 
too economical to allow the deer to be killed without a race. The 
canoe fairly flew through the water, not directly after the deer, 
but around him, so as to cut off his retreat, and in a time too 
short to be reckoned in the excitement of the moment, the deer 
was again turned into the lake. The race was short. I had 
picked up the rifle the instant the Indian whooped, and held it 
ready. The deer swam high, the top of his hips and part of his 
neck always out of water ; still he constantly rose and settled in 
the water as he progressed. When within about twenty-five 
yards of the deer, the Indian turned the bow of the canoe out of 
the line of the chase, and said, " Shoot." I needed no second 
bidding. I aimed to strike him in the head, just back of the 
antlers, but as I pulled, the head settled, — we must always find 
an excuse for a bad miss, — and the ball passed between the 
antlers, very close, of course, and struck the water just ahead "of 
him. Thanks to the Springfield breech-loader, the reprieve was 
short. The next time I held for the neck, and the ball crashed 
through it, and came out just so as to miss the under jaw. The 
deer dove, as you have often seen a muskrat dive, throwing the 
hind parts considerably out of water, owing to the momentum. 
Still the Indian was well up to his work. With a great exertion 
he shot the canoe to the spot before the deer had sunk below the 
reach of his paddle, which he dipped beneath the antlers, and 
raised him up so I could reach them. The Indian was master of 
the situation, for so long as he followed the deer directly, my 
friend was always in the way, so I could not shoot, but if the 


gun had been in unexperienced hands, I would not have been in 
Stockton's place, and I was impatient with the Indian that he 
would not give me a shot before we got so near, but I now saw 
if we had been ten yards farther off the carcass would have sunk 
out of reach. When the trophy was secured, the Indian gave a 
whoop, such as only an Indian can give, though I must confess 
there were some brave attempts to imitate it right then and 
there. At the death, we were scarcely a quarter of a mile from 
the landing, and in full hearing of the camp, and it was a sight 
worth seeing to see our two companions and the three Indians, 
all of whom were in camp when the shots were fired, come rush- 
ing down to the beach to see what it all meant. It was slow 
towing the deer through the lily pads, which extended out for fifty 
yards or more. Before we landed, the three Indians on shore 
rushed into the water, seized and dragged the deer to the bank. 
He must have been a great warrior, for all the points on his 
antlers were broken off. He was a big deer, and a beautiful 
sight as he lay there upon the green grass. But I have spoken 
of his remarkable size in another and more appropriate place. 

That was one of those fortunate but unexpected chances which, 
however, often occur, and which the discreet hunter will be 
always prepared for. It would be difficult to recall a finer after- 
noon's sport, or one with more satisfactory results. 


Sll^CE the qnalit)^ of the flesh depends very much upon the 
condition of tlie animal when killed, we might expect to find 
differences of opinion as to the quality of the venison obtained 
from the different species of deer, especially when these opinions 
are expressed by those whose opportunities to judge have not 
been very great. 

All agree that the flesh of the Moose possesses one excellence 
over all other venison, in this, that the external fat which is 
connected with the muscle is soft, and retains its fluidity at a 
low temperature, while the internal fat is very hard, like the fat 
of all other deer. It is coarse grained, no doubt, but for all that, 
it is sweet and juicy, even though not in the best of order. 
When from an old animal it is tough, but still it is always nour- 
ishing, and for that reason it is ever esteemed where food is a 
desideratum. Richardson says : " The flesh of the Moose is more 
relished by the Indians and residents in the fur countries than 
that of any other animal, and principally, I believe, on account 
of its soft fat." The flesh of the young fat moose is always 
highly prized, even by epicures, whether in the camp or in the 
dining-room. This, like all the other deer, is in the finest condi- 
tion at the commencement of the rutting season, when the flesh 
of even the old males is considered rich and delicious. Captain 
Hardy had killed a very large male Moose which John, his In- 
dian, "^Imd called up. The next morning — " Come on, Capten," 
said John ; " come on and eat some Moose. This Moose be 
very tender ; little later in the fall not so good though ; soon get 
tough and black." 

The flesh of this animal has always been highly esteemed in 
countries where it is found in Northern Europe, and at times it 
has contributed largely to the supply of food. It is the only 
venison well adapted to preservation in the barrel, with pickle or 
brine. In this mode it is said to be as well preserved as beef, 
while the flesh of all the other deer must be preserved by a drj-^- 
ing process. 

Of the quality of the venison of the larger Reindeer there is 
a diversity of opinion ; but the weight of authority is in favor of 


its excellency when it is in good order in the proper season. 
Captain Hardy, speaking of the Woodland Caribou, says : " Ev- 
ery pound of meat pays for packing it out of the woods, being, 
in my opinion, far finer wild meat thafi any other venison I have 
tasted." On the other hand, Richardson says of this deer : " It 
is much larger than the Barren-ground Caribou ; has smaller 
horns, and is much inferior as an article of food." However, 
as this is but a comparison, and, as we shall presently see, he 
speaks in high terms of the flesh of the smaller species, the tastes 
of these two observers might not be irreconcilable, at last. After 
all, tastes so widely differ, especiallj'' as to game food, men may 
well disagree as to the quality of this meat. From other sources 
I learn that this venison is generally very highly esteemed. I 
have nowhere seen a comparison made between the flesh of our 
Caribou and that of the European Reindeer or between that of 
the tame and the wild Reindeer there. 

Richardson is almost our only authority that speaks dii-ectly 
to the quality of the venison of the Barren-ground Caribou. 
" The flesh of the Caribou is very tender, and its flavor when in 
season is, in my opinion, superior to the finest English venison ; 
but when the animal is lean it is very insipid ; the difference 
being greater between well-fed and lean Caribou than any one 
can conceive who has not had an opportunity of judging. The 
lean meat fills the stomach, but never satisfies the appetite, and 
scarcely serves to recruit the strength when exhausted by labor. 
The flesh of the moose deer and buffalo, on the other hand, is 
tough when lean, but is never so utterly tasteless and devoid of 
nourishment as that of the Caribou in poor condition." All flesh 
from poor animals has a larger proportion of water, and is 
of poorer flavor, and is less nourishing than from fat ani'mals, 
even the muscle ; but we may believe from this statement of so 
good an observer, and having such abundant opportunities to 
form an opinion, that the flesh of the Barren- ground Caribou is 
exceptional in this regard. Whether this is a constitutional pe- 
culiarity, or results from peculiarity of food, we may not safely 
say. Certain it is that, in the spring or summer time, when, if 
they are like all the other deer, they are in the poorest condition, 
they get no arboreous food, being dependent entirely on the 
lichens of the barren grounds, only finding tree food in their 
southern range in the fall and winter. But then that is their 
principal food at all times, and is generally accredited as being 
very nourishing. The other species, too, depend very largely on 


mosses for their sustenance, although they ave rarely if ever en- 
tirelj'^ dependent upon them. That the flesh of this Caribou is 
exceptionally tender we must believe, for even in its poorest con- 
dition nothing is said about its being tough, but only that it is 
tasteless or insipid, and not nourishing. I think we must admit 
that when it is in good condition it differs from, and is decidedly 
superior to all other venison. 

Of the venison of our Elk I should be able to speak under- 
standingly both of the wild animals and those raised in my 
grounds. The tallow of this deer, that is, the internal fat, is 
harder than that of any of the other deer, and almost as hard as 
beeswax or stearine. A temperature of 90° Fahr. seems scarcely 
to- soften the surface appreciablj'. The external fat is also harder 
than that of any other deer, though it is not so hard as the in- 
ternal fat. I think, however, after careful observation, that I 
may safel}'' say that both the internal and external fat are harder 
in the wild Elk than in those always confined in inclosures. 
The greater activity and larger amount of exercise which the 
wild Elk gets may reasonably explain this difference. But in 
both the external fat is so hard as to make special precautions 
necessary to prepare this venison for the table in order to appre- 
ciate its full excellence. It must be served hot and kept hot, or 
else if there be much fat in it one will find a thin scale of the 
fat coating the roof of the mouth, which to most persons is very 
disagreeable, and for which but an indifferent compensation is 
found in the richest flavor and the most nutritive properties. 

Ordinarily it is not so tender as the venison of the smaller 
deer, but it is more nutritious than any other flesh with which I 
am ac(juainted. While I have no analysis with which to make 
the comparison, I have found, by actual use on many occasions 
and with many people, that about one half the amount of Elk 
meat will satisfy hunger and sustain the system which would be 
required of good beef. 

Another peculiarity is that this is the most difficult of all to pre- 
serve. The difficulty of curing Elk meat, is first mentioned by 
Lewis and Clarke, at their wi'nter camp near the mouth of the 
Columbia River, about Christmas in 1805. They say, " Our 
Elk meat is spoiling in consequence of the warmtli of the 
weather — though we have kept a constant smoke under it." 
Again, " The whole stock of meat being now completely spoiled 
our pounded fish became again our chief dependence." Elk was 
their only meat. I lost several lots of Elk meat, which I prepared 


for drying in the same way I would beef for that purpose. When 
cut into thinner pieces it is perfectly practicable to cure and dry 
it. The drying should be pretty rapid and thorough, when the 
prepared meat will remain sweet for an indefinite time if kept 

The marrow-bones of the Elk are very rich, and second only 
to those of the bison, and the same is true of the tongue. 

I have been unable to discover any appreciable difference in 
the quality of the venison of the Mule Deer, the Black-tailed 
Deer, and the Virginia Deer. Lewis and Clarke found the venison 
of the Columbia Black-tailed Deer dry and hard, and condemned 
it as the poorest of all ; but it is evident that the specimens they 
procured must have been in bad condition, for all since speak of it 
in favorable terms ; it commands as high a price in the markets as 
any other venison, and is as much approved by epicures. For my- 
self, I may say whenever I have had an opportunity of tasting it 
I have always had to resort to collateral evidence to determine 
what deer it was from. 

The venison of the Mule Deer I have, with few exceptions, 
only eaten in camp ; and it must be admitted that a hard day's 
tramp in the mountains makes any dish that is really good taste 
very good, and has a tendency to destroy that nice discrimination 
which would enable one to detect the flavor of the mule's hoof in 
the mushroom soup, when the vegetable had been crushed by 
the tread of that animal. Still I doubt if au}^ one can distinguish 
the flesh of the Mule Deer from that of the common deer. 

Almost evei-y one, in America at least, is familiar with the ven- 
ison of the Virginia Deer. While a few persons cannot eat it, 
and others dislike it, to say the least, a majority of mankind ad- 
mire it as food, and others esteem it above all other flesh. It is 
dark colored, is fine grained, and has a flavor peculiarly its own. 
When cooked without accessories it is dryer than beef, but is 
tenderer, ceteris paribus. This venison is tender and nourish- 
ing, and of good flavor, even in the summer time when the ani- 
mal is always poor, though of course far inferior to the luscious 
feast afforded by the fat buck just at the commencement of the 
rut, when he fairly swells out with new made fat and flesh, 
which he has taken on in an incredibly short time. At this 
time I think the buck in the prime of life affords the best and 
most substantial venison, but at no time will the same quantity 
nourish the system as much as beef of the same quality, and so 
is vastly inferior in this respect to the venison of the Elk. 


It is not admired when corned like beef or the flesh of the 
Moose, but when dried it is extremely delicate and nice, and 
inexpressibly superior to dried beef. Indeed, it is only when you 
cut into the dried ham of the deer that you can fully appreciate 
its delicate, tender texture, and its rich flavor. It is very readily 
cured by drying. Take the venison ham, hang it up by the 
shank, even in the ordinary kitchen, divide the muscles just above 
the hock and insert a handful of dry salt, and it will then cure 
to absolute perfection. It keeps a long time without curing, 
before it becomes tainted, and, of course, improves in tenderness 
and flavor all the time. 

When the Indians jerk it they cut it into thin strips or sheets, 
and hang it upon poles over a slow fire, not sufficiently strong to 
absolutely cook it, and yet it does become partially cooked, as 
well as smoked and dried, and, if thoroughly done, it becomes 
as dry as a chip, and will break short off, like a biscuit, unless 
the strip is pretty thick. Still, it retains its flavor and suste- 
nance, and makes an excellent soup, for which it should be 
pounded pretty fine. It is very good au riaturel, and is a con- 
venient lunch to take into the woods. 

I can only conjecture as to the quality of the venison of the 
Acapulco Deer. To do this is unnecessary. 


Ix texture, the skins of all the deer are alike. They consist 
of a mass of felted fibres, and are soft, spongy, and elastic, from 
which the epidermis is easily separated. These properties ad- 
mirably adapt them to supply the place of cloth in the clothing 
of the natives, and so constitute their principal material for dress. 
The principal articles used by the Indians in tanning these skins 
are brains and smoke, though the latter is frequently omitted, 
especially by the western tribes. In the cold countries the skins 
are usually tanned with the hair on, which is sometimes worn 
inside, and sometimes outside. In the temperate and tropical 
climates the hair is removed from the skin before it is tanned, 
unless it is designed to be used as a robe. 

Whenever the skin is thick and heavy it is chipped away on 
the flesh side till it is so reduced as to make it even and pliable, 
and convenient for use. In this way they reject the weakest 
part of the skin. 

The skin of the Moose is thick and heavy, and always re- 
quires to be reduced to fit it for use as clothing, or even for 
robes. Although coarse-grained it is strong and serviceable. 
Here is what Richardson says, speaking of the Moose Deer : 
"Their skins, when properly dressed, make a soft, thick, pliable 
leather, excellently adapted for moccasins, or other articles of 
winter clothing. The Dog-ribs excel in the art of dressing the 
skins, which is done in the following manner : They are first 
scraped to an equal thickness throughout, and the hair taken off 
by a scraper made of the shin-bone of the deer, split longitu- 
dinally ; thej?^ are then repeatedly moistened and rubbed, after 
being smeared with the brains of the animal until they acquire 
a soft, spongy feel ; and, lastly, they are suspended over a fire, 
made of rotten wood, until they are well impregnated with the 
smoke. This last mentioned process imparts a peculiar odor to 
the leather, and has the effect of preventing it from becoming so 
hard, after being wet, as it would otherwise do." In fact, this 
describes the mode of tanning the skins of all the deer, by the 
different Indian tribes, who depend so largely upon them for 
their clothing, except that the hair is frequently allowed to re- 


main, especially on the skins of the reindeer. The same author 
says, when treating of the Barren-ground Caribou : " The hide 
dressed with tlie fur is, as has been already mentioned, excellent 
for winter clothing, and supplies the place of both blanket and 
feather-bed, to the inhabitants of the Arctic wilds. When sub- 
jected to the process described in the article on the Moose Deer 
it forms a soft and pliable leather, adapted for moccasins and 
summer clothing, or, when sixty or seventy skins are sewed to- 
gether, they make a tent sufficient for the residence of a large 
family." " The undressed hide, after the hair is taken off, is cut 
into thongs of various thickness, which are twisted into deer- 
snares, bow-strings, net-lines, and, in fact, supply all the pur- 
poses of rope. The finer thongs are used in the manufacture of 
fishing-nets, or in making snow-shoes ; while the tendons of the 
dorsal muscles are split into fine and excellent sewing-thread." 

The portion of the skin of the Moose most prized for mocca- 
sins is that about the hock, which is peeled down without being 
cut open, is properly tanned with the hair on, and sewed uj) at 
the lower end, and is found to be well shaped by nature for the 
foot. The skin from the leg is firmer, and is more impervious to 
the water than that of the body, and the hair there is shorter, 
firmer, and more enduring than on other parts. 

The skin of the Wapiti Deer is less tenacious and less enduring 
than that of any other of the species. This fact was discovered by 
Lewis and Clarke, much to their cost. To cover their iron-framed 
boat above the falls of the Missouri, they selected Elk skins in 
preference to tiie skins of the buffalo, because they supposed 
they were " more strong and durable," but when it was too late 
they discovered their error, and the boat had to be abandoned. 

But my own experiments have been conclusive as to the com- 
parative worthlessness of the skin of the Elk. I have had them 
tanned by various processes and into various kinds of leather. I 
had a prime buck skin tanned into harness leather. It was soft 
and pliable, but had very little strength and endurance. Hitch- 
ing-straps made fronr it seemed very nice, but their tensile 
strength was very low, and they actually wore out by a few 
weeks' use. Several skins from young Elk less than a year old, 
tanned into shoe leather, appear all that could be desired for 
shoes or soft boots, but they have so little strength that they can 
be torn in two by the hands like a piece of muslin, while I find 
all the skins of the other species of deer which I have in confine- 
ment, tanned in the same way, as strong as if tanned by the 


Indian process, and this, too, when the skins are from animals of 
all ages. Even the skins of those which died in the grounds, 
and very poor, although very thin and light, are as strong in pro- 
portion to their thickness as those from animals in prime con- 
dition, and prove wonderfullj' enduring when worn as slippers. 
The grain takes a good polish, though it is easily broken by 
rough usage. This shows that the mode of tanning did not de- 
stroy the tenacity or durability of the Elk skins. 

I have had many Elk skins tanned for robes, when the skin 
proves sufficiently enduring to wear out the hair, which is so 
fragile that it is soon worn off if used as cushions or beds, though 
the under-fur still remains. But the loss of the ends of the Ions 
hair gives it an unsightly appearance, and it becomes of iHtle 
value. If used carefully as a lap robe or covering, it endures 
for a long time, and is very warm and comfortable, though if 
the animal was in full winter coat, the burden of hair is so 
heav}' as to make its use rather inconvenient. 

What has been already said sufficiently explains the value and 
the uses of the skins of the common deer, the mule deer, and 
the Columbia deer. These are indistinguishable when tanned in 
any known mode. The skins of all our deer, then, when prop- 
erly tanned, make fine, soft, and enduring leather, except that of 
the Elk, which, though, pliable, is comparatively of little value 
where strength and endui'ance are desirable. It would be inter- 
esting to know whether the skin of the red deer of Europe, an 
animal which possesses all the other peculiarities of Wapiti, re- 
sembles it in this particular also. 

It is no doubt remarkable that this exceptional quality of 
the Elk skin has been so rarely alluded to by those who have 
bad extensive opportunities to observe it. It must be well 
known among the Indians and the fur traders, and yet I find 
them nowhere complaining that the Elk skin is valueless, though 
I nowhere learn that it is purchased by the traders like the skins 
of the other deer. Even Richardson, who so rarely overlooks 
anything of interest, makes no mention of it, though he says the 
skin of the antelope is considered nearly valueless by the Indians 
and traders, and yet a string cut from the skin of the Elk 
fifteen times as heavy as that cut from the antelope skin, is not 
as strong, and probably would not have a hundredth part the 
endurance when used as a string about a pack-saddle, for in- 


At the last moment, I am enabled to present in this form the follow- 
mg abstract of a paper by Mr. Robert Morrow, read before the Institute 
of Natural Science, Halifax, N. S., April 9, 1877, deeply regretting that 
I was not enabled to present its important facts in the text. Mr. Mor- 
row's examination and description of the cyst in the neck of the Caribou, 
first mentioned by Ilutchins, and his comparison of it with that found 
by Mr. Camper in the Reindeer, are of especial value. His observations 
are made with an intelligent care, and described with a particularity, 
which enable us to understand the subject almost as if we had made the 
examination ourselves. 

The examination of the interdigital glands or tubes between the toes 
of the Caribou and the Moose, by himself and Drs. Gilpin and Sommers, 
are of very great importance, and were evidently made with great care 
and intelligence. In the text I iiave suggested the probability that these 
members would be found wanting in the Moose, as I had found them 
wanting in the wapiti deer. This paper of Mr. Morrow settles that 
matter, and shows that they exist in the Moose to about the extent they 
are found in the Caribou. With this new and important information 
before us, I may here repeat, that these glands, which are found in the 
feet of deer, and are wanting in the feet of all other ruminants, so far as 
I am informed, lack the constancy, and hence reliability of the other 
glandular members peculiar to the Cervidae. 

jNIr. Morrow deserves our thanks for this valuable contribution to 
zoological science. He informs me that a similar abstract has been fur- 
nished to " Forest and Stream," in which it will shortly appear. 

Abstract of a Pape?; read April 9, 1877, before the Institute of Natural Science, 
Halifax, N. S., by R. Morroio, entitled " Notes on the Caribou." 

Mr. Morrow said, that the paper owed its origin to the following quotation 
from Sir John Richardson's " Fauna Boreali- Americana," pages 250 and 251. 
Mr. Hutchins " mentions that the buck (Caribou) has a peculiar bag or cist 
on the lower part of the neck, about the bigness of a crown piece, and filled 
with fine flaxen hair, neatly curled round to the thickness of an inch. Tliere 
is an opening through the skin, near the head, leading to the cist, but Mr. 
Hutchins does not offer a conjecture as to its uses in the economy of tlie ani- 

414 - APPENDIX. 

mal. Camper found a membranous cist on the Reindeer above the thyroid 
cartilage, and opening into the larynx, but I have met with no account of a 
cist with a duct opening externally like that described by Mr. Hutchins, and, 
unfortunately, I was not aware of his remarks until the means of ascertaining 
whether such a sac exists in the Barren-ground Caribou were beyond my 

Mr. Morrow had several times looked for the cyst without success, but always 
foro-ot to do so for the sac; and, in order to obtain some information on both 
points, he went to the woods in December last, and succeeded in killing a large 
buck, the result of the examination of which, and dissection of others, male 
and female, made since, he would place before the Institute. But first, he 
thought it necessary to give Camper's description of the membranous sac from 
a Reindeer "four years old." Camper says,i " that as he did not know the 
Reindeer, and as the imperfect account which Valentyn gave of Stenons's dis- 
section in 1G72, did not give him much light, he was forced to proceed with 
caution (date, June, 1771). He had often observed in the bucks, that when 
these animals swallowed, all the larynx rose and fell in a peculiar manner, and 
seemed to indicate something singular in this part. He then removed the skin 
of the neck with much care. The muscles being raised in the same way, he 
found a membranous sac, which had its origin between the os hyoides and the 
thyroid cartilage. He then discovei-ed two muscles, which take their origin from 
the lower part of the os hyoides, exactly where the base of the os graniform and 
the cornua meet. These muscles were flat and thin at their beginning, but 
widened towards their junction with the sac, and certainly served to support it 
as well as to expel the air from it at the will of the animal. After he had opened 
the oesophagus from behind, he found under the base of the epiglottis a large 
orifice which admitted his finger very easily. This orifice spread, and formed 
a membranous canal, which passed between the two muscles already men- 
tioned, terminating in the membranous sac. Consequently the air driven from 
the lungs into the larynx fell into this sac, and necessarily caused a consid- 
erable swelling." 

Mr. Morrow said that when he shot t4ie buck alluded to, he had not seen the 
account by Camper of the sac, and his specimen is not therefore so perfect as it 
might otherwise have been. Examining the outside of the throat of the animal 
the cyst of Mr. Hutchins, with " an opening through the skin," does not exist; 
but immediately under the skin, there was a roundish sub-triangular cyst or 
valve of cellular membrane of the " bigness of a crown piece," and on cutting 
through the cellular membrane, this " valve " is found to be a closed sac hav- 
ing a peculiar lining membrane, and closely packed with what may be called 
loose hairs of a flaxen color, in a considerable quantity of sebaceous matter ; 
at the same time, however, the lining membrane is covered by hairs of the same 
quality growing from and rather lightly attached to it. Camper in his account 
has described this valve as if it were the sac, and his drawing gives only the 
valve, which the larynx exhibited by Mr. Morrow plainly shows. The muscles 
which Camper describes as connecting the sac with the os hyoides, in Mr. 
Morrow's specimen do not exist, but their representatives are probably the 
muscles found in the larynx of the young buck by Dr. Sommers, as will later 
appear. The valve is connected with the omo-hyoid muscles as they pass to- 

1 Camper, vol. i., chap, vi., page 338, Paris, 1803, where reference is made by let- 
ters to a plate, which cannot be done here. 

APPENDIX. ■ 415 

wards their insertion in the hj'oid bone. The valve which Camper has evi- 
dently taken to be the sac lies outside of ihe mucous sac, but is incorporated 
with its anterior walls ; the inner wall of the true sac surrounds and is at- 
tached to the larynx extending longitudinally from the hyoid bone to the base 
of the thyroid cartilage, how much further it may extend cannot, from the im- 
perfect state of the specimen already mentioned, be determined; and at present 
the writer would only call it an organ of voice. The slit or orifice exists as 
Camper describes, but opens into the laryngeal sac, which lies above the valve 
that is next the larynx. The dimensions of this larynx are as follows: — 

Length of larynx from base of epiglottis to base of thyroid 

cartilage 0.5 inches. 

Circumference of larynx . . , . . . . 0.11 inches. 

Inside diameter of larynx 0.2 inches. 

The age of the reindeer which Camper dissected, he said was " four years," 
but " it had not attained its full growth." It is therefore possible that the sac 
was not fully developed. The muscles described by him taken in connection 
with those found in the young buck make this very probable. 

Mr. Morrow said that he had made every exertion to obtain a more perfect 
specimen of the larynx from an old buck, but without success. A small buck 
eight months old was sent to him and dissected by Dr. Sommers, Dr. Gilpin, 
and himself on the 27th January; and a female calf nine months old and an 
adult doe was put at his disposal by Mr. T. J. Egan, and dissected February 
19. Mr. Morrow gave an account of the dissection of these three animals 
taken from the notes of Dr. Sommers; with reference to the larynx, very 
much abridged, it was as follows : In the young buck the organ existed as 
described in the adult animal, but in an immature state; it would probably be 
developed with the growth of the animal; the muscles were not found as in the 
adult animal, but arising apparently from the base of the epiglottis on either 
side, possibly continuous with the thyro-epiglottidean and aryteno-epio-lottid- 
ean muscles, are two bands of muscular fibres passing over on either side 
of a body which probably would develop and form tiie valve in the adult, and 
are connected with it by fibrous adhesions; extending forwards they unite at 
its upper border, forming a single muscular band which becomes inserted into 
the upper and inner edge of the hyoid bone. These fibres have no analogues 
in man. Under the microscope the structure forming this body (which was 
about the size of a small horse-bean) was found to consist mostly of fatty 
tissue with a moderate proportion of granular cells. This body, which would 
form the valve, was absent in the doe and very rudimentary in the female fawn. 

Camper pointed out that the female reindeer is without this organ in the 
larynx, and also that it is not present in the male fallow deer, and from a 
specimen exhibited it was seen that it was not in the Virginia deer. 

Inside of the hock of the Caribou there is a patch of hair of a lighter color 
and somewhat longrer than that which covers the skin in its immediate nei"-h- 
borhood, and the skin under this patch is slightly thicker than that immedi- 
ately around it. This spot is usually called a " gland." It is caused by an en- 
largement of the hair follicles, has a very strong smell, and in the Caribou is a 
scent " gland." The matter producing this scent is entirely different from 
that contained in the tubes; it appears to be a highly volatile oil, and resists 
salt for a long time after the i-est of the skin has become saturated; when dry 


it collects on the outside of the skin in the form of very small scales, such as 
■would be left by minute portions of varnish. Although Mr. Morrow did not 
see the animal use this so called " gland," yet his Indian hunter saw a doe 
Caribou use it in this way: when she had finished urinating (she squats 
in the act almost exactly like a sheep) she rubbed these glands together, 
leaving true scent behind her for a short distance. When creeping moose 
or Caribou, this scent floating in the air had often been with him a sub- 
ject of inquiry, and he had very little doubt but that this was at least one 
way in which these glands are used, and in confirmation he mentioned that 
the dogs, at one time openly used for hunting moose, did not often take the 
scent of that animal from the snow, but by standing upon their hind legs as 
if it had been rubbed from glands as described. The point was merely men- 
tioned in the hope that some gentleman present would be able to throw some 
light upon it, or keep it in mind when an opportunity offered for observation, 
confirmatory or otherwise. 

A little further down the leg, on the outside at the hair parting, he showed 
the " metatarsal gland," which had been looked for during a long period by 
Dr. Gilpin, Mr. T. J. Egan, and himself in answer to an inquiry from the Hon- 
orable Judge Caton. This was the first they had ever seen, and may probably 
be taken as a mark of adult age. It was afterwards found in the old doe, but 
not so perfectly marked, possibly because the doe killed in February, the 
buck in December. 

Attention was also drawn to the tubes in the feet of the Caribou, which first 
attracted the notice of Dr. Gilpin from inquiries made by Judge Caton. Dr. 
Gilpin as well as others thought that they were only to be found in the hind 
feet, and the discovery of them in the fore feet of the Caribou is due entirely 
to Dr. Sommers. 

Camper says, speaking of these tubes: "In addition to the peculiarities of 
the reindeer of which I have just spoken, I have discovered besides something 
very singular in the hind feet of this animal, that is to say, a deep sheath be- 
tween the skin at the place where the dew-claws are united together, of the 
size of the barrel of a quill, running deeply as far as the point where the dew- 
claws are articulated with the bone of the metatarsus. These sheaths were 
filled internally with long hairs, and a yellow oleaginous matter proceeded 
from them, the odor of which was not very agreeable. I have not found these 
sheaths in the fore feet. It was not possible for me to discover the use of 
them, inasmuch as the heat of the summer obliged me to remove the flesh from 
the skeleton." And further on he says that in another reindeer he found no 
tube in the hind foot, but one very apparent in the fore foot, and again, he 
found tubes in the hind feet, but none in the fore feet. " So that I am not able 
to determine anything very exactly on this subject." 

In the skin of one of the hind legs of the old buck, the bones of which had 
been removed for the purpose, the tube was shown (the tube of the other foot 
had been used in experiments), and also a number of other specimens of tubes 
from the Caribou, one from the Virginia deer, and the hind foot of a moose, con- 
taining a tube. In the skin of the fore feet of the old buck Caribou, also exhib- 
ited, there was no appearance of the tubes, they had been absorbed. By many, 
Mr. Morrow said, these tubes were considered to be scent " glands." Camper 
evidently did not think them so, although he mentions that the skin of the 
hind as well as the fore feet " were sprinkled with glandules which probably 


give out an oleaginous matter intended to protect the hoof against the snow." 
Prior to December last, Mr. Morrow said that he had paid very little attention 
to these tubes, and had the question been asked him, Were they scent glands ? 
the answer might have been affirmative, but after a careful examination of the 
animal while warm, he had come to the conclusion that these tubes are not 
" glands," properly so called. His first view, that the tubes were for the pur- 
pose of strengthening the bones of the feet of this animal in its spring, from 
further examination of a number of fresh tubes, and from the observations of 
Dr. Sommers, does not now appear to be tenable, and for his own part he had 
to adopt Camper's statement, and could not say what was their use; but they 
are not scent " glands," if they were it seemed scarcely probable that as the 
buck comes to maturity he would be deprived of the means of leavin"' scent 
from his fore feet at the time when he most required it, without taking into 
consideration the fact that the tube only exists in the fore feet of the male (up 
to an unknown age) or in the female in a rudimentary state. 

The waxy matter is contained in the tubes of the hind feet of the Caribou, 
and in all the tubes in the feet of the Virginia deer, owing to their shape, and 
the disagreeable smell ascribed to this matter is due to the quantity of it re- 
tained in a narrow compass. The tubes of the Caribou are rather wider in the 
mouth and of more equal diameter to their lower end than those of the Vir- 
ginia deer, which at their opening are somewhat narrow and widen towards 
their centre. The Moose, contrary to preconceived ideas (and this shows 
how little our animals are studied), also has tubes on its feet, fully developed 
in the hind, rudimentary in the fore feet, but of a very different shape from 
those of the Caribou and Vii'ginia deer, being in the hind feet very wide at 
the mouth and gradually tapering towards their lower exti'cmities; these from 
their shape can retain but little if any waxy matter. 

In general terms, the buck Caribou when voung has the tubes in the fore 
feet in a rudimentary form, which instead of passing upward and backward 
to the skin close to the dew-claws, as in the developed tube of the hind 
feet, lie between and nearly parallel with the bones of the feet, and they are 
gradually absorbed until certainly in the adult male they entirely disappear ; 
the doe has them also perfectly developed in the hind and rudimentary in the 
fore feet, and it is a question which is yet to be decided whether these tubes 
ever entirely fade out of the feet of the doe. In the old doe the tubes al- 
though small are still plainly to be seen. A young moose, in possession of 
Mr. J. W. Stairs, has the tubes in all its feet, those in the hind feet are 
perfectly developed, and pass, as in the Caribou, between the phalanges; in 
the fore feet they are, as in the Caribou of the same age, only rudimentary, but 
at what time of life they disappear on this animal, or whether in male or fe- 
male, or both, cannot, owing to our prohibitory law, at present, be decided. 

Mr. Morrow said that it had been shown that the Caribou and moose have 
the tubes developed in the hind and rudimentary in the fore feet. An exam- 
ination of a Wapiti or Elk {Cervus Canadensis) skin with feet attached, in 
Mr. Egan's collection, presented the fact, confirmed by Judge Caton, that this 
animal has no tube in any foot, and that its feet are of a different shape from 
those of the Moose, Caribou, or Virginia deer, and that the phalanges are very 
much shorter in proportion to the size of the aniaial in the specimen referred 
to than in the Caribou or Virginia deer ; from the metacarpo-phalangeal artic- 
ulation to the point of the hoof they measui-e seven inches, while those of the 


young buck Caribou measured 7^ inches, of the old doe 71 inches, and of the 
old buck 9_^inches. The gentleman already referred to informed him that the 
Wapiti is a natural trotter, i " he, however, can and does run much faster than 
he can trot, but it is a labored effort and soon tires him out." " His run is 
an awkward, lumbering, rolling gallop. A few hundred yards of this gait tells. 
It is said that an elk will trot at an equal speed without stopping or even flag- 
ging, for twenty miles." The Virginia deer has a tube in each foot fully de- 
■ veloped, which led him to inquire the gait of this animal, his impression that 
it would prove to be a running deer being confirmed. The inference he 
wished to draw was this, that the number of tubes in the feet of the different 
species of deer will point out the gait of the animal, those which have a tube 
fully developed in each foot should be bounders or runners, while those want- 
ing the tubes, or having them partially developed in the fore and fully in the 
hind feet should be trotters. This point, as far as he was aware, had never 
been touched upon by any naturalist, and as it could not be pursued here, he 
mentioned it in the hope that it may be examined into by those who have 
access to a number of different species of deer. 

Returning to the tubes, Mr. Morrow stated that as his notes upon them were 
only those of a hunter and therefore of very little scientific value, he would 
use those of Dr. Sommers, as follows : — 

In the observations here annexed I have endeavored to furnish an accurate 
description of the so-called " interdigital glands," which exist in the feet of 
the Caribou, by subjecting them to very careful anatomical and microscopical 
inspection. The conclusion at which I arrive relative to their structure and 
functions is that they are not glandular in the correct meaning of that term, an 
opinion which coincides with that which you previously expressed. 

This organ presents the appearance of a fleshy tube with thick walls and a 
rounded blind extremity like that of a small test tube flattened on its posterior 
or under side, convex on its upper or anterior side ; that from the young buck 
being about one and a half inches in length below, somewhat shorter above ; 
its circumference about three quarters of an inch; it tapers slightly towards its 
termination ; when viewed in position it bears a striking resemblance to the 
human "uvula." The surface exposed by dissection exhibits a structure 
consisting of rounded or slightly polygonal spaces resembling very large cells; 
these are convex, of a deep red color, and united by paler interspaces. The 
whole organ has the appearance of a body constituted of immense cells united 
by their thin cell walls; this, however, is deceptive, these spaces are the rounded 
terminations or bases of the bulbs or follicles from which the hairs inside of 
the sac grow; the resemblance to cellular interspaces arises from the pressure 
of a very delicate layer of true skin upon which they rest, and which has been 
pushed into these interspaces by the growth of the hair follicles ; the same 
structure can be observed in other parts of the skin by dissecting off the true 
skin which is underneath from the epithelial layer which covers it and gives 
origin to the hairs ; but here the spaces observed are much smaller, since the 
hairs and their bulbs are more crowded, the space occupied by each bulb being 
less than in the cul-de-sac, or organ under notice. 

The organ in the fore, differs from that in the hind feet by being very shal- 
low, measuring not over a quarter of an inch in depth; when dissected from 
the surrounding tissue, it presents all the characteristics of the organ in the 
1 Plains of the Great West, by Col. Dodge, pages 164 and 166. 


hind feet, yet it differs in position relative to the phalangeal bones, lying on 
the same plane as that of the anterior wall of the web, its own anterior wall 
being incorporated with the under surface of the skin and thereby shortened 
to about one quarter of an inch in length; the posterior wall, however, remains 
distinct and measures from the blind extremity to its termination somewhat 
over an inch. 

The microscopic examination of this organ proved it to be of epidermic 
origin. Sections through the thickness of its walls showed an external layer 
of flattened prisnioidal cells with small nuclei, and a deeper or internal layer, 
in which the cells were more rounded and filled with protojjiasm. This differ- 
ence in the uppermost and lowermost layer was brought out by the staining 
process, and it is in these only that we find the line of demarcation, the inter- 
vening layers merging gradually one into the other. Other structures observed 
were the hairs and hair follicles with their accompanying tissues and some 
fibres, representing no doubt the true skin, which is not developed in these 
organs to any considerable extent. 

The two layers of cells correspond to the same parts in man, namely, a 
horny layer external, but of course internal in the cul-de-sac, a mucous layer 
external when the sac is dissected from its surroundings, the changed position 
of these layers is owing to the circumstance of the sac's being an invagination 
of the epidermic layer into the true skin. 

Regarding the functions of this structure various and contradictory opinions 
are expressed, that of its being glandular being most prevalent ; again it is 
said to have no existence in the wapiti and moo«e and in the fore feet of the 
adult Caribou. The fact of its existence in fore and hind feet of the Virginia 
deer being well understood, its presence in the arumal is said to be for the 
purpose of leaving a trace or scent on the ground, and in this way serving the 
union of the sexes at certain seasons ; but if this is the case, we may ask why 
should it not exist in the wapiti, and be fully developed in the Caribou and 
moose, since it must be obvious to us that the fulfillment of the conditions 
which obtain in the Virginia deer, are required also in the wapiti. More than 
this, we know that a true scent organ in the Caribou is situated on the inside 
of the heels or gambrils. 

On the occasion of my first dissection of this structure in the Caribou buck 
fawn, I expressed the opinion that it would be found also in the fore feet of 
the adult animal, though perhaps more rudimentary, and a subsequent exami- 
nation of an adult doe has fully confirmed this opinion, since I found this 
structure as well developed as in the young animal. I now feel more than 
ever convinced that it exists in all our deer tribe, not excluding the wapiti, 
although it may be larger in some than in others; an immature living moose, 
in possession of Mr. J. W. Stairs, being provided with it. 

The following summary of its histological relations will aid in arriving at 
correct conclusions relative to its importance : — 

1st. It is a growth or offset from the epidermic layer of the skin invagi- 
nated between the phalangeal bones, containing the malpighian and horny 
layers of the epidermis, and carrying with it a very thin layer of the true 

2d. Hair follicles, and hairs grow from its internal walls, and emerge 
through its opening, these being also epidermic, or of epithelial origin. 

3d. The absence of glandular tissue, excepting the sebaceous follicles which 


accompany the hair follicles or bulbs over the whole integument of the ani- 
mal, " this exception is made for obvious anatomical reasons," nevertheless 
the sebaceous follicles were not observed in the specimens examined with the 

4th. The examination of the matter filling the tubes in the Virginia deer, 
and present in much smaller proportion in the Caribou, showed it to consist in 
principal part of desquamated epidermic scales and oil globules. Microscopi- 
cally it resembled smegma from the skin of man, or perhaps closer still, the 
" vernix caseosa " from that of a recently delivered infant ; remembering that 
the epidermis in man and in all animals is a non-vascular tissue, that, unlike 
our other tissue, it is shelled off from the surface, we can readily account for 
these desquamated scales being retained here in a narrow pocket, from which 
they could not be easily discharged. Retrograde changes in these cells, secre- 
tions from sebaceous and sweat glands in adjacent parts, will account not only 
for the oily matter seen, the viscidity of the substance, but also for the odor 
which it possesses, the latter being no greater than that of the general integu- 
ment, and arises from the same cause, namely, the perspiration ; but in this 
respect they are not in any degree comparable with the glandular collection at 
the hocks before mentioned, which will retain the peculiar odor of the animal 
for a long ijeriod after the removal of the skin. 

In presence of these facts we must conclude that this organ is only rudi- 
mentary, having no function which is obvious to us; it is not a secreting organ, 
since it lacks glandular tissue; the opening in the dorsum instead of the sole 
of the foot, would point also in this way ; it does not serve to give strength or 
firmness to the foot, having none of the toughness and elasticity of the skin 
in other parts, without comparison with the tendons, etc., which are pi'ovided 
for this purpose (some instances of organs without uses were also given). 
Fi'om an individual point of view, taking in all the circumstances referred to, 
there appear to be only two ways of accounting for this structure ; it is either 
an aborted " ungual follicle," or otherwise it is a cul- de-sac, representing the 
suture formed by coalescence of the skin fi-om side to side in the foetus. Its 
structure would convince one of the first conclusion if the animal had rudi- 
mentary toe bones in the same position, indicative of a three-toed ancestor ; 
but all observations relative to the morphology of the foot are opposed to this 
view, since the outer bones and their appendages are aborted in all animals of 
this kind; we are therefoi'e compelled to adopt the other view, which can only 
be settled satisfactorily by examination of the part in the foetus. Nevertheless, 
knowing the difficulty of substantiating any theory connected with its supposed 
origin and use, still more the difficulty of ridding one's mind of a theory once 
entertained, my faith in either of these is held very loosely. 

The paper concluded with some general observations by Mr. Morrow, and a 
conversation in which a number of the members of the Institute took jjart. 


Abnormal antlers on female deer, 232, 233. 
tines on antlers, 183, 220, 221. 
growths of antlers, 182, 183, 187, 
et seq., 225, 226. 
Acapulco Deer, 113, 121, 150, 168, 228, 
241, 250, 262, 263, 271, 296, 308, 312, et 
seq., 322, 338, 409. 
Alaska, Moose in, 72. 
Alee Alces, 69. 
Alces Americanus, 69. 
Alces malchis, 69. 
Albinos, 159, 160. 
Aliment of Antelope, 41. 

of the Cervidse, 73, 83,91, 208,318, 
et seq. 
American Antelope, 19, 21. 
American Black Elk, 69. 
Amusements or play of the deer, 296, 

297, 301. 
Antelope, 17-21. 
Antelope, American, 19,21. 
Antilocapra Americana, 18, 21. 
Antilocapra furcifer, 21. 
Antilope Americana, 21. 
Antilope anteflexa, 22. 
Antilope (Dicranoceros) palmata, 22. 
Antilope furcifer, 21. 
Antilope palmata, 21. 
Antlers, 17, 169, 193. 
Antlers of Acapulco Deer, 224, 228, et 

Ceylon Deer, 229. 

Columbia Deer, 219, et seq. 

Common Deer, 103, 223. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 207, 208. 

European Elk, 194, 195, 198, 199. 

Moose, 193, et seq. 

Mule Deer, 219, etseq. 

Wapiti Deer, 211, et seq. 

Woodland Caribou, 199, et seq. 

Antlers of female Reindeer, 89, 202, 203, 
204, 209. 

of other female deer, 232, 233. 

not as large in parks as wild, 218. 

carried to spring on Wapiti, 219. 

are true bone, 169, 172. 

their constituents, 169. 

system of nutrition and mode of 
growth, 170, et seq. 

are deciduous, 170. 

blood circulating in, 174. 

not strictly solid, 175. 

grooves in surface of, 176. 

why branched, 230. 
Arteries of periosteum, 172, 173. 

not compressed by burr, 176. 


Baird, Prof., communication to by Can- 
field, 26. 
first notices want of tarsal gland 
in Wapiti Deer, 256. 
Barren-ground Caribou, 104, et seq. 
antlers of, 204, et seq. 
a distinct species, 106, et seq. 
glands of, 254, 255, 365. 
hunting of, 366, et seq. 
venison of, 406. 
Bartlett, his paper on the Antelope, 26. 
Battle, mode of joining, 230. 
Beam of antler, 193. 
Bell of the Moose, 74. 
Bez-tine, 193. 
Bifurcated antlers alike on Mule Deer, and 

Black-tailed Deer, 219, 220. 
Black-tailed Columbia Deer, 96, 97, 98. 
Black-tailed Fallow Deer, 9S. 
Black-tailed, or Mule Deer, 93. 
Black tuft on tail of ^Mule deer is persist- 
ent, 124. 
Blood-vessels, system of, in antlers, 171, 
et seq. 



Blue coat of deer, 124, 126. 

Breeding in domestication, 29-1, 295, 303, 

307, et seq. 
Brow tine, 193, 200. 
Burr of antler, 171, 176, 193. 

small on Caribou aud Reindeer, 

Burr does not compress blood-vessels, 


Cabree, 22^ 

Canfield, Dr., on the Antelope, 26, 36. 
Caribou, Barren-ground, 104, et seq. 
antlers of, 207, tt seq. 

Woodland, 85, et seq. 
antlers of, 199, et seq. 
Caribou, on, Asne sauvage, 86. 
Carre boeuf, or Caribou, 86. 
Castration, effect of on antlers, 184, et 

Cerf mulct, 93. 

Cervidas of North America, 66. 
Cervus Acapulcensis, 113, 308. 

Occidentalis, 77. 

Alces, 66, 69. 

auritus, 93. 

bifurcatus, 22. 

Canadensis, 66, 77. 

(Cariacus) Lewisii, 97. 

(Cariacus) macrotis, 93. 

Cariacus punctulatus, 97. 

(Cariacus) Virginianus, 100. 

Columbianus, 66, 97. 

Dama Americana, 100. 

elaphus, 231, 233. 

elaphus Canadensis, 77. 

hamatus, 22. 

hestalis, 86. 

Leucurus, 100, 167. 

Lewisii, 97. 

lobatus, 69. 

macrotis, 93. 

rar. Columbianus, 97. 

major, 77. 

Mexicanus, 67, 100, 308. 

occidentalis, 77. 

orignal, 69. 

Eichardsonii, 97. 

strongyloceros, 77. 

tarandus, 66-86. 

tarandus Arctica, 66. 

tarandus Caribou, 86. 

tarandus Groenlandicus, 105. 

Cervus tarandus, var. a. Arctica, 105. 

Virginianus, 100. 

Wapiti, 77. 
Ceylon Deer, 115, 116, 158. 
Changes of coats of deer, 122, et seq. 

Acapulco Deer, 150. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 142. 

Columbia Deer, 124. 

Moose, 75, 123, 136. 

Mule Deer, 126. 

Virginia Deer, 124, 147, et seq. 

Wapiti Deer, 123, 125, 126, 144. 

Woodland Caribou, 141. 
Chase of Antelope, 56. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 366, et 

Black-tailed Deer, 376, et seq. 

Common Deer, 379, et seq. 

Moose, 347, et .seq. 

Mule Deer, 372, et seq. 

Wapiti Deer, 374, et seq. 

Woodland Caribou, 363, et seq. 
Chin, 133. 
Classification, 17. 
Coat of Acapulco Deer, 150, 151. 

Antelope, 38, 39. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 105, 126, 
128, 130, 142, 143. 

Black-tailed Deer, 147, 148. 

Common Deer, 102, 148, et seq. 

Moose, 74, 136, et seq. 

Mule Deer, 95, 139, 146, 147. 

Wapiti Deer, 144, et seq. 

Woodland Caribou, 90, 126, 128, 
130, 141. 
Coats shed twice a year, 122, 123, 140, 

et seq. 
Color of Acapulco Deer, 114, 150, 151, 
157, 169. 

Antelope, 39. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 105, 144. 

Black-tailed Deer, 97, 147, 148, 159. 

Common Deer, 102, 103, 148, 149, 
155, 156, 157. 

Moose, 75, 151. 

Mule Deer, 95, 96, 146, 147, 154. 

Wapiti Deer, 144, et seq. 

Woodland Caribou, 90, 141, 152. 
Columbia Black-tailed Deer, 97. 
Common Deer, 100. 
Comparisons, 117. 

Moose and Elk, 322, etseq. 

Caribou and Reindeer, 325, et seq. 

Wapiti and Red Deer, 330, et seq. 




Acapulco Deer and Ceylon Deer 
considered, 338, et seq. 
Courage, 115, 296, 307. 
Crown Antlers on Red Deer, 213. 

on Wapiti Deer, 214. 
Curiosity of Antelope, 57, 58. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 368, 370. 
Cyst in neck of Caribou, 413, et seq. 


Dag antlers, 193, 211, 219. 

Deciduous horns of Antelope, 18, 19, 25. 

antlers of the deer, 18, 170. 
Defective vision of all deer, 346. 
Depouille on Barren-ground Caribou, 205. 
Diseases, 298, 309, 341, et seq. 
Disposition. See Habit. 
Dicranoceros Aniericanus, 22. 
Discovery of Antelope, 24. 

Black-tailed Deer, 97. 
Dogs, 'antipathy of Wapiti for, 165, 166. 
Domestication of Acapulco Deer, 308, et 

Antelope, 49. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 112. 

Black-tailed Deer, 299, et seq. 

Common Deer, 297, 302, et seq. 

Lapland Reindeer, 280, 281. 

Moose, 276, 277. 

Mule Deer, 296. 

Scandinavian Elk, 277. 

Wapiti Deer, 281, et seq. 

Woodland Caribou, 91, 280, 281. 

its effects on the reproductive 
powers, 304, et seq. 
Double palms on antlers, 194, 195. 


Ear of Acapulco Deer, 168, 169. 

Antelope, 25. 

Black-tailed Deer, 167. ■ 

Common Deer, 168. 

Moose, 163. 

Mule Deer, 166. 

Wapiti Deer, 164. 

Woodland Caribou, 163. 
Elan, ou orignat, 69. 
Elan, Stag, or Aptaptou, 69. 
Elaphus Canadensis, 77. 
Elk, American, 77. 

Scandinavian, 194, 195, 198, 199, 
323, et seq. 
Emasculation, effect on antlers, 184, et seq. 
Eye of Acapulco Deer, 161. 

Eye of Antelope, 24. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 112. 

Black-tailed Deer, 98, 161. 

Common Deer, 161. 

Moose, 160. 

Mule Deer, 161. 

Wapiti Deer, 161. 
Eyesight of Antelope and Deer defective, 
56, 57, 346, 360, 363, 368. 


Face, \29,et seq. 

Fatten quickly, all deer, 205-208. 

Fawn of Acapulco Deer, 157. 

Black-tailed Deer, 154. 

Ceylon Deer, 158. 

Common Deer. 155, 270, 298. 

Mule Deer, 154, 298. 
Fighting, mode of, by deer, 290, 306, et seq. 
Food of Antelope, 41. 

of the CervidiB, 73, 83, 91, 96, 208, 
318, el seq. 
Foot of Acapulco Deer, 243. 

Antelope, 35. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 134, 135, 
245, 246. 

Common Deer, 135, 247. 

Moose, 243. 

Wapiti Deer, 136, 243. 

Woodland Caribou, 90, 134, 244- 
Form of Acapulco Deer, 121. 

Antelope, 22, 24. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 105, 121, 

Black-tailed Deer, 97, 98, 119. 

Common Deer, 112, 120. 

Eastern Reindeer, 328, 329. 

Moose, 74, 117,323, 324. 

Mule Deer, 95, 119. 

Scandinavian Elk, 117, 32.3, 324. 

Wapiti Deer, 81, 118. 

Woodland Caribou, 118, 204, 328. 
Fossil antlers, 213, 227. 

skeleton of deer, 227. 
Fur of antelope and deer, 38, 141, 148. 


Gait of Acapulco Deer, 271. 
Antelope, 57, 62. 
Black-tailed Deer, 99, 272. 
Ceylon Deer, 271. 
Common Deer, 155, 270. 
Moose, 273. 



Gait of Mule Deer, 95, 272. 

Wapiti Deer, 274, 275. 

Woodland Caribou, 273. 
Genitals of Antelope, 37. 

Moose, 269. 

Scandinavian Elk, 269. 

Wapiti Deer, 269. 

Woodland Caribou, 269. 

of the other deer, 269, 270. 
Glands, 247, et seq. 
Glands of Acapulco Deer, 113, 262, 263. 

Antelope, 36, 37. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 254, 412, 
et seq. 

Black-taUed Deer, 97, 258,2.59,261, 

Ceylon Deer, 262. 

Common Deer, 259, et seq., 263. 

Moose, 250, 252, 257. 

Mule Deer, 257, et seq. 

Scandinavian Elk, 251. 

Lapland Reindeer, 253, 254, 257. 

Wapiti Deer, 254, 255, 256. 

Woodland Caribou, 253, 254, 256, 
Groupings, 17, et seq, 269. 

Habitat of Acapulco Deer, 115. 

Antelope, 23. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 101. 

Black-tailed Deer, 98. 

Common Deer, 101. 

Moose, 71. 

Mule Deer, 94. 

Wapiti Deer, 78. 

Woodland Caribou, 87. 
Habits of Acapulco Deer, 115, 307, 308. 

Antelope, 43, et seq. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 108, et seq. 

Black-tailed Deer, 299, et seq. 

Common Deer, 302, et seq. 

Moose, 75, 276, et seq. 

Mule Deer, 296, et seq. 

Scandinavian Elk, 277, 278. 

Wapiti Deer, 83, 281, et seq. 

Woodland Caribou, 108, 280, 281. 
Hairs of Antelope, 38. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 142. 

Black-tailed Deer, 148. 

Common Deer, 149. 

Moose, 124, 128, 129. 

Mule Deer, 236. 

Wapiti Deer, 126, 128. 

Hairs of Woodland Caribou, 90, 128, 141. 

summer coat of deer, 124, 143, 144. 

winter coat of deer, 127, 140 
149, et seq. 
Haversian S}-stems in antlers, 172, 174. 
Hayden's Elk, 217. 
Head of Acapulco Deer, 161. 

Antelope, 24. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 160. 

Black-tailed Deer, 161. 

Common Deer, 161. 

Moose, 160. 

Mule Deer, 161. 

Wapiti Deer, 161. 

Woodland Caribou, 160. 
Hearing, 57, 70, 163. 
Horns, 17. 

of Antelope, 25. 
Hollow horns, 17. 

deciduous, of Antelope, 25. 

growth of, 28, et seq. 
Hunting. See Chase, 345, 
Hybrids, 31, et seq. 
Hybrids not always unfertile, 312. 
Hybridity of the Cervidte, 310, et seq. 

Intelligence of Antelope, 52. 
Interdigital glands, 263, et seq., 413, et seq. 
Irish Elk, 195. 

Lachrymal sinus, 161, 162. 
Legs, color of, 40, 135, 136. 
Le Wapiti, 77. 
Long-tailed deer, 102. 


MaramJE, all deer have four active, 295. 
Mane of Moose, 129. 

Wapiti Deer, 129. 
Metatarsal glands, 135, 250, et seq., 416. 
Migrations, of Barren-ground Caribou, 
91, 108, 109. 
Woodland Caribou, 91,108. 
Monogamic habit of Moose, 75. 

of Roe Deer, 75. 
Montana, Moose in, 72. 
Moose, 69, et seq., 117, 118, 126-128, 130- 
133, 137, et seq., 151, 152, 157. 163, 193, 
et seq., 236, 250, et seq., 269, 273, 276, et 
seq., 319, 323, et seq., 347, et seq., 353, 
406, 411. 
Moose Deer, 69. 



Muffle covered, 86, 1.31, 137. 

Tiaked, 131, 132. 
Mule Deer, 92, 93. 

Murie, Dr., on glands of Antelope, 37. 
Muzzle, 130, 131. 


Odor of Antelope, 36, 37, 64, 65. 

of tarsal gland of Caribou, 415. 

of interdigital glands of deer, 263, 
ct seq. 
Ornamental coat, 151, et seq. 
Orignal, 09. 
Ossification of antlers, 174. 

Palm on antlers, 193. 

of Acapulco Deer, 228, 229. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 208, 209. 

Moose, 194, et seq, 

"Woodland Caribou, 200. 
Pedicel for antlers, 170, 177, 193. 

of Acapulco Deer, 228. 

Wapiti Deer, 211. 
Pelage, 138, 142, et seq. 
Periosteum of autlers, 1 70, 1 72. 
Place in Natural History of Antelope, 

63, 300. 
Play or amusement of deer, 296, 297,301. 
Polygamous habit of Wapiti Deer, 83. 
Prong Buck, 19, 22. 
Prong Horn Antelope, 22. 


Rangifer Groenlandicus, 105. 

Eangifer hastalis, 86. 

Uaugifer tarandus, 86. 

Red coat of Deer, 126. 

Red Deer, 78, 146. 

Red Deer of Ceylon, 116. 

Reindeer or Raindeer, 86. 

Royal tine, 193. 

Ruminantia, 17. 

Rutting season, time and character of — 

of Antelope, 44-46. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 109. 

Common Deer, 307. 

Mule Deer, 297. 

Moose, 75, 278, 280, 350, 361. 

Wapiti, 83, 284, 289, et seq. 


Scandinavian Elk, 199. 
Sexual aversion among different species, 
310, et seq. 

Sexual inclination unnatural sometimes, 

Sight of Antelope, 56. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 368, et seq. 

Common Deer, 381. 

Moose, 359. 

Woodland Caribou, 363. 
Size of Acapulco Deer, 121. 

Antelope, 24. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 105, 121. 

Black-tailed Deer, 119. 

Common Deer, 102, 120, 121. 

Lapland Reindeer, 119, 328. 

Moose, 70, 74, 117, 323, 324. 

Mule Deer, 119. 

Red Deer or Stag, 332, et seq. 

Swedish Elk, 323, 324. 

Wapiti Deer, 81, 118, 332. 

Woodland Caribou, 86, 118, 328. 
Skins, 412. 

of Antelope, 41. 

Black-tailed Deer, 413. 

Common Deer, 412. 

Moose, 410. 

Mule Deer, 412. 

Wapiti Deer, 411, 412. 

Woodland Caribou, 90. 
Smell, sense of in Deer, dull in Bai-ren- 

ground Caribou, 112. 
Snags on antlers, 193, 228. 

on brow and bez tines of antlers 
of Red Deer and Wapiti Deer, 
214, 215. 
Solid Horns, 18. 
Species of Acapulco Deer, 113. 

of American Deer enumerated, 66. 

of Barren-ground Caribou distinct, 
106, et seq. 

Cervus leucurus and Cervus Mexi- 
canus are Cervus Virginianus, 
102, 121. 
Specific description of Acapulco Deer, 

Antelope, 22. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 105. 

Black-tailed Deer, 97. 

Common Deer, 100. 

Moose, 70. 

Mule Deer, 93. 

Wapiti Deer, 78. 

Woodland Caribou, 86. 
Spike antlers, 193, 230, et seq. 
Spike Bucks, no such variety, 230, et seq. 
Sportsmen becoming naturalists, 346. 
Spots on fawns, 151, et seq., 157, 158. 



Spots on adults, 156, et seq. 

in place of antlers, 158. 
Stupid, Barren-ground Caribou, 112, 367. 
Summer coat of the deer, 124. 
Swedish Elk, 199. 

Tail of Acapulco Deer, 113, 234, 241, 242. 

Antelope, 35. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 234. 

Black-tailed Deer, 97, 234, 235. 

Common Deer, 101, 234, 240, 241. 

Moose, 234, 235. 

Mule Deer, 93, 234, 235, 236. 

Red Deer, 336. 

Wapiti Deer, 2.34, 235, 236. 

Woodland Caribou, 86, 234, 235. 
Tarsal glands, 251, et seq. 
Tarandus Arcticns, 105. 
Tarandus Caribou, 86. 
Tarandus rangifer, 86. 
Teuthlalmacame, 22. 
The Caribou, 86. 
The chase, 345. 
The Reindeer or Caribou, 86. 
The Wapiti, 78. 
Tines of antlers, 193, 213. 
Triplet antlers, 215, 216. 
Tubercles on antlers, 193, 223, 229. 
Tufts of hairs over glands, 247, et seq., 
258, 260, 261. 

on tail of Mule Deer, 93, 235. 


Unnatural association between the sexes 
of different genera, 315. 


Velvet on antlers, 171. 

how it is torn off, 172, 173, 177. 

Velvet is not destroyed by compression of 

arteries at the burr, 172. 
Veniscn of Antelope, 41. 

Barren-ground Caribou, 407. 
Venison of Black-tailed Deer, 98, 409. 

Common Deer, 409,410. 

Moose, 406. 

Mule Deer, 409. 

Wapiti Deer, 408. 
Venison of Woodland Caribou, 91, 406. 
Virginia Deer, 100. 
Vitality of Antelope, 57, 58. 

Common Deer, 381. 

Wapiti Deer, 375. 
Voice of the Moose, 351, 352, 361. 

the Wapiti Deer, 84, 288. 

the Woodland Caribou, 363. 


Wapiti, 78. 

Wapiti Deer, 78. 

Warts on antlers, 193. 

Weeping, of Antelope, 46. 

Wewaskiss, 78. 

Wild Lapland Reindeei;, antlers of, 203, 

Winter coat of deer, 145. 
White patch on rump of Antelope, 40. 

Wajjiti Deer, 145. 
White-tailed Deer, 102. 
Woodland Caribou, 86. 

antlers of, 199, et seq. 


Young Antelope, 20, 49. 
deer, 151, et seq. 
Barren-ground Caribou, when 
dropped, 142, 143.