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West Virginia University Libraries 

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DEMCO, INC. 38-2931 


" This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the 

Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the 

Stand like Druids of old, ivith voices sad and prophetic, 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms." 










Copyright, 1906, by 


Copyright, 1905, by 


Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, England 

Published September, 1906 
All rights reserved 









I Outfitting ..... 1 

II The Sportsman's Clothing . . .11 

III Personal Kits .... 22 

IV Tents and Tools . . . .37 
V Utensils and Food . . .52 

VI A Check-List — Packing Up . . 62 

VII The Camp 70 

VIII The Camp-Fire 82 

IX Marksmanship in the Woods . . 92 

X Dressing and Keeping Game and Fish 100 

XI Camp Cookery . . . .114 

XII Pests of the Woods .... 165 

Xni Forest Travel. Keeping a Course . 179 

XrV Blazes — Survey Lines— Natural Signs 

of Direction . . .194 

XV Getting Lost — Bivouacs . . 207 

XVI Emergency Foods — Living off the 

Country 217 





XVII Edible Plants of the Wilderness . 232 

XVIII AxEMANSHip — Qualities of Wood and 

Bark ^56 

XIX Trophies, Buckskin and Rawhide . 277 

XX Tanning Pelts — Other Animal 

Products ..... 290 

XXI Accidents: Their Backwoods Treat- 
ment ..... 300 



. 20 

"The Forest Primeval" . . Frontispiece 

In Still Waters .... 

A Proud Moment ...... 32 

Real Comfort in the Open . . , .46 
Starting a Lean-to Shelter . , .72 

The Fixed Camp 72 

A Good Day's Shoot 98 

An Ideal Camp-Fire 98 

The Camp in Order ..... 122 
Just Starting Out ..... 122 
Crude, but Comfortable .... 182 
Down the Snow-white Alleys . . . 182 

The Old, Old Story 218 

But a Good Day's Luck Lands Them . . 218 
A Stray Goose Wanders Near . . . 230 
Where Lurks the Lusty Trout . . . 230 


MY one aim in writing this little book is to make it 
of practical service to those who seek rest or 
sport in the wilderness, or whose business calls them 
thither. I have treated the matter of outfitting in some 
detail, not because elaborate outfits are usually desir- 
able, for they are not, but because in town there is so 
much to pick and choose from. Thereafter, the body 
of the book is mainly given up to such shifts and expedi- 
ents as are learned in the wilderness itself, where we 
have nothing to choose from but the raw materials that 
lie around us. 

As for camps situated within easy reach of towns or 
supply-posts, every one, I suppose, knows best how to 
gratify his own tastes in fitting them up, and prefers to 
use his own ingenuity rather than copy after others. 
Real woodcraft consists rather in knowing how to get 
along without the appliances of civilization than in 
adapting them to wildwood life. Such an art comes in 
play when we travel "light," and especially in emergen- 
cies, when the equipment, or essential parts of it, have 
been destroyed. I am not advising anybody to travel 
with nothing but a gun and ammunition, a blanket, a 
frying-pan, and a tin cup; but it has been part of my 
object to show how the thing can be done, if necessary, 
without serious hardship. 

Woodcraft may be defined as the art of getting along 
well in the wilderness by utilizing nature's storehouse. 
When we say that Daniel Boone, for example, was a 
good woodsman, we mean that he could confidently 
enter an unmapped wilderness, with no outfit but what 
was carried by his horse, his canoe, or on Ins own back, 
and with the intention of a protracted stay; that he 
could find his way through the dense forest without 
man-made marks to guide him ; that he knew the habits 
and properties of trees and plants, and the ways of fish 


and game; that he was a good trailer and a good shot: 
that he could dress game and cure peltry, cook whole- 
some meals over an open fire, build adequate shelter 
against wind and rain, and keep himself warm through 
the bitter nights of winter — in short, that he knew how 
to utilize the gifts of nature, and could bide comfortably 
in the wilderness without help from outside. 

The literature of outdoor sport is getting us used to 
such correlative terms as plainscraft, mountaincraft, and 
even icecraft, snowcraft, and birdcraft. This sort of 
thing can be overdone; but we need a generic term to 
express the art, in general, of getting on well in wild 
regions, whether in forests, deserts, mountains, plains, 
tropics or arctics; and for this I would suggest the plain 
English compound wildcraft. 

In the following chapters I offer some suggestions on 
outfitting, making camps, dressing and keeping game 
and fish, camp cookery, forest travel, how to avoid 
getting lost, and what to do if one does get lost, living 
off the country, what the different species of trees are 
good for (from a camper's viewpoint), backwoods handi- 
crafts in wood, bark, skins and other raw materials, the 
treatment of wounds and other injuries, and some other 
branches of woodcraft that may be of service when one 
is far from shops and from hired help. I have little or 
nothing to say, here, about hunting, fishing, trailing, 
trapping, canoeing, snowshoeing, or the management 
of horses and pack-trains, because each of these is an 
art by itself, and we have good books on all of them 
save trailing.* 

* This woiild seem an impossible subject to treat in a book; but 
any one who reads German may come to a different conclusion after 
studying a work by Eugen Teuwsen and Carl Schulze, entitled, 
Fdhrten und Spurenkunde (Tracks and Trailing), published in 1901 
by J. Neumann of Neudamm, Prussia. This describes the tracks 
made by the red deer, moose, fallow deer, roebuck, chamois, wild 
boar, hare, rabbit, squirrel, bear, wolf, dog, fox, wildcat, badger, 
otter, woods marten and stone marten, polecat, various weasels, 
and of the capercailzie, black-cock, hazel-grouse, moor-hen, quail, 
pheasant, curlew, bustard, crane, stork, heron, swan, wild goose, 
and wild duck. The text is accompanied by capital woodcuts, 
mostly life-size, showing with more than photographic exactness 
the tracks made by these animals in the various paces of walking, 
running, and jumping. A similar book for American game is much 
to be desired; not that it would make a good trailer out of anybody, 
but because it would give a beginner a clear idea of what to look for 
c\id what to avoid. 


I have preferred to give full details, as far as this 
book goes. One's health and comfort in the wilds 
very often depend upon close observance of just such 
details as breathless people would skip or scurry over. 
Moreover, since this is not a guidebook to any one 
particular region, I have tried to keep in mind a variety 
of conditions existing in different kinds of country, and 
have suggested alternative methods or materials, to be 
used according to circumstances. 

In the school of the woods there is no graduation 
day. What would be good woodcraft in one region 
might be bad bungling in another. A Maine guide 
may scour all the forests of northeastern America, and 
feel quite at home in any of them; but put him in a 
Mississippi canebrake, and it is long odds that he 
would be, for a time. 

Perplexed, bewildered, till he scarce doth know 
His right forefinger from his left big toe. 

And a southern cane-cracker would be quite as 
much at sea if he were turned loose in a spruce forest 
in winter. But it would not take long for either of 
these men to "catch on" to the new conditions; for 
both are shifty, both are cool-headed, and both are 
keen observers. Any man may blunder once, when 
confronted by strange conditions; but none will repeat 
the error unless he be possessed by the notion that he 
has nothing new to learn. 

As for book-learning, it is useful only to those who 
do not expect too much from it. No book can teach 
a man how to swing an axe or follow a trail. But 
there are some practical arts that it can teach, and, 
what is of more consequence, it can give a clear idea 
of general principles. It can also show how not to do 
a thing — and there is a good deal in that. Half of 
woodcraft, as of any other art, is in knowing what to 
avoid. That is the difference between a true knot and 
a granny knot, and the difference can be shown by a 
sketch as easily as with string in hand. 

If any one should get the impression from these 
pages that camping out with a Hght outfit means Httle 


but a daily grind of camp chores, questionable meals, 
a hard bed, torment from insects, and a good chance 
of broken bones at the end, he will not have caught 
the spirit of my intent. It is not here my purpose to 
dwell on the charms of free life in a wild country; 
rather, taking all that for granted, I would point out 
some short-cuts, and offer a lift, here and there, over 
rough parts of the trail. No one need be told how to 
enjoy the smooth ones. Hence it is that I treat chiefly 
of difficulties, and how to overcome them. 

This book had its origin in a series of articles, under 
a similar title, that I contributed, in 1904-6, to the 
magazine Field and Stream. The original chapters 
have been expanded, and new ones have been added, 
until there is here about double the matter that appeared 
in the parent series. I have also added two chapters 
previously published in Sports Afield. 

Most of these pages were written in the wilderness, 
where there were abundant facilities for testing the 
value of suggestions that were outside my previous 
experience. In this connection I must acknowledge 
indebtedness to a scrap-book full of notes and clippings, 
the latter chiefly from old volumes of Forest and Stream 
and Shooting and Fishing, which was one of the most 
valued tomes in the rather select "library" that graced 
half a soap-box in one corner of my cabin. 

I owe much, both to the spirit and the letter of that 
classic in the literature of outdoor life, the little book on 
Woodcraft by the late George R. Sears, who is best 
known by his Indian-given title of Nessmuk. To me, 
in a peculiar sense, it has been remedium utriusque 
jortunoe; and it is but fitting that I should dedicate to 
the memory of its author this humble pendant to his 
work. Horace Kephart. 

Dayton, Ohio 
March, 1906. 


"By St. Nicholas 
I have a sudden passion for the wild wood — 
We should be free as air in the wild wood — 
What say you? Shall we go? Your hands, your hands!" 

— Robin Hood. 

IN some of our large cities there are professional out- 
fitters to whom one can go and say: "So many of 
us wish to spend such a month in such a region, hunt- 
ing and fishing: equip us." The dealer will name a 
price; you pay it, and leave the rest to him. When 
the time comes he will have the outfit ready and packed. 
It will include everything needed for the trip, well 
selected and of the best materials. When your party 
reaches the jumping-off place it will be met by pro- 
fessional guides and packers, who will take you to the 
best hunting grounds and fishing waters, and will do all 
the hard work of paddling, packing over portages, mak- 
ing camp, chopping wood, cooking, and cleaning up, be- 
sides showing you where the game and fish are " using," 
and how to get them. In this way a party of city men 
who know nothing of woodcraft can spend a season in 
the woods very comfortably, though getting little prac- 
tical knowledge of the wilderness. This is touring, 
not campaigning. It is expensive; but it may be worth 
the price to such as can afford it, and who like that 
sort of thing. 

But, aside from the expense of this kind of camping, 
it seems to me that whoever takes to the woods and 
waters for recreation should learn how to shift for him- 
self in an emergency. He may employ guides and a 
cook — all that; but the day of disaster may come, the 
outfit may be destroyed, or the city man may find 
himself some day alone, lost in the forest, and com- 


pelled to meet the forces of nature in a struggle for his 
life. Then it may go hard with him indeed if he be 
not only master of himself, but of that woodcraft that 
holds the key to nature's storehouse. A camper should 
know for himself how to outfit, how to select and make 
a camp, how to wield an axe and make proper fires, 
how to cook, wash, mend, how to travel without losing 
his course, or what to do when he has lost it; how to 
trail, hunt, shoot, fish, dress game, manage boat or 
canoe, and how to extemporize such makeshifts as may 
be needed in wilderness faring. And he should know 
these things as he does the way to his mouth. Then is 
he truly a woodsman, sure to do promptly the right 
thing at the right time, whatever befalls. Such a man 
has an honest pride in his own resourcefulness, a sense 
of reserve force, a doughty self-reliance that is good to 
feel. His is the confidence of the lone sailorman, who 
whistles as he puts his tiny bark out to sea. 

And there are many of us who, through some miscue 
of the Fates, are not rich enough to give carte blanche 
orders over the counter. We would like silk tents, air 
mattresses, fiber packing cases, and all that sort of 
thing; but we would soon "go broke" if we started in 
at that rate. I am saying nothing about guns, rods, 
reels, and such-like, because they are the things that 
every properly conducted sportsman goes broke on, 
anyway, as a matter of course. I am speaking only 
of such purchases as might be thought extravagant. 
And it is conceivable that some folks might call it 
extravagant to pay thirty-five dollars for a thing to 
sleep in when you lie out of doors on the ground from 
choice, or thirty dollars for pots and pans to cook with 
when you are "playing hobo," as the unregenerate call 
our sylvan sport. 

Nor can we deny that a man with an axe and a couple 
of dollars' worth of cotton cloth can put up in two or 
three hours as good a woodland shelter as any mere 
democrat or republican needs between the ides of May 
and of November; and if he wants a portable tent he 
can generally buy very cheaply a second-hand army 
one that will meet all his requirements for several sea- 


sons. Tin or enameled ware, though not so smart nor 
so ingeniously nested as a special aluminum kit, will 
cook just as good meals, and will not burn one's fingers 
and mouth so severely. Blankets we can take from 
home (though never the second time, perhaps); and 
a narrow bed-tick, filled with browse, or with grass 
or leaves where there is no browse, in combination with 
a rubber blanket or poncho, makes a better mattress 
than the Father of his Country had on many a weary 
night. A discarded business suit and a flannel shirt, 
easy shoes and a campaign hat, are quite as respectable 
in the eyes of woodland folk as a costume of loden or 
gabardine, and they do not set one up so prominently 
as a mark. Grocery boxes make good packing cases, 
and they have the advantage that they are not too 
good to be broken up for shelves and table in camp. 
As for duffel bags, few things are more satisfactory 
than seamless grain bags that you have coated with 
boiled linseed oil. Such a bag, by the way, is a good 
thing to produce now and then to show your friends 
how ingeniously economical you are. It helps out 
when you are caught slipping in through the back gate 
with a brand-new gun, when everybody knows that 
you already possess more guns than you can find 
legitimate use for. 

If one begins, as he should, six months in advance, 
to plan and prepare for his next summer or fall vaca- 
tion, he can, by gradual and surreptitious hoarding, 
get together a commendable camping equipment, and 
nobody will notice the outlay. The best way is to 
make many of the things yourself. This gives your 
pastime an air of thrift, and propitiates the Lares and 
Penates by keeping you home o' nights. And there is 
a world of solid comfort in having everything fixed just 
to suit you. The only way to have it so is to do the 
work yourself. One can wear ready-made clothing, 
he can exist in ready-furnished rooms, but a ready- 
made camping outfit is a delusion and a snare. It is 
sure to be loaded with gimcracks that you have no use 
for, and to lack something that you will be miserable 


It is great fun, in the long winter evenings, to sort 
over your beloved duffel, to make and fit up the little 
boxes and hold-alls in which everything has its proper 
place, to contrive new wrinkles that nobody but your- 
self has the gigantic brain to conceive, to concoct mys- 
terious dopes that fill the house with unsanctimonious 
smells, to fish around for materials, in odd corners 
where you have no business, and, generally, to set the 
female members of the household to buzzing around 
in curiosity, disapproval, and sundry other states of 

To be sure, even though a man rigs up his own out- 
fit, he never gets it quite to suit him. Every season 
sees the downfall of some cherished scheme, the failure 
of some fond contrivance. Every winter sees you 
again fussing over your kit, altering this, substituting 
that, and flogging your wits with the same old problem 
of how to save weight and bulk without sacrifice of 
utility. All thoroughbred campers do this as regularly 
as the birds come back in spring, and their kind have 
been doing it since the world began. It is good for us. 
If some misguided genius should invent a camping 
equipment that nobody could find fault with, half our 
pleasure in life would be swept away. 

There is something to be said in favor of individual 
outfits, every man going completely equipped and quite 
independent of the others. It is one of the delights of 
single-handed canoeing, whether you go alone or cruise 
in squadron, that every man is fixed to suit himself. 
Then if any one carries too much or too little, or cooks 
badly, or is too lazy to be neat, or lacks forethought in 
any way, he alone suffers the penalty; and this is but 
just. On the other hand, if one of the cruisers' outfits 
comes to grief, the others can help him out, since all 
the eggs are not in one basket. I like to have a com- 
plete camping outfit of my own, just big enough for 
two men, so that I can dispense a modest hospitality 
to a chance acquaintance, or take with me a comrade 
who, through no fault of his own, turns up at the last 
moment; but I want this outfit to be so light and com- 
pact that I can easily handle it myself when I am alone. 


Then I am always "fixed," and always independent, 
come good or ill, blow high or low. 

Still, it is the general rule among campers to have 
"company stores." In so far as this means only those 
things that all use in common, such as tent, utensils, 
tools, and provisions, it is well enough; but it should 
be a point of honor with each and every man to carry 
for himself a complete kit of personal necessities, down 
to the least detail. As for company stores, everybody 
should bear a hand in collecting and packing them. 
To saddle this hard and thankless job on one man, 
merely because he is experienced and a willing worker, 
is selfish. Depend upon it, the fellow who "hasn't 
time" to do his share of the work before starting will 
be the very one to shirk in camp. 

The question of what to take on a trip resolves itself 
chiefly into a question of transportation. If the party 
can travel by wagon, and intends to go into fixed camp, 
then almost anything can be carried along — trunks, 
chests, big wall tents and poles, cots, mattresses, pots 
and pans galore, camp stove, kerosene, mackintoshes 
and rubber boots, plentiful changes of clothing, arsenals 
of weapons and ammunition, books, folding bath-tubs 
— what you will. Anybody can fit up a wagon-load 
of calamities, and hire a farmer to serve as porter. 
But does it pay ? I think not. 

Be plain in the woods. In a far way you are emulat- 
ing those grim heroes of the past who made the white 
man's trails across this continent. Fancy Boone reclin- 
ing on an air mattress, or Carson pottering over a 
sheet-iron stove ! We seek the woods to escape civiliza- 
tion for a time, and all that suggests it. Let us some- 
times broil our venison on a sharpened stick and serve 
it on a sheet of bark. It tastes better. It gets us 
closer to nature, and closer to those good old times 
when every American was considered "a man for a' 
that" if he proved it in a manful way. And there is 
a pleasure in achieving creditable results by the sim- 
plest means. When you win your own way through 
the wilds with axe and rifie you win at the same time 
the imperturbability of a mind at ease with itself in any 


emergency by flood or field. Then you feel that you 
have red blood in your veins, and that it is good to be 
free and out of doors. It is one of the blessings of 
wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need 
in order to be perfectly happy. 

Let me not be misunderstood as counseling anybody 
to "rough it" by sleeping on the bare ground and eat- 
ing nothing but hardtack and bacon. Only a tender- 
foot will parade a scorn of comfort and a taste for 
useless hardships. As Nessmuk says: "We do not go 
to the woods to rough it; we go to smoothe it — we get 
it rough enough in town. But let us live the simple, 
natural life in the woods, and leave all frills behind." 

An old campaigner is known by the simplicity and 
fitness of his equipment. He carries few impedimenta, 
but every article has been well tested and it is the best 
that his purse can afford. He has learned by hard 
experience how steep are the mountain trails and how 
tangled the undergrowth and down wood in the primi- 
tive forest. He has learned, too, how to fashion on 
the spot many substitutes for " boughten" things that 
we consider necessary at home. 

The art of going "light but right" is hard to learn. 
I never knew a camper who did not burden himself, 
at first, with a lot of kickshaws that he did not need in 
the woods; nor one who, if he learned anything, did 
not soon begin to weed them out; nor even a veteran 
who ever quite attained his own ideal of lightness and 
serviceability. Probably Nessmuk came as near to it 
as any one, after he got that famous ten-pound canoe. 
He said that his load, including canoe, knapsack, 
blanket-bag, extra clothing, hatchet, rod, and two days' 
rations, "never exceeded twenty-six pounds; and I went 
prepared to camp out any and every night." This, of 
course, was in summer. 

In the days when game was plentiful and there were 
no closed seasons our frontiersmen thought nothing of 
making long expeditions into the unknown wilderness 
with no equipment but what they carried on their own 
persons, to wit: a blanket, rifle, ammunition, flint and 
steel, tomahawk, knife, an awl, a spare pair of moc- 


casins, perhaps, a small bag of jerked venison, and 
another of parched Indian corn, ground to a coarse 
meal, which they called " rockahominy " or "coal 
flour." Their tutors in woodcraft often traveled 
lighter than this. An Indian runner would strip to his 
G-string and moccasins, roll up in his small blanket a 
pouch of rockahominy, and, armed only with a bow 
and arrows, he would perform journeys that no mam- 
mal but a wolf could equal. General Clark said that 
when he and Lewis, with their men, started afoot from 
the mouth of the Columbia River on their return trip 
across the continent, their total store of articles for 
barter with the Indians for horses and food could have 
been tied up in two handkerchiefs. But they were 
woodsmen, every inch of them. 

Now it is not needful nor advisable for a camper in 
our time to suffer hardships from stinting his supplies. 
It is foolish to take insufficient bedding, or to rely upon 
a diet of pork, beans, and hardtack, in a country where 
game may be scarce. The knack is in striking a happy 
medium between too much luggage and too little. A 
pair of scales are good things to have at hand when one 
is making up his packs. Scales of another kind will 
then fall from his eyes. He will note how the little, 
unconsidered trifles mount up; how every bag and tin 
adds weight. Now let him imagine himself toiling up- 
hill under an August sun, or forging through thickety 
woods, over rocks and roots and fallen trees, with all 
this stuff on his back. Again, let him think of a chill, 
wet night ahead, and of what he will really need to 
keep himself warm, dry, and well ballasted amidships. 
Balancing these two prospects one against the other, 
he cannot go far wrong in selecting his outfit. 

In his charming book The Forest, Stewart Edward 
White has spoken of that amusing foible, common to us 
all, which compels even an experienced woodsman to 
lug along some pet trifle that he does not need, but 
which he would be miserable without. The more 
absurd this trinket is, the more he loves it. One of my 
camp-mates for five seasons carried in his "packer" a 
big chunk of rosin. When asked what it was for, he 


confessed: "Oh, I'm going to get a fellow to make me 
a turkey-call, some day, and this is to make it 'turk. '" 
Jew's-harps, camp-stools, shaving-mugs, alarm-clocks, 
derringers that nobody could hit anything with, and 
other such trifles have been known to accompany very 
practical men who were otherwise in light marching 
order. If you have some such thing that you know 
you can't sleep well without, stow it religiously in your 
kit. It is your "medicine," your amulet against the 
spooks and bogies of the woods. It will dispel the 
koosy-oonek. (If you don't know what that means, 
ask an Eskimo. He may tell you that it means sor- 
cery, witchcraft — and so, no doubt, it does to the chil- 
dren of nature; but to us children of guile it is the 
spell of that imp who hides our pipes, steals our last 
match, and brings rain on the just when they want to 
go fishing.) 

No two men have the same "medicine." Mine is 
a porcelain teacup, minus the handle. It cost me much 
trouble to find one that would fit snugly inside the 
metal cup in which I brew my tea. Many's the time 
it has all but slipped from my fingers and dropped 
upon a rock; many's the gibe I have suffered for its 
dear sake. But I do love it. Hot indeed must be the 
sun, tangled the trail and weary the miles, before I for- 
sake thee, O my frail, cool-lipped, but ardent teacup! 

The joys and sorrows of camp life, and the propor- 
tion of each to the other, depend very much upon how 
one chooses his companions — granting that he has any 
choice in the matter at all. It may be noticed that 
old-timers are apt to be a bit distant when a novice 
betrays any eagerness to share in their pilgrimages. 
There is no churlishness in this; rather it is commend- 
able caution. Not every good fellow in town makes a 
pleasant comrade in the woods. So it is that experi- 
enced campers are chary of admitting new members 
to their lodges. To be one of them you must be of the 
right stuff, ready to endure trial and privation without 
a murmur, and — what is harder for most men — to put 
up with petty inconveniences without grumbling. 

For there is a seamy side to camp life, as to every- 


thing else. Even in the best of camps things do hap- 
pen sometimes that are enough to make a saint swear 
silently through his teeth. But no one is fit for such 
life who cannot turn ordinary ill-luck into a joke, and 
bear downright calamity like a gentleman. 

Yet there are other qualities in a good camp-mate 
that are rarer than fortitude and endurance. Chief of 
these is a love of nature for her own sake — not the "put 
on" kind that expresses itself in gushy sentimentalism, 
but that pure, intense, though ordinarily mute affection 
which finds pleasure in her companionship and needs 
none other. As Olive Shreiner says : " It is not he who 
praises nature, but he who lies continually on her breast 
and is satisfied, who is actually united to her." Donald 
G. Mitchell once remarked that nobody should go to 
the country with the expectation of deriving much 
pleasure from it, as country, who has not a keen eye 
for the things of the country, for scenery, or for trees, 
or flowers, or some kind of culture; to which a New 
York editor replied that *'Of this not one city man in 
a thousand has a particle in his composition." The 
proportion of city men who do thoroughly enjoy the 
hardy sports and adventures of the wilderness is cer- 
tainly much larger than those who could be entertained 
on a farm; but the elect of these, the ones who can find 
plenty to interest them in the woods when fishing and 
hunting fail, are not to be found on every street corner. 

If your party is made up of men inexperienced in the 
woods, hire a guide, and, if there be more than three of 
you, take along a cook as well. Treat your guide as 
one of yourselves. A good one deserves such consider- 
ation; a poor one is not worth having at all. But if 
you cannot afford this expense, then leave the real wil- 
derness out of account for the present; go to some 
pleasant woodland, within hail of civilization, and start 
an experimental camp, spending a good part of your 
time in learning how to wield an axe, how to build 
proper fires, how to cook good meals out of doors, and 
so forth. Be sure to get the privilege beforehand of 
cutting what wood you will need. It is worth paying 
some wood-geld that you may learn how to fell and 


hew. Here, with fair fishing and some small game 
hunting, you can have a jolly good time, and will be 
fitted for something more ambitious the next season. 

In any case, be sure to get together a company of 
good-hearted, manly fellows, who will take things as 
they come, do their fair share of the camp chores, and 
agree to have no arguments before breakfast. There 
are plenty of such men, steel-true and blade-straight. 
Then will your trip be a lasting pleasure, to be lived 
over time and again in after years. There are no 
friendships like those that are made under canvas and 
in the open field. 


FOR ordinary camping trips an old business suit will 
do; but be sure that the buttons are securely 
sewn and that the cloth is not worn thin. It is some- 
what embarrassing to come back home, as a friend of 
mine once did, with a staring legend of XXX FAMILY 
FLOUR emblazoned on the seat of his trousers. It 
may be well to take along a pair of overalls; they are 
workmanlike and win the respect of country folk. Men 
who dwell in the woods the year 'round are practical 
fellows who despise frills and ostentation. Many a 
tenderfoot has had to pay double prices for everything, 
and has been well laughed at in the bargain, because he 
sported a big bowie knife or a fake cowboy hat-band. 

When one is preparing for a long, hard trip, it pays 
to give some heed to the clothing question. As a rule, 
the conventional hunting costumes of the shops are as 
unfit for the wilderness as they are for the gymnasium. 
They are designed for bird hunters, who carry heavy 
loads of shotgun shells, and little else, and who can 
tumble into a civilized bed at night. Canvas and cordu- 
roy are the materials most used. These cloths wear 
well, are generally of fairly good color for the purpose, 
are not easily soiled, and they do not collect burs; but 
this is about all the good that can be said of them. Can- 
vas is too stiff for athletic movements, a poor protection 
against cold, and not so comfortable in any weather as 
wool. Corduroy wears like iron, but it is too heavy for 
hot days, not nearly so warm in cold weather as its 
weight of woolen goods, and it is notoriously heavy and 
hard to dry when it has been soaked through. Neither 
canvas nor corduroy are good absorbents of perspira- 
tion, nor do they let it evaporate freely. Both of them 


are too noisy for still-hunting. Even when they are not 
rasping against grass and underbush, there is a swish- 
swash of the trousers at every step. They are also 
likely to chafe the wearer. 

A sportsman's clothing should be strong, soft, light, 
warm for its weight, of inconspicuous color, and easy to 
dry after a wetting. It should be self-ventilating, and 
of such material as absorbs the moisture from the body. 
It should fit so as not to chafe, and should be roomy 
enough to give one's limbs free play, permitting him to 
be active and agile. 

The quality of one's underwear is of more impor- 
tance than his outer garments. It should be of pure, 

T^ J soft wool throusrhout, regardless of the 

Underwear. r^ x. -n i j 

season. Cotton or silk are clammy and 

unhealthful when one perspires freely, as he is sure to 
do when living an active life out of doors, even in mid- 
winter, and they chill the skin when one is drenched by 
a shower or when he rests after exertion. The air of 
the forest is often damp and chilly, especially at night 
and in the early morning hours. And you must expect 
to get a ducking now and then, and to be exposed to a 
keen wind when topping a ridge after a hard climb. 
At such times you are likely to catch a bad cold, or sow 
the seeds of rheumatism, if your underclothing is of any 
other material than wool. Thick underwear is not rec- 
ommended, even for winter. It is better to have a spare 
undershirt of a size larger than what one commonly 
wears, and to double-up in cold weather or on frosty 
nights. Two thin shirts worn together are warmer 
than a thick one weighing as much as both. This is 
because there is a layer of warm air between them. The 
more air contained in a garment, other things being 
equal, the warmer it is. One soon realizes this when 
he spreads a blanket on the hard ground and lies down 
on it, thus pressing out the confined air. Drawers 
should be loose around the thighs and knees, but snug 
in the crotch. Remember that woolen goods will shrink 
in washing, unless the work is skilfully done; so do not 
get a snug fit at the start. 

It is unwise tr^ carry more changes of underwear, 


handkerchiefs, etc., than one can comfortably get along 
with. They will all have to be washed, anyway, and 
so long as spare clean ones remain no man is going to 
bother about washing the others. This means an ac- 
cumulation of soiled clothes, which is a nuisance of the 
first magnitude. 

Overshirts should be loose at the neck, a size larger 
than one ordinarily wears, for they will surely shrink, 
Q , . and a tight collar is not to be tolerated. 

The collars should be wide, if the shirts 
are to be used in cold weather, so that they can be turned 
up and tied around the neck. Gray is the best color, 
the dark blue of soldiers' or firemen's shirts being too 
conspicuous for hunters. It is well to sew two small 
pockets on the shirt just below where the collar-bone 
comes. These are to receive the watch and compass, 
which should fit snugly so as not to flop out when one 
stoops over. If the watch is carried in the fob pocket 
of the trousers it will be unhandy to get at, on account 
of the belt, and it is more likely to be injured when one 
wades out of his depth or gets a spill in shallow water. 

A neckerchief should be worn, preferably of silk, 

because that is easy to wash and dry out. It protects 

ff . .. f the neck from sunburn, keeps it warm 
ii6CKercnieis. . ,, , , . i> i x i« 

in cold weather, and is useful to tie 

over the hat and ears when the wind is high or the frost 
nips keenly. In case of cramps it is a good thing to 
tie over the stomach. A bright color, white or red es- 
pecially, should be avoided if one expects to do any 

A heavy coat is a nuisance in the woods. It would 
only be worn as a "come-and-go" garment when one 
Coats and ^^ traveling to and from the wilderness, 

T and around camp in the chill of the 

morning and evening. For the latter 
purpose a heavy jersey or sweater is much better, besides 
being more comfortable to sleep in, and easier to dry 
out. It should be of gray or light tan color, and 
all-wool of course. The objections to a sweater are 
that it is easily torn or picked out by brush, it attracts 
burs almost as a magnet does iron filings, and it soaks 


through in a smart shower. But if a coat of thin, very 
closely woven khaki, "duxbak," or gabardine, large 
enough to wear over the sweater, is taken along, the 
perfection of comfort in all kinds of weather is attained. 
Such a coat is rain-proof, sheds burs, and keeps out 
not only the wind but the fine, dust-like snow which, 
on a windy day in winter, drives through the air, forces 
itself into every pore of a woolen fabric, and, melting 
from the heat of the body, soaks the garment through 
and through. With the above combination one is fixed 
for any kind of weather. On hot days his overshirt 
and trousers will be all the outer clothing he will want; 
if it threatens rain, he will add the coat; mornings and 
evenings, or on cold, dry days, he will substitute the 
sweater; and when it is both cold and windy, or cold 
and wet, all three will be worn. In any case the coat 
is merely considered as a thin, soft, rain-proof and wind- 
proof, but self-ventilating, skin, the heat-giving and 
sweat-absorbing part of the clothing being worn under- 
neath. To combine the two in one garment would 
defeat the purpose, for it would be clumsy and would 
not dry out quickly. A free outlet for the moisture 
from the body, or a thick absorbent of it that can be 
taken off and dried out quickly, is a prime essential of 
health and comfort in all climates, and at no time more 
so than when the mercury stands far below zero. 

For those who prefer a single heavy coat, rather than 
tolerate the "bunchy" feeling of several layers of dif- 
ferent materials, I would recommend, for steady cold 
weather, a Mackinaw coat of the best obtainable qual- 
ity, such as sheds a light rain; poor ones soak up water 
like a sponge. 

Do not seek to keep your legs dry by wearing water- 
proofed material. Nothing but rubber or pantasote 
J, will shed the water when you forge 

through wet underbrush, and they would 
wet you most uncomfortably by giving no vent to per- 
spiration. Take your wetting, and dry out when you 
get back to camp. Strong, firmly woven woolen trou- 
sers or knickers are best for the woods in cold weather, 
and khaki or duxbak for warm weather. 


The color of a woodsman's clothing should be as 
near inTisibility as possible — unless he ranges through 
a country infested with fools with guns, 
in which case a flaming red head-dress 
may be advisable. By the way, it is bad practice 
when one is calling turkeys to hide in the brush or 
behind a tree. Sit right out in the open. So long as 
you are motionless the turkey will not recognize you 
as a human being, whereas a man attracted by your 
calling will. The same rule holds good when one 
is on a deer stand, or "holding down a log" on a 
runway. As for inconspicuous clothing, take a hint 
from the deer and the rabbit, from the protective 
plumage of grouse and woodcock. Most shades of 
cloth used for men's clothing are darker than they 
should be for hunting. What seems, near by, to be a 
light brown, for instance, looks quite dark in the woods. 
The light browns, greens, and drabs are indistinguish- 
able from each other at a few rods' distance. The 
color of withered fern is good; so are some of the lighter 
shades of covert cloth, such as top-coats are made of; 
also the yellowish-green khaki. White (except amid 
snow) and red are the most glaring colors in the woods. 
An ideal combination would be a mottle of alternate 
splotches of brown or drab and light gray, which, at a 
short distance in the woods, would blend with the tree 
trunks and would not look entirely opaque. Many 
men who think themselves properly dressed for still- 
hunting, and are so in the main, spoil it all by a flopping 
hat, a bright neckerchief, a glittering buckle, or rasp- 
ing covering for their legs. 

Leggings should be of woolen cloth, preferably of 
loden, which is waterproof. Those of canvas, pantasote, 

T . or leather are too noisy. When a man is 

Leggmgs. . ^, , ^ 1 i • • 

m the woods to see what is going on m 

them he should move as quietly and make himself as 

unnoticeable as possible, whether he carries a gun or 

not. Leggings should not be fastened with buckles, 

hooks, or springs, but should lace through large eyelets 

or fasten with a puttee strap. Buckles and hooks catch 

in the grass and glitter in the sunlight, besides being 


hard to manage when covered with mud or ice; hooks 
are easily bent out of shape; springs are too stiff for 
pedestrians. Many recommend cloth puttees instead 
of leggings. A puttee of the kind I mean is a piece of 
stout woolen cloth four or five inches wide and fully 
nine feet long, to be wrapped spirally around the leg, 
starting from the ankle and winding up to the knee, 
overlapping an inch or two at a turn, and fastened at 
the top by tapes sewn on like horse-bandages. It is 
claimed that nothing else so well supports the veins of 
the legs in marching, that they are more comfortable 
and noiseless than ordinary leggings, and that they 
afford better protection against venomous snakes, as 
the serpent's fangs are not so likely to penetrate the 
comparatively loose folds of cloth. Puttees should be 
specially woven with selvage edges on both sides, for 
if merely hemmed they will soon fray at the edges. It 
is not advisable to wear them in a thickety country. 

Nothing in a woodsman's clothing is of more impor- 
tance than his foot dressing. The two unpardonable 
„, sins of a soldier are a rusty rifle and 

sore feet. So they should be regarded 
by us campers. The shoes and stockings should fit 
snugly, so as not to chafe from friction, but they should 
on no account be tight enough to bind. The shoes 
should be well broken in before starting. 

High-topped hunting boots that lace up the leg are 
well enough for engineers and stockmen, but for hunt- 
ers or others who travel in the wilderness, either afoot 
or afloat, they are much too heavy and clumsy. A pair 
of strong shoes with medium soles and bellows tongues, 
not over seven inches high, nor weighing an ounce 
more than two and a half pounds to the pair, will do 
for ordinary wear. They should be pliable both in 
soles and uppers. No one can walk well in boots with 
thick, stiff soles. Hob-nails are recommended only for 
fishermen and mountaineers. They should be of soft 
iron, as steel ones slip on the rocks. Their heads 
should be large and square, not cone-shaped. A few 
hob-nails along the edges of the soles and heels will 
suflfice, those of most importance being the two on 
either side of the ball of the foot. If the middle of the 


sole is studded with them they are likely to hurt the 
feet. The leather should be well soaked before they 
are driven in. 

It is not a bad plan to drive a few protruding nails 
in the heels and soles of one's shoes, in a particular 
pattern, so that one can infallibly recognize his own 
footprints when back-trailing. This will also assist 
one's companions if they should have occasion to search 
for him. 

The best shoe-laces are made from rawhide belt- 
lacing, cut in strips and hardened at the ends by slightly 
roasting them in the fire. 

Shoes to be worn in cool weather may well be water- 
proofed, but for warm weather they should not, for 
-_, , waterproofed leather heats the feet; and 

- ^ , so, by the way, do rubber soles. If one 

* has much marching to do he had better 
take his chances of getting his feet wet now and then 
than to keep them overheated all the time, and con- 
sequently tender. 

An excellent Norwegian recipe for waterproofing 
leather is this: 

Boil together two parts pine tar and three parts cod-liver 
oil. Soak the leather in the hot mixture, rubbing in while 
hot. It will make boots waterproof, and will keep them 
soft for months, in spite of repeated wettings. 

For canoeing, still-hunting, and for long marches in 
the dry season, as well as for use around camp, wear 
j^ . either thick moccasins or light mocca- 

sin-shoes (the latter should not weigh 
over one and a half pounds to the pair). 

The importance of going lightly shod when one is to 
do much tramping is not always appreciated. Let me 
show what it means. Suppose that a man in fair train- 
ing can carry on his back a weight of forty pounds for 
ten miles on good roads, without excessive fatigue. 
Now shift that load from his back and fasten half of 
it on each foot — how far will he go ? You see the dif- 
ference between carrying on your back and lifting with 
your feet. Very well; a pair of hunting shoes of con- 
ventional store pattern weighs about three pounds; a 


pair of moose-hide moccasins weighs eleven ounces. In 
ten miles there are 21,120 average paces. It follows 
that a ten-mile tramp in the big shoes means lifting 
some eight tons more footgear than if one wore moc- 
casins. Nor is that all. The moccasins are soft and 
pliable as gloves; the shoes are stiff, clumsy, and likely 
to blister the feet. 

If your feet are too tender, at first, for moccasins, add 
insoles of birch bark or the dried inner bark of red 
cedar. After a few days the feet will toughen, the ten- 
dons will learn to do their proper work without crutches, 
and you will be able to travel farther, faster, more noise- 
lessly, and with less exertion, than in any kind of boots 
or shoes. This, too, in rough country. I have often 
gone tenderfooted from a year's ofiice work and have 
traveled in moccasins for weeks, over flinty Ozark hills, 
through canebrakes, through cypress swamps where 
the sharp little immature '* knees" are hidden under 
the needles, over unballasted railroad tracks at night, 
and in other rough places, and enjoyed nothing more 
than the lightness and ease of my footwear. After 
one's feet have become accustomed to this most rational 
of all covering they become almost like hands, feeling 
their way, and avoiding obstacles as though gifted 
with a special sense. They can bend freely. One can 
climb in moccasins as in nothing else. So long as they 
are dry, he can cross narrow logs like a cat, and pass in 
safety along treacherous slopes where thick-soled shoes 
might bring him swiftly to grief. Moccasined feet feel 
the dry sticks underneath, and glide softly over the 
telltales without cracking them. They do not stick 
fast in mud. One can swim with them as if he were 
barefoot. It is rarely indeed that one hears of a man 
spraining his ankle when wearing the Indian footgear. 

Moccasins should be of moose-hide, or, better still, 
of caribou. Elk-hide is the next choice. Deerskin is 
too thin, hard on the feet for that reason, and soon 
wears out. The hide should be Indian-tanned, and 
"honest Injun" at that — that is to say, not tanned with 
bark or chemicals, in which case (unless of caribou- 
hide) they would shrink and dry hard after a wetting, 
but made of the raw hide, its fibers thoroughly broken 


up by a plentiful expenditure of elbow-grease, the skin 
softened by rubbing into it the brains of the animal, 
and then smoked, so that it will dry without shrinking 
and can be made as pliable as before by a little rubbing 
in the hands. Moccasins to be used in a prickly-pear 
or cactus country must be soled with rawhide. 

Ordinary moccasins, tanned by the above process 
(which properly is not tanning at all) , are only pleasant 
to wear in dry weather. But they are always a great 
comfort in a canoe or around camp, and are almost 
indispensable for still-hunting or snow-shoeing. They 
weigh so little, take up so little room in the pack, and 
are so delightfully easy on the feet, that a pair should 
be in every camper's outfit. At night they are the best 
foot- warmers that one could wish, and they will be 
appreciated when one must get up and move about 
outside the tent. 

In a mountainous region that is heavily timbered, 
moccasins are too slippery for use after the leaves fall. 

Oil-tanned shoe-packs are better than moccasins for 
wet weather. When kept well greased with tallow (oil 
" P k " d softens them too much) they are water- 
« <5Vi ir » proof, and much more comfortable than 
rubber shoes. " Shanks " made by strip- 
ping the hide from the hind legs of moose, caribou, or 
elk, without splitting it, using the bend of the hock 
for the heel of the boot, and sewing up the toe part, 
when properly tanned are impervious to w^ater and 
snow, and are beyond comparison the warmest and 
driest of footwear for high latitudes. Caribou or rein- 
deer skin makes the best. It is remarkably tough, 
moderately elastic, warmer for its weight than any 
other material, more impervious to wind, drier than 
any other kind of leather, and it has the singular prop- 
erty of tightening when wet, or at least not stretching 
like all other skins. Shanks are sometimes made of 
green hide, but only for temporary purposes, as they 
soon wear out; when tanned they are very durable. 
The hide should be tanned with bark, as alum destroys 
its good qualities. The hair should be left on and 
worn outside, the shanks being carefully dried away 
from the fire, after using, or the hair will drop out. 


Never hang your moccasins before the fire to dry; 
they would shrink too small for your feet, and become 
almost as stiff and hard as horn. Scrape off as much 
moisture as you can, stuff them full of dry grass or 
some other elastic, absorbent substance, and hang 
them in a current of air where they can dry slowly. 
Then rub them soft. 

Rubber boots I never wear, save when working in 
the marshes, or for a short time in muddy, sloppy 
__- J. weather around a cabin or fixed camp. 

.p I would rather get wet from water than 

from perspiration. Canvas wading 
shoes, with eyelets at the toes to let the water run out, 
or old shoes with slits cut in them (not wide enough to 
let in gravel), are good to use when fishing. 

A mackintosh or other long-tailed coat is as out of 
place in the woods as an umbrella on shipboard. An 
—. , oilskin slicker, topped off by a sou'wes- 

p- -\ ter, may be all right in a boat or over 

decoys, on horseback, or when driving; 
but anything of this sort is too heavy, too draggling, 
too hot, too awkward to shoot from, when one is afoot; 
and the brush soon tears it. For a woodsman an army 
poncho is better, either of rubber or (much more du- 
rable) of pantasote. It makes a good ground-sheet at 
night. The infantry size is 45x72 inches, the cavalry 
72x84, the latter being large enough to serve as a shel- 
ter, but heavy to tote around. A waterproof poncho 
weighing only one pound can be made from thin 
enameled cloth, at a cost of about forty cents; but it 
is easily torn. 

The best head-gear for general wear is a Stetson hat 
of army pattern. It stands rain, and keeps its shape 
„ under a good deal of abuse. The 

natural smoke-color of the felt is best. 
The brim should be wide enough to keep rain and 
snow from falling down the back of one's neck. Re- 
move the leather sweat-band and substitute one of 
flannel, which is far more comfortable in all weathers, 
and sticks well to one's head, so that the hat is not 
easily knocked off by wind or boughs. 

In the fall or winter take also a knitted wool cap 

In Still Waten 


that can be drawn down over the ears. It makes a 
good nightcap, which you will need on cold nights 
when sleeping in the open or under canvas. 

For very hot weather a pith helmet with yellow lining 
is better than a hat. 

If a head-net is taken, get one long enough to button 
under the coat, and dye the bobbinet black, for black 
, ^ is easier to see through than white or 

colored stuff. A head-net is somewhat 
of a nuisance, particularly when you want to smoke or 
spit; but in some localities, especially in the far north, 
it is almost indispensable at times on account of the 
thick clouds of mosquitoes. It is also useful in hunt- 
ing wild bees. 

A pair of buckskin gloves or gauntlets, pliable and 
not too thick, should be carried by any man who goes 
p. fresh from the office to the woods. 

Rowing and chopping will quickly blis- 
ter tender hands. Woolen gloves, as a protection from 
cold, are too easily wet through, and then are little 
better than none. But in very cold weather it is best 
to wear woolen ones under loose fur mittens, the latter 
being hung from the neck by strings. 

The belt, if one is worn, should be loose. A belt 
drawn tightly enough to hold up much weight may 
„ - cause rupture. Suspenders should be 

worn if the trousers are heavy. A car- 
tridge belt should be worn cowboy fashion, sagging 
well down on the hips. Woven ones are more com- 
fortable than leather, and do not cause verdigris to 
form on the cartridges as any leather belt will do, no 
matter how well it may be greased. Loops closed at 
the bottom collect dirt and grit. A leather belt with 
loops long enough to cover the bullets is best for a 
sandy region. If there is a big, shiny buckle, wear it 
to the rear; for sunlight glittering on it will scare away 

When traveling in foreign lands, where the climate 
is different from our own, dress after the custom of the 
country. In nearly all wild regions there are civilized 
residents who can give the desired pointers. 



¥T is hard to generalize on outfits, because men's re- 
■^ quirements vary, according to the country traversed, 
the season of the year, and personal tastes. Let no one 
imagine that he must lay in everything mentioned here, 
for any one trip. 

One's health and comfort in camp depend very much 
upon what kind of bed he has. In nothing does a ten- 
^, p . derfoot show off more discreditably than 

-J ., in his disregard of the essentials of a 

Pi 6C6SSltV . 

good night's rest. He comes into camp 
after a hard day's tramp, sweating and tired, eats 
heartily, and then throws himself down in his blanket 
on the bare ground. For a time he rests in supreme 
ease, drowsily satisfied that this is the proper way to 
show that he can "rough it," and that no hardships of 
the field can daunt his spirit. Presently, as his eyes 
grow heavy and he cuddles up for the night, he discovers 
that a sharp stone is boring into his flesh. He shifts 
about, and rolls upon a sharper stub or projecting root. 
Cursing a little, he arises and clears the ground of his 
tormentors. Lying down again, he drops off peace- 
fully and is soon snoring. An hour passes, and he rolls 
over on the other side; a half hour, and he rolls back 
again into his former position; ten minutes, and he 
rolls again; then he tosses, fidgets, groans, wakes up, 
and finds that his hips and shoulders ache from serving 
as piers for the arches of his back and sides. 

He gets up, muttering, scoops out hollows to receive 

the projecting portions of his frame, and again lies 

down. An hour later he reawakens, this time with 

shivering flesh and teeth a-chatter. How cold the 



orround is! The blanket over him is sufficient cover, 
but the same thickness beneath, compacted by his 
weight and in contact with the cold earth, is not half 
enough to keep out the bone-searching chill that comes 
up from the damp ground. This will never do. Pneu- 
monia or rheumatism will follow. He arises, this time 
for good, passes a wretched night before the fire, and 
dawn finds him a haggard, worn-out type of misery, 
disgusted with camp life and eager to hit the back trail 
for home. 

The moral is plain. This sort of roughing it is bad 
enough when one is compelled to submit to it. It kills 
twice as many soldiers as bullets do. When it is en- 
dured merely to show off one's fancied toughness and 
hardihood it is rank folly. Even the dumb beasts know 
better, and they are particular about making their beds. 

This matter of a good portable bed is the most seri- 
ous problem in outfitting. A man can stand almost 
any hardship by day, and be none the worse for it, pro- 
vided he gets a comfortable night's rest; but without 
sound sleep he will soon go to pieces, no matter how 
gritty he may be. 

For camping in summer or in early autumn, when 
means of transportation permit it, the best camp bed 
is a compactly folding cot, such as is 
specially made for military and sports- 
men's use; it weighs but sixteen pounds, and folds into a 
package 3 ft. x 4 in. x 5 in. A thin mattress of cotton or 
curled hair, or a doubled comforter as a substitute, is 
of even more importance on such a cot than the blanket 
that one covers himself with; for to sleep on taut can- 
vas with nothing but a blanket under you is little more 
restful than lying on a board floor, and, if the nights are 
chilly, you will suffer from cold underneath. A cot and 
mattress, when you can carry them, save much time 
and work in bed-making and tent-trenching, and they 
keep the bedding clean, besides affording a comfortable 
lounge by day. A cot, however, is not at all comfort- 
able in real cold weather, because, no matter how much 
bedding you have, you cannot keep it tucked in snugly 
around you, owing to the narrowness of the cot. 


But suppose you are traveling light, perforce — what 

then ? Cot or no cot, the first requisite is a mattress of 

,_ ^^ some sort, either ready-made or extern- 

Mattresses. . , ., X A • 

ponzed on the spot. An air mattress 

is luxurious, but expensive, unreliable and cold in zero 
weather, and useless if punctured; but for summer 
camping, especially by us middle-aged or older fellows, 
who may have grown a trifle stiff and rheumatic from 
many a night on the bare, damp ground, it is a perquisite 
fairly won. Cork mattresses are favored by such canoe- 
ists as are not obliged to make long portages, being 
easily dried, and making good life-preservers. But 
they are rather bulky, and none too soft nor warm. 
Down quilts, though the warmest covering for their 
weight, are not warm underneath one's body, as the 
pressure squeezes out their confined air. A canvas 
stretcher swung on long poles makes a good spring bed 
for hot weather; but if the nights are chilly there will 
be a cold draught along the floor (always the coldest 
part of a tent) which will soon chill one to the bone. If 
it be made double, forming a bag open at both ends 
that can be stuffed with grass or browse, it is improved ; 
but any such contrivance takes considerable time to 
rig up properly, and the tent may not be long enough 
for the poles and their supports. 

Nearly every book and magazine article on camping 
that I have read extols a bed of balsam browse shingled 
„ „ - in between a pair of logs. Balsam is 

good; but, unfortunately, throughout 
the greater part of our country there is no balsam, nor 
even hemlock, nor spruce, nor any other kind of tree 
that affords even passable browse, in the fall, for this 
sort of bed. 

For all-round service, in all sorts of countries, I pre- 
fer to carry with me a narrow bag of 10-cent bed tick- 
ing, 2^ feet wide and 6| feet long, to be filled with 
grass, leaves, or such other soft stuff as one may find 
on the camping ground. Such a bag weighs but Ij 
pounds, takes up little room when empty, is useful in 
packing, and a man can make a good mattress with it 
— one that will not spread out nor pack hard — in less 


than half the time it would take to shingle browse or 
rig up a stretcher. If wet stuff must be used for fill- 
ing, spread the rubber blanket or poncho on top of the 
bag, and all will be well. 

Blankets should be all-wool, and firmly woven, so 
as to shed dirt. California blankets are best, then 

... Hudson Bay or Mackinaw. The qual- 

ity of our regular army blanket is ex- 
cellent for the purpose, but do not get one that is nar- 
row and folds at the end — you cannot roll up in it so 
snugly as if it were almost square. For extremely cold 
climates nothing equals a robe (not bag) of caribou- 
hide with the hair on, as it is warmer and drier for its 
bulk and weight than any other material. 

A separate pillow-bag, to be filled in camp like the 
bed-tick, is another soft thing that no experienced 
woodsman despises. For horsemen a saddle is sup- 
posed to be all the pillow needed ; but it is nothing of 
the sort — a mound of earth is better. 

Sleeping-bags have their good and bad qualities. 
Those which open only part way down are abomina- 
„- . tions, hard to get into and out of, and 

J. hard to air properly and to dry. No 

matter how waterproof the outside cover 
may be, the blanket or fur lining will surely get damp, 
both from the air and from the exudations of the 
sleeper. The only sleeping-bags worth considering are 
those that can easily be opened and spread wide in the 
sunlight or before the fire, which should be done every 
morning. Even so, they cannot so quickly be aired 
and dried as blankets, unless the lining is entirely 
removable from the cover. 

An explorer of wide experience both in the arctic and 
antarctic regions gives his opinion of sleeping-bags as 
follows : 

For the first two or three days the sleeping-bag is a thing of 
comfort and a joy, and then it gradually gets worse and worse. 
The perspiration that collects in the bag during the night 
freezes immediately we leave it in the morning, and there is 
not sufiicient heat from the sun to dry the bag when it is 
packed on the sledge. The bag, therefore, has to be thawed 


out by our bodies each night, so that it gradually becomes 
heavy with moisture, and more and more uninviting. — Lieut. 
Armitage, Two Years in the Antarctic. 

It is snug, for a while, to be laced up in a bag, but 
not so snug when you roll over and find that some 
aperture at the top is letting a stream of cold air run 
down your spine, and that your weight and cooped-up- 
ness prevent you from readjusting the bag to your com- 
fort. Likewise a sleeping-bag may be an unpleasant 
trap to be in when a squall springs up suddenly at night, 
or the tent catches fire. 

I think that one is more likely to catch cold when 
emerging from a stuffy sleeping-bag into the cold air 
than if he had slept between loose blankets. A water- 
proof cover without any opening except where your 
nose sticks out is no more wholesome to sleep in than 
a rubber boot is wholesome for one's foot. Nor is 
such a cover of much practical advantage, except 
underneath. The notion that it is any substitute for 
a roof overhead, on a rainy night, is a delusion. 

Blankets can be wrapped around one more snugly, 
they do not condense moisture inside, and they can be 
thrown open instantly in case of alarm. In blankets 
you can sleep double in cold weather. Taking it all 
in all, I choose the separate bed-tick, pillow-bag, pon- 
cho, and blanket, rather than the same bulk and 
weight of any kind of sleeping-bag that I have so far 
experimented with. There may be better bags that I 
have not tried. 

There is a form of camp bed known as a "carry-all" 

that deserves mention. It may be described as a bag 

-,- open at both ends, with a flap on each 

««r AU »» ®^^^ *^ cover the sleeper, and shorter 

Carry-AU. ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ j^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^_ 

ing made of stout waterproofed canvas, and fitted with 
straps and buckles. Two large pockets at the head 
end contain spare clothing, and thus form a pillow for 
the night. The blankets, and other articles, can be 
rolled up within this cover, and the whole affair is then 
quickly buckled up, making a convenient pack, rain- 
proof all around. The bag part of the affair can be 


stuffed full of browse, grass, or such other bedding as 
the country affords; and poles can be run through it 
at either side, and across the ends, so as to form either 
a spring-bed or a hammock. The chief objection to 
this contrivance, as now made, is its weight, which is 
10 pounds. A cotton bed- tick, pillow-bag, silk shelter- 
cloth, and poncho of pantasote sheeting, together 
weigh only 6^ pounds, and each of them is good for 
something by itself when you are on the trail. The 
addition of a good, heavy blanket brings the weight up 
to about 15 pounds, for one man's bedding, pack- 
cloth, and shelter — and these are plenty for anybody 
until frosts set in. 

(The shelter-cloth here referred to is of waterproofed 

balloon silk, 7x8 feet, with eyelets (small steel rings 

p, - sewed on by hand, not mere metal eye- 

bnelter-Llotn. j^^^^ around the edges at intervals of 

about a foot, the contrivance weighing from 2 to 2^ 
pounds?) This makes a small roll on top of one's knap- 
sack, or serves as a pack-cloth. It makes a good shel- 
ter or windbreak when one takes a side trip of a day 
or two from camp. Such side trips are generally the 
pleasantest and most profitable days in my experience. 
One sees more, learns more, and gets closer to nature 
when he is far off in the woods by himself than when 
he is around camp or hunting with companions. 

To the same end it is well to take with you an indi- 
vidual cooking kit. This is not formidable. A frying- 
. . pan and a large tin cup, with the sheath- 

_ , . ^. knife, are sufficient; though a quart 
^ * pail is a useful addition. Instead of a 
frying-pan, for such trips, I like a U. S. Army mess kit, 
procured from a dealer in second-hand military equip- 
ments for twenty cents. It consists of two oval dishes 
of tinned steel which fit together and form a meat can 
8 inches long, 6^ inches wide, and 1^ inches deep, 
weighing f of a pound. In this a ration of meat is 
carried on the march. When the dishes are separated 
the lower one serves as a plate, and is deep enough for 
soup. The upper dish has a folding handle which 
locks the two together, and it makes a fair frying-pan. 


The Preston individual cooking kit, made of alumi- 
num, is commendable for those who care to spend 
more money on such a thing. It can be procured from 
army outfitters. 

On the subject of hunting knives I am tempted to 
be diffuse. In my green and callow days (perhaps not 
„- - yet over) I tried nearly everything in 

j^ . the knife line from a shoemaker's ski- 

ver to a machete, and I had knives 
made to order. The conventional hunting knife is, or 
was until quite recently, of the familiar dime-novel 
pattern invented by Colonel Bowie. Such a knife is 
too thick and clumsy to whittle with, much too thick 
for a good skinning knife, and too sharply pointed to 
cook and eat with. It is always tempered too hard. 
When put to the rough service for which it is supposed 
to be intended, as in cutting through the ossified false 
ribs of an old buck, it is an even bet that out will come 
a nick as big as a saw-tooth — and Sheridan forty miles 
from a grindstone! Such a knife is shaped expressly 
for stabbing, which is about the very last thing that a 
woodsman ever has occasion to do, our lamented grand- 
mothers to the contrary notwithstanding. 

A camper has use for a common-sense sheath-knife, 
sometimes for dressing big game, but oftener for such 
homely work as cutting sticks, slicing bacon, and fry- 
ing "spuds." For such purposes a rather thin, broad- 
pointed blade is required, and it need not be over four 
or five inches long. Nothing is gained by a longer 
blade, and it would be in one's way every time he sat 
down. Such a knife, bearing the marks of hard usage, 
lies before me. Its blade and handle are each 4j 
inches long, the blade being 1 inch wide, J inch thick 
on the back, broad pointed, and continued through the 
handle as a hasp and riveted to it. It is tempered 
hard enough to cut green hardwood sticks, but soft 
enough so that when it strikes a knot or bone it will, 
if anything, turn rather than nick; then a whetstone 
soon puts it in order. The Abyssinians have a saying, 
"If a sword bends, we can straighten it; but if it breaks, 
who can mend it ? " So with a knife or hatchet. The 


handle of this knife is of oval cross-section, long enough 
to give a good grip for the whole hand, and with no 
sharp edges to blister one's hand. It has a | inch 
knob behind the cutting edge as a guard, but there is 
no guard on the back, for it would be useless and in 
the way. The handle is of light but hard wood, } inch 
thick at the butt and tapering to h inch forward, so as 
to enter the sheath easily and grip it tightly. If it were 
heavy it would make the knife drop out when I stooped 
over. The sheath has a slit frog binding tightly on the 
belt, and keeping the knife well up on my side. This 
knife weighs only 4 ounces. It was made by a coun- 
try blacksmith, and is one of the homeliest things I 
ever saw; but it has outlived in my affections the score 
of other knives that I have used in competition with 
it, and has done more work than all of them put to- 

For ordinary whittling a good jackknife is needed. 
It should have one heavy blade 2f or 3 inches long, 
J ,, . tempered hard enough for seasoned 

* hickory, but thick enough not to nick 
or snap off; also a small, thin blade that will take a 
keen edge and keep it. The best pattern is an "easy- 
opener," which has part of the handle cut away so that 
one can open it without using his thumb-nail, which 
may be wet and soft, or brittle from cold. There 
should be no sharp edges on the handle, which is pref- 
erably of ebony. 

A woodsman should carry a hatchet, and he should 
be as critical in selecting it as in buying a gun. The 
„ notion that a heavy hunting knife can 

do the work of a hatchet is a delusion. 
When it comes to cleaving carcasses, chopping kin- 
dling, blazing thick-barked trees, driving tent pegs or 
trap stakes, and keeping up a bivouac fire, the knife 
never was made that will compare with a good toma- 
hawk. The common hatchets of the hardware stores 
are unfit for a woodsman's use. They have broad, 
thin blades with beveled edge, and they are generally 
made of poor, brittle stuff. A camper's hatchet should 
have the edge and temper of a good axe. It must be 



light enough to carry in one's belt or knapsack, yet it 
should bite deep in timber. There is but one way to 
get this seemingly contradictory result, and that is to 
make the blade long and narrow, like an Indian toma- 
hawk, or like a Nessmuk double-blade, thus putting 
the weight where it will do the most good. -^When 
there is a full-grown axe in camp I carry a tomahawk 
of 12-ounce head. The handle is just a foot long. 
Its grip is wound with waxed twine to give a good hold 
when one's hand is wet. This little tool has been my 
mainstay on several bitter nights when I was lost in 
the forest, or in a canebrake, and without it I would 
have fared badly. 

For a canoeing trip, or any journey on which a full- 
sized axe cannot be taken with the camping equipment, 
a half- axe with 2-pound head and 18-inch handle is 
about right. With it one can fell trees big enough for 
an all-night fire made Indian fashion. If such a tool 
is carried from the belt (seldom advisable) its muzzle 
should be attached by a frog that works on a loose 
rivet, thus forming a hinged joint, then the handle will 
swing free from brush and will not be in the way when 
you sit down. 

For a light and quick-cutting hone, to keep knives 
and hatchet in order, take a piece of cigar box about 
^, two by six inches and glue to each side 

a strip of emery cloth, coarse on one 
side, fine on the other. Or, if you don't mind the 
weight, get a quite small double whetstone, coarse and 
fine on opposite sides. This may be carried in a light 
leather wallet, along with the following articles: 

Small coil of copper snare wire. Needle and thread. 

Safety pins. One or two short fishing lines, rigged. 

p Spare hooks. Minnow hooks (with 

,.°^ ^ half the barb filed off) for catching 

^'*- bait. 

These things with your gun, a dozen rounds of am- 
munition, hatchet, knives, matches, compass, map, 
money, pipe and tobacco, should always be with you, 
or where they can be snatched up at a grab in case of 
emergency. Then you are always "fixed." 


If a needle compass is chosen, try to get one with a 
pearl point on the north end of the needle; it is easier 
to see in dark weather, and easily re- 
^ * membered. If you must put up with 

a common one in which the north end of the needle is 
merely blackened, scratch B=N (Black equals North) 
on the case. This seems like an absurd precaution, 
does it not ? Well, it will not seem so if you get lost. 
The first time that a man loses his bearings in the wil- 
derness his wits refuse to work. He cannot, to save his 
life, remember whether the black end of the needle 
is north or south. A card compass [is better than 
one with a needle, if the case is deep enough for the 
card to traverse freely when inclined, but it is more 

An expensive watch should be left at home. A dol- 
lar watch is good enough where there are no trains to 
_. . catch. Take with you the sheets of an 

^ ' almanac for the months in which you 
will be out. They are useful to regulate the watch, 
show the moon's changes, and, by them, to determine 
the day of the month and week, which one is apt to 
forget when he is away from civilization. 

Do not on any account omit a water 'proof matchbox, 

preferably of such pattern as has a cover that cannot 

-^ , , drop off. A bit of candle is a good 

thing to carry in one's pouch to start 

fire in a driving rain. 

Procure, if possible, a good map of the region to be 
visited. The best maps for any part of the United 
^ States for which they have been pub- 

lished are the topographical sheets 
issued by the U. S. Geological Survey, and sold at five 
cents each. A list of those published up to date can 
be had by applying to the Director, U. S. Geological 
Survey, Washington, D. C. Most of these sheets are 
on a scale of two miles to the inch. They are printed 
in three colors, and show every watercourse, big or 
little, every road and important trail, bridges, ferries, 
fords, mines, settlements, and, what is of high impor- 
tance to a traveler, they give contour lines (usually for 


every 100 feet in mountainous regions, and at lesser 
intervals for more level country).* 

Maps should be cut up into sections about 4 by 
6 inches, numbered, and carried (together with a key- 
map that one makes himself) in an envelope made of 
tracing cloth. The required sheet is placed on top, 
and can be made out through the envelope without 
removing it, thus protecting the map from tearing, 
soiling, wet, and from blowing away. 

Note-books should be of such paper as is ruled in 

squares, which are useful in rough mapping and sketch- 

„ . ing. Take along some postal cards, 

and a timetable of the road by which 

you expect to return. 

Wear a money belt. Gold coin is mere trusty than 
banknotes, as one is liable to get a ducking at any 
time. Quarter eagles are best, being more easily 
changed by country folks than higher denominations. 

In the matter of medicines, every man must take 
into account his personal equation and the ills to which 
__ J. . he is most subiect; but there are cer- 


tain risks that we all run in common 
when we venture far from civilization, such as wounds, 
fractures, snake-bites, attacks of venomous insects, 
malaria, footsoreness, ivy poisoning, and others that 
will be mentioned in the chapter on Accidents. 

As for myself, no matter how light I travel, I always 
carry either in a pocket or in my hunting pouch a sol- 
dier's first-aid packet. This can be procured from a 
dealer in surgical instruments or from a camp out- 
fitter. It contains two antiseptic compresses of subli- 
mated gauze, an antiseptic bandage, an Esmarch tri- 
angular bandage with cuts printed on it showing how 
to bandage any part of the body, and two safety pins, 
inclosed in a waterproof cover, the whole being very 
light and compact. 

In snake time I also keep by me at all times a hypo- 

* I regret to say that these sheets are of uneven merit. Some of 
them are accurate, while others, particvilarly of the wilder moun- 
tainous districts, are filled with details that exist only in the draughts- 
man's imagination. Thorough revision of many sheets is urgently 

A Proud Moment 


dermic syringe with tubes of potassium permanganate 
and strychnin, the use of which will be explained 
hereafter. A permanganate solution will precipitate 
a sediment in a week or two. It is better to carry sep- 
arately the crystals and a little vial of distilled water. 
A small bottle of unguentine and some cathartic pills 
generally complete the list for a short trip. 

When going far from medical or surgical aid, I 
might pack along a box containing the following kit: 

3-in. artery forceps and needle-holder combined. 

Tooth forceps. 

Surgeon's needles: 2 straight medium, 

1 curved medium, 

1 curved small. 
Surgeon's silk, coarse and fine. 
Catgut ligatures. 
3 2-in. rolled bandages. 
1 yd. sublimated gauze, in bottle. 
Absorbent cotton. 
Mustard plasters. 
Belladonna plasters. 
Hypodermic sjTinge. 
Bernays' antiseptic tablets. 

* Potassium permanganate, ^-grain tablets. 

*Cocainand morphin tablets (cocain 1-5 gr., morphin 1-40 
gr., sod. chlor. 1-5 gr.) — local ancesthetic. 

* Morphin (J gr.) and atropin (1-150 gr.) tablets — intense pain. 

* Strychnin sulphate, 1-30 gr. tablets — surgical shock, etc. 
^Quinin, 3 gr. capsules — malaria, etc. 

Sun cholera tablets — dysentery, etc. 

Senega compound, tablets — coughs, colds. 

Compound cathartic pills. 

Soda mint tablets — sour stomach, heartburn, ivy poisoning. 

Trional — sleeplessness. 

Unguentine — burns, sunburn, insect bites, bruises. 

McClintock's germicidal soap — cleansing wounds. 


8 oz. brandy, in two small bottles. 

One such kit is enough for a large party. It will be 
used mostly on the natives. 

An ulcerated tooth is a bad thing to fight in the wil- 
derness — grizzly bears are nothing to it. Some na- 
tives have an unpleasant way of extracting an aching 

* The tablets starred are carried in the hypodermic case. 


molar, a bit at a time, by prying it out with an awl. 
Paul Kruger used to cut his out with a knife. A word 
to the wise is sufficient: Forceps. 

When traveling in the South or Southwest (anywhere 
from Missouri down), I add a 4-ounce bottle of chloro- 
p. J. form, which, after exhaustive experi- 

ments, I have found to be the only 
thing that can be depended upon to put chiggers (red- 
bugs) to sleep in the cuticle of H. Kephart. I will 
pay my respects to these microscopic fiends, and to 
other torments of the woods and swamps, in the chap- 
ter on Pests, wherein will also be found various for- 
mulas for fly dopes, to which the reader is referred. 

In spring and autumn I usually carry a tiny vial of 
oil of anise, which is very attractive to various animals 
whose acquaintance I wish to cultivate — from bees to 
bears. One drop of anise will lure for half a mile 

In hot weather it is well to carry, each for himself, a 
little citric acid, if there are no lemons in the outfit. 
. . , The crystals added to water make a 

refreshing lemonade, and they are val- 
uable to neutralize alkaline water and make it potable. 
Wyeth's lemonade tablets are still better. When much 
water is to be corrected, as when making a long trip 
through an alkaline country, it is preferable to use 
hydrochloric (muriatic) acid, one teaspoonful to the 
gallon of water. 

Spare clothing should be packed in a bag by itself. 
It is well to make this in saddle-bag shape, one side 
n th "R ^^ ^^ used for clean clothes and the 

other for soiled ones, the whole serving 
as a pillow if you have no regular pillow-bag. For an 
ordinary trip the following will suffice: 

Jersey or sweater, two undershirts, two pairs drawers, three 
pairs socks, spare overshirt, moccasins, gloves, three handker- 
chiefs, woolen pyjamas (not linen), if you have room. In 
summer add a head-net; in winter, German socks, lumber- 
man's rubbers (if you cannot get shanks), knit cap, and a pair 
of mitts. 

Toilet Bag. In a sponge-bag carry: 


Towel (old and soft), soap, comb, toothbrush, pocket 
mirror; the soap in a soft rubber tobacco-pouch. The razor 
and strop, if you carry them, go elsewhere. 

If you smoke, stow a spare pipe in your kit — the 
koosy-oonek will get one, sure. If you wear glasses, 
take along an extra pair. 

In one's camp kit it is advisable to have a holdall, 

or a japanned box, in which are kept such things as 

• TT-j. these (contents varying, of course, ac- 

^ cording to personal requirements): 

Rifle-rod and brush, gun grease, cut wipers, oiled rags, 
screw driver (T-shaped, folding, with 3 blades), 6-in. half- 
round bastard file, a few assorted nails and tacks, two sizes 
soft wire, side- cutting parallel pliers, pocket tape-measure, 
pocket scales, scissors, awl, waxed-ends (get a shoemaker to 
make them for you if you don't know how), sewing and darn- 
ing needles, linen thread, beeswax, strong twine, darning 
cotton, spare buttons, safety pins, split rivets, small pieces of 
mending cloth and leather, a rawhide belt-lace, 1 doz. large 
rubber bands. 

In fitting up such a repair kit, be sparing of bulk 
and weight. Of nails, wire, rivets, include only enough 
for a few small jobs. 

In winter it pays to carry a pair of smoke-colored 

goggles, to prevent snow-blindness — likewise in sum- 

mer if you are much on the water. 

^^ * These are better than green or blue 

ones, because they are less opaque and there is less 
loss of color in objects seen through them. They 
should fit well. The glasses should be surrounded by 
fine wire gauze, the edges covered with velvet, and the 
part crossing the bridge of the nose similarly covered. 
The Eskimo kind of eye- shades are better for high lati- 
tudes than glasses. They consist of two wooden disks, 
each with a T-shaped slit cut in it to see through, with 
a narrow strap to go over the bridge of the nose and 
another to go around the head. Such shades give 
perfect vision, do not collect moisture, and, when re- 
moved, do not give the sensation of darkness that is 
experienced after removing colored glasses. 

A pantasote pouch, 10x12 inches, is a convenient 


receptacle for small stores, and makes a good carrier 
p , for one's necessities when he is travel- 

ing without a coat. For a knapsack, 
the pattern used by our regular infantry is as good 
as any. 

A canteen should not be a cheap affair merely covered 
with flimsy flannel, but one of service pattern, incased 
p in felt and this covered with duck. If 

the outside is immersed when the can- 
teen is filled it will keep three pints of water cool for 
several hours. Filled with hot water at night, it makes 
a comfortable addition to one's blanket on a cold 

Every camper is supposed to have his own ideas 
about guns, fishing tackle, boats and cameras. I will 
P k t T?*fl offer no advice here about any of these 
things beyond saying that a fisherman, 
or any one else who takes his vacation in the woods at 
a time when most game is out of season, may do well 
to carry a .22 caliber rifle, or a pocket rifle, for such 
"small deer" as may be available for the pot, not over- 
looking the comestible frog. A pocket rifle with 15- 
inch barrel and skeleton stock is almost as easily car- 
ried as a pistol, and can be shot with much greater 
precision. If a telescope sight of three or four diame- 
ters (not more) is mounted on it, you can drive tacks 
with the tiny bullet at 40 feet, and hit squirrels in the 
head nearly every time at 30 yards — if you are a marks- 
man. The best .22 cartridges are the Long Rifle (not 
to be confounded with the inferior .22 Long), the .22-7 
and the .22 Automatic. See that the rifle is specially 
chambered and rifled for one or other of these. They 
are very accurate up to 100 yards or more.* 

♦For a detailed discussion of rifles for big game hunting I may 
refer to my chapter on The Hunting Rifle in the book entitled 
Guns, Ammunition, and Tackle (American Sportsman's Library; 
edited by Caspar Whitney. New York, Macmillan). 



T^ENTS were invented long before the dawn of his- 
^ tory, and they are still used as portable dwellings 
by men of all races and in all climes — and still the per- 
fect tent has not been invented. Every year sees count- 
less campers busy with new contrivances in canvas or 
other material — and still the prehistoric patterns hold 
their own. There is a fascination about tent life that 
may be partly due to its uncertainties. The utmost 
pinnacle of comfort is reached when one lies at night 
under taut canvas, with a storm roaring toward him 
through the forest, and chortles over the blissful cer- 
tainty that no wind can blow his tent down. And it 
takes just one second of parting guys and ripping cloth 
to tumble him off his perch and cast him headlong 
into the very depths of woe. 

A tent should be easy to set up. It should shed 
heavy rains, and should stand securely in a gale. It 
should keep out insects and cold draughts, but let in 
the rays of the camp-fire and plenty of pure air. It 
should be cool and air yon summer days, but warm 
and dry at night. All of which is easily said. 

For a fixed camp, or any camp that can be reached 
by wagon, a wall tent is generally preferred. It is easy 
^ .- ^ to set up, and has plenty of head-room. 

With the addition of a fly, a ground- 
cloth, and a tent stove, it can be made cosy in any kind 
of weather. But a wall tent, with its necessary poles, 
is too heavy and bulky for anything but a wagon trip. 
Men who travel in untracked forests, deserts, or moun- 
tains, usually require a more portable shelter. 

A 10x1 2-foot wall tent is large enough for a party of 
four. It should be used only for sleeping quarters, 


and as a shelter for personal kits and other perishables. 
A separate fly should be taken along, to be used as a 
roof for the dining space, and to cover the box or other 
contrivance that is used for an outdoor cupboard. If 
there are more than four in the party, take another 
tent. Two small tents are easier to transport and to 
pitch than one large one, and they haye the supreme 
advantage that the snorers can then be segregated in a 
limbo of their own. Guides usually furnish their own 
shelters, but this should be understood beforehand. 
It is well to have the tents made to open at both ends, 
so that they can have a complete circulation of air on 
hot days. In this case, two tents may be joined to- 
gether whenever desirable. 

As for tent materials, the choice depends upon 
whether it is the intention to go light or not. For fixed 

/« ^ ^1 ^-i. camps, 10-ounce double-filling army 

Tent Cloth. j i -^u *i,- t-i, u • i 

duck is the thmg. ine cheap single- 
filling duck is neither strong nor rain-proof. Second- 
hand army tents that are in good, serviceable condi- 
tion, having been condemned only for stains or other 
trifling defects, may be bought very cheaply from deal- 
ers who get them at government auctions. These army 
tents are always well designed and well made. 

Where expense is not considered, and extra weight 

is not objectionable, no material equals pantasote. It 

f ^^ perfectly waterproof, embers from the 

a erproo camp-fire will not burn holes in it, it 
is not sticky in hot weather nor brittle 
in cold, and its wearing qualities are excellent. For a 
light tent, sail drilling, and for a very light one, un- 
bleached sheeting or silk, should be used, the material 
in either case being waterproofed by one or other of 
the processes mentioned hereafter. Tents of water- 
proofed balloon silk of excellent quality and strongly 
made can now be bought ready-made in all shapes and 
sizes. A tent of this kind big enough for one man to 
bivouac in is made that weighs only 2^ pounds; a 7jx 
1^ miner's tent weighs but 6 pounds, and an A tent of 
the same size only 7^ pounds. The strength of a tent 
depends more upon the reinforcement of the grommets 


and seams than upon the kind of cloth used. The 
lines of greatest strain should be reinforced, in light 
tents, by linen tape. 

Thin, closely woven cotton goods, such as sheeting 
or muslin, will shed ordinary rains if pitched at a higher 
angle than 45°, but if set up at a lower angle than this, 
the water will penetrate. A long, hard rain will soak 
such cloth through and through, and even heavy can- 
vas, if not waterproofed or protected by a fly, will ab- 
sorb so much water that if the inside of the cloth be 
touched by so much as one's finger a steady drip of 
water will come through at that spot so long as the rain 

A fly not only makes the roof watertight, but keeps 
the tent much cooler on a hot day. 

When traveling light, a fly cannot be carried, and 
the tent itself must be light and thin; consequently it 
should be waterproofed. If such treatment is properly 
applied it not only renders the tent dry throughout the 
worst storm, but prevents it from absorbing water, 
whereas a common tent will take up so much water 
that its weight is greatly increased. Waterproofing 
also prevents mildew, and allows one to roll up his tent 
when it is wet on the outside, if he is in a hurry. It is 
only within a few years that ready-made waterproof 
tents have been supplied by outfitters. 
^ , If a common tent is purchased, or 

p the camper makes one for himself, 

he can waterproof it by either of the 
following processes: 

Dissolve ^ pound of alum in 4 gallons of boiling rain-water. 
It is essential that soft water be used. Similarly, in a separate 
vessel, dissolve ^ pound of sugar of lead (lead acetate) in 4 
gallons of water. This is double the proportion of alum usually 
recommended, and better results will follow from it, because 
it insures the precipitation of all the lead in the form of sul- 
phate. Let the solutions stand until clear; then pour the 
alum liquor into a clean vessel, and add the sugar of lead 
solution. Let stand a few hours. Then pour off the clear 
liquor, thoroughly work the fabric in it, so that every part is 

Suite penetrated, squeeze out, stretch and dry. Remember 
lat sugar of lead is poisonous if taken internally. 


This treatment fixes acetate of alumina in the fibers 
of the cloth. The final washing is to cleanse the cloth 
from the useless white powder of sulphate of lead that 
is deposited on it. Cloth treated in this manner sheds 
rain, and makes a tent proof against sparks and embers 
from the camp-fire. Clothing may also be made rain- 
proof in this way, though still porous, so as to allow 
perspiration to pass through and evaporate. Rain- 
water will penetrate it wherever the cloth binds tightly. 

To waterproof cloth with paraffin, proceed as follows : 

Cut the paraflBn into thin shavings, so as to dissolve readily. 
Dissolve it in turpentine or benzin, using as much wax as the 
liquid will take up. Apply with a varnish brush to the tightly 
stretched goods. To hasten the solution of the paraffin, place 
the mixture in a warm room, or where the hot sun will strike 
it (but not, of course, near the fire) and stir it now and then. 

Or, get a cake of paraffin, lay the cloth on a table, and rub 
the outer side with the wax until it has a good coating, evenly 
distributed. Then iron the cloth with a medium-hot flatiron, 
which melts the wax and runs it into every pore of the cloth. 

Do not oil a tent. Linseed oil rots the fiber, and 
cloth so treated will be sticky in hot weather. 

Tents to be used in very cold weather should not be 
waterproofed, because, if they are, they will become 
brittle at low temperatures and may break in folding. 
Moreover, it should be borne in mind that a traveler's 
greatest discomfort in cold weather is from moisture 
generated from within and condensing on the inner 
surface of clothing or tent cloth that is not sufficiently 
porous to let it escape. Dr. Frederick A. Cook, the 
antarctic explorer, says: 

"A scientifically ideal tent wall would be a double sheeting 
of some gauzy material, the two thicknesses being separated 
from each other about one inch. This would freely permit the 
escape of the internal humidity, which is always the curse of 
polar workers, while it would sufficiently prevent the penetra- 
tion of the wind. It would, perhaps, be an excellent idea 
to have window spaces, spread with gauzy or porous material, 
made in the front of this tent near the peak — mosquito netting 
is by no means out of place on the polar ice-fields, for it is an 
excellent wind guard, retaining the internal heat, while easily 
allowing the escape of moisture." 


The tent to which he refers is one of his own design, 
a very Hght affair to be used in arctic work. 

It is an advantage to have a tent dyed to a Hght 
green or tan color. This moderates the glare of the 
. sun, makes the tent less attractive to 

yeing - gjgg^ a^jj(j renders it less conspicuous in 
the woods, which latter is worth con- 
sidering in some localities where undesirable visitors 
may drop in. A few packages of dye may be used be- 
fore waterproofing. Two pounds of ground white oak 
bark in 3J gallons of boiling water will dye canvas a 
tan color. 

Every tent should have a sod-cloth, which is a strip 
about nine inches wide joined to the bottom of the tent 
on the inside, to be held down by small 
logs, stones, or earth. This keeps out 
draughts, insects, and other pests. If the lower edges 
of the tent are left loose, cold air will be sucked in 
along the floor and will chill the sleepers. 

A waterproof ground-cloth, covering most of the floor 
of the tent and lapping over the sod-cloth, is a good 
p . thing if it can be carried along. In 

small tents intended for mountaineering 
and similar work, this ground-cloth is 
sometimes sewed fast to the bottom of the tent, sod- 
cloths being dispensed with. Such a tent cannot blow 
away when the weight of the occupants is inside, and 
it has the minor advantage that small articles dropped 
on the floor will not be lost. But a fixed floor-cloth is 
objectionable in cold weather, especially if water be 
boiled within the tent, because the steam condenses 
and runs down the inside of the tent, and it should be 
allowed to run off into the snow along the edges. 

In fly time a netting to keep out insects is a prime 
necessity. The mesh of ordinary mosquito netting is 
^ . too open, and the material is too easily 

P^^ torn, and bobbinet is likewise too weak. 

The best insect discourager is cheese- 
cloth. In summer it is a good plan to have a duplicate 
tent of cheese-cloth hung inside from the ridge or peak; 
then the canvas may be left wide open on sultry nights. 


If a stove is to be used in the tent, the pipe-hole 
should be guarded by an asbestos ring or collar, which 
_,. . rolls up with the tent. A tin guard is a 

^ * squeaky thing when the wind blows. 

Metal tent slides are better than wooden ones, being 
lighter and not given to swelling, shrinking, and split- 
ting. Steel tent pins, twisted somewhat like a lariat 
pin, are better than wooden pegs, as they are more 
easily driven in rocky ground, hold better, and are not 
so bulky. They should be carried in a bag of their 
own, or some of them will probably be misplaced or 
lost. In a wooded region one can depend upon cutting 
pegs where he camps, but it is better to carry them 
unless one is going particularly light. Pegs should be 
at least a foot long. If made of green wood, select hard 
wood that has no pithy core, and harden the points by 
slightly charring them in the fire. 

AH tents that are made to close up tightly at night 
should have ventilators, covered with cheese-cloth, and 
with flaps on the outside to tie down in bad weather. 
It is more unhealthful to sleep in a tightly closed tent 
than in an ordinary bedroom with all the windows 
closed, for the cubic contents of an average tent are 
less, the air in it is soon poisoned, and the interior is 
damp besides. Napoleon declared that his troops kept 
in better health when bivouacking under the stars than 
when sleeping in tents. It is far better to leave the 
front of the tent wide open, even in cold weather, than 
to close it up and sleep in a damp, stuffy atmosphere. 

The most healthful form of tent, and the one favored 
by guides, lumbermen, and others who live in the woods, 
is a lean-to or shed-roof affair with open 
ean- o front, before which a big log fire is kept 

' going all through the night. The heat 

from the fire is reflected by the tent roof upon the 
ground below, drying it out, and keeping the sleepers 
warm through the coldest night. This, however, takes 
a lot of wood, a good-sized hardwood tree being con- 
sumed in a single night, and the labor of chopping is 
rather severe to any one but a good axeman; but the 
work is well repaid by the exquisite comfort of lying 


before the blazing backlogs on a cold night, warm as 
toast, and breathing deeply the fresh air of the forest. 
Such a tent is never damp and cheerless, as all closed 
tents are apt to be. Tent-makers always make these 
shed-roof or "baker" tents with a door-flap sewed to 
the top, to be stretched out forward like an awning 
when the tent is open. A better plan is to have the 
door-flap separate from the tent, and so fitted with 
grommets or eyelets that it can be attached either to 
the top or to one side of the tent, as preferred. In 
warm weather, when no all-night fire is needed, it may 
be hung from the top as an awning, and the tent may 
be closed up by it when the occupants are away; but 
on nights when a fire is kept going the flap should be 
stretched forward vertically from the windward side of 
the tent front, so as to check the draught from that 
direction, and the fire should be built close to the tent, 
the front of which is left wide open. For a camp that 
is not shifted every day or two, the shed-roof tent is 
the most comfortable kind of shelter, for a timbered 
region, in all kinds of weather. 

For extreme portability, lightness, and ease of pitch- 
ing, the A tent is recommended. Nothing is better, 
. ^ in the long run, for a trip in summer, 

where portages must be made and camp 
shifted at frequent intervals. In this case no poles are 
used. A strong tape is sewed along the ridge of the 
tent, ending in a loop at each end, from which a light 
rope is extended and stretched between two trees, the 
rope being made taut by two forked poles bracing it 
up at each end of the tent, and outside of it. Such 
an arrangement is secure against heavy gales. For a 
small tent the ridge rope should be about twenty-five 
feet long. It should be of braided cotton, treated to a 
bath of hot linseed oil, and stretched until dry; then 
it will neither shrink, stretch, nor kink. A metal slide 
or tightener near each end of the rope will keep it taut 
without crotched poles. 

The Hudson Bay form of A or wedge tent economizes 
cloth and weight by making the ends round and the 
ridge short. A waterproof silk tent of this pattern, 


6x9x7 feet, weighs only 6 pounds. A so-called "canoe 
tent" is made that combines some of the advantages of 
the shed-roof tent with an arrangement whereby it can 
be set up with only one pole. The "protean" tent is 
of similar pattern. 

The pyramidal miner's tent, and the conical Sibley, 
require only one pole, and this may be jointed, so as to 
^. , , pack easily on an animal or in a canoe. 
„.,. -, Both of these patterns have so steep a 

^ * pitch that they shed rain very well, and 

on this account may be made of thin material. They 
also stand well in heavy winds, when properly pitched, 
the Sibley especially. The miner's tent, which covers 
a square ground space, affords more room for beds 
than a conical tent of equal cubic capacity. Both of 
these forms are suitable for travel in a treeless region 
where a tent pole must be carried. The claim that a 
Sibley tent can be heated by an open fire inside is not 
well borne out, because the opening at the top is too 
small to let out the smoke when green wood is burned, 
as must often be the case. If the tent is to be heated, 
a regular Sibley tent stove should be carried along. 

There is only one kind of tent that can be heated 
by an open fire, inside, without smoking the occupants 
-, out, and that is the Indian lodge or tee- 

" * pee (pronounced tee-pee), and even it is 

likely at times to resemble the inside of a chimney-flue 
unless its owners know just how to manage it. How- 
ever, taking it all around, the teepee is the most com- 
fortable portable home for all regions, and for all kinds 
of weather, that human ingenuity has devised. It is 
more secure in a gale than any other form of tent that 
does not depend upon neighboring trees to hold it up. 
It sheds rain well, because its pitch is steep. It can 
be thrown wide open in a moment, or it can be closed 
tightly all around and still kept well ventilated by 
the hole at the top. A fire can be kept going within the 
tent, directly under the smoke-hole, and right in the 
middle of the inclosed space, where it will do the most 
good. Meals can be cooked over this open fire, and 
the steam and smells will be wafted out through the 


smoke-hole. By manipulating the smoke-flaps or 
wind-guards the "chimney" may be made to draw, in 
almost any kind of weather. With the tent closed, and 
a trifling smudge of dried fungus going in the center, 
mosquitoes can be kept at a respectful distance. There 
is no center-pole to stumble against, nor guy to trip 
over. The tent is easily set up, and it can quickly be 
taken down and rolled up into a small parcel. To set 
up a teepee properly, ten or a dozen straight, slender 
poles are needed, and these are often hard to find, even 
in a dense forest. But one can make shift with three 
poles set up as a tripod, or even with one, the latter 
being braced against a tree, and its lower end jabbed 
into the ground. Teepees are not to be had of tent- 
makers, except to order. 

An excellent form of tent for all-round service, being 
warm, well-ventilated, rain-proof, easy to set up, secure 
P . , in a gale, and aflFording plenty of head- 

^ room for its size, is the one here illus- 

trated. It is the favorite tent of that 
veteran canoeist, Mr. Perry D. Frazer, whose book on 
Canoe Cruising and Camping is the most practical 
manual of its kind that has been published. The cuts 
and details here given are supplied by Mr. Frazer, 
partly in a personal letter, and partly from an article 
by him in Shooting and Fishing. (Figs. 1 and 2.) 

The material is dark brown 10-ounce duck. The 
tent is octagon in form, 8^ feet in diameter and 8^ feet 
high. Each width of duck measures 38 inches. The 
length of each breadth, inclusive of the end left below 
hem for sod-cloth, is 10 feet 2 inches. The door is 5 
feet 6 inches (actual length along goods) . The awning 
is 5 feet 8 inches long; it fastens down with large brass 
hooks and eyes, at sides and bottom. The door is 
about 14 inches wide at top and about 20 inches 
at bottom. The awning is usually left up, and a flap 
of mosquito-bar closes the opening. The awning has 
two thin jointed poles and cord guys. 

In the rear of the tent is a window, 8 inches square, 
filled with bobbinet, giving a good circulation of air. 
Its flap is 13x14x18 inches, with grommets in outer 

Fig. 1. 


Fig. 2. 


corners to hold stick, so that it can be stretched for air, 
and to keep out rain. The sod-cloth is 6 inches wide. 
(Fig. 3.) 

The floor-cloth lies over the sod-cloth, making the 
tent impervious to cold draughts, dampness, and 
insects. The octagonal floor-cloth fastens to the sides 
of the tent with grommets and small wooden buttons, 
so that it can be left with tent when folded, or taken 
out at wiU. It is slit from 
front to pole, so that the for- Fig. 3. 

ward edges can be turned 
back, as shown by the dot- 
ted line, when one comes 
into the tent with muddy 
feet. The "sill "under the 
door is 5 inches high. Its 
rationale is this: It keeps 
the bottom of the tent in 
what is practically one piece, 
so that when the latter is 
stretched taut every peg finds 
its proper place, without .^j 

any measuring, and the tent Floor- cloth 

sets true; besides, in con- 
junction with the sod-cloth and floor-cloth, it makes the 
bottom of the tent proof against cold and insects at 
the very point where other tents are weak, namely, 
at the door. Twelve-inch meat skewers are used for 
pegs, and it will be noticed that the tent only requires 
eight of them. 

This tent folds into a parcel about 24x12x3 
inches, and weighs about 32 pounds, with poles and 
pegs. Mr. Frazer says: "This is my favorite tent for 
canoeing trips early in the spring and late in the fall, 
when a snug water and wind-proof tent is desirable. 
It would be too heavy for inland trips, where it would 
have to be carried ; but if made of waterproofed muslin 
or 6-ounce duck, it would be ideal for light trips. I 
had the second one of this type that was made. It was 
designed by J. E. G. Yalden of New York, but his 
tent was too small, and I had mine made wider. A 


number of tents of this type are now used by canoeists, 
and for all-round use they are grand tents. S. Hem- 
menway and Son, 54 South St., New York, have the 
working drawings. I think the price, without poles or 
pegs, is twelve dollars, but it may be less. ... I 
have timed the owner of one of these tents while in 
the act of setting it. Three minutes were consumed in 
driving the eight steel pegs and hoisting the pole into 
position. Once set, let the wind blow as hard as it 
may, the owner need never fret, for it would be hard 
to trip this style of tent. Its sides being so steep, it 
will turn water as readily as if it were greased. One 
may stand upright in it, and there is room for one cot 
or for two beds on the ground." 

In any tent with a ridge-pole two screw-eyes should 
be put in it at opposite ends from which to suspend by 
_ cords a straight stick to hang clothes 

on. Wire clothes hangers and candle 
^ * holders, and metal lantern hangers and 

gun-racks, which fit on the upright poles of tents, and 
wall pockets, which are very convenient receptacles for 
odds and ends, are supplied by camp outfitters. The 
hangers are particularly useful in Sibley, miner's, or 
other one-pole tents. It pays to take such things. 

Folding tables, stools, and chairs, and even folding 

bath-tubs, are made in large quantities for military 

_ ^ _ and campers' use. Thev save time and 

Tent Fur- x i-i • ^ • u i. -x • 

trouble in iixmg up a camp, but it is 

better to make one's own simple furni- 
ture on the spot, if anything like a hard trip is contem- 
plated. There are two articles of ready-made furniture, 
however, that are well worth packing along if the party 
is not traveling very light indeed, and these are a rolling 
table-top and a set of folding shelves. The table is 
made of pantasote, with pockets on the under side 
which are stiffened by thin wooden slats. The table is 
set up by driving a stake into the ground at each corner, 
connected by cross-pieces on which the top rests, the 
latter being 2x3 feet when opened, and weighing only 
3 pounds. The shelves are made of canvas, similarly 
stiffened by slats, forming, when set up on four poles, 
a cupboard of three shelves 2 feet long, weighing 3 


pounds. As boards are seldom obtainable in the wil- 
derness, the tables and shelves may be worth the trouble 
of carrying them. 

A full-sized axe should be taken along whenever it 
is practicable to carry one. Its head need not weigh 
. more than 3^ or 4 pounds. With this 

one tool a good axeman can build any- 
thing that is required in the wilderness, and he can 
quickly fell and log-up a tree large enough to keep a 
hot fire before his lean-to throughout the night. 

If an axe is bought ready handled, see that the helve 
is of young growth hickory, straight grained, and free 
from knots. Sight along the back of the helve to see 
if it is straight in line with the eye of the axe, then turn 
it over and see if the edge of the axe ranges exactly in 
line with the center of the hilt (rear end of handle), as 
it should, and that the hilt is at right angles to the cen- 
ter of the eye. A good chopper is as critical about the 
heft and hang of his axe as a shooter is about the bal- 
ance of his gun. If the handle is straight, score a 2^- 
foot rule on it, in inches. Get the axe ground by a 
careful workman. The store edge is not thin enough 
or keen enough. 

An axe lying around camp has a fatal attraction for 

men who do not know how to use it. Not that they 

will do much chopping with it; but somebody will 

pick it up, make a few bungling whacks at a projecting 

root, or at a stick lying flat on the ground, drive the 

blade through into the earth and pebbles, and leave the 

edge nicked so that it will take an hour's hard work to 

put it in decent order again. And the fellow who does 

this is the one who could not sharpen an axe to save his 

life. It never seems to occur to him that an axe is 

of no use unless its edge is kept keen, or that the 

best way to ruin it is to strike it into the ground, or 

that a chopping block will prevent that. You may 

loan your last dollar to a friend; but never loan him 

your axe, unless you are certain that he knows how 

to use it. 

/^««,^ T^^i^ A file should be taken alone:, its chief 

Camp Tools. u • * i xi. \ 

use bemg to sharpen the axe when you 

are far from grindstones. 


When going into fixed camp it is well to take along a 
small hand-saw, which is very useful in making camp 
furniture. Make up your mind that it will have to be 
thrown away when you leave for home, because some 
one will surely use it in sawing meat bones. It 
may be well to take a crosscut saw for the special 
benefit of those who are rather proud of the fact that 
they do not know how to chop firewood. A spade may 
Jdc taken for trenching, and for excavating the oven, 
camp refrigerator, refuse pit, cache, and so forth. 
A wooden spade, however, or a sapling chopped to a 
wedge at one end and hardened in hot ashes, will gen- 
erally suffice. 

A few small tools in a rolled holdall may be handy 
at times, and an inch auger is often useful around a 
permanent camp. Nails will be needed in such a camp; 
and, if the ground is reached by wagon, take with you 
some boards for making a table, benches, etc. 

When traveling with horses, take a hammer, a few 
spare horseshoes and their nails, some copper rivets, 
washers, and a set, awls, saddler's thread, rawhide 
thongs, and a good length of rope. Never venture into 
an arid region without one or two large canteens for 
carrying water. 

An acetylene lantern is a good thing. An ordinary 
bicycle lamp, from which the clamp has been removed, 
- and a wire bail attached to the top, is 

especially good for coon hunting, night 
fishing and picking up frogs at night. Carbide is much 
easier to carry than kerosene, which, if so much as a 
drop escapes anywhere near your provisions, will taint 
them. If oil is preferred, though, a good way to carry 
it is in quart cans such as are made for heavy oils, 
leather dressings, etc. These have a stopper which 
unscrews and exposes the opening of a small spout 
within. A folding pocket lantern for candles is best 
when one is in light marching order; but let it be of 
brass; those made of tin or aluminum are much too 
frail. Candles, for the amount of light they give, are 
much bulkier than carbide. 

A coil of fifteen or twenty yards of half-inch rope is 


a good thing to have around a permanent camp. It 
will be useful should you find a bee- 
^ * tree and elect to rob the bees, or as an aid 

in reaching the nests of hawks, etc. If you have a dog 
with you, take along a few yards of strong wire, this 
to be strung between two trees as a "trolley wire," to 
which to chain him. 

When camping in a canebrake country have a hunts- 
man's horn in the outfit. Leave it with the camp- 
„ keeper, who will blow it every evening 

about an hour before supper. The 
sound of a horn carries far, and its message is unmis- 
takable. It is a dulcet note to one who is bewildered 
in a thick wood or brake. 


"Old horse! old horse! what brought you here?" 

"From Sacarap to Portland Pier 
I've carted stone this many a year; 
Till, killed by blows and sore abuse, 
They salted me down for sailors' use. 

"The sailors they do me despise; 
They turn me over and damn my eyes; 
Cut off my meat, and scrape my bones, 
And pitch me over to Davy Jones." 

— Old chanty. 

\ COLLAPSIBLE camp stove, or other sheet-iron 
'^^^ affair, may be convenient in a fixed camp, if one 
has a darky to look after it. When you shift camp 
every day or so, such a thing is an intolerable nuisance 
to clean up and pack around. Either it or its pipe is 
forever getting jammed "out of whack." Besides, it 
compels you to cut all your cooking wood into short 

Meals as good as any that ever came out of stove 

can be cooked over an open fire. Even when it rains, 

. _ a bonfire can be built to one side and 

hard coals shoveled from it to a spot 
sheltered by bark or canvas where the cooking is done. 
If they can easily be carried, it is a good scheme to take 
along a pair of fire-irons. These are simply two pieces 
of flat steel (iron would bend too easily when heated) 
about 2 feet long, 1^ inches wide, and J inch thick, 
which are used to support the frying-pan and coffee- 
pot over the fire. 
^ A Dutch oven of cast-iron is very 

serviceable on any trip that permits 
carrying so heavy a utensil. Why are none made of 
cast aluminum ? 

When a Dutch oven cannot be carried, a folding 


reflector of sheet-iron or aluminum (the latter lighter, 
but not nearly so strong) should be substituted. The 
reflector here mentioned is such as our great-grand- 
mothers used to bake biscuit in, before a hearth fire. 
The top slants like a shed roof, and the bottom like 
another shed roof turned upside down, the bread pan 
being in the middle. The slanting top and bottom 
reflect heat downward upon the top of the baking and 
upward against its bottom, so that bread, for instance, 
bakes evenly all around. A prime advantage of this 
cunning utensil is that baking can proceed immediately 
when the fire is kindled, without waiting for the wood 
to burn down to coals, and without danger of burning 
the dough. Fish, flesh and fowl can be roasted to a 
turn in this contrivance. It has several better points 
than an oven, chief of which is its portability, as it 
folds flat; but it is inferior for corn bread, army 
bread, etc., and impossible for pot-roasts or braising — 
a Dutch oven being the thing for such purposes. 

The best size of reflector for two men is 12x12x8 
inches, the pan of which holds just a dozen biscuits. 
For four men, a good size is 16x18x10. A wire 
broiler packs inside the reflector; it is not necessary 
for broiling meat, but it is handy for the purpose, and 
especially for broiling fish. 

When there are more than three men in the party, 

take two frying-pans, one of the ordinary shallow-pat- 

. tern, and the other deeper, like the pan 

^ * of a chafing-dish, with a tight cover. 

The latter is for frying in deep fat, and also for use as 
a sauce-pan. Frying-pans with folding handles are 
convenient for tramping trips; but the common ones 
with solid handles are more satisfactory when you are 
cooking. There is no need of adding a long wooden 
handle if you build the right kind of a cooking-fire. 

The best coffee or tea this side of Elysium is brewed, 
not in a spouted vessel, but in a little tightly lidded pail, 
-, „ p from which the volatile aromas that are 

the quintessence of goodness in these 
delectable fluids cannot escape as they would from an 
open spout. If, however, you must be conventional, 


then get a miner's coflPee-pot, in which the spout is an 

integral part of the pot. A soldered spout, the moment 

your back is turned, begins to melt at the joint from 

the fierce heat of an open fire, and then — potztausend 

himmel donnerwetter, off goes the nozzle ! 

A party of four men, traveling in moderately light 

order, should have a cup, plate, knife, fork and a fuU- 

A Tjr-x T^ sized dessert spoon apiece; and, for 

A Kit For ^ '^ y £ • 

_, company kit, two irying-pans, a pan 

or folding wash-basin to mix dough in, 
and four small covered kettles or pails, nesting. The 
smallest pail is for coffee or tea; the next size for cereals; 
the next for hot water, boiling vegetables, and as a 
double boiler in combination with No. 2; the largest 
kettle (which should be of stout metal and with a wire 
ring riveted on the cover) being for stews, soups and 
baked beans, and for any other baking in a hole under 
the camp-fire. Make a rule of using them in this 
order; then you will never have more than one greasy 
pot to clean, which is an item deserving forethought. 
Kettles do all the work of saucepans, and they are 
more useful all 'round, because they can either be set 
on the coals or hung above the fire, or be buried under 
it; besides, you can carry water in them, and they 
have covers to keep the heat in and the ashes out. 
Aluminum is the best material, especially for the larger 
kettle. All such vessels should be low and broad; then 
they will boil quickly and will pack well. If their 
bottom edges are rounded they will be easier to clean 
and less abrasive to one's back when making port- 

Plates should be deep enough to eat soup out of; 
pie pans are about right. They, too, are preferably 
of aluminum, because this metal holds heat better 
than tin, iron or crockery. This is well worth consider- 
ing when you are to eat in the frosty air, for, if your 
plate be not hot, your gravy will turn to tallow and 
your flapjack be a clammy thing that your hungriest 
dog will not eat. Venison fat, like that of mutton, 
cools quickly to tallow; and I believe it was Colonel 
Carter of Carters ville who declared that "there is no 


crime equal to putting a hot duck on a cold plate." 
By the same token, aluminum is not so good for coffee 
cups and for the handles of such vessels as are to be 
used over the fire. 

Copper utensils are dangerous, unless thoroughly 
tinned on the inside; and tin is very easily melted off 
from utensils placed over an open fire. Fruits should 
be cooked in granite or other enameled ware; but if 
you must use tinware remove the fruit as soon as it is 
done. Tin plates are hard to wash. Enameled ware 
is nice so long as it remains smooth, but its surface 
flakes off easily, particularly in cold weather. 

The handles of tablespoons used in cooking should be 
bent over at the end so as to form hooks. Then if the 
spoon should slip from your fingers when you are 
stirring the kettle it is not so apt to fall into the soup. 
This kink deserves special mention by the Young 
Men's Guild of Good Life. To make ordinary cups 
nest, cut through the lower part of the handles and 
bend them outward a little. 

The following utensils are also desirable if they can 
be carried without too much trouble : A folding canvas 
water bucket, an oven, or a folding reflector to bake 
in, a wire broiler that fits in the reflector when packing 
up, an extra tablespoon or two, a tea-ball or coffee- 
strainer, and salt and pepper shakers capped. A 
combined can-opener and corkscrew may be needed. 

A party going into fixed camp can add to the above 
equipment at its discretion; but it is unwise to add 
much unless a hired cook goes along, for every utensil 
must be washed frequently, and there is no chore that 
the human male so cordially despises and so brazenly 
shirks as dish-washing. Take as few dishes as you can 
well get along with and keep them clean. Dirty dishes 
lying around are even worse nuisances in camp than 
they would be at home, for the woods have four-and- 
twenty kinds of flies and doodle-bugs to the city's one. 
So, I repeat, go light in pots and tableware. Plates, 
trenchers, wash-basins, baskets, even cups, buckets and 
barrels, can be made out of bark and withes, so as to 
be very neat and clean. Directions how to select ma- 


terials for the purpose and how to rig them up will be 
given in another chapter. 

When transportation is easy it pays to pack the 
bread, bags of flour, etc., in a tin wash-boiler or two, 
-,. ^ , which are wrapped in burlaps and 

-5 crated. These make capital grub boxes 

in camp, securing their contents from 
wet, insects and rodents. Ants in summer and mice 
at all times are downright pests of the woods, to say 
nothing of the wily coon, the predatory mink, the 
inquisitive skunk, and the fretful porcupine. The 
boilers ^e useful, too, on many occasions, to catch 
rain-water, boil clothes, waterproof and dye tents, and 
so forth. After all these things have been done in 
them they are properly seasoned for cooking a burgoo. 

In a summer camp of the glorified picnic order, 
wooden plates are always useful, saving much washing 
and being convenient for side dishes. But in a paper 
birch country they are superfluous. 

No matter how lightly one travels he should carry 
several yards of cheese-cloth. There is nothing so 
rvi n +V. good to bar out mosquitoes and other 
pests, to hang game and nsh m, to keep 
flies out of things, and it is useful for strainers, pudding- 
bags, table-cloth. There may come warm days, even 
late in the fall, when the flies will come out and blow 
your venison, if it be unprotected. A smudge is not 
to be relied upon, for if the smoke be dense enough to 
keep flies at a distance it will dry up the meat and 
make it taste like very bad dried beef. 

Plain dishes well cooked, of such food as "sticks to 

the ribs," are what men want who are taking hearty 

c , , ^. , exercise in the open air. When weight 
Substantial jin ^f ^ j £ 

p , and bulk must be cut down as tar as 

practicable, and hard travel is ahead, 
there is nothing so good as pork, flour, beans, tea (or 
coffee) and salt. These are the mainstays of lumber- 
men, trappers, prospectors, miners and soldiers, who 
certainly know, if any men do, what kind of food the 
human machine needs to keep it up to the highest 
physical efficiency, and what will keep best in all 


weathers and stow most compactly. Anything added 
to these staples is a luxury, to be carried or not, accord- 
ing to one's means of transportation. 

Many things that we crave in town would rank as 
"baby foods" in the woods, and rightly so, for they will 
not do to climb hills with, chop trees, paddle canoes, 
tote burdens, nor will they sustain the wilderness hunter 
from dawn to dusk. "After a hearty breakfast of oat- 
meal," says an experienced mountaineer, speaking of 
one of his craft, "he will be ravenously hungry m two 
hours, of cornmeal, after three hours, of bacon and 
bread, after four or five hours, while pork and beans 
will sustain him from six to ten hours and give the ut- 
most physical buoyancy and strength."* 

As a rule, however, one can add to the variety of 
this bill of fare by substituting, for some of the pork and 
-- . flour and beans, some butter, concen- 

^* trated soups, dried milk, cereals, evap- 

orated vegetables, dried fruits, and he may add sugar, 
vinegar and a few other condiments, which, with game 
and fish, will enable him to dine sumptuously every 
day. Variety of food is quite as welcome in camp as it 
is anywhere else. Canned goods, however, and fresh 
vegetables, add enormously to the weights to be car- 
ried, owing chiefly to the water that is in them. This 
will be noticed in the "heavy" ration lists that follow. 

The United States Army ration is often taken as the 
standard of what men require in camp and field. But 
„ - J it is more liberal than most campers 

P . need, the soldiers getting a rebate for 

food not used by them, and much being 
allowed for accidental waste. I am speaking now of 
the garrison ration. The army travel ration, which 
consists only of bread, canned beef, canned baked 
beans, roasted coffee and sugar, amounts to 2 68-100 
pounds of solid food for one person one day. I will 
give in the next chapter four ration lists for four men 
two weeks, graded according as they travel, light or 
heavy, in warm weather or in cold. The quantities are 
sufficient without counting on game or fish. These 

* F. Marion Wilcox, The Rockies of Canada. 


lists are based upon my own experience. It has been 
my practice for years to weigh personally, and note 
down at the time, the amount of provisions taken on 
my lone camping tours, as well as those taken by the 
various parties that I have accompanied, and similarly 
to record the quantities left over at the end of the trip. 
I have also collected many ration lists compiled by 
practical woodsmen, and have spent considerable time 
in studying and comparing them. They vary remark- 
ably, not so much in aggregate weights as in the pro- 
portions of this and that. On the whole, my own 
records 1 ave been of most assistance. 

It will be noticed that the cold-weather ration that I 
give is about one-third more liberal than that for warm 

^ ,j TTT .t- weather, and that the addition is mostly 
Cold-Weather . n ^^ ^ n e a \ u 

m tatty and oily toods. A man who 

eats little fat meat when living in the 
city will find that when he travels hard in cold weather 
and sleeps in the open air his system will demand more 
fatty food. The experience of travelers in the far 
North bears out the results of scientific analysis, that 
foods containing fats and oils are more nutritious and 
heat-producing than any others. But a steady diet of 
bread and bacon is likely to breed scurvy; so a supply 
of dried vegetables and fruits should be added. Men 
living in the open also develop a craving for sweets that 
is out of all proportion to what they experience in town. 
This is a normal demand, for sugar is stored-up energy. 
I have allowed liberally for this, and also for the in- 
creased consumption of coffee and tea that is the rule 
(owing somewhat to the fact that they lose strength 
from exposure to the air). 

For those addicted to it, tobacco should be consid- 
ered a necessity; and an extra supply should be carried 
for presents, for it is always appreciated, 
lobacco. ^ ^^^j brand of cut plug is best for 

outdoor smoking, as it holds fire well, burns "cool," 
keeps well and does not blow out of one's pipe with 
every puff of wind. About six ounces a week per man 
is a fair allowance for steady smokers. 

If butter is not taken, its weight in my ration lists 


should be substituted in pork. Similarly other substitu- 
tions may be made in the other compo- 
nents. Condiments will not be despised 
when the game and fish supply is low; they make a 
new dish out of yesterday's leavings. 

A steady diet of baking-powder bread or biscuits will 
ruin the stomach if persisted in. Bread can be raised 
with yeast powder or lungwort, or by the sour-dough 
process; otherwise one should vary his diet with un- 
leavened bread of corn-meal or flour. Self-raising 
flour is more likely to spoil than plain flour, and it 
will not do for thickening, gravies, dredging, etc. 
Flour and cornmeal should be sifted before packing. 

Ham will keep, even in warm weather, if packed in 
a paper bag so as to keep out flies. It will keep indefi- 
p . . nitely if sliced, fried or boiled, and put 

„ up in tins with melted lard poured over 

it to keep out the air. Meat of any 
kind will quickly mold if packed in tins from which 
air is not excluded. 

Butter will keep well in a hot climate, with flavor 
little impaired, if thoroughly boiled, skimming off the 
-. . scum as it rises till the melted butter is 

J. clear as oil, and then soldering it up in 

canisters. Another method, borrowed 
from the Indians, is to melt it with slippery-elm bark, 
in the proportion of a drachm of the latter to a pound 
of butter, keeping them heated together a few minutes, 
and then straining off the fat. 

A frying fat superior to lard is made by melting to- 
gether over a slow fire equal parts of lard and beef suet, 
. P , and packing in a covered pail or pry- 

„ . up tin. It has a higher melting point 

than lard, and tastes better than plain 
lard or bacon grease. 

Ground coffee should be put up in small tins. If in 
large canisters, it will lose strength rapidly from repeated 
g exposure to air. On trips of more than 

three weeks it is better to carry the 
green berries, roast them in the frying-pan and pul- 
verize by pounding in a bag. Tea is more bracing 


than coffee. Cocoa and chocolate have high nutritive 

Canned meats do well enough for a quick luncheon 
now and then, but are unwholesome and unappetizing 
p , for steady diet. Canned corned beef, 

-^ however, makes passable hash. Some 

smoked herring and dried codfish might 
be substituted for some of the meat. Ordinary canned 
soups are mostly water; get condensed soups. Soup 
from the raw materials can only be made in fixed 
camps as it takes at least half a day to prepare. 

I have added canned consomme to the "heavy" 

ration-list because it is an ideal soup-stock for campers. 

o ox 1 Without ffood stock it is impossible to 

Soup-Stock. , ^ J J .^ • 11 

make a good soup, and it is seldom 

that men in the wilderness have both the material from 
which to make it and the time to spare. Many camp- 
ers carry beef extract in the fatuous hope of using it in 
soup-stock or for beef tea, but it has neither the flavor 
of soup-stock nor any nourishment whatever. 

Don't depend upon buying fresh eggs, potatoes, etc., 
where you leave the railroad, unless you have been 
p, there before and are sure of the place's 

resources. Eggs can be carried any- 
where if packed in pasteboard boxes with compart- 
ments, and stowed in wooden boxes. To preserve 
eggs, varnish them with vaselin, being careful not to 
leave the smallest particle of shell unprotected with it. 
This is a much more reliable preservative than salt, 
bran, paper, paraffin, or other common methods. 

Milk or cream is now put up in soluble powdered 
form, which is better flavored and lighter to carry than 
j^.., condensed milk or evaporated cream, 

and not so mussy. It can be dissolved 
even in ice-cold water, and its keeping qualities are all 
that can be desired. Desiccated eggs can also be pro- 
cured from camp outfitters. Their chief value is for 
use in mixing flapjacks, etc. 

,j, .. In a small box or basket carry sepa- 

P . rately enough food for the meals to be 

eaten while traveling from the railroad to 
the first camping ground; it will save unpacking en route. 


Tar soap is best for campers' use, since it makes a 
good lather in any kind of water, hard or soft, hot or 
„ cold. A light coat of its lather helps 

to keep off mosquitoes. Take along a 
bar of naphtha soap for washing woolens; it can be 
used with cold water, and will save the flannels from 

Directions for preparing emergency rations, such as 
jerked venison, pemmican and rockahominy or pinole, 
will be given in another chapter. 



/^N the following list, such articles as should be 
^-^ dispensed with when traveling light are starred; 
those used only on special trips are queried. This is 
intended as a check-list, to be modified according to 
circumstances. No one expedition will require every- 
thing that is listed here. Take only what you know 
you will need. The things that "might come in handy" 
should be left at home: 


Coat (duxbak or khaki; Mackinaw, if preferred, in winter). 
Knickers or trousers (firm, closely woven gray kersey, tweed, 

or homespun). 
Undershirt, drawers, stockings, or socks (woolen). 
Overshirt (gray flannel). 
Money belt. 
Shoes (light leather hunting; heavier, with hobnails, for 

mountaineering) . 
Leggings (loden, or cloth puttees). 

Hat (smoke-colored felt, flannel sweat-band, ventilators). 
Neckerchief (gray silk). 
Belt and sheath-knife. 

In Pockets: 

Waterproof matchbox. 
Loose matches. 


Pocket lens (?) 



Pouch : 

Tomahawk (muzzled). 

Quart pail (containing cup, spoon, and small oiled silk bag 

each of salt, sugar, tea). 
Bouillon capsules. 
Sweet chocolate. 

Wallet, with fish lines, etc. (See page 30.) 
First-aid packet. 
10 cartridges. 
Field cleaner for rifle. 
Broken shell extractor. 
Almanac sheets. 
Postal cards. 
Trapping scent (?). 

In summer: 
Hypodermic, etc. 

Head-net (black) (?) 
Chloroform (?) 
Citric acid (?) 

In winter: 
Snow goggles. 

Rifle, gun, or rod, in case. 
Camera (?). 
Field glass (?). 

Pack up: 
Spare clothing, in double bag. (See page 34.) 
Waders (?). 

Knapsack, or pack-strap. 
Canteen (?). 
Fishing tackle. 
*Landmg net. 
Individual mess kit. 
Shelter-cloth (?). 

Mattress or bed-tick. 

Toilet bag. (See page 34.) 
* Razor and strop. 
Toilet paper. 

Repair kit (only part of it on a hard march). (See page 35.) 
Medicines. (See page 32.) 


""•Matches (tin box). 

*Spare pipe. 
-**• Tobacco. 
'^-Spare glasses (?). 
*" Stationery (?). 
— Shoe grease. 

*Camp chair. 


Tent, and ridge-rope, if any. 

*Poles and pins (the latter in a bag). 

*Fly for dining roof. 


*Tent hangers. 

*Roll-up table top. 

*Roll-up shelves. 
'~^- Axe. 


*Nails and tacks. 

Screw eyes (?). 

"^ Carbide, candles, or oil. 


*Panel saw (tied between thin boards). 

Prospecting pick (?). 
^ Cold chisel (?). 

Small tools in roll-up case. 
"'^ *Rope. 

Heavy twine. 


Boards (?). 

Huntsman's horn (?). 

4 kettles with covers, nested. 

2 frying-pans. 


*Dutch oven. 

*Wire broiler. 

4 each, knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups. 

2 tablespoons. 
"^ *Butcher knife, long. 
''^ Salt and pepper shakers. 

Pantasote bucket, folding. 

Pantasote wash basin, folding (on tramping trip used only for 
mixing dough). 

*Dish pan, small. 

*Coffee strainer. 
|]^Can opener. 
"^ *Corkscrew. 

*Fire irons. 
"^"Dish towels (2), dish clouts (3). 


"-"Soap. ' 



♦Sulphuric acid, or alum and saltpeter, for curing skins. 
-'Insect powder and "gun," if you camp in summer, or intend 
to occupy an old camp. 

If traveling in boat or canoe, add a large sponge for 
bailing, and a pound or two of beeswax for stopping 

If going by pack-train, add, besides horse trappings, 
a shoeing and pack-mending kit. 

If it is the intention to build a cabin, add : 

Crosscut saw. 

Froe. (Even if roofing paper is carried, this will be useful.) 

1^ in. framing chisel. 

Window (glazed), or some oiled paper, or translucent parch- 


Nails, including wrought nails for battening door. 

Miner's shovel, instead of spade. 

And perhaps a broadaxe, mattock, jack plane, and auger. 

If convenient, take some tin and a soldering set for making a 
vermin-proof closet or chest, and some wire netting for 
cages of wild animals you may capture. 



Meats, etc. Summer. Winter. Summer. Winter. 

Salt pork 10 lbs. . . 10 lbs. 

--•Bacon 12 lbs. 12 10 lbs. 10 

"^Ham 5 5 5 5 

Corned Beef (canned) 4 4 4 4 

Concentrated soups . . . 2i 2i 1^ li 

Canned consomme .... 2 2 

•-* Fresh eggs 5 (4 doz.) 5 

"^Butter 6 6 

-^Cheese 1 1 1 1 

--Lard 3 3 3 3 

*'**' Dried milk (or evap- 
orated cream, 6 cans) 2J 2^ 2i 2J 

30 40 40 50 
Bread, etc. 

Fresh bread .. 5 *»> 5 

"—Hard biscuit 5 5 

--riour 25 25 25 25 

'-Corn-meal (yellow) ... 3 10 3 10 

Buckwheat flour 3 . . 3 

**^RoUed oats 3 3 3 3 

Rice 3 3 3 3 

^Macaroni 1 1 1 1 

**Baking powder (Royal) 11 1 1 

V Baking soda 1 1 1 1 

42 52 42 52 



Potatoes (fresh) 

" (evaporated) . 

Onions (fresh) 


Split peas 

Tomatoes (canned) . . 
Sweet corn (canned) . 


Cofifee (roasted, whole, or 

5 lbs. ground) 3 

Tea i 

Whitman's cocoa i 


30 ih bu.) 


5 (2 cans) 
2i (1 can) 




Sugar, etc. 
Sugar (granulated) .... 5 

Maple sugar 5 

Maple syrup 

Preserves, jam, marma- 


Vinegar . . 
Pickles , . . 
Lemons. . . 
Citric acid. 



3 (1 qt.) 

1 (1 pint) 


4 (2 doz.) 

I 1 6 

Fruits, etc. 

Evaporated apples, 

peaches, apricots. ... 2 4 2 

Prunes (stoned) 1 1 2 

Raisins (seeded) 1 1 1 

Canned peaches, plums, 
cherries, pears, cran- 
berries . . 10 (4 cans) 

Shelled nuts 1 1 1 

5 7 16 


Salt (if allowing for cur- 
ing skins, etc., take 
10 lbs.). 2 2 2 

Pepper (white) 1 oz. 1 oz. 1 oz. 

Cayenne or Chili 1 oz. 1 oz. 1 oz. 

Worcestershire sauce ... 1 bot. 

Olive oil. . . .^. -Ajj^- • • • 1 bot. 

Mustard. . . #(f wTTT. ... x 



Mixed herbs 

Nutmeg . . X 

Curry powder . . x 


Total 109i 

— - Add Soap, Matches. 

2i 2i 5 

;lbs. 136ilbs. 176 lbs. 





1 oz. 
1 oz. 
1 bot. 
1 bot. 


200 lbs. 


Pack the pork, cheese and bread in parchment paper; 

the flour, meal, cereals, vegetables and dried fruits in 

bags; the butter, frying fat, coffee, tea, 

, sugar and salt in pry-up tin cans. Some 

^^ * camp outfitters supply these small bags 

and tins of proper size to stow in waterproof provision 
bags of their own make, and it saves much trouble to 
buy them ready made. Label everything plainly, and 
especially the sugar and salt, so that one may not be 
taken for the other. Bottles should be packed in cor- 
rugated paper or in excelsior. Mason jars are nice to 
pack butter, jam, etc., in, but they are heavy. 

Camp chests are very convenient when it is practicable 
to carry them; but they should be small, weighing not 
over fifty or sixty pounds each when packed, so that 
one man can easily handle them unassisted. If they 
are specially made, cottonwood is the best material (if 
thoroughly seasoned bfj«ards can be had — otherwise it 
warps abominably) il is the strongest and toughest 
wood for its weight tliat we have, and will not splinter. 
For the ends and lids of small chests, f-inch stuff is 
thick enough, and f-inch for the sides, bottoms and 
trays. The bottom should have a pair of f-inch cleats 
for risers and the top a similar pair to keep it from 
warping, unless the chests are to go on pack animals. 
Strap-hinges and hasp, a brass padlock and broad 
leather end-straps (not drop-handles) should be pro- 
vided, and the chest painted. The best size is 24x1 8x 
12 inches, this being convenient for canoes and pack- 
saddles. A pine grocery box of this size, with J-inch 
ends and f-inch sides, top and bottom, weighs only 
12 pounds, and will answer the purpose very well. 
Screw a wooden handle on each end, say .5x2 inches, 
with a hand-hold gouged out of the under side. A tin 
bread-box is convenient in a canoe for carrying the 
utensils and food used while traveling. 

Check off every article in the outfit as it is stowed 
and keep the inventory for future reference. 

I append here a list of things taken on a three-days' 
side trip from camp in the fall of the year, when the 
nights are frosty. It is assumed that the tramper 


goes alone; also, that he proposes to have plenty to 
. ^ , eat on the trip, with good shelter and 

_ . a warm bed at night. With this equip- 

^* ment, should he have fair luck in 

hunting, he can keep to the woods for a week, with- 
out stocking up : 



Clothes worn, sheath-knife, articles in pockets, as 

hitherto specified. 
Rifle, with sling 8 lbs. 

Packed on Back. 

Shelter-cloth 2 " 

Blanket 8 " 

Bed-tick IJ " 

Jersey 2J " 

HaK-axe, in muzzle 2^ " 

20 cartridges 1 " 

Mess can, quart pail, -tin cup, spoon 1 " 

Pillow-bag, spare socks, toilet-bag, first-aid pkt., twine, 

matches, wallet, field cleaner, wipers, vaselin f " 

Pack harness ll " 

19i " 
Three days' provisions, namely: 

Bacon 2^ " 

Bread (previously baked in camp) 3^ " 

Tea i " 

Sugar f " 

Salt, pepper J " 

Sweet chocolate i " 

Total 35 lbs. 

There are several things to be looked after in good 

season before starting on a camping trip. If your 

_, _ shoes are new, oil them and break them 

, in. If your rifle is new, do not dream 

. J of carrying it into the wilderness until 

Around. . ^ «< • i.^ j -^ »» x 4.- *t, 

you have sighted it up, testing the 

elevations at various ranges, and making sure that the 

sights are accurately aligned. If your fishing tackle 


is old, overhaul and test it thoroughly. If you have a 
hollow tooth, get it filled. Pare your nails closely, or 
they will soon be badly broken. Get your hair cropped 
short. See that you have a good supply of small 
change when you start. Don't carry off your bunch of 
keys. Be on hand €arly at the station and see to it 
personally that your humble but precious duffel all 
gets aboard. 

And now, bon voyage! 


"And they shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the 
woods. " — Ezekiel. 

/^OOD camping grounds are seldom far to seek in 
^^ a hilly country that is well wooded. There are 
exceptions, as in the Ozarks, where the rock is a porous 
limestone, the drainage mostly underground, and there 
are no brooks, nor are springs as common as one would 
expect, though when you do strike one it is a big one. 
Here a traveler must depend for water chiefly on the 
creeks and rivers, which may be miles apart. In a 
level region, whether it be open plain or timbered bot- 
tom land, good water and a high and dry site may be 
hard to find. In any case, when men are journeying 
through a wild country that is strange to them, they 
should begin at least two hours before sunset to keep 
a bright lookout for a good place on which to spend 
the night, and when such is found they had better 
accept it at once than run the risk of "murdering a 
night" farther on, wherever the powers of darkness 
may force them to stop. 

P <;,. The essentials of a good camp site 

^ * are these: 

1. Pure water. 

2. Wood that burns well. In cold weather there 
should be either an abundance of sound downwood or 
some standing hardwood trees that are not too big for 
easy felling. 

3. An open spot, level enough for the tent and camp- 
fire, but elevated above its surroundings so as to have 
good natural drainage. It must be well above any 
chance of overflow from the sudden rise of a neighbor- 
ing stream. Observe the previous flood marks. 



4. Grass or browse for the horses (if there are any) 
and bedding for the men. 

5. Straight poles for the tent, or trees convenient for 
attaching the ridge rope. 

6. Security against the spread of fire. 

7. Exposure to direct sunHght during a part of the 
day, especially during the early morning hours. 

8. In summer, exposure to whatever breezes may 
blow; in cold weather, protection against the prevail- 
ing wind. 

It is well to avoid an old camping ground. Its 
previous occupants will have stripped it of good kin- 
dling and downwood, and they and their dogs may have 
left behind them a legacy of rubbish and fleas. 

Precautions as to elevation and drainage are especially 
needful in those parts of our country that are subject 
to cloudbursts. I have seen a ravine that had been 
stone-dry for months fill fifteen feet deep, in a few min- 
utes, with a torrent that swept trees and bowlders along 
with it; and it is quite common in many parts of the 
West for wide bottoms to be flooded in a night. When 
I was a boy in Iowa, a *' mover" camped for the night 
on an island in Coon River, near our place. He had 
a bag of gold coin, but was out of rations. A sudden 
flood left him marooned the next morning on a knoll 
scarce big enough for his team and wagon. He sub- 
sisted for a week, like his horses, on the inner bark of 
Cottonwood, and when a rescue party found him he was 
kicking his bag of gold over the few yards of dry ground 
that were left of his domain. 

Bottom lands, and deep woods where the sun rarely 
penetrates, should be avoided, when practicable, for 
they are damp lairs at best, and in warm weather they 
are infested with mosquitoes. A ravine or narrow 
valley between steep hills is a trap for fog, and the cold, 
heavy air from the head of the hollow pours down it 
at night, while an undertow of warmer air drawing 
upward now and then makes the smoke from one's 
camp-fire shift most annoyingly. 

New clearings in the forest are unhealthy, for the 
sun gets in on plants that are intolerant of strong light. 


they rot, and poisonous gases arise from their decay, 
as well as from the recently disturbed soil. If one is 
obliged to camp in a malarial region he should not 
leave the camp-fire until the sun is up and the fog 

Sandy beaches, and low, gravelly points, are likely 
to swarm in summer with midges. 

Granting that one has much choice in the matter, he 
should select, in summer, an open knoll, a low ridge, 
or, better still, a bold, rocky point jutting out into a 
river or lake. A low promontory catches the cool 
breezes, which disperse fog and insects, and it is soon 
dried whenever the sun shines. If one can be found 
that has a clump of trees on it, pitch the tent in such 
position that it will get the direct rays of the morning 
and the evening sun, but will be shaded during the heat 
of the day. This is the ideal site for a summer camp. 

In cold weather seek an open, park-like spot in the 
forest, where surrounding trees will break the wind; 
or a "bench" (natural terrace backed by a cliff) on the 
leeward side of a hill. In the latter case, build your 
fire against the cliff, and shield the tent with a wind- 
break. The rock will reflect heat upon the tent, and 
will serve as a smoke- conductor as well. 

On a hillside that is mostly bare, if there be a thicket 
or a cluster of evergreen trees, get on the downhill side 
of it. The stream of cold air from above will jump 
this obstacle and will leave an eddy of comparatively 
warm, still air immediately below it. 

The tent should not be set under a tree where it 
would catch the drip of dew and rain or of snow-laden 
boughs, nor near a dead tree, nor amid trees that are 
shallow-rooted (such as basswood and hemlock), for 
these are liable to be overthrown by a storm. Avoid, 
if practicable, the neighborhood of large trees that have 
brittle limbs (the aspens, poplars, willows, cottonwood, 
butternut, catalpa, yellow locust, silver maple). Trees 
that are "poor in fat" (the oaks, poplars, willows, 
maples, elms, ashes) are much more likely to be struck 
by lightning than are those "rich in fat" (beech, birch, 
chestnut, basswood). 

Starting a Lean-to Shelter 

The Fixed Camp 


Having selected a site for the camp, clear it of brush, 
stubs, dead leaves, and rotten wood. Decayed down- 
wood and loose, flat stones are likely, in a southern 
country, to harbor tarantulas and scorpions, which 
abound as far north as Missouri. If dry leaves and 
grass are so thick on the ground as to be dangerous, be 
careful in burning them off to light them at only one 
spot at a time, and stand by it with a green bough to 
whip the fire into subjection if it burns too fast. 

The celerity with which a camp is made depends upon 
the training and willingness of the men, and the system 
_^ , . by which their duties are parceled. Let 

_ us suppose that there are four in the 

party, besides the teamster or packer. 
Then let No. 1, who is cook, get out the provisions and 
utensils, rig up the fireplace, build a fire, and prepare 
the food for cooking, while No. 2 is rustling wood and 
water. Meantime Nos. 3 and 4 clear the ground and 
smooth it off, cut tent pegs and poles, unpack the tent, 
and summon all hands for a minute to assist in raising 
the tent and pegging it "square." Then the cook goes 
on with his proper duties, the axeman cuts and beds a 
chopping-block and gets in night-wood, and the canvas- 
men turn bed-makers. Thus, by the time supper is 
ready, which will be within an hour, or less, the camp 
will be properly made, and every one's work is done 
save the unfortunate scullion's. 

To set up an A tent, draw the ridge rope tight be- 
tween two trees, and fasten each end with a clove hitch, 
p.. , . unless the line has stretchers. Then 

.J, , stake out the four corners in a true rect- 

angle (that is, make each corner a right 
angle, instead of having them askew). Then drive 
the other pegs. If the soil is thin, drive each peg 
at a sharp angle and lay a flat rock over the slant 
of it. If the ground is so sopping wet, or so sandy, 
that pegs will not hold, dig a rather deep hole where 
each peg should stand, and in it bury a rock or a fagot 
of brush that has a bit of rope tied to it which is left 
sticking out a few inches above the ground; stamp the 
earth down, and tie the projecting ends of rope into the 


grommets. Now stretch the ridge line taut with your 
rope-sHdes, or by bracing it up with a forked saphng 
near each end. Do not neglect to trench the tent. It 
is miserable business to crawl out into a driving storm 
at night and dig a ditch by lantern-light — worse still 
to awake to a realization that trenching is too late to 
save your soaking possessions. "Make yourself ready 
in your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if so it hap." 
Setting up a To pitch a wall tent, four men pro- 

Wall Tent. ceed as follows : 

Nos. 1 and 2 procure canvas, and Nos. 3 and 4 the 

Nos. 3 and 4 lay the ridge-pole on the ground, in the 
direction that the tent is to stand; then lay the up- 
rights at each end of ridge-pole and at right angles 
to it, on the side opposite that from which the wind 
blows. They then drop the tent pins and hammers at 
their respective ends of the tent; then drive a pin at 
each end of the ridge to mark front and rear. Mean- 
while, Nos. 1 and 2 unroll the tent and spread it out 
over the ridge-pole and on both sides of it. 

Nos. 1 and 3 now go to the rear, and Nos. 2 and 4 in 
front, and slip the pins of the uprights through the 
ridge-pole and tent. If a fly is used, it is placed in 
position over tent, and the loops of the long guys over 
the front and rear pole pins. No. 4 secures center 
(door) loops over center pin in front, and No. 1 in rear. 
Each goes to his corner. No. 1 right rear, No. 2 right 
front. No. 3 left rear. No. 4 left front. 

All draw bottom of tent taut and square, the front 
and rear at right angles to the ridge, and fasten it with 
pins through the corner loops, then stepping outward 
two paces from the corner, and a pace to the front (Nos. 
2 and 4) or rear (Nos. 1 and 3), each securely sets a 
long pin, over which is passed the extended corner guy 
rope. Care must be taken that the tent is properly 
squared and pinned to the ground at the door and four 
corners before raising it. 

Nos. 1 and 3 now go to the rear, Nos. 2 and 4 to the 
front pole, and raise the tent to a convenient height 
from the ground, when Nos. 2 and 3 enter and seize 


their respective poles, and all together raise the tent 
until the upright poles are vertical. While Nos. 2 and 
3 support the poles, Nos. 1 and 4 tighten the corner 
guys, beginning on the windward side. The tent being 
thus temporarily secured, all set the guy pins and 
fasten the guy ropes, Nos. 1 and 2 to the right, Nos. 3 
and 4 left, and then the wall pins. 

This is the army method, and it is the best. 

For a Sibley tent, make a loop in one end of its lash 

rope, and another at such distance from this as will 

. „., mark the radius of the tent when set up 

l^^Tent *^^*' ^^^° another loop farther out 

^^ * marking the radius of the guys, if the 

tent has a wall. Drive a peg in the center of the space 
that the tent is to cover, loop the end of the line over 
it, and, with another peg used alternately in the other 
loops, draw two concentric circles on the ground. Drive 
the pegs and guy stakes on these circles, respectively, 
loop on the grommet lines to the former, raise the tent, 
and then make all taut. 

To erect a teepee: The site must be level, or very 
nearly so. Cut the requisite number of straight, slim 
^ lodge-poles (ten or twelve), and two 

^ * longer poles for the smoke-flaps. Trim 
them carefully, for if stubs are left on them they will 
make the canvas leak. Tie three of them together with 
the lash rope about eighteen inches from the top, and 
about the same distance above where the top of the 
teepee cover will come. Set these up as a tripod, the 
butts equidistant on a circle described on the ground 
as above. For a teepee of 12 feet diameter they will 
be 10 feet 5 inches apart, measuring straight from one 
to the other. Carry the rope around them a few times 
where they are tied together, and let it trail. Lean all 
the other poles, save one, against the top of the tripod, 
spacing their butts equidistant around the circle. Tie 
the top of the teepee cover, at the point between the 
flaps, to the remaining lodge-pole, and lift it into place. 
Insert the smoke-poles in the pockets of the flaps, 
carry the cover around the outside of the framework, 
and pin or lace it together in front. Peg the cover 



down, and anchor the tent by drawing the lash rope 
tight to a crotch driven into the ground inside the tent 
and on the windward side. Pitch the tent with its door 
to leeward of the prevailing winds. When there is no 
wind, keep both smoke-flaps open. When it blows, 
raise the flap to windward and lower the other. When 
the wind blows directly against the entrance, close both 
flaps, and raise the bottom of the door cover a little to 

Fig. 4. 

create a draught. By the way, do not call the teepee 
a wigwam; the latter is a fixed residence, the former 

Some time it may be necessary to set up a tent or 
other camp on ground which is so rocky that stakes 
cannot be driven into it. In such case, 
^R ^ k ^ *^^ tripods can be erected at a con- 

Ground venient distance apart for the ridge-pole 

or rope, the tops of the tripods inter- 
locking as shown in the illustration. A self-supporting 
framework for a shed-roof camp is also shown. (Figs. 
4 and 5.) 

To make a bed of browse, first smooth the ground, 

leaving no stubs, stones, or hummocks. Then cut 

Bro B d ^^^^~ ^^^ foot-logs a foot thick, and 

side-logs, which may be somewhat 



smaller, and pin them down with inverted crotches, 
making a rectangular framework on the ground to keep 
the browse in place. Next fell a thrifty balsam or hem- 
lock (spruce, pine, or even cedar will do in a pinch) 
and strip off the fans, using none that cannot be broken 
off by one's fingers. Now lay a course of boughs a 
foot long against the head-log, butts down and to the 
front, then shingle another layer in front of these, and 
so on down to the foot of the bed, leaving only the tips 
of the boughs showing. Such a bed is luxurious in 
proportion to its depth and freshness. It should be 

FiQ. 6. 

renewed every day. It takes considerable time and 
labor to make. I prefer the individual bed-tick, filled 
by each man to suit himself. 

Hang the salt pork or bacon to a tree beside the fire- 
place, where it is handy; it will not spoil in the weather. 
p . If mice, wood rats, porcupines, skunks, 

or other thieving varmints annoy you, 
hang the edibles by wires or cords from branches, or 
from a stout wire run from one tree to another, and 
shelter them from sun and rain. Put matches and 
candles where they can quickly be found in the dark. 

When camping v/ith a pack-train, pile the packs 


neatly together and cover them with canvas, and simi- 
larly pile and protect the saddles, making especially 
sure that the lash ropes cannot get wet, and that noth- 
ing will be buried out of sight, off somew^here by itself, 
if snow falls during the night. Soldierly system in all 
such matters pays a big dividend in time and good 
temper. A tenderfoot's camp looks like a hurrah's 

Wild hogs are literally the betes noires of southern 
campers. Your thin-flanked, long-legged, sharp-nosed 
razorback, with tusks gleaming from his jaws — he or 
she of the third or further removed generation of feral 
lawlessness — is the most perverse, fearless, and mali- 
ciously destructive brute in America, wolverines and 
"Indian devils" not excepted. Shooting his tail off 
does not discourage him, rocks and clubs are his amuse- 
ment, and no hint to leave that is weaker than a hand- 
ful of red pepper baked inside a pone o' bread will 
drive him away. A hog-proof fence around camp, un- 
sightly though it be, is one's only safeguard in southern 
wild woods. 

If it is the intention to remain in one place for a con- 
siderable time, the site should be chosen with particu- 
lar care. It should have a good outlook 
^ * but not a free inlook, being picturesque 
and secluded. The tent should be floored, other- 
wise it will be unpleasant in wet weather and its 
contents will get musty or mildewed. Mildew at- 
tacks leather first, then woolens, and cotton goods last 
of all. 

A separate dining space and kitchen should be built, 
if for no other reason than to keep insects and vermin 
out of the sleeping tent. Make a dining-table by driv- 
ing four stakes into the ground for legs, nailing cleats 
across the ends, and covering the top with straight 
sticks or boards. On each side of it build a bench on 
the same principle. Over these erect a framework, on 
which stretch a tarpaulin or tent fly. Near the fire- 
place build a kitchen table, with a shelf underneath for 
utensils, condiments, baking powder, lard, etc., and 


with space below for a box or other bin for potatoes 
and onions. 

Make some rustic chairs, stools, and benches. As 
Thoreau says, "None is so poor that he need sit on a 
pumpkin — that is shiftlessness." 

Dig a sink or rubbish hole near the kitchen table, 
for dishwater, tin cans, and such other refuse as will 
^,. , not burn, and into this throw every day 

a layer of ashes or earth. Then you 
will not be bothered so much by flies. Have a definite 
place for the latrine, and build it as soldiers do, leav- 
ing a paddle in the excavated earth behind it. Who- 
ever wrote "Deuteronomy" was a good camper. 

For a refrigerator, dig a hole in the ground, stone it 
up or line it with bark, and cover the top; or, if you 
C Id St have ice, bore a few holes for drainage 

in the bottom of a box or barrel, sink it 
in the ground to its top, and cover with burlaps or a 
blanket. If fresh venison is put in a spring the out- 
side of the meat will get white and stringy but the in- 
side will keep sweet for several weeks. Tie a white 
rag to a branch or bush directly over this water-cache, 
to scare away animals. In winter, cut a hole in the ice, 
fasten the meat to a stick by a rope or thong, let the 
meat down into the water, just below the ice, with the 
stick resting across the orifice. If it is desired to cache 
meat in this way, put blocks of ice over the hole and 
throw water on the mass until it freezes together. No 
land animal can disturb such a store, and the venison 
will keep fresh and palatable for a couple of months at 

Butter and milk should not be stored near anything 
that has a pronounced odor, for they would be tainted. 
As soon as the camp ground is reached the butter tin 
or jar should be placed in a net or bag and sunk in the 
spring or cold brook, the string being tied to the bank 
so that a freshet may not carry the food away or bury 
it out of sight. Later, if you stay in that place, a little 
rock-lined well can be dug near the spring, and covered 
securely so that coons and porcupines cannot plunder 


it. There are camps so , situated that the following 
note may be of service :<;_^ Milk can be kept sweet for 
several days by adding a spoonful of grated horse- 
radish to one or two gallons of milk}. 

To cache provisions in trees, fasten a pole from one 
tree to another at a height of 15 to 20 feet from the 
, ground, and peel the bark from the 

tree trunks to hinder animals from 
climbing them; wrap the provisions in canvas and 
then in oilskin (if you have it), and wire or tie 
them to the pole. The odor of oilskin is said to be 
offensive to wolverines and other predatory beasts. A 
further precaution is to make a St. Andrew's cross 
(X-shaped), hang it from the pole, and suspend the 
parcel from the end of one arm of the cross, so that 
every puff of wind will set it swinging. 

A cache or secret storehouse for heavy tools, bedding, 
utensils, etc., that you may want to leave at the camp 
until the next season, may be dug in a dry bank and 
roofed over with logs and earth, the interior being lined 
with dry grass and poles or bark. The old Indian 
method of digging a jug-shaped hole in a knoll, casting 
the excavated earth into a stream, lining the cache 
with hay and hides, and sealing it with the same piece 
of sod (about twenty inches in diameter) that was re- 
moved when beginning to dig the neck of the hole is 
an excess of precaution nowadays. 

A chopping-block is the first thing needed about a 

camp. The axe, when not in use, should always be 

W H Y d stuck in that particular block, where 

any one can find it when wanted, and 

where it will not injure men or dogs. 

Do not let the axe lie outdoors on a very cold night; 
the frost would make it brittle, so that the steel might 
shiver on the first knot you struck the next morning. 

Stretch a stout line between two trees where the sun- 
light will strike, and air your blankets on it every day 
or two when the weather is pleasant. Against a straight 
tree near the tent make a rack, somewhat like a billiard- 
cue rack, in which fishing rods can be stood, full rigged, 
without danger of being blown down. 


Of course, it takes time and hard work to make 
everything snug and trim around camp; but it pays, 
just the same, to spend a couple of days at the start in 
rigging up such conveniences as I have described, and 
getting in a good supply of wood and kindling. To 
rush right off hunting or fishing, and leave the camp in 
disorder, is to eat your dough before it is baked. 


"I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a great fire." — All's 
Well that Ends Well. 

Cold night weighs down the forest bough, 
Strange shapes go flitting through the gloom. 

But see — a spark, a flame, and now 
The wilderness is home! 

— Edwin L. Sdbin. 

T^HE forest floor is always littered with old leaves, 
-*■ dead sticks, and fallen trees. During a drought 
this rubbish is so tinder-dry that a spark falling in it 
may start a conflagration; but through a great part of 
the year the leaves and sticks that lie flat on the ground 
are too moist, at least on their under side, to ignite 
readily. If we rake together a pile of leaves, cover it 
higgledy-piggledy with dead twigs and branches picked 
up at random, and set a match to it, the odds are that 
it will result in nothing but a quick blaze that soon 
dies down to a smudge. Yet that is the way most of 
us tried to make our first outdoor fires. 

One glance at a camper's fire tells what kind of a 
woodsman he is. If one would have good meals cooked 
out of doors, and would save much time and vexation 
— in other words, if he wants to be comfortable in the 
woods, he must learn how to produce at will either (1) 
a quick, hot little fire that will boil water in a jiffy, and 
will soon burn down to embers that are not too ardent 
for frying; or (2) a solid bed of long-lived coals that 
will keep up a steady, glowing, smokeless heat for bak- 
ing, roasting, or slow boiling; or (3) a big log fire that 
will throw its heat forward on the ground, and into a 
tent or lean-to, and will last several hours without 



These arts are not so simple as they look. To prac- 
tice them successfully in all sorts of wild regions we 
. must know the different species of trees 

_, . one from another, and their relative 

fuel values, which, as we shall see, vary 
a great deal. We must know how well, or ill, each of 
them burns in a green state, as well as when seasoned. 
It is important to discriminate between wood that 
makes lasting coals and such as soon dies down to 
ashes. Some kinds of wood pop violently when burn- 
ing and cast out embers that may burn holes in tents 
and bedding or set the neighborhood afire; others 
burn quietly, with clear, steady flame. Some are stub- 
born to split, others almost fall apart under the axe. 
In wet weather it takes a practiced woodsman to find 
tinder and dry wood, and to select a natural shelter 
where fire can be kept going during a storm of rain or 
snow, when a fire is most needed. 

There are several handy little manuals by which one 
who has no botanical knowledge can soon learn how to 
identify the different species of trees by merely examin- 
ing their leaves; or, late in the season, by their bark, 
buds, and habit of growth.* 

But no book gives the other information that I have 
referred to; so I shall offer, in the present chapter, a 
little rudimentary instruction in this important branch 
of woodcraft. 

It is convenient for our purpose to divide the trees 
into two great groups, hardwoods and softwoods, using 
these terms not so loosely as lumbermen do, but draw- 
ing the line between sycamore, yellow birch, yellow 

/ * A complete manual of the trees of the United States and Canada 
is C. S. Sargent's Manual of Trees (Houghton, Boston). A hand- 
somely illustrated work of general scope is Julia Roger's The Tree 
Book (Doubleday, N. Y.). Less expensive works v.-hich suffice 
to identify the trees of northeastern America are H. L. Keeler's 
Our Native Trees (Scribner, N. Y.); F. S. Mathews' Familiar Trees 
and Their Leaves (Appleton, N. Y.); Ahce Lounsberry's Guide to 
the Trees (Stokes, N. Y.); C. S. Newhall's Trees of Northeasteriv 
America (Putnam, N. Y.); H. E. Parkhurst's Trees, Shrubs and 
Vines of the N ortheastern United States (Scribner, N. Y.). On south- 
ern trees, Alice Lounsberry's Southern Wild Flowers and Trees (Stokes, , 
N. Y.) is a convenient field-book. Simple methods for identifying' 
trees after the fall of leaves are given in A. O. Huntington's Studies 
of Trees in Winter (CaldweU, Boston). 


pine, and slippery elm, on the one side, and red 
cedar, sassafras, pitch pine and white birch, on the 

As a general rule, hardwoods make good, slow-burn- 
ing fuel that yields lasting coals, and softwoods make 
a quick, hot fire that is soon spent. But each species 
has peculiarities that deserve close attention. The 
knack of finding what we want in the woods lies a good 
deal in knowing what we don't want, and passing it by 
at a glance. 

The following woods will scarcely burn at all when 

they are green: aspen (large-toothed), black ash, bal- 

jj . r, sam, box elder, buckeye, pitch pine, 

, , -_, , sassafras, sourwood, sycamore, tama- 

ble Woods. 1x1/ \ X 1 

rack, tupelo (sour gum), water oak, 

poplar (tulip), service berry. Butternut, chestnut, red 
oak, red maple, and persimmon burn very slowly in 
a green state. Such woods are good for backlogs, 
hand- junks or andirons, and for side-logs in a cooking- 
fire that is to be used continuously. Yellow birch and 
white ash, on the contrary, are better for a camp-fire 
when green than when they are seasoned. It may be 
said, in general, that green wood burns best in winter, 
when the sap is down. Trees that grow on high, 
dry ground burn better than those of the same species 
that stand in moist soil. Chestnut cut on the summits 
of the southern Appalachians burns freely, even when 
green, and the mountain beech burns as ardently as 

Arbor- vitse (northern "white cedar") and chestnut 
burn to dead coals that do not communicate flame. 
„ . - They, as well as box elder, red cedar, 

^ , hemlock, sassafras, tulip, balsam, tama- 

rack, and spruce, make a great crackling 
and snapping in the fire. All of the soft pines, too, are 
prone to pop. Certain hardwoods, such as sugar 
maple, beech, white oak, and sometimes hickory, must 
be watched for a time after the fire is started, because 
the embers that they shoot out are long-lived, and 
hence more dangerous than those of softwoods; but 
they are splendid fuel for all that. Split logs are more 


likely to snap from the outside than from the inside, 

and should be laid with the heart-side out. 

Woods that are hard to split are enumerated in the 

chapter on Axemanship. It should be noted, however, 

-,^ , . that some woods which are very stub- 

Stubborn 11 J -1 i-j. 

™. , born when seasoned are easily split 

while green, such as hickory, beech, 

dogwood, sugar maple, birch, slippery elm. 

Best of all firewoods is hickory, green or dry. It 
makes a hot fire, but lasts a long time, burning down 
^, T^ to a bed of hard coals that keep up an 

p - even, generous heat for hours. Hick- 

ory, by the way, is distinctly an Amer- 
ican tree; no other region on earth produces it. Fol- 
lowing the hickory, in fuel value, are the chestnut oak, 
overcup, post, and basket oaks, pecan, the hornbeams 
(ironwoods), and dogwood. The latter burns finally 
to a beautiful white ash that is characteristic; apple 
wood does the same. Black birch also ranks here; it 
has the advantage of "doing its own blowing," as a 
Carolina mountaineer said to me the other day, mean- 
ing that the oil in the birch assists its combustion so 
that the wood needs no coaxing. All of the birches are 
good fuel, ranking in about this order: black, yellow, 
red, paper, and white. Sugar maple was the favorite 
fuel of our old-time hunters and surveyors, because it 
ignites easily, burns with a clear, steady flame, and 
leaves good coals; but it is too valuable a tree, nowa- 
days, to be cast into the fire, save where a hopelessly 
defective one is found. 

Locust is a good, lasting fuel; it is easy to cut, and, 
when green, splits fairly well; the thick bark takes fire 
readily, and the wood then burns slowly, with little 
flame, leaving pretty good coals; hence it is good for 
night-wood. Mulberry has similar qualities. The 
best of the oaks for fuel, especially when green, is 
white oak; it also splits very readily. The scarlet and 
willow oaks are among the poorest of the hardwoods 
for fuel. Cherry makes only fair fuel. White elm is 
poor stuff, but slippery elm is better. 

In some respects white ash is the best of green woods 


for campers' fuel. It is easily cut and split, is lighter 
to tote than most other hardwoods, and is of so dry a 
nature that even the green wood catches fire readily. 
It burns with clear flame, and lasts longer than any 
other free-burning wood of its weight. 

Most of the softwoods are good only for kindling, or 
for quick cooking-fires. Liquidambar, magnolia, pop- 
„ , - lar (tulip), catalpa, red cedar, and 

, , . willow are poor fuel. Seasoned chest- 

nut and tulip split easily and make a 
hot fire, but crackle and leave no coals. Balsam fir, 
basswood, and the white and loblolly pines make quick 
fires but are soon spent. The gray (Labrador) pine is 
considered good fuel in the far North, where hardwoods 
are scarce. Seasoned tamarack is fairly good. Spruce 
is poor fuel, although, being resinous, it kindles easily 
and makes a good blaze for "branding up" a fire. 
Sycamore and buckeye, when thoroughly seasoned, are 
good fuel, but hard to split. Alder burns readily and 
gives out considerable heat, but is not lasting. The 
wood of the large-toothed aspen will not burn in a 
green state, but when dry it burns freely, does not crackle, 
lasts well, and leaves good coals. The best green soft- 
woods for fuel are white birch, paper birch, soft maple, 
Cottonwood, and quaking aspen. For a cooking-fire 
that will burn quickly to coals, without smoke, the bark 
of dead hemlock, hickory, pine, or sugar maple cannot 
be excelled. 

As a rule, the timber growing along the margins 
of large streams is softwood. Hence driftwood is 
n 'ffw A generally a poor mainstay for an all- 

night fire, unless there is plenty of 
it on the spot. 

Besides kindling and the firewood proper, one often 
needs some kind of tinder to start a fire. The bark of 

... all species of birch is excellent for this 

purpose, as well as for torches. It is 
full of resinous oil, blazes up at once, will burn in any 
wind, and wet sticks can be kindled with it. The 
shredded inner bark of dead cedar or cottonwood burns 
like paper. 


Tinder will not be needed if pine knots, or splits of 
dry pine, or cedar, can be procured. fPine knots are 
the heavy, resinous stubs of limbs that are tound on 
dead pine tre^^ They are almost imperishable, and 
those sticking out from old rotten logs are as good as 
any. Pitch pine affords the best knots. The knots of 
balsam fir are similarly used; but hemlock knots are 
worthless. A good way to start a fire is to take three 
such knots, whittle some shavings from their less resin- 
ous small ends, without detaching the shavings, set the 
knots up as a tripod, butts together, small ends down, 
and shavings touching — then light the latter. Splits 
from a pine stump that has been burned on the outside 
are fat with resin. A stump may often be found that 
has rotted nearly to the ground but has a sound, dry 
core from which good kindling can be split. 

In a hardwood forest the best kindling, sure to be 
dry underneath the bark in all weathers, is procured 
by snapping off the small dead branches, or stubs of 
branches, that are left on the trunks of medium-sized 
trees. Do not pick up twigs from the ground, but 
choose those, among the downwood, that are held 
up free from the ground. Where a tree is found that 
has been shivered by lightning, or one that has bro- 
ken off without uprooting, good splinters of dry wood 
will be found. In every laurel thicket there is plenty 
of dead laurel, and, since it is of sprangling growth, 
most of the branches will be free from the ground 
and snap-dry. They ignite readily and give out intense 

It is a good test of one's resourcefulness to make a 
fire out of doors in rainy weather. The best way to 
-_ , . p,. go about it depends upon local condi- 

^ W t tions. Dry fuel, and a place to build 

^ , the fire, can often be found under big 

uptilted logs, shelving rocks, and simi- 
lar natural shelters, or in the core of an old stump. 
In default of these, look for a dead softwood tree that 
leans to the south. The wood and bark on the under 
side will be dry — chop some off, split it fine, and build 
your fire under the shelter of the trunk, if you want to 


use it for only a short time. If it is necessary to camp 
in the rain without artificial shelter, and no rocky ledge 
can be found, pick out a big green tree — the larger the 
better — that leans a good deal. Be sure that it is big 
enough not to be weakened by an all-night fire. If 
the rain is driving, and you have a blanket, lean a 
couple of saplings against the tree and spread your 
blanket over them to shelter the fire until it is well 
started, or lean large sticks or splits against the tree, 
in the shape of half a cone, leaving a cavity at the base 
in which you can insert kindling. 

Face the wind. Cup your hands, backs toward wind, 
match held with its head pointing toward rear of cup 
^ T • I,* — i.f., toward the wind. Remove right 

„ , . hand just long enough to strike match 

+Ti "W H ^^ something very close by; then in- 
stantly resume former position. Flame 
of match will run up the stick, instead of blowing 
away from it. 

Fire may be made without matches by drawing the 

bullet or shot from a cartridge, pouring out all but 

^ , . p. about one-fourth of the charge, putting 

. , the cartridge in the gun (muzzle up), 

„ - and loosely ramming down a piece of 

dry cotton cloth upon it. Fire the gun 

either toward the ground or straight up into the air; 

it will ignite the rag. One should have some punk or 

tinder by him at the time. 

Punk is of two kinds: (1) dry fungus, such as the 
shelf-like toadstools (polyphori) that grow on the boles 
^. , of trees (oak, maple, birch, beech, 

locust, especially), not the hard, woody 
fungi, but those that are soft and leathery; also dried 
puff-balls; (2) wood that has decayed from a fungus 
growth ("conkesy," "dozed" or "dotey" wood, it is 
called by timbermen), such as is often found in dead 
trees or stumps, or under the excrescences of growing 
maples, birches, and other trees. Green toadstools 
can soon be dried out before the fire. The inner part 
of such a fungus, as well as dozed wood, will ignite 
readily from a spark, but does not flame, and will carry 


fire for hours. It makes a very good smudge to drive 
away mosquitoes. 

Extemporized tinder is quickly made by tearing (not 
cutting) a strip of cotton cloth, leaving the edges fluffy, 
and rolling it up like a roller bandage, leaving one end 
projecting a little; into this end rub crushed gunpow- 
der, leaving a few grains uncrushed, or the ashes of a 
cigar will do. The ashes of tobacco, Indian corn, sun- 
flower, and some other plants, contain enough saltpeter 
to make good touch-paper by rubbing them into cloth 
or soft paper. Dry dung, especially horse-dung, when 
broken up, takes a spark readily, and so do dried moss 
and dried willow catkins. 

Sparks may be struck from flint, quartz, or pyrites, 
by striking them a glancing blow with the back of a 
knife, or other piece of hard steel. It takes more skill 
to catch the spark than to produce it. When the sun 
shines, the lens of a camera, field-glass, or telescope 
sight may be used as a burning-glass. Even a watch 
crystal, removed, and three-fourths filled with water, 
forms a lens that, if held very steadily, will ignite punk 
or tinder. 

To make a fire burn well there is one thing even more 

necessary than kindling or firewood, and that is air. 

TT X -o -ij It is from neglecting this invisible factor 
How to Build ., . . ^ . f '^ rjM, e ^ 

„. that most novices tail. Ihe luel must 

not be tumbled together; it must be 

built systernatically, so that air can draw under it and 

upward through it, even after the tinder and small 

kindling have burned up. The latter should never be 

used to support the larger sticks. 

The best way to make a fire quickly, and one that is 

sure to keep on burning as long as it is fed, is, first, to 

lay two good-sized sticks on the ground as a foundation, 

then across them at right angles lay a course of dry 

twigs or splinters, not quite touching each other; on 

these, at one side, place your tinder, of paper, bark, or 

whatever it may be; then on top of this put two other 

cross-sticks, smaller than the bed-sticks; over this a 

cross-layer of larger twigs, and so on, building the pile 

cob-house style, and gradually increasing the size of 


the sticks. Such a pile will roar within half a minute 
after a match is touched to it, and if the upper courses 
are of split hickory, or other good hardwood, it will all 
burn down to live coals together. 

In cold weather, when the camp-fire is depended upon 
to keep the men warm all night, it should be built 
higher than the general level of the camp, first, because 
you will get more heat from a fire built somewhat 
higher than your bed, and, second, because, unless it 
is built upon a rock, or hard, naked earth, it will eat 
its way down in the forest refuse. 

There are forty-eleven ways of building a camp-fire; 
but only three of them are basic and orthodox. The 
others are mere variants, or schisms, from the true 
faith. The three are: (1) the hunter's fire; (2) the 
trapper's fire; (3) the Indian's fire. This is how to 
build them: 

The Hunter s Fire. — Best for a shifting camp, be- 
cause it affords, first, a quick cooking-fire with proper 
supports for the utensils, and afterward a good camp- 
fire for the night when the weather is not severe. Select 
a tree not less than a foot thick at the butt (ash or soft- 
wood if you have not a full-sized axe). Fell it, and cut 
from the butt end two logs about six feet long. Lay 
these side by side, about fifteen inches apart at one end 
and six or eight inches at the other. Lay a course of 
small, dry sticks across the middle of them, and on 
this place your tinder. At each end of this course lay 
a green hand- junk, about eight inches thick, to support 
the larger wood. Across them, parallel with the bed- 
logs, lay dry sticks, and on them build a cob-house of 
short split wood that will make coals. Fill in with 
small kindling around the tinder, and touch it off. The 
upper courses of wood will soon burn to coals, which 
will drop between the logs and set them to blazing on 
the inner side. After supper, night-wood is piled on 
top of the junks. In the morning there will be fine 
coals with which to cook breakfast. 

The Trapper's Fire. — Best for a fixed camp in cold 
weather, before a lean-to or shanty tent. If there is no 
big bowlder or ledge of rocks on the camp site, build a 


wall of rocks about six feet in front of the lean-to, with 
two stone "andirons" at right angles to them; or, 
drive two big stakes in the ground, slanting backward, 
against them pile on top of each other three logs at 
least a foot thick, and place two thick, short hand- 
junks in front of them to support the fore-stick. Select 
for this purpose green wood that is hard to burn. 
Plaster mud in the crevices between the logs, around 
the bottom of stakes, and around the rear end of hand- 
junks, for otherwise the fire will quickly attack these 
places. Such a fireplace is meant to reflect the heat 
forward, conduct the smoke upward, and serve as a 
windbreak in front of camp. Build the fire between 
the hand-junks, and cut plenty of six-foot logs for 
night-wood. Have a separate cooking-fire off to 
one side. 

The Indian s Fire. — Best where fuel is scarce, or 
when one has only a small hatchet with which to cut 
night- wood. Fell and trim a lot of hardwood saplings. 
Lay three or four of them on the ground, butts on top 
of each other, tips radiating from this center like the 
spokes of a wheel. On and around this center build 
a small, hot fire. Place butts of other saplings on this, 
radiating like the others. As the wood burns away, 
shove the sticks in toward the center, butts on top of 
each other, as before. This saves much chopping, and 
economizes fuel. Build a little windbreak behind you, 
and lie close to the fire. Doubtless you have heard 
the Indian's dictum (southern Indians express it just 
as the northern and western ones do): "White man 
heap fool; make um big fire — can't git near: Injun 
make um little fire — git close. TJh, good!" 

Fires built especially for purposes of cookery will 
be described hereafter. 



/^UT of the thousands of men who go out every fall 
^-^ to hunt with the rifle, only a few have any op- 
portunities, during the close season, for rifle practice 
under conditions similar to those they will meet in the 
wilderness. By far the larger number must be content 
with such facilities as they can find on a rifle range, 
where the shooting is done at known distances, over a 
clear field, at stationary targets, and with no time limit. 

The fortunate few who live all the year 'round in 
thinly settled regions, where they can try their rifles in 
the woods whenever they feel like it, are prone to 
think lightly of the city man's rifle clubs. I will never 
forget the remark that a backwoodsman once made 
when I was trying to entertain him at a rifle match 
near St. Louis. I had shown him the shooting-house, 
the target-house, and their appurtenances ; had explained 
our system of scoring and our code of rules; had told 
him the reasons for using such heavy rifles, sensitive 
triggers, pronged butt-plates, cheek-pieces, palm-rests, 
vernier and wind-gauge sights — all that; and then I 
bade him watch some of our experts as they made 
bull's-eye after bull's-eye, seldom missing a space the size 
of a man's head, shooting offhand, at 200 measured 
yards. I thought that my friend would be impressed. 
He was; but not quite as I had anticipated. After 
watching the firing for a long time in silence, he turned 
to me and remarked: "If it weren't for the noise and 
the powder smoke, this would be a very ladylike game." 

Of course, I was piqued at this, and felt like giving 

the honest fellow a peppery reply. And yet, many a 

time since, as I have sat, chilled to the bone, on some 

crossing in the high Smokies, straining my ears for the 



bear-dogs far below; or, tired beyond speech and faint 
from hunger, as I lay down beside a log in the great 
forest, all alone; or, blown by hard climbing till my 
heart seemed bursting, as I wiped the mist from my 
eyes, and got down on all fours to follow a fresh spoor 
into the hideous laurel fastness of Godforsaken — aye, 
many a time I have looked backward and thought, 
"You were right, partner; it was a very ladylike game." 

But let us not be too hard on the city man's rifle 
range. It is all he has, to burn powder on, and it is 
far better than no range at all. The pity is that he 
does not make better use of it. (I speak now of civilian, 
not military, ranges.) It was a blunder when we 
abandoned the old Standard American rules, which 
did at least recognize the rifle as a weapon instead of a 
toy, and were led astray by a foreign system for which 
we have not yet found so much as an English name. 
The "schuetzen" system does teach a man to hold 
steadily and to let off delicately, and this is the ABC 
of marksmanship. But it stops there. It teaches the 
ABC forward and backward till the pupil becomes, 
perhaps, wonderfully expert in such exercise; but it 
never gets beyond ABC and Z Y X. It weds a man 
to a toy, so that any practical weapon seems awkward 
to him. It teaches him to drive a nail with a bullet; 
but it makes him too slow — altogether too slow for the 
man's game of hunting or war. The most hopeful sign 
of our time, from a rifleman's viewpoint, is the move 
to establish, near all of our large cities, military rifle 
ranges, to which civilians will be admitted for target 
practice. Ofi'hand shooting at the shorter ranges with 
regular hunting rifles, or with military rifles, together 
with skirmish drill, is excellent training for hunters of 
big game. 

But in any case, practice! Use a .22 in a city base- 
ment, if you can do no better. It is practice, intelli- 
gently varied practice, that makes the marksman. 

As for a hunting rifle, get the best that you can, of 
course; but do not worship it. Bear in mind that, 
whatever its trajectory and killing power, it is only a 
gun, and can kill nothing that you miss with it. When 


you get into the real wilderness, far away from rich 
men's preserves and summer hotels, you will find there 
some mighty hunters who make mighty kills with guns 
of the vintage of 1866, or earlier — guns that would 
bring only the price of scrap-iron in New York. 

Get sights that you can see, and such as you are not 
likely to overshoot with when taking quick aim. Take 
pains to get what suits your eyes, and spare no time in 
the adjustment. Never take an untried gun into the 
woods. That is no place to align sights and test ele- 
vations. Never trust the sights as they are placed on 
the gun at the factory. Test them not only from rest, 
but offhand, too; for a light rifle charged with high- 
power ammunition is likely to shoot several inches 
higher (or in some other direction) when fired from 
muzzle-and-elbow rest, at 50 yards, than it does when 
shot offhand, albeit it may be an accurate weapon 
when rightly used. 

Now, as for adjusting the elevation — a most impor- 
tant matter — first, by all means, find the "point-blank" 
of your weapon by actual test. Take nobody's say-so 
for it. If your dealer assures you that a certain rifle 
shoots practically point-blank up to 200 or 300 yards, 
"trust him not; he's fooling thee." Never lose sight of 
the fact that, in a timbered country, nine-tenths of big 
game is shot inside of 75 yards. Now it is a prime 
essential that your rifle should be so sighted that its 
bullet will not rise or fall outside a one-inch circle at 
25 yards, a two-inch circle at 50 yards, a three-inch 
circle at 75 yards. If it has been sighted to strike cen- 
ter at 200 yards, it will shoot far above these limits at 
the short distances here mentioned, no matter how 
powerful may be the charge. Let me give an ex- 
ample, to show how easily one can be fooled in such 
matters : 

Here is a high-power rifle. The initial velocity of 
its bullet is 2,000 feet a second ; trajectory 5h inches at 
100 yards, when shot 200 yards. At the factory the 
sights have been set for the latter distance, by aiming 
with top of bead just touching bottom of an eight-inch 
bull's-eye. In other words, the gun shoots four inches 


above the point actually aimed at. Now, at 100 yards 
this gun will shoot two inches too high, plus the tra- 
jectory (5^ inches), minus sight allowance (angle of 
line of aim to line of fire depending upon height of 
front sight above axis of bore — say one-half-inch al- 
lowance midway of range) — that is to say, this rifle 
shoots seven inches too high at 100 yards! Is that 
''£ractically point-blank " ? How would you like it ? t t^ 
C^As a general rule, a high-power rifle for hunting big^"*^ 
game should have its sights adjusted, with precision, 
for two distances, namely, to strike the point actually 
aimed at, when shooting ofl'hand, first at 80 yards, and 
(second adjustment) at 160 yards. Then fix the rear 
sight so that it cannot work down below the 80-yard 
point, and notch the 160-yard point so you can feel it 
with your thumb-nail, without looking. With the 80- 
yard elevation your rifle will shoot on a line practically 
level up to 100 yards; with the 160-yard elevation it is 
"good" for a deer's vitals at any distance up to 200 
yards, under all conditions that make such long shots 
justifiable. It will not shoot over nor under an eight- 
inch circle at any distance up to 200 yards, when 
aimed for the center. But carry the rifle habitually 
with sight set for 80 yards; then you can decapitate 
a grouse or squirrel, strike a bear through the eye at 
close quarters, and kill a deer 100 yards away when 
only his head is visible, without making any allowance 
for distance in either case — always provided, my 
brother, that your own part of the performance is up 
to scratch. A rifle using black powder should be 
sighted for 50 and 100 yards, respectively. Jjf 

As for trigger-pull, suit yourself; but never tolerate 
a trigger that will easily jar off. Remember, too, that 
your trigger finger will soon get calloused in the woods, 
and that it will often be numb with cold. 

Have a sling-strap on your gun, particularly if you 
are to hunt in the mountains. 

Take only one kind of ammunition when you go 
after big game. On such a trip one seldom shoots at 
small fry, unless the large animals fail to show them- 
selves; even then, one shoots no more than he needs, 


and if he does occasionally blow a grouse to pieces it 
doesn't matter. If he should take along both full- 
power and reduced charges, he would always be fussing 
over his elevations, and he might some day find himself 
with a squirrel load in his gun, confronting a moose. 
Be sparing in your load of ammunition. When one 
hunts large game, even where it is plentiful and unpro- 
tected, he will not average two shots a day, allowing 
liberally for misses and for pot-boilers on small game. 

Fifty rounds are ample for a two-months' trip into 
farthest no-man's land, and twenty are enough for a 
month wherever the number of heads allowed is limited. 
Remember what a weight of lead you carried around 
last year, and how much of it you lugged back home, 
or gave away. 

The targets offered by large animals in the woods are 
about as different as anything could be from the targets 
used on rifle ranges. If you are still-hunting, the odds 
are long that you will not see the game until it is sneak- 
ing stealthily but swiftly away. Then there are trees 
in the way, and brush; your footing may not be secure; 
the light may be shining in your eyes; and, with it all, 
you must shoot quick, or lose the opportunity. Yet, 
if you shoot so quickly that you merely aim at the ani- 
mal as a whole, instead of at some one particular spot, 
the chances are that you will miss altogether — yes, 
miss a full-grown deer at twenty paces. The points 
to be observed are : To be as alert at all times as though 
you were hunting grouse without a dog; to get your 
gim in position the instant that you see the game; to 
pick out, as quick as lightning, a clear space through 
which to fire; but, above all things, not to shoot 
until you are absolutely certain that it is game you are 
shooting at; and then to dwell on the aim just long 
enough to see your bead clearly and to hold for a 
vital spot. Beyond that, do not hesitate the fraction of 
a second. To give a novice an idea, I would say that 
three or four seconds is a fair average interval between 
raising the rifle and firing, when a deer has been jumped 
in the forest. It is not so much the hands, but the 
eyes and brain, that must be quick, very quick. 


Of course, this is only a general proposition. Many 
times one has a chance for deliberate aim (though not 
often when he is still-hunting). Yet I think it is best 
to spend most of one's target ammunition in snap- 
shooting. By snap-shooting with the rifle I do not 
mean merely glancing along the barrel and disregard- 
ing the sights. You must see your bead, and, in case 
of open sights, you must see that the bead is well down 
in the notch; but it is snap-shooting to press the trigger 
instantly when it first touches, or rather when it swings 
close to, the object that you want to hit, instead of 
waiting to swing back and steady down, as one would 
do when aiming deliberately. To snap-shoot at the 
right instant, without pulling off to one side, is a 
fine art. 

The main trouble, in such cases, is to select the right 
spot to shoot at, and then to find it over the sights. 
With a deer, for example, the color is so neutral and 
the outlines are so indistinct, even in good light, that 
a man's eyes can seldom distinguish the exact spot that 
he wants to hit. He judges where it must be, from 
the general bulk of the animal and the position in which 
it is presented. 

For a broadside shot, the best point to shoot for is 
immediately behind the shoulder and only one-third 
of the way up from breast to withers — that is, where 
the heart lies. When the body is presented in any 
other position, shoot, as a rule, at such a point that the 
bullet, in ranging forward, will pass through or close 
to the heart. When an animal stands looking at me 
as a deer often will when it comes in on a runway and 
one bleats or whistles at it, my favorite shot is the neck. 
A bullet passing through any animal's neck is almost 
sure to strike a paralyzing, knock-out blow, because it 
can scarcely miss a vital part. 

In shooting at a running animal, when you are in 
the timber, do not hold first on the beast and then 
swing ahead; but pick out an open space that the 
game will cross, and shoot an instant before it crosses. 
Then you will, at least, not send your bullet whack 
into an intervening tree. 


Aim low when shooting downhill, because then you 
see more of the upper side of the animal than you ordi- 
narily would. A shot high up is seldom fatal, unless 
you hit the spine. In making long shots downhill, do 
not forget that the only distance to be allowed for is 
that from the mark to a point directly under you and 
level with the mark. 

Aim dead-on when shooting uphill, unless the range 
is greater than your rifle is sighted for on a level. The 
extra allowance for "lift" is so trifling at ordinary 
ranges that you had better disregard it than overdo 
the matter. 

Deliberate shooting, as distinguished from snap- 
shooting, can often be practiced at game in an open 
country, such as many parts of the West. In the East 
and South, nearly all shooting is in thick timber, al- 
though one sometimes gets a shot over the water. 
Long shots at game standing clearly outlined against 
the sky or water call for no comment, as they are com- 
paratively easy for one who has had considerable 
experience on the rifle range, if he does not misjudge 
the distance and sighting allowance — and if he does 
not get buck-ague. 

This latter affliction is more likely to seize upon the 
novice when he is sitting on a stand and hears the 
dogs baying toward him. It is hard on a fellow's 
nerves to sit there, praying with all his soul that the 
bear may not run some other way, and yet half doubt- 
ful of his own ability to head it off if it does come his 
way. The chances are that it will by no means run 
over him, but that it will come crashing through the 
brush at some point on one side, toward which he will 
have to run with all his might and main before firing. 
Now if he does let that bear go through, after all the 
hard work of dogs and drivers, his shirt-tail will be 
amputated that night by his comrades and hung from 
a high pole in the midst of the camp — a flag of dis- 
tress indeed! Who wouldn't get buck-ague in the face 
of such alternative.'^ 

It is hard on a fellow's nerves, I say, to hear those 
dogs coming toward him, and to know from the racket 

A Good Day's Shoot 

An Ideal Camp Fire 


that a bear is certainly ahead of them, but not to know 
where or when the brute may emerge, nor what infernal 
trees and thicket and downwood may be in the way. 
Can you hit him ? That is the question. The honor 
of the camp is on your shoulders. Ah, me! it is easy 
to follow the pack on horseback — to chase after some- 
thing that is running away. But to sit here chewing 
your mustache while at any moment a hard-pressed 
and angry bear may burst out of the thicket and find 
you in his way — nothing but you between him and 
near-by freedom — gentlemen, it tests nerve! Ask any 
old soldier whether he would rather charge or be charged. 
Buck-ague is not the effect of fear. In fact, fear has 
nothing to do with it. It is a tremor and a galloping 
of the heart that comes from over-anxiety lest you 
should fail to score. Precisely the same seizure may 
come upon you on the target range. That is the only 
place that I ever experienced it. There is no telling 
when it may strike. I have known seasoned sports- 
men to be victimized by it. Yet, when the critical 
moment does come, it often turns out that the man 
who has been shaking like a leaf from pent-up anxiety 
suddenly grows cold and steady as a rock. Especially 
is this apt to be the case when a fighting beast comes 
suddenly in view. Instantly the man's primeval in- 
stincts are aroused; his fighting blood comes to the 
surface; the spirit of some warrior ancestor (dead, 
maybe, these thousand years) possesses and sways your 
mild-eyed modern man, and he who trembled but a 
moment ago now leaps into the combat with a wild 
joy playing on his heart strings. 



"DUTCHERING is the most distasteful part of a 
'^ hunter's work — a job to be sublet when you can; 
but sometimes you can't. 

When an animal is shot, the first thing to do is to 
bleed it. Even birds and fish should be bled as soon 
as secured. The meat keeps better, and, in the case 
of a bird, the feathers are more easily plucked. Speak- 
ing, now, of large game, do not drop your gun and 
rush in on a dying beast to stick it, for it might prove 
an ugly customer in its death struggle. First put a 
bullet through its heart or spine. 

To cut a deer's throat would ruin the head for 
mounting. Twist its head to one side, with the throat 
downhill, if possible, so that blood will not flow over 
the hide; then stick your knife in at the point of the 
breast, just in front of the sternum or breastbone, and 
work the point of the knife two or three inches back 
and forth, close up to the backbone, so as to sever 
the great blood-vessels. Then if you must hurry on, 
perhaps after another animal, toss some brush over the 
carcass, or hang a handkerchief over it, to suggest a 
trap, and make a brush blaze here and there as you go 
along, to guide you back to the spot. 

If practicable, remove the entrails at once. To do 
this, it is not necessary to hang the animal up. If you 
are in a hurry, or if the camp is not far away, it will do 
merely to take out the paunch and intestines; but if 
this is neglected putrefaction will soon set in. A bear, 
especially, will soon spoil, because the fur keeps in the 
vital heat, so that the body will smoke when opened, even 
after it has lain a long time in hard-freezing weather. 

If the ground is not too rough, nor the distance too 


great, a deer may be dragged to camp over the snow 
^ . or leaves; but drag it head- foremost; 

-°^ ^ if pulled the other way every hair will 

act as a barb against the ground. Be- 
fore starting, tie the front legs to the lower jaw. The 
carcass will slide easier, and the hide will not be so 
disfigured, if you first drop a bush or small tree by 
cutting through the roots, leaving a stub of a root 
projecting for a handle, then tie the animal on the 
upper side of the bush, and drag away. 

To pack a deer on horseback: first, if your horse is 
green in the business, let him smell the deer, pet him, 

T. , . T^ and, if necessary, blindfold him until 
Packmg Deer . .1 1 i, j • 1 

o JJ1 you S^t the carcass lashed m place. 

on a Saddle, ^h xv u ^ ui t 

Even then you may have trouble. I 

have seen a mule get such a conniption fit at the smell 

of blood that he bucked himself, deer, and saddle, off 

a cut-bank into a swift riTcr; the girth broke, and that 

saddle is going yet. 

Re-cinch your saddle, and, if the deer is too heavy 
to lift upon the horse's back, fasten your picket-rope 
to the deer's hind legs, throw the line over the saddle, 
get on the other side, and haul away until the deer's 
hocks are up even with the saddle; then quickly snub 
the rope around the saddle-horn, go around, swing the 
burden over the saddle, balancing it evenly, and lash 
it fast. Or, if you wish to ride, move the deer behind 
the saddle and lash it there, bringing the legs forward 
on either side and tying them to the rings of the cinch. 
For thongs, cut strips from the skin of the deer's fore 
legs. Be sure to fasten the load securely, so that it can- 
not slip, or you will have a badly frightened horse. By 
skinning the legs from hoofs to ankles, partly disarticu- 
lating the latter, and then tying the legs snugly, they will 
not dangle and scare the horse, nor catch in underbrush. 

Two men can carry a deer on a pole by tying its legs 

together in pairs, slipping the pole through, and tying 

p . the head to the pole. Unless the car- 

L'tt ^^^^ ^^ *^^^ snugly to the pole, such a 

burden will swing like a pendulum as 

you trudge along, especially if the pole is at all springy. 


A more comfortable way is to make a litter of two 
poles by laying them parallel, about two and one-half 
feet apart, and nailing or tying cross-pieces athwart 
the poles. Whittle the ends of the poles to a size con- 

Diagram of an Improvised Litter for Carrying a Deer. 

venient for your hands, and fasten to each end of the 
litter a broad strap, in such a way that it may pass over 
the shoulders of the carrier and thus take up much of 
the weight. Then lash the animal securely to the top 
of the litter. 

One man can carry a small deer entire by dragging 
it to a fallen tree, boosting it up on the log, lengthwise 
_ . „. and back down, then grasping the hind 

1 h H ri ^^S^ ^^^^ ^^^ hand and the fore legs 
^ * with the other, and carrying the load 

so that its weight is on the back of his neck and 

A better scheme is to cut a slit through the lower 
jaw and up through the mouth, and another slit through 
each of the legs between the tendons, just above the 
hoof; tie the head and legs together, but not too close, 
and then, by the loop thus formed, swing the burden 
over your shoulder. 

To carry a larger animal pickaback: gut it, cut off 
the head and hang it up to be called for later, skin the 
legs down to the knees and hocks, cut off the shin- 
bones, tie the skin of each fore leg to the hind leg on 
the same side, put the arms through the loops thus 
formed, and "git ep!" Or, remove the bones from the 
fore legs from knee to foot, leaving the feet on, tie the 
hind legs together and the fore legs to them, thrust 
your head and one arm through, and carry the burden 
as a soldier does a blanket-roll. 

When one has a long way to go, and can only carry 


the hide and the choicer parts of the meat, the best way 
is to make up an Indian pack, as shown 
in the illustration. Skin the deer, place 
a stick athwart the inside of the skin, 

pack the saddles, hams, and tid-bits in the latter, and 

roll up and tie in a convenient bundle. 

Fig. 6. The Indian Pack. 

It is not necessary to hang a deer up to skin and 
butcher it; but that is the more cleanly way. One 
TT . , man, unassisted, can hang a pretty 

g , heavy animal in the following way: 

Drag it headforemost to a sapling that 
is just limber enough to bend near the ground when 
you climb it. Cut three poles, ten or twelve feet long, 
with crotches near the ends. Climb the sapling and 
trim off the top, leaving the stub of one stout branch 
near the top. Tie your belt into a loop around the 
deer's antlers or throat. Bend the sapling down until 
you can slip the loop over the end of the sapling. The 
latter, acting as a spring-pole, will lift part of the deer's 


weight. Then place the crotches of the poles under 
the fork of the sapling, the butts of the poles radiating 
outward, thus forming a tripod. Push first on one 
pole, then on another, and so raise the carcass free 
from the ground. If you do not intend to butcher it 
immediately, raise it up out of reach of roving dogs 
and "varmints," and put a smudge under it of rotten 
wood, well banked with stones and earth so that it 
cannot blow around and set the woods afire. The 
smudge will help to keep away blow-flies and birds of 
prey. It is common practice to hang deer by gambrels 
with the head down; but, when hung head up, the 
animal is easier to skin, easier to butcher, drains better, 
and does not drip blood and juices over the neck and 
head, which you may want to have mounted for a 
trophy. Dried blood is very hard to remove from 
hair or fur. If the skin is stripped off from rear to 
head it will be hard to grain. 

The more common way of skinning a deer, when the 
head is not wanted for mounting, is to hang it up by 
one hind leg and begin skinning at the hock, peeling 
the legs, then the body, and finally the neck, then 
removing the head with skin on (for baking in a hole), 
after which the carcass is swung by both legs and is 

Now let us suppose that you have killed a deer far 
away from camp, and that you wish to skin and butcher 
^ , . it on the spot, saving all parts of it that 

J. are good for anything. You are alone. 

You wish to make a workmanlike job 

of it. You can carry only the choicer parts with you 

that evening, and must fix the rest so that it will not be 

molested over night. 

Of course, you have a jackknife, and either a 
pocket hatchet or a big bowie-knife — probably the lat- 
ter, if this is your first trip. First hang the deer, as de- 
scribed above. By the time you are through cutting 
those poles with your knife your hand will ache between 
thumb and forefinger; a tomahawk would have been 

Skinning. — This is your first buck, and you wish to 



save the head for mounting. For this, the skin of the 
whole neck must be preserved, clear back to the shoul- 
ders. Cleanse away any blood that may have issued 
from the nose and mouth, and stuff some dry moss, or 
other absorbent, in the beast's mouth. Stick your big 
knife into a log alongside : it is only to look at, for the 
present. Open your jackknife, insert the point, edge 
up, where the neck joins the back, and cut the skin in a 
circle around the base of the neck, running from the 
withers down over the front of the shoulder-blade 
to the brisket or point of the breast on each side. Do 
not skin the head at present — you may not have time 
for that. Insert the point of the knife through the skin 
over the paunch, and, following 
the middle line of the chest, slit 
upward to meet the cut around 
the neck. Then reverse, and 
continue the slit backward to 
the end of the tail, being care- 
ful not to perforate the walls of 
the belly. Then slit along the 
inside of each leg from the hoof 
to the belly slit. If you wish to 
save the feet for mounting, be 
particular to rip the skin in a 
straight line up the under side 
of the leg, starting by inserting the point of the knife 
between the heel-pads. 

Now comes a nice trick, that of severing the shanks. 
Nearly every inexperienced person starts too high. 
Study the accompanying illustrations of these joints, 
noting where the arrow points, which is the place to 
use your knife. In a deer the joint is about an inch 
and a half below the hock on the hind leg, and an inch 
below the knee on the fore leg. Cut square across 
through skin and muscles, in front, and similarly be- 
hind; then, with a quick pull backward against your 
knee, snap the shank off. The joint of the fore leg is 
broken in a similar manner, excepting that it is snapped 

Having stripped the vertebrae from the tail, now peel 

Fig. 7. — ^ The Place to 

Use Your Knife. 

From Forest and Stream. 


the skin off the whole' animal, from the shoulders down- 
ward, assisting with your closed fist, and, where neces- 
sary, with the knife; but wherever the knife is used 
be careful to scrape the skin as clean as you can, with- 
out cutting it, for every adhering bit of fat, flesh, or 
membrane must be thoroughly removed before the 
skin is ready for tanning, and that is easier to do now 
than after it dries. The whole operation of skinning 
is much easier while the animal is still warm than after 
the body has become cold. To skin a frozen animal 
is a desperately mean job. I have known four old 
hunters to work nearly a whole afternoon in skinning 
a frozen bear. 

The skin of the body and limbs having been removed, 
stretch it out flat, hair side down, alongside of you to 
receive portions of the meat as it is butchered. 

Gralloching. — Now take up your big knife, insert its 
point alongside the breastbone, and cut through the 
false ribs to the point of the sternum. In a young ani- 
mal this is easy; but in an old one the ribs have ossified, 
and you must search for the soft points of union be- 
tween the ribs and the sternum, which are rather hard 
to find. Here your knife's temper, and perhaps your 
own, will be put to the test. The most trifling-looking 
pocket hatchet would do the trick in a jiffy. 

Open the abdominal cavity, taking care not to rup- 
ture anything, and prop the chest open a few inches 
with a stick, or by merely pulling the ribs away from 
each other. Cut the diaphragm free at both sides and 
at the back. (It is the membrane that separates the 
organs of the chest from those of the abdomen.) Every- 
thing now is free from the body except at the throat and 
anus. Reach in and take in your grasp all the vessels 
that run up into the neck. With knife in the other 
hand, cut them across from above downward, taking 
care that you do not cut yourself. Now pull away 
gradually, helping a little here and there with the knife 
until all the contents of the visceral cavity lie at your 
feet, save the lower end of the rectum, which is still 
attached. With a hatchet, if you had one, you would 
now split the pelvis. The thing can be done with a 


large knife, if the animal is not top old, by finding the 
soft suture at the highest part of the bone and rocking 
the knife-edge on it. But you may not be able to 
accomplish this just now. So reach in with the jack- 
knife, cut carefully around the rectum and urinary 
organs, keeping as close to the bone as possible, and 
free everything from the cavity. If water is near, wash 
out the abdominal cavity and let it drain. 

To remove the head: flay back the skin for several 
inches at base of neck, cut through flesh, etc., to the 
backbone. Search along this till you find the flat joint 
between the faces of two vertebrae, separate these as far 
as you can; then twist the attached part of the body 
round and round, until it breaks off. Directions how 
to skin a head for mounting are given in the chapter 
on Trophies, etc. 

In butchering, save the liver, heart, brain, milt 
(spleen), kidneys, and the caul fat. The caul is the 
fold of membrane loaded with fat that covers most of 
the intestines. In removing the liver you need not 
bother about a gall-bladder, for a deer has none. 
Many a tenderfoot has been tricked into looking for it. 
In the final cutting up, save the marrow-bones (es- 
pecially of elk) for eating; the ligaments that lie on 
either side of the backbone, from the head backward, 
for sinew thread; the hoofs for glue (if you are far 
from supply-stores and expect to remain a good while) ; 
and perhaps the bladder, paunch, large intestine, and 
pericardium (outer skin) of the heart, for pouches and 
receptacles of various kinds, and to make catgut. The 
scrotum of a buck, tanned with the hair on, makes a 
good tobacco-pouch. 

If one is in a hurry, and is not particular about the 

hide, he can do his butchering on the ground. In that 

P^ - . case, lay the animal on sloping ground, 

ermg ^.^j^ .^^ ^^^^ uphill; or bend its back 

P , over a log or rock; or turn it on its back 

with its head twisted around and wedged 

under one side. The old-time way of butchering a 

buffalo was to turn the carcass on its belly, stretching 

out the legs on either side to support it. A transverse 


cut was made at the nape of the neck; then the work- 
man, gathering the long, hair of the hump in one hand, 
separated the skin from the shoulder, laid it open to the 
tail, along the spine, freed it from the sides, and pulled 
it down to the brisket. While the skin was thus still 
attached to the belly it was stretched upon the ground 
to receive the dissected meat. Then the shoulder was 
severed, and the fleece, which is the mixed fat and lean 
that lies along the loin and ribs, was removed from 
along the backbone, and the hump ribs were cut off 
with a tomahawk. These portions were placed on the 
skin, together with the houdins from the stomach, and 
the tongue. The rest of the meat was left to feed the 

In butchering an elk or moose that has antlers, first 
remove the head. Then turn the body on its back and 
„., - prop it in position with a couple of 

-_ three-foot stakes sharpened at both ends, 

a hole being dug for a moose's withers. 
Sometimes only the haunches, sirloins and tongue are 
saved, these being cut away without skinning or gutting 
the carcass. If a complete job of butchering is to be 
done, there must be a horse, or several men with a 
rope, to elevate the body. In this case the lower legs 
are skinned, the shanks removed, the hide split from 
throat to tail, the sides skinned free, the windpipe and 
gullet raised, the pleura and diaphragm cut loose, and 
the carcass then raised high enough so that the hide 
can be removed from the rump and back. The rectum, 
small intestines, and paunch are then loosened and 
allowed to roll out on the ground. The gullet is cut, 
the liver taken out, and the diaphragm, lungs and 
heart removed. Then the skinning is finished over 
the shoulders and arms. It is best not to cut up the 
meat until it is quite cold and firm. Then split the 
carcass in halves along the backbone, and quarter it, 
leaving one rib on each hind quarter. 

Bears are butchered in a similar manner, but with- 
out removing the head, of course. 

If a hide is to be preserved for some time in a green 
state, use nothing on it but salt. Spread it out flat. 


hair side down, stretch the Ifegs, flanks, etc., and rub 
all parts thoroughly with salt, particular pains being 
taken to leave no little fold untreated. A moose-hide 
will take ten or even fifteen pounds of salt. As soon 
as the salting is done, fold in the legs and roll the 
hide up. 

When a deer has merely been eviscerated and is hung 
up to be skinned and cut up at a more convenient sea- 
son, prop open the abdominal cavity 
with a stick, so that it may dry out 
quickly. If the weather is warm enough 
at any hour of the day for flies to come out, keep a 
smudge going under the carcass. It takes flies but a 
few minutes to raise Ned with venison. If blows are 
discovered on the meat, remove them, looking espe- 
cially at all folds and nicks in the meat, and around the 
bones, for the blows work into such places very quickly. 
So long as they have not bored into the flesh they do 
it no harm. 

It may be said here that even smoked bacon is not 
immune from blows, and it should not be hung up 
without a cheese-cloth cover. The fly that blows 
smoked meats is the same that starts '* skippers" in 

Hornaday gives the following rule, in his Natural 

History, for computing the live weight of deer from 

_ . the dressed weight: Add four ciphers 

? ^ to the dressed weight in pounds, and 

weignt. ^.^.^^ ^^ 78,612; the quotient will be 

the live weight in pounds. 

Now for what Shakespeare calls "small deer": 

I must take issue with Nessmuk on the art of skinning 

a squirrel. He says: "Chop off head, tail, and feet 

_, . with the hatchet; cut the skin on the 


„ . back crosswise, and, inserting the two 

* middle fingers, pull the skin off in two 

parts (head and tail). Clean and cut the squirrel in 

halves, leaving two ribs on the hind quarters." The 

objection is that, in this case, you throw away the best 

part of the squirrel, the cheek meat and brain being its 

special tid-bits. A better way is this: Sever the tail 


from below, holding your left forefinger close in be- 
hind it, and cutting through the vertebrae close up to 
the body, leaving only the hide on the top side. Then 
turn the squirrel over and cut a slit down along each 
ham. Put your foot on the tail, hold the rear end of 
the squirrel in your hand, and pull, stripping the skin 
off to the fore legs. Peel the skin from the hind legs, 
and cut off the feet. Then cut off the fore feet. 
Skin to the neck; assist here a little with the knife; 
then skin to the ears; cut off the butts of the ears; then 
skin till the blue of the eyeballs shows, and cut; then 
to the nose till the teeth show, and cut it off. Thus 
you get no hair on the meat, and the whole thing is 
done in less than a minute. 

Turkeys, geese, ducks, and grouse are usually dry 
picked. If this could be done while the bodies were 
j^ . still warm, it would be no job at all; 

^. , ^ but after they are cold it generally re- 

sults in a good deal of laceration of the 
skin — so much so that sometimes the disgusted opera- 
tor gives up and skins the whole bird. It would be 
better to scald them first, like chickens. In dry pick- 
ing, hang the bird up by one leg, pluck first the pinions 
and tail feathers; then the small feathers from shanks 
and inside of thighs; then the others. Grasp only a 
few feathers at a time between finger and thumb, as 
close to the skin as possible, and pull quickly toward 
the head. Then pick out all pin-feathers and quills. 
Singe the down off quickly, so as not to give an oily 
appearance to the skin. Ordinarily the down can be 
removed from a duck's breast by grasping the bird by 
the neck and giving one sweep of the open hand down 
one side of the body and then one down the other. In 
plucking geese or ducks some use finely powdered 
resin to remove the pin-feathers. The bird is plucked 
dry, then rubbed all over with the resin, dipped in and 
out of boiling water seven or eight times, and then the 
pin-feathers and down are easily rubbed off. To draw 
a bird: cut off the head, and the legs at the first joint. 
Make a lengthwise slit on back at base of neck and 
sever neck bone close to body, also the membrane 


which holds the windpipe. Make a lengthwise incision 
from breastbone to (and around) the vent, so you can 
easily draw the insides, which must be done carefully, 
so as not to rupture the gall-bladder. The idea that 
ducks and other game birds should hang until they 
smell badly is monstrous. If you want to know where 
such tastes originated, read the annals of mediseval sieges. 

A small trout is easily cleaned without washing by 
tearing out the gills and drawing the inside out with 
^. . them. In a large trout the gills should 

p. - ^ be cut free from the lower jaw and back 

of head, and a slit cut along the under 
side from head to fin; the inside is then drawn out by 
the gills, leaving the fish clean within. 

To scale a fish: grasp it by the head, and, using a 
knife that is not over-keen, scale first one side and then 
the other, with swift, steady sweeps. The scales below 
the gills, and those near the fins, are removed by mov- 
ing the point of the knife crosswise to the fish's length. 
Next place the knife just below the belly fin and with 
a slant stroke cut off this, the side fins, and the head, 
all in one piece. Then remove the back fin, and the 
spines beneath it, by making a deep incision on each 
side of the fin and pulling the latter out. The ventral 
part is removed in the same way. Open the fish, wash 
it in cold water, scrape off the slime, and then wipe it 
dry with a clean cloth or towel. Large fish, for broil- 
ing, should be split open. 

To skin a bullhead: cut off the ends of the spines, 
slit the skin behind and around the head, and then from 
B llh ads *^^^ point along the back to the tail, cut- 

and Eels *^^^ around the back fin. Then peel the 

two corners of the skin well down, sever 
the backbone, and, holding to the corners of the skin 
with one hand, pull the fish's body free from the skin 
with the other. To skin an eel : nail it up by the tail 
at a convenient height, or impale it thus on the 
sharpened end of a little stake; cut through the skin, 
around the body, just forward of the tail, work its 
edges loose, then pull, stripping off the skin entire. 

Venison keeps a long time without curing, if the cli- 


mate is cool and dry. To cure a deer's ham, hang it 
„ . up by the shank, divide the muscles 

y . just above the hock, and insert a hand- 

ful of dry salt. The meat of the deer 
tribe gets more tender and better flavored the longer it 
is hung up. In warm weather dust flour all over a 
haunch or saddle of venison, sew it up in a loose bag of 
cheese-cloth, and hang it in a shady place where there 
is a current of air. It will keep sweet for several weeks, 
if there is no crevice in the bag through which insects can 
penetrate. Ordinarily it is best not to salt meat, for salt 
draws the juices. Bear meat, however, requires much 
salt to cure it — more than any other game animal. 

It is a curious fact that blow-flies work close to the 
ground, and will seldom meddle with meat that is hung 
more than ten feet above the ground. Game or fish 
suspended at a height of twenty feet will be immune 
from "blows." 

To keep fish that must be carried some distance, in 
hot weather : clean them as soon as you can after they 
j^ . p. - are caught, and ivipe them dnj. Then 
rub a little salt along their backbones, 
but nowhere else, for salt draws the juices. Do not 
pile them touching each other, but between layers of 
cheese-cloth, nettles, or basswood leaves. 

To keep fish in camp : clean, behead, and scale them; 
then string them by a cord through their tails, and hang 
them, head down, in a cool, dry, breezy place. 

To dry fish for future use : split them along the back, 
remove the backbones and entrails, salt the fish, and 
J. . p. - hang them up on a frame over a smudge 
until they are well smoked. Or, make 
a trough by hewing out a softwood log, place the split 
fish in this and cover them with a weak brine for one 
or two nights. Make a conical bark teepee on a tripod, 
suspend the fish in it, and dry and smoke them over a 
small fire for three days and nights. 
p . , To ship rabbits, squirrels, etc.: do not 

fj^. skin them, but remove the entrails, wipe 

^ * the insides perfectly dry, wrap in paper, 
and pack them back down. 


Never pack birds or fish in straw or grass, for in 
damp or warm weather this will heat or sweat them. 
Do not let them freeze, as they will quickly spoil after 
thawing. Food in a bird's crop soon sours; the crop 
should be removed. 

To preserve birds in warm weather for shipment: 
draw them, wash the inside perfectly clean, dry thor- 
oughly, and then take pieces of charcoal from the fire- 
place, wrap them in a thin rag, and fill the abdominal 
cavity with this. Also fill the bill, ears, eyes, and anal 
opening with powdered charcoal, to keep off flies and 
prevent putrefaction. Reject all pieces of charcoal 
that are only half-burnt or have the odor of creosote. 
Birds stuffed in this way will keep sweet for a week in 
hot weather. 

If you pack birds or fish in ice, wrap them first in 
many thicknesses of paper or grass, so that no ice can 
touch them. 

Colonel Park gives the following method for packing 
fish that are to be transported a considerable distance, 
and says that it is also a good way to pack venison : 
Kill the fish as soon as caught; wipe them clean and 
dry; remove the entrails; scrape the blood off from 
around the backbone; remove the gills and eyes; wipe 
dry again; split the fish through the backbone to the 
skin, from the inside; fill this split with salt; spread 
the fish over night on a board or log to cool. In the 
morning, before sunrise, fold the fish in dry towels, so 
that there is a fold of towel between each fish and its 
neighbor; carefully wrap the whole package in a piece 
of muslin, and sew it up into a tight bag, and then in 
woolen blanketing, sewing up the ends and sides. Now 
put the roll in a stout paper bag, such as a flour sack. 
"Fish prepared in this way can be sent from Maine 
to New Orleans in August, and will remain fresh 
and nice." 

The methods of jerking venison, preparing trophies 
for mounting, curing pelts, and making buckskin, will 
be described in other chapters. 


"A true epicure can dine well on one dish, provided it is excellent 
of its kind." — Grimod de la Reyniere. 

"There is nothing between the high art of a cordon-bleu and 
a steak toasted on a stick." — Lord Dunraven. 

"A good cook makes a contented crew." — Noah. 


IJOME cookery is based upon milk, butter, and 
^ggs: nine-tenths of the recipes in a standard 
cook-book call for one or more of these ingredients. 
But it often happens to us campers that our "tin cow'" 
has gone dry, our butter was finished long ago, and 
as for eggs — we have heard of eggs, but for us they do 
not exist. In such case, no ordinary cook-book is of 
any use to us. 

When one can carry milk and butter and eggs, he 
can also carry a standard cook-book; * so I will not 
burden these pages with many recipes other than the 
do-iuithout kind. Only such dishes are described as 
can be cooked with the most primitive utensils (or 
none at all) over an open fire, or in an earth oven dug 
on the spot. Let it not be thought that this spells 
misery, or even privation. Some of the dishes here 
described surpass anything that can be had at the 
Waldorf or the Maison Doree. Full details are given 
for each dish, because I know from experience that an 
amateur cook needs them. 

Poor cookery is not so much the result of inexperi- 
ence as of carelessness and inattention to details. A 
man who has never cooked a meal in his life can suc- 
ceed with almost any of these recipes at the first or 
second trial, provided he follows the directions reli- 

*The best all-round treatise on camp cookerj' with which I am 
acquainted is the Manual for Army Cooks, which you can procure 
for 50 cents (stamps not accepted) from the Superintendent of 
Documents, Washington, D. C. 



giously; but let him not discard the book and fall back 
upon the light of nature, which is but another name 
for main strength and awkwardness. 

A bad mess is sure to follow from (1) a poor fire, 
(2) seasoning too much or too early in the game, (3) 
too little heat at the start, or too much thereafter, 
(4) handling or kneading dough made with baking 
powder; and it is more likely than not to result from 
guessing at quantities instead of measuring them. 

Half of cookery is the fire thereof. It is quite im- 
possible to prepare a good meal over a higgledy-piggledy 
^, P , . heap of smoking chunks, or over a 

_. fierce blaze, or over a great bed of coals 

that will warp cast-iron and melt every- 
thing else. One must have a small fire, free from 
smoke and flame, with coals or dry twigs in reserve; 
there must be some way of regulating the heat; and 
there must be some sort of rampart around the fire on 
which pots and pans will perch level and at the right 
elevation, and perhaps a frame from which kettles can 
be suspended. It is a very simple matter to build the 
fire aright in the first place. 

When merely making a "one-night stand," in sum- 
mer, start a small cooking-fire the moment you stop 
A O M ^^^ camping, and put your kettle on. 

P Then you will have coals and boiling 

water ready when you begin cooking, 
and the rest is easy — supper will be ready within twenty 
minutes. To make an outdoor range: fell a small, 
straight tree, and cut from it two logs, about 6 feet 
long and 8 or 10 inches thick. Flatten the top and 
one side of each with the axe. Lay these bed-logs 
side by side, flat sides toward each other, and about 
3 inches apart at one end and 8 or 10 inches at the 
other. (This is provided you have no fire-irons; if 
you have, all that is needed is a short chunk 
or thick rock at each end to support the irons.) 
Build a fire of small sticks and bark from end to 
end. The bark of hemlock and of hardwoods is 
better fuel than wood when you want coals in a 


Then plant at each end of the fire a forked stake 
about 4 feet high and across the forks lay a cross- 
stick (lug-pole) of green wood. Now cut two or three 
green crotches from branches, drive a nail in the small 
end of each, invert the crotches, and hang them on the 
lug-pole to suspend kettles from. These pot-hooks are 
to be of different lengths so that the kettle can be 
adjusted to different heights above the fire, first for hard 
boiling, and then for simmering. If kettles were hung 
from the lug-pole itself, this adjustment could not be 
made, and you would have to dismount the whole 
business in order to get one kettle off.* 

Many and many a time I have watched old and 
experienced woodsmen spoil their grub, and their tem- 
pers, too, by trying to cook in front of a roaring winter 
camp-fire, and have marveled at their lack of common- 
sense. Off to one side of such a fire, lay your bed-logs, 
as above; then shovel from the camp-fire enough hard 
coals to fill the space between the logs within three 
inches of the top. You now have a steady, even heat 
from end to end; it can easily be regulated; there is 
level support for every vessel; and you can wield a 
short-handled frying-pan over such an outdoor range 
without scorching either the meat or yourself. 

In windy weather, or where fuel is scarce, it is best 
to dig a trench about 18 inches wide, 12 inches deep, 
and 4 feet long, with a little chimney of flat stones or 
sod at the leeward end, to encourage draught. Build 
the fire in this trench with fire-irons or green sticks 

* It is curious how many different names have been bestowed upon 
the hooks by which kettles are suspended oyer a fire. Our forefathers 
called them pot-hooks, trammels, hakes, hangers, pot-hangers pot- 
claws, pot-crooks, gallows-crooks, pot-chips, pot-brakes, gibs or 
gib-crokes, rackan-crooks (a chain or pierced bar on which to hang 
hooks was called a rackan or reckon), and J know not what 
else besides. Among Maine lumbermen, such an implement is 
called a lug-stick, a hook for lifting kettles is a hook-stick, and a 
stick sharpened and driven into the ground at an angle so as to 
bend over the fire, to suspend a kettle from, is a wambeck or a 
spygelia— the Red Gods alone know why! The frame built oyer a 
cooking-fire is called by the Penobscots kitchi-23lak-wagn, and the 
Micmacs call the lug-stick a chiplok-waugan, whichthe white guides 
have partially anglicized into waugan-stick. It is well to Know, 
and heresy to disbelieve, that, after boiling the kettle, it brings bad 
luck to leave the waugan or spygelia standing. 

If this catalogue does not suflfice the amateur cook to express his 
ideas about such things, he may exercise his jaws with the Komany 
(gypsy) term for pot-hook, which is kekauviscoe saster. 


laid across it for the frying-pan, and a frame above for 
the kettles. 

In permanent camp, if you have no oven, a good 
substitute can soon be made in a clay bank or steep 
knoll near by. Dig down the bank to 
^ " a vertical front. Back from this front, 

about 4 feet, drive a 4» or 5-inch stake down to what 
will be the bottom level of the oven. Draw the stake 
out, thus leaving a hole for flue. It is best to drive the 
stake before excavating, as otherwise it might cause 
the roof of your oven to cave in from the shock of 
driving. Now, from the bottom of the face, dig a 
horizontal hole back to the flue, keeping the entrance 
as small as you can, but enlarging the interior and 
arching its top. When the oven is finished, wet the 
whole interior, smooth it, and build a small fire in the 
oven to gradually dry and harden it. 

To bake in such an oven: build a good fire in it of 
split hardwood sticks, and keep it burning hard for an 
hour or two; then rake out the embers, lay your dough 
on broad green leaves (basswood, from choice) or on 
the naked floor, and close both the door and the flue 
with flat stones or bark. 

If no bank or knoll lies handy, build a form for your 
oven by first setting up a row of green-stick arches, 
like exaggerated croquet wickets, one behind the other, 
and cover with sticks laid on horizontally like a roof. 
At the rear, set up a round stake as core for the chimney. 
Now plaster wet clay thickly over all except the door. 
Let this dry naturally for a day in hot sunlight, or build 
a very small fire within and feed it only as needed to 
keep up a moderate heat. When the clay has hard- 
ened, give it another coating, to fill up the cracks that 
have appeared. Then give it a final firing. 

When you have a bed of coals that you want to save, 
and there are not enough ashes in the fire, cover the 
coals with bark; this will leave plenty of ash on top. 

Bread is the staff of life, no less in camp than else- 
where; yet, to paraphrase Tom Hood, 


Who has not met with camp-made bread, 
Rolled out of putty and weighted with lead ? 

It need not be so. Just as good biscuit or johnny- 
cake can be baked before a log fire in the woods as in 
a kitchen range. Nor is any special knack required. 
The notion that a man is either a born cook or a hope- 
less " dodunk " at the business is all moonshine. Bread- 
making is a chemical process. Pay close attention to 
details, as a chemist does, from building the fire to 
testing the loaf with a sliver; then if you do fail it will 
be because of bad materials. As for me, I was not 
born a cook, nor do I like to cook; but during the past 
year of almost continuous camping alone, I have made 
some sort of bread or biscuit about every other day, 
and my only failure is chargeable to a razorback who 
nosed into camp and upset my pan of dough. Strange 
to say, something invisible zipped through the air just 
then and nipped off that pig's tail ! 

Biscuit. — These are best baked in a reflector (12- 
inch holds 1 doz., 18-inch holds 1^ doz.), unless a camp- 
stove is carried or an oven is dug. Build the fire high, 
by leaning sticks on the leeward side of a large back- 
log. Split wood burns better than round. Have spare 
dry sticks in reserve (slender ones) with which to re- 
plenish the fire. Grease the bake-pan with a bit of 
pork rind. For 2 doz. biscuit: 

3 pints flour, 

3 heaping teaspoonfuls baking powder, 

1 " teaspoonful salt, 

2 " tablespoonfuls cold grease, 
1 scant pint cold water. 

Mix thoroughly, with big spoon or wooden paddle, 
first the baking powder with the flour, and then the 
salt. Rub into this the cold grease (which may be 
lard, cold pork fat, drippings, or bear's grease), until 
there are no lumps left and no grease adhering to bot- 
tom of pan. This is a little tedious, but don't shirk 
it. Then stir in the water and work it with spoon until 
you have a rather stiff dough. Do none of the mixing 
with your fingers; it makes biscuit "sad." Squeeze 


or mold the dough as Httle as practicable; because the 
gas that makes a biscuit light is already forming and 
should not be pressed out. Flop the mass of dough to 
one side of pan, dust flour on bottom of pan, flop dough 
back over it, dust flour on top of loaf. Now rub some 
flour over the bread board, flour your hands, and 
gently lift loaf on board. Flour the bottle or bit of 
peeled sapling that you use as rolling pin, also the edges 
of can or can-cover used as biscuit cutter. Gently 
roll loaf to three-quarter-inch thickness. Stamp out 
the biscuit and lay them in pan. Roll out the culls 
(what do women call those remaining fragments ?) and 
make biscuit of them too. Bake until edge of front 
row turns brown; reverse pan and continue until rear 
row is similarly done. Don't expect to brown the tops 
in a reflector. Time, twenty to twenty-five minutes in 
a reflector, ten to fifteen in a closed oven. 

Different brands of baking powder vary in strength; 
Royal is here assumed. The amount of water required 
varies somewhat according to quality of flour. Too 
much water makes the dough sticky and prolongs the 

Another way to make biscuit (they taste different 
from the above, but are perhaps just as good) is to use 
enough water to make a thick batter, and drop this 
from a big spoon into the pan. Do not stir the batter 
more than you can help. 

Dumplings. — If you are going to have boiled meat 
or a stew for dinner, make enough extra biscuit dough 
so that you can drop the culls into the pot about half 
an hour before the meat is done. They make capital 

Baking in Dutch Oven. — This time-honored utensil 
is a cast-iron pot on short legs, with heavy iron cover, 
the rim of which is turned up to receive coals from the 
fire. If it were not for its weight it ought to be in every 
camp outfit, for it is the best oven in the world for all 
kinds of baking. The delicious corn bread of the 
South, made from nothing but meal, salt, and water, 
owes its excellence to the Dutch oven, which not only 
bakes but cooks the dough in its own steam. The 


juices of meats cannot escape from such an oven. To 
use the Dutch oven, place it and its hd separately on 
the fire. Get bottom of oven moderately hot, and the 
lid quite hot, but not red, lest it warp so that it will 
never fit thereafter. Grease the bottom and sprinkle 
flour over it, put the bread in it, and cover. Rake a 
thin bed of coals out in front of the fire, stand oven 
on them, and cover the lid thickly with more live coals. 
Replenish occasionally. Have a stout hook to lift lid 
with, so you can inspect the progress of baking from 
time to time. 

drmy Bread. 

1 quart flour, 

1 teaspoonful salt, 

1 tablespoonful sugar, 

2 heaping teaspoonfuls baking powder. 

As this is made without grease, it is easier to mix 
than biscuit dough. Mix the ingredients thoroughly 
and stir in enough cold water (about one and a half 
pints) to make a thick batter that will pour out level. 
Mix rapidly with spoon until smooth, and pour out at 
once into Dutch oven or bake-pan. Bake about forty- 
five minutes, or until no dough adheres to a sliver 
stuck into the loaf. Keeps fresh longer than yeast 
bread, and does not dry up nor mold. This is the 
kind of bread to bake when you are laying in a three- 
days' supply. It is more wholesome than biscuit, and 
is best eaten cold. 

Frying-pan Bread. — If you have no reflector or 
oven, make up dough as for biscuit, but work it into 
flat loaves, handling as little as practicable. Grease or 
flour a frying-pan and put a loaf in it. Rake some 
embers out in front of the fire and put pan on them 
just long enough to form a little crust on bottom of 
loaf. Then remove from embers, and, with a short 
forked stick, the stub of which will enter hole in end 
of handle, prop pan up before fire at such angle that 
top of loaf will be exposed to heat. Turn loaf now 
and then, both sidewise and upside down. When firm 
enough to keep its shape, remove it, prop it by itself 


before the fire to finish baking, and go on with a fresh 
loaf. In this way you can soon lay in a two-days' 
supply. A tin plate, or a thick slab of non-resinous 
wood heated till the sap begins to simmer, may be 
used in place of frying-pan. 

Unleavened Bread. — Quickly made, wholesome, and 
good for a change. Keeps like hardtack. 

2^ pints flour, 

1 tablespoonful sait, 

1 " sugar. 

Mix with water to stiff dough, and knead and pull 
until lively. Roll out thin as a soda cracker, score 
with knife, and bake as above. If you have no utensil, 
work dough into a ribbon two inches wide. Get a 
club of sweet green wood (birch, sassafras, maple), 
about two feet long and three inches thick, peel large 
end, sharpen the other and stick it into ground, lean- 
ing toward fire. When sap simmers wind dough 
spirally around peeled end. Turn occasionally. Sev- 
eral sticks can be baking at once. Bread for one man's 
meal can be quickly baked on a peeled stick as thick 
as a broomstick, holding over fire and turning. 

Unleavened bread that is to be carried for a long 
time must be mixed with as little water as possible 
(merely dampened enough to make it adhere), for if 
any moisture is left in it after baking, it will mold. 

To Mix Dough without a Pan. — When bark will 
peel, use a broad sheet of it. A sheet of canvas, or a 
dried hide, will do. It is easy enough, though, to mix 
unleavened dough in the sack of flour itself. Stand 
the latter horizontally where it can't fall over. Scoop 
a bowl-shaped depression in top of flour. Keep the 
right hand moving round while you pour in a little 
water at a time from a vessel held in the left. Sprinkle 
a little salt in. When a thick, adhesive dough has 
formed, lift this out and pat and work it into a round 
cake about 2^ inches thick. 

Australian Damper. — Build a good fire on a level 
bit of ground. When it has burned to coals and the 
ground is thoroughly heated, mix dough as above. 


rake away the embers, lightly drop the loaf on the hot 
earth, pat it smooth, rake the embers back over the 
loaf until it is thickly embedded in them, and let it 
bake from 1^ to 2 hours, depending upon size of loaf. 
This is the next best thing to an ash-cake of corn meal 
— which is a dish fit for a king. 

Sour-dough Bread, irreverently known as "pizened 
dog," is the stand-by of Alaska miners. Mix a pail 
of batter from plain flour and water, and hang it up 
in a warm place until the batter sours. Then add salt 
and soda (not baking powder), thicken with flour to a 
stiff dough, knead thoroughly, work into small loaves, 
and place them before the fire to rise. Then bake. 

Salt-rising Bread. — This smells to heaven while it 
is fermenting, but makes wholesome and appetizing 
bread, which is a welcome change after a long diet of 
baking-powder breadstuffs. 

For a baking of two or three loaves take about a 
pint of moderately warm water (a pleasant heat to the 
hand) and stir into it as much flour as will make a good 
batter, not too thick. Add to this ^ teaspoonful salt, 
not more. Set the vessel in a pan of moderately warm 
water, within a little distance of a fire, or in sunlight. 
The water must not be allowed to cool much below the 
original heat, more warm water being added to pan as 
required. In six to eight hours the whole will be in 
active fermentation, when the dough must be mixed 
with it, and as much warm water (milk, if you have it) 
as you require. Knead the mass till it is tough and 
does not stick to the board. Make up your loaves, 
and keep them warmly covered near the fire till they 
rise. They must be baked as soon as this second 
rising takes place; for, unless the rising is used immedi- 
ately on reaching its height, it sinks to rise no more 
forever — selah ! 

To Bake Raised Bread in a Pot. — Set the dough to 
rise over a very few embers, keeping the pot turned as 
the loaf rises. When equally risen all around, put hot 
ashes under the pot and upon the lid, taking care that 
the heat be not too fierce at first. 

Lungwort Bread. — On the bark of maples, and some- 

The Camp in Order 

Just Stcuiing Out 


times of beeches and birches, in the northern woods, 
there grows a green, broad-leaved Hchen variously 
known as lungwort, liverwort, lung-lichen, and lung- 
moss, which is an excellent substitute for yeast. This 
is an altogether different growth from the plants com- 
monly called lungwort and liverwort — I believe its 
scientific name is Stida pulmonacea. This lichen is 
partly made up of fungus, which does the business of 
raising dough. Gather a little of it and steep it over 
night in lukewarm water, set near the embers, but not 
near enough to get overheated. In the morning, pour 
off the infusion and mix it with enough flour to make 
a batter, beating it up with a spoon. Place this "sponge" 
in a warm can or pail, cover with a cloth, and set it 
near the fire to work. By evening it will have risen. 
Leaven your dough with this (saving some of the sponge 
for a future baking), let the bread rise before the 
fire that night, and by morning it will be ready to 

It takes but little of the original sponge to leaven a 
large mass of dough (but see that it never freezes), 
and it can be kept good for months. 

Flapjacks made without milk or eggs are not equal 
to those that mother used to make, but they fill the 
hiatus when a quick meal is demanded. 

1 quart flour, 

1 teaspoonful salt, 

2 teaspoonfuls sugar (to make 'em brown), 
2 level tablespoonfuls baking powder. 

Rub in, dry, 2 heaped tablespoonfuls grease. If you 
have no grease, do without. Make a smooth batter 
with cold water — thin enough to pour from a spoon, 
but not too thin, or it will take all day to bake enough 
for the party. Stir well, to smoothe out lumps. Set 
frying-pan level over thin bed of coals, get it quite hot, 
and grease with piece of pork in split end of stick. 
Pan must be hot enough to make batter sizzle as it 
touches. Pour from end of a big spoon successively 
enough batter to fill pan within one-half inch of rim. 
When cake is full of bubbles and edges have stiffened. 


shuffle pan to make sure that cake is free below and 
stiff enough to flip. Then hold pan slanting in front 
of and away from you, go through preliminary motion 
of flapping once or twice to get the swing, then flip 
boldly so cake will turn a somerset in the air, and catch 
it upside down. Beginners generally lack the nerve 
to toss high enough. If you land a hot cake on the 
other fellow's eye, it serves him right for monkeying 
so near the cook. Grease pan anew and stir batter 
every time before pouring. 

John's Pancakes. — Some time when you really have 
eggs, etc., and wish to produce something really fine, 
try the following recipe, which I have modified a little 
from Boardman's Lovers of the Woods. It is the inven- 
tion of his guide, or helper, John. 

Crumb up a thick slice of stale bread, rejecting the 
crust, and put it to soak in a medium-sized pail with a 
cupful of water. When the crumbs have soaked soft, 
stir in with them 1 big tablespoonful evaporated 
cream, or the equivalent, 2 tablespoonfuls syrup, and 
2 more cupfuls water. Melt carefully, so as not to 
burn, butter the size of an egg; remove from fire, and 
stir in 2 eggs and 1 tablespoonful salt. Stir this into 
your crumb dope. Now stir in 1 quart flour, or enough 
to make the batter as thick as molasses. Just before 
baking, stir in 2 teaspoonfuls baking powder. Have 
the frying-pan snapping hot, and keep it so. Above 
is a meal for two or three hungry men. Such cakes 
rest lightly on the cook's conscience, and buoy up the 
whole crowd. 

Plain Corn Bread. — ^Pone or johnny-cake is easily 
and quickly made, more wholesome than baking-pow- 
der bread, more appetizing than unleavened wheat 
bread and it "sticks to the ribs." To be eaten hot, 
and, like all hot breads, should be broken with the 
hands, never cut. Bread left over should be freshened 
by moistening and reheating. 

The amount of water to be used depends upon 
whether the meal is freshly ground (moist) or old (dry), 
and yellow meal requires one-half more water than 


1 quart meal, 
1 teaspoonful salt, 

1 pint warm (but not scalding) water (1^ pints for yellow 

Stir together until light. Bake to a nice brown all 
around, preferably in Dutch oven. Test with sliver. 
Done in about forty-five minutes, but improved by 
letting stand fifteen minutes longer, away from fire, 
to sweat in oven. Eat with bacon gravy. 

If you have no oven, plank the bread on hot slab 
before a high fire, having previously formed slight 
under crust by laying on hot ashes; or, make ash cake 
by forming into balls as big as hen's eggs, roll in dry 
flour, lay in hot ashes and cover completely with them. 
Time for ash cake, fifteen to twenty minutes. 

Corn Dodgers. — Salt some white corn meal to taste. 
Mix with cold water to stiff dough, and form into 
cylindrical dodgers four or five inches long and one and 
a half inches diameter, by rolling between the hands. 
Have frying-pan very hot, grease it a little, and put 
dodgers on as you roll them out. As soon as they 
have browned, put them in oven and bake thoroughly 
to a crisp brown. 

Snow Bread. — After a fall of light, feathery snow, 
superior corn bread may be made by stirring together 

1 quart corn meal, 
^ teaspoonful soda, 
1 " salt, 

1 tablespoonful lard. 

Then, in a cool place where snow will not melt, stir 
into above one quart light snow. Bake about forty 
minutes in rather hot oven. Snow, for some unknown 
reason, has the same effect on corn bread as eggs have, 
two tablespoonfuls of snow equaling one egg. It can 
also be used in making batter for pancakes, the batter 
being made rather thick, and the snow mixed with 
each cake just before putting in the pan. 

Corn Bread ivith Baking Powder. — Mix together: 

1^ pints yellow corn meal, 
^ pint flour, 
1 tablespoonful sugar, 
1 teaspoonful salt, 
3 heaping teaspoonfuls baking powdero 


Work in a cupful of cold lard or grease. Add enough 
cold water or milk to make a stiff batter (about 2 
pints). Grease and flour your baking-pan, frying-pan, 
or Dutch oven, pour the batter in, and bake forty 
minutes. Above makes a cake 9jx2 inches, weighing 
3J pounds. 

Buckwheat Cakes. — Nobody knows what real buck- 
wheat cakes are until he has eaten those baked by a 
Pennsylvania Dutchwoman from batter made with 
genuine dark-colored buckwheat flour ground in a 
country mill, and raised over night with yeast. There 
is as much difference between them and the city-res- 
taurant kind as there is between a ripe fig and a dried 
codfish. However, we can't have them in camp; so 
here is the next best: 

1 pint buckwheat flour, 
•J " wheat flour, 

2 tablespoonfuls baking powder, 
\ teaspoonful salt. 

Mix to a thin batter with milk, if you have it; other- 
wise water. 

Rice Cakes. — When you have cold boiled rice left 
over, mix it half and half with flour, and proceed as 
with flapjacks. Cold boiled potatoes or oatmeal may 
be used in the same way. Rice cakes are best mixed 
with the water in which rice has been boiled. 

Oat Cakes. — (1) Mix oatmeal with cold water and 
a little salt into a thick paste, pat it out as thin as pos- 
sible with a spoon, and bake on the frying-pan. 

(2) Mix h pound oatmeal, 1 ounce butter, and a 
pinch of salt with enough water to make a moderately 
thick paste. Roll to a thickness of J inch, bake in 
frying-pan, and give it to the Scotchman — he will bless 

Fried Quoits. — Make dough as for frying-pan bread. 
Plant a stick slanting in the ground near the fire. 
Have another small, clean stick ready, and a frying- 
pan of lard or butter heated sissing hot. There must 
be enough grease in the pan to drown the quoits. 
Take dough the size of a small hen's egg, flatten it 


between the hands, make a hole in the eenler Hke that 
of a doughnut, and quickly work it (the dough, not 
the hole) into a flat ring of about two inches inside 
diameter. Drop it flat into the hot grease, turn al- 
most immediately, and in a few seconds it will b^ 
cooked. When of a light brown color, fish it out with 
your little stick and hang it on the slanting one before 
the fire to keep hot. If the grease is of the right tem- 
perature, the cooking of one quoit will occupy just the 
same time as the molding of another, and the product 
will be crisp and crumpety. If the grease is not hot 
enough, a visit from your oldest grandmother may be 
expected before midnight. (Adapted from Lees and 

Stale Bread. — Biscuit or bread left over and dried 
out can be freshened for an hour or two by dipping 
quickly in and out of water and placing in the baker 
until heated through; or, the biscuit may be cut open, 
slightly moistened, and toasted in a broiler. If you 
have eggs, make a French toast by dipping the slices 
in whipped eggs and frying them. With milk, make 
milk toast: heat the milk, add a chunk of butter and 
some salt, toast the bread, and pour milk over it. 


Coi'ii'Meal Mush. — Mix 2 level tablespoonfuls salt 
with 1 quart meal. Bring 4 quarts of water (for yellow 
meal, or half as much for fresh white meal) to a hard 
boil in a 2-gallon kettle. Mix the salted meal with 
enough cold water to make a batter that will run from 
the spoon; this is to prevent it from getting lumpy. 
With a large spoon drop the batter into the boiling 
water, adding gradually, so that water will not fall 
below boiling point. Stir constantly for ten minutes. 
Then cover pot and hang it high enough above fire to 
insure against scorching. Cook thus for one hour, 
stirring occasionally, and thinning with hailing water 
if it gets too thick. 

Fried Mush. — This, as Father Izaak said of another 
dish, is "too good for any but very honest men." The 


only drawback to this gastronomic joy is that it takes 
a whole panful for one man. As it is rather slow to 
fry, let each man perform over the fire for himself. 
The mush should have been poured into a greased pan 
the previous evening, and set in a cool place over night 
to harden. Cut into slices J inch thick, and fry in 
very hot grease until nicely browned. Eat with syrup, 
or au naturel. 

Oatmeal Porridge. — Rolled oats may be cooked much 
more quickly than the old-fashioned oatmeal; the lat- 
ter is not fit for the human stomach until it has been 
boiled as long as corn mush. To two quarts boiling 
water add one teaspoonful of salt, stir in gradually a 
pint of rolled oats, and boil ten minutes, stirring con- 
stantly, unless you have a double boiler. The latter 
may be extemporized by setting a small kettle inside 
a larger one that contains some water. "Our parritch 
may nae be sae gude as the laird's, but it's as hot!" 

Boiled Rice. — Good precedent to the contrary not- 
withstanding, I contend that there is but one way to 
boil rice, and that is this (which I first learned from a 
Chinaman, but is described in the words of Captain 
Kenealy, whose Yachting Wrinkles is a book worth 
owning) : 

To cook rice so that each grain will be plump, dry, 
and separate, first, wash the measure of rice thoroughly 
in cold salted water. Then put it in a pot of furiously 
boiling fresh water, no salt being added. Keep the 
pot boiling hard for twenty minutes, but do not stir. 
Then strain off the water, place the rice over a very 
moderate fire (hang high over camp-fire), and let it 
swell and dry for half an hour. 

Remember that rice swells enormously in cooking. 
Once when we camped '*'way down in Arkansaw," it 
came Bob Staley's turn to cook. Our commissariat 
was low; and Bob wanted a new dish. We had rice; 
and a Dutchwoman had given us some "suits" (dried 
apples). Bob put dry rice and unsoaked snits into a 
pot till the vessel was almost full, poured cold water 
over them, and set the pot on the fire; then he went 
fishing. Rice and snits overflowed into White River, 


and White River went out of its banks that very night. 
Fact, I assure you! 


Coffee. — There are two ways of making good coffee 
in an ordinary pot. (1) Put coffee in pot with cold 
water (one tablespoonful freshly ground to one pint, 
or more if canned ground) and hang over fire. Watch 
it, and when water first begins to bubble, remove pot 
from fire and let it stand five minutes. Settle grounds 
with a tablespoonful of cold water poured down spout. 
Do not let the coffee boil. Boiling extracts the tannin, 
and drives off the volatile aroma which is the most 
precious gift of superior berries. (2) (Safer.) Bring 
water to hard boil, remove from fire and quickly put 
coffee in. Cover tightly and let steep ten minutes. A 
better way, when you have a seamless vessel that will 
stand dry heat, is to put coffee in, place over gentle 
fire to roast until aroma begins to rise, pour boiling 
water over the coffee, cover tightly, and set aside. 

Tea. — Pour boiling water over tea (one teaspoonful 
tea to the pint), cover tightly, and steep awaij from fire 
four minutes by the ivatch. Then strain into separate 
vessel. If tea is left steeping more than five or six 
minutes the result is a liquor that will tan skin into 


The main secrets of good meals in camp are to have 
a proper fire, good materials, and then to imprison 
in each dish, at the outset, its natural juice and char- 
acteristic flavor. To season camp dishes as a French 
chef would is a blunder of the first magnitude. His 
art is the outcome of siege and famine, when repulsive 
food had to be so disguised as to cheat the palate. The 
raw materials used in city cuisine are often of inferior 
quality, from keeping in cold storage or with chemical 
preservatives; so their insipidity must be corrected by 
spices, herbs, and sauces, to make them eatable. In 
cheap restaurants and boarding houses, where the 
chef's skill is lacking, "all things taste alike," from 


having been penned up together in a refrigerator and 
cooked in a fetid atmosphere. But, in the woods, our 
fish is freshly caught, our game has hung out of doors, 
and the water and air used in cooking (most important 
factors) are sweet and pure. Such viands need no 
masking. The only seasoning required is with pepper 
and salt, to be used sparingly, and not added (except 
in soups and stews) until the dish is nearly or quite 
done. Remember this: salt draws the juices, no mat- 
ter what may be the process of cooking. 

The juices of meats and fish are their most palatable 
and nutritious ingredients. We extract them purposely 
in making soups, stews, and gravies, but in so doing we 
ruin the meat. Any fish, flesh, or fowl that is fit to 
be eaten for the good meat's sake should be cooked 
succulent, by first coagulating the outside (searing in a 
bright flame or in a very hot pan, or plunging into 
smoking hot grease or furiously boiling water) and 
then removing farther from the fire to cook gradually 
till done. The first process, which is quickly performed, 
is "the surprise." It sets the juices, and, in the case 
of frying, seals the fish or meat in a grease-proof en- 
velope so that it will not become sodden but will dry 
crisp when drained. The horrors of the frying-pan 
that has been unskillfully wielded are too well known. 
Let us campers, to whom the frying-pan is an almost 
indispensable utensil, set a good example to our grease- 
afflicted country by using it according to the code of 
health and epicurean taste. 

Game, and all other kinds of fresh meat, should be 
hung up till they have bled thoroughly and have cooled 
through and through — they are tenderer and better 
after they have hung several days. 

All mammals from the 'coon size down, as well as 
duck and grouse, unless young and tender, should be 
parboiled from ten to thirty minutes, according to size, 
before frying, broiling, or roasting. Salt meats of all 
kinds should either be soaked over night in cold water 
or parboiled in two or three waters before cooking. 
Frozen meat or fish should be thawed in ice-cold water 
and then cooked immediately — warm water would steal 


their flavor. Canned meats are unwholesome at best; 
they should at least be heated through, and are pref- 
erably served in hash or stews. Never eat canned 
stuff of any kind that has been standing open in the 
can: it is likely to sicken you. If any is left over, 
remove it to a clean vessel. The liquor of canned 
peas, string beans, etc., is unfit for use and should be 
thrown away; this does not apply to tomatoes. 

There is no excuse for serving hot food on cold plates. 
Put the plates in a pan of hot water, or fill them with 
boiling water. They will quickly dry themselves when 

Meat, game, and fish may be fried, broiled, roasted, 
baked, boiled, or stewed. Frying and broiling are the 
quickest processes; roasting, baking, and boiling take 
an hour or two; a stew of meat and vegetables, to be 
good, takes half a day, and so does soup prepared from 
the raw materials. Tough meat should be boiled or 
braised in a pot. 

Do not try to fry over a flaming fire or a deep bed of 
coals; the grease would likely burn and catch aflame. 
„ . Rake a thin layer of coals out in front 

of the fire; or, for a quick meal, make 
your fire of small dry sticks, no thicker than your fin- 
ger, boil water over the flame, and then fry over the 
quickly formed coals. 

If you have a deep pan and plenty of frying fat, it 
is much the best to completely immerse the material 
in boiling grease, as doughnuts are fried. Let the fat 
boil until little jets of smoke arise (being careful not 
to burn the grease) and until the violent first boil sub- 
sides. When fat begins to smoke continuously it is 
decomposing, and will impart an acrid taste. When 
a bread crumb dropped in will be crisp when taken 
out, the fat is of the right temperature. Then quickly 
drop in small pieces of the material, one at a time so 
as not to check the heat. Turn them once while cook- 
ing. Remove when done, and drop them a moment 
on coarse paper to absorb surplus grease, or hang 
them over a row of small sticks so they can drain. 
Then season. The fry will be crisp, and dry enough 


to handle without soiling the fingers. This is the way 
for small fish. 

Travelers must generally get along with shallow pans 
and little grease. To fry (or, properly, to saute) in 
this manner, without getting the article sodden and 
unfit for the stomach, heat the dry pan very hot, and 
then grease it only enough to keep the meat from 
sticking (fat meat needs none). The material must be 
dry when put in the pan (wipe fish with a towel) or it 
will absorb grease. Cook quickly and turn frequently, 
not jabbing with a fork; for that would let juice escape. 
Season when done, and serve piping hot. 

Chops, fat meats, squirrels, rabbits, and the smaller 
birds are best sauted or fricasseed and served with 

Bacon or salt pork should be sliced thin. Put pan 
half full of water on fire; when water is warm, drop 
the bacon in, and stir around until water begins to 
simmer. Then remove bacon, throw out water, heat 
pan thoroughly, fry, and turn often. Remove slices 
while still translucent, and season with pepper. They 
will turn crisp on cooling. 

To make gravy that is a good substitute for butter, 
rub into the hot grease that is left in the pan a table- 
spoonful of flour, keep on rubbing until smooth and 
brown, then add two cups boiling water and a dash of 
pepper. If you have milk, use it instead of water (a 
pint to the heaping tablespoonful of flour), and do not 
let the flour brown; this makes a delicious white gravy. 

Birds or squirrels for frying should be cut in con- 
venient pieces, parboiled until tender in a pot with 
enough water to cover, then removed, saving the liquor. 
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and flour (this for the sake 
of the gravy), fry in melted pork fat, take out when 
done, then stir into the frying fat one-half cupful dry 
flour till a dark brown, add parboiling liquor, bring to 
a boil, put game in dish, and pour gravy over it. 

Small fish should be fried whole, with the backbone 
severed to prevent curling up ; large fish should be cut 
into pieces, and ribs cut loose from backbone, so as to 
lie flat in pan. Rub the pieces in corn meal, thinly and 


evenly (that browns them). Fry in plenty of very hot 
grease to a golden brown, sprinkling lightly with pepper 
and salt just as the color turns. 

What our average camper calls "frying" is to drop 
any old kind of grease into a shallow pan (perhaps even 
into a cold pan!), slap in a thin slice of meat, or small 
pieces of fish or fowl, and then torture both the fry 
and the frier over a blazing, smoking fire. Thus the 
juices are all fried out of the meat, its natural flavor is 
lost, and the result is an indigestible mass, tasteless as 
a burnt chip or sodden with pork grease. This time- 
honored and strictly American way of frying has pro- 
duced myriads of dyspeptics, even among men living 
otherwise wholesome lives in the open air! 

Fresh meat that is tender enough to escape the boil- 
ing pot or the braising oven should either be broiled 
or roasted before a bed of clear, hard coals. Both of 
these processes preserve the characteristic flavor of the 
meat, and add that piquant, aromatic-bitter "taste of 
the fire" which no pan nor oven can impart. Broil 
when you are in a hurry; but, when you have leisure 
for a good job, roast your meat, basting it frequently 
with drippings from the pan below, so as to keep the 
surface moist and flexible, and insure that precise 
degree of browning which delights a gourmet. 

Cut the meat at least an inch thick. Only tender 
pieces are fit for broiling. Venison usually requires 
g ... some pounding, but don't gash it in 

doing so. Have a bed of bright coals 
free from smoke, with clear flaming fire to one side. 
Sear outside of meat by thrusting for a moment in the 
flame, and turning; then broil before the fire, rather 
than over it, so as to catch drippings on a pan under- 
neath. Do not season until done. A steak 1 inch 
thick should be broiled five minutes, Ij inches ten 
minutes, 2 inches twenty minutes. Serve on hot dish 
with drippings poured over. 

To broil enough for a party, when you have no 
broiler, clean the frying-pan thoroughly and get it 
almost red hot, so as to seal pores of meat instantly. 
Cover pan. Turn meat often, without stabbing. A 


large venison steak will be done in ten minutes. Put 
on hot dish, season with pepper and salt, and pour 
juices over it. Equal to meat broiled on a gridiron, 
and saves the juices. 

To broil by completely covering the slice of meat 
with hot ashes and embers is really the best way of all. 

Bacon or pork, before broiling, should be soaked in 
cold water an hour or longer. 

Birds should be split up the back, broiled over the 
coals, and basted with a piece of pork on tined stick held 
over them. Fillets of ducks or other large birds may be 
sliced off and impaled on sticks with thin slices of pork. 

Small fish may be skewered on a thin, straight, 
greenwood stick, sharpened at the end, with a thin 
slice of bacon or pork between every two fish, the stick 
being constantly turned over the coals like a spit, so 
that juices may not be lost. 

Another way is to cut some green hardwood sticks, 
about three feet long, forked at one end, and sharpen 
the tines. Lay a thin slice of pork inside each fish 
lengthwise, drive tines through fish and pork, letting 
them through between ribs near backbone and on 
opposite sides of the latter — then the fish won't drop 
off as soon as it begins to soften and curl from the heat. 
Place a log lengthwise of edge of coals, lay broiling 
sticks on this support, slanting upward over the fire, 
and lay a small log over their butts. 

Large fish should be planked as described under 

To Grill on a Rock. — Take two large flat stones of a 
kind that do not burst from heat (not moist ones) , wipe 
them clean of grit, place them one above the other, 
with a few pebbles between to keep them apart, and 
build a fire around them. When they are well heated, 
sweep away the ashes, and place your slices of meat be- 
tween the stones. 

To roast is to cook by the direct heat of the fire, as 

on a spit or before a high bed of coals. Baking is per- 

„ . formed in an oven, pit, or closed vessel. 

No kitchen range can compete with an 

open fire for roasting. 


Build a rather large fire of split hardwood (soft- 
woods are useless) against a high backlog or wall of 
rocks which will reflect the heat forward. Sear the 
outside of the roast (not a bird or fish) in clear flames 
until outer layer of albumen is coagulated. Then 
skewer thin slices of pork to upper end; hang roast 
before fire and close to it by a stout wet cord; turn fre- 
quently; catch drippings in pan or green-bark trough, 
and baste with them^ This is better than roasting on 
a spit over the fire, because the heat can be better 
regulated, the meat turned and held in position more 
easily, the roast is not smoked, and the drippings are 

A whole side of venison can be roasted by planting 
two stout forked stakes before the fire, a stub of each 
stake being thrust through a slit cut between the ribs 
and under the backbone. The forward part of the 
saddle is the best roasting piece. Trim off flanky parts 
and ends of ribs, and split backbone lengthwise so that 
the whole wifl hang flat. To roast a shoulder, peel it 
from side, cut off leg at knee, gash thickest part of 
flesh, press bits of pork into them, and skewer some 
slices to upper part. 

When roasting a large joint, a turkey, or anything 
else that will require more than an hour of steady heat, 
do not depend upon replenishing your roasting-fire 
from time to time, unless you have a good supply of 
sound, dry hardwood sticks of stove-wood size. If 
green wood or large sticks must be used, build a bon- 
fire of them to one side of your cooking-fire, and shovel 
coals from it as required. It will not do to check the 

A good way to suspend a large bird before the fire 
is described by Dillon Wallace in his Lure of the Labra- 
dor Wild: 

George built a big fire — much bigger than usual. At the 
back he placed the largest green log he could find. Just in 
front of the fire, and at each side, he fixed a forked stake, and 
on these rested a cross-pole. From the center of the pole he 
suspended a piece of stout twine, which reached nearly to the 
ground, and tied the lower end into a noose. 


Then it was that the goose, nicely prepared for the cooking, 
was brought forth. Through it at the wings George stuck a 
sharp wooden pin, leaving the ends to protrude on each side. 
Through the legs he stuck a similar pin in a similar fashion. 
This being done, he slipped the noose at the end of the twine 
over the ends of one of the pins. And lo and behold ! the goose 
was suspended before the fire. 

It hung low — just high enough to permit the placing of a 
dish under it to catch the gravy. Now and then George gave 
it a twirl so that none of its sides might have reason to com- 
plain at not receiving its share of the heat. The lower end 
roasted first; seeing which, George took the goose off, reversed 
it, and set it twirling again. 

A goose or a middling-sized turkey takes about 
two hours to roast, a large turkey three hours, a 
duck about forty-five minutes, a pheasant twenty to 
thirty minutes, a woodcock or snipe fifteen to twenty 

Fish Roasted in a Reflector. — This process is simpler 
than baking, and superior in resulting flavor, since the 
fish is basted in its own juices, and is delicately browned 
by direct action of the fire. The surface of the fish is 
lightly moistened with lard (you would use butter or 
olive oil if you had them). Then place the fish in the 
pan and add two or three morsels of grease around it. 
Roast in front of a good fire, just as you would bake 
biscuit. Be careful not to overroast and dry the fish 
by evaporating the gravy. There is no better way to 
cook a large fish, unless it be planked. 

Planked Fish. — More expeditious than baking, and 
better flavored. 

Split and smoothe a slab of sweet hardwood two or 
three inches thick, two feet long, and somewhat wider 
than the opened fish. Prop it in front of a bed of coals 
till it is sizzling hot. Split the fish down the back its 
entire length, but do not cut clear through the belly. 
Clean, and wipe it quite dry. When plank is hot, 
spread fish out like an opened book, tack it, skin side 
down, to the plank and prop before fire. Baste con- 
tinuously with a bit of pork on a switch held above it. 
Reverse ends of plank from time to time. If the flesh 
is flaky when pierced with a fork, it is done. Sprinkle 
salt and pepper over the fish, moisten with drippings, 


and serve on the hot plank. No better dish ever was 
set before an epicure. 

Braising Meat. — Neither fish, flesh nor fowl should 
be baked in an oven. When baking is resorted to, let 
it be by one of the outdoor processes described below. 
Tough meat, however, is improved by braising in a 
Dutch oven, or a covered pot or saucepan. This 
process lies between baking and frying. It is pre- 
eminently the way to cook bear meat, venison shoulders 
and rounds. 

Put the meat in the oven or pot with about two 
inches of hot water in the bottom. Add some chopped 
onion, if desired, for seasoning. Cover and cook, 
about fifteen minutes to the pound. A half hour 
before the meat is done, season it with salt and 

The gravy is made by pouring the grease from the 
pot, adding a little water and salt, and rubbing flour 
into it with a spoon. 

Baking in a Hole. — This is a modification of brais- 
ing. Dig a hole in the ground, say eighteen inches 
square and deep. Place kindling in it, and over the 
hole build a cob house by laying split hardwood sticks 
across, not touching each other, then another course 
over these and at right angles to them, and so on till 
you have a stack two feet high. Set fire to it. The 
air will circulate freely, and the sticks, if of uniform 
size, will all burn down to coals together. 

Cut the fowl, or whatever it is, in pieces, season, add 
a chunk of fat pork the size of your fist, put in the 
kettle, pour in enough water to cover, put lid on kettle, 
rake coals out of hole, put kettle in, shovel coals around 
and over it, cover all with a few inches of earth, and 
let it alone over night. It beats a bake-oven. In case 
of rain, cover with bark. 

Baking an Animal in its Hide. — If the beast is too 
large to bake entire, cut off what you want and sew it 
up in a piece of the hide. Have your hole in the 
ground glowing hot. In this case it is best to have the 
hole lined with flat stones. Rake out embers, put meat 
in, cover first with green grass or leaves, then with the 


hot coals and ashes, and build a fire on top. When 
done, remove the skin. 

A deer's head is placed in the pit, neck down, and 
baked in the same way: time about six hours. 

Baking in Clay. — This hermetically seals the meat 
while cooking, and is better than baking in a kettle. 

Draw the animal, but leave the skin and hair on. If 
it be a large bird, as a duck or goose, cut off head and 
most of neck, also feet and pinions, pull out tail feathers 
and cut tail off (to get rid of oil sac), but leave smaller 
feathers on. If a fish, do not scale. Moisten and work 
some clay till it is like softened putty. Roll it out in a 
sheet an inch or two thick and large enough to com- 
pletely incase the animal. Cover the latter so that no 
feather or hair projects. Place in fire and cover with 
good bed of coals and let it remain with fire burning on 
top for about an hour, if a fish or small bird. Larger 
animals require more time, and had best be placed in 
bake-hole over night. 

When done, break open the hard casing of baked 
clay. The skin peels off with it, leaving the meat per- 
fectly clean and baked to perfection in its own juices. 

This method has been practiced for ages by the 
gypsies and other primitive peoples. 

Baking in the Embers. — To bake a fish, clean it — 
if it is large enough to be emptied through a hole in 
the neck, do not slit the belly — season with salt and 
pepper, and, if liked, stuff with Indian meal. Have 
ready a good bed of glowing hardwood coals; cover it 
with a thin layer of ashes, that the fish may not be burnt. 
Lay the fish on this, and cover it with more ashes and 
coals. Half an hour, more or less, is required, accord- 
ing to size. On removing the fish, pull off the skin, 
and the flesh will be found clean and palatable. 

A bird, for example a duck, is baked in much the 
same way. Draw it, but do not remove the feathers. 
If you like stuffed duck, stuff with bread crumbs or 
broken biscuit, well seasoned with salt and pepper. 
Wet the feathers by dipping the bird in water; then 
bury it in the ashes and coals. A teal will require 
about half an hour; other birds in proportion. 


The broader the pot, and the blacker it is, the quicker 
it boils. Fresh meats should be started in boiling 
. water; salt or corned meats, and those 

intended for stews or soups in cold 
water. The meat (except hams) should be cut into 
chunks of not over five pounds each, and soup bones 
well cracked. Watch during first half hour, and skim 
off all scum as fast as it rises, or it will settle and adhere 
to meat. Fresh meat should be boiled until bones are 
free, or until a fork will pierce easily (ten pounds take 
about two and a half hours). Ham, bacon, and salt 
pork require fifteen to twenty minutes per pound. 
Save the broth for soup-stock. Meat that is to be eaten 
cold should be allowed to cool in the liquor in which it 
was boiled. A tablespoonful or two of vinegar added 
to the boiling water makes meat more tender and fish 
firmer. Turn the meat several times while boiling. If 
the water needs replenishing, do it with boiling, not 
cold, water. Season a short time before meat is done. 
If vegetables are to be cooked with the meat, add them 
at such time that they will just finish cooking when the 
meat is done (potatoes twenty to thirty minutes before 
the end; carrots and turnips, sliced, one to one and a 
half hours) . 

Remember this: put fresh meat in hard boiling 
water for only five minutes, to set the juices; then 
remove to greater height over the fire and boil very 
slowly — to let it boil hard all the time would make it 
tough and indigestible. Salt meats go in cold water 
at the start, and are gradually brought to a boil; there- 
after they should be allowed to barely simmer. 

Fish, however, should be placed in boiling salted 
water. This makes their flesh firmer and better 
flavored. They cook quickly this way, especially if 
vinegar is added; six to seven minutes to the pound is 
generally time enough. 

At high altitudes it is impossible to cook satisfactorily 
by boiling, because water boils at a lower and lower 
temperature the higher we climb. The decrease is at 
the rate of about one degree for every 550 feet up to 
one mile, and one degree for 560 feet above that, when 


the temperature is 70°. With the air at 32° F., water 
boils at 202.5° at 5,000 feet, 193.3° at 10,000 feet, and 
184.5° at 15,000 feet. 

Stewing. — This process is slow, and should be re- 
served for tough meats. Use lean meat only. First 
brown it with some hot fat in a frying-pan; or, put a 
couple of ounces of chopped pork in a kettle and get it 
thoroughly hot; cut your meat into small pieces; drop 
them into the fat and "jiggle" the kettle until the sur- 
face of the meat is coagulated by the hot fat, being care- 
ful, the while, not to burn it. Add a thickening of a 
couple of ounces of flour, and mix it thoroughly with 
the fat; then a pint of water or soup-stock. Heat the 
contents of the kettle to boiling, and season with salt, 
pepper, and chopped onion. Now cover the kettle 
closely and hang it where it will only simmer for four 
or five hours. Stews may be thickened with rice^ 
potatoes, or oatmeal, as well as with flour. Add con- 
diments to suit the taste. A ragout is nothing but a 
highly seasoned stew. 

The method given above is the one I have followed; 
but I take the liberty of adding another by Captain 
Kenealy, which I believe may be superior: 

Stewing is an admirable way of making palatable coarse and 
tough pieces of meat, but it requires the knack, like all other 
culinary processes. Have a hot fry-pan ready, cut the meat 
up into small squares and put it (without any dripping or fat) 
into the pan. Let it brown well, adding a small quantity of 
granulated sugar, and sliced onions to taste. Cook until the 
onions are tender and well colored. Then empty the fry-pan 
into a stew-pan and add boiling water to cover the meats and 
let it simmer gently for two or three hours. Flavor with salt, 
pepper, sweet herbs, curry powder or what you will. The 
result will be a savory dish of tender meat, called by the French 
a ragout. It is easy to prepare it this way. Do not boil it 
furiously as is sometimes done, or it will become tough. This 
dish may be thickened with browned flour, and vegetables may 
be added — turnips, carrots, celery, etc., cut into small pieces 
and browned with the meat. The sugar improves the flavor 
vastly. The only condiments actually necessary are pepper 
and salt. Other flavorings are luxuries. 

Steaming in a Hole. — To steam meat or vegetables: 
build a large fire and throw on it a number of smooth 


stones, not of the bomb-shell kind. Dig a hole in the 
ground near the fire. When the stones are red-hot, 
fork them into the hole, level them, cover with green 
or wet leaves, grass, or branches, place the meat or 
potatoes on this layer, cover with more leaves, and 
then cover all with a good layer of earth. Now bore a 
small hole down to the food, pour in some water, and 
immediately stop up the hole, letting the food steam 
until tender. This is the Chinook method of cooking 

The following additional details are supplementary to 
what has gone before, and presuppose a 

amma s. careful reading of the preceding pages : 

Deer's Brains. — Fry them; or boil slowly half an 

Heart. — Remove valves and tough, fibrous tissue; 
then braise, or cut into small pieces and use in soups 
or stews. 

Kidneys. — Soak in cold water one hour. Cut into 
small pieces, and drop each piece into cold water, as 
cut. Wash well; then stew. 

Liver. — Carefully remove gall-bladder, if the animal 
has one — deer have none. Parboil the liver, and skim 
off the bitter scum that rises; then fry with bacon; 
or, put the liver on a spit, skewer some of the caul fat 
around it, and roast before the fire; or, cut the liver 
into slices | inch thick, soak it one hour in cold salt 
water, rinse well in warm water, wipe dry, dip each 
slice in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, and 

Marrow Bones. — Cover ends with small pieces of 
plain dough made with flour and water, over which tie 
a floured cloth; place bones upright in kettle, and 
cover with boiling water. Boil two hours. Remove 
cloth and paste, push out marrow, and serve with dry 

Milt (Spleen). — Skewer a piece of bacon to it, and 

Tongue. — Soak for one hour; rinse in fresh water; 
put in a kettle of cold water, bring to a boil, skim, and 
continue boiling moderately two hours. 


Venison Sausages. — Utilize the tougher parts of the 
deer, or other game, by mincing the raw meat with 
half as much salt pork, season with pepper and sage, 
make into little pats, and fry like sausages. Very 

Squirrels. — Parboil, then fry in pork grease, and 
make gravy as directed under Frying. This dish soon 
palls. Then try stewing them along with any vege- 
tables you may have. For a large party, with plenty 
of squirrels, prepare a 

Virginia Barbecue. — Build a hardwood fire between 
two large logs lying about two feet apart. At each end 
of the fire drive two forked stakes about fifteen inches 
apart, so that the four stakes will form a rectangle, 
like the legs of a table. The forks should all be about 
eighteen inches above the ground. Choose young, 
tender squirrels (if old ones must be used, parboil them 
until tender but not soft). Prepare spits by cutting 
stout switches of some wood that does not burn easily 
(sassafras is best — beware of poison sumach), peel 
them, sharpen the points, and harden them by thrust- 
ing for a few moments under the hot ashes. Impale 
each squirrel by thrusting a spit through flank, belly, 
and shoulder, on one side, and another spit similarly 
on the other side, spreading out the sides, and, if neces- 
sary, cutting through the ribs, so that the squirrel will 
lie open and flat. Lay two poles across the fire from 
crotch to crotch of the posts, and across these lay your 
spitted squirrels. As soon as these are heated through, 
begin basting with a piece of pork on the end of a 
switch. Turn the squirrels as required. Cook slowly, 
tempering the heat, if needful, by scattering ashes 
thinly over the coals; but remove the ashes for a final 
browning. When the squirrels are done, butter them, 
and gash a little that the juices may flow. 

As squirrels are usually hunted in regions where 
canned goods can easily be procured, I append direc- 
tions for a 

Brunswick Stew. — The ingredients needed, besides 
several squirrels, are: 


1 qt. can tomatoes, 

1 pt. " butter beans or limas, 

1 pt. " green corn, 

6 potatoes, parboiled and sliced, 

^ lb. butter, 

^ lb. salt pork (fat), 

1 teaspoonful black pepper, 

^ " Cayenne 

1 tablespoonful salt, 

2 tablespoonfuls white sugar, 
1 onion, minced small. 

Soak the squirrels half an hour in cold salted water. 
Add the salt to one gallon of water, and boil five 
minutes. Then put in the onion, beans, corn, pork 
(cut in fine strips), potatoes, pepper, and squirrels. 
Cover closely, and stew very slowly two and a half 
hours, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the 
tomatoes and sugar, and stew an hour longer. Then 
add the butter, cut into bits the size of a walnut and 
rolled in flour. Boil ten minutes. Then serve at once. 

This is a famous huntsman's dish of the Old Domin- 
ion. One can easily see how it can be adapted to other 
game than squirrels. 

Rabbit. — Remove the head; skin and draw; soak 
in cold salted water for one hour; rinse in fresh cold 
water, and wipe dry. 

For frying, select only young rabbits, or parboil 
first with salt and pepper. Cut off legs at body joint, 
and cut the back into three pieces. Sprinkle with 
flour, and fry brown on both sides. Remove rabbit to 
a dish kept hot over a few coals. Make a gravy as 
follows: Put into the pan a small onion previously 
parboiled and minced, and add one cup boiling water. 
Stir in gradually one or two tablespoonfuls of browned 
flour; stir well, and let it boil one minute. Season 
with pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Pour it over the rabbit. 

To roast in reflector: cut as above, lay a slice of pork 
on each piece, and baste frequently. The rabbit may 
be roasted whole before the fire. 

To bake in an oven: stuff with a dressing made of 
bread crumbs, the heart and liver (previously parboiled 


in a small amount of water), some fat salt pork, and a 
small onion, all minced and mixed together, seasoned 
with pepper, salt, and nutmeg, and slightly moistened 
with the water in which heart and liver were parboiled. 
Sew up the opening closely; rub butter or dripping 
over rabbit, dredge with flour, lay thin slices of fat 
pork on back, and place it in pan or Dutch oven, back 
uppermost. Pour into pan a pint or more of boiling 
water (or stock, if you have it), and bake with very 
moderate heat, one hour, basting every few minutes if 
in pan, but not if in Dutch oven. Prepare a gravy with 
the pot juice, as directed above. 

Rabbit is good stewed with onion, nutmeg, pepper 
and salt for seasoning. 

Rabbits are unfit to eat in late summer, as their 
backs are then infested with warbles, which are the 
larv8e of the rabbit bot-fly. 

Possmn. — To call our possum an opossum, outside 
of a scientific treatise, is an affectation. Possum is his 
name wherever he is known and hunted, this country 
over. He is not good until you have freezing weather; 
nor is he to be served without sweet potatoes, except 
in desperate extremity. This is how to serve "possum 

Stick him, and hang him up to bleed until morning. 
A tub is half filled with hot water (not quite scalding) 
into which drop the possum and hold him by the tail 
until the hair will strip. Take him out, lay him on a 
plank, and pull the hair out with your fingers. Draw, 
clean, and hang him up to freeze for two or three nights. 
Then place him in a 5-gallon kettle of cold water, into 
which throw two pods of red pepper. Parboil for one 
hour in this pepper- water, which is then thrown out 
and the kettle is refilled with fresh water, wherein he 
is boiled one hour. While this is going on, slice and 
steam some sweet potatoes. Take the possum out, 
place him in a large Dutch oven, sprinkle him with 
black pepper, salt, and a pinch or two of sage. A 
dash of lemon will do no harm. Pack sweet potatoes 
around him. Pour a pint of water into the oven, put 
the lid on, and see that it fits tightly. Bake slowly 


until brown and crisp. Serve hot, ivithout gravy. 
Bourbon whiskey is the only orthodox accompaniment, 
unless you are a teetotaler, in which case any planta- 
tion darky can show you how to make "ginger tea" 
out of ginger, molasses and water. Corn bread, of 

It is said that possum is not hard to digest even 
when eaten cold; but the general verdict seems to be 
that none is ever left over to get cold. 

When you have no oven, roast the possum before a 
high bed of coals, having suspended him by a wet string, 
which is twisted and untwisted to give a rotary mo- 
tion, and constantly baste it with a sauce made from 
red pepper, salt, and vinegar. 

Possum may also be baked in clay, with his hide on. 
Stuff with stale bread and sage, plaster over him an 
inch of stiff clay, and bake as previously directed. He 
will be done in about an hour. 

Coon. — It is likewise pedantic to call this animal a 
raccoon. Coon he always has been, is now, and shall 
ever be, to those who know him best. 

Skin and dress him. Remove the "kernels" (scent 
glands) under each front leg and on either side of spine 
in small of back. Wash in cold water. Parboil in one 
or two waters, depending upon the animal's age. Stuff 
with dressing like a turkey. If you have a tart apple, 
quarter it and add to the dressing. Roast to a delicate 
brown. Serve with fried sweet potatoes. 

Porcupine. — I quote from Nessmuk: "And do not 
despise the fretful porcupine; he is better than he 
looks. If you happen on a healthy young specimen 
when you are needing meat, give him a show before 
condemning him. Shoot him humanely in the head, 
and dress him. It is easily done; there are no quills 
on the belly, and the skin peels as freely as a rabbit's. 
Take him to camp, parboil him for thirty minutes, 
and roast or broil him to a rich brown over a bed of 
glowing coals. He will need no pork to make him 
juicy, and you will find him very like spring lamb, 
only better." 

The porcupine may also be baked in clay, without 


skinning him; the quills and skin peel off with the 
hard clay covering. 

Muskrat. — You may be driven to this, some day, 
and will then learn that muskrat, properly prepared, 
is not half bad. The French-Canadians found that 
out long ago. The following recipe is from Aber- 
crombie & Fitch's catalogue: 

"Skin and clean carefully four muskrats, being par- 
ticular not to rupture musk or gall sac. Take the 
hind legs and saddles, place in pot with a httle water, 
a little julienne (or fresh vegetables, if you have them), 
some pepper and salt, and a few slices of pork or 
bacon. Simmer slowly over fire until half done. Re- 
move to baker, place water from pot in the baking 
pan, and cook until done, basting frequently. This 
will be found a most toothsome dish." 

Muskrat may also be broiled over the hot coals, 
basting with a bit of pork held on a switch above the 

Woodchuck. — I asked old Uncle Bob Flowers, one 
of my neighbors in the Smokies: "Did you ever eat 
a woodchuck ?" 

"Reckon I don't know what them is." 


"O la! dozens of 'em. The red ones hain't good, 
but the gray ones! man, they'd jest make yer mouth 

"How do you cook them.^" 

"Cut the leetle red kernels out from under their fore 
legs; then bile 'em, fust — all the strong is left in the 
water — then pepper 'em, and sage 'em, and put 'em in 
a pan, and bake 'em to a nice rich brown, and — then 
I don't want nobody there but me!" 

Beaver Tail. — This tid-bit of the old-time trappers 
will be tested by few of our generation, more's the pity! 
Impale tail on a sharp stick and broil over the coals 
for a few minutes. The rough, scaly hide will blister 
and come off in sheets, leaving the tail clean, white, 
and solid. Then roast, or boil until tender. It is of 
a gelatinous nature, tastes somewhat like pork, and is 
considered very strengthening food. A young beaver, 


wStuffed and baked in its hide, is good; old ones have a 
pecuHar flavor that is unpleasant to those not accus- 
tomed to such diet. 

Beaver tail may also be soused in vinegar, after boil- 
ing, or baked with beans. The liver of the animal, 
broiled on a stick and seasoned with butter, salt, and 
pepper, is the best part of the animal. 

^ J n/r X These are good to fall back on when 

Canned Meat. j£ui?-i j i, +-j 

game and hsh tail, and you have tired 

UTlQCi £ ISn. r> 1 ■ 1 11 

ot salt pork and bacon. 

Corned Beef Hash. — Chop some canned corned beef 
fine with sliced onions. Mash up with freshly boiled 
potatoes, two parts potatoes to one of meat. Season 
highly with pepper (no salt) and dry mustard if liked. 
Put a little pork fat in a frying-pan, melt, add hash, 
and cook until nearly dry and a brown crust has formed. 
Evaporated potatoes and onions can be used accord- 
ing to directions on packages. 

Stew ivith Canned Meat. — Peel and slice some onions. 
If the meat has much fat, melt it; if not, melt a little 
pork fat. x\dd onions, and fry until brown. Mix 
some flour into a smooth batter with cold water, season 
with pepper and salt, and pour into the camp kettle. 
Stir the whole well together. Cut meat into slices, put 
into the kettle, and heat through. 

Stewed Codfish. — Soak over night in plenty of cold 
water. Put in pot of fresh, cold water, and heat grad- 
ually until soft. Do not boil the fish or it will get hard. 
Serve with boiled potatoes, and with white sauce made 
as directed under Fish. 

Codfish Hash. — Prepare salt codfish as above. 
When soft, mash with potatoes and onions, season with 
pepper, and fry like corned beef hash. 

Codfish Balls. — Shred the fish into small pieces. Peel 
some potatoes. Use one pint of fish to one quart of 
raw potatoes. Put them in a pot, cover with boiling 
water, cook till potatoes are soft, drain water off, mash 
fish and potatoes together, and beat light with a fork. 
Add a tablespoonful of butter and season with pepper. 
Shape into flattened balls, and fry in very hot fat deep 
enough to cover. 


Broiled Salt Fish. — Freshen the flakes of fish by 
soaking for an hour in cold water. Broil over the 
coals, and serve with potatoes. 

Smoked Herrings. — (1) Clean, and remove the skin. 
Toast on a stick over the coals. 

(2) Scald in boiling water till the skin curls up, then 
remove head, tail, and skin. Clean well. Put into 
frying-pan with a little butter and lard. Fry gently 
a few minutes, dropping in a little vinegar. 

Any kind of bird may be fricasseed as follows: Cut 
it into convenient pieces, parboil them in enough water 
-J. J to cover; when tender, remove from 

the pot and drain. Fry two or three 
slices of pork until brown. Sprinkle the pieces of bird 
with salt, pepper, and flour, and fry to a dark brown 
in the pork fat. Take up the bird, and stir into the 
frying fat half a cup, more or less, of dry flour, stirring 
until it becomes a dark brown; then pour over it the 
liquor in which the bird was boiled (unless it was a 
fish-eater), and bring the mixture to a boil. Put the 
bird in a hot dish, and pour gravy over it. 

Wild Turkey, Roasted. — Pluck, draw, and singe. 
Wipe the bird inside and out. Stuff the crop cavity, 
then the body, with either of the dressings mentioned 
below, allowing room for the filling to swell. Tie a 
string around the neck, and sew up the body. Truss 
wings to body with wooden skewers. Pin thin slices 
of fat pork to breast in same way. Suspend the fowl 
before a high bed of hardwood coals, as previously 
described, and place a pan under it to catch drippings. 
Tie a clean rag on the end of a stick to baste with. 
Turn and baste frequently. Roast until well done 
(two to three hours). 

Meantime cleanse the gizzard, liver, and heart of 
the turkey thoroughly in cold water; mince them; put 
them in a pot with enough cold water to cover, and 
stew gently until tender; then place where they will 
keep warm until wanted. When the turkey is done, 
add the giblets with the water in which they were 
stewed to the drippings in pan; thicken with one or 
two tablespoonfuls of flour that has been stirred up in 


milk or water and browned in a pan; season with 
pepper and salt, and serve with the turkey. 

Stuffing for Turkey. — (1) If chestnuts are procurable, 
roast a quart of them, remove shells, and mash. Add 
a teaspoonful of salt, and some pepper. Mix well 
together, and stuff the bird with them. 

(2) Chop some fat salt pork very fine; soak stale 
bread or crackers in hot water, mash smooth, and mix 
with the chopped pork. Season with salt, pepper, sage, 
and chopped onion. 

No game bird save the wild turkey should be stuffed, 
unless you deliberately wish to disguise the natural 

Boiled Turkey. — Pluck, draw, singe, wash inside 
with warm water, and wipe dry. Cut off head and 
neck close to backbone, leaving enough skin to turn 
over the stuffing. Draw sinews from legs, and cut off 
feet just below first joint of leg. Press legs into sides 
and skewer them firmly. Stuff breast as above. Put 
the bird into enough hot water to cover it. Remove 
scum as it rises. Boil gently one and one-half to two 
hours. Serve with sauce. 

Waterfowl have two large oil glands in the tail, with 
which they oil their feathers. The oil in these glands 
imparts a strong, disagreeable flavor to the bird soon 
after it is killed. Hence the tail should always be 
removed before cooking. 

To Cook a Large Bird iii a Hurry. — Slice off several 
fillets from the breast; impale them, with slices of 
pork, on a green switch; broil over the coals. 

Baked Duck. — The bird should be dry-picked, and 
the head left on. Put a little pepper and salt inside 
the bird, but no other dressing. Lay duck on its back 
in the bake-pan. Put no water in the pan. The oven 
must be hot, but not hot enough to burn; test with the 
hand. Baste frequently while cooking. A canvas- 
back requires about thirty minutes; other birds accord- 
ing to size. When done, the duck should be plump, 
and the flesh red, not blue. 

This is the way to bring out the distinctive flavor of 
a canvasback. Seasoning and stuffing destroy all that. 


Stewed Duck. — Clean well and divide into convenient 
pieces (say, legs, wings, and four parts of body). Place 
in pot with enough cold water to cover. Add salt, 
pepper, a pinch of mixed herbs, and a dash of Worces- 
tershire sauce. Cut up jBne some onions and potatoes 
(carrots, too, if you can get them). Put a few of these 
in the pot so they may dissolve and add body to the 
dish (flour or corn starch may be substituted for thick- 
ening). Stew slowly, skim and stir frequently. In 
forty-five minutes add the rest of the carrots, and in 
fifteen minutes more add the rest of the onions and 
potatoes, also turnips, if you have any. Stew until 
meat is done. 

A plainer camp dish is to stew for an hour in water 
that has previously been boiled for an hour with pieces 
of salt pork. 

Fish-eating Ducks. — The rank taste of these can be 
neutralized, unless very strong, by baking with an 
onion inside. Use plenty of pepper, inside and out. 

Mud-hens and Bitterns. — Remove the breast of a 
coot or rail, cut slits in it, and in these stick thin slices 
of fat salt pork; broil over the embers. 

The broiled breast of a young bittern is good. 

Fish caught in muddy streams should be cut up and 
soaked in strong salted water. Never put live fish on 
a stringer and keep them in water till 
you start for home. Does it not stand 
to reason that fish strung through the gills must breathe 
with difficulty and be tormented? Why sicken your 
fish before you eat them ? Kill every fish as soon as 
caught and bleed it through the throat. 

Fish Chowder. — Clean the fish, parboil it, and re- 
serve the water in which it was boiled. Place the dry 
pot on the fire; when it is hot, throw in a lump of 
butter and about six onions sliced finely. When the 
odor of onion arises, add the fish. Cover the pot 
closely for fish to absorb flavor. Add a very small 
quantity of potatoes, and some of the reserved broth. 
When cooked, let each man season his own dish. Ask 
a blessing and eat. (Kenealy.) 

Roasted Eel. — Cut a stick about three feet long and 


an inch thick; spHt it about a foot down from one end; 
draw the eel, but do not skin it; coil it between the two 
forks of the stick, and bind the top of split end with 
green withes; stick the other end in the ground before 
a good fire, and turn as required. 

Stewed Eel. — Skin the eel, remove backbone and cut 
the eel into pieces about two inches long; cover these 
with water in the stew-pan, and add a teaspoonful of 
strong vinegar or a slice of lemon, cover stew-pan 
and boil moderately one half hour. Then remove, 
pour off water, drain, add fresh water and vinegar as 
before, and stew until tender. Now drain, add cream 
enough for a stew, season with pepper and salt (no 
butter), boil again for a few minutes, and serve on 
hot, dry toast. (Up De Graff.) 

Fish Roe. — Parboil (merely simmer) fifteen minutes; 
let them cool and drain; then roll in flour, and fry. 

Frog Legs. — First after skinning, soak them an hour 
in cold water to which vinegar has been added, or put 
them for two minutes into scalding water that has 
vinegar in it. Drain, wipe dry, and cook as below: 

To fry: roll in flour seasoned with salt and pepper 
and fry, not too rapidly, preferably in butter or oil. 
Water cress is a good relish with them. 

To grill: Prepare 3 tablespoonfuls melted butter, 
J teaspoonful salt, and a pinch or two of pepper, into 
which dip the frog legs, then roll in fresh bread crumbs, 
and broil for three minutes on each side. 

Turtles. — All turtles (aquatic) and most tortoises 
(land) are good to eat, the common snapper being 
far better than he looks. Kill by cutting throat or 
(readier) by shooting the head off. This does not kill 
the brute immediately, of course, but it suflSces. The 
common way of killing by dropping a turtle into boil- 
ing water I do not like. Let the animal bleed. Then 
drop into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds. 
After scalding, the outer scales of shell, as well as the 
skin, are easily removed. Turn turtle on its back, cut 
down middle of under shell from end to end, and then 
across. Throw away entrails, head, and claws. Salt 
and pepper it inside and out. Boil a short time in the 


shell. Remove when the meat has cooked free from 
the shell. Cut up the latter and boil slowly for three 
hours with some chopped onion. If a stew is pre- 
ferred, use less water, and add some salt pork cut into 

Crayfish. — These are the " craw-feesh !" of our streets. 
Tear off extreme end of tail, bringing the entrail 
with it. Boil whole in salted water till the crayfish 
turns red. Peel and eat as a lobster, dipping each 
crayfish at a time into a saucer of vinegar, pepper, 
and salt. 


The general rules for cooking vegetables are few and 

(1) Do not wash fresh vegetables until just before 
they are to be cooked or eaten. They lose flavor 
quickly after being washed. This is true even of 

(2) Green vegetables go into boiling salted water. 
Salt prevents their absorbing too much water. The 
water should be boiling fast, and there should be plenty 
of it. They should be boiled rapidly, with the lid left 
off the pan. If the water is as hot as it should be, the 
effect is similar to that which we have noted in the 
case of meats: the surface is coagulated into a water- 
proof envelope which seals up the flavor instead of 
letting it be soaked out. In making soup, the rule is 

(3) Dried vegetables, such as beans and peas, are 
to be cooked in unsalted water. If salted too soon 
they become leathery and diflScult to cook. Put them 
in cold, fresh water, gradually heated to the boiling 
point, and boil slowly. 

(4) Desiccated vegetables are first soaked in cold 
water, according to directions on package — potatoes 
require long soaking, and they should be boiled in 
three waters. Place in boiling water slightly salted, 
and proceed as with fresh vegetables. 

To clear cabbage, etc., from insects, immerse, stalk 
upward, in plenty of cold water salted in the proper- 


tion of a large tablespoonful to two quarts; vinegar 
may be used instead of salt. Shake occasionally. The 
insects will sink to bottom of pan. 

To keep vegetables, put them in a cool, dry place 
(conditions similar to those of a good cellar). Keep 
each kind away from the other, or they will absorb 
each other's flavor. 

Potatoes, Boiled. — Pick them out as nearly as possi- 
ble of one size, or some will boil to pieces before the 
others are done; if necessary, cut them to one size. 
Remove eyes and specks, and pare as thinly as possi- 
ble, for the best of the potato lies just under the skin. 
As fast as pared, throw into cold water, and leave until 
wanted. Put in furiously boiling salted water, then 
hang kettle a little higher where it will boil moderately, 
but do not let it check. Test with a fork or sliver. 
When the tubers are done (about twenty minutes for 
new potatoes, thirty to forty minutes for old ones) 
drain off all the water, dust some salt over the potatoes 
(it absorbs the surface moisture), and let the pot stand 
uncovered close to the fire, shaking it gently once or 
twice, till the surface of each potato is dry and pow- 
dery. Never leave potatoes in the water after they are 
done; they would become watery. 

Potatoes, Boiled in their Jackets. — After washing 
thoroughly, and gouging out the eyes, snip off a bit 
from each end of the potato; this gives a vent to the 
steam and keeps potatoes from bursting open. I pre- 
fer to put them in cold water and bring it gradually to 
a boil, because the skin of the potato contains an acid 
poison which is thus extracted. The water in which 
potatoes have been boiled will poison a dog. Of course 
we don't "eat 'em skin and all," like the people in the 
nursery rhyme; but there is no use in driving the bit- 
terness into a potato. Boil gently, but continuously, 
throw in a little salt now and then, drain, and dry before 
the fire. 

Mashed Potatoes. — After boiling, mash the potatoes, 
and work into them some butter and cream, gin you 
have any. Then beat them up light with a fork. 
However it may be with "a woman, a dog, and a walnut 


tree," it is true of mashed potatoes, that "the more you 
beat 'em, the better they be." 

Potatoes, Steamed. — After you have once learned the 
knack, you will find that the best of all ways to cook 
potatoes is by steaming in a hole in the ground, as 
directed in the last chapter. No danger of them being 
watery then. 

Baked Potatoes. — Nessmuk's description cannot be 
improved: "Scoop out a basin-like depression under 
the fore-stick, three or four inches deep, and large 
enough to hold the tubers when laid side by side; fill 
it with bright hardwood coals, and keep up a strong 
heat] for half an hour or more. Next, clean out the 
hollow, place the potatoes in it, and cover them with 
hot sand or ashes, topped with a heap of glowing coals, 
and keep up all the heat you like. In about forty 
minutes commence to try them with a sharpened hard- 
wood sliver; when this will pass through them they 
are done, and should be raked out at once. Run the 
sliver through them from end to end, to let the steam 
escape, and use immediately, as a roast potato quickly 
becomes soggy and bitter." 

Fried Potatoes. — Boiled or steamed potatoes that 
have been left over may be sliced | inch thick, and 
fried. They are better h la Lyonnaise: fry one or 
more sliced onions until they are turning yellowish, 
then add sliced potatoes; keep tossing now and then 
until the potatoes are fried somewhat yellow; salt to 

Potatoes, Fried Raw. — Peel, and slice into pieces h 
inch thick. Drop into cold water until frying-pan is 
ready. Put enough grease in pan to completely im- 
merse the potatoes, and get it very hot, as directed 
under Frying. Pour water off potatoes, dry a slice in 
a clean cloth, drop it into the sizzling fat, and so on, 
one slice at a time. Drying the slices avoids a splutter 
in the pan and helps to keep from absorbing grease. 
If many slices were dropped into the pan together, the 
heat would be checked and the potatoes would get 
soggy with grease. When the slices begin to turn a 
faint brown, salt the potatoes, pour off the grease at 


once, and brown a little in the dry pan. The outside 
of each slice will then be crisp and the insides white 
and deliciously mealy. 

Sweet Potatoes, Boiled. — Use a kettle with lid. Select 
tubers of uniform size; wash; do not cut or break 
the skins. Put them in boiling water, and continue 
boiling until, when you pierce one with a fork, you 
find it just a little hard in the center. Drain by rais- 
ing the cover only a trifle when kettle is tilted, so as to 
keep in as much steam as possible. Hang the kettle high 
over the fire, cover closely, and let steam ten minutes. 

Sweet Potatoes, Fried. — Skin the boiled potatoes and 
cut them lengthwise. Dust the slices with salt and 
pepper. Throw them into hot fat, browning first one 
side, then the other. Serve very hot. 

Potatoes a7id Onions, Hashed. — Slice two potatoes 
to one onion. Parboil together about fifteen minutes 
in salted water. Pour off water, and drain. Mean- 
time be frying some bacon. When it is done, remove 
it to a hot side dish, turn the vegetables into the pan, 
and fry them to a light brown. Then fall to, and 
enjoy a good thing! 

Beans, Boiled. — Pick out all defective beans, and 
wash the rest. It is best to soak the beans over night; 
but if time does not permit, add J teaspoonful of bak- 
ing soda to the parboiling water. In either case, start 
in fresh cold water, and parboil one pint of beans (for 
four men with hearty appetites) for one-half hour, or 
until one will pop open when blown upon. At the 
same time parboil separately one pound fat salt pork. 
Remove scum from beans as it rises. Drain both; 
place beans around the pork, add two quarts boiling 
water, and boil slowly for two hours, or until tender. 
Drain, and season with salt and pepper. 

It does not hurt beans to boil all day, provided boil- 
ing water is added from time to time, lest they get dry 
and scorch. The longer they boil the more digestible 
they become. 

Baked Beans. — Soak and parboil, as above, both the 
beans and the pork. Then pour off the water from 
the pork, gash the meat with a knife, spread half of it 


over the bottom of the kettle, drain the beans, pour them 
into the kettle, put the rest of pork on top, sprinkle not 
more than ^ teaspoonful of salt over the beans, pepper 
liberally, and if you have molasses, pour a tablespoon- 
ful over all; otherwise a tablespoonful of sugar. Hang 
the kettle high over the fire where it will not scorch, 
and bake six hours; or, better, add a little of the water 
that the beans were boiled in, place kettle in bake-hole 
as elsewhere directed, and bake all night. 

Baked beans are strong food, ideal for active men in 
cold weather. One can work harder and longer on 
pork and beans, without feeling hungry, than on any 
other food with which I am acquainted, save bear meat. 
The ingredients are compact and easy to transport; 
they keep indefinitely in any weather. But when one is 
only beginning camp life he should be careful not to 
overload his stomach with beans, for they are rather 
indigestible until you have toned up your stomach by 
hearty exercise in the open air. 

Onions, Boiled. — More wholesome this way than 
fried or baked. Like potatoes, they should be of as 
uniform size as possible, for boiling. Do not boil 
them in an iron vessel. Put them in enough boiling 
salted water to cover them. Cover the kettle and boil 
gently, lest the onions break. They are cooked when 
a straw will pierce them (about an hour) . If you wish 
them mild, boil in two or three waters. "When cooked, 
drain and season with butter or dripping, pepper, and 

Green Corn. — If you happen to camp near a farm 
in the " roasting-ear " season, you are in great luck. 

The quickest way to roast an ear of corn is to cut 
off the butt of the ear closely, so that the pith of the 
cob is exposed, ream it out a little, impale the cob 
lengthwise on the end of a long hardwood stick, and 
turn over the coals. 

To roast in the ashes: remove one outer husk, 
stripping off the silk, break off about an inch of the 
silk end, and twist end of husks tightly down over the 
broken end. Then bake in the ashes and embers as 
directed for potatoes. Time, about one hour. 


To boil: prepare as above, but tie the ends of husks; 
this preserves the sweetness of the corn. Put in enough 
boiling salted w^ater to cover the ears. Boil thirty 
minutes. Like potatoes, corn is injured by over-boil- 
ing. When cooked, cut off the butt and remove the 

Cold boiled corn may be cut from the cob and fried, 
or mixed with mashed potato and fried. 

Greens. — One who camps early in the season can 
add a toothsome dish, now and then, to his menu by 
gathering fresh greens in the woods and marshes. 
Many of these are mentioned in my chapter on The 
Edible Plants of the Wilderness. They may be pre- 
pared in various ways; here are a few: 

As a salad (watercress, peppergrass, dandelion, 
sorrel, etc.): wash in cold salted water, if necessary, 
although this abstracts some of the flavor; dry im- 
mediately and thoroughly. Break into convenient 
pieces, rejecting tough stems. Prepare a simple French 
dressing, thus: 

1 tablespoonful vinegar, 

3 tablespoonful s best olive oil, 

i teaspoonful salt, 

I ' black pepper. 

Put salt and pepper in bowl, gradually add oil, rubbing 
aid mixing till salt is dissolved; then add by degrees 
the vinegar, stirring continuously one minute. In de- 
fault of oil, use cream and melted butter; but plain 
vinegar, salt and pepper will do. Pour the dressing 
over the salad, turn the latter upside down, mix well 
and serve. 

A scalded salad is prepared in camp by cutting 
bacon into small dice, frying, adding vinegar, pepper, 
and a little salt to the grease, and pouring this, scald- 
ing hot, over the greens. 

Greens may be boiled with salt pork, bacon, or other 
meat. To boil them separately: first soak in cold 
salted water for a few minutes, then drain well, and 
put into enough boiling salted water to cover, pressing 
them down until the pot is full. Cover, and boil 


steadily until tender, which may be from twenty min- 
utes to an hour, depending upon kind of greens used. 
If the plants are a little older than they should be, par- 
boil in water to which a little baking soda has been 
added; then drain, and continue boiling in plain water, 

Some greens are improved by chopping fine after 
boiling, putting in hot frying-pan with a tablespoonful 
of butter and some salt and pepper, and stirring until 
thoroughly heated. 

Poke stalks are cooked like asparagus. They should 
not be over four inches long, and should show only a 
tuft of leaves at the top; if much older than this, they 
are poisonous. Wash the stalks, scrape them, and lay 
in cold water for an hour; then tie loosely in bundles, 
put in a kettle of boiling water and boil three-fourths of 
an hour, or until tender; drain, lay on buttered toast, 
dust with pepper and salt, cover with melted butter, 
and serve. 

Jerusalem artichokes must be watched when boiling 
and removed as soon as tender; if left longer in the 
water, they harden. 

Dock and sorrel may be cooked like spinach: pick 
over and wash, drain, shake and press out adhering 
water; put in kettle with one cup water, cover kettle, 
place over moderate fire, and steam thus twenty min- 
utes; then drain, chop very fine, and heat in frying- 
pan as directed above. 

Mushrooms. — Every one who camps in summer 
should take with him a mushroom book, such as Gib- 
son's, Atkinson's, or Nina Marshall's. (Such a book 
in pocket form, with colored illustrations, is a desidera- 
tum.) Follow recipes in book. Mushrooms are very 
easy to prepare, cook quickly, and offer a great variety 
of flavors. 

Canned Tomatoes. — When you can get butter, try 
this: To a pint of tomatoes add butter twice the size 
of an egg, some pepper, very little salt, and a table- 
spoonful of sugar. Boil about five minutes. Put 
some bread crumbs or toast in a dish, and pour toma- 
toes over them. 


Canned Sweet Corn. — Same as tomatoes, but omitting 
sugar and bread. Add a cup of cream, if convenient. 

Jambolaya. — This is a delicious Creole dish, easily 
prepared. Cut up any kind of small game into joints, 
and stew them. When half done, add some minced 
ham or bacon, j pint rice, and season with pepper and 
salt. If rabbit is used, add onions. Serve with toma- 
toes as a sauce. 

Pot Pie, — Take | teaspoonful baking powder to ^ 
pint of flour, sift together, and add 1 teaspoonful lard 
or butter by rubbing it in, also a pinch of salt. Make 
a soft biscuit dough of this, handling as little as possible, 
and being careful not to mix too thin. Roll into a 
sheet, and cut into strips about 1^ inch wide and 3 
inches long, cutting two or three little holes through 
each to let steam escape. Meantime you have been 
boiling meat or game, and have sliced some potatoes. 
When the meat is within one-half hour of being done, 
pour off the broth into another vessel and lift out most 
of the meat. Place a layer of meat and potatoes in 
bottom of kettle, and partially cover with strips of the 
dough; then another layer of meat and vegetables, 
another of dough, and so on until the pot is nearly full, 
topping off with dough. Pour the hot broth over this, 
cover tightly, and boil one-half hour, without lifting 
the pot cover, which, by admitting cold air, would 
make the dough "sad." Parsley helps the pot, when 
you can get it. 

Slumgullion. — When the commissariat is reduced to 
bacon, corned beef, and hardtack, try this sailor's 
dish, described by Jack London: Fry half a dozen 
slices of bacon, add fragments of hardtack, then two 
cups of water, and stir briskly over the fire; in a few 
minutes mix in with it slices of canned corned beef; 
season well with pepper and salt. 

When Napoleon said that "soup makes the soldier," 
he meant thick, substantial soup — soup that sticks to 
5, the ribs — not mere broths or meat ex- 

^ ' tracts, which are fit only for invalids 

or to coax an indifferent stomach. "Soup," says 
Nessmuk, "requires time, and a solid basis of the 


right material. Venison is the basis, and the best 
material is the bloody part of the deer, where the bullet 
went through. We used to throw this away; we have 
learned better. Cut about four pounds of the bloody 
meat into convenient pieces, and wipe them as clean 
as possible with leaves or a damp cloth, but don't wash 
them. Put the meat into a five-quart kettle nearly 
filled with water, and raise it to a lively boiling pitch. 
Let it boil for two hours. Have ready a three-tined 
fork made from a branch of birch or beech, and with 
this test the meat from time to time; when it parts 
readily from the bones, slice in a large onion. Pare 
six large, smooth potatoes, cut five of them into quar- 
ters, and drop them into the kettle; scrape the sixth 
one into the soup for thickening. Season with salt 
and white pepper ^to taste. When, by skirmishing 
with the wooden fork, you can fish up bones with no 
meat on them, the soup is cooked, and the kettle may 
be set aside to cool." 

Any kind of game may be used in a similar way, 
provided that none but lean meat be used. Soup is 
improved by first soaking the chopped-up meat in cold 
water, and using this water to boil in thereafter. Soup 
should be skimmed for some time after it has started 
simmering, to remove grease and scum. 

Bean Soup. — Boil with pork, as previously directed, 
until the beans are tender enough to crack open; then 
take out the pork and mash the beans into a paste. 
Return pork to kettle, add a cup of flour mixed thin 
with cold water, stirring it in slowly as the kettle sim- 
mers. Boil slowly an hour longer, stirring frequently 
so that it may not scorch. Season with little salt but 
plenty of pepper. 

Pea Soup. — Wash well one pint of split peas, cover 
with cold water, and let them soak over night. In the 
morning put them in a kettle with close-fitting cover. 
Pour over them 3 quarts cold water, adding ^ pound 
lean bacon or ham cut into dice, 1 teaspoonful salt, 
and some pepper. When the soup begins to boil, skim 
the froth from the surface. Cook slowly three to four 
hours, stirring occasionally till the peas are all dis- 


solved, and adding a little more boiling water to keep 
up the quantity as it boils away. Let it get quite thick. 
Just before serving, drop in small squares of toasted 
bread or biscuits, adding quickly while the bread is 
hot. Vegetables may be added one-half hour before 
the soup is done. 

Dried Fruit. — Soak over night in cold water, just 
enough to cover — too much water makes them insipid. 
They are quite eatable then, without cooking. Add 
half a cup of sugar and some spice; simmer until done. 
Fruit should not be cooked in an iron vessel, nor in 
tin, if it can be avoided. 

Suits uud Knepp. — This is a Pennsylvania-Dutch 
dish, and a good one for campers. Take some dried 
apples (not evaporated ones, which are tasteless, but 
the old-fashioned dried apples of the country) and soak 
them over night. Boil until tender. Prepare knepp 
as directed for pot-pie dough, only make a thick bat- 
ter of it instead of a dough. It is best to add an egg 
and use no shortening. Drop the batter into the pan 
of stewing apples, a large spoonful at a time, not fast 
enough to check the boiling. Boil about one-half hour. 
Season with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. 

Plain Plum Duff. — Put into a basin one pound of 
flour, one heaping teaspoonful of baking powder, one 
^ pound raisins (stoned, if possible), three- 

quarters of a pound of fat of salt pork 
(well washed and cut into small dice, or chopped), and 
two tablespoonfuls of sugar. Add half a pint of water 
and mix well together. Dip a cloth bag large enough 
to hold the pudding into boiling water, wring it out, 
and apply flour well to the inside. Put in the pudding 
and fasten it up, leaving a little room in the bag for 
the pudding to swell. Now place the whole in enough 
boiling water to cover the bag, and boil two hours, 
turning the bag several times to prevent its scorching 
against the bottom or sides of the pot. If necessary, 
add boiling water to keep the bag covered. When done 
take the pudding from the pot, plunge it into cold water 
for an instant, and then turn it out to be eaten. Suet 
may be used to advantage instead of pork fat. Spices 


and molasses also, if you have them, and want a richer 
duff. {Kenealy.) 

Pie. — It is not to be presumed that a mere male 
camper can make a good pie-crust in the regular way; 
but it is easy to make a wholesome and very fair pie- 
crust in an irregular way, which is as follows: Make 
a glorified biscuit dough by mixing thoroughly 1 pint 
flour, 1 teaspoonful baking powder, ^ teaspoonful salt, 
rubbing in 4 heaped tablespoonfuls of lard, and mak- 
ing into a soft dough with cold water. In doing this, 
observe the rules given under Biscuit. The above 
quantity is enough for a pie filling an 8x12 reflector 
pan. Roll the dough into a thin sheet, as thin as you 
can handle, and do the rolling as gently as you can. 
From this sheet cut a piece large enough for bottom 
crust and lay it in the greased pan. The sheet should 
be big enough to lap over edge of pan. Into this put 
your fruit (dried fruit is previously stewed and mashed) , 
and add sugar and spice to taste. Then, with great 
circumspection and becoming reverence, lay on top 
of all this your upper crust. Now, with your thumb, 
press the edges of upper and lower crust together all 
around, your thumb-prints leaving scallops around the 
edge. Trim off by running a knife around edge of 
pan. Then prick a number of small slits in the top 
crust, here and there, to give a vent to the steam when 
the fruit boils. Bake as you would biscuits. 

Note that this dough contains baking powder, and 
that it will swell. Don't give the thing a name until 
it is baked; then, if you have made the crust too thick 
for a pie, call it a cobbler or a shortcake, and the boys, 
instead of laughing at you, will ask for more. 

Doughnuts. — Mix one quart of flour with one tea- 
spoonful of salt, one tablespoonful of baking powder 
and one pint of granulated sugar, and half a nutmeg 
grated. Make a batter of this with four beaten eggs 
and enough milk to make smoothe. Beat thoroughly 
and add enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll 
out into a sheet half an inch thick and cut into rings 
or strips, which may be twisted into shape. Fry in 
very hot fat; turn when necessary. Drain and serve hot 


Or, mix with less water into a stiff dough, and manipu- 
late as explained under Fried Quoits. 

And now, having done my share, I will loll back at 

mine ease and smoke mine pipe, while 

^* the other fellow does the dish-washing! 

Gilbert Hamerton, in his Painter'' s Camp, dwells 

lovingly upon all the little details of camp life, excepting 


5 p. M. Cease painting for the day. Dine . . . After 
dinner the woeful drudgery of cleaniQg-up! At this period of 
the day am seized with a vague desire to espouse a scullery- 
maid, it being impossible to accommodate one in the hut 
without scandal, unless in the holy state of matrimony: hope 
no scullery-maid will pass the hut when I am engaged in wash- 
ing-up, as I should be sure to make her an offer. 

There is a desperately hard and disagreeable way of 
washing dishes, which consists, primarily, in "going 
for" everything alike with the same rag, and wiping 
grease off one dish only to smear it on the next one. 
There is another, an easier, and a cleaner way : First, 
as to the frying-pan, which generally is greasiest of 
all : pour it nearly full of water, place it level over the 
coals, and let it boil over. Then pick it up, give a quick 
flirt to empty it, and hang it up. Virtually it has 
cleaned itself, and will dry itself if let alone. Greasy 
dishes are scraped as clean as may be, washed 
with scalding water, and then wiped. An obdurate 
pot is cleaned by first boiling in it some wood 
ashes, the lye of which makes a sort of soap of the grease; 
or it may be scoured out with sand and hot water. 
Greasy dishes can even be cleaned without hot water, 
if first wiped with a handful or two of moss, which 
takes up the grease; use first the dirt side of the 
moss as a scourer, then the top. To scour greasy 
knives and forks, simply jab them once or twice into 
the ground. Rusty ones can be burnished by rubbing 
with a freshly cut potato dipped in wood ashes. The 
scouring rush (Equisetum hymenale), which grows in 
wet places and along banks throughout the northern 
hemisphere, has a gritty surface that makes an excel- 
lent swab. It is the tall, green, jointed, pipe-stem-like 


weed that children amuse themselves with, by pulling 
the joints apart. In brief, the art of dish-washing 
consists in first cleaning off nearly all the grease before 
using your dish-cloth on it. Then the cloth will be 
fit to use again. Dish-cloths are the supplies that first 
run short in an average outfit. 



CUMMER twilight brings the mosquito. In fact, 
when we go far north or far south, we have him 
with us both by day and night. Rather I should say 
that we have her; for the male mosquito is a gentleman, 
who sips daintily of nectar and minds his own business, 
while madame his spouse is a whining, peevish, veno- 
mous virago, that goes about seeking whose nerves she 
may unstring and whose blood she may devour. Strange 
to say, not among mosquitoes only, but among ticks, 
fleas, chiggers, and the whole legion of bloodthirsty, 
stinging flies and midges, it is only the female that 
attacks man and beast. Stranger still, the mosquito 
is not only a bloodsucker but an incorrigible wine- 
bibber as well — she will get helplessly fuddled on any 
sweet wine, such as port, or on sugared spirits, while 
of gin she is inordinately fond. 

Such disreputable habits — the querulous sing-song, 
the poisoned sting, the thirst for blood, and the practice 
of getting dead drunk at every opportunity, are enough 
of themselves to make the mosquito a thing accursed; 
but these are by no means the worst counts in our in- 
dictment against her. We have learned, within the 
past few years, that all the suffering and mortality 
from malaria, yellow fever, and filariasis (including the 
hideous and fatal elephantiasis of the tropics) is due to 
germs that are carried in no other way than by mos- 
quitoes. Flies spread the germs of typhoid fever and 
malignant eye diseases; fleas carry the bubonic plague; 
the sleeping-sickness of Africa is transmitted by in- 
sects. There is no longer any guesswork about this: 
it is demonstrated fact. Professor Kellogg, summing 
up what is now known of the life history of malaria- 


bearing mosquitoes (Anopheles) says: "When in 
malarial regions, avoid the bite of a mosquito as you 
would that of a rattlesnake — one can be quite as serious 
in its results as the other." 

The worst of it, from a sportsman's view-point, 
is that the farther we push toward the arctics or the 
tropics, the worse becomes this pest of dangerous in- 
sects. It is into just such countries that, nowadays 
and in future, we must go in order to get really first- 
class hunting and fishing. Consequently the problem 
of how best to fight our insect enemies becomes of ever 
increasing importance to all who love to hunt over and 
explore the wild places that are still left upon the earth. 

Mosquitoes are bad enough in the tropics, but they 
are at their worst in the coldest regions of the earth. 
. Harry de Windt reports that at Verk- 

hoyansk, in Siberia, which is the arctic 
pole of cold (where the winter temperature often sinks 
to-75° Fahr., and has been known to reach-81°) the 
mosquitoes make their appearance before the snow is 
off the ground, and throughout the three summer 
months, make life almost unbearable to the wretched 
natives and exiles. The swamps and shoaly lakes in 
the surrounding country breed mosquitoes in such in- 
credible hosts that reindeer, sledge-dogs, and sometimes 
even the natives themselves, are actually tormented 
to death by them. 

Throughout a great part of central and western 
Canada, and Alaska, there are vast tundras of bog 
moss, called by the Indians muskegs, which in summer 
are the breeding-grounds of unending clouds of mos- 
quitoes whose biting powers exceed those of any 
insects known in the United States. Even if the 
muskeg land were not a morass, this plague of mosqui- 
toes would forever render it uninhabitable in summer. 
The insects come out of their pupae at the first sprout- 
ing of spring vegetation, in May, and remain until 
destroyed by severe frosts in September. In Alaska, 
all animals leave for the snow-line as soon as the mos- 
quito pest appears, but the enemy follows them even 
to the mountain tops above timber-line. Deer and 


moose are killed by mosquitoes, which settle upon 
them in such amazing swarms that the unfortunate 
beasts succumb from literally having the blood sucked 
out of their bodies. Bears are driven frantic, are 
totally blinded, mire in the mud, and starve to death. 
Animals that survive have their flesh discolored all 
through, and even their marrow is reduced to the 
consistency of blood and water. The men who pene- 
trate such regions are not the kind that would allow 
toil or privation to break their spirit, but they become 
so unstrung from days and nights of continuous tor- 
ment inflicted by enemies insignificant in size but in- 
finite in number, that they become savage, desperate, 
and sometimes even weep in sheer helpless anger. 

In regions so exceptionally cursed with mosquitoes 
no mere sportsman has any business until winter sets in. 
p . But even in the more accessible wood- 

lands north and south of us the insect 
pest is by far the most serious hardship that fishermen 
and other summer outers are obliged to meet. Head- 
nets and gauntlets are all very well in their way, but 
one can neither hunt, fish, paddle, push through the 
brush, nor even smoke, when so accoutered. Con- 
sequently everybody tries some kind or other of "fly- 
dope," by which elegant name we mean any prepara- 
tion which, being rubbed over the exposed parts of 
one's skin, is supposed to discourage insects from 
repeating their attacks. 

p, Pj The number of such dopes is legion. 

They may be classified in two groups: 

(1) Thick ointments that dry to a tenacious glaze 
on the skin, if the wearer abstain from washing; 

(2) Liquids or semi-fluid unguents that are supposed 
to protect by their odor alone, and must be renewed 
several times a day. 

The latter vary a great deal. It is safe to say that 
everything in the pharmacopoeia that seemed in the 
least promising has been tried. The oils of penny- 
royal, cloves, lavender, citronella, verbena and lemon- 
gi-ass are often used singly; eucalyptol is favored by 
some, others find the tincture of ledum palustre (a 


European relative of our Labrador tea) efficacious; 
while mixtures of camphor (1) and paraffin oil (3), 
or of sweet oil (16) and carbolic acid (1), or of creosote 
and glycerin, each has its coterie that swears by it. 
The personal equation seems to cut some figure in 
such matters: what works satisfactorily with some 
people is of no avail with others. A crushed dock 
or caribou leaf gives temporary relief. 

Among the glazes, Nessmuk's recipe, published in 
his Woodcraft, is perhaps as well known and as 
widely used as any. He says this about it: 

I have never known it to fail: 3 oz. pine tar, 2 oz. castor 
oil, 1 oz. pennyroyal oil. Simmer all together over a slow 
fire, and bottle for use. You will hardly need more than a 
2-oz. vial full in a season. One ounce has lasted me six weeks 
in the woods. Rub it in thoroughly and liberally at first, 
and after you have established a good glaze, a little replenish- 
ing from day to day will be sufficient. And don't fool with soap 
and towels where insects are plenty. A good safe coat of this 
varnish grows better the longer it is kept on — and it is cleanly 
and wholesome. If you get your face or hands crocky or 
smutty about the camp-fire, wet the corner of your handker- 
chief and rub it off, not forgetting to apply the varnish at once 
wherever you have cleaned it off. Last summer I carried a 
cake of soap and a towel in my knapsack through the North 
Woods for a seven weeks' tour, and never used either a single 
time. When I had established a good glaze on the skin, it 
was too valuable to be sacrificed for any weak whim connected 
with soap and water . . . It is a soothing and healing appli- 
cation for poisonous bites already received. 

Aside from my personal tests of many dopes, I have 
had some interesting correspondence on this topic 
with sportsmen in various parts of the world. I quote 
from one letter, received last year from Col. Norman 
Fletcher of Louisville: 

Upon the swampy trout streams of Michigan on a warm May 
day . . . when the insects are abundant and %acious . . . 

Fure pine tar is by far the best repellant when properly used, 
give two recipes: 

(1) Pure pine tar 1 ounce, 

Oil pennyroyal 1 " 

Vaselin 3 ounces. 

Mix cold in a mortar. If you wish, you can add 3 per cent, 
carbolic acid to above. Sometimes I make it 1^ oz. ta^. 


(2) Pure pine tar 2 ounces, 

Castor oil 3 " 

Simmer for half an hour, and when cool add 
Oil pennyroyal 1 ounce. 

There are many others of similar nature, but the above are 
as good as any . . . Now as to use of above: apply freely 
and frequently to all exposed parts of person, and do not wash 
off until leaving the place where the pests abound. You can 
wash your eyes in the morning, and wash the palms of your 
hands as often as may be necessary, but if you wish to be 
immune, don't wash any other exposed parts . . . When 
you get accustomed to it you will find some compensating 
comfort ... I have had to contend with mosquitoes, deer- 
flies, black-flies, and midges . . . and have found "dope" 
with tar in it the best. I know that where mosquitoes are not 
very bad, oil of citronella, oil of verbena or of lemon-grass or 
of pennyroyal mixed with vaselin will keep them oft", if the 
mixture is applied frequently. These essential oils are 
quickly evaporated, however, by the heat of the body. Cam- 
phorated oil is also used by some; this is simply sweet oil with 
gum camphor dissolved in it: the camphor is volatile and 
soon evaporates . . . Now I don't much like tar dope be- 
cause I can not wash my face and hands as often as I could 
w ish ; but when it is necessary to get some trout, without being 
worried too much by the insects, I can stand the tar for a few 

The fruit of my own experiments thus far is that tar 
dopes are the most effective ones in comparatively 
cool climates, but that they are of little avail in hot 
countries, because when one perspires freely both by 
night and day, there is no chance for a glaze to be es- 

In the high mountains of North Carolina and ad- 
joining states there are no mosquitoes, at least none 
that sting or bite; but if a man sits 
down on a log, it may be five miles 
from any house, the chance is good that he will arise 
covered with fleas. I have been so tormented by these 
nimble allies of Auld Reekie, when spending a night 
in a herder's cabin on the summit of the Smokies, 
that I have arisen in desperation and rubbed myself 
from head to foot with kerosene. That settled the 
fleas, and almost settled me. Here I may offer a bit 
of a discovery, not copyrighted, that I believe is new: 


fleas can't swim. When you catch one, don't try to 
crush him or examine him {lier, I should say) , but keep 
a tight grip until you get your thumb and finger into 
some water; then let go, and she will sink, and drown, 
and go to meet her reward, which, let us hope, is a 
warm one. 

In northern forests we have several species of flies 
that attack man. The deer-fly or "bull-dog" is a 
small gad-fly that drives her dagger- 
like mandibles into one's skin so vicious- 
ly that she takes out a bit of flesh and 
makes the blood flow freely. The black-fly (Similium 
molestum) is a stout, humpbacked, black termagent 
with transparent wings, from one-sixth to one-quarter 
inch long. This creature is a common nuisance of 
the forests and along the streams of northern New 
England, the Adirondacks, the Lake region, and 
Canada. She keeps busy until late in the afternoon, 
poisoning everything that she attacks, and raising a 
painful lump as big as a dime at every bite. Closely 
related species are the buffalo-gnat and turkey-gnat 
of the South, which sometimes appear in incredible 
numbers, driving animals frantic and setting up an 
inflammatory fever that may prove fatal. Black- 
flies and their ilk are easily driven away by smudges. 

Worst of all flies, though fortunately rare in the 
North (it has been known to reach Canada), is the 
_ . screw- worm fly (Compsomyia macel- 

laria), a bright metallic-green insect 
with golden reflections and four black stripes on the 
upper part of the body. This is a blow-fly which has 
the sickening habit of laying its eggs in wounds, and 
even in the nostrils of sleeping men. Several fatalities 
from this cause have been reported in our country; 
they have been much more numerous in South America. 
The gusanero of tropical America is described by a 
traveler as "a beast of a fly that attacks you, you know 
not when, till after three or four months you know that 
he has done so by the swelling up of the bitten part 
into a fair-sized boil, from which issues a maggot of 
perhaps an inch and a half in length." Another 


Amazonian fly of similar habits is the birni, whose 
larva generates a grub in one's skin that requires care- 
ful extraction, lest it be crushed in the operation, 
"and then," said a native, "gentlemen often go to o 
outro mundo" (the other world). The motuca of 
Brazil has ways similar to those of our black-fly, and, 
like it, can easily be killed with one's fingers. 

While I am on this topic, it may add a little to the 
contentment of those outers who are unable to seek 
^ , , adventure in faraway lands, but must 

irCStS 01 tll6 1 •,i • i_ J J •! 

^ . needs camp withm a hundred miles 

^^^ * or so of home, if I transcribe from the 

pages of a well-known naturalist the following notes 
on some of the impediments to travel in the tropics: 

But the most numerous and most dreaded of all animals in 
the middle Amazons are the insects. Nearly all kinds of 
articulate life here have either sting or bite. The strong trade 
wind keeps the lower Amazons clear of the winged pests; but 
soon after leaving Manaos, and especially on the Maranon 
in the rainy season, the traveler becomes intimately acquainted 
with haK a dozen insects of torture: 

(1) The sanguinary mosquito. . , . There are several 
species, most of them working at night; but one black fellow 
with white feet is diurnal. Doctor Spruce experimented upon 
himself, and found that he lost, by letting the blood-letters have 
their own way, three ounces of blood per day. . . . The 
ceaseless irritation of these ubiquitous creatures makes life 
almost intolerable. The great Cortez, after all his victories, 
could not forget his struggles with these despicable enemies 
he could not conquer. Scorpions with cocked tails, spiders 
six inches in diameter, and centipedes running on all dozens, 
are not haK so bad as a cloud of mosquitoes. . . . 

(2) The pium, or sand-fly, a species of tromhidium called 
mosquito in Peru. It is a minute, dark-colored dipter with 
two triangular, horny lancets, which leave a small, circular red 
spot on the skin. It works by day, relieving the mosquito at 
sunrise. It is the great scourge of the Amazons. Many a 
paradisaic spot is converted into an inferno by its presence. 
There are several species, which follow one another in suc- 
cession through the day, all of them being diurnal. Their 
favorite region is said to be on the Cassiquiare and upper 

(3) The maruim, which resembles the pium. They are 
infinitely numerous on the Jurua. Humboldt estimated there 
were a million to a cubic foot of air where he was. 

(4) The mutuca, called tdbono on the Maraiion {Hadaiis 


lepidotus), resembling a small horse-fly, of a bronze-black 
color, with the tips of the wings transparent, and a formidable 
proboscis. . . . 

(5) The moquim ... a microscopic scarlet acarus, re- 
sembling a minute crab under the glass. It swarms on weeds 
and bushes, and on the skin causes an intolerable itching. An 
hour's walk through the grassy streets of Teffe was sufficient 
to cover my entire body with myriads of moquims, which it 
took a week, and repeated bathing with rum, to exterminate. 

(6) Carapdtos, or ticks {Ixodes), which mount to the tips 
of blades of grass, attach themselves to the clothes of passers- 
by, and bury their jaws and heads so deeply in the flesh that 
it is difficult to remove them without leaving the proboscis 
behind to fret and fester. In sucking one's blood they cause 
no pain; but serious sores, even ulcers, often result. . . . 

These few forms of insect life must forever hinder the settle- 
ment of the valley. . . . Besides these there are ants . . . 
innumerable in species and individuals, and of all sizes, from 
the little red ant of the houses to the mammoth tokandera, an 
inch and a half long. . . . The latter . . . bites fiercely, 
but rarely causes death. . . . Doctor Spruce likens the pain 
to a hundred thousand nettles. . . . On the Tapajos lives 
the terrible fire-ant . . . whose sting is likened to the punc- 
ture of a red-hot needle. The sailbas are not carnivorous, but 
they make agriculture almost impossible. . . . There are 
black and yellow wasps. . . . The large, hairy caterpillars 
should be handled with care, as the irritation caused by the 
nettling hairs is sometimes a serious matter. Cockroaches are 
great pests in the villages. Lice find a congenial home on the 
unwashed Indians of every tribe, but particularly the Andean. 
Jiggers and fleas prefer dry, sandy localities; they are accor- 
dingly most abounding on the mountains. The Pacific slope 
is worthy of being called flea-dom. — Orton, The Andes and 
the Amazons, pp. 484-487. 

The moquim mentioned above answers the descrip- 
tion of our own chigger, jigger, red-bug, as she is vari- 
^ - ously called, which is an entirely different 

^- . beast from the real chigger or chigoe 

of the tropics. I do not know what 
may be the northern limit of these most unlady- 
like creatures, but have made their acquaintance on 
Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania. They are quite at 
home on the prairies of southern Illinois, exist in 
myriads on the Ozarks, and throughout the lowlands 
of the South, and are perhaps worst of all in some parts 
of Texas. The chigger, as I shall call her, is invisible 
on one's skin, unless you know just what to look for. 


Get her on a piece of black cloth, and you can dis- 
tinguish what looks like a fine grain of red pepper. 
Put her under a microscope, and she resembles, as 
Orton says, a minute crab. She lives in the grass, 
and on the under side of leaves, dropping off on the 
first man or beast that comes her way. Then she pros- 
pects for a good place, where the skin is thin and 
tender, and straightway proceeds to burrow, not 
contenting herself, like a tick, with merely thrusting 
her head in and getting a good grip, but going in body 
and soul, to return no more. The victim is not aware 
of what is in store for him until he goes to bed that 
night. Then begins a violent itching, which continues 
for a week or two. I have had two hundred of these 
tormenting things in my skin at one time. 

If one takes a bath in salt water every night before 
retiring, he can keep fairly rid of these unwelcome 
guests; but once they have burrowed underneath 
the skin, neither salt, nor oil, nor turpentine, nor 
carbolized ointment, nor anything else that I have 
tried will kill them, save mercurial ointment or the 
tincture of stavesacre seed, both of which are dan- 
gerous if incautiously used. After much experiment, I 
found that chloroform, dropped or rubbed on each 
separate welt, will stop the itching for about six 
hours. It is quite harmless, and pleasant enough to 
apply. The country people sometimes rub themselves 
with salty bacon-rind before going outdoors, and claim 
that this is a preventive; also that kerosene will do 
as well. If one keeps an old suit of clothes expressly 
for chigger-time, puts the suit in a closet, and fumigates 
it thoroughly with the smoke of burning tobacco stems, 
no chigger will touch him. Alas! that the preventives 
should all be so disagreeable. 

The chigoe or sand-flea of Mexico, Central America, 
and South America, is a larger and more formidable 
J^ . , pest than our little red-bug. It attacks, 

ChVoes preferably, the feet, especially under- 

neath the nail of the great toe, and 
between the toes. The insect burrows there, becomes 
encysted, swells enormously from the development 


of her young, and thus sets up an intolerable itching in 
the victim's skin. If the female is crushed or ruptured 
in the tumor she has formed, the result is likely to be 
amputation of the toe, if nothing worse. She should 
be removed entire by careful manipulation with a 
needle. This chigoe is a native of tropical America, 
but seems to be gradually spreading northward. About 
1872 it was introduced into Africa, and spread with 
amazing rapidity over almost the entire continent. It 
will probably soon invade southern Europe and Asia. 

The wood-ticks that fasten on man are, like the 
chiggers, not true insects, but arachnids, related to 
_,. , the scorpions and spiders. They are 

leathery-skinned creatures of about the 
same size and shape as a bedbug, but of quite different 
color and habits. They "use" on the under side of 
leaves of low shrubs, and thence are detached to the 
person of a passer-by just as chiggers are. They also 
abound in old mulchy wood, and are likely to infest 
any log that a tired man sits on. They hang on like 
grim death, and if you try to pull one out of your skin, 
its head will break off and remain in the epidermis, 
to create a nasty sore. The way to get rid of them is 
to drop oil on the bug, or clap a quid of moistened 
tobacco on her, or touch her with nicotine from a 
pipe, or stand naked in the dense smoke of a green 
wood fire, or use whiskey externally, or hot water, or 
flame; in either case the tick will back its way out. 
Preventive measures are the same as for chiggers. 
The meanest ticks to get rid of are the young, which 
are known as "seed-ticks." They are hard to discover 
until they have inflamed the skin, and then are hard 
to remove because they are so small and fragile. The 
ticks that infest birds, bats, sheep, and horses, are true 
insects, in no wise related to the wood-ticks, dog-ticks, 
and cattle-ticks. The cattle-tick is responsible for the 
fatal disease among cattle that is known as Texas fever. 

The punky or "no-see-um" of the northeastern 
p , . wildwoods, and her cousin the sting- 

ing midge of western forests, are 
minute bloodsuckers that, according to my learned 


friend Professor Comstock, live, "under the bark of 
decaying branches, under fallen leaves, and in sap 
flowing from wounded trees." 

With all due deference to this distinguished entomolo- 
gist, I must aver that they don't live there when I am 
around; they seem particularly fond of sap flowing 
from wounded fishermen. Dope will keep them from 
biting you, but it won't keep them out of your eyes. 
Punkies are particularly annoying about sunset. Oil 
of citronella is the best preventive of their attacks. 

If you want mosquitoes to leave your tent in a 
hurry, explode a little black gunpowder in it. Burning 

T , . insect powder in the tent is also effective, 

Insects in. . . 

p but it is not so prompt nor so sports- 

manlike. The best way, though, is 
to keep them out from the first, by the device men- 
tioned in White's book The Forest: have an inside 
tent of cheese-cloth, which is hung up out of the way 
in the daytime, and can be dropped and made snug 
all around the bottom before you turn in. 

If ants are troublesome about a permanent camp, 
pour kerosene on their runways. They will not cross 
a broad line drawn with chalk or charcoal. Oil of 
sassafras sprinkled about will keep flies and ants out 
of a cabin. The fresh leaves of the Kentucky coffee 
tree, bruised and sweetened, are good to poison flies. 
Black walnut leaves will drive fleas out of a bed; the 
leaves, soaked in water for some hours, then boiled, 
and applied to the skins of horses or other animals, 
will prevent their being worried by flies. To get rid 
of flies, if you have milk, add to 1 pint of milk \ lb. 
of sugar and 2 oz. ground pepper; place in a shallow 
dish; the flies will eat greedily, and choke to death. 

A good smudge is raised by using cedar "cigars," 
made as follows: Take long strips of cedar bark and 
g , bunch them together into a fagot 

six or eight inches in diameter, about 
one strip in three being dry and the others water- 
soaked; bind them with strips of the inner bark of 
green cedar. Ignite one end at the camp-fire, and 
set up two or more such cigars on different sides of 


the camp, according as the wind may shift. Pimky 
wood piled on a bed of coals is also good. The am- 
moniacal vapors from a smudge of dried cow-dung 
is particularly effective. I have elsewhere referred to 
smudges made of dried toadstools; these are peculiarly 
repellent to punkies. A toadstool as large as one's 
two fists will hold fire for six or eight hours. A piece 
of one can be carried suspended by a string around 
one's neck, the burning end out. If the fungus is 
too damp at first, it can soon be dried out before the 

The pain or itching caused by insect bites is quickly 
relieved by rubbing the spot with a lump of indigo, 
or by touching it with glycerin or ammonia, or by 
rubbing a bit of raw onion over it. 

Scorpions are not uncommon as far north as Mis- 
souri. I often used to find them in the neighbor- 
hood of St. Louis — little red fellows 
corpions. about 4 inches long. In the southwest, 

where they abound, they grow to a length of 6 or 7 
inches. They hide by day under flat rocks, in dead 
trees, and in moist, dark places generally, and do their 
foraging at night. They are very belligerent, always 
fighting to the death. They carry their tails curled 
upward and forward, and can only strike upward and 
backward. They are sometimes unpleasantly familiar 
around camp, especially in rainy weather, having a 
penchant for crawling into bedding, boots, coat sleeves, 
trousers' legs, etc. The sting of a small scorpion is 
about as severe as that of a hornet; that of a large 
one is more serious, but never fatal, so far as I know, 
except to small children. After a person is stung a 
few times he is inoculated, and proof against the poison 
thereafter. If you get stung, take a hollow key or small 
tube, press the hollow with force over the puncture, 
causing the poison and a little blood to exude, hold 
firmly in place for several minutes, and, if the scorpion 
was a large one, you have a good excuse for drinking 
all the whiskey you want. Ordinarily a quid of moist 
tobacco locally applied eases the pain and reduces the 
swelling. Tobacco juice, by the way, is fatal to scor- 


pions, tarantulas, and centipedes, and will set a snake 

I first witnessed the leaping powers of a tarantula 
one night when I was alone in a deserted log cabin 
in southern Missouri. The cabin had 
not been occupied for fifteen years, 
and there was no furniture in it. I had scarcely made 
my bed on the board floor when a tornado struck the 
forest. It was a grand sight, but scared me stiff. 
Well, the electric plant was working finely, just then, 
the lightning being almost a continuous glare. A 
tarantula that spread as broad as my hand jumped 
out of the straw that I was lying on and — it was hard 
to tell which was quicker, he or the lightning. 
He seemed disturbed about something. Not being 
able to fight the tornado, I took after the big spider 
with an old stumpy broom that happened to be in the 
cabin. When the broom would land at one side of the 
room, the tarantula would be on the other side. I 
was afraid he would spring for my face, but presently 
he popped into a hole somewhere, and vanished. The 
cabin somehow stuck to terra firma, and I returned to 
my pallet. 

The tarantula's habits are similar to the scorpion's. 
The fangs are in its mouth. The bite is very severe, 
but not fatal to an adult. Cases of men being injured 
by either of these venomous arachnids are extremely 
rare, considering the abundance of the pests in some 
countries, and their habit of secreting themselves in 
clothes and bedding. If you want to see a battle royal, 
drop a scorpion and a tarantula into the same box. 
They will spring for each other in a flash, and both are 
absolutely game to the last. 

p . , I have had no personal experience 

^ * with centipedes. Paul Fountain says: 

The centipedes were an intolerable nuisance for they had 
a nasty habit of hiding among the bed-clothes and under the 
pillows, attracted there to prey on the bugs, as I suppose: one 
evil as a set-off to another. But the centipedes were something 
more than a mere nuisance. It is all very well to be blandly 
told by gentlemen who think they know all about it that the 


bites of centipedes and scorpions are not dangerous. It may 
not be particularly dangerous to have a red-hot wire applied 
to your flesh, but it is confoundedly painful. Yet that is to 
be preferred to a centipede bite, which will not only make you 
dance at the time of infliction, but leave a painful swelling 
for many days after, accompanied by great disturbance of the 



Quand na pas choual, monte hourique; 
Quand na pas hourique, monte cdbri; 
Quand na pas cabri, monte jamhe. 

(When you have no horse, you ride a donkey; 
When you have no donkey, you ride a goat; 
When you have no goat, you ride your legs.) 
— Creole Saying. 

TN walking through a primitive forest, an Indian or 
*• a white woodsman can wear out a town-bred 
athlete, although the latter may be the stronger man. 
This is because a man who is used to the woods has 
a knack of walking over uneven and slippery ground, 
edging through thickets, and worming his way amid 
fallen timber, with less fret and exertion than one 
who is accustomed to smooth, unobstructed paths. 

There is somewhat the same difference between a 
townsman's and a woodsman's gait as there is between 
TT X a soldier's and a sailor's. It is chiefly 

^ J, a difference of hip action, looseness of 

joints, and the manner of planting one's 
feet. The townsman's stride is an up-and-down 
knee action, with rather rigid hips, the toes pointing 
outward, and heels striking first. The carriage is 
erect, the movement springy and graceful, so long as 
one is walking over firm, level footing — but beware 
the banana-peel and the small boy's sliding-place ! 
This is an ill-poised gait, because one's weight falls 
first upon the heel alone, and at that instant the walker 
has little command of his balance. It is an exhausting 
gait as soon as its normally short pace is lengthened by 
so much as an inch. 

A woodsman, on the contrary, walks with a rolling 
motion, his hips swaying an inch or more to the stepping 
side, and his pace is correspondingly long. This hip 


action may be noticed to an exaggerated degree in the 
stride of a professional pedestrian; but the latter walks 
with a heel-and-toe step, whereas an Indian's or sailor's 
step is more nearly flat-footed. In the latter case the 
center of gravity is covered by the whole foot. The 
poise is as secure as that of a rope-walker. The toes 
are pointed straight forward, or even a trifle inward, 
so that the inside of the heel, the outside of the ball 
of the foot, and the smaller toes, all do their share of 
work and assist in balancing. Walking in this manner, 
one is not so likely, either, to trip over projecting roots, 
stones, and other traps, as he would be if the feet 
formed hooks by pointing outward. The necessity is 
obvious in snowshoeing. 

A fellow sportsman, H. G. Dulog, once remarked: 
"If the Indian were turned to stone while in the act of 
stepping, the statue would probably stand balanced on 
one foot. This gait gives the limbs great control over 
his movements. He is always poised. If a stick 
cracks under him it is because of his weight, and not 
by reason of the impact. He goes silently on, and with 
great economy of force. . . . His steady balance 
enables him to put his moving foot down as gently as 
you would lay an egg on the table." 

There is another advantage in walking with toes 
pointing straight ahead instead of outward: one gains 
ground at each stride. I have often noticed that 
an Indian's stride gains in this manner, as well as 
from his rolling motion on the hips. The white man 
acquires this habit, if he ever gets it, but an Indian is 
molded to it in the cradle. If you examine the way in 
which a papoose is bound to its cradle-board, this will 
be made clear. Immediately after birth the infant is 
stretched out on the board, its bowlegged little limbs 
are laid as straight as possible, and the feet are placed 
exactly perpendicular and close together before being 
swaddled. Often the squaw removes the bandages 
and gently drags and works on the baby's limbs and 
spine to make them as straight as possible. Then, in 
rebandaging, care is always taken that the toes shall 
point straight forward. 


The custom of wearing moccasins also increases the 
normal stride beyond what it would be if one wore 

When carrying a pack on your back, do not over- 
exert yourself. Halt whenever your breathing is very 

^ o, . labored or exertion becomes painful. 

Over-Stram. t>. i . .1 ^ . xi . •. 

Rig your pack at the start so that it can 

be flung off whenever you sit down for a moment's 
rest; it pays. Nobody who understands horses would 
think of driving them ahead when they show signs of 
distress, and there is quite as much common sense in 
treating yourself with the same consideration, if you 
want to travel far. Over-exertion is particularly dis- 
astrous in mountain-climbing. 

One who is unused to long marches may get along 
pretty well the first day, but on the second morning it 
p , - will seem as if he could not drag one 

^ foot after the other. This is the time 

when the above remarks do not apply; 
for if one uses the gad and goes ahead he will soon 
limber up. But by the morning of the third day it is 
likely that complications will have set in. The novice 
by this time is worn, not only from unaccustomed 
exertion, but from loss of sleep — for few men sleep 
well the first night or two in the open. He is prob- 
ably constipated from change of diet, and from drink- 
ing too much on the march. More serious still, he 
probably has sore feet. This latter ailment is not so 
much due to his feet being tender at the start as from 
his not having taken proper care of them. Aside from 
the downright necessity of seeing that one's shoes and 
stockings fit well, and that the shoes were well broken 
in before starting, there are certain rules of pedestrian 
hygiene that should be observed from the word "go." 
Every morning before starting, dust some talc powder 
inside your stockings, or rub some vaselin, tallow, or 
soap on the inside of them. Then wash your feet every 
evening, preferably in hot salted water, and, if they feel 
strained, rub them with whiskey. The underwear 
should also be dusted inside with powdered soapstone, 
or otherwise treated like the stockings, at all places 


where the garments are likely to chafe. Socks should 
be washed every other day. 

If a blister has formed on the foot, do not merely 
prick it and squeeze the water out, but thread a needle 
with soft cotton or worsted, draw the latter partly 
through the blister, snip off the ends about one-fourth 
inch from the blister, and leave the thread there to act 
as a drainage tube. Then cover the part with a soft, 
clean rag greased with vaselin, or tallow rubbed up 
with a little whiskey. This will prevent the skin being 
rubbed off, and a consequent painful wound. Corns 
may be removed by a plaster of pine turpentine (not 
spirits, but the raw sap of the tree). 

In warm weather, one's first few days in the open 
air will bring an inordinate thirst, which is not caused 
^, . by the stomach's demand for water, 

but by a fever of the palate. This may 
be relieved somewhat by chewing a green leaf, or by 
carrying a smooth, non- absorbent pebble in the mouth; 
but a much better thirst-quencher is a bit of raw 
onion carried in the mouth. One can go a long time 
without drinking if he has an onion with him; this 
also prevents one's lips from cracking in alkali dust. 

Drink as often as you please, but not very much at 
a time. If the water is cold, sip it slowly so as not to 
chill the stomach. Never try to satisfy thirst by swal- 
lowing snow or ice; melt the snow first by holding it in 
the mouth, if no fire can be made. 

The way to find game, or to get the best of anything 
else that the forest hides, is not to follow well-beaten 
-^ , paths. One must often make his own 

^ . trails, and go where the going is hard- 

est. As he travels through the unbroken 
woods he may come, now and then, to a glade where 
the trees do not crowd each other, where the under- 
growth is sparse, and the view so unobstructed that he 
can see to shoot for a hundred yards in any direction; 
such spots may be about as common, relatively, as are 
safe anchorages and deep-water harbors along the 
coast. But, most of the time, a wanderer in the forest 
primeval must pick a way for his feet over uneven 

Crude, but Comfortable 

Down the Snoiv-ichite Alleys 


ground that is covered with stubs, loose stones, sHppery 
roots, crooked saplings, mixed downwood, and tough, 
thorny vines. He is forever busy seeking openings, 
parting bushes, brushing away cobwebs, fending off 
springy branches, crawling over or under fallen trees, 
working around impenetrable tangles, or trying to find 
a foot-log or a ford. There is no such thing as a short- 
cut. It is beyond the power of man to steer a straight 
course, or to keep up a uniform cadence of his steps. 
Unless the traveler knows his ground there is no telling 
when he may come to a *' windfall" where several acres 
of big timber have been overthrown by a hurricane and 
the great trees lie piled across each other in an awk- 
ward snarl. Or maybe there is an alder thicket or a 
cedar swamp in the way, or a canebrake or a cypress 
slough, or a laurel or rhododendron "slick," wherein 
a man will soon exhaust his strength to no purpose, if 
he be so unwise as to try to force a passage. 

A hrule or burnt- wood is a nasty place to pass through. 
Every foot of ground that is not covered by charred 
snags, or fallen trunks and limbs, bristles with a new 
growth of fireweed, blackberry and raspberry briers, 
young red cherries, white birches, poplars, quaking 
aspens, scrub oaks, or gray pines. Where the fire has 
occurred on one of those barren ridges that was covered 
with dwarfish oaks (post, black, or blackjack), the 
sharp, fire-hardened stubs of limbs protrude, like bayo- 
nets, at the height of one's face, menacing his eyes. An 
old "lumber works," where the trees have been chopped 
out, leaving nothing but stumps, tree-tops, and other 
debris, grows up with the same rank tenants as a burnt- 
wood, and is as mean to flounder through. As a gen- 
eral rule, a mile and a half an hour of actual progress is 
"making good time" in the woods. 

Rivers are often spoken of as having been man's 
natural highways in the days before railroads. This 
,, , was true only to a limited extent. A 

T^. ., few great rivers such as the Hudson, 

the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the Mis- 
souri, were highways for down-stream travel, and smaller 
waterways were, and still are, used in summer in the 



muskeg country of the North, where land travel is im- 
practicable until everything freezes up. But the gen- 
eral rule of aboriginal travel was to keep away from 
streams and follow the ridges between them. This 
rule still holds good when a party travels afoot or with 

Fig. 8. 

pack-train in a country where there are no bridges. A 
glance at the accompanying diagram will show why. 
In this figure, AG represents a river, and CF the 
main divide or summit of watershed separating it from 
another river basin. It is assumed that a party afoot 
or with horses desires to advance from A io G. Evi- 
dently, if they try to follow either bank of the main 
stream, they will have many fords to make, not only 


crossing tributaries here and there, but fording or 
swimming the main stream itself, many times, where 
diffs, bogs, or impenetrable thickets make one of the 
banks impassable. If the region through which the 
river runs is wide bottom-land, the mouths of its tribu- 
taries are likely to be deep, or to run over fathomless 
mud as dangerous as quicksand, and this will neces- 
sitate long detours. The vegetation up to the very 
bank of the river will be exceedingly rank, a wretched 
tangle of bushes, vines, briars, and tall grass, and 
fallen trees will be plentiful and large. At any time a 
heavy rainstorm may send the river out of its banks, 
and the party may find itself marooned where it can 
neither go forward nor backward. On the other hand, 
if the river runs through a mountainous country, it is 
probable that the travelers will come to a canon that 
will compel them to retreat. In any case, the party 
will never have an outlook; it will never know what 
lies beyond the next bend of the river. 

A comparatively easy way around all of these diffi- 
culties is shown by the dotted line ABDEG. Leaving 
the river by a ridge that leads to the main divide, and 
following the crest to a similar abutting ridge that runs 
down to the valley at the objective point, there will be 
no fords to make, the footing will be much better be- 
cause vegetation is thinner on the more sterile, wind- 
swept heights, the fallen trees will be smaller, there will 
be no mud or quicksand or miry bogs, and every here 
and there a coign of vantage will be climbed from 
which a far outlook can be had over the surrounding 

The chief precaution to be observed in trying to 
follow a divide where there is no trail, or where there 
are many intersecting trails, is not to stray off on some 
abutting ridge. Thus, at the points B and D there 
may be in each case a gap between knolls or peaks, and 
the lead to the left might easily be mistaken for the 
main divide. If the party were enticed along either 
of these leads, on account of its trending in the de- 
sired direction, they would soon find themselves in a cul 
de sac. 


The city man's gait, to which I have already referred, 
is pecuHarly exhausting in mountain-cHmbing. He is 
-_ . accustomed to spring from the toe of 

p.. , . the lower foot, in going uphill. That 

throws nearly the whole weight of the 
body upon the muscles of the calf of the leg, a mis- 
adjustment of strain that would soon wear out even a 
native mountaineer. The latter walks uphill with a 
woodsman's gait, planting the whole foot on the ground, 
and swinging or rolling the hip at each stride, thus not 
only gaining an inch or two in his pace, but distribut- 
ing the strain between several groups of muscles. 

In Dent's Mountaineering are given some useful hints 
to climbers that I take the liberty of condensing here: 

In walking up a steep hill, go slowly and steadily. If you 
cannot talk without catching your breath, it is a sure sign that 
you are going too fast. 

If you slip on a loose stone, do not try to recover your lost 
ground quickly, but slip away until your foot is checked a 
few inches below. Thus keep up the rhythm of your footfall. 

On an average mountain, where the slope is tolerably uni- 
form, and the climber has no long journey before him, an 
ascent of 1,000 ft. in an hour is quick walking. In beginning 
a long climb, 800 ft. of vertical ascent in an hour is good work. 
On a good trail, for a moderate distance, 1,500 ft. an hour is 
quick walking. Under favorable conditions a good climber 
can ascend from a height of 7,000 ft. to 14,000 ft. in seven 
hours; at greater altitudes the pace will slacken. 

In descending a mountain, the pace, however slow, should 
be continuous. To remain stationary, even for a moment, not 
only necessitates a fresh start, but demands an adjustment of 
balance which implies an unnecessary outlay of muscular 
effort. To descend rapidly and safely without exertion, a 
certain looseness of joints should be cultivated. On a steep 
slope one should descend sideways, so that the whole length of 
the foot can be planted fairly on any hold that offers. 

A man will never sprain his ankle when he expects to do so 
at any moment, nor will he be likely to slip if he is always 
prepared to fall. 

If you have to cross a deep, rocky ravine or danger- 
ous mountain stream by passing over a high foot-log 
p , or fallen tree, then, if the log is tilted 

at an uncomfortable angle, or if its sur- 
face is wet, or icy, or treacherous with loose bark, or 
if, for any reason, you fear dizziness or faintness, don't 



be ashamed to get down and straddle the log, hunching 
yourself along with hands and thighs. Let your com- 
panions laugh, if they will. It is not nice to break a 
limb or a jaw when you are in a country so rough that 
your comrades may have to pack you out, by each, 
in turn, carrying you on his own back and crawling 
with you. 

When a man ventures into strange woods far from 
settlements, he should blaze a tree here and there 
along his course, and, between the 
blazes, every now and then he should 
bend a green bush over in the direction 
IS going, snapping the stem or clipping it with the 

Breaking a 


hatchet, but letting it adhere by the bark so that the 

Fig. 10. 

under side of the bushy top will "look at him" when 
he returns. The under side of the leaves, being of 
lighter shade than the upper, makes such a bush-sign 
conspicuous in the woods. Marks like these can be 
made without slacking one's pace. Have it mutually 
understood that a single blaze on a tree is always to be 
made on the side away from camp, and that if the side 
toward camp is marked at all it should be with two 
blazes. Even when a man is bewildered he can re- 
member ''A blaze means a-way from; two blazes mean 


Never leave your bed without making sure that you 
have your pocketbook, jackknife, watch, and your 
waterproof matchbox filled. Make a practice of load- 
ing the latter, if it needs it, every night when you wind 
your watch. In cold weather do not leave camp with- 
out your hunting hatchet. If you leave a boat for the 
purpose of hunting along the bank while the boat 
drifts on her way, have it understood by your compan- 
ions that you will blaze a tree on the bank about every 
half mile. Then they can keep on down-stream as long 
as they pass fresh blazes. 

In a treeless country piles of rock or freshly upturned 

earth can be used; or signals that will attract attention 

from a great distance can be made 

^ * with smoke; from one to three smudges 

being made, according to a prearranged code. The 
distress signal with a gun is a shot, a pause, and then 
two shots in quick succession. It is disregarded until 
after, say, 4 p.m., at which hour the campkeeper (in a 
fixed camp) should blow his horn. 

This gunshot code is reversed in some countries. 
Learn what is the custom in the land where you travel; 
but, in any case, have some signal agreed upon so that 
your comrades will understand it. 

All dense woods look much alike. Trees of all 

species grow very tall in a forest that has never been 

cut over, their trunks being commonly 

, ^ straight and slender, with no branches 

within, say, forty feet of the ground. 
This is because they cannot live without sunlight for 
their leaves, and they can only reach sunlight by grow- 
ing tall like their neighbors that crowd around them. 
As the young tree shoots upward, its lower limbs 
atrophy and drop off. To some extent the character- 
istic markings of the trunk that distinguish the differ- 
ent species when they grow in the open, and to a greater 
extent their characteristic habits of branching, are neu- 
tralized when they grow in dense forest. Consequently 
a man who can readily tell one species from another, in 
open country, by their bark and branching habits, 
may be puzzled to distinguish them in aboriginal for- 


est. Moreover, the lichens and mosses that cover the 
boles of trees, in the deep shade of a primitive wood, give 
them a sameness of aspect, so that there is some excuse 
for the novice who says that "all trees look alike " to him. 

The knowledge of trees that can be gained, first 
from books and secondly from studies of trees them- 
selves in city parks or in country wood-lots, must be 
supplemented by considerable experience in the real 
wilderness before one can say with confidence, by 
merely glancing at the bark, "that is a soft maple, and 
the other is a sugar tree." And yet, I do not know 
any study that, in the long run, would be more service- 
able to the amateur woodsman than to get a good 
manual of American trees and then go about identify- 
ing the species in his neighborhood. Having gained 
some facility in this, then let him turn to studying 
peculiarities of individual growth. Such self-training, 
which can be carried out almost anywhere, will make 
him observant of a thousand and one little marks and 
characteristics that are sign-boards and street-numbers 
in the wilds. 

This sort of knowledge has direct bearing upon the 
art of following a course, or retracing one's course, in 
J, , the wilderness. We hear much about the 

J.. . "extraordinary bump of locality," the 

"phenomenal memory of landmarks," 
the "preternatural sense of direction," of certain wood- 
craftsmen. I do not like those phrases, if by them is 
meant that certain men are born with a "gift," a sixth 
sense, that is denied to others. I do not believe that 
any man is a "born woodsman." In the art of wil- 
derness travel, as in other things, some men are more 
adept than others who have had equal advantages, 
and a few possess almost uncanny powers, amounting 
to what we call genius. To my notion this means 
nothing more than that some individuals are quicker 
to observe than others, reason more surely from cause 
to effect, and keep their minds more alert; and I be- 
lieve that this is far more due to their taking unusual 
interest in their surroundings than to any partiality of 
Mother Nature in distributing her gifts. 


After a novice has had some preliminary training 
of the kind I have indicated, so that all things in the 
^, woods no longer look alike to him, he 

„ . will meet another difficulty. His mem- 

ory will be swamped! It is utterly im- 
possible for any man, whether he be red, white, black, 
or piebald, to store up in his mind all the woodland 
marks and signs that one can see in a mile's tramp, to 
say nothing of the infinite diversity that he encounters 
in a long journey. Now, here is just where a skilled 
woodcraftsman has an enormous advantage over any 
and all amateurs. He knows what is common, and 
pays no attention to it; he knows what is uncommon, 
it catches his eye at once, and it interests him, so that 
he need make no effort to remember the thing. This 
disregard for the common eliminates at once three- 
fourths, perhaps nine-tenths, of the trees, plants, rocks, 
etc., from his consideration; it relieves his memory of 
just that much burden. He will pass a hundred birch 
trees without a second glance, until his eye is riveted 
by a curly birch. Why riveted ? Because curly birch is 
valuable. In the bottom lands he will scarcely see a 
sour gum, or a hundred of them; but let him come 
across one such tree on top of the ridge, and he will 
wonder how it chanced to stray so far from home. 
And so on, through all categories of woodland features. 
A woodsman notices such things as infallibly, and with 
as little conscious effort, as a woman notices the crumbs 
and lint on her neighbor's carpet. 

A compass is like a pistol, seldom used, but invalu- 
able in an emergency. Ordinarily a traveler in the 
. . forest does not use a compass — in fact 

^. J- I never knew a native of the wilderness 

who ever used one — he relies chiefly on 
the sun and the general lay of the land to guide him. 
In thick woods, canebrakes, swamps, big thickets, 
and other places where the course is necessarily very 
tortuous, a compass is of no use while one is on the 
march. Wherever the traveler can get an outlook he 
fixes on some landmark in advance, notes how the sun 
strikes him when facing the mark, and thenceforth 


averages up his windings as well as he can. The com- 
pass is only of service when he can no longer see 
the sun, and is in doubt as to the direction he is 
traveling in. 

In the wilderness one never knows when he may 
want to retrace his steps. Hence, when passing any- 




Fig. 11. 

thing that has particularly caught his eye, let him turn 

and see how it looks from the other side. 

To find the sun on a cloudy day : hold a knife-blade 

perpendicularly on the thumb-nail, or on a watch-case, 

P . . . and slowly twirl it around. It will 

^ .. cast a faint shadow, unless the day is 

Guides. J 1 i-ii i ' 

very dark. Choose an open spot in 

the woods for this, rather than under the trees, and 

don't try it near noon, when scarcely any shadow would 

be cast anyway. 

To determine the points of the compass from a 

watch: The watch being set by local (sun) time, then, 

when the sun is shining, turn the face of the watch to 

the sun in such position that the hour-hand shall point 

to the sun. Half-way between the hour-hand and 

12 o'clock will then be the south point. South of the 

equator this would indicate the north point. When 



the sun is near the zenith this method is of little 

To find the pole star: In the constellation of the 
Great Bear, the seven stars called the "Dipper" never 
set. The two stars forming the front of the dipper's 
bowl point toward a conspicuously bright star almost 
in line with them, and higher, which is Polaris, the 
north star. 

When rough-and-ready methods of determining the 
meridian are not precise enough for one's purpose, the 

Fig. 12. To Find the Meridian by Sun. 

following method will be found more accurate than an 
ordinary pocket compass: Level a piece of ground a 
few feet square, and plant in it a straight rod AB, truly 
perpendicular, testing with a plummet. At an hour 
or two before noon (say at 10:30 a.m.) mark accurately 
the extremity C of the shadow BC thrown by the rod, 
the sun being at S. Then from the base 5 as a center, 
with the radius BC, describe with a string a circle CDF 
on the ground. As the sun's altitude increases, the 
shadow of the rod will gradually grow shorter until 
noon, after which'it will grow longer until, when the 
sun has reached the position S', the shadow will again 


reach the circumference of the circle, at D. Divide 
the arc CD into two equal parts, and from E, a point 
equidistant from C to D, draw the line BE. This line 
will approximate closely to the true meridian, E being, 
of course, north, in north latitude. 

When traveling in the dark, torches may be needed. 
If a dead pine tree can be found, chop off one of the 
^ - old stubs of limbs, cutting deep into the 

trunk at the joint, so as to get as much 
of the heavy resinous bulb as you can. Cut a few 
splinters on this big end, if necessary, and light it. 

A bark torch is made by peeling several strips of 
birch bark four or five inches wide; double or fold them 
two or three times if the strips are long, and place 
these bunches in the split end of a stick, for handle. 

A good torch is made by winding cotton yarn or 
rags around a forked stick, in the form of a ball, and 
soaking in oil or melted tallow. 

To make a "pig-afire," cut a piece of fat pork about 
1x1x4 inches, slit each end about 1^ inches, drive a 
sharpened stick through the center of the strip, and 
light the slit ends. It does not last long, but makes a 
good enough temporary flare. 

Southern Indians, when exploring caves, used joints 
of cane filled with deer's tallow and supplied with wicks. 



T^HE chief difficulty in forest travel, especially in 
* flat lands that are heavily timbered, is the lack of 
natural outlooks from which one could get a view of 
distant landmarks. Although there are plenty of marks 
in the woods themselves by which a trained woodsman 
can follow a route that he traversed not long before, 
yet these signs are forever changing, vanishing, being 
superseded by others. Not only do new growths 
spring up, but old ones are swept away, sometimes 
suddenly, as by flood or flre. Hence, when men have 
once picked out a course through the woods that they 
intend to follow again, they leave permanent marks 
along the way for future guidance. The most con- 
spicuous and durable waymarks that can easily be 
made are blazes on the trees. It is of no little conse- 
quence to a traveler in the wilds that he should know 
something about blazes and the special uses made of 
them in the backwoods. 

On a thin-barked tree, a blaze is made by a single 
downward stroke, the axe being held almost parallel 
_ with the trunk; but if the bark is thick, 

an upward and a downward clip must 
be made, perhaps several of them, because, in any 
case, the object usually is to expose a good-sized spot 
of the whitish sap wood of the tree, which, set in the 
dark framework of the outer bark, is a staring mark in 
the woods, sure to attract attention, at least while fresh. 
Outside of white birch forests, white is the most con- 
spicuous color in the woods, until snow falls. 

If a blaze is made merely on the outer bark, it will 
not show so plainly by contrast. This kind of blaze, 


however, may be preferred for some purposes; for ex- 
ample, by a trapper who does not want to call every- 
body's attention to where his traps are set. A bark- 
blaze has the peculiarity that it lasts unaltered, so long 
as the bark itself endures, preserving its original out- 
lines and distinctness, no matter how much the tree 
may grow. But if a wound, however slight, be made 
through the bark into the sap wood of the tree, so that 
the sap, which is the tree's blood, exudes, a healing 
process will at once set in, and the injury, in time, will 
be covered over. So, as soon as a blaze is made that 
exposes the wood, the tree begins at once to cover up 
its scar. This is a slow process. First the edges of 
the cut will widen, then a sort of lip of smoothe new 
inner bark will form, and this will gradually spread 
inward over the gash. Once this new skin has formed, 
the wound will be covered by new annual layers of 
wood, as well as by new outer bark. Years after the 
blaze was made, nothing will show on the surface but 
a slight scar, a sign that takes practised eyes to detect 
and read. 

Old blazes that are completely grown over can only 
be proven by chopping into the wood until they are un- 
covered. The original marks of the axe are then 
plainly visible, and the age of a blaze can be deter- 
mined to within, at most, a few years, by the number 
of rings that have grown over it, except in the case of 
tupelo and winged elm trees, the fiber of which is very 

A blaze always remains at its original height above 
the ground, and, where two or more spots have been 
cut in the same tree, they will always stand at the same 
distance apart. This is because a tree increases its 
height and girth only by building on top of the pre- 
vious growth, not by stretching it. 

An old line of blazes on spruce or pine trees is much 

easier to follow than if made on non-resinous trees, 

^ ,, . because the resin deposited by the ooz- 

Followmg a . , *• 1.1 j 

J. ing sap leaves a very noticeable and 

durable mark. Similarly, when an 

inscription has been penciled or painted on a fresh 


blaze on a pine tree, the sap glazes over the mark and 
makes it almost imperishable. 

In searching out a line of blazes, one should keep his 
eyes glancing horizontally along a plane about breast- 
high, because that is the height at which surveyors 
leave their marks, and others usually follow the cus- 
tom, unless the line has been spotted by a man on 
horseback, or from a boat during time of overflow. 

When a blazed line turns abruptly, so that a person 
following might otherwise overrun it, a long slash is 
made on that side of the tree which faces the new 

It is diflScult to follow a line of blazes when snow is 
falling, because the wind drives the damp flakes against 
the tree, where they adhere, and must be brushed 
away to find the blaze. 

Now, it is often of much consequence to a traveler 
to remember such facts as these. For example, there 
is nothing more common in the annals of misadventure 
than for a novice to stray off on a deer trail, or, in 
southern forests, on a cattle trail, which, although 
seductively plain at first, leads nowhere in particular 
and soon dwindles to nothing. When undecided, look 
for blazes along the path. In heavily timbered regions, 
such as we are now considering, any trail that is, or 
ever has been, used as a highway by white men is al- 
most sure to have been blazed. 

Again, it is often of moment to determine, when one 
strikes a strange trail, what its nature is — for what 
purpose it was made — and thus be able to figure out 
whether it is likely to lead directly to a settlement or 
camp. This ought not to be very difficult when one 
knows what classes of men have preceded him in this 
particular forest. Generally speaking, a line spotted 
in a wide forest that as yet has no farmers' clearings 
is likely to have been made by either (1) a trapper, (2) 
a lumberman or timber-looker, or (3) a surveyor. 
- _, , usually leads from one stream or lake 

-r. to another. The blazes are likely to 

be inconspicuous. The line probably 
meanders a good deal, but not to escape ordinary 


obstacles, not disdaining a steep climb for a short-cut. 
Along its coursie, at intervals of eight or ten miles, 
there are probably rude shanties containing supplies, 
or the ruins of such shacks, if the line is no longer used. 
Such a line does not lead to any settlement, and can 
seldom be of any use to a wayfarer. 

Timber-lookers may or may not leave evidence of 
their wanderings — more likely not, for, like other seek- 
, ers after bonanzas, they may have ex- 

, J . cellent reasons for not doing so. At 

most, they would merely mark the easi- 
est route for a prospective road from the river to some 
"bunch" of timber. Where logging operations have 
already begun, then, wherever a stump stands it will 
not be hard to determine the direction in which the 
logs were twitched to the nearby "lizard road," where 
they were loaded on lizards (forks of timber used as 
sleds), or on wagons, and dragged to the river or saw- 
mill. (I am assuming primitive operations in a re- 
mote wilderness.) The lizard road was blazed when 
first laid out. Logs are never dragged uphill if that 
can be avoided ; consequently the trend of the road will 
be downhill, or on a level. The lizard road will show 
ruts, trees barked along the way by whiffle-trees, and 
other characteristic marks. Once the old lumber- 
camp site is reached, even though it be deserted, 
the signs of an old "tote road" can be discerned, 
leading toward a settlement from which supplies 
were transported. 

.f^ > is always absolutely straight. When it 

- . reaches an impassable obstacle, such as 

a swamp or a cliff, an offset is made to 
right or left; but this offset is also a straight line, at 
right angles, of course, to the main one, the latter being 
continued in the original direction as soon as the ob- 
stacle has been passed. For this, and other reasons 
that presently will appear, a surveyor's line can never 
be mistaken for any other. 

If one understands the merest rudiments of public 
surveying, and has a township map of the locality he 
is in, then, whenever he runs across a section line, he 


can soon tell just where he is, and what is the most 
direct route to any other point in the neighborhood. 
In those parts of the United States that are still wild 
enough to offer attractions to campers, the method of 
numbering, subdividing, and marking township sec- 
tions is usually that adopted by the public land surveys, 
a brief description of which follows: 

The public lands of the United States are generally 
divided into townships of six miles square (23,040 

_ , . - acres), as nearly as convergence of 
Township and .<: „ * x i.- • i. 

(^ ^- meridians allows. A township is sub- 

-. , divided into thirty-six sections, each 

one mile square, as nearly as may be, 

which, as a general rule, are numbered as shown in the 

first diagram here given, and are legally subdivided 

as indicated in the second diagram. 

Starting from an established corner, all trees that 
stand directly on the line of survey have two chops or 
notches cut on each side of them, without any other 
marks whatever. These are called "sight trees" or 
"line trees" (sometimes "fore and aft trees"). Since 
there may not be enough trees actually intercepting 
the line of sight to make such a line conspicuous, a 
sufficient number of other trees standing within not 
more than two rods of the line, on either side of it, are 
blazed on two sides diagonally, or quartering toward the 
line, or coinciding in direction with the line where the 
trees stand very near it. Blazes are not omitted where 
trees two inches or more in diameter are found. 

Bushes on or near the line are bent at right angles 
therewith, and receive a blow with the axe at the usual 
height of blazes from the ground, sufficient to leave 
them in a bent position, but not to prevent growth. 

When the course is obstructed by swamps, lakes, or 
other impassable objects, the line is prolonged across 
by taking the necessary right angle offsets, or by trav- 
erse, etc., until the line is regained on the opposite 
side. At the intersection of lines on both margins, a 
post is set for a witness point, and two trees on oppo- 
site sides of the line are here marked with a blaze and 
notch facing the post; but on the margins of navigable 






































Plan for Numbering Sections of a Township. 




320/1. 1 320A 

N.-5£ ! 

3Z0A. * 
„ , 'Jjf 1 



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■E.'/a. ' <y^^ 



NWJh ' 
80A. ' S.'^^-E-'^^ 




' «J 

20 th. 

\^ I60A 
S.E% ' 




Sections 25, 26, 35 and 36 Divided. 

Plate II. Subdivision of a Township. 


rivers or lakes the trees are marked with the number of 
the fractional section, township, and range. Arabic 
figures are used exclusively. 

The following corners are marked: 

(1) For township boundaries, at intervals of every 
P ^ , six miles. 

(2) For section boundaries, at inter- 
vals of every mile. 

(3) For quarter-section boundaries, at intervals of 
one-half mile (with exceptions). 

(4) Meander corners, wherever lines intersect banks 
of rivers, etc., directed to be meandered. 

Witness corners bear the same marks as those of 
true corners, plus the letters W. C. 

Four different modes of perpetuating corners are 
employed, in the following order of choice: 

(1) Corner trees, when a tree not less than five 
inches in diameter stands immediately in place. 

(2) Stone corners, where procurable. These must 
be at least 14 inches long. Stones 14 to 18 inches long 
are set two-thirds and larger ones three-fourths of 
their length in the ground. 

(3) Posts and witnesses. The latter are trees ad- 
jacent, in opposite directions, each with a smoothe blaze 
facing the corner, with a notch at the lower end, and 
with the number of township, range, and section; be- 
low this, near the ground, on a smoothe blaze are 
marked the letters B. T. ("bearing tree"). Blazes 
may be omitted from smoothe-barked trees. Where 
there are no trees, witness pits are dug, two feet square, 
and at least one foot deep. 

(4) Posts and mounds. A mound is erected around 
the corner post, and a marked stone, or some charcoal, 
or a charred stake, is deposited a foot below the sur- 
face on the side toward which the line runs. 

Township Corner Post. — This projects two feet 
above the ground, the projecting part being squared. 
When the corner is common to four townships, the 
post is set cornerwise to the lines, and on each fiattened 
side is marked the number of the township, range, and 
section, thus: T. 1 S.; R. 2 W.; S. 36. 


This example reading "Township 1 South, Range 2 
West, Section 36." Six notches are cut on each of 
the four edges. 

If the post is on a closing corner, where the line does 
not continue straight ahead, but is offset to allow for 
convergence of meridians, this closing corner being 
common to two townships south of the base line, six 
notches are cut on each of the east, south, and west 
sides, but none on the north, and C. C. ("closing cor- 
ner") is cut on the surface. 

The position of all township corner posts is witnessed 
by four " bearing trees," or pits, or stones. Bearing trees 
are marked like the post; stones are merely notched. 

Section Corners. — When the corner is common to 
four sections, the post is set cornerwise to the lines, 
the numbers of sections being marked on the surfaces 
facing them, and on the northeast face the number of 
township and range is inscribed. All mile-posts on 
township lines have as many notches on the two cor- 
responding edges as they are miles distant from the 
respective township corners. Section posts in the in- 
terior of a township have as many notches on the south 
and east edges as they are miles from the south and 
east boundaries of the township, but none on the north 
and west edges. All section posts are "witnessed" as 
above. Section corner stones are merely notched. 

Quarter-section Corners. — These are merely marked 
^ and "witnessed." 

Red chalk is used to make marks more conspicuous. 

In older sections of the United States, and in Canada, 
other systems of marks may be used; but the general 
principles are much the same. On arriving in a new 
country, it pays to inquire about the methods of mark- 
ing survey lines that are there in vogue. 

Are there any natural signs of direction that will 

give a man his bearings when the sky is obscured ? 

-T ^ , „. This is a question on which there has 

Natural Signs , . ?. • • .i ^ » 

, ^. been much discussion in the sportsmen s 

of Direc- 

press. Every one has heard, for ex- 
ample, that "moss grows thickest on 
the north side of a tree," and nearly every one has heard 


this as flatly contradicted. The general opinion seems 
to be that such signs are "important if true." The 
Indians and white frontiersmen of fiction never have 
any difficulty in finding their way by noting where 
moss grows thickest on the trees; but when our novel- 
reader goes into the woods, compass in hand, and puts 
the thing to actual test, he will probably be disgusted 
to find that, in densely shaded primeval forest, there 
seems to be no regularity in the growth of moss, one 
tree having a thick layer of it on the north side, another 
on the east, another on the south, and so on. He is 
then ready to declare that the old saying is a "fake." 

I shall endeavor to show that there is more in this 
matter than is generally credited. There are certain 
signs of direction that are fairly constant in given 
regions, so that by their help a native, or even a stran- 
ger who has good powers of observation, some patience, 
and a fair knowledge of the life habits of trees and 
plants, can steer his course without a compass, and 
without help from sun or stars. But let us clearly 
understand what is involved in this use of nature's 

No universal rule can be established from such signs 
as the growth of moss on trees, the preponderance of 
branches on one side of a tree, or the direction toward 
which the tips of tall conifers point. Such things are 
modified by prevailing winds, shadows and shelter of 
nearby mountains, depth or sparseness of forest growth, 
and other local conditions. Everywhere exceptions 
will be found; if there were none, it would be child's 
play, not woodcraft, to follow such signs. 

No one sign is infallible. A botanist can tell the 
north side of a steep hill from the south side by exam- 
ining the plant growth; but no one plant of itself will 
tell him the story. So a woodsman works out his 
course by a system of averaging the signs around him. 
It is this averaging that demands genuine skill. It 
takes into account the prevailing winds of the region, 
the lay of the land, the habits of shade-loving and 
moisture-loving plants (and their opposites), the ten- 
dency of certain plants to point their leaves or their 


tips persistently in a certain direction, the growth of 
tree bark as influenced by sun and shade, the nesting 
habits of certain animals, the morning and evening 
flight of birds, and other natural phenomena, depend- 
ing upon the general character of the country traversed. 
Moreover, in studying any one sign, a nice discrimina- 
tion must be exercised. Let us glance at a few ex- 
amples : 

First, as to the time-honored subject of moss — not 
confusing real moss with the parasitic lichens that 
-^ incrust rocks and trees. Moss favors 

^ that part of a tree that holds the most 

moisture; not necessarily the part that 
receives the most moisture, but the part that retains it 
longest. Consequently it grows more abundantly on 
the upper side of a leaning tree than on the under side, 
on rough bark than on smooth bark, on top of project- 
ing burls rather than on the lower side, and in the 
forks of trees, and on their buttressed bases. These 
factors are, of course, independent of the points of the 

Does it follow, then, that exposure has nothing to 
do with the growth of moss ? Not at all. It merely 
follows that a competent woodcraftsman, seeking a 
sign of direction from the moss on trees, would ignore 
leaning trees, uncommonly rough bark, bossy knots, 
forks of limbs, and the bases of tree trunks, just as he 
would give no heed to the growth on prostrate logs. 
He would single out for examination the straight 
shafted old trees of rather smooth bark, knowing that 
on them there would be fairly even lodgment for mois- 
ture all around, and that the wet would evaporate 
least from the north and northeast sides of the tree, 
as a general rule, and, consequently, that on those 
sides the moss would preponderate. He would expect 
to find such difference more pronounced on the edge 
of thick forests than in their densely shaded interior. 
He would give special heed to the evidence of trees 
that were isolated enough to get direct sunlight through- 
out a good portion of the day, while those that were 
in the shade of cliffs or steep mountains so that they 


could only catch the sunbeams in the morning or the 
afternoon would be ruled out of court. 

You see how much more swiftly and surely such a 
man could reach a decision than could one who tried 
to take into account all kinds and conditions of trees, 
regardless of surroundings, and how much less he 
would have to puzzle over contradictory evidence. 
Among a hundred trees he might only examine ten, 
but those ten would be more trustworthy for his pur- 
pose than their ninety neighbors. This is woodcraft 
— the genuine article — as distinguished from the mys- 
terious and infallible "sixth sense" of direction that, I 
think, exists nowhere outside of Leatherstocking Tales. 

A rule that holds good in the main, wherever I have 
had a chance to study it, is that the feathery tip, the 
_,. , topmost little branch, of a towering 

_ .- pine or hemlock, points toward the ris- 

ing sun, that is to say, a little south of 
east. There are exceptions, of course, but I have 
generally found this to be the case in three-fourths of 
the trees examined, leaving out of consideration those 
growing in deep, narrow valleys, or on wind-swept 
crests. I do not know whether it is characteristic of 
all conifers, throughout their ranges; but I commend 
this peculiar phenomenon to travelers, for observation. 

The bark of old trees is generally thicker on the 
north and northeast sides than on the other sides. A 
more reliable indicator of direction, 
though one that a traveler seldom has 
opportunity to test, is the thickness of 
^ * annual rings of wood growth, which is 

more pronounced on the north than on the south side 
of a tree. This has been noted in widely separated 
parts of the earth, and has been known for many cen- 
turies. More than four hundred years ago it was 
mentioned by Leonardo da Vinci, that universal genius 
who was scarcely less celebrated as an engineer and 
scientist than as an artist and litterateur. "The rings 
of trees," wrote Leonardo, "show how many years 
they have lived, and their greater or smaller size shows 
whether the years were damper or drier. They also 


show the direction in which they were turned, because 
they are larger on the north side than on the south, and 
for this reason the center of the tree is nearer the bark 
on the south than on the north side." In 1893 this 
matter was put to a definite test by the New York State 
Forest Commission, which directed its foresters to ex- 
amine the regularity of the northward thickening of 
annual rings in the black spruce of the Adirondacks. 
The foresters examined 700 trees, of varying exposure, 
noting in each case the compass-point toward which 
the longest radius of wood growth pointed. The 
result was: 

North 471 South 1 

Northeast 81 Southeast 

East 106 West 27 

Southwest 6 

Total north and east. . 658 Northwest 8 


Total south and west. . 42 
These figures deserve more than a passing glance. 

Some plants show a decided polarity in their habit 
of growth. The compass-plant or rosin-weed {Sil- 
p phium laciniatum) that once abounded 

p^ on the prairies of the Mississippi valley, 

from Minnesota to Texas, is a con- 
spicuous example. It is a tall plant with long, stiff 
leaves, that do not grow horizontally but with their 
edges perpendicular. Its natural habitat is the open, 
shadeless prairie. If plants are examined that grow 
thus in the open, especially those in the little swales 
where they are not fully exposed to fierce winds, it 
will be found that the great majority of them present 
their radical leaves north and south. The large flower 
heads on short, thick stems point, like the hemlock's 
"finger," to the eastward, and show no such tendency 
to follow the sun towards the west as is characteristic 
of many plants. I have often used the compass- 
plant as a guide, and never was led astray by it; in 
fact, the old settlers on the prairies, if they chanced to 
get lost on a dark night, would get their bearings by 
feeling the leaves of the compass-plant. 


The closely related prairie dock (Silphium terebin- 
thinaceum) and that troublesome weed known as prickly 
lettuce {Laduca scariola), show a similar polarity. 
This characteristic is lost if the plants are grown where 
they receive much shade. Of course, terrestrial mag- 
netism has nothing to do with the polarity of plants; it 
is the sunlight, received on the two sides of the leaves 
alternately, that determines their position. 

I am of the opinion that there are natural compass- 
signs in the forest, and on the plain, that we are igno- 

_ , . , rant of, but that were well known to 

Lost Arts. . . . p 4. c 1, 

savages m a state ot nature, bucn 

men, dependent from childhood upon close observa- 
tion of their environment, but observation urged by 
entirely different motives from those of our naturalists, 
and directed toward different ends, would inevitably 
acquire a woodland lore different from ours, but quite 
as thorough in its own way. That they should de- 
velop keen perceptive faculties is no more remarkable 
than that a carpenter should hit a nail instead of the 
thumb that steadies it. That they should notice and 
study signs that no modern hunter or scientist would 
bother his head about is a matter of course. Unques- 
tionably we have lost many arts of wildcraft that were 
daily practised by our ancestors of the stone age, just 
as we have lost their acquaintance with the habits of 
animals now extinct. Probably no white man of the 
future will ever equal Jim Bridger as a trailer ; and it 
is but natural to suppose that Bridger himself had 
superiors among the savages from whom he learned 
his craft. It is a superficial judgment to rate as an 
old-wives' tale every story of exploits in the past that 
we cannot at present duplicate. However, we need 
not go to novelists to find out how such things were 
done. There is much pleasure to be gained in seek- 
ing to recover some of the lost arts of a primitive age; 
and, I believe, some profit as well. 


Quesla selva selvaggia, aspra e forte! 

"l^THEN a man fixes up his pack and strikes out 
^ ^ alone into strange woods, just for a little ad- 
venture, not caring where he may come out, he may be 
lost all the time, in one sense, but in a better sense he 
is at home all the time. Not for a moment does he 
worry about the future; he is exploring new territory 
— that is all. 

But if one sets out for a certain destination, expect- 
ing to reach it by a given time, and loses the trail, he 
will be anxious at once, and the longer this continues, 
the more it will get on his nerves. Still we would 
hardly call him lost, so long as he retains a good idea 
of the general direction in which he should travel. 

A man is really lost when, suddenly (it is always 
suddenly), there comes to him the thudding conscious- 
ness that he cannot tell, to save his life, whether he 
should go north, east, south, or west. This is an un- 
pleasant plight to be in, at any time; the first time that 
it is experienced the outlook will seem actually des- 
perate. Instantly the unfortunate man is overwhelmed 
by a sense of utter isolation, as though leagues and 
leagues of savage forest surrounded him on all sides, 
through which he must wander aimlessly, hopelessly, 
until he drops from exhaustion and starvation. Nerv- 
ously he consults his compass, only to realize that it is 
of no more service to him now than a brass button. 
He starts to retrace his steps, but no sign of footprint 
can he detect. He is seized with a panic of fear, as 
irrational but quite as urgent as that which swoops 
upon a belated urchin while he is passing a country 


graveyard at night. It will take a mighty effort of will 
to rein himself in and check a headlong stampede. 

In such predicament as this, a man is really in seri- 
ous peril. The danger is not from the wilderness, 
. which, pitiless niggard though it be to 

the weak-minded or disabled, can yet 
be forced to yield food and shelter to him who is able- 
bodied and who keeps his wits about him. No: the 
man's danger is from himself. We hear it said that 
no one ever was lost for more than twenty-four hours 
without suffering a derangement of mind. This is not 
true; thousands of wayfarers have been lost for much 
longer periods than that without losing their self- 
command. But it is literally true that a lost man who 
permits panic to conquer him is likely either to perish 
or to come out of the woods a gibbering idiot. If that 
does happen, it is the victim's own fault. There is no 
valid excuse for an able-bodied man losing heart from 
being lost, so long as he has a gun and ammunition, 
or even a few matches and a jackknife. 

I have heard old woodsmen say that there is no use 
in offering advice to novices about what they should do 
if they get lost, because a lost man is an insane man, 
anyway, and will remember nothing that has been told 
him. From my own experience I know that this is a 
mistake. The first time that I was lost, I was rattled 
and shook all over. Something seemed to tell me that 
camp lay in a certain direction, and I felt the same 
impulse to rush madly toward it that one feels to dash 
for the door when there is a cry of "fire!" in a theater. 
But I did remember what old Barnes had told me: 
"If you get lost, sit down! — sit down and give yourself 
half an hour to think it over." I sat down, and for 
five minutes could not think of anything, except cold, 
and rain, and hunger. Then I got to drawing dia- 
grams on the ground. Making no headway at this, I 
began considering how to pass the night if I remained 
just where I was. This cleared my mind, robbed the 
woods of their spooks, and presently I was myself 
again. Then the actual situation flashed upon me. I 
saw just how I had got into this scrape, and knew that 


if I made a circuit of 200 yards radius I would strike 
the trail. Before this it had seemed at least two miles 
away. Well, I found it, all right. Had I listened to 
the demon of flight, in the first place, I would have 
plunged into one of the worst canebrakes in all Arkan- 
sas, and might have struggled there till I died — all 
within a mile and a half of my own camp. 

I have been lost several times since then — twice in 
canebrakes, twice in the laurel, twice in flat woods, 

Tfi "R' k- ^^*^® ^^ ^°^' ^^^^ above the clouds (in 

the sense that I did not know on which 
side to descend from an aiguille or bare pinnacle of 
rock), and three times in caverns. The latter experi- 
ences were hair-raising, but the others were only inci- 
dents to chuckle over in retrospect, although I have 
scorched the back of more than one coat from lying 
too near a bivouac fire. A bad record, you will say, 
for one who pretends to tell others how to keep from 
getting lost! Well, maybe so; but the fact that I am 
still on deck may be some excuse for offering a little 
counsel as to what to do if you should get lost. 

I do not think that one can get the best of wild life 
if he does not often "go it alone." Men who are in- 
terested in the guiding business may say otherwise. 
If one does go it alone, he may as well take it for granted 
that, sooner or later, he will get lost and have to stay 
out over night, or for several nights, alone. There is 
no man, white or red, who is not liable to lose his bear- 
ings in strange woods if he is the least bit careless. 
If an Indian is seldom at fault as to his course it is be- 
cause he pays close attention to business; he does not 
lose himself in reverie, nor is his mind ever so concen- 
trated on an object of pursuit that he fails to notice 
irregular or uncommon things along the way. And 
yet, even Indians and white frontiersmen sometimes 
get lost. I have been with a first-class woodsman when 
he got mixed up on his own home hunting-ground — 
an overflow from the Mississippi, flooding sixty miles 
inland, had swept away old landmarks, replaced them 
with new ones, and changed the appearance of the 
country; then, subsiding, it had even altered the drain- 


age of the land. In fog or snowstorm anybody can 
get lost. You may take a professional guide from 
New Brunswick, let us say, or from Florida — it matters 
not where — place him in a country where outlooks are 
few, and where the vegetation, the rocks and soil, and 
the general features of the country, are strange to him, 
and, if he does not get lost, it will be because he thinks 
more about avoiding it than he does about anything 
else. Those who scout the idea of their ever losing 
bearings are such as have traveled little in "strange 
londes," or have never ventured far without a native 
guide. Personally, I would rather get lost now and 
then than be forever hanging on to a guide's coat-tail. 
It is a matter of taste. Anyway, I shall never again 
have the willyjigs as I had 'em that first time, when I 
was actually within forty rods of a plain trail. 

There is little excuse for getting lost, in fair weather, 
in a mountainous or undulating country where there 

^ - are plenty of watercourses, unless one 

, . gets on the wrong side of a divide that 


separates two streams which do not run 

into each other. Thus, in Fig. 13, let ABC be a main 
divide, BD a spur to the southward separating two 
streams that eventually flow in opposite directions, and 
let X be the location of the camp. A stranger who 
had spent the day on the upper mountains might 
return toward evening to B, and, thinking to follow 
the creek from / to X, might turn down at e, by mis- 
take, and travel a considerable distance before he real- 
ized that he was going in the wrong direction. 

In flat woods, where the watercourses are few and 
very meandering, the vegetation rank and monoto- 

1^, ^ TTT J nously uniform in appearance, and land- 
Flat Woods. , -^ * ^ ' .^, 

marks rare, a man may return with- 
in 200 yards of his own camp and pass by it, going 
ahead with hurrying pace as he becomes more and 
more anxious. In Fig. 14 a man leaves camp X in the 
morning, going in the direction indicated by the dotted 
line. He consults his compass at intervals during the 
day, tries to allow for his windings, and, returning in 
the evening, strikes the river at Z, If he follows its 



bank in either direction, he is Hkely to spend the night 
alone in the woods. If the camp were at A, and the 
homeward-bound hunter should reach the stream at 


V ^^X 

B, he would be dumfounded to find himself, apparently, 
on the wrong bank of the river. 

Another easy way to get bewildered is as follows : In 
Fig. 14 we will assume that the current runs from A 
toward Z, that a party un- 
familiar with the river is de- 
scending it in a boat, and that 
one of the men leaves the boat 
at A, going ashore to hunt 
along the bank. At X he 
comes to the mouth of a deep 
creek, or some other obstruc- 
tion, or he starts game that 
leads him back into the woods. 
Not long afterward he reaches 
the river again at Z, and, after 
hallooing and firing a shot or 
two, but getting no answer, he 
hurries on down stream, think- 
ing that the boat got ahead of 
him while he was making his detour. The boat, 
meanwhile, has been rounding a great ox-bow curve, 
and may be a couple of miles behind the man ashore. 

Fig. 14. 


In each of these examples the country is assumed 
to be fairly easy to traverse, and in each case the mis- 
adventure might have been avoided by a little fore- 
thought. A bush bent over, here and there, a blaze 
on a tree where the underbrush was dense, would 
have saved all that. Without such precautions, there 
are places where a good man can get badly muddled in 
a forty-acre tract. This is no exaggeration. One of 
my companions was once lost from early morning 
until after nightfall in a thirty-acre patch of blue cane. 
He struggled until almost completely exhausted, and 
when we found him he looked like a scarecrow. At no 
time had he been half a mile from the cabin. 

A canebrake is bad enough, but it is not so bad as 
those great tracts of rhododendron which, in the region 

. , between Clingman Dome and the Bal- 

sam Mountains (Tennessee and North 
Carolina) cover mile after mile of steep mountainside 
where no white man, at least, has ever been. The 
natives call such wastes "laurel slicks," "woolly heads," 
"lettuce beds," "yaller patches," and "hells." The 
rhododendron is worse than laurel, because it is more 
stunted and grows much more densely, so that it is 
quite impossible to make a way through it without 
cutting, foot by foot; and the wood is very tough. 
Two powerful mountaineers starting from the Tennes- 
see side to cross the Smokies were misdirected and 
proceeded up the slope of the Devil's Court House, 
just east of Thunderhead. They were two days in 
making the ascent, a matter of three or four miles, 
notwithstanding that they could see out all the time 
and pursued the shortest possible course. I asked one 
of them how they managed to crawl through the 
thicket. "We couldn't crawl," he replied, "we swum," 
meaning that they sprawled and floundered over the 
top. These men were not lost at all. In another 
slick not very far away, an old hunter and trapper 
who was born and bred in these mountains, was lost 
for three days, although the slick was not more than 
a mile square. His account of it gave it the name that 
it bears to-day, "Huggins's hell." I could give many 


such instances, but these will suffice to show that 

there is still virgin ground in some of our oldest states. 

If one is ambitious in such matters, he might tackle 

the Everglades. Swamps are the worst places of all, 

above ground. 

The first thing that one should do when he realizes 

that he has lost his bearings is to stop and sit down. 

■nri. 4. X Tk Think how long it was since you were 
What to Do. , ® i. 1 .. 

where you were sure oi your location. 

Probably not a long time. One does not go far before 
he realizes that he is off his course. Suppose you have 
traveled half an hour after leaving a known landmark. 
What is half an hour in the woods .^ You are not more 
than three-quarters of a mile from that place. So keep 
your shirt on. Don't take one more step until you 
have recovered your wits so that you can trace on the 
ground with a stick your probable course since leaving 
camp, and mark on it the estimated location of such 
watercourses and other landmarks as you have passed. 
Then make up your mind that if you must stay out all 
night, alone in the woods, it is no killing matter, but 
rather an interesting adventure. Having recovered 
your mental balance, then take note of the lay of the 
land around you, the direction of its drainage, the char- 
acter of its vegetation, and the hospitahties that it 
offers to a night-bound traveler, in the way of drinking- 
water, sound downwood, natural shelter, and browse. 
Then blaze a tree on four sides — make big blazes that 
can be seen from any direction. Do this even though 
there be several hours of daylight ahead, and although 
you have no present intention of staying here; for you 
do know that this spot is only so many hours from 
camp by back trail, and that you may have good rea- 
son to return to it. This blazed tree will be of great 
assistance to your camp-mates in searching for you, if 
you should not turn up before morning. 

If you start out to recover a trail, make bush-marks 
as you go along, for it will otherwise be the easiest 
thing in the worid to lose that blazed tree, and that 
you must not do. In searching for a trail, do not look 
close to your feet, but fifteen or twenty feet ahead of 


you, for a faint trail is more readily seen at that angle 
than by looking straight down upon it. Cast your 
eyes, also, from side to side, bearing in mind what a 
trail ought to look like when you walk parallel with 
it, as well as when approaching at right angles. 

But we will suppose that you find no trail. Now 
try to get an outlook over the surrounding country. In 
P . flat woods this will be difficult. If you 

-^ . , can risk climbing a tall tree, do so. 

Select one that has a slender tree grow- 
ing beside it from which to clamber into the limbs of 
the larger one. If necessary (and you have a hatchet) 
chop partly through one side of the slender tree and 
lodge it against the other. A tree trunk of large girth 
can be climbed by twisting a withe of hickory or other 
tough wood, putting it around the tree, and holding 
the ends. It will assist the feet if you make from some 
part of your clothing a strong band with a loop in each 
end for a stirrup (the feet should fit tightly, so as not 
to slip through), wet the band, fix the feet in the stir- 
rups, spread the legs a little, get your withe in position 
with a good grip as high up as you can reach, then, 
raising your legs, press the band against the tree, some 
inches above the ground, stand in the stirrups, and so 
go clambering up. The descent is in reverse order. 

Having gained your outlook, note the compass direc- 
tion of watercourses and other landmarks, mapping 
them on a bit of paper, for a lost man's memory is 
treacherous. The courses of small streams show where 
the main valley lies. If the creeks are very meander- 
ing, or if their banks are very brushy, look for a divide. 
Decide where to go, take the compass direction, note 
how the sun strikes it, and descend. 

Now, as you travel, make bush-marks and blazes 
along your course. Do not neglect this; for it may be 
important thereafter to return to the place where you 
first realized that you were lost. Consult your com- 
pass every ten minutes, or oftener if the timber and 
underbrush are thick, average up your windings, allow 
for the westward motion of the sun, and steer for your 
destination. Do not venture aside into one of those 


attractive woodland trails that, as Nessmuk says, 
"peters out into a squirrel track, runs up a tree, and 
disappears into a knot-hole." 

No signs nor compass can aid a man if he does not 

know in what direction his destination lies; nor is it 

possible to keep a course by compass 

^ " when the fog is thick or a blizzard is 

raging. In such case, bivouac where 
you are, and wait for clearing weather. This is no 
hardship in warm weather; but when the temperature 
is below freezing, or when an all-night rain is coming, 
it may put one to his trumps. 

Look first for a wind-break — it may be a cliff, a large 
rock, a fallen tree; if you cannot find one ready-made, 
construct one by piling up a two-foot 
wall of rocks, or by driving stakes into 
the ground and piling against them several saplings or 
sticks of downwood five or six inches thick and seven 
feet long. If it threatens to rain, lay some poles over 
this backing, slanting sharply upward and projecting 
over your bed, and shingle them with sheets of bark, 
or with browse, on top of which lay other poles to hold 
the roof in place. The best kinds of bark for such 
purpose are paper birch, basswood, slippery elm, spruce, 
chestnut, pignut hickory, balsam fir, hemlock, white 
elm, white ash, cotton wood. I have never seen a rain- 
proof roof of browse. If one has an axe he can soon 
rive enough boards or slabs from cedar, spruce, arbor- 
vitse, ash, basswood, chestnut, balsam, or other easily 
split wood, to make a good shelter. Build your fire 
on the leeward side of this wind-break and within about 
four feet of it (if the weather be cold). Build this fire 
above the level that you sleep on, for the higher it is 
(within reason) the more good it will do you, and the 
less smoke you will get. Stake a couple of backlogs 
behind the fire. Have ready some evergreen boughs 
to plant in front of you as a screen if the fire gets too 
hot. Now get in plenty of long poles for night-wood, 
make a bed of browse or boughs in front of the wind- 
break, or at least lay some poles or a coupfe of logs 
there, and lie parallel with the fire. A very small fire. 


if it is kept up, will keep a man warm in bitterly cold 
weather if he lies lengthwise with it, close to it, and 
has browse underneath and a log behind him. Such 
preparations take an hour of smart work; hence do 
not struggle on until dark in the hope of finding camp. 

In very cold weather, build a fire first against the 
wind-break. After it has burned down, rake the em- 
bers forward, rebuild the fire in front, spread boughs 
where the first fire was, and lie on them over the hot 
ground. This can be done several times alternately 
through the night. There is no danger whatever of 

If the snow is deep, you must shovel down to the 
ground, using the toe of a snowshoe, or a riven board, 
for a shovel. Dig out a triangular space of about 
seven feet base and eight feet long. At the smaller 
end, which should be downhill, build the fire. Make 
a bed at the upper end. The walls of snow make an 
excellent wind-break all around. If it be snowing, lay 
poles over the wide end and cover with browse. 

On a prairie where there is no wind-break, build 
two fires at right angles to the wind, and get between 
them. The smoke will then have a tendency to blow 
away in columns parallel with your body. 

A hollow log is about the last place I would think 
of crawling into to spend the night. Even though no 
'" snake nor skunk had preempted the den, it would 
surely be alive with insects, and the draught through it 
would be most unwholesome. The Indians of dime 
novels often sleep in hollow logs, but I think they must 
be drunk. 

A standing hollow tree is all right, provided there is 
no prospect of a high wind. I have spread my blanket 
inside a hollow cypress where three men could have 
stretched out at ease. But don't light a fire in such 
a place; the inside of a dead tree is very inflammable. 



But mice and rats, and such small deer. 
Have been Tom's food for seven long year. 

A/I7HEN men go to explore an untracked wilderness, 
^ ^ with no equipment but what they must carry 
on their own backs a good part of the time, there can 
be no such thing as a trifle in their outfit. Every 
article in it, and every part of every article, has weight; 
and that weight, small though it be, should be sternly 
challenged as to whether it is indispensable, whether 
something more essential might not be substituted for 
it. The very buckle on one's belt may some day be 
balanced, in tortured imagination, against its weight 
in meal. 

I have tried several kinds of army emergency rations, 
but have not found any that is suitable for explorers' 
use, save as an accessory. When used continuously 
they make one's stomach rebel. The best of them, I 
think, is the pea-meal sausage that is known by its 
German name of Erhsivurst; but, although it makes a 
good soup or porridge for an occasional quick meal, 
as an article of steady diet it is not as palatable nor as 
wholesome as an equal weight of bacon and hardtack. 

The problem of an emergency ration is not merely 
one of condensing the utmost nutriment into the least 
bulk and weight. One cannot live on Swiss cheese or 
the yolks of hard-boiled eggs, however nutritious they 
may be in theory. The stuff must be digestible; it 
must neither nauseate nor clog the system. When a 
man is faint from hunger his stomach must not be 
forced to any uncommon stunts. And so I hold that 
a half ration of palatable food that is readily assimi- 


lated does more good than a full quota of stuff that 
taxes a man's gastric strength. Military precedent in 
such matters is not a safe guide for explorers, who may 
be cut off from their base of supplies, not for a few 
days only, but for weeks and months at a time. Canned 
meat, for example, is unfit for the human stomach, 
and is likely to sicken the man who persists in using it 
as a steady diet. For those who go far from civiliza- 
tion, the only emergency food worthy the name is such 
as is nutritious and wholesome to a man who has been 
weakened by much toil and fasting, and such as can 
be eaten with relish at the hundredth consecutive serv- 
ing. It is my opinion that the best efforts of army 
commissary and medical departments in this respect 
fall far below the emergency foods that have been used 
by the Indians of North and South America for many 
thousands of years. These latter preparations, in the 
forms of parched meal, jerked meat, and pemmican, 
have also been the mainstays of all our white frontiers- 
men and explorers who became adept in wildcraft. 

The first European settlers in this country were 
ignorant of the ways of the wilderness. Some of them 
had been old campaigners in civilized lands, but they 
did not know the resources of American forests, nor 
how to utilize them. The consequence was that many 
starved in a land of plenty. The survivors learned to 
pocket their pride and learn from the natives, who, 
however contemptible they might seem in other re- 
spects, were past masters of the art of going "light but 
right.'* An almost naked savage could start out alone 
and cross from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, without 
buying or begging from anybody, and without robbing, 
unless from other motives than hunger. This was not 
merely due to the abundance of game There were 
large tracts of the wilderness where game was scarce, 
or where it was unsafe to hunt. The Indian knew the 
edible plants of the forest, and how to extract good 
food from roots that were rank or poisonous in their 
natural state; but he could not depend wholly upon 
such fortuitous findings. His mainstay on long jour- 
neys was a small bag of parched and pulverized maize, 


The Old, Old Storij,- 

But a Good Daif's Luck Lands Them 


a spoonful of which, stirred in water, and swallowed 
at a draught, sufficed him for a meal when nature's 
storehouse failed. 

All of our early chroniclers praised this parched 
meal as the most nourishing food known. In New 
_ 1, /I T England it went by the name of "no- 

cake," a corruption of the Indian word 
nookik. William Wood, who, in 1634, 
wrote the first topographical account of the Massa- 
chusetts colony, says of nocake that "It is Indian corn 
parched in the hot ashes, the ashes being sifted from 
it; it is afterwards beaten to powder and put into a 
long leatherne bag trussed at the Indian's backe like 
a knapsacke, out of which they take three spoonsful a 
day." Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, 
said that a spoonful of nocake mixed with water made 
him "many a good meal." Roger did not affirm, how- 
ever, that it made him a square meal, nor did he men- 
tion the size of his spoon. 

In Virginia this preparation was known by another 
Indian name, "rockahominy " (which is not, as our 
dictionaries assume, a synonym for plain hominy, but 
a quite different thing). That most entertaining of 
our early woodcraftsmen, Colonel Byrd of Westover, 
who ran the dividing line between Virginia and North 
Carolina in 1728-29, speaks of it as follows: 

Rockahominy is nothing but Indian corn parched without 
burning, and reduced to Powder. The Fire drives out all 
the Watery Parts of the Corn, leaving the Strength of it be- 
hind, and this being very dry, becomes much lighter for 
carriage and less liable to be Spoilt by the Moist Air. Thus 
haK a Dozen Pounds of this Sprightful Bread will sustain a 
Man for as many Months, provided he husband it well, and 
always spare it when he meets with Venison, which, as I said 
before, may be Safely eaten without any Bread at all. By 
what I have said, a Man needs not encumber himself with 
more than 8 or 10 Pounds of Provisions, tho' he continue half 
a year in the Woods. These and his Gun will support him 
very well during the time, without the least danger of keeping 
one Single Fast. 

The best of our border hunters and warriors, such 
as Boone and Kenton and Crockett, relied upon this 


Indian dietary when starting on their long hunts, or 
when undertaking forced marches more formidable 
than any that regular troops could have withstood. 
So did Lewis and Clark on their ever-memorable 
expedition across the unknown West. Modern ex- 
plorers who do their outfitting in London or New York, 
and who think it needful to command a small army of 
porters and gun-bearers when they go into savage 
lands, might do worse than read the simple annals of 
that trip by Lewis and Clark, if they care to learn 
what real pioneering was. 

In some parts of the South and West the pulverized 
parched corn was called "coal flour" or "cold flour." 
By the Delawares it was called citamon. The Indians 
of Louisiana gave it the name of gofio. In Mexico it 
is known as pinole (Spanish pronunciation, pee-no-lay; 
English, pie-no-lee). It is still the standby of native 
travelers in Spanish- American countries, and is used 
by those hardy hunters, "our contemporary ancestors," 
in the Southern Appalachians. Quite recently, one of 
my camp-mates in the Great Smoky Mountains ex- 
pressed his surprise that any one should be ignorant 
of so plain a necessity of the hunter's life. He claims 
that no other food is "so good for a man's wind" in 
mountain climbing. 

Some years ago Mr. T. S. Van Dyke, author of The 
Still Hunter and other well-known works on field 
sports, published a very practical article on emergency 
rations in a weekly paper, from which, as it is now 
buried where few can consult it, I take the liberty of 
making the following quotation : 

La comida del desierto, the food of the desert, or pinole, as 
it is generally called, knocks the hind sights off all American 
condensed food. It is the only form in which you can carry 
an ecjual weight and bulk of nutriment on which alone one 
can, if necessary, live continuously for weeks, and even months, 
without any disorder of stomach or bowels. . . . The 
principle of pinole is very simple. If you should eat a break- 
fast of corn-meal mush alone, and start out for a hard tramp, 
you will feel hungry in an hour or two, though at the table the 
dewrinkling of your abdomen may have reached the hurting 
point. But if, instead of distending the meal so much with 
water and heat, you had simply mixed it in cold water and 


drunk it, you could have taken down three times the quantity 
in one-tenth of the time. You would not feel the difference 
at your waistband, but you would feel it mightily in your legs, 
especially if you have a heavy rifle on your back. It works 
a little on the principle of dried apples, though it is quite an 
improvement. There is no danger of explosion; it swells 
to suit the demand, and not too suddenly. 

Suppose, now, instead of raw corn-meal, we make it not only 
drinkable but positively good. This is easily done by parching 
to a very light brown before grinding, and grinding just fine 
enough to mix so as to be drinkable, but not pasty, as flour 
would be. Good wheat is as good as corn, and perhaps better, 
while the mixture is very good. Common rolled oats browned 
in a pan in the oven and run through a spice mill is as good 
and easy to make it out of as anything. A coffee mill may do 
if it will set fine enough. Ten per cent, of popped com ground 
in with it will improve the flavor so much that your children 
will get away with it all if you don't hide it. Wheat and corn 
are hard to grind, but the small Enterprise spice mill will do it. 
You may also mix some ground chocolate with it for flavor, 
which, with popped corn, makes it very fine. . . . Indigesti- 
ble? Your granny's nightcap! . . . You must remember 
that it is "werry fillin' for the price," and go slow with it until 
you have found your coefiicient. . . . 

Now for the application. The Mexican rover of the desert 
will tie a small sack of pinole behind his saddle and start for 
a trip of several days. It is the lightest of food, and in the 
most portable shape, sandproof, bug and fly proof, and every- 
thing. Wherever he finds water he stirs a few ounces in a cup 
(I never weighed it, but four seem about enough at a time for 
an ordinary man), drinks it in five seconds, and is fed for five 
or six hours. If he has jerky, he chews that as he jogs along, 
but if he has not he will go through the longest trip and come 
out strong and well on pinole alone. — Shooting and Fishing, 
Vol. XX, p. 248. 

Not having any spice mill, I pulverize the corn in a 
hominy-mortar, which is only a three-foot cut off of a 
two-foot log, with a hole burnt and gouged in the top, 
and a wooden pestle. The hole in the mortar is of 
smaller diameter at the bottom than at the top, so that 
each blow of the pestle throws most of the corn upward, 
and thus it is evenly pulverized. I often carry a small 
bag of this parched meal when mountaineering. Four 
heaping tablespoonfuls (4 ounces) stirred in a pint of 
water is enough to fill the stomach. A few raisins, or 
a chunk of sweet chocolate or maple sugar, make the 
meal quite satisfactory. Generally I prefer to use 


only half the above quantity at a time, and take it 
oftener during the day. 

"Jerky" or jerked meat has nothing to do with our 
common word "jerk." It is an anglicized form of the 
-. , , Spanish charqui, which is itself derived 

^ . from the Quichua (Peruvian) ccharqui, 

meaning flesh cut in flakes and dried 
without salt. It is the same as the African biltong. 
Those who have not investigated the matter may be 
surprised to learn that the round of beef is 61 per cent, 
water, and that even the common dried and smoked 
meat of the butcher shops contains 54 per cent, water. 
The proportions of water in some other common foods 
are bacon 17 per cent., fat salt pork 8, corn-meal 12^, 
wheat flour 12, wheat bread 35, dried beans 12^, fresh 
potatoes 63. To condense the nutritive properties of 
these substances, the water, of course, must be ex- 
hausted. In ordinary dried beef this is only partially 
done, because the pieces are too thick. To jerk veni- 
son or any other kind of lean meat, proceed as follows : 

If you can afford to be particular, select only the 
tender parts of the meat; otherwise use all of the lean. 
Cut it in strips about half an inch thick. If you have 
time, you may soak them a day in strong brine. If 
not, place the flakes of meat on the inside of the hide, 
and mix with them about a pint and a half of salt for 
a whole deer, or two or three quarts for an elk or moose; 
also some pepper. These condiments are not neces- 
sary, but are added merely for seasoning. Cover the 
meat with the hide, to keep flies out, and let it stand 
thus for about two hours to let the salt work in. Then 
drive four forked stakes in the ground so as to form 
a square of eight or ten feet, the forks being about four 
feet from the ground. Lay two poles across from fork 
to fork, parallel, and across these lay thin poles about 
two inches apart. Lay the strips of meat across the 
poles, and under them build a small fire to dry and 
smoke the meat. Do not let the fire get hot enough 
to cook the meat, but only to partially cook it, so that the 
flesh becomes dry as a chip. The best fuel is birch, espe- 
cially black birch, because it imparts a pleasant flavor. 


This will reduce the weight of the meat about one- 
half, and will cure it so that it will keep indefinitely. 
You may have to keep up the fire for twenty-four 
hours. The meat of an old bull will, of course, be as 
tough as sole leather; but, in any case, it will retain 
its flavor and sustenance. When pounded pretty fine, 
jerky makes excellent soup; but it is good enough as 
it is, and a man can live on it exclusively without 
suffering an inordinate craving for bread. 

In the dry air of the plains, meat does not putrefy, 
even when unsalted, and it may be dried in the sun, 
without fire. Elk flesh dried in the sun does not keep 
as well as that of deer. 

The staple commissary supply of arctic travelers, and 
of hunters and traders in the far Northwest, is pemmi- 
p . can. This is not so palatable as jerky, 

at least when carelessly prepared; but 
it contains more nutriment, in a given bulk, and is 
better suited for cold climates, on account of the fat 
mixed with it. 

The old-time Hudson Bay pemmican was made 
from buffalo meat, in the following manner: First a 
sufficient number of bags, about 2x1 § feet, were made 
from the hides of old bulls that were unfit for robes. 
The lean meat was then cut into thin strips, as for 
jerky, and dried in the sun for two or three days, or 
over a fire, until it was hard and brittle. It was then 
pounded to a powder between two stones, or by a flail 
on a sort of hide threshing-floor with the edges pegged 
up. The fat and marrow were then melted and mixed 
with the powdered lean meat to a paste; or, the bags 
were filled with the lean and then the fat was run in 
on top. After this the mass was well rammed down, 
and the bags were sewed up tight. No salt was used; 

t the pemmican thus prepared would keep sweet 
for years in the cool climate of the North. A piece as 
large as one's fist, when soaked and cooked, would 
make a meal for two men. When there was flour in 
the outfit, the usual allowance of pemmican was 1| to 
1^ pounds a day per man, with one pound of flour 
added. This was for men performing the hardest 


labor, and whose appetites were enormous. Service 
berries were sometimes added. "Officers' pemmican" 
was made from buffalo humps and marrow. 

Pemmican nowadays is made from beef. Bleasdell 
Cameron gives the following details: A beef dressing 
698 pounds yields 47 pounds of first-class pemmican, 
47 pounds of second-class pemmican, and 23 pounds of 
dried meat, including tongues, a total of 117 pounds, 
dried. The total nutritive strength is thus reduced in 
weight to one-sixth that of the fresh beef. Such pem- 
mican costs the Canadian government about forty 
cents a pound, equivalent to six pounds of fresh beef. 

Pemmican is sometimes eaten raw, sometimes boiled 
with flour into a thick soup or porridge called rohihoo; 
or, mixed with flour and water and fried like sausage, 
it is known as rascho. The pemmican made nowadays 
for arctic expeditions is prepared from the round of 
beef cut into strips and kiln-dried untilfriable, then 
ground fine and mixed with beef suet, a little sugar, 
and a few currants. It is compressed into cakes, and 
then packed so as to exclude moisture. 

Ordinary beef extract is not a food. If a man tried 
to subsist on it he would starve to death. But there 
is a way of concentrating much of the 
m""^^*^ nourishment of beef or veal in the form 
^^ • of little cubes of a gluey consistency 

from which a strengthening soup can quickly be pre- 
pared. It is superior to the concentrated soups sold 
in our markets. Take a leg of young beef, veal, or 
venison (old meat will not jelly easily). Pare off every 
bit of fat and place the lean meat in a large pot. Boil 
it steadily and gently for seven or eight hours, until 
the meat is reduced to rags, skimming off, from time 
to time, the grease that arises. Then pour this strong 
broth into a large, wide stew-pan, place it over a mod- 
erate fire, and let it simmer gently until it comes to a 
thick jelly. When it gets so thick that there may be 
danger of scorching it, place the vessel over boiling 
water, and stir it very frequently until, when cold, it 
will have the consistency of glue. Cut this substance 
into small cubes and lay them singly where they can 


become thoroughly dry. Or, if you prefer, run the 
jelly into sausage skins and tie up the ends. A cube 
or thick slice of this glaze, dissolved in hot water, makes 
an excellent soup. A small piece allowed to melt in 
one's mouth is strengthening on the march. This 
is a very old recipe, being mentioned in Byrd's History 
of the Dividing Line, and recommended along with 
rockahominy. The above can be made in camp, when 
opportunity offers, thus laying in enough concentrated 
soup stock to last a month, which is quite convenient, 
as it takes at least half a day to make good soup from 
the raw materials, and these are not always at hand 
when most wanted. 

It has been demonstrated times without number that 
civilized men, no less than savages, can keep in good 
health and perform the hardest kind of work on a diet 
of either meat alone or cereals alone, a cold climate 
being more favorable for the former, and a hot one for 
the latter. 

Personally, if I were going afoot into an uninhabited 
land, I would cut out all utensils save a small aluminum 
pail and a tin cup, and would carry no provisions 
other than some rockahominy in a waterproof silk bag, 
some tea, and a little hoard of salt. I would carry no 
meat at all, for, if by the time my meal was half gone I 
had not found game or fish, it would be time to retreat. 

When a man deliberately stakes his life upon the 
chance of finding food in an unknown land, he should 
«jur , begin early in the game to habituate his 

Straight " digestive organs to whatever nutriment 

the country may afford, thereby hoard- 
ing his packed rations, rather than fall back upon un- 
accustomed food as a last extremity when his stomach 
has been seriously weakened by starvation. He should 
especially get used to living on "meat straight." This 
will at first cause some bowel troubles, as every one 
knows who has partaken freely of venison as soon as 
he got to the woods; but this soon wears off when 
one's system is in a healthy condition. It is a curious 
fact that a man who has been eating nothing but game 
and fish for several months is unable, at first, to as- 


similate the food of civilization when he returns to it. 
Even though he eats more sparingly than his appetite 
demands, he will be troubled with indigestion for a 
week or more; bread and vegetables will lie on his 
stomach like lead, and he will suffer from constipation. 

It goes without saying that men traveling through a 
barren region cannot be fastidious in their definition 
„„ . of "game." All's meat that comes to 

Yi i, a hungry man's pot. A few words here 

may not be amiss as to the edible qual- 
ities of certain animals that are not commonly regarded 
as game, but which merit an explorer's consideration from 
the start; also as to some that are not to be recommended. 

Probably most sportsmen know that 'coon is not 
bad eating, especially when young, if it is properly 
prepared; but how many would think to remove the 
scent-glands before roasting a 'coon.^ These glands 
should be sought for and extracted from all animals 
that have them, before the meat is put in the pot. 
Properly dressed, and, if necessary, parboiled in two 
or three waters, even muskrats, woodchucks, and fish- 
eating birds can be made palatable. Prairie-dog is as 
good as squirrel. The flesh of the porcupine is good, 
and that of the skunk is equal to roast pig. Beaver 
meat is very rich and cloying, and in old animals is 
rank; but the boiled liver and tail are famous tid-bits 
wherever the beaver is found. A man would have to 
be hard pressed to tackle any of the other fur-bearers 
as food, excepting, of course, bear and 'possum. 

The flesh of all members of the cat tribe, wildcats, 
lynxes, and panthers, is excellent. Doctor Hart Mer- 
riam declares that panther flesh is better than any 
other kind of meat. The Englishman Ruxton, who 
lived in the Far West in the time of Bridger and the 
Sublettes and Fitzpatrick, says: "Throwing aside all 
the qualms and conscientious scruples of a fastidious 
stomach, it must be confessed that dog meat takes a 
high rank in the wonderful variety of cuisine afforded 
to the gourmand and the gourmet by the prolific moun- 
tains. Now, when the bill of fare offers such tempting 
viands as buffalo beef, venison, mountain mutton, 


turkey, grouse, wildfowl, hares, rabbits, beaver-tails, 
etc., etc., the station assigned to dog as No. 2 in the 
list can be well appreciated — No. 1 , in delicacy of fla\or, 
richness of meat, and other good qualities, being the 
flesh of panthers, which surpasses every other, and all 
put together." 

Lewis and Clark say of dog flesh: "The greater 
part of us have acquired a fondness for it. ... 
While we subsisted on that food we were fatter, stronger, 
and in general enjoyed better health than at any period 
since leaving the buffalo country." Again they say: 
"It is found to be a strong, healthy diet, preferable to 
lean deer or elk, and much superior to horse flesh in 
any state." They reported that horse flesh was "un- 
wholesome as well as repellant." Many other travel- 
ers and residents in the early West commended dog 
meat; but the animals that they speak of were such 
as had been specially fattened by the Indians for food, 
and not starved and hard-worked sledge animals. 

One who was driven by starvation to eat wolf's flesh 
says that it "tastes exactly as a dirty, wet dog smells, 
and it is gummy and otherwise offensive." But it 
seems that tastes differ, or, more likely, that all wolves 
are not alike. Ivar Fosheim of Sverdrups second 
Norwegian polar expedition says: "They were two 
she-wolves in very much better condition than beasts 
of prey usually are, with the exception of bears. The 
fat really looked so white and good that we felt inclined 
to taste it, and if we did that, we though we might as 
well try the hearts at the same time. Although most 
people will consider this a dish more extraordinary 
than appetizing, I think prejudice plays a large part 
here; as, at any rate, we found the meat far better 
than we expected." 

I am assured by more than one white man who has 
eaten them that the flesh of snakes and lizards is as good 
as chicken or frogs' legs. One of my friends, however, 
draws the line at the prairie rattler. Once when he 
was on the U. S. Geological Survey he came near starv- 
ing in the desert, and had to swallow his scruples along 
with a snake diet. "Probably," he said, "a big, fat 


diamond rattler might be all right, but the little prairie 
rattler is too sweetish foi my taste; it's no comparison 
to puff-adder; puff-adder, my boy, is out of sight!" 

This much I can swallow, by proxy; but when Dan 
Beard speaks approvingly of hellbenders as a side dish, 
I must confess that I'm like Kipling's elephant when 
the alligator had him by the nose: "This is too buch 
for be!" If Dan ever really ate a hellbender he is the 
most reckless dare-devil I ever heard of. 

Another of my acquaintances declares that the 
prejudice against crow (real Corvus) is not well founded. 
The great gray owl is good roasted, despite what it 
may be when "biled." The flesh of the whippoorwill 
is excellent. Turtles' eggs are better than those of 
the domestic fowl (soft-shell turtles deposit their eggs 
on sandbars about the third week in June). 

It is the testimony of gourmets who survived the 
siege of Paris that cats, rats, and mice are the most 
misprized of all animals, from a culinary point of view. 
''Stewed puss," says one of them, "is by far more 
delicious than stewed rabbit. . . . Those who 
have not tasted couscoussou of cat have never tasted 

Anyway, who are we, to set up standards as to the 
fitness or unfitness of things to eat.'* We shudder with 
horror at the idea of eating dog or cat, but of such a 
downright filthy animal as the pig we eat ears, nose, 
feet, tail, and intestines. How about our moldy and 
putrid cheeses, our boiled cabbage and sauerkraut, 
raw Hamburgers, lambfries, and "high" game.^ The 
hardihood of him who first swallowed a raw oyster! 
And if snails are good, why not locusts, dragon flies, 
and grubs? I tell you from experience that when you 
get to picking the skippers out of your pork, and be- 
grudge them the holes they have made in it, you will 
agree that any kind of fresh, wild meat that is not car- 
rion is clean and wholesome. Caspar Whitney, after 
describing his menu of frozen raw meat in the Barren 
Grounds, says: "I have no doubt some of my readers 
will be disgusted by this recital; and as I sit here at 
my desk writing, with but to reach out and press a 


button for dinner, luncheon — what I will — I can hardly 
realize that only a few months ago I choked an Indian 
until he gave up a piece of muskox intestine he had 
stolen from me. One must starve to know what one 
will eat." 

I trust that none of my readers may be cast down by 
reading this somewhat lugubrious chapter. After all, 
it is not so bad to learn new dishes; but think of the 
predicament of that poor wight — he was a mission- 
ary to the Eskimo, I believe — who, being cast adrift 
on an ice floe, and essaying to eat his boots, did incon- 
tinently sneeze his false teeth into the middle of Baf- 
fin's Bay! 

Perhaps the greatest privation that a civilized man 
suffers, next to having no meat, is to lack salt and 
J, - . tobacco. In the old days they used to 

, „ . burn the outside of meat and sprinkle 

gunpowder on it in lieu of salt; but in 
this age of smokeless powder we are denied even that 
consolation. The ashes of plants rich in nitre, such 
as tobacco, Indian corn, sunflower, and the ashes of 
hickory bark, have been recommended. Coville says 
that the ash of the palmate-leaf sweet coltsfoot (Petas- 
ites palmata) was highly esteemed by western Indians 
as a substitute for salt. "To obtain the ash the stem 
and leaves were first rolled up into balls while still 
green, and after being carefully dried they were placed 
on top of a very small fire on a rock, and burned." 
Many Indians, even civilized ones like the Qualla 
Cherokees, do not use salt to this day. Strange to 
say, the best substitute for salt is sugar, especially 
maple sugar or syrup. One soon can accustom him- 
self to eat it even on meat. Among some of the north- 
ern tribes, maple syrup not only takes the place of salt 
in cooking, but is used for seasoning the food after it 
is served. Wild honey, boiled, and the wax skimmed 
off, has frequently served me in place of sugar in my 
tea, in army bread, etc. 

Kinnikinick. ¥^" ^^^ "^^. ^^^^^^^ ^^^ g^ ^ good 

while hungry without much grumbling, 

so long as the weed holds out. 


Thou who, when cares attack, 
Bidd'st them avaunt! and Black 
Care, at the horseman's back 
Perching, unseatest! 

But let tobacco play out, and they are in a bad way! 
Substitutes for it may be divided into those that are a 
bit better than nothing and those that are worse. 
Among the latter may be rated : Tea. Yes, tea is smoked 
by many a poor fellow in the far North ! It is said to 
cause a most painful irritation in the throat, which is 
aggravated by the cold air of that region. Certainly 
it can have no such effect on the nerves as tobacco, for 
it is full of tannin, and tannin destroys nicotin. 

Kinnikinick is usually made of poor tobacco mixed 
with the scrapings or shavings of other plants, although 
the latter are sometimes smoked alone. Chief of the 
substitutes is the red osier dogwood (Cornus stoloni- 
fera) or the related silky cornel (C sericea) commonly 
miscalled red willow. These shrubs are very abun- 
dant in some parts of the North. The dried inner bark 
is aromatic and very pungent, highly narcotic, and 
produces in those unused to it a heaviness sometimes 
approaching stupefaction. Young shoots are chosen, 
or such of the older branches as still keep the thin, red 
outer skin. This skin is shaved off with a keen knife, 
and thrown away. Then the soft, brittle, green inner 
bark is scraped off with the back of the knife and put 
aside for use; or, if wanted immediately, it is left hang- 
ing to the stem in little frills and is crisped before the 
fire. It is then rubbed between the hands into a form 
resembling leaf tobacco, or is cut very fine with a knife 
and mixed with tobacco in the proportion of two of 
bark to one of the latter. 

A more highly prized kinnikinick is made from the 
leaves of the bear-berry or uva-ursi (Ardostaphylos 
uva-ursi), called sacacommis by the Canadian traders, 
who sell it to the northern Indians for more than the 
price of the best tobacco. The leaves are gathered in 
the summer months, being then milder than in winter. 
Inferior substitutes are the crumbled dried leaves of 
the smoothe sumac {Rhus glabra) and the fragrant 

A Strcnj Goo.s-e Wanders Near 

Where Lurl's the Lusty Trout 


sumac (R. aromatica), which, Hke tea, contain so much 
tannin that they generally produce bronchial irrita- 
tion or sore throat. 

In my chapters on Camp Cookery are described many 

processes for cooking without utensils; but, it may be 

w f asked, how could one boil water with- 

°* ]^ out a kettle? There are two ways of 

doing this. One of them, which many 

have heard of, but few have seen, is to 

split a log, chop out of it a trough, pour water in, heat 

a number of stones red hot, pick them up, one at a 

time, with a forked stick (or with one beathed in the 

fire, at its middle, and bent into hairpin shape), and 

drop them one by one into the water. To do this 

successfully, one must choose such stones as will 

neither burst in the fire nor shiver to pieces when 

dropped in the water. 

Another way, which will be news to many, is to boil 
the water in a bucket made of birch bark, heated by 
direct action of the fire. The only difficulty about 
this is in so fastening the sheet of bark, below the 
waterline, that it will not leak. 

Take a thin sheet of birch bark, free from knots or 
"eyes," and make a trough-shaped bucket, as illus- 
trated in another chapter. Pin the folds with green 
twigs below the toaterline. Pour the water in, set the 
bucket on a bed of fresh coals that do not flame, 
pile coals around it up almost to the waterline, and 
let it hum. 

It might seem impossible to melt snow in such a 
bark utensil, but the thing can be done when you know 
how. Place the bucket in the snow before the fire, so 
it will not warp from the heat. In front of it set a 
number of little forked sticks, slanting backward over 
the bucket, and on each fork place a snowball. Thus 
let the snowballs melt into the bucket until the vessel 
is filled above the pins that hold it together. Then set 
the bucket on the coals, and the water will boil in a 
few moments. 



T^HERE is a popular notion that onr Indians in olden 
*- times varied their meat diet with nothing but 
wild roots and herbs. This, in fact, was the case only 
among those tribes that pursued a roving life and had 
no settled abodes, such as the "horse Indians" and 
"diggers" of the Far West — and not all of them. The 
"forest Indians" east of the Mississippi and south of 
the Great Lakes, particularly such nations as the Iro- 
quois and Cherokees, lived in villages and cultivated 
corn, beans, squashes and pumpkins. Still, wild plants 
and roots were often used even by these semi-agricul- 
tural peoples, in the same way that garden vegetables 
are used by us, and, in time of famine or inva- 
sion, they were sometimes almost the sole means of 

To-day, although our wild lands, such as are left, 
produce all the native plants that were known to the 
redmen, there is probably not one white hunter or 
forester in a thousand who can pick out the edible 
plants of the wilderness, nor who would know how to 
cook them if such were given to him. Nor are many 
of our botanists better informed. Now it is quite as 
important, in many cases, to know how to cook a wild 
plant as it is to be able to find it, for, otherwise, one 
might make as serious a mistake as if he ate the vine 
of a potato instead of its tuber, or a tomato vine instead 
of the fruit. 

Take, for example, the cassava or manioc, which is 
still the staple food of most of the inhabitants of trop- 
ical America and is largely used elsewhere. The root 
of the bitter manioc, which is used with the same 
impunity as other species, contains a milky sap that is 


charged with prussic acid and is one of the most viru- 
lent vegetable poisons known to science. The Indians 
somehow discovered that this sap is volatile and can 
be driven off by heat. The root is cleaned, sliced, 
dried on hot metal plates or stones, grated, powdered, 
the starch separated from the meal, and the result is 
the tapioca of commerce, or farina, or Brazilian arrow- 
root, as may be, which we ourselves eat, and feed to 
our children and invalids, not knowing, perchance, 
that if it had not been for the art of a red savage, the 
stuff taken into our stomachs would have caused almost 
instant death. 

Another example, not of a poisonous but of an ex- 
tremely acrid root that the Indians used for bread, 
and which really is of delicious flavor when rightly 
prepared, is the common Indian turnip. Every coun- 
try schoolboy thinks he knows all about this innocent 
looking bulb. He remembers when some older boy 
grudgingly allowed him the tiniest nibble of this sacred 
vegetable, and how he, the recipient of the favor, started 
to say "Huh! 'tain't bad" — and then concluded his 
remark with what we good, grown-up people utter 
when we jab the black-ink pen into the red-ink bottle! 

However, not all of our wild food-plants are acrid 
or poisonous in a raw state, nor is it dangerous for any 
one with a rudimentary knowledge of botany to experi- 
ment with them. Many are easily identified by those 
who know nothing at all of botany. I cannot say that 
all of them are palatable; but most of them are, when 
properly prepared for the table. Their taste in a raw 
state, generally speaking, is no more of a criterion than 
is that of raw beans or asparagus. 

To give a detailed account of the edible wild plants 
of the United States and Canada, with descriptions 
and illustrations sufficing to identify them, would re- 
quire by itself a book at least as large as this. I have 
only space to give the names and edible properties of 
those that I know of which are nativeto, or, as wild plants, 
have become naturalized in the region north of the 
southern boundary of Virginia and east of the Rocky 
Mountains. Besides those mentioned below, there are 


others which grow only in the southern or western states, 
among the more important being the palmetto, palm, 
yam, cacti, aloe, Spanish bayonet, mesquite, wild sago, 
orcoontie, tule plant, western camass, kouse root, bread 
root, screw bean, pimple mallow, manzanita, piiTons, 
juniper nuts, many pine seeds, squaw berry, lycium 
berry — but the list is long enough. Those who wish 
further details should examine the publications of the 
U. S. Department of Agriculture, and especially those 
of one of its officers, Mr. F. V. Coville, who has made 
special studies in this subject. 

I have given the botanical name of every plant cited 
herein, because without it there would be no guarantee 
of identification. The nomenclature adopted is that 
of Britton and Brown in their Illustrated Flora of the 
NoHhern States and Cai%ada (Scribner's Sons, New 
York), which, as it contains an illustration of every 
plant, is of the first assistance to an amateur in identi- 
fying. Wherever Gray's nomenclature differs, it is 
added in parentheses. 

The months named under each plant are those in 
which it flowers, the earlier month in each case being 
the flowering month in the plant's southernmost range, 
and the later one that of the northernmost. In the 
case of wild fruits, the months are those in which the 
fruit ripens. It is necessary to remember that most 
of the edible plants become tough and bitter when 
they have reached full bloom. 


Acorns. — The eastern oaks that yield sweet mast are the 
basket, black jack, bur, chestnut, overcup, post, rock chestnut, 
scrub chestnut, swamp white, and white oaks, the acorns of 
chestnut and post oaks being sweetest; those producing bitter 
mast are the black, pin, red, scarlet, shingle, Spanish, water, 
and willow oaks, of which the black and water oak acorns are 
most astringent. 

None of these can be used raw, as human food, without more 
or less ill effect from the tannin contained. But there are 
tribes of western Indians who extract the tannin from even the 
most astringent acorns and make bread out of their flour. The 
process varies somewhat among difterent tribes, but essentially 
it is as follows : 


The acorns are collected when ripe, spread out to dry in the 
sun, cracked, and stored until the kernels are dry, care being 
taken that they do not mold. The kernels are then pulver- 
ized in a mortar to a fine meal, with frequent siftings to remove 
the coarser particles, untU the whole is ground to a fine flour, 
this being essential. The tannin is then dissolved out by 
placing the flour in a filter and letting water percolate through 
it for about two hours, or until the water ceases to have a 
yellowish tinge. One form of filter is contrived by laying a 
coarse, flat basket or strainer on a pile of gravel with a drain 
underneath. Rather fine gravel is now scattered thickly over 
the bottom and up the sides of the strainer, and the meal laid 
thickly over the gravel. Water is added, little by little, to set 
free the tannin. The meal is removed by hand as much as 
possible, then water is poured over the remainder to get it 
together, and thus little is wasted. The meal by this time has 
the consistency of ordinary dough. 

The dough is cooked in two ways: first, by boiling it in 
water as we do corn-meal mush, the resulting porridge being 
not unlike yellow corn-meal mush in appearance and taste; 
it is sweet and wholesome, but rather insipid. The second 
mode is to make the dough into small balls, which are wrapped 
in green corn leaves. These balls are then placed in hot ashes, 
some green leaves of corn are laid over them, and hot ashes 
are placed on the top, and the cakes are thus baked. 

Acorns possess remarkable fattening power, and their 
nutritive value, when the tannin has been removed, is high. 

(Coville, Cantrib. to U.S. Herbarium, VII, No. 3.— Palmer, 
in Ai}ier. Naturalist, XII, 597. Another method, used by the 
Pomo Indians, who add 5 per cent, of red earth to the dough, 
is described by J. W. Hudson in the Amer. Anthropologist, 
1900, pp. 775-6.) 

Nuts. — Among the Cherokees, and also in Italy and in the 
Austrian Tyrol, I have eaten bread made from chestnuts. 
The Cherokee method, when they have corn also, is to use the 
chestnuts whole, mixing them with enough corn-meal dough to 
hold them together, and then baking cakes of this material 
enclosed in corn husks, like tamales. The peasants of southern 
Europe make bread from the meal of chestnuts alone — the 
large European chestnut, of course, being used. Such bread 
is palatable and nutritious, but lies heavily on one's stomach 
until he becomes accustomed to it. 

Our Indians also have made bread from the kernels of 
buckeyes. These, in a raw state, are poisonous, but when 
dried, powdered, and freed from their poison by filtration, 
like acorns, they yield an edible and nutritious flour. The 
method is to first roast the nuts, then hull and peel them, mash 
them in a basket with a billet, and then leach them. The 
resulting paste may be baked, or eaten cold. 

Hazel nuts, beech nuts, pecans, and wankapins may be used 
like chestnuts. The oil expressed from beech nuts is little 


inferior to the best olive oil for table use, and will keep sweet 
for ten years. The oil from butternuts and black walnuts used 
to be highly esteemed by the eastern Indians, either to mix 
with their food, or as a frying fat. They pounded the ripe 
kernels, boiled them in water, and skimmed off the oil, using 
the remaining paste as bread. Hickory nut oil was easily 
obtained by crushing the whole nuts, precipitating the broken 
shells in water, and skimming off the oily * milk," which was 
used as we use cream or butter. The nut of the ironwood 
(blue beech) is edible. 

The kernel of the long- leaved pine cone is edible and of an 
agreeable taste. Many western pines have edible "nuts." 
Tne acridity of pine seeds can be removed by roastmg. 

All nuts are more digestible when roasted than when eaten 

Abrowhead, Broad-leaved. Swan or Swamp Potato. 
Sagittaria latifolia (S. variabilis). In shallow water; ditches. 
Throughout North America, except extreme north, to Mexico. 
July- Sep. 

Tuberous roots as large as hens' eggs, were an important 
article of food among Indians. Roots bitter when raw, but 
rendered sweet and palatable by boiling. Excellent when 
cooked with meat. Indians gather them by wading and loosen- 
ing roots with their feet, when the tubers float up and are 
gathered. Leaves acrid. 

Arum, Green Arrow. Peltandra Virginica (P. undulata, 
Arum Virginicum) . Swamps or shallow water. Me. and 
Ont. to Mich., south to Fla. and La. May-June. 

Rootstock used by eastern Indians for food, under the name 
oi Taw-ho. Roots very large; acrid when fresh. The method 
of cooking this root, and that of the Golden Club, is thus 
described by Captain John Smith in his Historie of Virginia 
(1624), p. 87: "The chief e root they haue for food is called 
Tockawhoughe. It groweth like a flagge in Marishes. In one 
day a Salvage will gather sufficient for a week. These roots 
are much of the greatnesse and taste of Potatoes. They vse 
to cover a great many of them with Oke leaues and Feme, 
and then cover all with earth in the manner of a Cole-pit 
[charcoal pit]; over it, on each side, they continue a great fire 
24 houres before they dare eat it. Raw it is no better than 
poyson, and being roasted, except it be tender and the heat 
abated, or sliced and dryed in the Sunne, mixed with sorrell 
and meale or such like, it will prickle and torment the throat 
extreamely, and yet in sommer they vse this ordinarily for 

Arum, Water. Wild Calla. {Calla yallustris.) Cold 
bogs. Nova Scotia to Minn., south to Va., Wis., Iowa. 
May- J line. 

Missen bread is made in Lapland from the roots of this 
plant, which are acrid when raw. They are taken up in 
spring when the leaves come forth, are extremely well washed. 


and then dried. The fibrous parts are removed, and the re- 
mainder dried in an oven. This is then bruised and chopped 
into pieces as small as peas or oatmeal, and then ground. 
The meal is boiled slowly, and continually stirred like mush. 
It is then left standing for three or four days, when the acridity 
disappears. (Lankester.) 

Broom-Rape, Louisiana. Orobanche Ludoviciana (Aphyl- 
lon L.). Sandy soil. 111. to N. W. Ty., south to Texas, 
Ariz., Cal. June-Aug. 

"All the plant except the bloom grows under ground, and 
consequently nearly all is very white and succulent. The Pah 
Utes consume great numbers of them in summer. . . . Be- 
ing succulent, they answer for food and drink on these sandy 
plains, and, indeed, are often called sand-food." (Palmer.) 

Bulrush, Great. Mat-rush. Tule-root. Scirpus lacus- 
tris. Ponds and swamps. Throughout North America; also 
in Old World. June-Sep. 

Roots resemble artichokes, but are much larger. Eaten 
raw, they prevent thirst and afford nourishment. Flour made 
from the dried root is white, sweet, and very nutritious. A 
great favorite with the western Indians, who pound the roots 
and make bread of them. When the fresh roots are bruised, 
mixed with water, and boiled, they afford a good syrup. 

Camass, Eastern. Wild Hyacinth. Quamasia hyacyn- 
thia {Camassia Fraseri). In meadows and along streams. 
Pa. to Minn., south to Ala. and Texas. Apr -May. 

Root is very nutritious, with an agreeable mucilaginous 

Golden Club. Orontium aquaticum. Swamps and ponds. 
Mass. to Pa., south to Fla. and La., mostly near coast. Apr- 

The Taw-kee of coast Indians, who liked the dried seeds 
when cooked like peas. The raw root is acrid, but becomes 
edible when cooked like arrow-arum. 

Grass, Drop-seed. Sand Drop-seed. Sporobolus cryp- 
tandrus. Also Barnyard or Cockspur Grass (Panicuvi Crus- 
galli) . 

When the seeds, which are gathered in great quantities by 
western Indians, are parched, ground, mixed with water or 
milk and baked into bread or made into mush, they are of 
good flavor and nutritious. Also eaten dry. 

Grass, Panic. Panicum, several species. 

The ripe seeds are collected, like the above, cleaned by 
winnowing, ground into flour, water added, and the mass is 
kneaded into hard cakes, which, when dried in the sun are 
ready for use. Also made into gruel and mush. 

Grass, Floating Manna. Fanicularia fluitans (Glyceria 

The seeds are of agreeable flavor and highly nutritious 
material for soups and gruels. 

Greenbrier, Bristly. Stretch-berry. Smilax Bona-nox. 


Thickets. Mass. and Kansas, south to Fla. and Texas. 
Apr -July. 

The large, tuberous rootstocks are said to have been used 
by the Indians, who ground them into meal and made bread 
or gruel of it. 

In the South a drink is made from them. 

Greenbeier, Long-Stalked. Smilax Pseudo-China. 
Dry or sandy thickets. Md. to Neb., south to Fla. and 
Texas. March-Aug. 

Bartram says that the Florida Indians prepared from this 
plant "a very agreeable, cooling sort of jelly, which they call 
conte [not to be confounded with coontie or wild sago]; this is 
prepared from the root of the China brier {S77iilax Pseudo- 
China). . . . They chop the roots in pieces which are 
afterwards well pounded in a wooden mortar, then being mixed 
with clean water, in a tray or trough, they strain it through 
baskets. The sediment, which settles to the bottom of the 
second vessel, is afterwards dried in the open air, and is then 
a very fine reddish flour or meal. A small quantity of this, 
mixed with warm water and sweetened with honey, when 
cool, becomes a beautiful, delicious jelly, very nourishing and 
wholesome. They also mix it with fine corn flour, which being 
fried in fresh bear's oil makes very good hot cakes or fritters." 

Ground-Nut. Wild Bean. Indian Potato. Apios Apios 
(A. tuberosa). Moist ground. New Bruns. to Fla., west to 
Minn, and Kan., south to La. July-Sep. 

This is the famous hopniss of New Jersey Indians, the saaga- 
ban of the Micmacs, openauk of Virginia tribes, scherzo of the 
Carolinas, taux of the Osages, and modo of the Sioux, under 
one or other of which names it is frequently met by students 
of our early annals. ' ' In 1654 the town laws of Southampton, 
Mass., ordained that if an Indian dug ground-nuts on land 
occupied by the English, he was to be set in the stocks, and for 
a second offence, to be whipped." The Pilgrims, during 
their first winter, lived on these roots. 

The tubers vary from the size of cherries to that of a hen's 
egg, or larger. They grow in strings of perhaps 40 together, 
resembling conunon potatoes in shape, taste, and odor. When 
boiled they are quite palatable and wholesome. The seeds 
in the pod can be prepared like common peas. 

Indian Turnip. Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Arisoema triphyl- 
lum (Arum triphyllum). Moist woods and thickets. Nova 
Scotia to Florida, west to Minn., Kan., La. April-June. 
Fruit ripe, June-July. 

The root of this plant is so acrid when raw that, if one but 
touch the tip of his tongue to it, in a few seconds that un- 
lucky member will sting as if touched to a nettle. Yet it was 
a favorite bread-root of the Indians. I have found bulbs as 
much as 11 inches in circumference and weighing half a pound. 

Some writers state that the acridity of the root is destroyed 
by boiling, while others recommend baking. Neither alone 


will do. The bulb may be boiled for two hours, or baked as 
long, and, while the outer portion will have a characteristically 
pleasant flavor, half potato, half chestnut, the inner part will 
still be as uneatable as a spoonful of red pepper. The root 
should either be roasted or boiled, then peeled, dried, and 
pounded in a mortar, or otherwise reduced to flour. Then 
if it is heated again, or let stand for a day or two, it becomes 
bland and wholesome, having been reduced to a starchy 
substance resembling arrowroot. Even if the fresh root is 
only grated finely and let stand exposed to air until it is thor- 
oughly dry, the acridity will have evaporated with the juice. 

The roots may be preserved for a year by storing in damp 

It is said that the Indians also cooked and ate the berries. 

Lilt, Tdrk's-Cap. Lilium superbum. Meadows and 
marshes. Me. to Minn., south to N. C. and Tenn. July- 

Lily, Wild Yellow. Canada Lily. Lilium Canadense. 
Swamps, meadows and fields. Nova Scotia to Minn., south 
to Ga., Ala., Mo. June-July. 

Both of these lilies have fleshy, edible bulbs. When green 
they look and taste somewhat like raw green corn on the ear. 
The Indians use them, instead of flour, to thicken stews, etc. 

Lily, Yellow Pond. Spatter-dock. NympfuBa advena 
(Nuphar ad.). Ponds and slow streams. Nova Scotia to 
Rocky Mts., south to Fla., Texas, Utah. Apr.-Sep. 

The roots, which are one or two feet long, grow four or 
five feet under water, and Indian women dive for them. 
They are very porous, slightly sweet, and glutinous. Generally 
boiled with wild fowl, but often roasted separately. Musk- 
rats store large quantities for winter use, and their houses are 
frequently robbed by the Indians. The pulverized seeds of 
the plant are made into bread or gruel, or parched and eaten 
like popcorn. 

Nelumbo, American. Wankapin or Yoncopin. Water 
Chinquapin. Nelumbo lutea. Ponds and swamps. Locally 
east from Ontario to Fla., abundant west to Mich., Ind. Ty., 
La. Jvly-Aug. 

Tubers of root somewhat resemble sweet potatoes, and are 
little inferior to them when well boiled. A highly prized food 
of the Indians. The green and succulent half -ripe seed-pods 
are delicate and nutritious. From the sweet, mealy seeds, 
which resemble hazel nuts, the Indians made bread, soups, 
etc. The ' ' nuts " were first steeped in water, and then parched 
in sand, to easily extricate the kernels. These were mixed 
with fat and made into a palatable soup, or were ground into 
flour and baked. Frequently they were parched without 
steeping, and the kernels eaten thus. 

Orchis, Showy. Orchis spectabilis. Rich woods. New 
Brunsw. to Minn., south to Ga., Ky., Neb. Apr.-June. 


' ' One of the orchids that springs from a tuberous root, and 
as such finds favor with the country people [of the South] in 
the preparation of a highly nourishing food for children." 

Peanut, Hog. Wild peanut. Falcata comosa (Glycine 
cortiosa). Moist thickets. New Brunsw. to Fla., west to 
Lake Superior, Neb., La. Aug -Sep. 

The underground pod has been cultivated as a vegetable. 

Potato, Prairie. Prairie turnip. Indian or Missouri 
Breadroot. The pamme blanche of the voyageurs. Psoralea 
esculenta. Prairies. Manitoba and N. Dak. to Texas. 

The farinaceous tuber, generally the size of a hen's egg, has 
a thick, leathery envelope, easily separable from the smoothe 
internal parts, which become friable when dry and are readily 
pulverized, affording a light, starchy flour, with sweetish, 
turnip-like taste. Often sliced and dried by the Indians for 
winter use. Palatable in any form. 

Rice, Wild. Zizania aquatica. Swamps. New Brunsw. 
to Manitoba, south to Fla., La., Texas. June-Od. 

The chief farinaceous food of probably 30,000 of our 
northern Indians, and now on the market as a breakfast food. 
The harvesting is usually done by two persons working to- 
gether, one propelling the canoe, and the one in the stern 
gently pulling the plants over the canoe and beating off the 
ripe seed with two sticks. The seed, when gathered, is spread 
out for a few hours to dry, and is then parched in a kettle over 
a slow fire for half an hour to an hour, meanwhile being 
evenly and constantly stirred. It is then spread out to cool. 
After this it is hulled by putting about a bushel of the seed into 
a hole in the ground, lined with staves or burnt clay, and beat- 
ing or punching it with heavy sticks. The grains and hulls 
are separated by tossing the mixture into the wind from 
baskets. The grain will keep indefinitely. 

Before cooking, it should have several washings in cold 
water, to remove the smoky taste. It is cooked with game, 
or as gruel, or made into bread, or merely eaten dry. Its 
food value is equal to that of our common cereals. "An acre 
of rice is nearly or quite equal to an acre of wheat in nutri- 
ment." (For details see Bulletin No. 50 of the Bureau of 
Plant Industry, U. S. Dep't. of Agriculture.) 

SiLVERWEED. Wild or Goose Tansy. Goose-grass. Po- 
tentilla Anserina. Shores and salt meadows, marshes and 
river banks. Greenland to N. J., west to Neb.; Alaska, south 
along Rocky Mts. to N. Mex. and Cal. May-Sep. 

Roots gathered in spring and eaten either raw or roasted. 
Starchy and wholesome. When roasted or boiled their taste 
resembles chestnuts. 

Sunflower. Helianihus, many species. Prairies, etc. 
July-Sep. * * The seeds of these plants form one of the staple 


articles of food for many Indians, and they gather them in 
great quantities. The agreeable oily nature of the seeds ren- 
ders them very palatable. When parched and ground they 
are highly prized, and are eaten on hunting excursions. The 
meal or flour is also made into thin cakes and baked in hot 
ashes. These cakes are of a gray color, rather coarse looking, 
but palatable and very nutritious. Having eaten of the bread 
made from sunflowers, I must say that it is as good as much of 
the corn bread eaten by whites." (Pahner.) 

The oil expressed from sunflower seeds is a good substitute 
for olive oil. 

Valerian, Edible. Tobacco-root. Valeriana edulis. Wet 
open places. Ontario to B. C, south to O., Wis., and in 
Rocky Mts. to N. Mex. and Ariz. May-Aug. 

"1 ate here, for the first time, the kooyah or tobacco-root 
{Valeriana edulis), the principal edible root among the Indians 
who inhabit the upper waters of the streams on the western 
side of the [Rocky] mountains. It has a very strong and 
remarkably peculiar taste and odor, which I can compare to 
no other vegetable that I am acquainted with, and which to 
some persons is extremely offensive. . . . To others, how- 
ever, the taste is rather an agreeable one, and I was afterwards 
always glad when it formed an addition to our scanty meals. 
It is full of nutriment. In its unprepared state it is said by the 
Indians to have very strong poisonous qualities, of which it is 
deprived by a peculiar process, being baked in the ground for 
about two days." (Fremont, Exploring Expedition^ 1845, 
p. 135.) 


All of the plants hitherto mentioned are native to 
the regions described. In the following list will be 
found many that are introduced weeds; but a con- 
siderable proportion of these foundlings may now be 
seen in clearings and old burnt tracts in the woods, 
far from regular settlements. Directions for cooking 
greens are given in the chapter on Camp Cookery. 

Adder's-Tongue, Yellow. Dog's-tooth, Violet. Ery- 
thronium Americanum. Moist woods and thickets. Nova 
Scotia to Minn., south to Fla,, Mo., Ark. Mar -May. 

Sometimes used for greens. 

Bean, Wild Kidney. Phaseolus polystachyus (P. per- 
ennis). Thickets. Canada to Fla., west to Minn., Neb., 
La. July-Sep. 

Was used as food by the Indians; the Apaches eat it either 
green or dried. 

Bell WORT. Uvularia perfoliata. Moist woods and thick- 
ets. Quebec and Ont. to Fla. and Miss. May-June. 


The roots of this and other species of Uvularia are edible 
when cooked, and the young shoots are a good substitute for 
asparagus. (Porcher.) 

Brooklime, American. Veronica Americana. Brooks 
and swamps. Anticosti to Alaska, south to Pa., Neb., N. 
Mex., Cal. Avr.-Sep. 

"A salad plant equal to the watercress. Delightful in 
flavor, healthful, anti-scorbutic." (Sci. Amer.) 

Burdock, Great. Cockle-bur. Arctium Lappa. Waste 
places. New Brunsw. to southern N. Y., and locally in the 
interior. Not nearly so widely distributed as the smaller 
common burdock (A. minus). July-Oct. 

A naturalized weed, so rank in appearance and odor that 
nothing but stark necessity could have driven people to ex- 
periment with it as a vegetable. Yet, like the skunk cabbage, 
it is capable of being turned to good account. In spring, the 
tender shoots, when peeled, can be eaten raw like radishes, or, 
with vinegar, can be used as a salad. The stalks cut before 
the flowers open, and stripped of their rind, form a delicate 
vegetable when boiled, similar in flavor to asparagus. The 
raw root has medicinal properties, but the Japanese eat the 
cooked root, preparing it as follows: The skin is scraped or 
peeled off, and the roots sliced in long strips, or cut into pieces 
about two inches long, and boiled with salt and pepper, or 
with soy, to impart flavor; or the boiled root is mashed, made 
into cakes, and fried like oyster plant. 

Charlock. Wild Mustard. Brassica arvensis {B. Sina- 
plstrum). Fields and waste places. Naturalized everywhere. 

Ex-tensively used as a pot-herb; aids digestion. 

Chickweed. Alsine media (Stellaria m.). Waste places, 
meadows, and woods. Naturalized; common everywhere. 

Used like spinach, and quite as good. 

Chicory. Wild Succory. Chichorium Iniybus. Road- 
sides, fields, and waste places. Nova Scotia to Minn., south 
to N. C. and Mo. July-Oct.. 

All parts of the plant are wholesome. The young leaves 
make a good salad, or may be cooked as a pot-herb like 
dandelion. The root, ground and roasted, is used as an 
adulterant of cofiFee. 

Clover. Tri folium, many species. 

The coast Indians of California use clover as a food. The 
fresh leaves and stems are used, before flowering. "Deserves 
test as a salad herb, with vinegar and salt." 

CoMFREY. Symphytum officinale. Waste places. Newf. 
to Minn., south to Md. Naturalized. June- Aug. 

Makes good greens when gathered young. 

Cow Pea. China Bean. Vigna Sinensis. Escaped from 
cultivation. Mo. to Texas and Ga. July-Sep. 

The seeds are edible. 


Cress, Rocket. Yellow Rocket. Bitter Cress. Barba- 
rea Barbarea {B. vulgaris). Fields and waste places. Nat- 
uralized. Labrador to Va., and locally in interior; also on 
Pacific coast. Apr -June. 

The young, tender leaves make a fair salad, but inferior 
to the winter cress. 

Cress, Water. Roripa Nasturtium (Nasturtium offici- 
nale). Brooks and other streams. Nova Scotia to Manitoba, 
south to Va. and Mo. Naturalized from Europe. Apr. -Nov. 

A well-known salad herb. The leaves and stems are eaten 
raw with salt, as a relish, or mixed as a salad. 

Cress, Winter. Scurvy Grass. Barbarea praecox. Waste 
places, naturalized. Southern N. Y., Pa., and southward. 

Highly esteemed as a winter salad and pot-herb; sometimes 

Crinkle-Rooi. Two-leaved Toothwort. Dentaria di- 
phylla. Rich woods and meadows. Nova Scotia to Mmn., 
south to S. Car. and Ky. May. 

The rootstocks are crisp and fleshy, with a spicy flavor like 
watercress. Eaten with salt, like celery. 

Crowfoot, Celery-Leaved or Ditch. Ranunculus 
sceleratus. Swamps and wet ditches, New Brunsw. to Fla., 
abundant along the coast, and locally westward to Minn. 

Porcher cites this as a good example of the destruction of 
acrid and poisonous juices by heating. The fresh juice is so 
caustic that it will raise a blister, and two drops taken inter- 
nally may excite fatal inflammation. Yet the boiled or baked 
root, he says, is edible. When cleansed, scraped and pounded, 
and the pulp soaked in a considerable quantity of water, a 
white sediment is deposited, which, when washed and dried, 
is a real starch. 

Cuckoo-Flower. Meadow Bitter-cress. Cardamine pra- 
tensis. Wet meadows and swamps. Labrador to northern 
N. J., west to Minn, and B. C. Am. -May. 

Has a pungent savor and is used like water cress; occasion- 
ally cultivated as a salad plant. 

Dandelion. Taraxacum Taraxacum {T. officinale). Fields 
and waste places everywhere; naturalized. Jan.-Dec. 

Common pot-herb; also blanched for salad. In boiling, 
change the water two or three times. 

Dock, Curled. Rumex Crispus. Fields and waste places, 
everywhere; naturalized. June- Aug. 

The young leaves make good pot-herbs. The plant pro- 
duces an abundance of seeck, which Indians grind into flour 
for bread or mush. 

Ferns. Many species. 

The young stems of ferns, gathered before they are covered 
with down, and before the leaves have uncurled, are tender, and 
when boiled like asparagus are delicious. 


The rootstocks of ferns are starchy, and after being baked 
resemble the dough of wheat; their flavor is not very pleasant, 
but they are by no means to be despised b}^ a hungry man. 

Fetticus. Corn Salad. Valerianella Locusta. Waste 
places. N. Y. to Va. and La. Naturalized. Apr-July. 

Cultivated for salad and as a pot-herb. The young leaves 
are very tender. 

Flag, Cat-tail. Typha latifolia. Marshes. Through- 
out North America except in extreme north. June-July. 

The flowering ends are very tender in the spring, and are 
eaten raw, or when boUed in water make a good soup. The 
root is eaten as a salad. "The Cossacks of the Don peel oft' 
the outer cuticle of the stalk and eat raw the tender white 
part of the stem extending about 18 inches from the root. It 
has a somewhat insipid, but pleasant and cooling taste." 

Gaelic, Wild or Meadow. Allium Canadense. Moist 
meadows and thickets. Me. to Minn., south to Fla., La., 
Ark. May- J line. 

A good substitute for garlic. "The top bulbs are superior 
to the common onion for pickling." 

Ginseng, Dwarf. Ground-nut. Panax trifolium (Aralia 
trifolia). Moist woods and thickets. Nova Scotia to Ga., 
west to Minn., Iowa, 111. Apr.-June. 

The tubers are edible and pungent. 

HoNEwoRT. Deringa Canadensis (Cryptotcenia C). 
Woods. New Brunsw. to Minn., south to Ga. and Texas. 

In the spring this is a wholesome green, used in soups, etc., 
like chervil. 

Hop. Cannabis saliva. Waste places. New Brunsw. to 
Minn., south to N. C, Tenn., Kansas. Naturalized. July- 

Used for yeast. "In Belgium the young shoots of the plant 
just as they emerge from the ground, are used as aspara- 

Indian Cucumber. Medeola Virginiana. Rich, damp 
woods and thickets. Nova Scotia to Minn., south to Fla. and 
Tenn. May- June. 

"The common name alludes to the succulent, horizontal, 
white tuberous root, which tastes like cucumber, and was in all 
probability relished by the Indians." (Mathews.) 

Jerusalem Artichoke. Canada Potato. Girasole. Top- 
inambour. Helianthus tuherosus. Moist soil. New Brunsw. 
to N. W. Ty., south to Ga. and Ark. "Often occurs along 
roadsides in the east, a relic of cultivation by the aborigines." 

Now cultivated and for sale in our markets. The tubers are 
large, and edible either raw or cooked, tasting somewhat like 
celery root. They are eaten as vegetables, and are also 

Lady's Thumb. English Smartweed. Pohjgonum Persl- 
caria. Waste places throughout the continent, except ex- 


treme north. Naturalized; often an abundant weed. June- 

Used as an early salad plant in the southern mountains. 

Lamb's Quarters. White Pigweed. Chenopodium album. 
Waste places, range universal, like the above. Naturalized. 
June- Sep. 

A fine summer green and pot-herb, tender and succulent. 
Should be boiled about 20 minutes, the first water being thrown 
away, owing to its bad taste. The small seeds, which are not 
unpleasant when eaten raw, may be dried, ground, and made 
into cakes or gruel. They resemble buckwheat in color and 
taste, and are equally nutritious. 

Lettuce, Spanish. Indian or Miner's Lettuce. Clay- 
tonia perfoliata. Native of Pacific coast, but spreading east- 
ward. Apr. -May. 

The whole plant is eaten by western Indians and by whites. 
In a raw state makes an excellent salad ; also cooked with salt 
and pepper, as greens. 

Lupine, Wild. Wild Pea. Lupinus perennis. Dry, 
sandy soil. Me. to Minn., south to Fla., Mo., La. May- 

Edible; cooked like domestic peas. 

Mallow, IVIarsh. Althoeea officinalis. Salt marshes. 
Mass. to N. J. Summer. 

The thick, very mucilaginous root, has familiar use as a 
confection; also used in medicine as a demulcent. May be 
eaten raw. 

Mallow, Whorled or Curled. Malva aerticillata (M. 
crispa). Waste places. Vermont. Naturalized. Summer. 

A good pot-herb. 

Marigold, Marsh. Meadow-gowan. Cowslip. Caltha 
palustris. Swamps and meadows. Newfoundland to S. C, 
west through Canada to Rocky Mts., and south to Iowa. 

Used as a spring vegetable, the young plant being thoroughly 
boiled for greens. The flower buds are sometimes pickled 
as a substitute for capers. 

Beware of mistaking for this plant the poisonous white 
hellebore (Veratrum viride) . 

Meadow Beauty. Deer Grass. Rhexia Virginica. Sandy 
swamps. Me. to Fla., west to north N. Y., 111., Mo., La. 

The leaves have a sweetish, yet acidulous taste. Make a 
good addition to a salad, and may be eaten with impunity. 

Milkweed. Asclepias Syriaca {A. Cornuti). Fields and 
waste places generally. June-Aug. Also other species. 

The young shoots, in spring, are a good substitute for aspara- 
gus. Kalm says that a good brown sugar has been made by 
gathering the flowers while the dew was on them, expressing 
the dew, and boiling it down. 

Mushrooms. The number of edible species is legion. It 


is not difficult to distinguish the poisonous ones, when one has 
studied a good text-book; but no one should take chances with 
fungi untn he has made such study, for a few of the common 
species are deadly, and for some of them no remedy is known. 
A beginner would do well, perhaps, to avoid all of the genus 
Amanita. All mushrooms on the following list are of delicious 

Coprinus comatus. Lactarius volemus. 
Hypholoma appendiculatum. " deliciosus. 

Tricholoma personatum. Russula alutacea. 
Boletus mibaureus. " virescens. 

" hovinus. Cantharellus cibarius. 

" suhsanguineous. Marasmius oreades. 

Clavaria botrytes. Hydnum repandum. 

" cinerea. " caput- MeduscB. 

" incequalis. Morchella esculenta. 

" vermicularis. " deliciosa. 

" pistillaris. 

It would be well for every outer to learn the easily distin- 
guishable beefsteak fungus (Fistidina hepatica) and sulphur 
mushroom (Polyporus sulpkureus) that grow from the trunks 
of old trees and stumps, as they are very common, very large, 
and very "filling." 

Mustard. Brassica, several species. Fields and waste 
places. Naturalized. 

The young leaves are used for greens. 

Nettle. Urtica dioica, and other species; also the Sow 
Thistle, Sonchus oleraceus. Fields and waste places. 

Should be gathered, with gloves, when the leaves are quite 
young and tender. A pleasant, nourishing and mildly aperient 
pot-herb, used with soups, salt meat, or as spinach; adds a 
piquant taste to other greens. Largely used for such purposes 
in Europe. 

Nightshade, Black or Garden. Solarium nigrum. 
Waste places, commonly in cultivated soil. Nova Scotia to 
N. W. Ty., south to Fla. and Texas. Juhj-Oct. 

This plant is reputed to be poisonous, though not to the 
same degree as its relative from Europe, the Woody Night- 
shade or Bittersweet {S. Dulcamara). It is, however, used as 
a pot-herb, like spinach, in some countries, and in China the 
young shoots and berries are eaten. Bessey reports that in 
the Mississippi Valley the little black berries are made into 

Onion, Wild. Allium, many species. Rich woods, moist 
meadows and thickets, banks and hillsides. 

Used like the domestic onions. 

Parsnip, Cow. Masterwort. Heracleum lanatum. Moist 
ground. Labrador to N. C. and Mo., Alaska to Cal. June- 


"The tender leaf and flower stalks are sweet and very agree- 
ably aromatic, and are therefore much sought after [by coast 
Indians] for green food m spring and early summer, before 
the flowers have expanded. In eating these, the outer skin 
is rejected." 

Peppergrass, Wild. Lepidium Virginicuin. Fields and 
along roadsides. Quebec to Minn., south to Fla. and Mexico. 

Like the cultivated peppergrass, this is sometimes used as 
a winter or early spring salad, but it is much inferior to other 
cresses. The spicy pods are good seasoning for salads, 
soups, etc. 

Pigweed, Rough. Beet-root. Amaranthus retroflexus. 
Fields and waste places. Throughout the continent, except 
extreme north. Naturalized. Aug.-Oci. 

Related to the beet and spinach, and may be used for greens. 

Pigweed, Slender. Keerless. Amarantkus hyhridus {A. 
chlorostachys). A weed of the same wide range as the pre- 
ceding. Naturalized. Aug -Oct. 

Expensively used in the South, in early spring, as a salad 
plant, under the name of "keerless." 

Plajvtain, Common. Plantago major. A naturalized w eed 
of general range, like the preceding. May-Sep. 

Used as early spring greens. 

Pleurisy-Root. Asclepias Tuherosa. Dry fields. Me. to 
Minn., south to Fla., Texas, Ariz. June-Sep. 

The tender young shoots may be used like asparagus. I'he 
raw tuber is medicinal; but when boiled or baked it is edible. 

Pokeweed. Phytolacca decandra. A common weed east 
of the Mississippi and west of Texas. Now cultivated in 
France, and the wild shoots are sold in our eastern markets. 

In early spring the young shoots and leaves make an ex- 
cellent substitute for asparagus. 

The root is poisonous (this is destroyed by heat), and the 
raw juice of the old plant is an acrid purgative. The berries 
are harmless. 

Prickly Pear. Opuntia. Several species. Dry, sandy 
soil. Along eastern coast, and on western prairies and plains. 

The ripe fruit is eaten raw. The unripe fruit, if boiled 
ten or twelve hours, becomes soft and resembles apple-sauce. 
When the leaves are roasted in hot ashes, the outer skin, with 
its thorns, is easily removed, leaving a slimy but sweet and 
succulent pulp which sustains life. Should be gathered with 
tongs, which can be extemporized by bending a green stick 
in the middle and beathing it over the fire. 

Primrose, Evening. Onagra biennis {Oenothera h.). 
Usually in dry soil. Labrador to Fla., west to Rocky Mts. 

Young sprigs are mucilaginous and can be eaten as salad. 
Roots have a nutty flavor, and are used in Europe either raw 
or stewed, like celery. 


PuESLANE. Pussley. Portulaca oleracea. Fields and waste 
places. A weed of almost world-wide distribution. Summer. 

This weed was used as a pot-herb by the Greeks and 
Romans, and is still so used in Europe. The young shoots 
should be gathered when from 2 to 5 inches long. May also 
be used as a salad, or pickled. Taste somewhat like string 
beans, with a slight acid flavor. The seeds, ground to flour, 
have been used by Indians in the form of mush. 

Red-Bud. Ceroid Canadensis. 

French-Canadians use the acid flowers of this tree in salads. 
The buds and tender pods are pickled in vinegar. All may 
be fried in butter, or made into fritters. 

Saxifrage, Lettuce. Saxifraga micranthidifolia. In 
cold brooks. Appalachian Mts. from Pa. to N. C. May- 

Eaten by Carolina mountaineers as a salad, under the name 
of "lettuce." 

Shepherd's Purse, Bursa Bursa-pastoris (Capsella B.). 
Fields and waste places everywhere. Naturalized. Jan.- 

A good substitute for spinach. Delicious when blanched 
and served as a salad. Tastes somewhat like cabbage, but 
is much more delicate. 

Skunk Cabbage. Spathyema fcetida (Symplocarpus /.). 
Swamps and wet soil. Throughout the east, and west to 
Minn, and Iowa. Feb.-April. 

The root of this foul-smelling plant was baked or roasted 
by eastern Indians, to extract the juice, and used as a bread- 
root. Doubtless they got the hint from the bear, who is very 
fond of this, one of the first green things to appear in spring. 

Solomon's Seal. Polygonatum biflorum. Woods and 
thickets. New Brunsw. to Mich., south to Fla. and W. Va. 

Indians boiled the young shoots in spring and ate them; 
also dried the mature roots in fall, ground or pounded them, 
and baked them into bread. The raw plant is medicinal. 

Sorrel, Mountain. Oxyria digyna. Greenland to Alas- 
ka, south to White Mts. of N. H. and in Rocky Mts. to Colo. 

A pleasant addition to salads. 

Sorrel, Sheep. Rumex Acetosella. Dry fields and hill- 
sides. Throughout the continent, ejccept in extreme north. 

The leaves are very acid. Young shoots may be eaten as a 
salad. Also used as a seasoning for soups, etc. 

The European sorrels cultivated as salad plants are R. 
Acetosa, R. scutatus, and sometimes R. Patientia. 

Sorrel, White Wood. Oxalis Acetosella. Cold, damp 
woods. Nova Scotia to Manitoba, mts. of N. C, and north 
shore of Lake Superior. May-July. 

Not related to the above. "The pleasant acid taste of the 


leaves, when mixed with salads, imparts an agreeable, re- 
freshing flavor." The fresh plant, or a "lemonade" made 
from it, is very useful in scurvy, and makes a cooling drink for 
fevers. Should be used in moderation, as it contains binoxa- 
late of potash, which is poisonous. Yields the druggist's 
"salt of lemons." 

Storksbill. Pin-clover. Erodium cicutarium. Waste 
places and fields. Locally in the east, abundant in the west. 
April-Sep. Naturalized. 

The young plant is gathered by western Indians and eaten 
raw or cooked. 

Strawberry Elite. Blitinn capitatum (Chenopodium c). 
Dry soil. Nova Scotia to Alaska, south to N. J., 111., Colo., 
Utah, Nev. June- Aug. 

Sometimes cultivated for greens. Used like spinach. 

Trillium. Wake-robin. Beth-root. Trillium eredum; 
also T. undulatum and T. grandiflorum. Woods. Nova 
Scotia to Minn., and south to Fla. April-June. 

The popular notion that these plants are poisonous is in- 
correct. They make good greens when cooked. 

TucKAHOE. Pachyma cocos. A subterranean fungus which 
grows on decaying vegetable matter, such as old roots. 
It is found in light, loamy soils and in dry waste places, but 
not in very old fields or in woodlands. Outwardly it is 
woody, resembling a cocoanut or the bark of a hickory tree. 
The inside is a compact, white, fleshy mass, moist and yielding 
when fresh, but in drying it becomes very hard, cracking from 
within. It contains no starch, but is composed largely of 
pectose. The Indians made bread of it, and it is sometimes 
caUed Indian Bread. (For details, see an article by Prof. J. 
H. Gore in Smithsonian Report, 1881, pp. 687-701.) 

Unicorn Plant. Martynia Louisiana (M. proboscidea) . 
Waste places. Me. to N. J. and N. C. Native in Mississippi 
Valley from Iowa and 111. southward. July-Sep. 

Cultivated in some places. The seed-pods, while yet tender, 
make excellent pickles. The Apaches gather the half-ripe 
pods of a related species and use them for food. 

Vetch, Milk. Astragalus, several species. Prairies. 

Used as food by the Indians. The pea is huUed and 

Violet, Early Blue. Viola palmata. Dry soil, mostly 
in -woods. Me. to Minn., south to Ga. and Ark. April- 

The plant is very mucilaginous, and is employed by negroes 
for thickening soup, under the name of "wild okra." (Por- 

Waterle.vf. Hydrophyllum Virginicum. Woods. Que- 
bec to Alaska, south to S. C., Kan., Wash. May-Aug. 

"Furnishes good greens. Reappears after being picked off, 
and does not become woody for a long time." 



It would extend this chapter beyond reasonable 
limits if I were to give details of all the wild fruits 
native to the region here considered. As fruits may be 
eaten raw, or require no special treatment in cooking, 
a mere list of them, with the time of ripening, must 
suffice : 

Carolina Buckthorn. Rhamnus Caroliniana. Sep. 

Woolly-leaved Buckthorn. Bumelia languinosa. June- 

Buffalo-berry. Lepargyrcea argentea. July-Aug. 

American Barberry. Berberis Canadensis. Aug.-Sep. 

Common Barberry. Berberis vulgaris. Sep. Naturalized. 

Bailey's Blackberry. Rubus Baileyanus. 

Bristly Blackberry. R. setosus. 

Dewberry. R. Canadensis. June- July. 

High Bush Blackberry. jR. villosiis. July-Aug. 

Hispid Blackberry. R. hispidus. Aug. 

Low Bush Blackberry. R. trivialis. 

Millspaugh's Blackberry. R. Millspaughii. Aug.-Sep. 

Mountain Blackberry. R. Alleghaniensis. Aug.-Sep. 

Sand Blackberry. R. Cuneijolius. Jidy-Aug. 

Dwarf Bilberry. Vaccinium caespitosum. Aug. 

Great Bilberry. V. uliginosum. July-Aug. 

Oval-leaved Bilberry. V. ovalifolium. July-Aug. 

Thin-leaved BUberry. V. membranaceum. July-Aug. 

Black Blueberry. ^^. atrococcuvi. Jidy-Aug. 

Canada Blueberry. V. Canadense. July-Aug. 

Dwarf Blueberry. V. Pennsylvanicum. June-July. 

High Bush Blueberry. V. corymbosum. July-Aug. 

Low Blueberry. V. vacillans. July-Aug. 

Low Black Blueberry. V. nigrum. July. 

Mountain Blueberry. V. pallidum,. Jidy-Aug. 

Southern Black Huckleberry. V. virgatum. July. 

Mountain Cranberry. Windberry. V. Vitis-Idaea. Aug.- 

Black Huckleberry. Gayhissacia resinosa. Jidy-Aug. 

Box Huckleberry. G. brachycera. ' 

Dwarf Huckleberry. G. duviosa. July-Aug. 

Tangleberry. G. frondosa. Jidy-Aug. 

Appalachian Cherry. Prunus cuneata. 

Choke Cherry. P. Virginiana. July-Aug. (Edible later.) 

Sand Cherry. P. 'pumila. Aug. 

Sour Cherry. Egriot. P. Cerasus. June-July. Natural- 

Western Wild Cherry. P. demissa. Aug. 

Western Sand Cherry. P. Besseyi. 


Wild Cherry. Crab Cherry. P. Avium. Naturalized. 

Wild Black Cherry. P. serotina. Aug -Sep. 

Wild Red Cherry. P. Pennsylvanica. Aug. 

American Crab- Apple. Sweet-scented C. Malu^ coronaria. 

Narrow-leaved Crab- Apple. M. angustijolia. 

Soulard Crab-Apple. M. Soulardi. 

Western Crab-Apple. M. loensis. 

American Cranberry. Oxycoccus macrocarpus. Sep.-Oct. 

Small Cranberry. Bog C. O. Oxycoccus. Aug.-Sep. 

Southern Mountain Cranberry. O. eryihrocarpus. July- 

Cranberry Tree. Viburnum Opulus. Aug.-Sep. 

Crowberry. Curlew-berry. Empetrum nigrum. Summer. 

Golden Currant. Buffalo or Missouri C. Ribes aureum. 

Northern Black Currant. R. Hudsonianum. 

Red Currant. R. rubrum. 

Wild Black Currant. R. floridum. July-Aug. 

Elderberry. Sambucus Canadensis. Aug. 

Wild Gooseberry. Dogberry. Ribes Cynosbati. Aug. 

Missouri Gooseberry. R. gradle. 

Northern Gooseberry. R. oxyacanthaides. July-Aug. 

Round-leaved Gooseberry. R. rotundifolium. July-Aug. 

Swamp Gooseberry. R. lacustre. July-Aug. 

Bailey's Grape. Vitis Baileyana. 

Blue Grape. Winter G. V. bicolor. 

Downy Grape. V. cinerea. 

Frost Grape. V. cordifolia. Oct.-Nov. 

Missouri Grape. V. palmata. Oct. 

Northern Fox Grape. V. Labrusca. Aug.-Sep. 

Riverside Grape. Sweet-scented G. V. vulpina. July- 

Sand Grape. Sugar G. V. rupestris. Aug. 

Southern Fox Grape. V. rotundifolia. Aug.-Sep. 

Summer Grape. V. wstivalis. Sep.-Oct. 

Ground Cherry. Phy sails, several species. 

Hackberry. Celtis occidentalis. Sep.-Oct. Berries dry 
but edible. 

Black Haw. Viburnum prunifolium. Sep.-Oct. 

Scarlet Haw. Red H. Crataegus mollis. Sep.-Oct. 

May Apple. Mandrake. Podophyllum peltatum. July. 

Passion-flower. Passiflora incamata. Also P. lutea. Fruit 
known as Maypops. 

Pawpaw. Asimina triloba. Fruit edible when frost-bitten. 

Persimmon. Diospyros Virginiana. Fruit edible after 

Beach Plum. Prunus maritima. Sep.-Oct. 

Canada Plum. P. nigra. Aug. 

Chickasaw Plum. P. angusiifolia. May- July. 

Low Plum. P. gracilis. 

Porter's Plum. P. Alleghaniensis. Aug. 


Watson's Plum. P. Watsoni. 

Wild Goose Plum. P. hortulana. Sep -Oct. 

Wild Red Plum. Yellow P. P. Americana. Aug.-Oct. 

Ground Plum. Astragalus crassicarpus; also A. Mexi- 
canus. Unripe fruit resembles green plums, and is eaten raw 
or cooked. 

Black Raspberry. Thimble-berry. Rubus occidentalis. 

Cloudberry. R. Chamaemorus. 

Dwarf Raspberry. R. Americanus. July-Aug. 

Purple Wild Raspberry. R. neglectus. July-Aug. 

Purple-flowering Raspberry. R. odoratus. July-Sep. 

Salmon-berry. R. parviflorus. July-Sep. 

Wild Red Raspberry. R. strigosus. July-Sep. 

Service-berry. June-berry. Amelanchier Canadensis. 

Low June-berry. A. spicata. 

Northwestern June-berry. A. alnifoUa. 

Round-leaved June-berry. A. rotundifolia. Aug. 

Shad-bush. A. Botryapium. June- July. 

Silver berry. Eloeagnus argentea. July-Aug. 

Creeping Snowberry. Chiogenes hispidma. Aug.-Sep. 
Berries have flavor of sweet birch. 

American Wood Strawberry. Fragaria Americana. 

Northern Wild Strawberry. F. Canadensis. 

Virginia Strawberry. Scarlet S. F. Virginiana. 

Black Thorn. Pear Haw. Crataegus tomentosa. Oct. 

Large-fruited Thorn. C. punctata. Sep.-Oct. 

Scarlet Thorn. C. coccinea. Sep.-Oct. 


All substitutes for coffee are unsatisfying. In the 
South during the Civil War many pitiful expedients 
were tried, such as parched meal, dried sweet potatoes, 
wheat, chicory, cotton-seed, persimmon-seed, dandelion- 
seed, and the seeds of the Kentucky coffee-tree; but 
the best were found to be rye, the seeds of the coffee 
senna (Cassia occidentalis) called "Magdad coffee," 
and the parched and ground seeds of okra. None of 
our wild plants contain principles that act upon the 
nerves like caffein or thein. 

Teas, so-called, of very good flavor can be made from 
the dried root-bark of sassafras, or from its early buds, 
from the bark and leaves of spicewood, from the leaves 
of chicory, ginseng, the sweet goldenrod (Solidago 
odma), and cinquefoil. Other plants used for the pur- 


pose are Labrador tea, Oswego tea, and (inferior) New 
Jersey tea. Our pioneers also made decoctions of 
chips of the arbor-vitse (white cedar), the dried leaves 
of black birch, and the tips of hemlock boughs, sweeten- 
ing them with maple sugar. The list of medicinal 
teas is unending. 

Agreeable summer drinks can be made by infusing 
the sour fruit of the mountain ash {Pijrus Americana), 
from sumac berries (dwarf and staghorn), and from 
the fruit of the red mulberry. The sweet sap of both 
hard and soft maples, box elder, and the birches (ex- 
cept red birch) is potable. Small beer can be made 
from the sap of black birch, from the pulp of honey 
locust pods, the fruit of the persimmon, the shoots and 
root-bark of sassafras, and the twigs of black and red 
spruce. Cider has been made from the fruit of crab- 
apples and service-berries. 

Sugar or syrup is made by boiling down the sap, 
not only of sugar maple, but of red and silver maples, 
box elder, the birches, butternut, and hickory, and 
from honey locust pods. Vinegar also can be made 
from these saps, as well as from fruit juices, by dilut- 
ing with water and adding a little yeast. The very 
sour berries of sumac turn cider into vinegar, or they 
may be used alone. 


The Far North is Famine Land, the world over, 
and to it we must look for examples of what men can 
subsist on when driven to the last extremity. 

In all northern countries, within the tree limit, it is 
customary, in starving times, to mix with the scanty 
hoard of flour the ground bark of trees. It is possible 
to support life even with bark alone. The Jesuit mis- 
sionary Nicollet reported, more than two centuries ago, 
that an acquaintance of his, a French Indian-agent, 
lived seven weeks on bark alone, and the Relations of 
the order, in Canada, contain many instances of a like 
expedient. Those were hard times in New France! 
Such an experience as this was dismissed with a single 


sentence, quite as a matter of course: "An eelskin was 
deemed a sumptuous supper; I had used one for mend- 
ing a robe, but hunger obHged me to unstitch and eat 
it." Another brother says: "The bark of the oak, 
birch, Hnden, and that of other trees, when well cooked 
and pounded, and then put into the water in which 
fish had been boiled, or else mixed with fish-oil, made 
some excellent stews." Again: "they [the Indians] 
dried by a fire the bark of green oak, then they 
pounded it and made it into a porridge." It seems 
that the human stomach can stand a lot of tannin, if 
it has to do so. 

The young shoots of spruce and tamarack, the inner 
bark (in spring) of pine, spruce, and hemlock, young 
leaf-stems of beech, hickory and other trees, and wild 
rose buds, are nutritious; but these can be had only, 
of course in spring. Far better than oak bark are the 
inner barks of alder, quaking aspen, basswood, birch, 
sweet bay, cottonwood, shppery elm (this especially is 
nutritious), white elm, pignut hickory, yellow locust, 
striped maple, and sassafras. The Chippewas boil the 
thick, sweetish bark of the shrubby bittersweet or staff- 
tree (Celastrus scandens) and use it for food. 

The following entry in the diary of Sir John Franklin 
sounds naive, when stripped of its context, but there 
is a world of grim pathos back of it: "There was no 
tri'pe de roche, so we drank tea and ate some of our 
shoes for supper." The rock tripe here referred to 
(Umbilicaria ardica or Dillenii) is one of several edible 
lichens that grow on rocks and are extensively used as 
human food in lands beyond the arctic tree limit. 
Reindeer moss (Cladonia rangiferina) and the well- 
known Iceland moss {Cetraris Icelandica) are other 
examples. These are starchy, and, after being boiled 
for two or three hours, form a gelatinous mass that is 
digestible, though repulsive in appearance, one of the 
early Jesuits likening it to the slime of snails, and 
another admitting that "it is necessary to close one's 
eyes to eat it." 

It is pleasanter to turn, now, to the wild condiments 
that our fields and forests afford. Sassafras, oil of 


birch, wintergreen, peppermint and spearmint will 
occur to every one. Balm, sweet marjoram, summer 
p,. . savory and tansy are sometimes found 

in wild places, where they have es- 
caped from cultivation. The rootstock of sweet cicely 
has a spicy taste, with a strong odor of anise, and is 
edible. Sweet gale gives a pleasant flavor to soups and 
dressings. The seeds of tansy mustard were used by 
the Indians in flavoring dishes. Wild garlic, wild 
onions, peppergrass, snowberry and spicewood may 
also be used for similar purposes. 



"DEFORE starting to fell a tree, clear away all under- 
-■^ brush and vines that are within reach of the 
extended axe, overhead as well as around you. Neg- 
lect of this precaution may cripple a man for life. Next 
decide in which direction you wish the tree to fall. 
This will be governed partly by the lay of the ground 



<r/\\ \ 

' /^ 



i A^^^ 





^ 3 

» 4 

[Fig 15. Illustrating how to Cut a Tree and Split a Log. 

and the obstacles on it. The tree should fall where it 
will be easy to log-up. A matter of more consequence, 
however, in thick forest, is to throw the tree in such 
direction that it will not catch and hang on one of its 
neighbors, obliging you to fell the latter also. 

Now, suppose that you decide to throw the tree to 

the south. Cut a kerf or notch on the south side of 

the tree, half way through the trunk, as 

shown at A in Fig. 1. In making this 

cut you should not start it so narrow 

that you will soon find yourself wedging your axe. 

Make a nick at c as a guide, then another at d, which 


Felling a 


should be as far above c as the intended depth of the 
cut ce. Then chop out your kerf, making as big 
chips as you can. To do this, chop alternately at 
the notches d and c, and split out the block between 
with a downward blow of the axe. A green axeman is 
known by the finely minced chips and haggled stump 
that he leaves. 

Beginners invariably over-exert themselves in chop- 
ping, and are soon blown. An accurate stroke counts 
for much more than a heavy but blundering one. A 
good chopper lands one blow exactly on top of the 
other with the precision and regularity of a machine; 
he chops slowly but rhythmically, and puts little more 
effort into striking than he does into lifting his axe for 
the blow. Trying to sink the axe deeply at every 
stroke is about the hardest work that a man can do, 
and it spoils accuracy. 

If the tree is of such wood as is easy to cut, make the 
cut ce as nearly square across the butt as you can. To 
do this keep the hand that holds the hilt of the axe- 
helve well down. But if the tree is hard and stubborn 
to fell, or if you are rustling firewood in a hurry, it is 
easier to make this cut in a slanting direction, so as 
not to chop squarely across the grain. 

Having finished this south kerf (which is two-thirds 
the labor of felling the tree), now begin the opposite 
one, B, at a point three or four inches higher than the 
other. By studying the diagram, and taking into 
account the tree's great weight, you can see why this 
method will infallibly throw the tree to the south, if it 
stands anywhere near perpendicular, and if there is 
not a strong wind blowing. Comparatively few blows 
are needed here. When the tree begins to crack, step 
to one side. Never jump in a direction opposite that 
in which the tree falls. Many a man has been killed 
in that way. Sometimes a falling tree, striking against 
one of its neighbors, shoots backward from the stump 
like lightning. Look out, too, for shattered limbs. 

If a tree leans in the wrong direction for your pur- 
pose, insert a billet of wood in the kerf B, and drive a 
wedge or two above it in the direction of the kerf. A 


tree weighing many tons can be forced to fall in any 
desired direction by the proper use of wedges; and a 
good axeman, in open woods, can throw a tree with 
such accuracy as to drive a stake previously stuck in 
the ground at an agreed position. He can even do 
this when a considerable wind is blowing, by watching 
the sway of the tree and striking his final blow at the 
right moment. 

When the tree is down and you go to log it up, make 

the outside chip not less in length than the diameter 

. ^^ of the log. This will seem absurdly 

^^ ^ ^* long, until you have cut a log in two. 
With a narrow cut you would be wedging your axe 
before you were nearly half through; and your work 
would be harder, anyway, because you would be 
cutting more nearly across the grain of the wood, in- 
stead of diagonally with it. In making these side 
cuts, be sure to make them perpendicular to the ground; 
otherwise you will soon find that the upper side of the 
log is cut away, but that you have no way of getting at 
the under side. When cutting close to the ground, 
look out for pebbles. A nick in the axe will make 
your work doubly hard. Before felling a tree on stony 
ground it is well worth while to place a small log across 
the way for the butt of the tree to fall on, so as to keep 
it off the ground. This will also make it easier to log- 
up. Speaking of nicks in the axe, beware how you 
cut into hemlock knots; in trimming limbs close to a 
hemlock trunk, you can ruin the best steel that ever 
was made. 

In logging-up a large tree it is necessary for the axe- 
man to stand on the prostrate trunk, with his legs well 
apart, and to cut down between his feet. This, to a 
beginner, looks like a risky performance; but I have 
seen one of my woodland neighbors, who professes to 
be "only a triflin' hand with an axe," stand on a slen- 
der tree-trunk that was balanced about ten feet over 
a gulch, whack away between his feet, with the trunk 
swaying several inches at every stroke, nor did he step 
over on the main trunk until two or three light blows 
sufficed to cut the end log free. But such a perform- 


ance is tame compared with the feats of axemanship 
that regular choppers and river drivers do every day 
as a mere matter of course. 

Certain woods, such as cedar, can be riven into 
serviceable boards with no other tool than an axe; but 
, in general, if one has much splitting to 

r^ y^ do, he should make a maul and some 

gluts, steel wedges being, presumably, 
unobtainable. When one has no augur with which to 
bore a hole for the handle, a serviceable maul can be 
made in club shape. Beech, oak, and hickory are 
good materials, but any hardwood that does not splin- 
ter easily will do. Choose a sapling about five inches 
thick at the butt, not counting the bark. Dig a little 
below the surface of the ground and cut the sapling 
off where the stools of the roots begin. (The wood is 
very tough here, and this is to be used for the large 
end of the maul, which should be about ten inches 
long.) From this, forward, shave down the handle, 
which should be twenty inches long. Thus balanced, 
the maul will not jar one's hands. 

Gluts are simply wooden wedges. The best woods 
for them are dogwood and hornbeam or ironwood, as 
they are very hard and tough, even when green. Chop 
a sapling of suitable thickness, and make one end 
wedge-shaped; then cut it off square at the top; and 
so continue until you have all the gluts you want. It 
takes no mean skill to chop and shave a glut to a true 
wedge shape, and much depends upon getting the 
angles and surfaces correctly proportioned. A novice 
is apt to make a glut too short and thick. The gluts 
may well be fire-hardened, by placing them in hot 
ashes until the sap has been driven out, but leaving the 
surface only slightly charred. 

To split a log, start the wedges in the smaller or top 
end of the log. If there is a crack or large check at the 
right place, drive two wedges into it, as the log will 
probably split best that way. If not, then with the axe 
in one hand and maul in the other, make a crack across 
the end of the log. Drive the wedges home, and others 
in^o the crack along the side of the log. The general 


rule in riving rails is to split a stick through the middle, 
then quarter it, then split the quarters through the 
middle, and so on until the required dimensions are 
reached. Figure 2 shows, for example, the method of 
splitting rails from a large log. The quarter of log is 
first halved along the line ab; then the rail bed is split 
off; the remaining section is then halved as before; 
the rails are split off in the direction ef, and others are 
split from the remaining segments; or the method 
shown in the lower eighth is used, according to the 
dimensions required. 

Figure 3 shows how clapboards, or the rough shingles 
called shakes, are riven. For splitting such wide, thin 
pieces a tool called a froe is used, it being a heavy steel 
blade, with a wooden handle set at right angles. A 
cut of the desired length is sawed from the log and 
stood on end. It may then be quartered, and from 
each quarter the shakes may be split off by placing the 
edge of the froe on the end of the billet and striking it 
with a mallet. The usual way, however, is to split 
around, but not through the core, detaching the latter 
now and then by the axe at right angles to the splits. 
The heart of oak, for example, is so tough that it would 
be impracticable to continue the split through the core. 

In splitting puncheons the log is merely halved, and 
the round side left as it is, being turned under in floor- 
ing. With some woods, however, it is not difficult to 
rive out slabs that are flat on both sides, by working 
after the method shown in Figure 4. 

Much depends upon the right selection of wood for 
the purpose in hand. For instance, it would be worse 
than useless to try to split shingles from cherry, because 
it splits irregularly; or from hemlock, for it splits spirally; 
or from sour gum, tupelo, or winged elm, because they 
cannot be split at all. Much depends, though, upon 
the individual tree. A timberman can tell whether a 
tree will split well or not by merely scanning the bark; 
if the ridges and furrows of the bark run straight up 
and down, in the main, the wood will have a correspond- 
ing straight grain, but if they are spiral, the wood will 
split waney, or not at all. Peculiarities of soil and 


climate also affect the riving qualities of wood. In the 
southern mountains, for example, one may see thou- 
sands of shingles and palings or clapboards split from 
hemlock, even up to the length of four or five feet. 

To make a puncheon out of a log that will not split 
straight: cut deep notches along one side, one after 
the other, and of uniform depth, like saw teeth; then 
split or hew off the remaining blocks until the log is 
flattened as desired. 

The working qualities of common woods ought to be 
known by every one who has occasion to use timber, and 
^ . - especially by a woodsman, who may at 

w A ^^y time be driven to shifts in which a 

mistake in choosing material may have 
disagreeable consequences. A few simple tables are 
here given, which, it is hoped, may be of assistance. 
Only common native trees are included. The data 
refer to the seasoned wood only, except where green is 
specified. Such tables might easily be extended, but 
mine are confined to the qualities of most account to 
campers and explorers, and to trees native to the region 
north of Georgia and east of the Rocky Mountains. 

Very Hard Woods 

Osage Orange (hardest), Persimmon, 

Dogwood, Hickory, 

Black Haw, Service-berry, 

Yellow Locust, Black Jack Oak, 

Post Oak, Chestnut Oak, 

Overcup Oak, Mountain Laurel, 

Sugar Maple, Winged Elm. 

Hard Woods 

Other Oaks, Pecan, 

Hornbeam, Black Birch, 

Ash, Hackberry, 

Elm, Plum, 

Cherry, Sourwood, 

Beech, Sour Gum, 

Tupelo, Walnut, 

Red-bud, Silver Maple, 

Red Maple, Mulberry, 

Holly, Honey Locust, 

Sycamore, Yellow Birch. 
Yellow Pine, 



Very Soft Woods 


Balsam Poplar, 
White Pine, 

Balsam Fir, 




Arbor- vitse (softest). 

(Common woods not mentioned above are of medium soft- 

Very Strong Woods 

Yellow Locust, 
Yellow Birch, 
Shingle Oak, 
Shellbark Hickory 
Yellow Pine, 
Big-bud Hickory, 
Basket Oak, 

Other Oaks, 
Paper Birch, 
Silver Maple, 
Red Birch, 

White Elm, 
Red Pine, 

Pignut Hickory, 
Chestnut Oak, 
Black Birch, 
Spanish Oak, 
Sugar Maple, 

Osage Oraiijge, 
Bittemut Hickory. 

Strong Woods 

Rock Ehn, 
Water Locust, 
Honey Locust, 
Loblolly Pine, 
Slippery Elm, 
Black Walnut, 
Sour Gum, 
Red Maple. 

Yellow Birch, 
Sugar Maple, 
Spanish Oak, 
Paper Birch, 

Osage Orange, 

Black Ash, 
Yellow Birch, 
Sour Gum, 

Very Stiff Woods 

Yellow Pine, 
Black Birch, 
Shellbark Hickory. 
Overcup Oak, 
Yellow Locust, 

Very Tough Woods 

Water Oak, 

Tough Woods 

White Ash, 
Paper Birch, 



Basket Oak, 
Overcup Oak, 
Yellow Pine, 
Black Walnut, 

Bur Oak, 

Swamp White Oak, 

Woods that Split Easily 

Beech (when green), 
White Birch, 
Black Birch (green). 
Dogwood (green). 
Balsam Fir, 
Basket Oak, 
White Oak. 





Slippery Elm (green), 


Red Oak, 

The Soft Pines, 


Woods Difficult to Split 

Blue Ash (seasoned). 


White Elm, 

Sour Gum, 


Sugar Maple (seasoned), 

Tupelo (unwedgeable). 

Box Elder, 

Wild Cherry, 

Winged Elm (unwedgeable), 


Honey Locust (seasoned). 


Woods that Separate Easily into Thin Layers 
Black Ash, Basket Oak. 

Witch Hazel, 

Black Ash, 
Honey Locust, 
White Oak, 

Flexible, Pliable Woods 

Big-bud Hickory, 
Yellow Poplar. 

Springy Woods 

White Ash, 
Yellow Locust, 
Osage Orange, 

Paper Birch, 
Silver Maple, 
Yellow Poplar 

Woods Easily Wrought 
Black Birch, 
Red Birch, 
Red Maple, 
White Pine, 
Black Walnut. 



Woods Liable to Check in Seasoning 


White Birch, 



Hickory (excepi 

Sour Gum, 

t Shellbark), 


Yellow Locust, 

Most Oaks, 



Black Walnut, 

Wnnd,^ Liable to Shrink and Warp 



White Elm, 

Sour Gum, 


Shellbark Hickory, 

Loblolly Pine, 

Pin Oak, 


Yellow Poplar, 

Woods Difficult to Season 



Sour Gum, 

Sugar Maple, 

Red Oak, 

Rock Chestnut Oak, 

Water Oak, 

Osage Orange. 

Woods that Can Be Obtained in Wide Boards 
Free from Knots 
Basswood, Cottonwood, 

Cypress, Yellow Poplar. 

Woods Durable in Soil, Water and Weather 





Slippery Elm, 


Honey Locust, 


Chestnut Oak, 

Post Oak, 

Swamp White Oak, 

Osage Orange, 

Pitch Pine, 


White Birch, 
Black Jack Oak, 
Spanish Oak, 
Loblolly Pine, 





Hop Hornbeam, 

Kentucky Coffee Tree, 

Yellow Locust, 

Bur Oak, 

Overcup Oak, 

Rock Chestnut Oak, 

White Oak, 

Yellow Pine (long leaved). 


Black Walnut. 

Perishable Woods 
Box Elder, 
Silver Maple, 
Pin Oak, 
Water Oak, 
The Poplars, 

(Sapwood is more liable to decay than heart-wood.) 


Naturally, these are only general guides. Trees have 

their individual peculiarities, just as people have. 

The best woods for dugouts are butternut, cedar, 

chestnut, cucumber, cypress, sassafras, yellow poplar, 

- and black walnut. Those best for the 

ribs and frames of canoes and boats are 

_p arbor- vitae, white cedar, elm, sour gum, 

Purposes. , . j x i 

^ oak, gray pme, spruce, and tamarack, 

depending on locality and available species; for sheath- 
ing, arbor-vitse, paper birch (bark), cedar, cypress, 
slippery elm (bark), pignut hickory (bark), mulberry, 
white pine, sassafras, spruce (bark), tamarack(for bot- 
toms) ; for oars or paddles, ash and spruce. One will 
choose, of course, according to what is available on the 
spot. For snowshoe bows, black ash is best; for ski, 
birch; for toboggans, oak, ash, beech, birch; for axe- 
helves, hickory, or (if from green wood) hornbeam; for 
handspikes, (green) hornbeam, dogwood, hickory, serv- 
ice-berry, birch, maple; for wooden bowls or trenchers, 
black ash, cucumber, yellow poplar, sassafras, maple, 
sycamore; for treenails, yellow locust, bur oak, mul- 
berry; for gunstocks, black walnut, cherry, sugar 
maple, red maple, yellow wood; for fishing rods, Osage 
orange, ash, service-berry; for sledge frames, etc., ash, 
yellow birch, slippery elm, hickory, oak; for runners, 
sourwood; for any such purpose as a wheel-hub, re- 
quiring toughness, and strength, yellow birch, dog- 
wood, rock elm, winged elm, sour gum, liquidambar, 
honey locust, yellow locust, post oak, Osage orange, 
large tupelo; for anything requiring a very hard and 
close-grained wood, beech, birch, dogwood, rock elm, 
slippery elm, winged elm, hickory, holly, hornbeam, 
laurel, locust, maple, Osage orange, persimmon, plum, 
service-berry, thorn. 

In building a log cabin, choose timber that is not 
only straight but light in weight, and, for the first 
course of logs, at least, pick out wood that will not rot 
easily when in contact with the ground ; such are easily 
determined by using the tables here given; similarly, 
proper wood for shingles may be selected by consulting 
the tables for a wood that is both easy to split and dur- 


able. For a raft, pick out, if you can find them, dry 
logs of any very light wood; some timbers, such as 
black walnut and sour gum will not float at all when 
green. The weight of seasoned wood is no criterion 
of the weight of the green wood : for example, the dry 
wood of the sequoia or big tree of California is lighter 
than white pine, but a freshly cut log of it, full of sap, 
will scarcely float in water. 

Green wood can quickly be seasoned by heating it 
in the embers of the camp-fire till the sap sizzles out. 
^ . , „ The old English word for such treat- 

. ment of wood was "beathing." This 

also makes the wood, for the time be- 
ing, so pliable that it can be bent into any required 
shape, or it can be straightened by hanging a weight 
from one end, or by fastening it to a straight form. 
The application of heat, without deeply charring, also 
hardens green wood, and makes it more durable. 

Ordinarily, small pieces of green wood can be bent 
to a required form by merely soaking the pieces for 
-> ,. two or three days in water; but if it is 

^ ,^ desired that they should retain their 

new shape, they should be steamed. 
Small pieces can be merely immersed in a kettle of hot 
water; large ones may be steamed in a trench partly 
filled with water, by throwing red-hot stones into it. 
Then drive stout stakes into the ground in the outline 
desired, and bend the suppled wood over these stakes, 
with small sticks underneath to keep the wood from 
contact with the ground, that it may dry more readily. 
If a simple bow-shape is all that is wanted, it can be 
secured by merely sticking the two ends of the 
wood into the ground and letting the bow stand 
upright to dry. 

To wedge a wooden pin in an auger-hole, as in build- 
ing a raft, spht the top of the pin before driving, then 
^ , . seat it, and drive in a small wedge. 

This is called by raftsmen "witch- 
wedging." By the way, a wedge of soft wood will 
hold better, in an axe-helve, for instance, than one of 
hard wood. 


When one has no auger, he can readily drive hard- 
wood pins (sharpened at the point, or wedge-shaped) 
into softwood logs, in the same way that he would 
drive iron spikes. 

The bark of the following trees makes good roofs 
and temporary shelters, and is useful for many other 
T, , . purposes: paper birch, basswood, buek- 

;_ eye, elm, hickory, spruce, hemlock, 

chestnut, balsam fir, white ash, cotton- 
wood. Cedar bark may do, but it is very inflammable. 

It is only when the sap is up (spring and summer) 
that bark will peel freely, although elm peels through 
eight months of the year, and some basswood trees can 
be found that will peel even in winter. But, as a rule, 
if one wishes to strip bark in cold weather, he will have 
to roast a log carefully without burning the outside. 
Remember that barking a tree generally kills it, and 
that it is illegal in some regions, as in the Adirondacks. 

In the real wilderness, however, bark has so many 
uses, that a knowledge of how to select and manipulate 
it is one of the essentials of a woodsman's education. 

Before stripping bark, select a large tree with smoothe 
and faultless trunk. If it is birch, choose one with 
bark that is thick and with few and small "eyes." For 
a temporary roof it will be enough merely to skin the 
bark off in long strips eight or ten inches wide, and 
lay them overlapping, with alternately the convex and 
concave sides out. But for nicer jobs the bark must 
be flattened, and the rough outer bark (except in case 
of birch) must be removed, only the tough, fibrous, 
soft inner bark being used. For rough work the outer 
bark may simply be "rossed" off with a hatchet, but 
for nice jobs the bark should be treated as described 

If only a moderate sized sheet is needed, the tree 
may not have to be felled. First girdle the tree just 
above the swell of the butt, by cutting through into the 
sap wood. Then girdle it again as high up as you can 
reach. Connect these two rings by a vertical slit 
through the bark. Now cut into wedge -shape the 
larger end of a four-foot length of sapling; this is your 



"spud" or barking tool. With it gently work the bark 
free along one edge of the upright slit, and thus pro- 
ceed around the tree till the whole sheet falls off. If 
the girdles are 5 feet apart, a tree 2 feet in diameter 
will thus yield a sheet about 5x6^ feet, and a 3-foot 

Fig. 16. 

tree will afford one 5x9^ feet. The bark is laid on 
the ground for a few days to dry in the sun, and is then 
soaked in water, which supples it and makes the inner 
bark easy to remove from the outer. 

I have no space in which to describe all the utensils, 
etc., that can be made from bark. One or two simple 

T> , examples must suffice. A tray or trough 

,- .- that will hold liquids is quickly made 

by rossing off the outer bark from the 

ends of a sheet of suitable size, but leaving it on the 

middle part to stiffen the vessel. The rossed ends are 


Fig. 17. 

then folded over in several overlaying laps, gathered 
up somewhat in the shape of a canoe's bow and stern, 
and tied with bark straps. To make a dipper: take 
a forked stick of green wood, heat the fork, bend and 
bind it into bow form, and sew a bark bowl to it with 




Fig. 18. 


• * 



\ J 



Fig. 19. Bark Dipper. 


rootlets or bark twine; or a slender straight stick can 
similarly be bent into shape for a frame. A rough- 
and-ready dipper is made in three minutes as shown 
in the illustration. A sheet of bark, say 8x10 inches, 
is trimmed to spade-shape, folded lengthwise, opened 
out, the second finger placed behind A, the fold up- 
ward made as shown, and a split stick added as handle. 
The sewed seams of bark buckets, etc., are closed with 
a mixture of pine resin or spruce "gum" and grease 
or oil, laid on while hot, and the upper edges are 
stiffened with hoops or withes of pliable wood. Birch, 
elm, and basswood are the best barks to use. 

A bark bucket for carrying fish or berries is quickly 
made by taking from a young poplar, for example, a 
sheet of bark twice as long as the intended depth of 
bucket. Fold this through the middle. Pass a bark- 
strap through slits at four upper corners to hold the 
sides together. The concavity of the bark holds the 
edges together without sewing. Add a bark sling-strap. 

Straps, fish-stringers, etc., are made from the whole 

bark of pawpaw, leatherwood (remarkably strong), and 

^ hickory shoots. Very good ropes and 

^ rT^ r twine can be made from the fibers of 

an win . ^^^ inner bark of the slippery, white, 
and winged elms, the pignut and other hickories, and 
buckeye, red cedar, yellow locust, red mulberry, and 
Osage orange. One who has not examined the fin- 
ished work would scarce believe what strong, soft, and 
durable cordage, matting, braided tumplines, and 
even thread, fish-nets, and garments can be made from 
such materials by proper manipulation. The Indians 
first separate the bark in long strips, remove the woody 
outer layer, and then boil it in a lye of sifted wood 
ashes and water, which softens the fiber so it can be 
manipulated without breaking. After it is dried it can 
be separated into small filaments by pounding, the 
strings running with the grain for several feet. Slip- 
pery elm especially makes a pliable rope, soft to the 
touch; it can be closely braided, and is very durable. 
If the woody splinters and hard fragments have not 
been entirely removed by pounding, the shoulder blade 


of a deer is fastened to an upright post, an inch hole is 
drilled through it, and bunches of the boiled bark are 
pulled backward and forward through the hole. The 
filaments are then put up in hanks and hung aside for 
use, being boiled to supple them when needed. 

Bark twine is made by holding in the left hand one 
end of the fiber as it is pulled from the hank, and 
separating it into two parts, which are laid across the 
thigh. The palm of the right hand is then rolled for- 
ward over both, so as tightly to twist the pair of strands, 
when they are permitted to unite and twist into a cord, 
the left hand drawing it away as completed. Other 
strands are twisted in to make the length of cord 
desired. Twine and thread are made from the bark 
of young sprouts. 

The bast or inner rind of basswood (linden) makes 
good rope. More than a century ago, two Indians 
whose canoe had drifted, while they were in a drunken 
sleep, upon Goat Island, between the American and 
Canadian falls of Niagara, let themselves down over 
the face of the cliff by a rope that they made from bass- 
wood bark, and thus escaped from what seemed to the 
on-lookers as certain death by starvation. 

Mulberry and Osage orange bast yield a fine, white, 
flax-like fiber, that used to be spun by squaws to the 
thickness of packthread and then woven into garments. 
The inner bark of Indian hemp (Apocynum canna- 
binum), collected in the fall, is soft, silky, and exceed- 
ingly strong. The woody stems are first soaked in 
water; then the bast, with bark adhering, is easily 
removed; after which the bark is washed off, leaving 
the yellowish-brown fiber ready to be picked apart and 
used. A rope made from it is stronger, and keeps 
longer in water, than one made from common hemp. 
It was formerly used by the Indians, almost all over 
the continent, not only for ropes, but for nets, threads, 
and garments. The fibers of the nettle were also sim- 
ilarly used. 

In the southern Appalachians, it is not many years 
since the mountain white women used to make bed- 
cords (perhaps you know how strong such cords must 


be) by twisting or plaiting together long, slender splits 
of hickory wood (preferably mocker-nut) that they 
suppled by soaking. Such bed-cords are in use to this 

The remarkably tough and pliable rootlets of white 
spruce, about the size of a quill, when barked, split, 
P J and suppled in water, are used by In- 

y. dians to stitch together the bark plates 

^ J of their birch canoes, the seams being 

smeared with the resin that exudes from 

the tree; also for sewing up bark tents, and utensils 

that will hold water. The finely divided roots are 

called by northern Indians watab or watape. 

Twine and stout cords are also made of this material, 
strands for fish-nets being sometimes made as much 
as fifty yards in length. The old-time Indians used 
to say that bark cords were better than hemp ropes, as 
they did not rot so quickly from alternate wetting and 
drying, nor were they so harsh and kinky, but, when 
damped, became as supple as leather. "Our bast 
cords," they said, "are always rather greasy in the 
water, and slip more easily through our hands. Nor 
do they cut the skin, like your ropes, when anything 
has to be pulled. Lastly, they feel rather warmer in 

The fibers of tamarack roots, and of hemlock, cedar, 
and Cottonwood, are similarly used. 

Grapevine rope is made in a manner similar to 
bark rope. The American wistaria (Kraunhia fru- 
tescens) is so tenacious and supple that it was formerly 
used along the lower Mississippi for boats' cables; it 
can be knotted with ease. 

The long, tough rootstocks of sedge or saw-grass are 
much used by our Indians as substitutes for twine. 
Baskets made of them are the strongest, most durable 
and costliest of all the ingenious products of the ab- 
original basket-maker. The fiber is strongest when 
well moistened. 

A favorite basket plant of the Apaches and Navajos 
is the ill-scented sumac or skunk-bush (Rhus trilohata) , 
which is common from Illinois westward. The twigs 


are soaked in water, scraped, and then split. Baskets 
of this material are so made that they will hold 
water, and they are often used to cook 
in, by dropping hot stones in the water. 
A southern shrub, the supple-jack {Berchemia scan- 
dens), jnakes good withes. The fibers of the red-bud 
tree are said by basket-makers to equal in strength 
those of palm or bamboo. For such purpose as basket- 
making, withes should be gathered in spring or early 
summer, when the wood is full of sap and pliable. If 
the material is to be kept for some time before weav- 
ing, it should be buried in the ground to keep it fresh. 
In any case, a good soaking is necessary, and the work 
should be done while the withes are still wet and soft. 
Other good woods for withes are leatherwood, liquid- 
ambar, willow, and witch hazel. Large withes for 
binding rails, raft logs, etc., are made from tall shoots 
of hickory or other tough wood, by twisting at one end 
with the hands until the fiber separates into strands, 
making the withe pliable so that it can be knotted. A 
sapling as thick as one's wrist can be twisted in this 
way. To fasten a withe to a log, chop a notch in the 
log, making it a little wider at the bottom than at the 
top, trim the butt of the sapling to fit loosely, and 
drive a wedge in alongside of it, then twist. 

The best hoops are made from hickory, white or 
black ash, birch, alder, arbor-vitse, cedar, dogwood. 

Splints are easily made from slippery elm, for in- 
stance, by taking saplings or limbs three or four inches 
in diameter, and hammering them with 
^ * a wooden mallet until the individual 

layers of wood are detached from those underneath, 
then cutting these into thin, narrow strips. The strips 
are kept in coils until wanted for use, and then are 

Black ash and basket oak, when green, separate 
easily into thin sheets or ribbons along the line of each 
annual ring of growth, when beaten with mallets. The 
Indians, in making splint baskets, cut the wood into 
sticks as wide along the rings as the splints are to be, 
and perhaps two inches thick. These are then bent 


sharply in the plane of the radius of the rings, when 
they part into thin strips, nearly or quite as many of 
them as there are rings of growth. 

A broken axe-helve is a not uncommon accident in 
the woods, and a very serious one until a new helve is 

„. . made and fitted. Now it often happens 

. TT , that the stub of old handle cannot be 


removed by ordinary means: it must 

be burnt out. To do this without drawing the temper 

of the steel might seem impracticable; but the thing 

is as simple as rolling off a log, when you see it done. 

Pick out a spot where the earth is free from stones 

and pebbles, and drive the blade of the axe into the 

ground up to the eye. Then build a fire around the 

axe-head — that is all. If the axe is double-bitted, dig 

a little trench about six inches deep and the width of 

the axe-eye, or a little more. Lay the axe flat over it, 

cover both blades with two inches of earth, and build 

a small fire on top. 

In making a new axe-helve, do not bother to make 
a crooked one like the store pattern. Thousands of 
expert axemen use, from preference, straight handles 
in their axes — single-bitted axes at that. I have seen 
such handles full four feet long, to be used chiefly in 
logging-up big trees. Two feet eight inches is a good 
length for ordinary chopping. 

To smoothe any article made of wood, when you 
have no sandpaper, use loose sand in a piece of buck- 

To make a vise: cut a good-sized hardwood sapHng, 
leaving a square-topped stump of convenient height. 
Split the stump through the middle as 
far as necessary. Trim the upper part, 
if needful for the purpose. Then, about eighteen inches 
from the top, lash the stump firmly with a rope, and 
twist it tight with a stick, like a tourniquet. Open the 
split with wedges, insert the article to be held, knock 
out the wedges, and — there you are. 

For a cold- weather camp, a log hut is more comfort- 
able than any tent, and it is much more secure at all 
times. The saving in firewood, over an open camp, is 


immense, for it takes a good-sized tree to keep up a 
good all-night fire before a lean-to. If you intend to 
build a cabin, take along either a cross- 
cut saw and a froe for splitting shingles, 
or a roll of roofing paper. A bark roof is only fit for 
a temporary lodge, as it soon gets leaky, tatterdemalion, 
and inflammable. To hold a shingled roof in place, 
if you have no nails, overlap the shakes like ordinary 
shingles, but with several inches more "to the weather," 
and fasten them down with "binders" or "weight- 
logs." These are poles laid over the butts of the 
shakes and immediately over the stringers of the roof, 
the ends of binders and stringers being withed tightly 
together. For details in the construction of log cabins, 
and many designs from the rudest to large club-houses, 
see Wicks's book Log Cabins and Cottages (Forest & 
Stream Pub. Co., New York). 

A cabin without a window is a cheerless, fusty den, 
and there is seldom good excuse for such shiftlessness. 
If you cannot carry window panes and a knock-down 
sash into the woods, take along some oiled paper or 
translucent parchment. A recipe for the latter is 
given in the next chapter. 

For chinking between logs, moss mixed with clay or 
tenacious mud is suflScient, but this should not be used 
__ in a chimney. For such purpose, mix 

thoroughly blue clay and wet sand; this 
makes a particularly hard and durable cement, but 
yellow clay will do. A tenacious mortar may be made 
from the slime of a swamp mixed with deer's hair, 
feathers, etc. Better, however, is one made by pound- 
ing mussel shells to a fine powder, mixing this with 
clay freed from pebbles, pouring water over the mass, 
kneading, and then letting the fire do the rest. 

This may be as good a place as any in which to de- 
scribe some rough-and-ready but effective ways of pro- 
p, curing charcoal and lime. For the 

former, dig a pit 5 feet square by 3 feet 
deep and build a fire in it. Keep adding fuel as the 
fire burns down, until the pit is almost full of embers. 
Then pile on split sticks of uniform size until the pile 


stands a foot above the ground, whereupon shovel over 
it the earth that was dug out of the pit. After letting 
the pit cool for twenty-four hours, it will be found 
nearly full of charcoal. 

Lime can be made, without much trouble, wherever 
there is limestone, by a process similar to that of burn- 
ing charcoal. If you want enough of 
it to mix mortar for a cabin chimney, 
inclose a circular space of 5 feet diameter by a rude 
stone wall 3 feet high; cover the bottom of this inclos- 
ure with brush to facilitate kindling the kiln; then fill 
with alternate layers of dry hardwood and limestone 
broken into moderate-sized pieces, pihng the top into 
conical form. Light the pile and when it is well going 
cover the top with sods to make the calcination slow 
and regular. Keep it going for two days and nights. 



TN skinning the head of any animal of the deer tribe, 

■'• if it is to be given to a taxidermist for mounting, 

the slit should be made up the back of the neck, 

. instead of the throat, so that no seam 

^ may show in the finished trophy. After 

cutting around the neck, close to the 

shoulders and brisket, make an opening cut from the 

center of the top of the skull, just back of the antlers, 

and slit the skin along the top of the neck, back to the 

end of the neck skin. Then make a straight cut to 

the base of each antler, the result being a Y-shaped 

incision as shown in the figure. Then work off the 

skin of the neck, being careful not to rupture any of 

the large blood-vessels in doing so. 

Now, turn the head to one side and insert the knife 
between the base of the skull and the first or atlas 
vertebra, severing the muscles and tendons; then turn 
the head in the opposite direction and perform a sim- 
ilar operation there; give a wrench, and the skull is 
detached. Cut off the cartilage of the ears close to 
the skull, and cut and pry the skin away from the base 
of each antler, inserting under the skin a wedge-shaped 
stick and pounding a little on it. Peel off the skin 
until the eye sockets are reached. Be careful here not 
to cut the eyelids; use the small blade of your pocket- 
knife and work deliberately. Then peel the skin off 
as far as the lips, taking pains not to cut the skin where 
it sinks into the pit below the eye. When the lips are 
reached, cut close to the bone all around, so as to leave 
the cartilage attached to the skin. Sever the cartilage 
of the nose well back of the nostrils. The skin is now 
free from the skull. If the head is that of a moose, 



split the bell all the way down on the back side. Pare 
off all the flesh, especially from the butts of ears, lips 
and nose, but do not trim away the cartilage. Split 
the lips on the inside to allow the salt to penetrate. 
Detach the skin of the back of the ears from the carti- 
lage, and skin them clear to the tips if you can, but at 

Fig. 20. How to Skin a Deer's Head. 

any rate skin up the back side as far as you can do so; 
then the salt will get in its work and keep the hair of 
the ears from slipping. Having carefully trimmed off 
all flesh that adheres to the skin, wash the latter clean 
of blood and wring it dry. Then cut and scrape all 
flesh from the skull. Disarticulate the lower jaw so 
that you can work better, and clean it. Now get a 
stiff stick small enough to enter the hole in the base of 
the skull, splinter one end of it by beating it, and work 
this end around inside the skull so as to break up and 


remove the brain, using water to assist you; wash out 
the inside of the skull and tie the lower jaw in place; 
turn the skin inside out while it is still damp and soft. 
On arriving at camp, rub 'plenty of fine salt over 
every inch of the inner surface of the skin; then roll 

. the skin up and let it lie until morning; 

c!^-^ ® do not stretch it nor hang it up by the 
^* nose. The next morning examine it 

carefully for soft spots where the salt has not struck 
in and hardened the tissues; shave these down and 
rub salt into them. All told, it may take fifteen pounds 
of salt for a moose head. Do not use any alum, for it 
would shrink the skin. Now hang up the skin and 
skull in a shady place, well out of reach of dogs and 
vermin. Never dry a skin by the fire nor in the sun. 
When all is dry, pack the skin in a sack, if you have 
one. If salt and blood once get into caribou hair they 
cause a rust that cannot be eradicated. 

A bear is skinned in the same manner as a deer, save 
that the opening slit is made by extending the belly 
^ „, . cut up along the throat between the 

angles of the jaws. The bottoms of the 
feet must be opened. Remove the skin with the bones 
of the feet still in position. Remove the skull and 
clean it; split the lips from the inside, turn the ears 
wrong side out and wash the skin well to remove blood 
stains. To cure the skin, spread is out on the ground, 
rub salt into it and roll it up, flesh to flesh. Next morn- 
ing fix up a sapling for a "beam" (as described below), 
throw the skin over it, flesh side up, rub some corn- 
meal or ashes on it and thoroughly scrape off the fat; 
then salt the skin again and roll it up. 

Pelts of any kind can be preserved indefinitely in a 
soft state, without any slipping of the hair, by keeping 
p . them immersed in a liquor prepared by 

p . boiling some water, dissolving salt in 

it, in the proportion of one quart of 
salt to the gallon, and adding to each gallon one ounce 
by measure of sulphuric acid. Let the liquor cool be- 
fore immersing the skins. 

Hides should not be salted if it is intended to make 


buckskin from them. The latter is a hard job; but 
, . it is well for everj big game hunter to 

understand the process, if for no other 
reason than to avoid being humbugged. Much of the 
so-called buckskin used by glovers and others is a base 
imitation. Genuine Indian-tanned buckskin is, prop- 
erly speaking, not tanned at all. Tanned leather has 
undergone a chemical change, from the tannin or other 
chemicals used in converting it from the raw hide to 
leather. Buckskin, on the contrary, is still a raw skin 
that has been made supple and soft by breaking up 
the fibers mechanically and has then merely been 
treated with brains and smoke to preserve its softness. 
In color and pliability it is somewhat like what is called 
chamois skin, but it is far stronger and has the singular 
property that, although it shrinks some after wetting 
and gets stiff in drying, it can easily be made as soft 
as ever by merely rubbing it in the hands. For some 
purposes buckskin is superior to any leather. It was 
used by our frontiersmen, as well as by the Indians, 
for moccasins, leggings, hunting shirts, gun covers and 
numerous other purposes. It is warmer than cloth, 
pliable as kid, noiseless against bushes, proof against 
thorns, collects no burs, wears like iron and its soft 
neutral color renders the wearer inconspicuous amid 
any surroundings. When of good quality it can be 
washed like a piece of cloth. Its only fault is that it 
is very unpleasant to wear in wet weather; but against 
this is the consideration that buckskin can be prepared 
in the wilderness, with no materials save those furnished 
on the spot by the forest, the stream, and the animal 
itself. Not even salt is used in its manufacture. Neither 
tannin nor any substitute for it has touched a piece of 
buckskin; its fibers have been loosened and rendered 
permanently soft and flexible, its pores have been 
closed up, but there has been little or no chemical 
change from the raw state of the skin and consequently 
it has no tendency to rot. 

Different Indian tribes have different methods of 
making buckskin, but the essential processes are the 
same, namely: (1) soaking, (2) depilating and flesh- 


ing, (3) stretching and treating with brains, with re- 
peated soaking and drying, (4) smoking. The skin of 
^ a deer, for example, is first soaked in 

„ water from three to five days, depend- 

ing upon temperature. Elk or buffalo 
hides were immersed in a lye of wood ashes and water 
or rolled up in ashes moistened with warm water. 
After soaking, the hide is taken to a graining log, which 
is simply a piece of sapling or small tree about 8 feet 
long and 6 or 8 inches thick at the butt. The bark is 
removed from the thick end and the other end is stuck 
under a root or otherwise fastened in the ground at an 
angle, leaving the smoothe end about waist high, like 
a tanner's beam. Or, a short log may be used — one 
that will reach to a man's chin when stood on end; in 
which case a notch is cut in the butt by which the 
stick is braced against the limb of a small tree, with 
smoothe surface facing the operator, and the small end 
sticking in the ground about two feet from the tree. 

A graining-knife is now required. It was formerly 
made of hardwood, of flint, of the sharpened rib or 
scapula of an animal, or of the attached bones of a 
deer's foreleg with the front end of the ulna scraped 
sharp, the latter instrument being used like a spoke- 
shave. Sometimes a large, strong mussel shell was 
used. A favorite instrument was an adze or hoe- 
shaped tool made from the fork of an elk antler. After 
they could get iron, the squaws made skin-scrapers 
shaped as in the accompanying illustration, the handle 
being about a foot long. Dealers in taxidermists' sup- 
plies sell scrapers made specially for this purpose. The 
back of a thin butcher-knife does well enough, if the 
point of the blade be driven into a stick so as to give a 
handle at each end. In fact, almost anything with a 
scraping rather than a cutting edge will answer the 
purpose. The skin is placed on the graining log with 
the neck drawn over the upper end of the log about 
six or eight inches; the operator places a flat stick 
between the neck and his body, to prevent slipping, 
and presses his weight against it. If the short notched 
log is used, the neck is caught between the notch and 



the limb. The hair and grain (black epidermis) are 
scraped off by working the knife down the skin the 
way the hair runs. If the hair is stubborn, a little 
ashes rubbed into such spots will offer resistance to the 
knife and will make the grain slip. The hide is now 
turned over and fleshed with a sharp knife, by remov- 
ing all superfluous tissue and working the skin down 
to an even thickness throughout. This operation must 
be performed with extreme care or the buckskin will 
have thick and stiff spots which make it comparatively 
worthless — a point to be considered in buying buck- 
skin. In olden times, when a squaw wanted to make 
something particularly nice, she would patiently work 

Fig. 21. Indian Skin-Scraper. 

down a deerskin until it was almost as thin and pliable 
as a piece of cotton cloth. After cleaning in this man- 
ner the skin is allowed to dry and then is re-soaked 
over night. 

Now comes the job of stretching and softening the 
hide. There is only one recipe for this: elbow-grease 
Softeninff the ^^^ plenty of it. The skin is pulled, 
g, . twisted, and worked in every direction 

until it becomes white and soft, after 
which the operator rubs into it the brains of the animal, 
which have been removed by splitting the skull length- 
wise half in two. Sometimes the brains are first dis- 
solved in tepid water, being allowed to simmer over a 
slow fire while the lumps are rolled between the fingers 
till they form a paste which will dissolve more freely. 
This solution is then rubbed into the hide on the 
hair side, which is coarser than the flesh side. 


The brains act as a sort of dubbing; if there is not 
likely to be enough for the job, the macerated liver 
of the animal is added to the brains. Deer brains 
may be preserved by mixing them with moss so as to 
make the mass adhere enough to be formed into a 
cake, which is hung by the fire to dry. Such a cake 
will keep for years. When wanted for dressing a hide, 
it is dissolved in hot water and the moss is removed. 
A skin may be treated by soaking it in the solution, 
wringing out, drying and re-soaking till it is thoroughly 
penetrated. After this process the skin must again be 
pulled, stretched, kneaded, and rubbed, until the fiber 
is thoroughly loosened and every part becomes as pli- 
able as chamois skin. If two men are available they 
saw the hide back and forth over the sharpened edge 
of a plank or over a taut rope, lariat, or a twisted sinew 
as thick as one's finger. Large and refractory hides 
may be softened by stretching them firmly on elevated 
frames and dancing on them. It is a hard job for one 
man to soften a large hide, but he can accomplish it by 
throwing the wet skin over a convenient limb, forming 
a loop at the other end, passing a stout stick through 
it, and twisting into a hard knot — leaving it to dry; 
then he re-soaks it and repeats the operation as often 
as necessary. The oftener a skin is wet and softened, 
the more pliable it becomes. 

The final process is smoking, which closes the pores, 
toughens the skin, gives it the desired color, and insures 
g , . , its drying soft after a wetting. Ordi- 
„,. narily the skin is made its own smoke- 

house. A small hole is dug in the 
ground and a smudge started in it. The best smudge 
is made from "dozed" wood, that is, from wood 
affected with dry rot until it is spongy; this, when 
dried, gives out a pale blue smoke without flame. If a 
particular shade of yellow or brown is desired, some 
discrimination must be used in selecting the fuel. 
Above all things, the smudge must not be allowed to 
break out in flame, for heating would ruin the skin. 
Several small poles are stuck around the hole and the 
skin is wrapped around them somewhat like a teepee 


cover, the edges being sewed or skewered together; it 
is best, when practicable, to smoke two or more skins 
at once, so as to have plenty of room around and above 
the smudge. When two skins of about equal size are 
ready, a good way to smoke them is to loosely baste 
their edges together in the form of a bag, the outside of 
the skins forming the inside of the bag and the after 
part of the skins forming its bottom, the neck end be- 
ing left open; to the edges of the open end sew a cloth 
continuation, leaving it open. Suspend this bag from 
its bottom to a tree or pole. Bend a small green stick 
into a hoop and place it within the bottom of the bag; 
under the mouth of the bag place a pan containing the 
smouldering wood (the cloth mouth is to prevent the 
skin from heating). Inspect the inside of the skins 
from time to time and when they are smoked to a deep 
yellow or light brown the process is finished; some- 
times both sides of the skins are smoked; otherwise, 
fold the skins with the smoked side within and lay them 
away for a few days to season. This sets the color, 
making it permanent. The skins of antelope or any 
of the deer tribe are treated in the same way. Antelope, 
deer, moose and caribou hides make good buckskin, but 
elk hides are comparatively weak and inferior material. 
Rawhide is often useful in camp and is easily pre- 
pared. Soak the fresh hide in water, or in a weak lye 
J. , . , made by adding wood ashes to water, 

until the hair will slip. The alkali is 
not necessary for deerskins. Then remove the hair 
and stretch the hide with great force on a frame or on 
the side of a building, extending it in all directions as 
tightly as possible, so that when it dries it will be as 
taut as a drumhead. Dry it in the shade; use no salt 
or other preservative. This is all, unless you wish to 
make the rawhide supple, in which case rub into it 
thoroughly a mixture of oil and tallow. A convenient 
way of making a stretching frame in the woods is to 
go where two trees grow at the right distance apart; 
notch them at the proper height to receive a strong, 
stiff sapling that has been cut to fit the notches, the 
deep cut of the latter being at the lower side so that no 


force can pull the pole down; similarly fit another 
pole into reversed notches just above the ground; cut 
slits in the edges of the hide and from them stretch 
thongs or very strong cords to the trees and poles, 
twisting them up tightly. 

The plains Indians used to make rawhide trunks or 
boxes which would stand any amount of abuse in pack- 
p ^. - ing and travel. These were called by 

the voyageurs parfleche. (Our diction- 
aries surmise that this is a French adaptation of some 
Indian word, but it is simply Canadian-French, mean- 
ing an arrow-fender, because it was from rawhide that 
the Indians made their almost impenetrable shields. 
The word is commonly pronounced by Americans 
"par-flesh," with the accent on the last syllable.) In 
making these rawhide receptacles the thickest hides of 
buffalo bulls were dehaired, cut into the required shapes 
and stretched on wooden forms to dry; they then re- 
tained their shapes and were almost as hard as iron. 
A hide bucket can be made by cutting off from the 
rawhide some thin strips for lacing, soaking the skin 
until it is quite soft, shaping from it a bag, sewing this 
up with the lace-leather, fitting to it a handle of twisted 
or plaited hide, then filling the bucket with dry sand or 
earth and letting it stand till dry. 

Woodchuck skins are proverbially tough, and are 
good for shoestrings and whangs. Squirrel skins can 
--,, be used for thinner ones. An old sum- 

- , mer coon's skin is very good for this 

purpose; wildcat's skin is best of all. 
To prepare a hide for whang-leather : soak it until the 
hair will slip. Do not use wood ashes unless you must, 
for lye will weaken the hide. Remove the hair, and 
then take a large tablespoonful of alum, and not quite 
half as much salt, and rub this into the flesh side. Roll 
up the skin, cover with a cloth to keep moist, and let 
it stand about two days and a night. Then pull and 
work it until dry. Soften by rubbing over the edge of 
a plank or shake. Some use soap in tanning such 
skins, but it makes the strings too slippery thereafter, 
and makes them draw dampness till they rot. 


Lace-leather is cut of uniform width by the follow- 
ing means. With a pair of compasses (a forked stick 
with pencil or metal scoring point attached to one leg 
will serve) draw a circle on a piece of hide; cut out this 
round piece with a keen knife; make a starting cut of 
the desired width on the edge of the circular piece of 
hide. Drive an awl or a slender round nail into a 
board and alongside of it; at precisely the width of the 
lace, stick the knife, edge foremost, and inclining a 
little to the rear; then lay the round bit of hide in 
front of the knife, draw the cut strip between the awl 
and the knife and steadily pull away ; the round leather 
will revolve as the knife cuts its way, and the awl, act- 
ing as a gauge, will insure a uniform width of lacing. 

To make a rawhide riata: select carefully skinned 
hides that have no false cuts in them. A 30-foot riata 
will require two large cowhides if it is 
to be made three-stranded, or four small 
ones if four-stranded. Having removed the hair, stake 
the hides out on level ground, keeping them well 
stretched and constantly wetted so as not to harden; 
keep them pegged out two days. Cut up the hide in 
the manner of laces, the width of the strip not exceed- 
ing one-half inch; wet each strip, when cut, and wrap 
it around a stick; then fasten the strips to a tree and 
plait them to a uniform circumference and tightness of 
twist. Keep the strands and plaited portion wet; a 
Mexican fills his mouth with water which he squirts 
slowly over the work and materials. When the rope 
is finished, stretch it thoroughly, and then grease it. 
To preserve its pliability, keep it continually greased. 

The catgut of commerce is never made from cats, 
any more than chamois skin is made from chamois; 
but it can be made from the intestines 
^ * of almost any good-sized animal. Thor- 

oughly cleanse the intestine from all impurities, inside 
and out; this is more easily done while the gut is still 
warm from the animal. Wash it and then scrape it 
with a blunt knife to remove slime and grease; then 
steep it in running water for a day or two, so as to 
loosen both the inner and outer membranes, which are 


then removed by scraping. To turn the gut inside 

out, double back a few inches of one end, invert this, 

take the bag thus formed between finger and thumb 

and dip water up into it till the double fold is nearly 

full, when the weight of the water will cause the gut to 

become inverted. The fibrous inner membrane is then 

soaked three or four hours in water to which wood 

ashes have been added. It is then washed free from 

lye and can either be split into thin fibers when it has 

dried or may be twisted into a bowstring or similar 

cord. To twist it, plant two stout stakes in the ground, 

a little wider apart than the length of the gut; make 

a saw-cut in the top of each stake; cut two narrow, 

flat pieces of wood into the shape of knife-blades, thin 

enough to enter the saw-cuts, and notch one end of 

each; firmly lash each end of the gut to one of these 

notched ends. By alternately twisting these and fixing 

them in the saw-cuts, to prevent their running back, 

the gut may be evenly and smoothly twisted like a 

single-strand cord. Let it dry and then rub it smoothe 

with a woollen rag and a little grease. 

Bladders only need cleaning, inflation with air and 

drying to preserve them. They may then be made 

,- , pliable by oiling. The paunches of ani- 

Membranes. ^ , ^ , * . ^ , , , 

mals, alter cleanmg, can be expanded 

with grass until dried. Such receptacles have many 
uses in wilderness camps, where bottles and cans are 
unobtainable; for example, to hold bear's oil, wild 
honey, and other fluid or semi-fluid substances. 

A very strong, pliable and durable sewing thread is 
made from sinew. It splits into even threads, is easy 
J,. to work with when damp, and, on 

drying, it shrinks tightly and becomes 
almost as hard as horn; hence it is a better material 
than any vegetable fiber for certain kinds of sew- 
ing, particularly in sewing leather or buckskin, and for 
binding together any two parts, such as a tool and its 
handle, where the former has no eye. For bow- 
strings and heavy sewing, the Indians preferred the 
sinews of the buffalo or the moose, and then the elk, 
these being coarse in texture; for finer work they chose 


those of the deer, antelope, and bighorn. The sinew 
of the panther or mountain-Hon was esteemed as the 
finest and most durable. The ligaments that extend 
from the head backwards along each side of the spinal 
process were preferred to those of the legs. The 
aboriginal method of preparing and using sinew is 
thus described by Isham G. Allen: "The sinew is pre- 
pared for use by first removing all adhering flesh with 
the back of a knife; it is then stretched on a board or 
lodge-pole and left to dry for an hour or so, preparatory 
to the separation of the fibers or threads by twisting in 
the hands. By the same or similar twisting motion, 
and by pulling, the fiber can be extended to a reason- 
able length. [Dried sinews may readily be shredded 
by wetting, and, if necessary, by gentle hammering.] 
Cords or small ropes are made by twisting many fibers 
together between two forked sticks fastened in the 
ground, and, during the process, rubbing with thin 
skins of the elk or deer to soften them; the largest cord 
I have seen made in this manner was one-fourth of an 
inch in diameter. To prepare it for sewing, the sinew 
is wet, and, at the needle end, rolled on the knee with 
the palm of the hand to a fine, hard point, like that of 
a shoemaker's bristle. As suggested, the sinews are 
made sufficiently fine for use in fixing the guiding 
feathers, and fastening the iron or flint heads of arrows, 
and in wrapping of clubs, etc. Formerly the awl used 
in sewing was of bone taken from the leg of the eagle; 
this has been displaced by the common sailor's needle; 
the overstitch is that most commonly employed in 
aboriginal sewing." 

It may sometime happen that one wishes to prepare 
a sheet of parchment on which to write an important 
p , document; this can be done in the wil- 

derness, if one can kill some animal that 
has a gall-bladder. Make the parchment like ordinary 
rawhide, from the thin skin of a medium-sized animal, 
say a fawn or a wildcat. Rub it down with a flat piece 
of sandstone or pumice-stone. Then get a smoothe, 
water-worn pebble and with it rub every part of one 
surface (hair side) of the skin, making it firm and 


smoothe. Then give this a coat of gall diluted with 

water. The old-fashioned way of making ox-gall was 

as follows : take the gall of a newly killed ox and after 

having allowed it to settle twelve or fifteen hours in a 

basin, pour the floating liquor off the sediment into a 

small pan or cup, put the latter in a larger vessel that 

has a little boiling water in the bottom, and keep up a 

boiling heat until the liquor is somewhat thick; then 

spread this substance on a dish and place it before a 

fire till it becomes nearly dry. In this state it can be 

kept for years in a pot covered with paper, without 

undergoing any alteration. To use it, dissolve a piece 

the size of a pea in a tablespoonful of water. It makes 

ink or watercolors spead evenly on parchment, paper, 

or ivory. A coating of it sets lead-pencil or crayon 

marks so that they cannot be removed. It is also used 

for taking out spots of grease or oil. 

To make parchment translucent, as for a window: 

take a raw skin, curried, and dried on a stretcher 

without any preservative ; steep it in an 

_, , ^ infusion of water, boiled honey, and the 
Parchment. i -x £ 

white oi eggs. 

Another method is to soak a thin skin of parchment 
in a strong lye of wood ashes, often wringing it out, 
until you find that it is partly transparent; then stretch 
it on a frame and let it dry. This will be improved 
and made rain-proof if, after it is dry, you coat it on 
both sides with a clear mastic varnish, made as directed 

Unsized paper or a thin skin is made waterproof and 
translucent by applying lightly to both sides a varnish 
made by putting ^ ounce gum mastic in 6 ounces best 
spirits of turpentine, and shaking it up thoroughly, day 
by day, until dissolved. The bottle should be kept in 
a warm place while contents are dissolving. 

Or, use equal parts Canada balsam (fir balsam) and 
turpentine: this dries slowly, but is flexible like map 

Or, dissolve J ounce beeswax in ^ pint turpentine. 



"\\7"HILE the methods used by regular furriers in 

^ ' tanning pelts with the fur on are complicated 

. and beyond the resources of men in the 

■R h "th woods, at the same time very good re- 

^, _ suits may be obtained by the simpler 

the Fur on. j -u j u i 

means described below. 

The best work is done with skins fresh from the 
animal. Cleanse all blood and dirt from the pelt by 
soaking it in running water from one to four hours, 
depending upon temperature of water and quality of 
fur; or, if the skinning has been carefully done, the 
fur can be cleaned by sponging. Soaking is necessary 
to relax a dried skin. If a skin be immersed too long, 
the hair or fur will slip — particularly if the water be 
warm. Next thoroughly rub into the flesh side plenty 
of table salt. Double the skin, fur side out, roll it up, 
and let it lie over night. Then work it over a beam 
with the scraper, carefully removing all flesh and fat. 
A greasy skin will not take the tan. Hot corn-meal, 
hot sand, or sawdust, will help to remove grease; but 
be particular not to get it on the fur, for it may be hard 
to remove. If benzin were to be had, the skin could 
be immersed in it for an hour and then dried. 

The pelt is now ready for tanning. The easiest way 
to do this is to soak it at least two days in the tan liquor 
described in the preceding chapter. (One quart of salt 
boiled in a gallon of water, then 1 ounce of sulphuric 
acid added.) If you prefer to keep the fur dry through 
the process, simply sponge the tan liquor on the flesh 
side from time to time, keeping it moistened thus for 


a couple of days; then rinse out the superfluous salt 
with clear water. Let the skin become partially dry 
and then work it over the edge of a plank or a tightly 
stretched rope, until the fiber is broken up. 

To stretch a dressed skin so that it will lie flat on 
the floor, moisten the flesh side with water, and, when 
it is relaxed, tack it, fur side out, on a board or the side 
of a building in a shady place. If the skin has hardened 
when dry again, work it once more over the plank. 
After a skin has thoroughly dried it may be worked 
down as thin and soft as desired by rubbing with a 
piece of sandpaper folded over a block of wood. 

To tan a pelt with alum, first cleanse it and rub salt 
into it, as described above, then rub into it a good 
sprinkling of powdered alum, but keep this out of the 
fur, for alum makes it hard to wash afterwards. Roll 
the skin up and let it lie at least two days — preferably 
longer; then place it in a stretcher and draw it tightly 
in every direction, so that there will be no wrinkles, 
but not tightly enough to make the fur thin. Smear 
the flesh side with a paste of flour, oatmeal, and water, 
and let it dry thoroughly in the shade; now work oft' 
the paste with a dull knife. Afterwards place the 
stretched skin in a damp place, until the superfluous 
salt comes out in beads of brine on the flesh side ; wash 
this off, or the skin will turn damp thereafter in moist 
weather; then dry the skin again thoroughly. After 
this, wash and scour it with yellow soap and water, to 
which a little ammonia has been added (the water 
should be as hot as the hand can bear). Thor- 
oughly rinse all soap from the fur, but let as little water 
get on it as possible. Give the pelt a hard shaking and 
hang it fur side out, to dry. When it is about half dry, 
work it over the edge of a plank or a square bar of 
iron, to draw out and soften every part of the skin; 
then work it with a knife, finish off with sandpaper or 
pumice-stone, and comb out the fur. 

In preparing a rug on which the animal's head is to 
be mounted — as, for example, a bear's head with the 
mouth open — the skin of the head should not be tanned, 
but merely salted. 


It is possible to make a soft and pliable robe with- 
out tanning, after the Indian method, but it is harr^ 

, „- work. The method employed on buf- 

, „ falo robes has been described by Col. 
Dodge as follows: "The skin of even 
the youngest and fattest cow is, in its natural condi- 
tion, much too thick for use, being unwieldy and lack- 
ing pliability. This thickness must be reduced at least 
one-half and the skin at the same time made soft and 
pliable. When the stretched skin has become dry and 
hard from the action of the sun, the woman goes to 
work with a small implement shaped somewhat like 
a carpenter's adze; it has a short handle of wood or 
elkhorn, tied on with rawhide, and is used with one 
hand [this was before iron or steel tools were ob- 
tainable]. With this tool the woman chips at the hard- 
ened skin, cutting off a thin shaving at every blow. 
The skill in the whole process consists in so directing 
and tempering the blows as to cut the skin, yet not cut 
too deep, and in finally obtaining a uniform thickness 
and perfectly smoothe and even inner surface. To ren- 
der the skin soft and pliable the chipping is stopped 
every little while and the chipped surface smeared with 
brains of buffalo, which are thoroughly rubbed in with 
a smoothe stone. When very great care and delicacy 
are required the skin is stretched vertically on a frame 
of poles. It is claimed that the chipping process can 
be much more perfectly performed on a skin stretched 
in this way than on one stretched on the uneven and 
unyielding ground, but the latter is used for all common 
robes, because it is the easiest. When the thinning 
and softening process is completed, the robe is taken 
out of its frame, trimmed, and sometimes smoked. It 
is now ready for use. This is a long and tedious pro- 
cess and no one but an Indian would go through it." 
Sometimes, after the fleshing of the hide was completed, 
a mixture of boiled brains, marrow grease, and pounded 
roast liver was thickly spread on the flesh side and 
allowed to dry in; then the hide was rubbed with fat, 
dampened with warm water, rolled up and laid away 
for a day. After this the hide was slowly dried in the 


sun or very carefully before a fire, being frequently 
and thoroughly rubbed over a riata while drying. 

Furs that one intends to sell to a furrier should be 
stretched and dried without any preservative, not even 

A snake's skin is easily tanned, either with the tan 

liquor or with alum. All foreign matter is scraped 

_ . from it; the skin is then re-soaked and 

, ^^,, . washed clean with soap and water. If 

a smooth e board be procurable, the skin 
can be "squee-geed" to the planed surface and it will 
cling to the board naturally. A tack on each side 
every eight or ten inches will keep it in place while 
drying. After two or three days the skin can be re- 
moved, softened with oil, and rolled up until wanted. 
The Indian method of making and using glue may 
come in handy at times when one is far in the wilder- 

ness. The glue is made from the hoofs 

of deer, or any other hoofed animals, by 
boiling. A stick is then cut about six inches long and 
as thick as one's little finger; one end of this is dipped 
in the melted glue, which is allowed to harden; this 
process is then repeated until there is a considerable 
bulb of glue on the end of the stick. To use it, the 
stick is dipped in hot water and then rubbed on the 
object to be glued. 

Horn is easily manipulated by soaking it in boiling 

water. The western Indians used to make superior 

^ - . . bows of buffalo horns, and from those 

T-. of the mountain sheep, by leaving the 

horns in hot springs until they were 
perfectly malleable, then straightening them and cutting 
them into strips of suitable width. Two buffalo horns 
were pieced in the center and riveted; then bound 
strongly at the splice with sinew. 

To make a horn cup: Select a large horn with a 
sharp bend in it; trim the butt end smoothe and even 
for the bottom of the cup; then, back from this, at a 
distance equal to the proposed height of the cup, saw 
through the greater part of the horn, as shown in the 
diagram, but leave enough of the top for a handle, the 


latter strip being about 6 inches long and f inch wide. 
Scrape the handle gradually down to J inch thickness 
at the end. Then soak the handle in a strong boiling 
solution of lime until it is soft, bend it backward around 
a stick and bind the end fast to base of handle at top, 
until it has cooled and hardened; then fit a wooden 
bottom in it, and tack and lute it in place. A powerful 
cement or lute for such purpose, as well as for mending 
broken vessels, is made by kneading with a stick a 
strong solution of newly slaked lime into a doughlike 
mass with glue or blood or white of egg. Before putting 
in the bottom, scrape and sandpaper the cup inside and 
out. Such a cup is light, it stands the hard knocks of 
travel better than a metal one, and it is pleasanter to 


Fig. 22. Horn Cup. 

drink hot coffee from. It can be ornamented with 
scrimshaw carvings. 

The following description of how to make a hunts- 
man's horn is condensed from one given some years 

ago by D. M. Morris : Select a cow's 
A Hunte- ^^^^ ^^ ^^ jg .^^j^^g j^j^g. j2 jj^^jj^g 

man s Horn. ^.^^ ^^ ^.^j^ ^ j^^^^ ^^^^^ determine 
how far the hollow extends and saw off the tip about 
an inch above that point. With a gimlet bore down 
to the hollow, taking care to hit it fairly. Ream out 
the hole from } to 5-16 inch diameter. Dress the horn 
down with a half-round file but do not scrape it. Be 
careful to get a fair and even surface. To avoid work- 
ing the horn too thin, press with thumb on doubtful 
places to see if there is any spring. Work down the 
neck as much as it will safely bear. A brass ferrule 


should now be fitted tighly around the neck to prevent 
the stem of the mouthpiece from splitting it. Now, to 
polish the horn : take a piece of sandpaper 2 or 3 inches 
square, and a little finer than the file, in the palm of the 
right hand; then, grasping the horn with the left hand, 
twist it round and round from end to end, occasionally 
rubbing it lengthwise. Continue this process with finer 
grades of sandpaper till the very finest has been used 
and complete the polishing with pumice or rotten 
stone and water. Then get from any dealer in musi- 
cal instruments an E flat or cornet mouthpiece, fit it 
perfectly, drive it in tightly and your horn is complete. 
Or take the small end of another horn, or the piece 
sawed off, and with a sharp and round-pointed pocket- 
knife work out a conical cavity at the large end, and 
make a hole through the small end for the stem. Work 
off the outside, shaping it in the form of a cone the sides 
of which are concaved near the base and convexed 
toward the stem. This shape will look well, and the 
top will be thick enough to rest easily against the lips. 
The hole should be about the size of a rye straw. The 
shape of the mouthpiece and the size of the hole — pro- 
vided it be large enough — do not materially affect the 
horn. The stem of the mouthpiece should be f to 1 
inch long. If shorter, the sound will be too harsh; if 
longer, too soft and not far-sounding. Long horns 
produce flat sounds, shorter ones sharp sounds. A 
good horn may be heard three to three and a half miles. 
The best horns have a double curve (crooks in two 
directions), gradually tapering from butt to tip, highly 
colored, or with black or dark points. A part of the 
butt must always be removed, as it is thin and brittle. 
It is easy to make excellent gun oil from the fat of 
almost any animal. Never use a vegetable oil on a 
P ^.. firearm — it is sure to gum. Rattlesnake 

oil has more body than almost any 
other animal oil; but that of woodchucks, squirrels, 
'coons, etc., is good. A fine oil can also be made from 
the fat of the ruffed grouse, or from the marrow of a 
deer's leg bones. Put the fat on a board and with a 
sharp knife cut it up fine; then put it out in the hot 


sunlight, or warm it gently (do not let it get hot) before 
the fire; now force the oil through a strong cloth bag 
by squeezing it. To clarify it so that it will never 
become viscid, put it in a bottle with a charge of shot, 
or some shavings of lead, and stand the bottle where 
the sun's rays will strike it. A heavy deposit will fall. 
Repeat, and you will then have an oil equal to that of 
watchmakers, but with enough body to stay where it 
is put, rather than running down into the chamber of 
the gun so as to leave unprotected spots in the barrel. 
A large squirrel will yield over an ounce of tried oil, 
a fat woodchuck nearly a pint, and a bear several gal- 
lons — eight gallons of grease have been procured from 
a big grizzly. 

Bear's oil, by the way, is better than lard for short- 
ening biscuit and for frying, and, when mixed with 
^ , ^.. sugar and spread on bread, is not a bad 

substitute for butter and syrup. It is 
rendered by cooking in a pot hung high over a slow 
fire, so as not to scorch the fat, which would give off 
an acrid smell and make the oil less bland. No salt is 
added; the oil will keep sweet without it, unless in 
very hot weather (when it should be kept in a cool 
room, or in a spring, or in a pot sunk in the earth). The 
Indians, who were very fond of bear's grease, used to 
preserve it so that it would not turn rancid even when 
they were traveling in summer, by adding the inner 
bark of the slippery elm (1 drachm to a pound of grease), 
keeping them heated together for a few minutes, and 
then straining off. They also used sassafras bark and 
wild cinnamon for the same purpose. Bear's oil is 
superior to olive oil for the table, and can be used with 
impunity by people whose stomachs will not endure 
pork fat. I happen to be rendering some bear's grease 
at the time of this writing. The yield is a gallon of oil 
to ten pounds of fat. 

Rattlesnake oil is solemnly regarded by the old- 

^ . , fashioned Pennsylvania Dutch as a spe- 

i\,atti6snaK6 'n p i •• • x* 

^.. cifac tor rheumatism, rmgworm, sties, 

sore eyes generally, and even for hydro- 
phobia. A large, fat snake yields from two to two 


and a half ounces of oil. A piece of muslin is stretched 
over a glass jar, and the fat, which resembles that of a 
chicken, is spread on this. The hot summer sun ren- 
ders it, and the muslin strains it. The Dutch are 
reported to have a curious way of telling whether the 
snake has bitten itself and thereby poisoned its fat. 
They drop a little of the oil into a glass of milk. If 
the oil floats as a film on top it is good; but if it sepa- 
rates into small beads and the milk gathers in thick 
white flakes, as though soured, it is a sign that the 
snake bit itself. 

While I am on the subject of animal fats and oils, I 
may as well say something about extemporized lights 

„, , T for a fixed camp that is far in the wil- 

Slush-Lamps. , * i v. i • j i 

derness. A slush-lamp is made by 

taking a tin can, half filling it with sand or earth, 

sticking in it a thin rod of pine or other inflammable 

wood, wrapping around this a strip of soft cotton cloth, 

and filling the can with melted fat which contains no 

salt. Grease can be freed from salt by boiling it in 

water. This is a much better arrangement than to use 

a shallow dish, or, as some have done, a mussel shell, 

and letting the end of the immersed wick project over 

one side, where it will drip grease. But such a light, 

although it was the best that many of our pioneers had 

in the olden days, is at best a smoky and stinking affair. 

The estimation in which it was held by those who had 

to use it may be judged from the fact that in Enghsh- 

speaking countries it has universally been known as a 

"slut," except in the Klondike, where they call it a 


A rush-light is made by soaking the pith of rushes 
in melted tallow. When dry, a length of the rush is 
then placed in a split stick, or any kind of clip, and 

Wherever deer, elk, or other animals whose fat is 
tallow, are procurable, there is no excuse but laziness 
Candles ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ illumination. Very satis- 

factory candles can be made by the 
following process, which is called "dipping." For 
wicking, use cotton cord loosely unwound, or dry 


shredded bark. Put your tallow in a kettle with some 
boiling water. One part of hog's lard to three of tal- 
low may improve the product. Scald and skim twice. 
Lay two poles sidewise and about a foot apart on sup- 
ports, so that they shall be about as high from the 
ground as the top of an ordinary chair; cut some 
sticks about 15 or 18 inches long for candle rods; 
twist your wicking one way, then double it; slip the 
loop over the candle rod and twist the other way, mak- 
ing a firm wick; put about sLx wicks on each rod, a 
couple of inches apart. Dip a row of wicks into the 
melted tallow, place the rod across the two long poles, 
and thus dip each row of wicks in turn. Each will 
have time to cool and harden between the dips. If 
allowed to cool too fast they will crack : so work slowly. 
When the first dipping has hardened, repeat the pro- 
cess, and so on until the candles are of desired thick- 
ness. Replenish the tallow as needed, taking it off the 
fire, of course, for each dip. This is the way our fore- 
mothers made candles before they got candle molds. 
For a candlestick, split the end of a stick for several 
inches, then again crosswise; open these segments by 
pushing a flat, thin stick down each; insert candle, 
and remove wedges; sharpen the other end of the stick, 
and jab it into the ground wherever wanted. Or, put 
a loop of bark in the cleft end of a stick, the loop pro- 
jecting at one side. Or, cut the end of a large potato 
square off, and gouge a hole for the candle in the op- 
posite end. 

Soap can be made wherever there is wood and grease. 
A rough-and-ready way is to boil wood ashes from the 
,;, Tjr ]r' camp-fire in a little water and allow them 
^ ^* to settle, the clear liquid being decanted 

off; this can be done from day to day until the required 
quantity of weak lye has accumulated. Evaporate 
this by boiling until it is strong enough to float an egg. 
Then melt down any kind of animal fat (do not have 
the kettle more than half full), and, while it is hot, add 
it to the boiling lye. Continue boiling and stirring 
until the mixture is of about the consistency of thick 
porridge; then pour it into any flat vessel and let it 


cool. The result is soft soap. To make hard soap, 
you have merely to stir into the above, as soon as it is 
poured out, some salt, in the proportion of two or three 
pints to five gallons of soap. A little powdered rosin 
added gradually to the melted tallow, before mixing 
with the lye, will make the soap firmer. Soap can be 
made without boiling, but it takes longer. 

Only the ashes of hardwoods are good for lye; those 
of resinous woods will not mix with the fat in boiling. 
^ . The woods richest in potash are hick- 
^ ' ^* ory, sugar maple, ash, beech and buck- 

eye. The poisonous kernels of buckeye are soapy and 
can be used to cleanse fine fabrics. As lye is often use- 
ful to a backwoods tanner, and for other purposes, it 
may be worth while to put up an ash-hopper at a 
permanent camp. Take a section of hollow tree, 
or a barrel with both heads knocked out. Stand it on 
a wide board that is elevated high enough for a bucket 
to stand below it. Cut a groove in the board around 
the bottom of the barrel and out to one end of the board. 
Tilt the board a little and fasten it so that the liquor 
from the barrel will follow the grooved channel to the 
end of the board and thus trickle into a pail set below 
it. Now put two or three layers of small round sticks 
in the bottom of the barrel, laying each course cross- 
wise of the one below, cob-house fashion, and on top 
of this lay a couple of inches of straw or coarse grass; 
now put your ashes in the barrel, tamping them down 
firmly as they are shoveled in; make a funnel-shaped 
depression in the top and pour a bucket of water into 
it. It will be from half a day to a day before the leach 
will run. Thereafter keep some water standing in the 
depression, adding only when the other water has dis- 
appeared. If the ashes have been firmly tamped, the 
leach will only trickle through, and that is what you 
want. The first run will be strong enough to cut grease; 
later runs should be put through twice. Such lye needs 
no boiling down. 



npHE present chapter is boiled down for the use of 
■*■ men of no surgical experience, who may suddenly 
find themselves wounded, or with an injured compan- 
ion on their hands, when far from any physician, and 
with no special surgical appliances. 

In operating upon a comrade, the main things are 
to keep cool, act promptly, and make him feel that you 
have no doubt that you can pull him through all right. 
Place him in a comfortable position, and expose the 
wound. If you cannot otherwise remove the clothing 
quickly and without hurting him, rip it up the seam. 
First stop the bleeding, if there is any; then cleanse 
the wound; then close it, if a cut or torn wound; then 
apply a sterilized dressing; then bandage it in place. 
Of course, if the injury is serious, you will immedi- 
ately send a messenger hot-footed for a surgeon, pro- 
vided there is any chance of getting one. 

As for the patient himself, let him never say die. 
Pluck has carried many a man triumphantly through 
what seemed the forlornest hope. Let me take space 
for an example or two. 

Kit Carson once helped to amputate a comrade's 
limb when the only instruments available were a razor, 
a handsaw, and the kingbolt of a wagon. Not a man 
in the party knew how to take up an artery. Fine 
teeth were filed in the back of the saw, the iron was 
made white-hot, the arm was removed, the stump seared 
so as to close the blood-vessels, and — the patient re- 

Charles F. Lummis, having fractured his right arm 
so badly that the bone protruded, and being alone in 


the desert, gave his canteen strap two flat turns about 
the wrist, buckled it around a cedar tree, mounted a 
nearby rock, set his heels upon the edge, and threw 
himself backward. He fainted; but the bone was set. 
Then, having rigged splints to the injured member with 
his left hand and teeth, he walked fifty-two miles with- 
out resting, before he could get food, and finished the 
700-mile tramp to Los Angeles with the broken arm 
slung in a bandanna. 

Richardson tells of a Montana trapper who, having 
his leg shattered in an Indian fight, and finding that 
gangrene was setting in, whetted one edge of his big 
hunting knife, filed the other into a saw, and with his 
own hands cut the flesh, sawed the bone, and seared the 
arteries with a hot iron. He survived. 

Stop the flow of blood temporarily by raising the in- 
jured part as high as you can above the heart, and 
pressing very firmly with thumb or finger 
either on or into the wound. The pa- 
^* tient can do this for himself, and can 

control the bleeding until his hand gives out. There is 
record of an Austrian soldier who stopped bleeding 
from the great artery of the thigh for four hours by 
plugging the wound with his thumb; if he had let go 
for a minute he would have bled to death. 

Observe whether the bleeding is arterial or venous. 
If it comes from a vein, the blood will be dark red or 
purplish, and will flow in a steady stream. Press upon 
the vein below the wound; then prepare a clean pad 
(compress) and bind it upon the wound firmly enough 
to stop the bleeding permanently. 

If an artery is cut, the blood will be bright red, and 
it will probably spurt in jets. Try to locate the artery 
above the wound (between it and the heart) by pressing 
very hard where you think the artery may pass close 
to a bone, and watch if this checks the flow. When 
you find the artery, then, if the wound be in leg, arm, 
head, or any other place where a tourniquet can be 
applied, proceed as follows: 

Tie a strong bandage (handkerchief, belt, suspen- 
der, rope, strip of clothing) around the wounded mem- 


ber, and between the wound and the heart. Under it, 
and directly over the artery, place a smoothe pebble, a 
cartridge, piece of stick, or other hard lump. Then 
thrust a stout stick under the bandage, and twist until 
the wound stops bleeding. The lump serves two pur- 
poses: it brings the most pressure where it will do the 
most good, and it allows passage of enough blood on 
either side to keep the limb from being strangled to death. 

If the position of the artery above the wound cannot 
be determined, then, in case of a gaping wound that 
would be hard to plug, apply the tourniquet without 
any lump, and twist it very tight indeed. This can 
only be done for a short time, while you are preparing 
to ligate the artery; if prolonged, it will kill the limb, 
and gangrene will ensue. In case of a punctured 
wound, such as a bullet hole, it is better to push a plug 
hard down in the wound itself, leaving the outer end 
projecting so that a bandage will hold the plug firmly 
on the artery. This must be done, anyway, wherever 
a tourniquet cannot be used. 

The above expedients are only temporary; for a cut 
artery, if of any considerable size, must be ligated — 
that is to say, permanently closed by tying one or both 
of the severed ends. To do this you must have at 
least a pair of sharp-pointed forceps or strong tweezers. 
Perhaps you may have to extemporize them — if you 
have no iron, make a little pair of tongs by heating the 
middle of a green hardwood stick, bending over, and 
then shaping and fire-hardening the ends. Get hold 
of the end of the artery with this, draw it out, and have 
some one hold it. Then take a piece of strong thread 
that has been sterilized in boiling salt water, make a 
loop in it as for a common knot, but pass the right 
hand end of the thread hvice around the other, instead 
of once (surgeon's knot — it will never slip). Slip this 
loop down over the forceps and around the end of the 
artery, and draw tight. If the vessel bleeds from both 
ends, ligate both. When an artery is merely ruptured, 
not severed, cut it clean in two before operating; it 
will close better. 

Powdered alum, tamped hard into a wound will stop 


bleeding from all but a large artery. So will sub- 
stances rich in tannin, such as powdered sumac leaves 
(dried over the fire, if green) and pulverized oak or 
hemlock bark. Do not use cobwebs, nor the woolly 
inside of puff balls — these old-fashioned styptics are 
likely to infect a wound with micro-organisms, and thus 
do more harm than good. 

If a finger or toe is cut off, as with an axe, clap it 
quickly into place and bind it there; it may grow on 

Nosebleed is sometimes uncontrollable by ordinary 
means. Try lifting the arms above the head and 
snuffing up alum water or salt water. If this fails, 
make a plug by rolling up part of a half-inch strip of 
cloth, leaving one end dangling. Push this plug as far 
up the nose as it will go, pack the rest of the strip tightly 
into the nostril, and let the end protrude. If there is 
leakage backward into the mouth, pack the lower part 
of plug more tightly. Leave the plug in place several 
hours; then loosen with warm water or oil, and remove 
very gently. 

After stopping the flow of blood, cleanse the wound 
of any foreign substances that may have entered it. 
Cleansinff '^^ remove a splinter, slip the point of 

Wounds ^ small knife-blade under the protrud- 

ing end and catch it with the thumb 
nail. A fish-hook imbedded in the flesh should be 
pushed on through; then nip or file off the barb, and 
withdraw. If a bullet is deeply imbedded, let it alone; 
the chances are that it will do no harm. 

After picking out dirt, bits of cloth, or other matter 
that would make the wound sore and slow to heal, 
wash the injured part with perfectly clean water. If 
there be any doubt about the water, boil it. Do not 
mop the wound with a rag. Hold the water a few 
inches above it and let a small stream gently trickle 
down upon it. A clean cut needs no washing; simply 
draw the edges together and fasten them in place. 
Whenever it can be done, shave the skin for some dis- 
tance around the wound. Hairs, no matter how small, 
are grease-coated and favor the growth of germs. 


Shaving also scrapes off the surface dirt and dead 
scales of skin. 

Never cover a wound with court plaster. It prevents 
the free escape of suppuration, inflames the part, and 
_. . makes the place difficult to cleanse 

.^ ^ thereafter. The only legitimate uses 

for sticking plaster are to hold dressings 
in place where bandaging is difficult (as on the buttock), 
or, in case of a cut, to keep the edges closed without 
sewing the skin. In the latter case the cut may be 
crossed with narrow strips of plaster, leaving spaces 
between; but a better way, if you have regular surgeon's 
plaster, is as follows: Lay a broad strip on each side 
of the cut, half an inch apart, and extending beyond 
the wound at each end. Stick these strips firmly in 
place, except about a quarter of an inch of the inner 
margins, which are left loose for the present. With 
needle and thread lace the strips (deep stitches, so 
they'll not pull out) so as to draw the edges of the 
wound together, and then stick the inner margins down, 
not covering the wound. 

Sewing a wound should be avoided by inexperienced 
persons, unless it really is necessary, as in the case of a 
foot almost severed by an axe cut. If an ordinary needle 
and thread must be used, sterilize them by soaking in 
a boiling solution of salt and water. (It is here assumed 
that no better antiseptic agents are available. Sugar 
and water, or vinegar will do in a pinch.) Do not sew 
continuously over and over, but make a deep stitch and 
snip off the thread, leaving enough at each end to tie 
with by and by. Repeat this at proper intervals, until 
enough stitches have been taken; then, go back and 
tie them, one after another, with surgeon's knot. Such 
sewing is easy to remove when the proper time comes, 
say within about six days. 

All inflammation of wounds, suppuration, and blood 
poisoning, are due to living germs, and to nothing else. 
J. . These germs are not born in the wound, 

^ , but enter from the outside. We may 

as well say that they are present every- 
where. To prevent their entrance is much easier than 


to kill them once they have gained foothold. The 
only guarantee of a wound healing nicely is to make 
it antiseptic — that is to say, surgically clean. That 
means sterilize everything used about a wound (by 
heat, if you have no antiseptics), not trusting that any- 
thing is germ-free merely because it looks clean. The 
micro-organisms that cause inflammation of a wound, 
fever, putrefaction, cannot be seen with the eye, and 
they may lurk anywhere. The unparalleled medical 
and surgical record of the Japanese in their late war 
was chiefly due to unparalleled cleanliness in camp and 

Do not use a mere bandage directly on an open 
wound. First, cover the injury with a compress (soft 
pad, made by folding a strip of cloth in several layers) ; 
then bandage. Unless you have a first-aid packet, or 
are otherwise provided with sterilized dressings or anti- 
septics, hold the material of the compress over a clear 
fire until it is fairly scorched; then let it cool. A little 
charring of the surface will do no harm; in fact, char- 
coal is itself a good application to the surface of a 
wound. Of course the compress is to be renewed every 
time that the wound is dressed. 

Directions for bandaging cannot be given here from 
lack of space. The cuts printed on the triangular band- 
age in a soldier's first-aid packet show, at a glance, 
how to bandage any part of the body. I cannot too 
highly recommend that every woodsman carry one of 
these packets in his pouch or pocket. It costs but a 
quarter, is no larger than a purse, and weighs practi- 
cally nothing. 

If clothing sticks to the burn, do not try to remove 
it, but cut around it and flood it with oil. Prick blis- 
^ ters at both ends with a perfectly clean 

needle, and remove the water by gentle 
pressure, being careful not to break the skin. A 
good application for a burn, including sunburn, is car- 
ron oil (equal parts linseed oil and limewater). Drug- 
gists supply an ointment known as "solidified carron 
oil " that is easier to carry. A three per cent, solution 
of carbolic acid, applied with absorbent cotton or a 


bandage, is an excellent application. Better still is 
the salve known as unguentine. Lacking these, the 
next best thing is common baking soda.* Dissolve 
some in as little water as is required to take it up; sat- 
urate a cloth with this, and apply. Another good ap- 
plication for burns is the scrapings of a raw potato, 
renewed when it feels hot. If you have none of these, 
use any kind of clean oil or unsalted grease, or dust 
flour over the burn, or use moist earth, preferably clay: 
then cover with cotton cloth. Do not remove the dead 
skin until new skin has formed underneath. 

Ordinary bruises are best treated with cold, wet 
cloths. Raw, lean meat applied to the part will prevent 
, discoloration. Severe bruises, which 

are likely to form abscesses, should be 
covered with cloth wrung out in water as hot as 
can be borne, to be reheated as it cools; afterwards 
with hot poultices. 

Poultices may be needed not only for 
bruises but for felons, boils, carbuncles, 
etc. They are easily made from corn-meal or oat- 
meal. Mix by adding a little at a time to boiling 
water and stirring to a thick paste; then spread on 
cloth. Renew from time to time as it cools. 

To prevent a poultice from sticking, cover the under 
surface with clean mosquito netting, or smear the 
bruise with oil. It is a good idea to dust some char- 
coal over a sore before putting the poultice on. The 
woods themselves afford plenty of materials for good 
poultices. Chief of these is slippery elm, the mucilag- 
inous inner bark of which, boiled in water and kneaded 
into a poultice, is soothing to inflammation and softens 
the tissues. Good poultices can also be made from 
the soft rind of tamarack, the root bark of basswood 
or Cottonwood, and many other trees or plants. Our 
frontiersmen, like the Indians, often treated wounds 
by merely applying the chewed fresh leaves of alder, 
striped maple (moosewood), or sassafras. You may 
remember Leatherstocking (he was "Hawkeye" then) 

* Baking soda is the bicarbonate; washing soda, or plain soda, 
is the carbonate: do not confuse them. 


advising a wounded companion that "a little bruised 

alder will work like a charm." 

Balsam obtained by pricking the little blisters on 

the bark of balsam firs is a good application for a 

„ , wound; so is the honey-like gum of the 

Salves. ,. . , , / ^^ 

hquidambar or sweet gum tree, raw 

turpentine from any pine tree, and the resin procured 
by "boxing" (gashing) a cypress or hemlock tree, or 
by boiling a knot of the wood and skimming off the 
surface. All of these resins are antiseptic and sooth- 
ing to a wound. 

The regular medical treatment is to plunge a sprained 
ankle, wrist, or finger, into water as hot as can be 
. borne at the start, and to raise the heat 

^ * gradually thereafter to the limit of en- 

durance. Continue for half an hour, then put the 
joint in a hot, wet bandage, reheat from time to time, 
and support the limb in an elevated position, the leg 
being stretched as high as the hip, or the arm carried 
in a sling. In a day or two begin gently moving 
and kneading the joint, and rub with liniment, oil, or 

In case of necessity, a sprain of the ankle can be ivalked 
off. You may shudder, but the thing has been done 
more than once. Similarly I have overcome, in a few 
hours, an attack of lumbago, though I had to start 
almost on all-fours. It was better than lying around 
a damp camp for a week — decidedly better after I got 
limbered up. 

As a soothing application for sprains, bruises, etc., 
the virtues of witch hazel are well known. A decoc- 
tion (strong tea) of the bark is easily made, or a poul- 
tice can be made from it. The inner bark of kinni- 
kinick, otherwise known as red willow or silky cornel, 
makes an excellent astringent poultice for sprains. The 
pain and inflammation of a sprained ankle are much 
relieved by dipping tobacco leaves in water and bind- 
ing them around the injured part. 
jy. . . A dislocation of the finger can gener- 

ally be reduced by pulling strongly and 
at the same time pushing the tip of the finger backward. 


If a shoulder is thrown out of joint, have the man he 
down, I place a pad in his armpit, remove your shoe, 
and seat yourself by his side, facing him; then put 
your foot in his armpit, grasp the dislocated arm in 
both hands, and simultaneously push with your foot, 
pull on his arm, and swing the arm toward his body 
till a snap is heard or felt. 

For any other dislocation, if you can possibly get a 
surgeon, do not meddle with the joint, but surround 
it with flannel cloths, wrung out in hot water, and sup- 
port with soft pads. 

If a bone is broken, and a surgeon can be summoned 

within a couple of days, do not try to reduce the frac- 

ture, for unskilled handling may do more 

harm than good. Place the man in a 

comfortable position, the injured part 

resting on a pad, and keep him perfectly quiet. 

It may be, however, that you must act the surgeon 
yourself. If the bone is broken in only one place, and 
it does not protrude, the injury is not serious. Get 
splints and bandages ready. Rip the clothing up the 
seam, and steadily pull the broken parts in opposite 
directions, without the slightest twisting. Begin gently, 
and gradually increase the strain. It may take a strong 
pull. When the two pieces are end to end, an assistant 
must gently work them till they fit. This will be an- 
nounced by a slight thud. Then apply splints, and 
bandage them so as to hold the injured member immov- 
able while the fracture heals. 

Bark, when it can be peeled, makes the best splints 
for an arm or leg. Pick out a sapling (chestnut, bass- 
wood, elm, cedar, spruce) as near the size of the limb 
as possible. Remove the bark in two equal pieces by 
vertical slits. It is well, in some cases, to have these 
somewhat longer than the bone that is broken, so as 
to clamp the connecting joints as well. Cover the con- 
cave insides with cloth, dry moss, crumpled grass, or 
other soft padding, to cushion the limb and prevent 
irritation. The edges of splints should not quite meet 
around the limb. Then get a long bandage, about 
two inches wide. Having set the bone, apply the 


splints on each side, and bandage them firmly enough 
to hold in place, but by no means so tightly as to im- 
pede circulation. 

In default of bark, almost anything will do for splints 
that is stiff enough to hold the parts in place — barrel 
staves, thin boards, sticks, bundles of rushes, etc. 

If a bone is broken in more than one place, or if it 
protrude through the skin, and you cannot fetch a 
surgeon to the patient, then get him out of the woods 
at all hazards. The utmost pains must be taken in 
transporting him, lest the sharp edges of the bones saw 
off an artery or pierce an important organ. The best 
litter is a big trough of bark, padded, and attached to 
a frame swung between two poles. A two-horse litter 
is better than a travois; but if the latter must be used, 
then make one shaft a little shorter than the other, so 
that, in crossing uneven places, the shock will not all 
come at one jolt. 

Lay the patient on his back, with feet higher than 
his head. Loosen tight clothing, and let him have 
_, . . plenty of fresh air. Sprinkle his face 

with cold water and rub his arms with 
it. When consciousness returns, give him a stimulant. 
For an attack of dizziness, bend the head down firmly 
between the knees. 

In case of collapse following an accident, operation, 
fright : treat first as for fainting. Then rub the limbs with 
„- , flannel, stroking the extremities toward 

the heart. Apply hot plates, stones, or 
bottles of hot water, wrapped in towels, to the extremi- 
ties and over the stomach. Then give hot tea or coffee, 
or, if there is no bleeding, a tablespoonful of whiskey 
and hot water, repeating three or four times an 

Concussion of the brain: Lay the man on his 
back, with head somewhat raised. Apply heat, as for 
^ . shock, but keep the head cool with wet 

cloths. Do not give any stimulant — 
that would drive blood to the brain, where it is not 

Lay the patient in a cool place, position same as for 


stunning. If the skin is hot, remove clothing, or at 
, least loosen it. Hold a vessel or hatful 

of cold water four or five feet above him 
and pour a stream first on his head, then on his body, 
and last on his extremities. Continue until conscious- 
ness returns. Renew if symptoms recur. 

If the skin is cool (a bad sign) apply warmth, and 
give stimulating drinks. 

Take a stimulant or hot drink when you get to 
Excessive camp (but not until then), and im- 

Fatigue. mediately eat something. Then rest 

between blankets to avoid catching cold. 

Do not let a starved person eat much at a time. Pre- 
pare some broth, or a gruel of corn-meal or oatmeal 
... thoroughly cooked, and feed but a small 

^* spoonful, repeating at intervals of a few 
minutes. Give very little the first day, or there will 
be bloating and nausea. 

Allow the sufferer only a spoonful of 
water at a time, but at frequent inter- 
vals. Bathe him, if possible. 

Keep away from heat. To toast frost-bitten fingers 
or toes before the fire would bring chilblains, and 

_ . thawing out a badly frozen part would 

Freezing i • 

^* probably result in gangrene, making 

amputation necessary. Rub the frozen part with snow, 

or with ice-cold water, until the natural color of the 

skin is restored. Then treat as a burn. 

Chilblains should be rubbed with whiskey or alum 

A specific for poison ivy or poison sumac is tincture 
of grindelia. I have cured cases two or three days old, 
p . where both eyes were swollen shut and 

other parts correspondingly affected. 
Prompt application of a saturated solu- 
tion of baking soda will generally check the trouble at 
the start. Dissolve plenty of the soda in hot water, 
and let it stand until cool, when the excess will be pre- 
cipitated, and the liquor will be a saturated solution. 
Weak ammonia water serves as well. A hot decoction 
of the green bark of witch hazel is useful; apply as 


hot as can be borne. Other woodland remedies are 
decoctions of sassafras root, or of the bark and berries 
of common spice bush, taken both internally and ex- 
ternally. The druggist's prescription is: add powdered 
sugar of lead (lead acetate) to weak alcohol (50 to 75%) 
until no more will dissolve; strain, and wash the affected 
parts with it several times a day. To render the skin 
proof against these irritant poisons, bathe face and 
hands freely, before going out, in salt water, or the 
baking soda solution, or weak ammonia water. 

If one swallows a vegetable poison, the remedy is an 
emetic, followed by whiskey or strong coffee, and, if 
necessary, artificial respiration as for drowning. To 
make an emetic, add a tablespoonful of common salt, 
or powdered mustard, to a tumblerful of lukewarm 

Extract the sting, if left in the wound, and apply a 
solution of baking soda, or a slice of raw onion, or a 
paste of clay, mixed with saliva, or a 
^f^^ moist quid of tobacco. Ammonia is 

^ * the common remedy, but oil of sassa- 

fras is better. A watch key or other small hollow tube 
pressed with force over the puncture and held there 
several minutes will expel a good deal of the poison. 

The bite of a mad dog, wolf, skunk, or other animal 
subject to rabies, requires instant and heroic treat- 
^. , ment. Immediately twist a tourniquet 

P , . , very tight above the wound, and then 

cut out the whole wound with a knife, 

or cauterize it to the bottom with a hot 

iron; then drink enough whiskey to counteract the 


* The notion that skunk-bite is very likely to cause hydrophobia is 
common in the Southwest, and is borne out by the reports of army 
surgeons. The facts seem to be, as explained by W. Wade in the 
American Naturalist, that men and other animals have occasionally 
been stricken mad by skunk-bite and have died therefrom; but this 
has only happened during an epidemic of rabies, in which skunks, 
being slow-moving and utterly fearless creatures, fell easy prey to 
rabid dogs or wolves. Becoming mad, in their turn, they would 
bite men sleeping in the open, and their bites would usually be iii- 
fiicted upon the men's faces, hands and other exposed parts of their 
persons. In such cases, since none of the poisonous saliva was 
wiped off by clothing, the result was almost certain death. But 
rabies is very exceptional among skunks, and the bite of a healthy 
animal is a trifling matter. 


The only dangerous snakes in the United States are 
the rattlesnake, the copperhead, and the cottonmouth 
„ , , . moccasin. The small coral snake (har- 

lequin, bead snake) of the Gulf states, 
and the Sonoran coral snake of New Mexico and Ariz- 
ona, are somewhat venomous, but their bite is not 
fatal to a healthy adult. The Gila monster of the 
Southwest is a dangerous lizard — the only one that is 
venomous — but can scarcely be provoked to bite. 

All other reptiles of our country and Canada are 
harmless — their bite is no more to be feared than that 
of a mouse. The notion that the bite of a puff-adder 


Head of Rattlesnake. (After Stejneger.) 

must be dangerous, because the snake puffs up its neck 
and hisses like a goose, or that the common water- 
snake is a moccasin and consequently venomous, is all 
moonshine, Hke the story of the hoop-snake and the 
snake with a poisonous sting in its tail. 

However, that other notion that a rattlesnake's bite 
is not a serious matter is moonshine, too. Men who 
know nothing about other rattlers than the little prairie 
rattlesnake are not competent to express an opinion on 
the subject. 

A bite from any venomous snake is dangerous, in 
propoiiion to the size of the snake, and to the amount 
of venom that enters the circulation. A bite that does 
not pierce an important blood vessel is seldom fatal, 
even if no treatment is given, unless the snake be quite 

The rattlesnake, copperhead, and cottonmouth are 
easily distinguished from all other snakes, as all three 


of them bear a peculiar mark, or rather a pair of marks, 
that no other animal possesses. This mark is the jyit, 
which is a deep cavity on each side of the face between 
the nostril and the eye, sinking into the upper jaw- 
bone. Its position is shown in the accompanying cut. 

All venomous snakes have fangs, and no harmless 
ones have them. The fangs are in the upper jaw only. 
In the coral snakes they are permanently erect, but in 
the other venomous snakes here named they lie flat 
against the roof of the mouth, when not in use, point- 
ing backward, and are erected by the reptile in striking. 
They are long, slender, sharply pointed, either grooved 
on the outside or perforated,"^ and connected by a 
duct with the venom glands which lie behind the eyes. 
Auxiliary fangs lie in a sac underneath the regular fang 
on each side, and, in case the latter is broken off or 
extracted, a new fang will be ready for business within 
a few days. 

Here are a few characteristics of the pit vipers, as 
our three deadly snakes are collectively called: 

1. Copperhead (also called deaf adder, upland moccasin, 
pilot snake, chunk head). A small snake, 2 to 3 ft. long, 
with moderately thick body, broad and triangular head quite 
distinct from the neck, tail short, dark colored, and pointed. 
Color of back, a bronze hazel or light reddish brown; with 
15 to 20 darker bands, which are narrow on the back and ex- 
pand to wide blotches on the flanks, the shape being some- 
what like that of a dumb-bell with very short handle. Head, 
a bright copper-red, with two small dark-brown spots close 
together on the forehead at upper part of head-shield, and with 
a cream-colored band around the mouth. 

The copperhead inhabits the mountainous and hilly regions 
from Massachusetts southward to the Gulf, and westward 
(south of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska) to 
Kansas, Indian Ty., and Texas. 

Its venom is as deadly as that of the rattlesnake, but it is 
not secreted in as large quantity as that of the larger rattlers; 
consequently the wound is not likely to be so serious. Still, 
the copperhead is a particularly dangerous creature, because 

* High authorities have declared that the fang of the rattlesHake 
is not perforated, but only grooved. They are mistaken. I have 
examined many mature fangs of timber rattlesnakes killed by my- 
self or I by my companions within the past month, and every fang 
was perforated throughout, the front opening being exactly like that 
of a hypodermic needle. A fine wire can be run through, from base 
to point. 


it gives no warning of its presence, nor, according to my ob- 
servation, does it try to get out of the way, but holds its ground 
and springs at any intruder. 
Only one species. 

2. Cottonviouth moccasin (water moccasin). A larger 
snake, ordinarily about 3 ft., sometimes 4 ft. long. Stout 
body, head shaped like that of the copperhead and similarly 
distinct from the neck. Back brown, reddish, or olive, with 
11 to 15 rather inconspicuous bars, or pairs of bars, of dark 
brown, with light centers on each flank. Tail short, pointed, 
and dark brown or banded. Belly brownish-yellow mottled 
with dark blotches. 

Habitat, North Carolina southward to the Gulf, westward 
through Kentucky, southern Illinois, and IVIissouri, to Okla- 
homa and eastern Texas. 

Not so poisonous as the larger kinds of rattlesnakes, but 
still dangerous to human life. Quite numerous in the southern 
states. More aggressive than the rattlesnake, striking at 
everything within reach; but usually rather deliberate about 
striking, first opening its mouth widely for some seconds, as 
if to intimidate, and showing the white interior (hence the 
name "cottonmouth"). Usually found near water, and often 
on low limbs overhanging the water. 

Only one species. The other so-called "moccasins" are 
either the copperhead or harmless snakes. 

3. Rattlesnake. Of rattlers we have no less than sixteen 
species, but only two of them, the massasauga and the banded 
or timber rattlesnake, are found in the eastern and central 
states. The little prairie rattlesnake, which is not very 
dangerous, is abundant on the plains west of the Missouri 
River. The great diamond rattlesnake of the South, which 
sometimes grows to a length of nearly nine feet, is the most 
formidable member of this group. The small ground 
rattlesnake of the southern states is aggressive, and gives only 
a faint warning, and on this account is more dreaded by the 
negroes than the larger species; but its bite is seldom fatal 
to grown people. The other species are confined to the south- 
west and the Pacific coast. 

Rattlesnakes are easily identified by their rattles. These 
generally last only long enough to become 8 or 10 jointed. 
Rattles with as many as 15 or 18 joints are quite rare. The 
number of rattles does not indicate the snake's age. Their 
office is not clearly understood. Doctor Stejneger says: 
"They are a substitute for a voice." 

When a rattlesnake sees a man approaching, it generally 
lies quiet to escape observation, so long as it thinks itself 
concealed. It does not strike unless provoked. If alarmed 
when it is wide-awake, it always springs its rattle before 
striking, the sound being very similar to that made by our 
common ' ' locust" or cicada. If the reptile is trodden on when 
asleep, it strikes like lightning, and does its rattling afterward. 


Unfortunately for us, the poisonous snakes sleep in the day 
time and hunt at night. They are prone to seek the warmth 
of bed-clothes, and will sometimes coil up alongside of a 
sleeping man. Mosquito netting is an effective bar against 
snakes. Snakes despise musk, tobacco, and turpentine. 

A snake is not obliged to coil before striking, but 
can strike from any position; it will coil first, however, 
unless attacked very suddenly or taken at a disadvan- 
tage. A snake does not intentionally throw its venom ; 
but, if it misses its mark, the act of hissing may throw 
the poison several feet. The blow is delivered with 
lightning rapidity, and the fangs are instantly sunk into 
the victim. No snake can leap entirely from the 
ground, nor can it strike more than two-thirds its own 
length, unless it has the advantage of striking down- 
hill or from some purchase on a rock or bush. A 
snake does not expend all its venom at one blow. It 
is not rendered permanently harmless by extracting 
its fangs, for it will promptly grow new ones. A venom- 
ous snake is immune against its own poison, and prob- 
ably against that of other poisonous reptiles, but non- 
poisonous snakes are not immune. The bite of even 
a newly-born snake of venomous species is serious. 

The bite of a venomous reptile is intensely painful. 
The victim soon becomes dull and languid, breathing 
with diflSculty. The venom first enfeebles the heart, 
then the breathing apparatus. If this early depression 
passes over, recovery is often sudden; but if the quan- 
tity of venom injected be large, death may follow, in 
man, within twenty minutes. The tendency of the 
poison is to spread very rapidly through the system, 
making the blood thin, and destroying its power to clot. 
At the same time it rots the blood-vessels, and, in 
fatal cases, causes a general seepage of blood through- 
out the system. In some cases a whole limb is soaked 
to the bone with decomposed blood. There is always 
inflammation around the wound, with great pain. 

Much depends upon the part struck. Bites on the 
bare skin are more dangerous than those received 
through the clothing. A bite in the extremities is 
rarely fatal. In a large majority of cases the wound 


does not touch an important blood-vessel, and the 
patient will recover with no other treatment than a 
ligature promptly applied, and a free bleeding and 
sucking of the wound. 

Many species of wild plants are popularly supposed 
to have the property of neutralizing the venom of ser- 
pents, but scientific research has failed to demonstrate 
that any of them have any effect on the poison at all. 
This, notwithstanding that probably all of the reputed 
"snake-masters" have been identified and their physi- 
ological action determined. However, I have received 
such positive and respectable testimony to the effi- 
cacy of the following three plants that I would like 
their properties thoroughly tested : 

1. Common violet (Viola Cucullata). 

2. Cedron seed (the fluid extract). 

3. Sanicle (Sanicula Marylandica). 

When a man is bitten he should instantly twist a 
tourniquet very tightly between the wound and the 
heart, to keep the poison, as far as possible, from 
entering the system. Then cut the wound wide open, 
so it may bleed freely, and suck the wound, if practi- 
cable (the poison is harmless, if swallowed, but not if 
it gets into the circulation through an abrasion in the 
mouth, or through a hollow tooth). Loosen the liga- 
ture before long to admit fresh blood to the injured 
part, but tighten it again very soon, and repeat this 
alternate tightening and loosening for a considerable 
time. The object is to admit only a little of the poison 
at a time into the general circulation. Meantime drink 
whiskey in moderate doses, but at frequent intervals. 
If a great quantity is guzzled all at once it will do more 
harm than good. Whiskey is not an antidote; it has 
no effect at all on the venom; its service is simply as a 
stimulant for the heart and lungs, thus helping the 
system itself to throw off the poison, and as a bracer to 
the victim's nerves, helping him over the crisis. 

The only known positive antidotes for snake venom, 
in the form of drugs, are chromic acid, potassium per- 
manganate, and strychnin, administered hypodermically. 
Of the former, a one per cent, solution is used. As for 


the permanganate, it is easy to carry in crystallized 
form, and I have frequently seen recommendations that 
it be carried in that way, to be dissolved in water be- 
fore injecting, or to be merely rubbed into the opened 
wound. But a man may be struck when he is far from 
water. I do not believe that the crystals can be brought 
into close enough contact with the seat of the wound 
(bottom of puncture) with certainty, nor that they will 
dissolve quickly enough in blood, to do very much good. 
My own practice, when traveling in a "snake country," 
is to carry a solution of the permanganate in a glass- 
stoppered tube, together with a similar tube containing 
a solution of strychnin, and a hypodermic syringe. 
Promptitude with these remedies, after ligating, may 
be depended upon to cure the bite. Fresh perman- 
ganate solution should be made at intervals to avoid 
precipitation. Chronic acid does not precipitate. 

As for the use of the hypodermic syringe, I here 
copy, by permission, a clear and concise article on 
this subject prepared expressly for explorers and other 
campers by Dr. H. Plympton, and published in Aber- 
crombie & Fitch's catalogue: 


The following article gives directions for using the syringe 
and four remedies which are most likely to be needed. 

These four remedies are: 

First — Potassium permanganate in half -grain tablets. 

Second — Cocain and morphin tablets composed of cocain, 
one-fifth grain; morphin, one-fortieth grain; soda chlor., 
one-fifth grain. 

Third — Morphin in one-quarter-grain tablets. 

Fourth — Strychnia in one-fortieth-grain tablets. 

These four remedies are all that are absolutely necessary for 
emergencies, such as venomous insect, reptile or snake bite, 
exhaustion, shock, heart failure, minor surgical operations, 
and allaying intense pain. 

The object of hypodermic medication is to get the rernedy 
into the blood as quickly as possible and to introduce it as 
near as may be to the seat of injury or the pain. To insure 
its rapid assimilation by the blood, the medicine should be 
injected just between the skin and the muscles underneath; 
in other words, into the fat. 

USE— Dissolve the tablet to be used in the proper amount 


of water, or put any solution to be used into a teaspoon or 
what you may have that will hold it. A leaf properly folded 
will do; even the hollow of the hand in an emergency. You 
will find a fine wire run through the hollow needle to keep it 
clear. Remove this. Remove the cap from the end of the 
syringe and suck up the solution from the teaspoon by draw- 
ing out the piston of the syringe. Screw the needle firmly on 
the end of the syringe from which the cap was removed. Hold 
the syringe with the needle pointing upwards and press gently 
on the piston until the fluid begins to come out of the needle. 
This is to force all the air out of the syringe. 

Now take up a fold or pinch of skin between the thumb 
and forefinger, insert the needle with a rotary motion of the 
syringe, as when boring a hole with an awl, being careful not 
to press on the piston while so doing. Keep the needle in a 
line with the line of the fold and it will be in correct position. 

The needle will slip through the skin quickly and almost 
painlessly. Push it in its full length. Now press firmly on 
the piston and force it in slowly until the contents have been 
injected, being careful to keep the syringe in position. With- 
draw the needle, and with the thumb press on the little hole 
made by the needle; with the first and second fingers rub the 
swelling made by the injected fluid for a few moments and it 
will disappear, leaving nothing but a tiny, red spot. 

LOCATION — K the injection be made between the skin 
and the muscles, as described, it may be made anywhere on 
the body, although just over a bone that is close to the surface, 
as the shin bone, or on the back of the hand, are places to be 
avoided. Also in the bend of the elbows and knees and in 
the armpits are vessels that would be injured by the careless 
use of the syringe. The outside of the forearm or the upper 
arm, the calf of the leg, or the thigh, the big muscles of the 
buttocks, and the shoulder, and anywhere on the back are 
all places where the needle may be used without hesitation. 

A short needle, three-eighths of an inch long, accompanies 
most outfits, and this may be used without taking up a fold 
of the skin; simply jabbed quickly and firmly as deep as it 
wiU go straight into any one of the big muscles. 

The dangers in the use of the hypodermic are practically 
nothing. Exercise the same amount of care as in adminis- 
tering medicine by the mouth and no harm can be done; 
and as, in the case of a rattlesnake wound, the advantages 
are so immeasurably ahead of any treatment by the mouth, 
even if it were dangerous, it would be worth taking the chance. 

PRECAUTIONS— Be sure that the tablet is thoroughly 
dissolved, or you may force a piece into the needle and spoil 
it. Ten drops of water will dissolve any one tablet, and 
fifteen will suffice for any two, especially if the water be warm. 
Do not use more tablets than this, unless by direction. After 
using the syringe, and before removing the needle, draw up 
some water and eject it to clear the needle. A little vase- 


lin or gun grease on the wire will prevent the needle from 

FIRST — For venomous insect and snake bite, tie a piece of 
small rope, a heavy handkerchief, or a bandage, loosely around 
the limb two and one-half inches from the wound and between 
the wound and the heart. (If the wound be on the face or 
the body, this is manifestly impossible.) Tighten this binder 
by twisting a stick in it till the binder sinks into the flesh and 
is quite painful. This is to stop circulation as much as pos- 
sible. Prepare the syringe, using a short needle. Dissolve 
one one-half-grain tablet of potassium permanganate in two 
teaspoonfuls of water. Fill the syringe and inject at once 
half the contents directly into the swelling made by the bite. 
Inject the remainder about an inch nearer the body. Use 
deep injection if possible, otherwise just under the skin. 
Two more injections must now be made in the immediate 
neighborhood of the wound, each of them being about half a 
syringeful and all between the wound and the bandage. As 
the swelling of the limb increases, the binder may be gradually 
loosened, and after half an hour it may be removed entirely. 

Immediately after giving the injection of potassimn per- 
manganate dissolve one tablet of strychnia sulph. (one-fortieth 
of a grain) in about fifteen drops of water and inject it into 
the outside surface of the upper arm, midway between the 
elbow and the shoulder and just under the skin. Dissolve 
another strychnia tablet and prepare it in the syringe.^ Note 
the symptoms. The first symptoms are excitement, quickened 
pulse and rapid breathing, followed by depression, shallow 
breathing and drowsiness. This condition must be treated 
by tablespoonful doses of brandy or whiskey at half-hour 
intervals. Three doses will be enough. Large amounts of 
whiskey will not cure snake-bite, but will do much harm. 

The condition of the respiration must be carefully watched, 
and if there is a continuance or recurrence of "shallow" or 
quick breathing, the second syringeful of strychnia should 
be injected into the arm as before. This strychnia injection 
may be repeated at fifteen-minute intervals — one tablet at 
each injection until five tablets have been given, or the breath- 
ing becomes more nearly normal. 

The patient should not be allowed to sleep for more than 
two hours continuously durmg the first twenty-four hours. 
The bowels should be made to move freely by means of cathar- 
tic pills, salts or oil. Cheerful and encouraging suggestions 
will do much to counteract the depression following the ab- 
sorption of the poison. 

Careful investigation and close observation of properly 
authenticated cases of rattlesnake poisoning have led to the 
positive conclusion that a man in good general health will stand 
an even chance of recovery from a rattlesnake strike without 
any treatment whatever. With a hypodermic syringe and 
proper remedies at hand, there is no danger of a serious result. 


SECOND — For minor surgical operations the cocain and 
morphin tablet should be used as follows: Dissolve one tablet 
in one teaspoonful of water and take up a syringeful of the 
solution. Inject half the quantity under the skin, not deep, 
where the cut is to be made. Almost immediately the skin 
will become waxlike — this will indicate that the part is be- 
numbed, so that an incision can be made without causing 
pain. Make a sufficient number of injections to cover the 
part to be cut. The surface benumbed by each injection will 
be about the size of a 25-cent piece. 

THIRD — For allaying intense pain and physical suffering 
morphin should be used by dissolving one tablet (one-quarter 
grain) in about ten drops of water and injecting it under the 
skm as near the seat of the pain as possible. If the pain is 
caused by some injury, such as a broken bone or a severe 
burn, and is likely to last, a second tablet may be given in 
fifteen minutes and a third one twenty minutes later. Pain 
is the antidote for morphin, and as long as pain exists there 
is no danger from a much larger dose than the above. If, 
however, the pain arises from some cause, such as cramps, 
that is likely to end abruptly, the above dose is enough. 

FOURTH — For exhaustion, shock, great fatigue, hunger, 
heart failure, strychnia should be used as follows: Dissolve 
the tablet in ten drops of water and inject into the outside 
of the arm, midway between the elbow and the shoulder. 
The condition of exhaustion, whether from great exertion, 
loss of blood, or hunger, has caused a marked depression of 
the heart's action and the nervous system is noticeably affected. 
The patient is pale, a cold perspiration covers the face, the 
breathing is shallow and quick, and the pulse is faint and very 
rapid. One injection will show a decided efl'ect, but if a 
second is necessary fifteen minutes afterward do not hesitate 
to give it. 

[A traveler should examine the syringe from time to time so 
as to ensure that it is in working order.] 

. On this subject I can do no better 

^* than reprint the instructions issued by 

the U. S. Volunteer Life-Saving Corps, which are as 
follows : 

RESCUING — Approach the drowning man from behind, 
seizing him by the coat collar, or a woman by the back hair, 
and tow him at arm's length to boat or shore. Do not let 
him cling around your neck or arms to endanger you. Duck 
him until unconscious if necessary to break a dangerous hold 
upon you: but do not strike to stun him. 

RESUSCITATION— FrrsL- Immediately loosen the cloth- 
ing about the neck and chest, ex-posing them to the wind, 
except in very severe weather, and get the water out of the body. 


First try tickling in the throat by a straw or feather, or ammonia 
to the nose; try a severe slap with the open hand upon the 
chest and soles of feet; if no immediate result, proceed as 
follows : 

Second — Lay the body with its weight on the stomach, 
across any convenient object, a keg, box, boat, timber or your 
knee, in the open air, with the head hanging down. Open 
the mouth quickly, drawing the tongue forward with hand- 
kerchief or cloth so as to let the water escape. Keep the mouth 
clear of liquid. Then roll the body gently from side to side 
so as to relieve the pressure on the stomach, then back to the 
stomach. Do this several times to force the water from the 
stomach and throat. 

Third — Laying the body on the back, make a roll of 
coat or any garment, place it under the shoulders of patient, 
allowing the head to fall back. Then kneel at the head of the 
patient. Grasp the arms at the middle of the forearms, 
folded across the stomach, raise the arms over the head to a 
perpendicular position, drawing them backwards straight, 
then forward overhead to the sides again, pressing the arms 
on the lower part of the ribs and sides, so as to produce a 
bellows movement upon the lungs. Do this sixteen or eigh- 
teen times a minute. Smelling salts, camphor or ammonia 
may be applied to the nostrils to excite breathing. But give 
no spirits internally until after breathing and circulation are 
restored. The clothing should be removed, the body dried, 
and the legs rubbed briskly upwards, from foot to knee, 
occasionally slapping the soles of the feet with the open hand. 

Fourth — On signs of life, or when breathing is restored, 
wrap in warm blanket or hot cloths. To encourage circu- 
lation, hot tea, brandy or any spirits may be given in small 
doses, with care to avoid strangulation, and brisk rubbing 
and warmth applied to the entire body. 

Keep at work until recovery, or death is pronounced certain 
by a physician. Persons have revived after two hours' steady 
work, but most cases revive within thirty minutes. 

f i' 


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