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Full text of "Good hunting; in pursuit of big game in the West"

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Good Hunting 



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A WOUNDED BULL ELK 




GOOD HUNTING 




In Pursuit of Big Game 
in the West 

BY 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

Illustrated 



•Good hunting all 
That keep the Jungle law." 

RUDYARD KIPLING. 





New York and London 

Harper & Brothers Publishers 

1907 







NGRESSJ 

A 



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V 



Copyright, 1896, 1897, 1907, by Harpbr & Brothers. 



-4// rights reserved. 
Published February, 1907. 



Publisher's Note 



This book offers to younger readers a 
series of pictures of out-door life and big- 
game hunting in the West. More than 
this, the author makes us feel not only 
the zest of sport and adventure, but also 
the interest attaching to the habits and 
peculiarities of the remarkable animals 
which he describes. It is a field-book, '',, 
since it is written by a true sportsman out 
of his own experiences, and its general jj; 
spirit tends to a better appreciation of the^#'*j| 
value of close observation of animal life.j^fi |£ 
The elk, bear, goats, deer, and other 
animals which are described, represent \\J%* 
the most remarkable large fauna of ou 
country. These descriptions, by one; 

V JK 

_„ •»** *> #V 




\ «* 



.<~K 



Publisher's Note 




whose acquaintance with them has been 
so intimate, have an added value in view 
of the diminution in their number. 

It is interesting, also, to remember that 
the influence of the author has been con- 
stantly exerted in favor of the preserva- 
tion of big game and the maintenance of 
national parks and forest reserves, which, 
in addition to other advantages, include 
the protection of these noble forms of 
animal life. 

This series of articles upon big-game 
hunting was written for Harper's Round 
Table, and published therein in 1897. 
The picture of ranch-life which forms the 
closing chapter appeared in Harper's 
Round Table in 1896. These articles are 
""v\*| now presented together in book form for 
the first time after consultation with the 
author. For the title of the book and 
the proof-reading the publishers are re- 
sponsible. 




J: * v @ 

CHAP. PAGE ^M^ >*» 

I. The Wapiti, or Round-horned Elk . 13 -.^iyL/^ 

II. A Cattle-killing Bear 27 *$ »\^ jSSffy 

V'fS ^ ** v« 

III. A Christmas Buck 41 V/fif. Jo,. , *W 

1# A"fe 

IV. The Timber-wolf 53 %ML ;|jjfo ••' J' 

V. Shooting the Prong-buck . . . . 67^ * ;|jfc "t^ 

VI. A Tame White Goat 8l '^S w"^ ^ 

VII. Ranching . . 95 3lI| fKss'V'L 

WiZ 



Illustrations 



A WOUNDED BULL ELK 

SIX-POINT ELK-ANTLERS 

FOLLOWING AN ELK-TRAIL IN WINTER . 

GREAT WAS THE BULL'S ASTONISHMENT 

THE GRIZZLY AND A VICTIM . . . . 

"THE SHAGGY BEAST WAS FOUND LYING 
DEAD WITHIN A DOZEN YARDS OF 
HIS LAST VICTIM" 

"' I DROPPED ON ONE KNEE AND FIRED* " 

CANADIAN WOLVES AT AN INDIAN GRAVE 

DOGS IN PURSUIT OF AN OLD WOLF . . 

STALKING BIG GAME 

" ' I LEAPED OFF, AND HELD WELL AHEAD 
OF THE REARMOST AND LARGEST 
BUCK'" 

A WOUNDED ANTELOPE 

FINALLY THE GOAT GOT USED TO THE 
MOTION OF THE CANOE .... 

COW-BOY AMUSEMENTS 

TAILING A BULL . 

"THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF EXCITING 
GALLOPING" 







The Wapiti, 
or Round-horned Elk 




•j^> 








THE WAPITI, OR ROUND-HORNED ELK 

country of the temperate 
zone can begin to compare 
with South Asia, and, above 
all, tropical and subtropical 
Africa, in the number and 
size of those great beasts of the chase >* 
which are known to hunters as big 
game; but after the Indian and Afri- 
can hunting-grounds, the best are still 
those of North America. Until a few 
years before 1897 there were large re- 
gions, even in the United States, where 



the teeming myriads of wild game.^l&i^: r , 
though of far fewer and less varied a 





Mlfcr 



Good Hunting 









species, almost equalled the multitudes 
found in South Africa, and much sur- 
passed those found anywhere else in 
point of numbers, though inferior in 
variety to those of India. 

This, however, is now a thing of the 
past. The bison, which was the most 
characteristic animal of the American 
fauna, has been practically exterminated. 
There remained in 1897, however, a fair 
abundance of all other kinds of game. 
Perhaps, on the whole, the one affording 
most sport from the stand-point of the 
hardy and skilful hunter is the big-horn, 
"^ though in size and in magnificence of 
9 horn it is surpassed by some of the wild 
sheep of Asia. 

There is a spice of danger in the pursuit 
of the grizzly-bear — the largest of all the 
land bears — especially in Alaska, where 
it is even larger than its Kamtchatkan 
brother. The moose and the wapiti — 



l 






The Wapiti, or Round-horned Elk 



ordinarily called the elk — are closely re- 
lated to the Old-World representatives of 
their kind ; but the moose is a little larger 
and the wapiti very much larger than 
any of their European or Asiatic kins- 
folk. In particular, the elk, or wapiti, 
is the stateliest of all deer, and the most 
beautiful of American game beasts. 

It is a pity we cannot always call the 
wapiti by its right name, but the hunters <?j 
and settlers never know him as anything ,J 
but the elk, and I fear it would be 
pedantry to try to establish his rightful . i 
title. In former days the elk ranged to £ 
tide- water on the Atlantic coast. A few 
lingered in Pennsylvania until 1869, andj^"** 
throughout the middle of the century, *J j 
they were abundant on the great plains. ^^ \ 
In 1888 I shot one on the Little Missouri, |g»g| ; 
however. In many parts of the Rocky ffpfi 
Mountains and of the Coast Range the* ^^ 
species is still as abundant as ever, and 







Good Hunting 




this is especially true of northwestern 
Wyoming, since that great animal-pre- 
serve the Yellowstone Park swarms with 
elk, and is their natural nursery and 
breeding-ground. 

The elk is the lordliest of his kind 
throughout the world. The Scotch stag 
is a pygmy but a fourth his size. The 
stags of eastern Europe are larger than 
those of Scotland, and in Asia larger still, 
approaching in size a small wapiti. They 
are all substantially alike except in size. 

The wapiti is rather easier to kill than 
the deer, because his size makes it easier 
to see him ; and he is slower in his move- 
ments, so that he is easier to hit. When 
pressed he can gallop very hard for a few 
hundred yards, but soon becomes tired. 
The trot is his natural gait, and this he 
^ can keep up for hours at a time, going at 
a pace which makes it necessary for a 
horse to gallop smartly to overtake him, 
Jjrt'l^ 16 




The Wapiti, or Round-horned Elk 



and clearing great logs in his stride, while 
he dodges among the thick timber in a 
really marvellous way, when one comes 
to think of the difficulty he must have 
in handling his great antlers. 

Late in September the rut begins, and 
then the elk gather in huge bands, while 
the great bulls fight vicious battles for 
leadership. Hunters call this the whist- 
ling-time, because throughout its con- 
tinuance the bulls are very noisy, con- 
tinually challenging one another. Their 
note is really not much like a whistle. 
It consists of two or three bars, rising and 
then falling, ending with a succession of 
grunts; the tone of voice varies greatly 
in different individuals; but when heard 
at a little distance in the heart of the 
great wooded wilderness the sound is very 
musical, and to me — and, I suppose, to 
most hunters — it is one of the most at 
tractive sounds in all nature. 



17 







Good Hunting 



At this season the big bulls are quite 
easy to approach by any man at all 
skilled in still-hunting, for their incessant 
challenging betrays their whereabouts, 
and they are so angry and excited as to be 
less watchful than usual. Some of my 
most pleasurable memories of hunting 
are connected with stalking some great 
bull-elk in frosty weather, when the woods 
rang with his challenges. 

One evening in early October I was 

camped high among the mountains of 

western Montana. We were travelling 

with a pack-train, and had pitched our 

small tent among some firs by a brook, 

*^ while the horses grazed in the little park 

j^WK or meadow close by. Elk were plentiful 

VuS round about. We had seen their trails 

^ everywhere, and late in the afternoon 

we had caught a glimpse of a band of 

cows as they disappeared among the 

pines. 





■ ~v 



18 



V^Sfct- 



«► •fty'V. . 




SIX-POIXT ELK-AXTLERS 



The Wapiti, or Round-horned Elk 



Towards morning I was awakened by- 
hearing a bull challenge not very far 
from camp. The sound of the challenge 
kept coming nearer and nearer, and 
finally I heard one of the horses snort 
loudly in response; evidently the elk saw 
them, and, not making out exactly what 
they were, was coming down to join them. 
Sometimes horses will stampede when 
thus approached; but our ponies were 
veterans, and were very tired, and evi- 
dently had no intention of leaving their 
good pasture. 

Sitting up in my blankets, I could tell 
from the sound that they were still in the 
park, and then the challenge of the bull 
came pealing up not three hundred yards *'* . 
from the tent. This was more than I \*$£ 
could stand, and I jumped up and put on §w# 
my shoes and jacket. The i 
bright, but shooting by moonlight is very ^ 
deceptive, and I doubt whether I would 
J 9 







% 



Good Hunting 



have hit him even had I got down to the 
park in time. However, he had moved 
on before I got down, and I heard his chal- 
lenge in the woods beyond. 

Looking at my watch, I saw that it was 

nearly dawn. I returned to the tent and 

laid down as I was under the blankets, and 

shivered and dozed for half an hour, then 

I came back to the meadow, where the 

pack -ponies stood motionless. In the 

brightening light the moon paled, and 

I was very soon able to pick out the bull's 

trail on the frost-covered ground, where 

it was almost as plain as if he had been 

walking in snow. I saw that he had 

struck up a long valley, from which a 

pass led into a wooded basin. At the 

top of the pass I lost the trail entirely, 

\f<8% and as it was almost impossible to see for 

t -Ml an Y distance through the woods, I came 

| to the conclusion that the best thing to do 

was to sit down and await events. 

*h 20 




The Wapiti, or Round-horned Elk 



I did not have long to wait. In a 
couple of minutes the bugle of a bull came 
echoing across the basin through the 
frosty morning. Evidently my friend 
was still travelling, hunting for some 
possibly weaker rival. Almost imme- 
diately I heard far off another answering 
the challenge, and I stood up and medi- 
tated what to do. There was very little 
air, but such as there was blew to one 
side of the spot from which the last chal- 
lenge seemed to come, and I immediately 
struck off at a trot through the woods to 
get below the wind. 

The answer to the challenge had evi- 
dently greatly excited the bull whose 
trail I had been following ; he called every 
two or three minutes. The other answer f : 
was somewhat more irregular, and as I 
drew nearer I could tell from the volume 
of sound that the second challenge was 
from some big master-bull, who probably 

21 




,^h^\ 



Good Hunting 



had his herd around him, and was roaring 
defiance at his would-be despoiler, for 
the single bull was doubtless on the look- 
out for some weaker one whom he could 
supplant as master of a herd. 

It was likely that the second bull, being 
a herd -master, would have the larger 
antlers, and I therefore preferred to get 
a shot at him. However, I was doomed 
to disappointment. As I groped towards 
the herd, and was within a couple of hun- 
dred yards, as I knew by the volume of 
sound, I almost stumbled upon a small 
spike-bull, who was evidently loitering 
about the outskirts of the herd, not dar- 
ing to go too near the bad-tempered old 
chief. This little bull dashed away, giving 
the alarm, and a clash in the bushes soon 
^«^J^^| told that the herd was following him. 



But luck favored me. The master- 
bull, being absorbed in thoughts of his 
rival, evidently suspected that the cows 

~*S„ 2 2 






GREAT WAS THE BULL S ASTONISHMENT 



The Wapiti, or Round-horned Elk 



had some thought of fleeing from him, 
and, as they ran, tried to hold them to- 
gether. I ran too, going at full speed, 
with the hope of cutting him off; in this 
I failed, but I came almost face to face 
with the very bull which I had been 
following from camp, and which had 
evidently followed the herd at full speed 
as soon as they ran. i 

Great was his astonishment when he A 
saw me. He pulled up so suddenly to *2 
wheel round that he almost fell on his 
side ; then off he went in a plunging gallop g 
of terror; but he was near by, and step- ','j 
ping to one side I covered an opening b e_ JjK^HP' «$ p 
tween two trees, firing the minute he W0 |S8»jL ( 
appeared. A convulsive leap showed that <^* '%J^> 
the bullet had struck, and after him I ' J| «$ | 
went at full speed. In a short time I saw fw| 'jB^v^ 
him again, walking along with drooping ^O' i^aS ■ 
head, and again I fired into his flank; he^jl.^ : M 
seemed to pay no attention to the shot, 'jJ^jtf^j! y 

23 gmJfymA SH% 







Good Hunting 

but walked forward a few steps, then 
halted, faltered, and fell on his side. In 
another second I had placed my rifle 
against a tree, and was admiring his 
shapely form and massive antlers. 




A Cattle-killing Bear 



*»" 



...•*»••" 



^"■~ - V>.' 




* * s '*^ " •*• » --• ■ 



II 



A CATTLE-KILLING BEAR 




m 



HERE were, in 1897, a few 
grizzlies left here and there 
along the Little Missouri, 
usually in large bottoms 
covered with an almost 



impenetrable jungle of timber and thorny w/$P|j 
brush. In the old days they used to be *' *: lm 
very plentiful in this region, and vent- m : M 
ured boldly out on the prairie. The^*"^ 
Little Missouri region was a famous hunt- &B&. IE 
ing-ground for both the white trappers Wg'tixtM 
and the Indian hunters in those old daysf £4f3l| 
when the far West was still a wilderness, s^f fjfe^ 3 
and the men who trapped beaver would \ 

2 7 .;<\.. 

Yr 






Good Hunting 



wander for years over the plains and 
mountains and see no white faces save 
those of their companions. 

Indeed, at that time the Little Missouri 
was very dangerous country, as it was the 
debatable-ground between many power- 
ful Indian tribes, and was only visited 
by formidable war-parties and hunting- 
parties. In consequence of nobody dar- 
ing to live there, game swarmed — buffalo, 
elk, deer, antelope, mountain-sheep, and 
bear. The bears were then very bold, 
and the hunters had little difficulty in 
getting up to them, for they were quite 
'^ as apt to attack as to run away. 

But when, in 1880, the Northern Pacific 
Railroad reached the neighborhood of the 
^^"V« Little Missouri, all this changed forever. 
' The game that for untold ages had trod- 
den out their paths over the prairies and 
along the river-bottoms vanished, as the 
Indians that had hunted it also vanished. 
28 





A Cattle-killing Bear 



The bold white hunters also passed away 
with the bears they had chased and the 
red foes against whom they had warred. 
In their places the ranchman came in with 
great herds of cattle and horses and 
flocks of sheep, and built their log cabins 
and tilled their scanty garden-patches, 
and cut down the wild hay for winter 
fodder. Now bears are as shy as they 
are scarce. No grizzly in such a settled 
region would dream of attacking a man 
unprovoked, and they pass their days in 
the deepest thickets, so that it is almost 
impossible to get at them. I never 
killed a bear in the neighborhood of my 
former ranch, though I have shot quite a 
number some hundreds of miles to the 
west in the Rocky Mountains. 

Usually the bears live almost ex- s 
clusively on roots, berries, insects, and 
the like. In fact, there is always some- 
thing grotesque and incongruous in com- 
29 

V 








Good Hunting 




paring the bear's vast size, and his 
formidable claws and teeth, with the 
uses to which those claws and teeth arc 
normally put. At the end of the season 
the claws, which are very long in spring, 
sometimes become so much blunted as 
to be tender, because the bear has worked 
on hard ground digging roots and the 
like. 

Bears often graze on the fresh tender 
spring grass. Berries form their especial 
delight, and they eat them so greedily 
when in season as to become inordinately 
fat. Indeed, a bear in a berry -patch 
frequently grows so absorbed in his work 
as to lose his wariness, and as he makes 
a good deal of noise himself in breaking 
^ branches and gobbling down the fruit, 
he is exposed to much danger from the 
hunter. 

Besides roots and berries, the bear will 
feed on any small living thing he en- 

!%- 



! t-*n 




A Cattle-killing Bear 



counters. If in plundering a squirrel's 
cache he comes upon some young squirrels, 
down they go in company with the hoard- 
ed nuts. He is continually knocking to 
pieces and overturning old dead logs for 
the sake of devouring the insects living 
beneath them. If, when such a log is 
overturned, mice, shrews, or chipmunks 
are found underneath, the bear promptly 
scoops them into his mouth while they 
are still dazed by the sudden inrush of 
light. All this seems rather ludicrous 
as the life work of an animal of such huge 
proportions and such vast strength. 

Sometimes, however, a bear will take 
to killing fresh meat for itself. Indeed, 
I think it is only its clumsiness that 
prevents it from becoming an habitual^ 
flesh-eater. Deer are so agile that bears 
can rarely get them; yet on occasions 
not only deer, but moose, buffalo, and 
elk fall victims to them. Wild game, 
3 1 




-ffi 



*I>1 



«; 



Good Hunting 

however, are so shy, so agile, and so 
alert that it is only rarely they afford 
meals to old Ephraim — as the mountain 
hunters call the grizzly. 

Domestic animals are slower, more 
timid, more clumsy, and with far duller 
senses. It is on these that the bear by 
preference preys when he needs fresh 
meat. I have never, myself, known one 
to kill horses; but I have been informed 
that the feat is sometimes performed, 
usually in spring ; and the ranchman who 
told me insisted that when a bear made 
his rush he went with such astonishing 
speed that the horse was usually over- 
taken before it got well under way. 

The favorite food of a bear, however, 
if he really wants fresh meat, is a hog or 
sheep — by preference the former. If a 
bear once gets into the habit of visiting 
a sheepfold or pigpen, it requires no 
slight skill and watchfulness to keep 

>^, 3 2 



ril^sXcf 



•'<**, 



,f W, 



A Cattle-killing Bear 



him out. As for swine, they dread bears 
more than anything else. A drove of 
half -wild swine will make head against a 
wolf or panther; but the bear scatters 
them in a panic. This feat is entire- 
ly justifiable, for a bear has a peculiar 
knack in knocking down a hog, and then 
literally eating him alive, in spite of his 
fearful squealing. 

Every now and then bears take to kill- 
ing cattle regularly. Sometimes the crim- 
inal is a female with cubs ; sometimes an 
old male in spring, when he is lean, and has < 
the flesh hunger upon him. But on one y 
occasion a very large and cunning bear, 
some twenty-five miles below my ranch, 
took to cattle-killing early in the sum- ' 
mer, and continued it through the fall. .5 
He made his 



home in a very densely s^ 
wooded bottom; but he wandered farp^ 
and wide, and I have myself frequently 
seen his great, half - human footprints fif/l&§'} 

3 33 




"tzar. 




Good Hunting 




leading along some narrow divide, or 
across some great plateau, where there 
was no cover whatever, and where he 
must have gone at night. During the 
daytime, when on one of these expedi- 
tions, he would lie up in some timber 
coulee, and return to the river-bottoms 
after dark, so that no one ever saw 
him; but his tracks were seen very fre- 
quently. 

He began operations on the bottom 
where he had his den. He at first took 
'to lying in wait for the cattle as they 
came down to drink, when he would seize 
some animal, usually a fat young steer or 
heifer, knocking it over by sheer force. 
^ In his furious rush he sometimes broke 
the back with a terrific blow from his 
fore-paw; at other times he threw the 
animal over and bit it to death. The 
rest of the herd never made any effort to 
retaliate, but fled in terror. Very soon 



A Cattle-killing Bear 



the cattle would not go down on this 
bottom at all; then he began to wander 
over the adjoining bottoms, and finally 
to make excursions far off in the broken 
country. Evidently he would some- 
times at night steal along a coulee until 
he found cattle lying down on the hill- 
side, and then approach cautiously and 
seize his prey. 

Usually the animals he killed were cows 
or steers; and noticing this, a certain 
ranchman in the neighborhood used to 
boast that a favorite bull on his ranch, of 
which he was particularly proud, would;', 
surely account for the bear if the latter*' 
dared to attack him. The boast poved 
vain. One day a cow-boy riding down 
a lonely coulee came upon the scene of, 
what had evidently been a very hard con 
flict. There were deep marks of hoofs 
and claws in the soft soil, bushes were 
smashed down where the strugglin 
35 




Good Hunting 




combatants had pressed against and over 
them, and a little farther on lay the re- 
mains of the bull. 

He must have been seized by surprise; 
probably the great bear rushed at him 
from behind, or at one side, and fastened 
upon him so that he had no fair chance to 
use his horns. Nevertheless, he made a 
gallant struggle for his life, staggering to 
and fro trying to shake off his murderous 
antagonist, and endeavoring in vain to 
strike back over his shoulder ; but all was 
useless. Even his strength could not 
avail against the might of his foe, and 
the cruel claws and teeth tore out his 
life. At last the gallant bull fell and 
breathed his last, and the bear feasted 
on the carcass. 

The angry ranchman swore vengeance, 

and set a trap for the bear, hoping it would 

return. The sly old beast, however, 

doubtless was aware that the body had 

36 



- z 
w 2 




A Cattle-killing Bear 



been visited, for he never came back, but 
returned to the river-bottom, and again 
from time to time was heard of as slay- 
ing some animal. However, at last his 
fate overtook him. Early one morning 
a cow was discovered just killed and not 
yet eaten, the bear having probably 
been scared off. Immediately the ranch- 
man put poison in the bait which the bear 
had thus himself left, and twenty-four 
hours later the shaggy beast was found 
lying dead within a dozen yards of his 
last victim. 




A Christmas Buck 




Ill 



A CHRISTMAS BUCK 



Tj 



HROUGHOUT most of the 
ranch country there are 
two kinds of deer, the 
black-tail and the white- 
tail. The white-tail is the 
same as the deer of the East ; it is a ' i 
beautiful creature, a marvel of lightness 
and grace in all its movements, and it^'^, 
loves to dwell in thick timber, so that in ' 
the plains country it is almost confined*^ 
to the heavily wooded river bottoms. %Cfa 
The black-tail is somewhat larger, withAi 
a different and very peculiar gait, con-, ^1'.^ 
sisting of a succession of stiff - leggedJ^jP fS^f 








Good Hunting 




bounds, all four feet striking the earth 
at the same time. Its habits are like- 
wise very different, as it is a bolder ani- 
mal and much fonder of the open coun- 
try. Among the Rockies it is found in 
the deep forests, but it prefers scantily 
wooded regions, and in the plains country 
it dwells by choice in the rough hills, 
spending the day in the patches of ash or 
cedar among the ravines. In 1882 the 
black-tail was very much more abun- 
dant than the white-tail almost every- 
where in the West, but owing to the nat- 
ure of its haunts it is more easily killed 
out, and in 1897, though both species 
had decreased in numbers, the white-tail 
was on the whole the more common. 

My ranch-house was situated on a 
heavily wooded bottom, one of the places 
where the white-tail were found. On 
one occasion I killed one from the ranch 
veranda, and two or three times I shot 
42 



A Christmas Buck 



them within half a mile of the house. 
Nevertheless, they are so cunning and 
stealthy in their ways, and the cover is 
so dense, that usually, although one may 
know of their existence right in one's 
neighborhood, there is more chance of 
getting game by going off eight or ten 
miles into the broken country of the 
black-tail. 

One Christmas I was to be at the 
ranch, and I made up my mind that I 
would try to get a good buck for our 
Christmas dinner; for I had not had 
much time to hunt that fall, and Christ- 
mas was almost upon us before we start- 
ed to lay in our stock of winter meat. So 
I arranged with one of the cow-boys to 
make an all -day's hunt through some 
rugged hills on the other side of the river, 
where we knew there were black-tail. 

We were up soon after three o'clock, 
when it was yet as dark as at midnight 

43 .^- -% 




Good Hunting 







We had a long day's work before us, 
and so we ate a substantial breakfast, 
then put on our fur caps, coats, and 
mittens, and walked out into the cold 
night. The air was still, but it was biting 
weather, and we pulled our caps down 
over our ears as we walked towards the 
rough, low stable where the two hunting- 
ponies had been put overnight. In a few 
minutes we were jogging along on our 
journey. 

There was a powder of snow over the 
ground, and this and the brilliant star- 
light enabled us to see our way without 
difficulty. The river was frozen hard, 
and the hoofs of the horses rang on the ice 
as they crossed. For a while we followed 
\%jg the wagon road, and then struck off into 
^ a cattle trail which led up into a long 
coulee. After a while this faded out, 
and we began to work our way along the 
divide, not without caution, for in broken 
~*V. 44 

W 1 



-:^S 



:-*» 



A Christmas Buck 



countries it is hard to take a horse during 
darkness. Indeed, we found we had left 
a little too early, for there was hardly a 
glimmer of dawn when we reached our 
proposed hunting-grounds. We left the 
horses in a sheltered nook where there 
was abundance of grass, and strode off on 
foot, numb after the ride. 

The dawn brightened rapidly, and there 
was almost light enough for shooting when 
we reached a spur overlooking a large 
basin around whose edges there were sev- 
eral wooded coulees. Here we sat down . j 
to wait and watch. We did not have to I 
wait long, for just as the sun was coming xjjjjb ;j 
up on our right hand we caught a glimpsejf *• 
of something moving at the mouth of one # ^J i$|ftl I 



of the little ravines some hundreds of 
yards distant. Another glance .showed ^>n 




us that it was a deer feeding, while an-|| 



other behind it was walking leisurely in* V^,**^n ! & 



our direction. 



(Jig 







Good Hunting 




There was no time to be lost, and, slid- 
ing back over the crest, we trotted off 
around a spur until we were in line with 
the quarry, and then walked rapidly 
towards them. Our only fear was lest 
they should move into some position where 
they would see us; and this fear was 
justified. While still one hundred yards 
from the mouth of the coulee in which we 
had seen the feeding deer, the second one, 
which all the time had been walking slow- 
ly in our direction, came out on a ridge 
crest to one side of our course. It saw 
us at once and halted short ; it was only a 
spike buck, but there was no time to lose, 
for we needed meat, and in another mo- 
^ ment it would have gone off, giving the 
alarm to its companion. So I dropped 
on one knee, and fired just as it turned. 

From the jump it gave I was sure it was 
hit, but it disappeared over the hill, 
and at the same time the big buck, its 
46 



A Christmas Buck 



companion, dashed out of the coulee in 
front, across the basin. It was broad- 
side to me, and not more than one hun- 
dred yards distant; but a running deer 
is difficult to hit, and though I took two 
shots, both missed, and it disappeared 
behind another spur. 

This looked pretty bad, and I felt 
rather blue as I climbed up to look at the 
trail of the spike. I was cheered to find 
blood, and as there was a good deal of 
snow here and there it was easy to follow 
it ; nor was it long before we saw the buck 
moving forward slowly, evidently very 
sick. We did not disturb him, but 
watched him until he turned down into 
a short ravine a quarter of a mile off ; ^ 
he did not come out, and we sat down and 
waited nearly an hour to give him time to 
get stiff. When we reached the valley, 
one went down each side so as to be sure 
to get him when he jumped up. Our 



47 



-"V 




III V 



.~F 



Good Hunting 



n« f 



_■<*» 



caution was needless, however, for we 
failed to start him; and on hunting 
through some of the patches of brush 
we found him stretched out already 
dead. 

This was satisfactory; but still it was 
not the big buck, and we started out again 
after dressing and hanging up the deer. 
For many hours we saw nothing, and we 
had swung around within a couple of 
miles of the horses before we sat down be- 
hind a screen of stunted cedars for a last 
look. After attentively scanning every 
patch of brush in sight, we were about to 
go on when the attention of both of us 
was caught at the same moment by seeing 
a big buck deliberately get up, turn round, 
and then lie down again in a grove of 
small, leafless trees lying opposite to us on 
a hill-side with a southern exposure. He 
had evidently very nearly finished his 
day's rest, but was not quite ready to go 
48 



5/ 



'yw« 



,( k % K...~^ 



A Christmas Buck 



out to feed; and his restlessness cost 
him his life. 

As we now knew just where he was, the 
work was easy. We marked a place on 
the hill-top a little above and to one side 
of him ; and while the cow-boy remained 
to watch him, I drew back and walked 
leisurely round to where I could get a 
shot. When nearly up to the crest I 
crawled into view of the patch of brush, 
rested my elbows on the ground, and 
gently tapped two stones together. The 
buck rose nimbly to his feet, and at 
seventy yards afforded me a standing < 
shot, which I could not fail to turn to . 
good account. 

A winter day is short, and twilight had 
come before we had packed both bucks S 
on the horses ; but with our game behind %£$ 
our saddles we did not feel either fatigue, wg£ 
or hunger or cold, while the horses trotted ' , 
steadily homeward 



The moon was a 



49 








Good Hunting 

few days old, and it gave us light until we 
reached the top of the bluffs by the river 
and saw across the frozen stream the 
gleam from the fire-lit windows of the 
ranch-house. 





/ * If- -^r.^l v. • 






The Timber-wolf 







IV 



THE TIMBER-WOLF 




HERE are two kinds of 
wolves found in the United 
States. One is the little 
coyote or prairie-wolf, or 
barking-wolf, which never 



was found in the Eastern States, being an '* 
animal of the open country; the other is 
the big wolf, sometimes called the buffalo- 
wolf, and sometimes the timber-wolf or 
gray wolf, which was formerly found'/f 
everywhere from the Atlantic to thes 
Pacific. In some districts it runs to color 
varieties of different kinds — red, black, \ 
or white. 





Good Hunting 




The coyote is not at all a formidable 
beast, and holds its own quite persistently 
until civilization is well advanced in a 
country. Coyotes are not dangerous to 
either man or the larger domestic animals. 
Lambs, young pigs, hens, and cats often 
become their prey, and if very hungry 
several of them will combine to attack a 
young calf. In consequence, farmers and 
ranchers kill them whenever the chance 
offers ; but they do not do damage which 
is even appreciable when compared with 
the ravages of their grim big brother, the 
gray wolf, which in many sections of the 
West is a veritable scourge of the stock- 
men. 

The big wolves shrink back before the 
growth of the thickly settled districts, 
and in the Eastern States they often tend 
to disappear even from districts that are 
jjf uninhabited, save by a few wilderness 
hunters. They have thus disappeared 
54 



The Timber-wolf 



almost entirely from Maine, the Adiron- 
dacks, and the Alleghanies, although here 
and there they are said to be returning to 
their old haunts. 

Their disappearance is rather mysteri- 
ous in some instances, for they are cer- 
tainly not all killed off. The black bear 
is much more easily killed, yet the black 
bear holds its own in many parts of the 
land from which the wolf has vanished. 
No animal is quite so difficult to kill as is 
the wolf, whether by poison or rifle or 
hound. Yet, after a comparatively few 
have been slain, the entire species will \,J 
perhaps vanish from certain localities. 

But with all wild animals it is a notice- 
able fact that a course of contact with 
man continuing over many generations of 
animal life causes a species so to adapt it- 
self to its new surroundings that it ceases 
to diminish in numbers. When white 
men take up a new country, the game, and 
55 



, »"' ' 




ft 



\*» 






Good Hunting 




especially the big game, being entirely- 
unused to contend with the new foe, suc- 
cumbs easily, and is almost completely 
killed out. If any individuals survive 
at all, however, the succeeding genera- 
tions are far more difficult to exterminate 
than were their ancestors, and they cling 
much more tenaciously to their old homes. 
The game to be found in old and long- 
settled countries is much more wary and 
able to take care of itself than the game 
of an untrodden wilderness. It is a very 
difficult matter to kill a Swiss chamois; 
but it is a very easy matter to kill a white 
>1^^ goat after a hunter has once penetrated 
among the almost unknown peaks of the 
mountains of British Columbia. When 
the ranchmen first drove their cattle to 
| the Little Missouri they found the deer 
tame and easy to kill, but the deer of 
Maine and the Adirondacks test to the full 
the highest skill of the hunter. 
56 




The Timber-wolf 



In consequence, after a time, game may- 
even increase in certain districts where 
settlements are thin. This has been true 
of the wolves throughout the northern 
cattle country in Montana, Wyoming, 
and the western ends of the Dakotas. 
In the old days wolves were very plenti- 
ful throughout this region, closely follow- 
ing the huge herds of buffaloes. The 
white men who followed these herds as 
professional buffalo-hunters were often 
accompanied by other men, known as 
" wolfers," who poisoned these wolves for 
the sake of their furs. With the dis- 
appearance of the buffalo the wolves 
seemed so to diminish in numbers that 
they also seemed to disappear. During 
the last ten years their numbers have '$ 
steadily increased, and now they seem to |j£'| 
be as numerous as they ever were in the 
region in question, and they are infinitely p 
more wary and more difficult to kill 








Good Hunting 




Along the Little Missouri their ravages 
were so serious from 1893 to 1897 as to 
cause heavy damage to the stockmen. 
Not only colts and calves, but young trail 
stock, and in midwinter even full-grown 
horses and steers, are continually slain; 
and in some seasons their losses have been 
so serious as to more than eat up all the 
profits of the ranchman. The county 
authorities put a bounty on wolf scalps of 
three dollars each, and in my own neigh- 
borhood the ranchmen of their own ac- 
cord put on a further bounty of five 
dollars. This made eight dollars for 
every wolf, and as the skin is also worth 
something, the business of killing wolves 
was quite profitable. 

Wolves are very shy, and show ex- 
traordinary cunning both in hiding them- 
selves and in slinking out of the way 
of the hunter. They are rarely killed 
with the rifle. I have never shot but one 

lil^ s8 

m 




The Timber-wolf 



myself. They are occasionally trapped, 
but after a very few have been procured 
in this way the survivors become so wary 
that it is almost impossible even for a 
master of the art to do much with theni, 
while an ordinary man can never get one 
into a trap except by accident. 

More can be done with poison, but even 
in this case the animal speedily learns cau- 
tion by experience. When poison is first 
used in a district wolves are very easily 
killed, and perhaps almost all of them will 
be slain, but nowadays it is difficult to 
catch any but young ones in this way. ; 
Occasionally an old one will succumb, but ' 
there are always some who cannot be 
persuaded to touch a bait. The old she- 
wolves teach their cubs, as soon as they 
are able to walk, to avoid man's trace in 



every way, and to look out for traps and|j^4% 



poison. 

In consequence, 



though most cow 



59 



•»•»•• 




-—■"Vj 



Good Hunting 




punchers carry poison with them, and are 
continually laying out baits, and though 
some men devote most of their time to 
poisoning for the sake of the bounty and 
the fur, the results are not very remu- 
nerative. 

The most successful wolf -hunter on the 
Little Missouri in 1896 was a man who 
did not rely on poison at all, but on dogs. 
He was a hunter named Massingale, and 
he always had a pack of at least twenty 
hounds. The number varied, for a wolf 
at bay is a terrible fighter, with jaws like 
those of a steel trap and teeth that cut 
like knives, so that the dogs were con- 
tinually disabled and sometimes killed, 
and the hunter had always to be on the 
VVJI watch to add animals to his pack. 

It was not a pack that would appeal, as 
far as looks go, to an old huntsman, but 
it was thoroughly fitted for its own work. 
Most of the dogs were greyhounds, either 

'Nv. 60 



The Timber-wolf 



rough or smooth haired, but many of 
them were big mongrels, and part some 
other breed, such as bull-dog, mastiff, 
Newfoundland, blood-hound, or collie. 

The only two necessary requisites were 
that the dogs should run fast and fight 
gamely ; and in consequence they formed 
as wicked, hard-biting a crew as ever ran 
down and throttled a wolf. They were 
usually taken out ten at a time, and by 
their aid Massingale killed two hundred 
wolves in the course of the year. 

Of course there was no pretence of 
giving the game fair play. The wolves 
were killed as vermin, not for sport. The t 
greatest havoc was in the spring-time, ~ 
when the she -wolves were followed to * 
their dens, which were sometimes holes S 
in the earth and sometimes natural caves. |^f 
There were from three to nine whelps in 
each litter. Some of the hounds were 
very fast, and they could usually over 
61 














Good Hunting 



.V> 



■K h 



'A 



l 



take a young or weak wolf; but an old 
wolf-dog, with a good start, unless run 
into at once, would surely get away if he 
were in running trim. Frequently, how- 
ever, he was caught when he was not in 
running trim, for the hunter was apt to 
find him when he had killed a calf or 
taken part in dragging down a horse or 
steer. Under these circumstances he 
I could not run long before the pack. 

If possible, as with all such packs, the 
> hunter himself would get up in time to 
end the worry by a stab of his hunting- 
knife ; but unless he was quick he would 
have nothing to do, for the pack was 
thoroughly competent to do its own kill- 
H^ing. Grim fighter though a great wolf- 

^ dog is, he stands no show before the 
onslaught of ten such dogs, agile and 
powerful, who rush on their antagonist 
in a body. They possessed great power 
in their jaws, and unless Massingale was 

*ffJK,K^ 62 

Pip 




The Timber-wolf 



up within two or three minutes after the 
wolf was taken, the dogs literally tore 
him to pieces, though one or more of 
their number might be killed or crippled 
in the fight. 

Other hunters were striving to get to- 
gether packs thoroughly organized, and 
the wolves may be thinned out; they 
were certainly altogether too plentiful. 
During the fall of 1896 I saw a number 
myself, although I was not looking for 
them. I frequently came upon the re- 
mains of sheep and young stock which 
they had killed, and once, on the top of a '^Jti 
small plateau, I found the body of a large ' 
steer, while the torn and trodden ground jj. \ 
showed that he had fought hard for his 
life before succumbing. There were ap-^ 
parently two wolves engaged in the work, 
and the cunning beasts had evidently 
acted in concert. While one attracted 
the steer's attention, the other, according 
63 





IS! 1 









■\f. 



€ 



,->'\ 



Good Hunting 



to the invariable wolf habit, attacked 
him from behind, hamstringing him and 
tearing out his flanks. His body was 
still warm when I came up, but his mur- 
derers had slunk off, either seeing or 
smelling me. Their handiwork was un- 
mistakable, however, for, unlike bears 
and cougars, wolves invariably attack 
their victim at the hind-quarters, and be- 
gin their feast on the hams or flanks if 
^i the animal is of any size. 




Shooting the Prong-buck * 




SrUK 



xrt 



mti 







V 





Tt 







SHOOTING THE PRONG-BUCK 

OR a few years before 1897, 
when I visited my cattle 
range I spent most of my 
time out on the great 
plains, where almost the 
only game that can be found is thes" 4] 
prong-horned antelope ; and as on such 
trips the party depends for fresh meat 
upon the rifle, I have on each occasion 
done a certain amount of antelope- 
shooting. 

In the old days, when antelope were far 
more plentiful than they are now, they 
could often be procured by luring them 
67 




Good Hunting 




with a red flag — for they are very in- 
quisitive beasts — but now they have 
grown wary, and must usually be either 
stalked, which is very difficult, owing to 
their extreme keenness of vision and the 
absence of cover on the prairies, or else 
must be ridden into. 

With first-class greyhounds and good 
horses they can often be run down in fair 
chase; but ordinarily the rider can hope 
for nothing more than to get within fair 
shooting-range, and this only by taking 
advantage of their peculiarity of running 
straight ahead in the direction in which 
they are pointed when once they have 
settled to their pace. Usually antelope, 
as soon as they see a hunter, run straight 
VVS away from him ; but sometimes they make 
j^g| their flight at an angle, and as they do 
not like to change their course when once 
started, it is occasionally possible to cut 
them off from the point towards which 
""s^ 68 




STALKING BIG GAME 



Shooting the Prong-buck 



they are headed, and get a reasonably 
close shot. 

In the fall of 1896 I spent a fortnight 
on the range with the ranch wagon. I 
was using for the first time one of the 
then new small-caliber, smokeless-powder 
rifles, a 30-30-160 Winchester. I had a 
half -jacketed bullet, the butt being cased 
in hard metal, while the nose was of pure 
lead. 

While travelling to and fro across the 
range we usually broke camp each day, 
not putting up the tent at all during the 
trip ; but at one spot we spent three nights. 
It was in a creek bottom, bounded on 
either side by rows of grassy hills, beyond 
which stretched the rolling prairie. The 
creek bed, which at this season was of e <$!£ 
course dry in most places, wound in §w ; 
S-shaped curves, with here and there a VmLa 
pool and here and there a fringe of stunted, 
wind-beaten timber. We were camped 
69 



1 






Good Hunting 




near a little grove of ash, box-alder, and 
willow, which gave us shade at noonday ; 
and there were two or three pools of good 
water in the creek bed — one so deep that 
I made it my swimming-bath. 

The first day that I was able to make 
a hunt I rode out with my foreman, 
Sylvane Ferris. I was mounted on 
Muley. Twelve years before, when Muley 
was my favorite cutting -pony on the 
round-up, he never seemed to tire or to 
lose his dash, but Muley was now sixteen 
years old, and on ordinary occasions he 
liked to go as soberly as possible ; yet the 
good old pony still had the fire latent in 
his blood, and at the sight of game — or, 
indeed, of cattle or horses — he seemed to 
regain for the time being all the head- 
long courage of his vigorous and supple 
youth. 

On the morning in question it was two 
or three hours before Sylvane and I saw 
70 



Shooting the Prong-buck 



any game. Our two ponies went steadily 
forward at a single foot or shack, as the 
cow-punchers term what Easterners call 
"a fox trot." Most of the time we were 
passing over immense grassy flats, where 
the mats of short curled blades lay brown 
and parched under the bright sunlight. 
Occasionally we came to ranges of low, 
barren hills, which sent off gently round- 
ing spurs into the plain. 

It was on one of these ranges that we 
first saw our game. As we were travelling 
along the divide we spied eight antelope 
far ahead of us. They saw us as soon as \^m 
we saw them, and the chance of getting ' jiSifsJi'L 
to them seemed small; but it was worth A'i8^K!*: ' 
an effort, for by humoring them when ^» |^|'^Hy^ 
they start to run, and galloping towards m^ * *M x * 
them at an oblique angle to their line |p ><<-/& *m 
of flight, there is always some little chance f^^^ :iSN 
of getting a shot. Sylvane was on a light g| Jj^ g&i ]l 
buckskin horse, and I left him on tne ^"l^^ [a 




Good Hunting 






ridge crest to occupy their time while I 
cantered off to one side. 

The prong-horns became uneasy as I 
galloped off, and ran off the ridge crest in 
a line nearly parallel to mine. They did 
not go very fast, and I held Muley in, who 
was all on fire at the sight of the game. 
After crossing two or three spurs, the 
antelope going at half speed, they found 
I had come closer to them, and, turning, 
they ran up one of the valleys between 
two spurs. 

Now was my chance, and, wheeling at 
right angles to my former course, I 
galloped Muley as hard as I knew how up 
the valley nearest and parallel to where 
the antelope had gone. The good old 
*-« fellow ran like a quarter-horse, and when 
^ we were almost at the main ridge crest 
I leaped off, and ran ahead with my rifle 
at the ready, crouching down as I came 
to the sky-line? Usually on such oc- 
72 



*'<*K 



fl** 



Shooting the Prong-buck 



casions I find that the antelope have gone 
on, and merely catch a glimpse of them 
half a mile distant, but on this occasion 
everything went right. The band had 
just reached the ridge crest about two 
hundred and twenty yards from me across 
the head of the valley, and I halted for a 
moment to look around. They were start- 
ing as I raised my rifle, but the trajectory 
is very flat with these small-bore smoke- 
less-powder weapons, and taking a coarse 
front sight I fired at a young buck which 
stood broadside to me. There was no 
smoke, and as the band raced away I 
saw him sink backward, the ball having, 
broken his hip. 

We packed him bodily behind Sylvane^ 
on the buckskin and continued our ride,'^ 
as there was no fresh meat in camp, and~^| 
we wished to bring in a couple of bucks if™ 
possible. For two or three hours we saw^ 
nothing. The unshod feet of the horses 
73 











Good Hunting 




made hardly any noise on the stretches of 
sun-cured grass, but now and then we 
passed through patches of thin weeds, 
their dry stalks rattling curiously, making 
a sound like that of a rattlesnake. At 
last, coming over a gentle rise of ground, 
we spied two more antelopes, half a mile 
ahead of us and to our right. 

Again there seemed small chance of 
bagging our quarry, but again fortune 
favored us. I at once cantered Muley 
ahead, not towards them, so as to pass 
them well on one side. After some hes- 
itation they started, not straightaway, 
but at an angle to my own course. For 
some moments I kept at a hand-gallop, 
^ until they got thoroughly settled in their 
line of flight ; then I touched Muley, and 
he went as hard as he knew how. 

Immediately the two panic-stricken 
and foolish beasts seemed to feel that I 
was cutting off their line of retreat, and 
5&^ 74 



Shooting the Prong-buck 



raced forward at mad speed. They went 
much faster than I did, but I had the 
shorter course, and when they crossed 
me they were not fifty yards ahead — by 
which time I had come nearly a mile. 
Muley stopped short, like the trained cow- 
pony he was; I leaped off, and held well 
ahead of the rearmost and largest buck. 
At the crack of the little rifle down he 
went with his neck broken. In a minute 
or two he was packed behind me on 
Muley, and we bent our steps towards 
camp. 

During the remainder of my trip wet,*, 
were never out of fresh meat, for I shot 
three other bucks — one after a smart 
chase on horseback, and the other two 
after careful stalks. 

The game being both scarce and shy, 
I had to exercise much care, and after 




sighting a band I would sometimes have$f |jB :<&l h 
to wait and crawl round for two or three Hi ;|L XI \\ 



I 



Good Hunting 





hours before they would get into a posi- 
tion where I had any chance of ap- 
proaching. Even then they were more 
apt to see me and go off than I was to 
get near them. 

Antelope are the only game that can 
be hunted as well at noonday as in the 
morning or evening, for their times for 
sleeping and feeding are irregular. They 
never seek shelter from the sun, and when 
they lie down for a noonday nap they are 
apt to choose a hollow, so as to be out of 
the wind; in consequence, if the band is 
seen at all at this time, it is easier to 
approach them than when they are up 
and feeding. 

They sometimes come down to water 
in the middle of the day, sometimes in the 
morning or evening. On this trip I came 
across bands feeding and resting at almost 
every time of the day. They seemed 
usually to feed for a couple of hours, then 
76 



,11 





■**„*«. 




A WOUNDED ANTELOPE 



Shooting the Prong-buck 



rest for a couple of hours, then begin 
feeding again. 

The last shot I got was when I was out 
with Joe Ferris, in whose company I had 
killed my first buffalo, just thirteen years 
before, and not very far from the spot I 
then was at. We had seen two or three 
bands that morning, and in each case, 
after a couple of hours of useless effort, 
I failed to get near enough. At last, 
towards mid-day, we got within range of 
a small band lying down in a little cup- 
shaped hollow in the middle of a great flat. 
I did not have a close shot, for they were 
running about one hundred and eighty 
yards off. The buck was rear-most, and$? 
at him I aimed ; the bullet struck him in, «J j 
the flank, coming out of the opposite JL$| - 
shoulder, and he fell in his next bound. ~~ 
As we stood over him, Joe shook his head, i 
and said, "I guess that little 30-30 is the* /fc^Ssl^f 
ace' 



and I told him I guessed so too. 

77 












A Tame White Goat 














>«*. 



s~h**V.~. ' 



VI 






A TAME WHITE GOAT 

NE of the queerest wild 
beasts in North America 
is the so-called white goat. 
It is found all along the 
highest peaks of the Rocky 
Mountains from Alaska into Montana, 
Idaho, and Washington. Really it is not 
a goat at all, but a kind of mountain-^ 
antelope, whose nearest kinsfolk are cer- ' 
tain Asiatic antelopes found in the Him-'/f 
alayas. It is a squat, powerfully built, ^4,% 
and rather clumsy-looking animal, about|| 
as heavy as a good-sized deer, but not asj 
It is pure white in color, excepts 



tall. 





Good Hunting 




that its hoofs, horns, and muzzle are jet 
black. In winter its fleece is very long, 
and at that time it wears a long beard, 
which makes it look still more like a goat. 
It has a very distinct hump on the 
shoulders, and the head is usually carried 
low. 

White goats are quite as queer in their 
habits as in their looks. They delight in 
cold, and, except in the northernmost 
portion of their range, they keep to the 
very tops of the mountains ; and at mid- 
day, if the sun is at all powerful, retire to 
caves to rest themselves. They have the 
very curious habit of sitting up on their 
haunches, in the attitude of a dog begging, 
when looking about for any foe whose 
presence they suspect. They are won- 
derful climbers, although they have no 
liveliness or agility of movement; their 
surefootedness and remarkable strength 
enable them to go up or down seemingly 
82 



/ 



A Tame White Goat 



impossible places. Their great round 
hoofs, with sharp-cut edges, can grip the 
slightest projection in the rocks, and no 
precipice or ice-wall has any terror for 
them. At times they come quite low tow- 
ards the foot-hills, usually to visit some 
mineral lick, but generally they are found 
only in the very high broken ground, 
among stupendous crags and precipices. 
They are self - confident, rather stupid 
beasts, and as they are accustomed to 
look for danger only from below, it is an 
easy matter to approach them if once the 
hunter is able to get above them ; but they 
live in such inaccessible places that their 
pursuit entails great labor and hardship. 
Their sharp black horns are eight or ten 
inches long, with points like needles, and 
their necks are thick and muscular, so 




M 



that they are dangerous enemies for any |^4^ : |' 
foe to handle at close quarters ; and they ^ J|j^ |j 
know their capacities very well, and are 

83 _i*!g 




Good Hunting 



confident in their prowess, often prefer- 
ring to stand and fight a dog or wolf 
rather than to try to run. Nevertheless, 
though they are such wicked and resolute 
fighters, they have not a few enemies. 
The young kids are frequently carried off 
by eagles, and mountain-lions, wolves, 
and occasionally even wolverenes prey on 
the grown animals whenever they venture 
down out of their inaccessible resting- 
places to prowl along the upper edges of 
the timber or on the open terraces of grass 
and shrubby mountain plants. If a goat 
is on its guard, and can get its back to a 
rock, both wolf and panther will fight 
shy of facing the thrust of the dagger-like 
horns ; but the beasts of prey are so much 
V*v*S more agile and stealthy that if they can 
*^|§|| get a goat in the open or take it by sur- 
" prise, they can readily pull it down. 

I have several times shot white goats 
for the sake of the trophies afforded by 
84 





A Tame White Goat 



the horns and skins, but I have never 
gone after them much, as the work is 
very severe, and the flesh usually affords 
poor eating, being musky, as there is a 
big musk-pod situated between the ear 
and the horn. Only a few of the old- 
time hunters knew anything about white 
goats; and even nowadays there are not 
very many men who go into their haunts 
as a steady thing; but the settlers who 
live high up in the mountains do come 
across them now and then, and they 
occasionally have odd stories to relate 
about them. 

One was told to me by an old fellow 
who had a cabin on one of the tributaries 
that ran into Flathead Lake. He had 
been off prospecting for gold in the moun- 
tains early one spring. The life of a ,§^/< 



prospector is very hard. He goes alone, ||Oi l =0^ 
and in these northern mountains he '^^jL'sNtfi) 
cannot take with him the donkey which J* 




85 




Good Hunting 



towards the south is his almost invaria- 
ble companion and beast of burden; the 
tangled forests of the northern ranges 
make it necessary for him to trust only 
to his own power as a pack-bearer, and 
he carries merely what he takes on his 
own shoulders. 

The old fellow in question had been 
out for a month before the snow was all 
gone, and his dog, a large and rather 
vicious hound, to which he was greatly 
attached, accompanied him. When his 
food gave out he was working his way 
back towards Flathead Lake, and struck 
a stream, on which he found an old 
j !§£^ N dug - out canoe, deserted the previous 
fall by some other prospector or pros- 
pectors. Into this he got, with his 
traps and his dog, and started down- 
stream. 

On the morning of the second day, 
while rounding a point of land, he sud- 
86 



*•;,.,«.—•»• 





A Tame White Goat 



denly came upon two white goats, a fe- 
male and a little kid, evidently but a few 
weeks old, standing right by the stream. 
As soon as they saw him they turned and 
galloped clumsily off towards the foot of 
the precipice. As he was in need of meat, 
he shoved ashore and ran after the fleeing 
animals with his rifle, while the dog gal- 
loped in front. Just before reaching the 
precipice the dog overtook the goats. 
When he was almost up, however, the 
mother goat turned suddenly around, 
while the kid stopped short behind her, 
and she threatened the dog with lowered 
head. After a second's hesitation the 
dog once more resumed his gallop, and 
flung himself full on the quarry. It was 
a fatal move. As he gave his last leap,/ 
the goat, bending her head down side- 
ways, struck viciously, so that one horn 
slipped right up to the root into the dog's 
chest. The blow was mortal, and the 
87 




Good Hunting 




dog barely had time to give one yelp be- 
fore his life passed. 

It was, however, several seconds before 
the goat could disengage its head from 
its adversary, and by that time the en- 
raged hunter was close at hand, and with 
a single bullet avenged the loss of his dog. 
When the goat fell, however, he began to 
feel a little ashamed, thinking of the 
gallant fight she had made for herself 
and kid, and he did not wish to harm the 
latter. So he walked forward, trying to 
scare it away; but the little thing stood 
obstinately near its dead mother, and 
butted angrily at him as he came up. 
It was far too young to hurt him in any 
$ way, and he was bound not to hurt it, 
so he sat down beside it and smoked a 



pipe. 

When he got up it seemed to have 
become used to his presence, and no 
longer showed any hostility. For some 

"^k _ 88 




"«>%,,*...- 



A Tame White Goat 



seconds he debated what to do, fearing 
lest it might die if left alone ; then he came 
to the conclusion that it was probably- 
old enough to do without its mother's 
milk, and would have at least a chance 
for its life if left to itself. Accordingly, he 
walked towards the boat; but he soon 
found it was following him. He tried 
to frighten it back, but it belonged to 
much too stout-hearted a race to yield 
to pretence, and on it came after him. 
When he reached the boat, after some 
hesitation he put the little thing in and $ 
started down- stream. At first the motion 'q 
of the boat startled it, and it jumped.' 
right out into the water. When he got ~ 
it back, it again jumped out, on to a ' 
bowlder. On being replaced the second & 
time, it made no further effort to escape ; J^ 
but it puzzled him now and then by sud- 
denly standing up with its fore-feet on^^K^ ij- 
the very rim of the ticklish dugout, so djtemf M* % 





Good Hunting 



that he had to be very careful how he 
balanced. Finally, however, it got used 
to the motion of the canoe, and it was 
then a very contented and amusing 
passenger. 

The last part of the journey, after its 
owner abandoned the canoe, was per- 
formed with the kid slung on his back. 
Of course it again at first objected stren- 
uously to this new mode of progress, 
but in time it became quite reconciled, 
and accepted the situation philosophi- 
^cally. When the prospector reached his 
cabin his difficulties were at an end. The 
^\ little goat had fallen off very much in 
!;§ flesh; for though it would browse of its 
^ own accord around the camp at night, it 
was evidently too young to take to the 
; change kindly. 

Before reaching the cabin, however, 
: it began to pick up again, and it soon 
■became thoroughly at home amid its 

■** 90 





A Tame White Goat 



new surroundings. It was very familiar, 
not only with the prospector, but with 
strangers, and evidently regarded the 
cabin as a kind of safety spot. Though 
it would stray off into the surrounding 
woods, it never ventured farther than 
two or three hundred yards, and after an 
absence of half an hour or so at the 
longest, it would grow alarmed, and come 
back at full speed, bounding along like 
a wild buck through the woods, until it 
reached what it evidently deemed its v 
haven of refuge. 

Its favorite abode was the roof of the^ 
cabin, at one corner of which, where the*'* 
projecting ends of the logs were uneven, 
it speedily found a kind of ladder, up 
which it would climb until the roof waSj 
reached. Sometimes it would promenadej 
along the ridge, and at other times moun 
the chimney, which it would hastil 
abandon, however, when a fire was lit 

91 -tf* 










% 



Good Hunting 

The presence of a dog always resulted in 
immediate flight, first to the roof, and 
then to the chimney; and when it came 
inside the cabin it was fond of jumping on 
a big wooden shelf above the fireplace, 
which served as a mantel-piece. 

If teased it was decidedly truculent; 
but its tameness and confidence, and the 
quickness with which it recognized any 
friend, made it a great favorite, not only 
with the prospector, but with his few 
neighbors. However, the little thing did 
not live very long. Whether it was the 
change of climate or something wrong 
with its food, when the hot weather came 
on it pined gradually away, and one 
morning it was found dead, lying on its 
beloved roof-tree. The prospector had 
grown so fond of it that, as he told me, 
he gave it a burial "just as if it were a 
Christian." 




'>*«*, 



■•w^'v..;- 



Ranching 








VII 




RANCHING 

HERE are in every com- 
munity young men to 
whom life at the desk or 
behind the counter is un- 
utterably dreary and un- 
attractive, and who long for some out-of- 
door occupation which shall, if possible, 
contain a spice of excitement. These 
young men can be divided into two 
classes — first, those who, if they get a 4 
chance to try the life for which they long, 
will speedily betray their utter inability 
to lead it; and, secondly, those who 
possess the physical capacity and the 

>-••• -vj 










Good Hunting 



peculiar mental make-up necessary for 
success in an employment far out of the 
usual paths of civilized occupations. A 
great many of these young men think of 
ranching as a business which they might 
possibly take up, and what I am about 
to say * is meant as much for a warning 
to one class as for advice to the other. 

Ranching is a rather indefinite term. 
In a good many parts of the West a ranch 
\JA simply means a farm ; but I shall not use 
rj&f' it in this sense, since the advantages and 
J$$~ ' l *>* disadvantages of a farmer's life, whether 
(*»C it be led in New Jersey or Iowa, have 
?""** often been dwelt upon by men infinitely 
£» more competent than I am to pass judg- 
ment. Accordingly, when I speak of 
l'^*^ 1 *^ V3 ranching I shall mean some form of stock- 
°»S^|&"^^^ raising or sheep-farming as practised now 
* in the wilder parts of the United States, 

1 Written in 1896. 
96 




Ranching 



where there is still plenty of land which, 
because of the lack of rainfall, is not very 
productive for agricultural purposes. 

The first thing to be remembered by 
any boy or young man who wishes to go 
West and start life on a cattle ranch, 
horse ranch, or sheep ranch is that he 
must know the business thoroughly before 
he can earn any salary to speak of, still 
less start out on his own accord. A 
great many young fellows apparently 
think that a cow-boy is born and not made, 
and that in order to become one all they 
have to do is to wish very hard to be one. 
Now, as a matter of fact, a young fellow 
trained as a book-keeper would take quite ; 
as long to learn the trade of a cow-boy */ . 
as the average cow-boy would take to^fi 
learn the trade of book-keeper. The first gwf 
thing that the beginner anywhere in the ; 
wilder parts of the West has to learn is 
the capacity to stand monotony, fatigue, J 

97 .awJl 




Good Hunting 




and hardship; the next thing is to learn 
the nature of the country. 

A young fellow from the East who has 
been brought up on a farm, or who has 
done hard manual labor as a machinist, 
need not go through a novitiate of manual 
labor in order to get accustomed to the 
roughness that such labor implies; but 
a boy just out of a high-school, or a 
young clerk, will have to go through just 
such a novitiate before he will be able to 
command a dollar's pay. Both alike will 
have to learn the nature of the country, 
and this can only be learned by actual 
experience on the ground. 

Again, the beginner must remember 
that though there is occasional excite- 
^ ment and danger in a ranchman's life, 
it is only occasional, while the monotony 
of hard and regular toil is not often 
^fi broken. Except in the matter of fresh 
air and freedom from crowding, a small 






/ 



Ranching 



ranchman often leads a life of as grinding 
hardness as the average dweller in a New 
York tenement-house. His shelter is a 
small log hut, or possibly a dugout in the 
side of a bank, or in summer a shabby 
tent. For food he will have to depend 
mainly on the bread of his own baking, 
on fried fat pork, and on coffee or tea 
with sugar and no milk. Of course he 
will occasionally have some canned stuff 
or potatoes. The furniture of the hut is 
of the roughest description — a roll of 
blankets for bedding, a bucket, a tin 
wash-basin, and a tin mug, with perhaps ^sJffljti ll 
a cracked looking-glass four inches square. * 

He will not have much society of any 
kind, and the society he does have is not , 
apt to be over-refined. If he is a lad of a; 
delicate, shrinking nature and fastidious j 
habits, he will find much that is uncom- 
fortable, and will need to show no small; 
amount of pluck and fortitude if he is to] 

LOFC," 




Good Hunting 




..« 








hold his own. The work, too, is often 
hard and often wearisome from mere 
sameness. It is generally done on horse- 
back even on a sheep ranch, and always 
on a cow ranch. The beginner must 
learn to ride with indifference all kinds of 
rough and dangerous horses before he 
will be worth his keep. 

With all this before him, the beginner 
will speedily find out that life on a 
Western ranch is very far from being a 
mere holiday. A young man who desires 
to start in the life ought, if possible, to 
have with him a little money — just 
enough to keep body and soul together — 
until he can gain a foothold somewhere. 

No specific directions can be given him 
as to where to start. Wyoming, most 
of Montana, the western edge of the 
Dakotas, western Texas, and some por- 
tions of the Rocky Mountain States still 
offer chances for a man to go into the 

"*"Vl ioo 







Ranching 



ranch business. In different seasons in 
the different localities business may be 
good or bad, and it would be impossible 
to tell where was the best place to start. 
Wherever the beginner goes, he ought 
to make up his mind at the outset to 
start by doing any kind of work he can. 
Let him chop wood, hoe, do any chore 
that will bring him in twenty-five cents. 
If he is once able to start by showing that 
he is willing to work hard and do some- 
thing, he can probably get employment of 
some kind, although this employment will 
almost certainly be very ill paid and not 
attractive. Perhaps it will be to dig in 
a garden, or to help one of the men drive 
oxen, or to do the heavy work around 
camp for some party of cow-punchers or '*$ 
lumberers. Whatever it is, let the boy zOf?\\ 
go at it with all his might, and at the 
same time take every opportunity to get ?/ 
acquainted with the kind of life which he 



IOI 




ilu^ 



Good Hunting 




intends ultimately to lead. If he wishes 
to try to ride a horse, he will have 
every chance, if for no other reason than 
that he will continually meet men whose 
ideas of fun are met by the spectacle of a 
tenderfoot on a bucking bronco. 

By degrees he will learn a good deal of 
the ways of the life and of the country. 
Then he must snatch the first chance that 
offers itself to take a position in con- 
nection with the regular work of a ranch. 
He may be employed as a regular hand to 
;help cook on the ranch wagon, or taken 
by a shepherd to do the hard and dirty 
work which the shepherd would like to 
^ put off on somebody else. When he has 
. once got as far as this his rise is certain, 
if he is not afraid of labor, and keeps a 
lookout for the opportunities that offer. 
After a while he will have a horse him- 
self, and he will be employed as a second- 
rate man to do the ordinary ranch work. 

*&^ I02 




B -^rfe „-- 



Ranching 



Work on a sheep ranch is less attrac- 
tive, but more profitable than on any- 
other. A good deal of skill must be 
shown by the shepherd in managing his 
flock and in handling the sheep dogs; 
but ordinarily it is appallingly dreary 
to sit all day long in the sun, or loll about 
in the saddle, watching the flocks of 
fleecy idiots. In time of storm he must 
work like a demon and know exactly 
what to do, or his whole flock will die 
before his eyes, sheep being as tender as 
horses and cattle are tough. 

With the work of a cow ranch or horse ^ 
ranch there comes more excitement.** 
Every man on such a ranch has a string 
of eight or ten horses for his own riding, 
and there is a great deal of exciting 
galloping and hot riding across the plains ;j 
and the work in a stampede at night, o 
in line-riding during the winter, or in 
breaking the fierce little horses to th 

103 •-•/&? 

-.-*^*^"*y IT* 

..-••*** v 




Good Hunting 



saddle, is as exciting as it is hard and 
dangerous. 

The wilder phases of the life, however, 
are steadily passing away. Almost every- 
where great wire fences are being put up, 
and no small part of the cow-boy's duty 
nowadays is to ride along the line of a 
fence and repair it wherever broken. 
Moreover, at present [1896] the business 
of cattle or horse raising on the plains 
does not pay well, and, except in pe- 
culiar cases, can hardly be recommend- 
ed to a boy ambitious for his future. 

So much for the unattractive reality 
of ranch life. It would be unfair not to 
point out that it has a very attractive 
side also. If the boy is fond of open-air 
exercise, and willing to risk tumbles that 
^^^Sfts^sll*! may break an occasional bone, and to 
endure at need heat and cold, hunger and 
thirst, he will find much that is pleasant 
in the early mornings on the great plains, 

""v. 104 




Ranching 



particularly on the rare days when he 
is able to take a few hours' holiday to 
go with his shot-gun after prairie-chickens 
or ducks, or, perchance, to ride out with 
a Winchester rifle to a locality where on 
one of his working days he has seen a 
small band of antelope standing in the 
open, or caught a glimpse of a deer 
bounding through the brush. There is 
little temptation to spend money, unless 
he is addicted to the coarsest kind of 
dissipation, and after a few years the 
young fellow ought to have some hun- 
dreds of dollars laid aside. By this '^ 
time he should know all about the 4 
business and the locality, and should L, 
be able to gauge just what he can ac- '. 
complish. *$ 

For a year or two perhaps he can try to %H\ (pS^4» 
run a little outfit of his own in connection 
with his work on a big ranch. Then he 
will abandon the latter and start out en- 












Good Hunting 



& 




tirely on his own account. Disaster may- 
overtake him, as it may overtake any 
business man ; but if he wins success, even 
though of a moderate kind, he has a 
pleasant life before him, riding about over 
the prairie among his own horses or cat- 
tle or sheep, occasionally taking a day 
off to go after game, and, while working 
hard, not having to face the mere drudg- 
ery which he had to encounter as a 
tyro. 

The chances are very small that he will 
ever gain great wealth; and when he 
marries and has children of his own there 
are many uncomfortable problems to face, 
the chief being that of schools ; but for a 
young man in good health and of advent- 
urous temper the life is certainly pleas- 
anter than that of one cooped up in the 
.counting-room, and while it is not one to 
s||be sought save by the very few who have 
a natural liking for it, and a natural 
$te^ 1 06 




.tfi$ 




5 ""-=fe 



Ranching 

capacity to enjoy it and profit by it, still 
for these few people it remains one of 
the most attractive forms of existence 
in America. 



THE END 




.>'-\:, 



FEB 7 1907