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ID AN1MAI S 

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ERNEST THOMPSON SETON 



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NY PUBL C LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRARIES 



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THE 
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 

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PRESENTED BY 

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WILD ANIMALS AT HOME 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

THE BOOK OF WOODCRAFT AND INDIAN LORE 

WILD ANIMALS I HAVE KNOWN 

TWO LITTLE SAVAGES 

BIOGRAPHY OF A GRIZZLY 

LIFE HISTORIES OF NORTHERN ANIMALS 

ROLF IN THE WOODS 

THE FORESTERS' MANUAL 




o 



WILD 
ANIMALS 

ArHoME 





Author of *Wild 'Animals 1 'Have Knowzj n 

"life Histories ofNprthern Animals. 
Molfinthe Woodsnie Book of Woodcraft 

Head Chief of the 
Woodcraft Indians 

With over 150 Sketches and 
Photographs by the Author 

Garden Cjiy New yorK 

Doubleday, Page <S Company 





. 



. 

_ 



Copyright, 1913, by 
ERNEST THOMPSON SETON 

All rights reserved, including that of 

translation into foreign languages, 

including the Scandinavian 



PROPERTY OF THB 

Ci' ' YORK J 



Foreword 

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

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

In the early days of the West, when game 
abounded and when fifty yards was the extreme 
deadly range of the hunter's weapons, wild crea- 
tures were comparatively tame. The advent of 









Foreword 

the rifle and of the lawless skin hunter soon turned 
all big game into fugitives of excessive shyness 
and wariness. One glimpse of a man half a mile 
off, or a whiff of him on the breeze, was enough 
to make a Mountain Ram or a Wolf run for 
miles, though formerly these creatures would have 
gazed serenely from a point but a hundred yards 
removed. 

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

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

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

vi 



Foreword 

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

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

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

ERNEST THOMPSON SETON. 



Vll 



Contents 

PACE 

I. The Cute Coyote .... . . i 

An Exemplary Little Beast, My Friend 

the Coyote 3 

The Prairie-dog Outwitted . 5 

The Coyote's Sense of Humour . 8 

His Distinguishing Gift . . n 

The Coyote's Song .... . . 13 

IL The Prairie-dog and His Kin 1 7 

Merry Yek-Yek and His Lite of Troubles 19 

The Whistler in the Rocks 22 

The Pack-rat and His Museum . 23 

A Free Trader .... 25 

The Upheaver - -The Mole-Gopher . 27 

III. Famous Furbearers Fox, Marten, Bea- 
ver and Otter 29 

The Most Wonderful Fur in the World 32 

The Poacher and the Silver Fox . 35 

The Villain in Velvet - - The Marten 47 

The Industrious Beaver . . 48 

The Dam . . 51 

The Otter and His Slide .... 52 

ix 



Contents 



PAGE 



IV. Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 55 

The Bounding Blacktail . . 57 

The Mother Blacktail's Race for Life 59 

The Blacktail's Safety Is in the Hills 62 
The Elk or Wapiti - - The Noblest of all 

Deer 63 

Stalking a Band of Elk .... 64 

The Bugling Elk 66 

Snapping a Charging Bull 69 

The Hoodoo Cow ... 72 

The Moose - - The Biggest of all Deer 75 

My Partner's Moose-hunt 76 

The Siren Call 77 

The Biggest of Our Game - - The Buffalo 80 

The Shrunken Range .... 81 

The Doomed Antelope and His Heliograph 83 

The Rescued Bighorn . . 85 

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

VL The Well-meaning Skunk . . 95 

His Smell-gun 98 

The Cruelty of Steel Traps 99 

Friendliness of the Skunk . . . 100 

Photographing Skunks at Short Range . 101 

We Share the Shanty with the Skunks . 103 

The Skunk and the Unwise Bobcat . 104 

My Pet Skunks i 6 



x 



Contents 

PAGE 

VIL Old Silver-grizzle The Badger . . in 

The Valiant Harmless Badger . . 112 

His Sociable Bent ... 115 

The Story of the Kindly Badger . 116 

The Evil One .... . 118 

The Badger that Rescued the Boy 119 

Finding the Lost One . -123 

Home Again .125 

The Human Brute 129 

VTIL The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail 

Brothers J 33 

The Cheeky Pine Squirrel . . . 134 

Chipmunks and Ground-squirrels . . . 137 

The Ground-squirrel that Plays Picket-pin 137 

Chink and the Picket-pins . 139 

Chipmunks . 141 

The Ground-squirrel that Pretends It's a 

Chipmunk . . 142 

A Four-legged Bird - - The Northern Chip- 
munk 143 

A Striped Pigmy - - The Least Chipmunk 147 

IX. The Rabbits and Their Habits . . iS 1 

Molly Cottontail - The Clever Freezer . 152 

The Rabbit that Wears Snowshoes . 154 

The Terror of the Mountain Trails 156 

Bunny's Ride . . . . 158 

xi 



Contents 

PAGE 

The Rabbit Dance 160 

The Ghost Rabbit 163 

A Narrow-gauge Mule - - The Prairie Hare 164 

The Bump of Moss that Squeaks . . 165 

The Weatherwise Coney . . . .169 

His Safety Is in the Rocks . . . 171 

X. Ghosts of the Campf ire 175 

The Jumpirg Mouse 177 

The Calling Mouse 179 

XI. Sneak-cats, Big- and Small . . . .185 
The Bobcat or Mountain Wildcat . . . 186 
Misunderstood The Canada Lynx . . 187 

The Shyest Thing in the Woods . . 189 

The Time I Met a Lion 191 

In Peril of My Life 194 

The Dangerous Night Visitor . . 196 

XII. Bears of High and Low Degree . . 201 

The Different Kinds of Bears . . . 202 

Bear-trees 203 

A Peep Into Bear Family Life . . . 204 

The Day at the Garbage Pile . . . 208 

Lonesome Johnny 210 

Further Annals of the Sanctuary . . . 210 

The Grizzly and the Can 216 

Appendix: Mammals of Yellowstone Park 221 

xii 



List of Half-tone Plates 

I. A Prairie-dog town . . Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

II. Chink's adventures with the Coy- 
ote and the Picket-pin . 

III. Gray Wolf 

IV. (a) The Whistler watching me 

from the rocks, (b) A young 
Whistler 26 

V. Red Fox 36 

VI. Foxes quarrelling 44 

VII. Beaver 48 

VIII. Mule-deer 50 

IX. Mule-deer groups 52 

X. Blacktail Family 60 

XI. Blacktail mother with her twins 62 

XII. A young investigator among the 

Deer at Fort Yellowstone . . 64 

XIII. Elk in Wyoming 66 

XIV. Elk on the Yellowstone in winter 68 
XV. The first shots at the Hoodoo Cow 70 

xiii 



List of Half-tone Plates 

FACING PASE 

XVI. The last shots at the Hoodoo Cow. 74 

XVII. Elk on the Yellowstone ... 76 

XVIII. Moose The Widow .... 78 

XIX. Buffalo groups 82 

XX. Near Yellowstone Gate .... 84 

XXI. Mountain Sheep on Mt. Evarts 92 

XXII. Track record of Bobcat's adven- 
ture with a Skunk .... 98 

XXIII. The six chapters of the Bobcat's 

adventure 102 

XXIV. My tame Skunks 106 

XXV. Red-squirrel storing mushrooms for 

winter use 134 

XXVI. Chink stalking the Picket-pin . 138 

XXVII. The Snowshoe Hare is a cross be- 
tween a Rabbit and a Snow- 
drift 150 

XXVIII. The Cottontail freezing. ... 154 

XXIX. The Baby Cottontail that rode 

twenty miles in my hat. . . 160 

XXX. Snowshoe Rabbits dancing in the 

light of the lantern 164 

XXXI. Snowshoe Rabbits fascinated by 

the lantern 166 



XXXII. 
XXXIII. 
XXXIV. 

XXXV. 

XXXVI. 

XXXVII. 

XXXVIII. 

XXXIX. 

XL. 
XLI. 

XLII. 

XLIII. 

XLIV. 

XLV. 



List of Half-tone Plates 

FACING PAGE 

The Ghost Rabbit ... .170 

Prairie-hares ....... 172 

The Coney or Calling Hare . . 176 

The Coney barns full of hay stored 
for winter use ..... 



(a) Tracks of Deer escaping and 
(b) Tracks of Mountain Lion 
in pursuit ....... 188 

The Mountain Lion sneaking 
around us as we sleep . . . 194 

Sketch of the Bear Family as made 
on the spot ...... 196 

Two pages from my journal in 
the garbage heap . . . 198 

Three snaps that failed . . . 202 

While I sketched the Bears, a 
brother camera-hunter was stalk- 
ing me without my knowledge . 204 

One meets the Bears at nearly 
every turn in the woods . . . 206 

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

Clifford B. Harmon feeding a 
Bear ...... .212 

The Bears at feeding time. . . 214 
xv 



List of Half-tone Plates 

FACING PAGE 

XLVI. (a) Tom Newcomb pointing out 
the Bear's mark, (b) E. T. 
Seton feeding a Bear .... 218 

XLVII. Johnnie Bear: his sins and his 

troubles 220 

XLVIII. Johnnie happy at last . . . . 222 



xvi 



I 

The Cute Coyote 



I 

The Cute Coyote 

AN EXEMPLARY LITTLE BEAST, MY FRIEND THE 

COYOTE 

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

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

Coyote (pronounced Ky-o'-tay, and in some re- 

3 




The Cute Coyote 

gions Ky-ute) is a native Mexican contribution 
to the language, and is said to mean "half breed," 
possibly suggesting that the Coyote looks like a 
cross between the Fox and the Wolf. Such an 
origin would be a very satisfactory clue to his char- 
acter, for he does seem to unite in himself every 
possible attribute in the mental make-up of the 
other two that can contribute to his success in life. 

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

The naturalist finds the Coyote interesting for 
other reasons. When you see that sleek gray 
and yellow form among the mounds of the Prairie- 
dog, at once creating a zone of blankness and 
silence by his very presence as he goes, remember 
that he is hunting for something to eat; also, 
that there is another, his mate, not far away. 




The Cute Coyote 

For the Coyote is an exemplary and moral little 
beast who has only one wife; he loves her devotedly, 
and they fight the life battle together. Not 
only is there sure to be a mate close by, but that 
mate, if invisible, is likely to be playing a game, 
a very clever game as I have seen it played. 

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

THE PRAIRIE-DOG OUTWITTED 

This is how the clever Coyote utilizes these 
habits. He and his wife approach the dog-town 

5 





The Cote Coyote 



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

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

6 





The Cote Coyote 

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



The Cute Coyote 

about the door of the den are many other kindred 
souvenirs, the bones of Ground-squirrels, Chip- 
munks, Rabbits, Grouse, Sheep, and Fawns, with 
many kinds of feathers, fur, and hair, to show the 
great diversity of Coyote diet. 

THE COYOTE'S SENSE or HUMOUR 

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

When I lived at Yancey's, on the Yellowstone, in 
1897, 1 had a good example of the latter, and had it 
daily for a time. The dog attached to the camp on 
the inner circle was a conceited, irrepressible little 
puppy named Chink. He was so full of energy, 
enthusiasm, and courage that there was no room 
left in him for dog-sense. But it came after a vast 
number of humiliating experiences. 

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

8 











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U 



The Cote Coyote 

day, and was often seen sitting on a ridge a couple 
of hundred yards away. 

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

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

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



The Cote Coyote 




conscious might and right, pitted against unfair 
unprovoked attack. 

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

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

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

At first it was funny, and then it became tedious, 
and at last it was deeply resented by Chink's 



10 



The Cute Coyote 

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

HIS DISTINGUISHING GIFT 

The scientific name of the Coyote (Canis latrans) , 
literally "Barking Dog," is given for the wonderful 
yapping chorus with which they seldom fail to 
announce their presence in the evening, as they 
gather at a safe distance from the campfire. 
Those not accustomed to the sound are very ready 
to think that they are surrounded by a great pack 
of ravening Wolves, and get a sufficiently satis- 
factory thrill of mingled emotions at the sound. 
But the guide will reassure you by saying that that 
great pack of howling Wolves is nothing more than 
a harmless little Coyote, perhaps two, singing their 
customary vesper song, demonstrating their won- 
derful vocal powers. Their usual music begins with 
a few growling, gurgling yaps which are rapidly 
increased in volume and heightened in pitch, until 

ii 



The Cute Coyote 

they rise into a long squall or scream, which again, 
as it dies away, breaks up into a succession of yaps 
and gurgles. Usually one Coyote begins it, and 
the others join in with something like agreement 
on the scream. 

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

The Park authorities are making great efforts to 
reduce the number of Coyotes because of their 
destructiveness to the young game, but an animal 
that is endowed with extraordinary wits, phenom- 
enal speed, unexcelled hardihood, and marvellous 
fecundity, is not easily downed. I must confess 
that if by any means they should succeed in 
exterminating the Coyote in the West, I should 
feel that I had lost something of very great value. 
I never fail to get that joyful thrill when the 
" Medicine Dogs" sing their "Medicine Song" 

12 



The Cute Coyote 

in the dusk, or the equally weird and thrilling 
chorus with which they greet the dawn; for they 
have a large repertoire and a remarkable register. 
The Coyote is indeed the Patti of the Plains. 

THE COYOTE'S SONG* 

I am the Coyote that sings each night at dark; 
It was by gobbling prairie-dogs that I got such 

a bark. 

At least a thousand prairie-dogs I fattened on, you see, 
And every bark they had in them is reproduced 
in me. 

Refrain: 

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

I gathered from the howling winds, the frogs and 

crickets too, 
And so from each availing fount, my inspiration 

drew. 

I warbled till the little birds would quit their native 
bush. 

And squat around me on the ground in reverential 
hush. 

Refrain: 
*A11 rights reserved. 

13 



The Cute Coyote 

I'm a baritone soprano, and a bass and tenor, too. 
I can thrill and slur and frill and whirr and shake 

you through and through. 
I'm a Jews' harp I'm an organ I'm a fiddle and a 

flute. 

Every kind of touching sound is found in the 
coyoot. 

Refrain: 

I'm a whooping howling wilderness, a sort of Malibran. 
With Lind, Labache and Melba mixed and all com- 
bined in one. 

I'm a grand cathedral organ and a calliope sharp, 
I'm a gushing, trembling nightingale, a vast 
harp. 

Refrain: 

I can raise the dead or paint the town, or pierce you 

like a lance 
And all I ask of you to do is to give me half a 

chance. 
Etc., etc., etc. 

(Encore verses) 

Although I am a miracle, I'm not yet recognized. 

Oh, when the world does waken up how highly 

I'll be prized. 

Then managers and vocal stars and emperors effete 
Shall fling their crowns, their money bags, their 
persons, at my feet. 

Refrain: 

14 



The Cute Coyote 

I'm the voice of all the Wildest West, the Patti of the 

Plains; 

I'm a wild Wagnerian opera of diabolic strains; 
I'm a roaring, ranting orchestra with lunatics be- 

crammed; 
I'm a vocalized tornado I'm the shrieking of the 

damned. 
Refrain: 




II 

The Prairie-dog 
and His Kin 



n 

The Prairie-dog and His Kin 

MERRY YEK-YEK AND HIS LIFE OF TROUBLES 



T 



1HE common Prairie-dog is typical of the 
West, more so than the Buffalo is, and its 
numbers, even now, rival those of the 
Buffalo in its palmiest days. I never feel that 
I am truly back on the open range till I hear their 
call and see the Prairie-dogs once more upon their 
mounds. As you travel up the Yellowstone 
Valley from Livingstone to Gardiner you may note 
in abundance this ''dunce of the plains." The 
"dog-towns" are frequent along the railway, and 
at each of the many burrows you see from one to 
six of the inmates. As you come near Gardiner 
there is a steady rise of the country, and somewhere 
near the edge of the Park the elevation is such 
that it imposes one of those mysterious barriers 
to animal extension which seem to be as impas- 
sable as they are invisible. The Prairie-dog 
range ends near the Park gates. General George 




The Prairie-dog and His Kin 

S. Anderson tells me, however, that individuals are 
occasionally found on the flats along the Gardi- 
ner River, but always near the gate, and never 
elsewhere in the Park. On this basis, then, the 
Prairie-dog is entered as a Park animal. 

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

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

Ancient books and interesting guides will regale 
the traveller with most acceptable stories about the 
Prairie-dog, Rattlesnake, and the Burrowing Owl, all 
living in the same den on a basis of brotherly 
love and Christian charity; having effected, it 
would seem, a limited partnership and a most 
satisfactory division of labour: the Prairie-dog 
is to dig the hole, the Owl to mount sentry and give 

20 



The Prairie-dog and His Kin 

warning of all danger, and the Rattler is to be 
ready to die at his post as defender of the Prairie- 
dog's young. This is pleasing if true. 

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

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

Poor helpless little Yek-yek, he has no friends; 
his enemies and his list of burdens increase. The 
prey of everything that preys, he yet seems inca- 
pable of any measure of retaliation. The only 
visible joy in his life is his daily hasty meal of un- 
succulent grass, gathered between cautious looks 
around for an v new approaching trouble, and bro- 

21 



^^* fa -*%^ - 

^iuflr \l "v <*-,. / 

''/ I \ \ ^t^.'-""- r 
^&a \\ M 

LS*T>< - ">! k' : '-t>\K Vx /^ 

i^,,.,,,^^- ^*~ Jj^ .^^ ^t <-<^ 




The Prairie-dog and His Kin 

ken by so many dodges down the narrow hole that 
his ears are worn off close to his head. Could any 
simpler, smaller pleasure than his be discovered? 
Yet he is fat and merry; undoubtedly he enjoys 
his every day on earth, and is as unwilling as any 
of us to end the tale. We can explain him only if 
we credit him with a philosophic power to discover 
happiness within in spite of all the cold unfriendly 
world about him. 

THE WHISTLER IN THE ROCKS 

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

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

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

You carefully locate the direction of the note and 
proceed to climb toward it. You may have an 
hour's hard work before you sight the orange-, 

22 m . 















*-*- 










- 

- 



<J 




rt 
O 




The Praifie-dog and His Kin 

breasted Whistler among the tumbled mass of rocks 
that surround his home, for it is a far-reaching 
sound, heard half a mile away at times. 

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

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

THE PACK-RAT AND HIS MUSEUM 

Among my school fellows was a boy named Waddy 
who had a mania for collecting odds, ends, curios, 
bits of brass or china, shiny things, pebbles, fungus, 
old prints, bones, business cards, carved peach 
stones, twisted roots, distorted marbles, or freak 
buttons. Anything odd or glittering was his especial 

23 






The Prairie-dog and His Kin 

joy. He had no theory about these things. He 
did not do anything in particular with them. He 
found gratification in spreading them out to gloat 
over, but I think his chief joy was in the collecting. 
And when some comrade was found possessed of 
a novelty that stirred his cupidity, the pleasure of 
planning a campaign to secure possession, the work- 
ing out of the details, and the glory of success, were 
more to Waddy than any other form of riches or 
exploit. 

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

There can be little doubt that this began in the 
nest-building idea, and then, because it was neces- 
sary to protect his home, cactus leaves and thorny 
branches were piled on it. The instinct grew until 
to-day the nest of a Pack-rat is a mass of rubbish from 
one to four feet high, and four to eight feet across. 
I have examined many of these collections. They are 
usually around the trunks in a clump of low trees, 
and consist of a small central nest about eight 
inches across, warm and soft, with a great mass of 

24 




The Prairie-dog- and His Kin 

sticks and thorns around and over this, leaving a 
narrow entrance well- guarded by an array of cactus 
spines; then on top of all, a most wonderful col- 
lection of pine cones, shells, pebbles, bones, scraps 
of paper and tin, and the skulls of other animals. 
And when the owner can add to these works of art 
or vertu a brass cartridge, a buckle or a copper rivet, 
his little bosom is doubtless filled with the same high 
joy that any great collector might feel on securing a 
Raphael or a Rembrandt. 

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

A FREE TRADER 

"Pack" is a Western word meaning "carry," 
and thus the Rat that carries off things is the "Pack- 
rat." But it has another peculiarity. As though it 
had a conscience disturbed by pilfering the treas- 
ure oi another, it often brings back what may be 

25 



The Prairie-dog and His Kin 

considered a fair exchange. Thus a silver-plated 
spoon may have gone from its associate cup one 
night, but in that cup you may find a long pine cone 
or a surplus nail, by which to ken you may know that 
a Pack-rat has called and collected. Sometimes 
this enthusiastic fancier goes off with food, but 
leaves something in its place ; in one case that I heard 
of, the Rat, either with a sense of humour or a mis- 
taken idea of food values, after having carried off 
the camp biscuit, had filled the vacant dish with the 
round pellets known as "Elk sign." But evidently 
there is a disposition to deal fair; not to steal, but 
to trade. For this reason the creature is widely 
known as the "Trade Rat." 

Although I have known the Pack-rat for years in 
the mountains, I never saw one within the strict lines 
of the Yellowstone sanctuary. But the guides all 
assure me that they are foujid and manifest the 
same disposition here as elsewhere. So that if you 
should lose sundry bright things around camp, or 
some morning find your boots stuffed with pebbles, 
deer sign, or thorns, do not turn peevish or charge 
the guide with folly; it means, simply, you have been 
visited by a Mountain Rat, and any wweatables you 
miss will doubtless be found in his museum, which 
will be discovered within a hundred yards a mass 
of sticks and rubbish under a tree with some 

26 




/ , . . /:. T. Selon 




I'll,'!,' ' V (i. C. 



iv. (a) The Whistler watchint,' nu- from the rocks, (b) A y 

Whistler 



The Prairie-dog and His Kin 

bright and shiny things on the top where the owner 
can sit amongst them on sunny days, and gloat till 
his little black eyes are a- swim, and his small 
heart filled with holy joy. 

THE UPHEAVER -- THE MOLE-GOPHER 

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

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

Examine the mound of earth thrown up. If 
it is a fair example, it will make fully half a bushel. 

27 




The Prairie-dog and His Kin 

Next count the mounds that are within a radius of 
fifty paces; probably all are the work of this 
Gopher, or rather this pair, for they believe in 
team play. 

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

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

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

28 




ni 

Famous Fur- 
bearers 



m 

Famous Fur-bearers 

FOX, MARTEN, BEAVER, AND OTTER 

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

When nature peopled with our four-foot kin the 
cold north lands, it was necessary to clothe these 
little brethren of ours in a coat that should 
be absolutely warm, light, durable, of protective 
colour, thick in cold weather, thin in warm. Under 
these conditions she produced fur, with its densely 
woolly undercoat and its long, soft, shining outer 
coat, one for warmth, the other for wet and 
wear. Some northern animals can store up food 



Famous Far-bearers 

in holes or in the fat of their bodies, so need not be 
out when the intensest cold is on the land. Some 
have to face the weather all winter, and in these we 
find the fur of its best quality. Of this class are the 
Marten and the Northern Fox. They are the 
finest, warmest, lightest, softest of all furs. But 
colour is a cardinal point when beauty is consid- 
ered and where fashion is Queen. So the choicest 
colours are the soft olive brown with silver hairs, 
found in the Russian Sable, and the glossy black 
with silver hairs, found in the true Silver Fox of 
the North. 

THE MOST WONDERFUL FUR IN THE WORLD 

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

32 




Famous Fur-bearets 

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

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

33 



Famous Fur-bearers 

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

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

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

34 



Famous Fur-bearefs 

THE POACHER AND THE SILVER FOX 

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

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

As you roll up the Yellowstone from Livingston 

35 



Famous Fttr-bearcfs 

to Gardiner you may note a little ranch-house on 
the west of the track with its log stables, its corral, 
its irrigation ditch, and its alfalfa patch of morbid 
green. It is a small affair, for it was founded by the 
handiwork of one honest man, who with his wife 
and small boy left Pennsylvania, braved every 
danger of the plains, and secured this claim hi the 
late '8o's. Old man Cree he was only forty, but 
every married man is "Old Man" in the West 
was ready to work at any honest calling from log- 
ging or sluicing to grading and muling. He was 
strong and steady, his wife was steady and strong. 
They saved their money, and little by little they 
got the small ranch-house built and equipped; little 
by little they added to their stock on the range 
with the cattle of a neighbour, until there came the 
happy day when they went to live on their own 
ranch father, mother, and fourteen-year-old 
Josh, with every prospect of making it pay. The 
spreading of that white tablecloth for the first 
time was a real religious ceremony, and the hard 
workers gave thanks to the All-father for His bless- 
ing on their every effort. 

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

.36 






> . 

< e; /;/;.;.',> l>y 1'.. T. Scion 



Fo\ 



Famous Fur-bearers 

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

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

They had no talk, for the father swooned after 
drinking, and Josh had to face the situation; but he 
was Western trained. He stripped himself of all 
spare clothing, and his father's horse of its saddle 
blanket; then, straightening out the sick man, he 
wrapped him in the clothes and blanket, and rode 
like mad for the nearest ranch-house. The neigh- 
bour, a young man, came at once, with a pot to 
make tea, an axe, and a rope. They found the older 
Cree conscious but despairing. A fire was made, 
and hot tea revived him. Then Josh cut two long 
poles from the nearest timber and made a stretcher, 
or travois, Indian fashion, the upper ends fast to 
the saddle of a horse, while the other ends trailed 
on the ground. Thus by a long, slow journey the 
wounded man got back. All he had prayed for 
was to get home. Every invalid is sure that if 





Famous Pot-bearers 

only he can get home all will soon be well. Mother 
was not yet strong, the baby needed much care, 
but Josh was a good boy, and the loving best of all 
was done for the sick one. His leg, set by the army 
surgeon of Fort Yellowstone, was knit again after a 
month, but had no power. He had no force; the 
shock of those two dire days was on him. The 
second month went by, and still he lay in bed. 
Poor Josh was the man of the place now, and be- 
tween duties, indoors and out, he was worn body 
and soul. 

Then it was clear they must have help. So 

Jack S was engaged at the regular wages of 

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

The banker was not a hard man, but he was in 

38 




Famous Fur-bearers 

the business for the business. He extended the 
time, and waited for interest again and again, but 
it only made the principal larger, and it seemed that 
the last ditch was reached, that it would be best to 
let the money-man foreclose, though that must 
mean a wipe-out and would leave the fatherless 
family homeless. 

Winter was coming on, work was scarce, and Josh 
went to Gardiner to see what he could get in the 
way of house or wage. He learned of a chance to 
'substitute' for the Park mail-carrier, who had 
sprained his foot. It was an easy drive to Fort 
Yellowstone, and there he readily agreed, when they 
asked him, to take the letters and packages and go 
on farther to the Canyon Hotel. Thus it was that 
on the 2oth day of November 189, Josh 
Cree, sixteen years old, tall and ruddy, rode 
through the snow to tha kitchen door of the Can- 
yon Hotel and was welcomed as though he were 
old Santa Claus himself. 

Two Magpies on a tree were among the onlookers. 
The Park Bears were denned up, but there were 
other fur-bearers about. High on the wood-pile sat 
a Yellow Red Fox in a magnificent coat. Another 
was in front of the house, and the keeper said 
that as many as a dozen came some days. And 
sometimes, he said, there also came a wonderful 

39 





Famous Fur-bearers 

Silver Fox, a size bigger than the rest, black as 
coal, with eyes like yellow diamonds, and a silver 
frosting like little stars on his midnight fur. 

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

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

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

At Gardiner he received his pay, $6, for three 

40 



Famous Fur-bearers 

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






Famous Fr-beafers 

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

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

Small bands of Mountain Sheep he saw at times 
on the slope of Evarts, and a few Blacktail, and 
later, when the winter deepened, huge bull Elk 
were seen along the trail. Sometimes they moved 
not more than a few paces to let him pass. These 
were everyday things to him, but in the second 

42 



Famous Fur-bearers 

week of his winter work he got a sudden thrill. 
He was coming down the long hill back of Yancey's 
when what should he see there, sitting on its tail, 
shiny black with yellow eyes like a huge black 
cat unusually long and sharp in the nose, but a 
wonderful Silver Fox! Possibly the same as the 
one he saw at the Canyon, for that one he knew 
had disappeared and there were not likely to be 
two in the Park. Yes, it might be the same, and 
Josh's bosom surged with mingled feelings. Why 
did he not carry that little gun? Why did he not 
realize? Were the thoughts that came $500! 
A noble chance! broad daylight only twenty-five 
yards! and gone! 

The Fox was still there when Josh drove on. 
On the next trip he brought the little rifle. He had 
sawed off the stock so he could hide it easily in 
his overcoat if need be. No man knew that he 
carried arms, but the Foxes seemed to know. 
The Red ones kept afar and the Black one came 
no more. Day after day he drove and hoped but 
the Black Fox has cunning measured to his value. 
He came not, or if he came, was wisely hidden, 
and so the month went by, till late in the cold 
Moon of Snow he heard old Yancey,say "There's a 
Silver Fox bin a-hanging around the stable this 
last week. Leastwise Dave says he seen him." 

43 



Famous Fur-bearers 

There were soldiers sitting around that stove, 
game guardians of the Park, and still more danger- 
ous, a scout, the soldiers' guide, a mountaineer. 
Josh turned not an inch, he made no sound in 
response, but his heart gave a jump. Half an 
hour later he went out to bed his horses for the 
night, and peering around the stable he saw a 
couple of shadowy forms that silently shifted until 
swallowed by the gloom. 

Then the soldiers came to bed their horses, and 
Josh went back to the stove. His big driving 
coat hung with the little sawed-off rule in the long 
pocket. He waited till the soldiers one by one 
went up the ladder to the general bunk-room. 
He rose again, got the lantern, lighted it, carried 
it out behind the lonely stable. The horses were 
grinding their hay, the stars were faintly lighting 
the snow. There was no one about as he hung the 
lantern under the eaves outside so that it could i 

i 

be seen from the open valley, but not from the 
house. 

A faint Yap-yak, of a Fox was heard on the 
piney hillside, as he lay down on the hay in the 
loft, but there were no signs of life on the snow. 
He had come to wait all night if need be, and 
waited. The lantern might allure, it might 
scare, but it was needed in this gloom, and it 

44 





i 'iiftirr; photo by E. T. Selon 



vi. Foxes quarrelling 



Famous Fur-bearers 

tinged the snow with faint yellow light below him. 
An hour went by, then a big-tailed form came 
near and made a little bark at the lantern. It 
looked very dark, but it had a paler patch on the 
(hroat. This waiting was freezing work; Josh's 
teeth were chattering in spite of his overcoat. 
Another gray form came, then a much larger black 
one shaped itself on the white. It dashed at the 
first, which fled, and the second one followed but a 
little, and then sat down on the snow, gazing at 
that bright light. When you are sure, you are so 
sure - - Josh knew him now, he was facing the 
Silver Fox. But the light was dim. Josh's hand 
trembled as he bared it to lay the back on his lips 
and suck so as to make a mousey squeak. The 
effect on the Fox was instant. He glided forward 
intent as a hunting cat. Again he stood in, oh ! such 
a wonderful pose, still as a statue, frozen like 
a hiding partridge, unbudging as a lone kid 
Antelope in May. And Josh raised - - yes, he 
had come for that --he raised that fatal gun. 
The lantern blazed in the Fox's face at twenty 
yards; the light was flung back doubled by its 
shining eyes; it looked perfectly clear. Josh lined 
the gun, but, strange to tell, the sights so plain 
were lost at once, and the gun was shaking like a 
sorghum stalk while the Gopher gnaws its root. 

45 




Famous Fur-bearers 

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

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

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

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

46 



Famous Fur-bearers 

at each slight, usual sound? Who knows? Who 
cares? 

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

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

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

THE VILLAIN IN VELVET THE MARTEN 

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

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



47 




Famous Fur-bearers 



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

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

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

THE INDUSTRIOUS BEAVER 

In some respects the Beaver is the most notable 
animal in the West. It was the search for Beaver 
skins that led adventurers to explore the Rocky 

48 







/'/M/.V hy /;. / . Seton 

VII. Beaver: (a) Pond and house-; (l>) Stumps of tree cut and 
removed by Ik-aver, near Yancey's, 



Famous Far-bearers 

Mountains, and to open up the whole northwest of 
the United States and Canada. It is the Beaver 
to-day that is the chief incentive to poachers in the 
Park, but above all the Beaver is the animal that 
most manifests its intelligence by its works, fore- 
stalls man in much of his best construction, 
and amazes us by the well-considered labour of its 
hands. 

There was a time when the Beaver's works and 
wisdom were so new and astounding that super- 
human intelligence was ascribed to this fur-clad 
engineer. Then the scoffers came and reduced him 
to the low level of his near kin, and explained the 
accounts of his works as mere fairy tales. Now we 
have got back to the middle of the road. We find 
him a creature of intelligence far above that of his 
near kinsmen, and endowed with some extraordinary 
instincts that guide him in making dams, houses, 
etc., that are unparalleled in the animal world. 
Here are the principal deliberate constructions of 
the Beaver: First the lodge. The Beaver was 
the original inventor of reinforced concrete. He 
has used it for a million years, in the form of mud 
mixed with sticks and stones, for building his lodge 
and dam. The lodge is the home of the family; 
that is, it shelters usually one old male, one old 
female and sundry offspring. It is commonly 





Famous Fur-bearers 

fifteen to twenty feet across outside, and three to 
five feet high. Within is a chamber about two 
feet high and six feet across, well above water and 
provided with a ventilator through the roof , also two 
entering passages under water, one winding for 
ordinary traffic, and one straight for carrying in 
wood, whose bark is a staple food. This house is 
kept perfectly tidy, and when the branch is stripped 
of all eatable parts, it is taken out and worked into 
the dam, which is a crooked bank of mud and sticks 
across the running stream. It holds the water so 
as to moat the Beaver Castle. 

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

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

Three other Beaver structures should be noticed. 
One, the dock or plunge hole, which is a deep place 
by a sharply raised bank, both made with care- 




i:.V I.. 1. SC 



vin. Muk'-ciirr 



Famous Fur-bearers 

ful manual labour. Next, the sunning place, gen- 
erally an ant-hill on which the Beaver lies to 
enjoy a sun-bath, while the ants pick the creepers 
out of his fur. Third, the mud-pie. This is a 
little patty of mud mixed with a squeeze of the 
castor or body-scent glands. It answers the pur- 
pose of a register, letting all who call know that so 
and so has recently been here. 

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

THE DAM 

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

o 




7a// as a Trowel 




Famous Fur-be arers 

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

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

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

Let me correct here some popular errors about 
the Beaver: 

It does not use its tail as a trowel. 

It does not use big logs in building a dam. 

It does not and cannot drive stakes. 

It cannot throw a tree in any given way. 

It finishes the lodge outside with sticks, not mud. 

THE OTTER AND HIS SLIDE 

Every one of us that ever was a small boy and 
rejoiced in belly-bumping down some icy hill, on a 

52 






Pl:ot<; hy !'.. T. 

ix. Mule-deer groups (a & b) near For! Yellowstone 



Famous Far-tearers 

sled of glorious red, should have a brotherly sym- 
pathy for the Otter. 

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

W T e find the animals going through much the 
same stages as we do. First, the struggle for 
food, then for mates, and later, when they have 
no cause to worry about either, they seek for 
entertainment. Quite a number of our animals 
have invented amusements. Usually these are 
mere games of tag, catch, or tussle, but some have 
gone farther and have a regular institution, with 
a set place to meet, and apparatus provided. 
This is the highest form of all, and one of the best 
illustrations of it is found in the jovial Otter. 
Coasting is an established game with this animal; 
and probably every individual of the species 
frequents some Otter slide. This is any conven- 
ient steep hill or bank, sloping down into deep 

53 



Famous Fur-bearers 

water, prepared by much use, and worn into a 
smooth shoot that becomes especially serviceable 
when snow or ice are there to act as lightning 
lubricants. And here the Otters will meet, old 
and young, male and female, without any thought 
but the joy of fun together, and shoot down one 
after the other, swiftly, and swifter still, as the hill 
grows smooth with use, and plump into the water 
and out again; and chase each other with little 
animal gasps of glee, each striving to make the 
shoot more often and more quickly than the 
others. And all of this charming scene, this group 
and their merry game, is unquestionably for the 
simple social joy of being together in an exercise 
which gives to them the delicious, exhilarating 
sensation of speeding through space without either 
violence or effort. In fact, for the very same reason 
that you and I went coasting when we were boys. 
Do not fail to get one of the guides to show you 
the Otter slides as you travel about the lake. Some 
of them are good and some are poor. The very 
best are seen after the snow has come, but still 
you can see them with your own eyes, and if you 
are very lucky and very patient you may be re- 
warded by the sight of these merry creatures in- 
dulging in a game which closely parallels so many 
of our own. 

54 



IV 

Horns and Hoofs 
and Legs of Speed 



IV 

Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

THE BOUNDING BLACKTAIL 

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

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

Driving from Gardiner, passing under the Great 
Tower of Eagle Rock on which an Osprey has 
nested year after year as far back as the records 
go, and wheeling into the open space in front of 
the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, one is almost 
sure to come on a family of Deer wandering across 
the lawn, or posing among the shrubbery, with all 
the artless grace of the truly wild creature. These 

57 





Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

are the representatives of several hundred that 
collect in fall on and about this lawn, but are now 
scattered for the summer season over the adjoining 
hills, to come again, no doubt in increased num- 
bers, when the first deep snow shall warn them to 
seek their winter range. 

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

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

This is the common Blacktailed Deer of the hill 
country, called Mule Deer on account of its huge 
ears and the shape of its tail. In Canada I knew 
it by the name of " Jumping Deer," from its gait, 
and in the Rockies it is familiar as the "Bounding 
Blacktail" "Bounding" because of the wonderful 
way in which it strikes the ground with its legs 
held stiffly, then rises in the air with little apparent 
effort, and lands some ten or fifteen feet away. 
As the hunters say, "The Blacktail hits only 
the high places in the landscape." On the level 

58 





Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

it does not run so well as the Antelope or the 
Whitetailed Deer, and I often wondered why it had 
adopted this laborious mode of speeding, which 
seemed so inferior to the normal pace of its kin. 
But at length I was eyewitness of an episode that 
explained the puzzle. 

THE MOTHER BLACKTAIL's RACE FOR LIFE 

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

Then they were baffled by Prairie-dogs which 

59 




Horns and Hoofs and Leg's of Speed 

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

Again and frantically the elder Eaton yelled 
"Come back!" and his brother tried to cut across 
and intercept the hounds. But a creature that 
runs away is an irresistible bait to a greyhound, 
and the chase across the sage-covered flat was on, 
with every nerve and tendon strained, 
i Away went the Blacktail, bounding, bounding at 
that famous beautiful, birdlike, soaring pace, 
mother and young tapping the ground and sailing 
to land, and tap and sail again. And away went 
the greyhounds, low coursing, outstretched, bound- 
ing like bolts from a crossbow, curving but little 
and dropping only to be shot again. They were 
straining hard; the Blacktail seemed to be going 
more easily, far more beautifully. But alas! they 
were losing time. The greyhounds were closing; 

60 




Photo by E. T. Seton 



x. Klarktail Fumilv 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

in vain we yelled at them. We spurred our horses, 
hoping to cut them off, hoping to stop the ugly, 
lawless tragedy. But the greyhounds were frantic 
now. The distance between Bran and the hind- 
most fawn was not forty feet. Then Eaton drew 
his revolver and fired shots over the greyhounds' 
heads, hoping to scare them into submission, but 
they seemed to draw fresh stimulus from each 
report, and yelped and bounded faster. A little 
more and the end would be. Then we saw a 
touching sight. The hindmost fawn let out a 
feeble bleat of distress, and the mother heeding 
dropped back between. It looked like choosing 
death, for now she had not twenty feet of lead. I 
wanted Eaton to use his gun on the foremost 
hound, when something unexpected happened. 
The flat was crossed, the Blacktail reached a great 
high butte, and tapping with their toes they soared 
some fifteen feet and tapped again; and tapped 
and tapped and soared, and so they went like 
hawks that are bounding in the air, and the grey- 
hounds, peerless on the plain, were helpless on 
the butte. Yes! rush they might and did, and 
bounded and clomb, but theirs was not the way 
of the hills. In twenty heartbeats they were left 
behind. The Blacktail mother with her twins 
kept on and soared and lightly soared till lost to 

61 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

view, and all were safely hidden in their native 
hills. 

THE BLACKTAIL'S SAFETY is IN THE HILLS 

That day I learned the reason for the bounding 
flight, so beautiful, but not the best or swiftest 
on the plain, yet the one that gives them dominion 
and safety on the hills, that makes of them a hill 
folk that the dangers of the plain can never reach. 
So now, O traveller in the Park, if you approach 
too near the Blacktail feeding near the great hotel, 
and so alarm them for they are truly wild they 
make not for the open run as do the Antelope and 
the Hares, not for the thickest bottomland as do the 
Whitetail and the Lynxes, but for the steeper 
hillsides. They know right well where their 
safety lies, and on that near and bushy bank, 
laying aside all alarm, they group and pose in 
artless grace that tempts one to a lavish use of 
films and gives the chance for that crowning triumph 
of the art, a wild animal group, none of which is 
looking at the camera. 

One more characteristic incident: In 1897 I 
was riding, with my wife, from Yancey's over 
to Baronett's Bridge, when we came on a young 
buck Blacktail. Now, said I, "I am going to 
show you the most wonderful and beautiful thing 

62 




1'iiolti by E. T. 



XI. Blacktail mother with her twins 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

to be seen in the way of \vild life speeding. You 
shall now see the famous bounding of the Black- 
tail." Then I spurred out after the young buck, 
knowing that all he needed was a little alarm to 
make him perform. Did he take alarm and run? 
Not at all. He was in the Yellowstone Sanctuary. 
He knew nothing of guns or dogs; he had lived all 
his life in safety. He would trot a few steps out of 
my way, then turn and gaze at me, but run, bound, 
and make for the high land, not a bit of it. And to 
this day my fair companion has not seen the Black- 
tail bounding up the hills. 

THE ELK OR WAPITI THE NOBLEST OF ALL DEER 

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

The latest official census puts the summer popu- 
lation of Elk in the Yellowstone Park at 35,000, 
but the species is migratory, at least to the extent 
of seeking a winter feeding ground with as little 
snow as possible, so that most of them move out as 
snow time sets in. Small herds linger in the rich 
and sheltered valleys along the Yellowstone, Snake 

63 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

and nearby rivers, but the total of those wintering 
in the Park is probably less than 5,000. 

STALKING A BAND OF ELK 

In the summer months the best places in which to 
look for these Deer are all the higher forests, especi- 
ally along the timber-line. I had an interesting 
stalk after a large band of them among the woods 
of Tower Falls in the June of 1 89 7 . I had found the 
trail of a considerable herd and followed it up the 
mountain till the "sign" was fresh. Then I tied 
up my horse and went forward on foot. For these 
animals are sufficiently acquainted with man as a 
mischief-maker to be vigilant in avoiding him, even 
in the Park. I was cautiously crawling from tree to 
tree, when out across an open space I descried a cow 
Elk and her calf lying down. A little more crawling 
and I sighted a herd all lying down and chewing the 
cud. About twenty yards away was a stump whose 
shelter offered chances to use the camera, but my 
present position promised nothing, so I set out care- 
fully to cross the intervening space in plain view 
of scores of Elk; and all would have been well but 
for a pair of mischievous little Chipmunks. They 
started a most noisy demonstration against my 
approach, running back and forth across my path, 
twittering and flashing their tails about. In vain 

64 






c 
o 



S-i 

OJ 



c 
o 



ID 



C 
3 
O 



X 






Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

I prayed for a paralytic stroke to fall on my small 
tormentors. Their aggravating plan, if plan it was, 
they succeeded in fully carrying out. The Elk 
turned all their megaphone ears, their funnel noses 
and their blazing telescopic eyes my way. I lay 
like a log and waited ; so did they. Then the moun- 
tain breeze veered suddenly and bore the taint of 
man to those watchful mothers. They sprang to 
their feet, some fifty head at least, half of them with 
calves by their sides, and away they dashed with a 
roaring sound, and a rattling and crashing of 
branches that is wonderfully impressive to hear, 
and nothing at all to tell about. 

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

This band contained only cows engaged in grow- 
ing their calves. According to Elk etiquette, the 
bulls are off by themselves at a much higher ele- 
vation, engaged in the equally engrossing occu- 
pation of growing their antlers. Most persons are 
surprised greatly when first they learn that the 
huge antlers of the Elk, as with most deer, are 
grown and shed each year. It takes only five 
months to grow them. They are perfect in late 
September for the fighting season, and are shed in 
March. The bull Elk now shapes his conduct to 
his weaponless condition. He becomes as meek as 

65 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

he was warlike. And so far from battling with all 
of their own sex that come near, these big ' ' moollys " 
gather in friendly stag-parties on a basis of equal 
loss, and haunt the upper woods whose pasture is 
rich enough to furnish the high power nutriment 
needed to offset the exhausting drain of growing 
such mighty horns in such minimum time. 

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

THE BUGLING ELK 

During the summer the bulls attend strictly to 
their self-development, but late August sees them 
ready to seek once more the mixed society of their 
kind. Their horns are fully grown, but are not 
quite hardened and are still covered with velvet. 
By the end of September these weapons are hard 

66 




Photo by E. T. Seton 



' 




Mil. Klk in Wyoming: (a) "Dawn 



(b) "Nightfall" 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

and cleaned and ready for use, just as a thrilling 
change sets in in the body and mind of the bull. 
He is full of strength and vigour, his coat is sleek, 
his neck is swollen, his muscles are tense, his horns 
are clean, sharp, and strong, and at their heaviest. 
A burning ambition to distinguish himself in war, 
and win favours from the shy ladies of his kind,, 
grows in him to a perfect insanity; goaded by desire, 
boiling with animal force, and raging with war-lust, 
he mounts some ridge in the valley and pours forth 
his very soul in a wild far-reaching battle-cry. 
Beginning low and rising in pitch to a veritable 
scream of piercing intensity, it falls to a rumbled 
growl, which broken into shorter growls dies slowly 
away. This is the famed bugling of the Elk, and 
however grotesque it may seem when heard in a 
zoo, is admitted by all who know it in its home- 
land to be the most inspiring music in nature 
because of what it means. Here is this magnificent 
creature, big as a horse, strong as a bull, and fierce 
as a lion, standing in all the pride and glory of his 
primest prime, announcing to all the world: "I 
am out for a fight! Do any of you want a 

F - 1 - G - H - T !-!-!?" Nor does he usually 

have long to wait. From some far mountainside 
the answer comes: 
"Yes, yes, yes! Yes, I Do, Do, Do, Do!" 

67 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

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

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

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

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




r 





Phot) by l ; . Jay Ltj\ncs 





xiv. Elk 



' Yellowstone in \\intrr: 
ol snow; (l) Hull Klk 



I ,.'../ll ll\ Jllilll I' 

(a) ('aiiL'ht in ciirlil 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

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

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

SNAPPING A CHARGING BULL 

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

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

69 




Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

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

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

A friend of mine, John Fossum, once a soldier 
attached to Fort Yellowstone, had a similar ad- 
venture on a more heroic scale. While out on 
a camera hunt in early winter he descried afar 
a large bull Elk lying asleep in an open valley. 
At once Fossum made a plan. He saw that he 
could crawl up to the bull, snap him where he 
lay, then later secure a second picture as the 
creature ran for the timber. The first part of the 

70 




Photos />v /'. T. S, 



XV. The 1 first shot> at tlu 1 Hoodoo Cow 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

programme was carried out admirably. Fossum 
got within fifty feet and still the Elk lay sleeping. 
Then the camera was opened out. But alas! 
that little pesky "click," that does so much mis- 
chief, awoke the bull, who at once sprang to his 
feet and ran - - not for the woods but for the 
man. Fossum with the most amazing nerve stood 
there quietly focussing his camera, till the bull 
was within ten feet, then pressed the button, threw 
the camera into the soft snow and ran for his life 
with the bull at his coat-tails. It would have 
been a short run but for the fact that they reached 
a deep snowdrift that would carry the man, and 
would not carry the Elk. Here Fossum escaped, 
while the bull snorted around, telling just what he 
meant to do to the man when he caught him; but 
he was not to be caught, and at last the bull went 
off grumbling and squealing. 

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

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




Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

sign of shake on landscape or on Elk, and the 
picture is actually over-exposed. 

THE HOODOO COW 

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

In the September of 1912, when out with Tom 
Newcomb of Gardiner, I had this curious adventure, 
that I shall not try to explain. We had crossed 
the Yellowstone Lake in a motor boat and were 
camped on the extreme southeast Finger, at a 
point twenty-five miles as the crow flies, and 
6ver fifty as the trail goes, from any human 
dwelling. We were in the least travelled and 
most primitive part of the Park. The animals here 
are absolutely in the wild condition and there was 
no one in the region but ourselves. 

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

72 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

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

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

"Now," I said, "let's go and talk to her." We 

73 



Hotns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

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

"Thank you," I said. "Now be good enough 
to lie down." She did, and I took No. 8. 

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

She rose up, giving me Nos. 9, 10 and n. 

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

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

"What the is the 



of this 



meaning 



and so on. 

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

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

As we neared camp he turned on me suddenly 
and said: "Now, Mr. Seton, what is the meaning 

74 




s 




^^^^^JIl^^A.^^^^^^^^ jkUJA^./^^ 

^^^^^Bf J 








I'kotoi by E. T. Scion 



xvi. The last shuts at the Hoodoo Cow 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

of this? That wasn't a sick Elk; she was fat and 
hearty. She wasn't poisoned or doped, 'cause 
there's no possibility of that. It wasn't a tame 
Elk, 'cause there ain't any, and, anyhow, we're 
seventy miles from a house. Now what is the 
meaning of it?" 

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

THE MOOSE, THE BIGGEST OF ALL DEER 

The Moose is one of the fine animals that have 
responded magnificently to protection in Canada, 
Maine, Minnesota, and the Yellowstone Park. For- 
merly they were very scarce in Wyoming and 
confined to the southwest corner of the Reserve. 
But all they needed was a little help; and, receiving 
it, they have flourished and multiplied. Their 
numbers have grown by natural increase from about 
fifty in 1897 to some five hundred and fifty to-day; 
and they have spread into all the southern half of 
the Park wherever they find surroundings to their 
taste ; that is, thick level woods with a mixture of 

75 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 



timber, as the Moose is a brush-eater, and does not 
flourish on a straight diet of evergreen. 

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

MY PARTNER'S MOOSE-HUNT 

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

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

Moose there were in plenty, and good guides, 
Indian, halfbreed and white, but luck was against 
them all. Without being a very expert caller I 
have done enough of it to know the game and to 
pass for a "caller." So one night I said in a spirit 
of half jest: "I'll have to go out and show you men 
how to call a Moose." I cut a good piece of 
birch-bark and fashioned carefully a horn. Dis- 

76 






l'hols by 1:. T. .SY/oii 

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



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

daining all civilized materials as "bad medicine," 
I stitched the edge with a spruce root or wattap, 
and soldered it neatly with pine gum flowed and 
smoothed with a blazing brand. And then I 
added the finishing touch, a touch which made the 
Indian and the half breed shake their heads omi- 
nously; I drew two ''hoodoo Moose" -that is, men 
with Moose heads dancing around the horn. 

THE SIREN CALL 

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

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

The guide nodded in approval, "That's all 
right," then I took out my watch and waited for 
fifteen minutes. For, strange to tell, it seems to 

77 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

repel the bull Moose and alarm him if the cow 
seems over-eager. There is a certain etiquette 
to be observed; it is easy to spoil all by trying to go 
too fast. And it does not do to guess at the time; 
when one is waiting so hard, the minute is like 
twenty. 

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

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

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

There was silence, then a stick broke nearer, 
and a deep, slow snort was heard ; it might have been 
the "woof" of a Bear, but I was in doubt. Then 
without any more noises, a white array of shining 

78 






\ 



I 



c/J 

O 
O 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

antler tips appeared above the near willows, and 
swiftly, silently, there glided into view a huge bull 
Moose. 

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

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

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

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

There were tears in the eyes of the fair killer, 
and heart wrenches were hers, as the great sobs 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

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

THE BIGGEST OF OUR GAME THE BUFFALO 

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

This is a fragment that reached me long ago in 
Montana. It seemed like a lusty myth, whose 
succulent and searching roots were in a bottomless 
bog, with little chance of s,ound foundation. But 
the tale bore the searchlight better than I thought. 
For it seems that the buffalo-bird followed the 
Buffalo everywhere, and was fond of nesting, not 
in the shaggy mane between the horns of the ruling 

80 




Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

monarch, but on any huge head it might find 
after the bull had fallen, and the skull, with 
mane attached, lay discarded on the plain. While 
always, even when nesting on the ground, the 
wool of the Buffalo was probably used as lining of 
the black-bird's nest. I know of one case where an 
attendant bird that was too crippled to fly when 
autumn came, wintered in the mane of a large 
Buffalo bull. It gathered seed by day, when the 
bull pawed up the snow, and roosted at night 
between the mighty horns, snuggling in the wool, 
with its toes held warm against the monster's 
blood-hot neck. 

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

THE SHRUNKEN RANGE 

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

81 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

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

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

We need not dwell on the story of the extinction 
of the great herds. That is familiar to all,* but it is 
well to remind the reader that it was inevitable. 
The land was, or would be, needed for human 
settlement, with which the Buffalo herds were 
incompatible; only we brought it on forty or fifty 
years before it was necessary. " Could we not save 
the Buffalo as range- cattle?" is the question that 
most ask . The answer is : It has been tried a hun- 
dred times and all attempts have been eventually 

See "Life Histories of Northern Animals," by E. T. Seton. 

82 








, 

' - , "T?' ' * - 



-fe^*Sp -*;' iv 

' 



xix. Buffalo Groups (a) Bull and Cow at Banff; (b) Yellow- 
stone Bulls 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

frustrated by the creature's temper. Buffalo, 
male or female, are always more or less dangerous; 
they cannot be tamed or trusted. They are 
always subject to stampede, and once started, 
nothing, not even sure destruction, stops them; 
so in spite of their suitability to the climate, 
their hardihood, their delicious meat, and their 
valuable robes, the attempts at domesticating 
the Buffalo have not yet been made a success. 

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

THE DOOMED ANTELOPE AND HIS HELIOGRAPH 

The Antelope, or Pronghorn, is one of the most 
peculiar animals in the world. It is the only 
known ruminant that has hollow horns on a bony 




Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

core as with cattle, and also has them branched 
and shed each year as in the Deer. 

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

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

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

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

84 




"., 

-^ -v* 




.-.,' ' L - ./. .. < . 

uy f. Jay 1 1. 1 \-IH- 




I hole !: I-'.. '/'. Sct,i 

xx. Near Yellowstone Gate: (;i) Antdcpr dii C;i]iii\c \V<lf 



Horns and Hoofs and Lcgfs of Speed 

white disc which shines in the sun, and shows 
afar as a bright white spot. 

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

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

THE RESCUED BIGHORN 

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

In one form or another the Mountain Sheep 
covered this large region, and it is safe to say that 
in the United States alone their numbers were 
millions. But the dreadful age of the repeating 

85 



Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

rifle and lawless skin-hunter came on, till the 
end of the last century saw the Bighorn in the 
United States reduced to a few hundreds; they 
were well along the sunset trail. 

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

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

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

In 1912 it was believed that in spite of poachers, 
Cougars, snow slides, and scab contracted from 
domestic sheep, the Bighorn in the Yellowstone Park 

86 




Horns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

had increased to considerably over two hundred, 
and the traveller can find them with fair certainty 
if he will devote a few days to the quest around 
Mt. Evarts, Washburn, or the well known ranges. 

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

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

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

In winter, as I learn from Colonel Brett, the 
Sheep are found in small bands between the 
Mammoth Hot Springs and Gardiner, for there is 
good feed there, and far less snow than in the 
upper ranges. I have just heard that this winter 

8? 




Hotns and Hoofs and Legs of Speed 

four great rams are seen there every day with 
about forty other Sheep ; and they are so tame that 
one can get pictures within ten feet if desired. 
Alas! that I have to be so far away with such 
thrilling opportunities going to waste. 



V 

Bats in the 
Devil's Kitchen 



V 
Bats in the Devil's Kitcnen 

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

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




Bats in the Devil's Kitchen 

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

"The Mud Geyser is unlike anything that can 
be seen elsewhere. One hears about the bowels 
of the earth; this surely is the end of one of 
them. They talk of the mouth of hell; this is the 
mouth with a severe fit of vomiting. The filthy 
muck is spewed from an unseen gullet at one side 
into a huge upright mouth with sounds of ooz- 
ing, retching and belching. Then as quickly re- 
swallowed with noises expressive of loathing on 
its own part, while noxious steam spreads dis- 
gusting, unpleasant odours all around. The whole 
process is quickly repeated, and goes on and on, 
and has gone on for ages, and will go. And yet 
one feels that this is merely the steam vent outside 
of the huge factory where all the actual work is 
being done. One does not really see the thing at 
all, but only stands outside the building where it is 

92 



. 




Plwtn l>\ I.. 1 . Sfton 

XXI. Mountain Slurp mi Ml. Kvarts 



Bats in the DevH's Kitchen 

going on. One never wishes to see it a second time. 
All are disgusted by it, but all are fascinated." 

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

But near the Mammoth Hot Springs is a hell- 
hole that did attract me. It is nothing else than 
the stuffy, blind alley known as the Devil's Kitchen. 
There is no cooking going on at present, probably 
because it is not heated up enough, but there is a 
peculiarly hot, close feeling suggestive of the 
Monkey house in an old-time zoo. I went down 
this, not that I was interested in the Satanic 
cuisine, but because my ancient antipathy was 
routed by my later predilection - - I was told that 
Bats "occurred" in the kitchen. Sure enough, I 
found them, half a dozen, so far as one could tell 
in the gloom, and thanks to the Park Superin- 
tendent, Colonel L. M. Brett, I secured a specimen 
which, to my great surprise, turned out to be the 
long-eared Bat, a Southern species never before 

93 



Bats in the Devil's Kitchen 

discovered north of Colorado. It will be interest- 
ing to know whether they winter here or go south, 
as do many of their kin. They would have to 
go a long way before they would find another 
bedroom so warm and safe. Even if they go as 
far as the equator, with its warmth and its pests, 
they would probably have reason to believe that 
the happiest nights of their lives were those spent 
in the Devil's Kitchen. 




VI 

The Well-meaning 
Skunk 



VI 

The Well-meaning Skunk 

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

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

From Atlantic to Pacific and from Mexico far 
north into the wilds of Canada the Skunk is found, 

97 





The Well-meaning Skunk 

varying with climate in size and colour indeed, but 
everywhere the same in character and in mode of 
defense. 

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

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

HIS SMELL-GUN 

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

He can throw it to a distance of seven to ten feet 
according to his power or the wind. If it reaches 
the eyes of his assailant it blinds him temporarily. 
If it enters his mouth it sets up a frightful nausea. 
If the vapour gets into his lungs, it chokes as well as 

98 



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9 



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t 6 ,< 









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G 



-...E 



r :. 



' 



XXII. Track record of Bobcat's adventure with a Skunk 



The Well-meaning Skunk 

^ 

nauseates. There are cases on record of men and 
dogs being permanently blinded by this awful 
spray. And there is one case of a boy being killed 
by it. 

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

THE CRUELTY OF STEEL TRAPS 

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

I stooped down, saying many pleasant things 
about my friendliness, etc. The Skunk's tail 
slowly lowered and I came closer up. Still, I did 





The Well-meaningf Skunk 

not care to handle the wild and tormented thing on 
such short acquaintance, so I got a small barrel and 
quietly placed it over him, then removed the trap 
and brought him home, where he is now living in 
peace and comfort. 

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

FRIENDLINESS OF THE SKUNK 

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

One morning on going out I found the fresh 
tracks of a Skunk. Next night these were seen 
again, in fact, there were two sets of them. A day 
or so later the cook at -the nearby log hotel an- 

100 




The Well-meaning Skunk 

nounced that a couple of Skunks came every even- 
ing to feed at the garbage backet outside the 
kitchen door. That night I was watching for them. 
About dusk one came, walking along sedately with 
his tail at half mast. The house dog and the house 
cat both were at the door as the Skunk arrived. 
They glanced at the newcomer; then the cat dis- 
creetly went indoors and the dog rumbled in his 
chest, but discreetly he walked away, very stiffly, 
and looked at the distant landscape, with his hair 
on his back still bristling. The Skunk waddled up 
to the garbage pail, climbed in, though I was but 
ten feet away, and began his evening meal. 

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

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

PHOTOGRAPHING SKUNKS AT SHORT RANGE 

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

Next night I was ready for them with an ordinary 

101 




The Well-meaning Skunk 

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








1 




I 




HE 

' 


































V 

JU-r'Jl 


















.' /ic? /))' R. T. .Sr/.xi 

\\ili. Tlii' MX chapters of the Bobcufs advi-nturc. (a") Tlu' 
llnlicat appears on tin- sivnr; (li) "Ila," he says, "A nu-al lor inc." "Be 
ware," says the Skunk; (r) "No! 'I hen take that," says the Skunk: 
(d) "Ow-w-ow-w"; (e) "I tol<l you so"; (I) "How plea>ani is a peace 
ful meal" 



The "Well-meaning Skunk 

"not for a hundred dollars," and the warriors 
melted into the background. 

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

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

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

WE SHARE THE SHANTY WITH THE SKUNKS 

The next night as I lay in my bunk I heard a 
sniffing and scratching on the cabin floor. On 
looking over the edge of the bed I came face to 
face with my friend the Skunk. Our noses were 
but a foot apart and just behind him was another; 
I suppose his mate. I said: "Hello! Here you 

103 



The Well-meaning Skunk 



A I 




are again. I'm glad to see you. Who's your 
friend?" He did not tell me, neither did he seem 
offended. I suppose it was his mate. That was 
the beginning of his residence under the floor of 
my cabin. My wife and I got very well acquainted 
with him and his wife before the summer was over. 
For though we had the cabin by day, the Skunks 
had it by night. We always left them some scraps, 
and regularly at dusk they came up to get them. 
They cleaned up our garbage, so helped to rid us 
cf flies and mice. We were careful to avoid hurting 
or scaring our nightly visitors, so the summer 
passed without offense. We formed only the 
kindest feelings toward each other, and we left 
them in possession of the cabin, where, so far as 
I know, they are living yet, if you wish to call. 

THE SKUNK AND THE UNWISE BOBCAT 

As already noted, I swept the dust smooth 
around our shanty each night to make a sort of 
visitors' book. Then each morning I could go 
out and by study of the tracks get an exact idea 
of who had called. Of course there were many 
blank nights; on others the happenings were 
trifling, but some were full of interest. In this 
way I learned of the Coyote's visits to the garbage 
pail and of the Skunk establishment under the 

104 



The Well-meaning: Skunk 

house, and other interesting facts as in the diagram. 
I have always used this method of study in my 
mountain trips, and recall a most interesting record 
that rewarded my patience some twenty years 
ago when I lived in New Mexico. 

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

I0 5 






The Well-meaning: Skunk 

told you so!" then calmly resumed the even tenor 
of his way. At K he found the remains of a 
chicken, on which he feasted, then went quietly 
home to bed. 

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

MY PET SKUNKS 

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

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

1 06 







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wm-^w /r w 

" : WJi-P M " L: 

' '' v ' 





xxiv. My tame Skunks (a) Mother Skunk and her brood; 0>) 

Ann Seton fi-c'din^ her pets 



The Well-meaning Skunk 

put the biggest and boldest to flight or disastrous 
defeat, yet refrains from using it until in absolute 
peril of his life, and then only after several warn- 
ings. 

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



107 



VII 

Old Silver- 
grizzle 

The Badger 




vn 

Old Silver-grizzle The Badger 

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

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



in 




Old Silver-grizzle 

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

THE VALIANT, HARMLESS BADGER 

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

Many times, in crossing the rolling plains of 
Montana, the uplands of Arizona and New Mexico, 
or the prairies of Manitoba, I have met with 
Mittenusk, as the redmen call him. Like a big 
white stone perched on some low mound he seems. 
But the wind makes cracks in it at places, and 
then it moves giving plain announcement to 
the world with eyes to see that this is a Badger 
sunning himself. He seldom allows a near ap- 
proach, even in the Yellowstone, where he is 
safe, and is pretty sure to drop down out of sight 

112 




Old Silver-grizzle 

in his den long before one gets within camera range. 
The Badger is such a subterranean, nocturnal 
creature at most times that for long his home life 
escaped our observation, but at last a few para- 
graphs, if not a chapter of it, have been secured, 
and we find that this shy creature, in ill odour among 
cattlemen as noted, is a rare and lovely character 
when permitted to unbend in a congenial group. 
Sturdy, strong and dogged, and brave to the last 
ditch, the more we know of the Badger the more 
we respect him. 

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

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

I shall never forget my first meeting with Old 
Silver-grizzle. It was on the plains of the Souris, 

"3 



Old Silvef-gri22le 

in 1882. I saw this broad, low, whitish creature 
on the prairie, not far from the trail, and, impelled 
by the hunter instinct so strong in all boys, I 
ran toward him. He dived into a den, but the one 
he chose proved to be barely three feet deep, and I 
succeeded hi seizing the Badger's short thick tail. 
Gripping it firmly with both hands, I pulled and 
pulled, but he was stronger than I. He braced 
himself against the sides of the den and defied me. 
With anything like fair play, he would have 
escaped, but I had accomplices, and the details 
of what followed are not pleasant reminiscences. 
But I was very young at the time, and that was 
my first Badger. I wanted his skin, and I had 
not learned to respect his exemplary life and daunt- 
less spirit. 

In the summer of 1897 I was staying at Yancey's 
in the Park. Daily I saw signs of Badgers about, 
and one morning while prowling, camera hi hand, 
I saw old Gray-coat wandering on the prairie, 
looking for fresh Ground-squirrel holes. Keep- 
ing low, I ran toward him. He soon sensed me, 
and to my surprise came rushing toward me, ut- 
tering sharp snarls. This one was behaving dif- 
ferently from any Badger I had seen before, but 
evidently he was going to give me a chance for a 
picture. After that was taken, doubtless I could 

114 



Old Silver-grizzle 

save myself by running. We were within thirty 
yards of each other and both coming strong, when 
"crash" I went into a Badger hole / had not seen, 
just as he went "thump" down tail first into a hole 
he had not seen. For a moment we both looked 
very foolish, but he recovered first, and rushing a 
few yards nearer, plunged into a deep and wide 
den toward which he evidently had been heading 
from the first. 

HIS SOCIABLE BENT 

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

This is the probable history of a typical case: 
The Badger, being a mighty miner and very able 
to dig out the Ground-squirrels of the prairie, was 
followed about by a Coyote, whose speed and 
agility kept him safe from tfee Badger's jaws, 

"5 



Old Silver-grille 

while he hovered close by, knowing quite well that 
when the Badger was digging out the Ground- 
squirrels at their front door, these rodents were 
very apt to bolt by the back door, and thus give 
the Coyote an excellent chance for a cheap dinner. 

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

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

THE STORY OF THE KINDLY BADGER 

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

iP*''* "6 

*S 

^ 

wo*i 




Old Silver-grizzle 

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

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

Father and mother, with the near neighbours, 
scoured the prairie till dark, and began the next day 
at dawn, riding in all directions, calling, and look- 
ing for signs. After a day or two the neighbours 
gave it up, believing that the child was drowned 
and carried away by the river. But the parents 

117 



Old Silver-grizzle 

continued their search even long after all hope 
seemed dead. And there was no hour of the day 
when that stricken mother did not send up a prayer 
for heavenly help; nor any night when she did not 
kneel with her husband and implore the One who 
loved and blessed the babes of Jerusalem to guard 
her little one and bring him back in safety. 

THE EVIL ONE 

There was one neighbour of the family who 
joined in the search that had nevertheless incurred 
the bitter dislike of little Harry Service. The 
feeling was partly a mere baby instinct, but point- 
edly because of the man's vicious cruelty to the 
animals, wild or tame, that came within his power. 
r Only a week before he had set steel traps at a den 

where he chanced to find a pair of Badgers in resi- 
dence. The first night he captured the father 
Badger. The cruel jaws of the jag- toothed trap had 
seized him by both paws, so he was held helpless. 
The trap was champed and wet with blood and 
froth when Grogan came in the morning. Of what 
use are courage and strength when one cannot 
reach the foe? The Badger craved only a fair 
fight, but Grogan stood out of reach and used a 
club till the light was gone from the brave eyes and 
the fighting snarl was still. 

118 




Old Silver-grizzle 

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

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

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

THE BADGER THAT RESCUED THE BOY 

And little Harry, meanwhile, where was he? 
That sunny afternoon in June he had wandered 



&'' 




Old Silver-gmzle 

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



I2O 




Old Silver-grizzle 

mine." Surely this Badger was in a generous 
mood, for she did him no serious harm, and though 
the rightful owner of the den, she went away and 
doubtless slept elsewhere. 

Night came down. Harry was very thirsty. 
Close by the door was a pool of rainwater. He 
crawled out, slaked his thirst, and backed into 
the warm den as far as he could. Then remem- 
bering his prayers, he begged God to "send mam- 
ma," and cried himself to sleep. During the night 
he was awakened by the Badger coming again, 
but it went away when the child scolded it. Next 
morning Harry went to the pool again and drank. 
Now he was so hungry; a few old rose hips hung 
on the bushes near the den. He gathered and ate 
these, but was even hungrier. Then he saw some- 
thing moving out on the plain. It might be the 
Badger, so he backed into the den, but he watched 
the moving thing. It was a horseman galloping. 
As it came near, Harry saw that it was Grogan, 
the neighbour for whom he had such a dislike, 
so he got down out of sight. Twice that morning 
men came riding by, but having once yielded to 
his shy impulse, he hid again each time. The 
Badger came back at noon. In her mouth she 
held the body of a Prairie Chicken, pretty well 
plucked and partly devoured. She came into 

121 




Old Silvef-gfizzle 

the den sniffing as before. Harry shouted, "Get 
out! Go away." The Badger dropped the meat 
and raised her head. Harry reached and grasped 
the food and devoured it with the appetite of one 
starving. There must have been another door- 
way, for later the Badger was behind the child 
in the den, and still later when he had fallen asleep 
she came and slept beside him. He awoke to 
find the warm furry body filling the space between 
him and the wall, and knew now why it was he 
had slept so comfortably. 

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

Now there were two habits that grew on the 
boy. One was to shun the men that daily passed 
by in their search, the other was to look to the 
Badger for food and protection, and live the Bad- 
ger's life. She brought him food often not at all 



122 



Old Silver-gfrizzle 

to his taste dead Mice or Ground-squirrels 
but several times she brought in the comb of a 
bee's nest or eggs of game birds, and once a piece 
of bread almost certainly dropped on the trail 
from some traveller's lunch bag. His chief trouble 
was water. The prairie pool was down to mere 
ooze and with this he moistened his lips and tongue. 
Possibly the mother Badger wondered why he did 
not accept her motherly offerings. But rain came 
often enough to keep him from serious suffering. 

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

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

FINDING THE LOST ONE 

One morning he wandered a little farther in 
search of water and was alarmed by a horseman 

123 




Old Silver-gristle 

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

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

Now Jack got out his knife and began to dig 
until the burrow was large enough for him to 
crawl in a little way. At once he succeeded in 

124 




Old Silver-gmzle 

getting hold of the little one's arm and drew him 
out struggling and crying. But now there rushed 
also from the hole a Badger, snarling and angry; 
it charged at the man, uttering its fighting snort. 
He fought it off with his whip, then swung to the 
saddle with his precious burden and rode away as 
for his very life, while the Badger pursued for a 
time, but it was easily left behind, and its snorts 
were lost and forgotten. 

HOME AGAIN 

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

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

But he got a rude rebuff. The child glared like 
a hunted cat, hissed at him, and menaced with 
hands held claw fashion. Fear and hate were all 
ie seemed to express. The door of the house was 

125 




Old Silver-grizzle 

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

But even as she cooed to him, and stroked his 
brow and won him back again, there was a strange 
sound, a snarling hiss at the open door. All turned 
to see a greet Badger standing there with its 
front feet on the threshold. Father and cousin 

I2t> 




Old 



exclaimed, "Look at that Badger!" and reached 
for the ready gun, but the boy screamed again. 
He wriggled from his mother's arms and rushing 
to the door, cried, "My Badgie! my Badgie!" He 
flung his arms about the savage thing's neck, and 
it answered with a low purring sound as it licked 
its lost companion's face. The men were for kill- 
ing the Badger, but it was the mother's keener 
insight that saved it, as one might save a noble 
dog that had rescued a child from the water. 

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

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

127 




Old Silver-grizzle 

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

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

128 



Old Silver-grizzle 

THE HUMAN BRUTE 

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

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

A great part of his life had been cut away and it 
seemed as though a deathblow had been dealt the 
boy. The shock was more than he could stand. 
He moaned and wept all day, he screamed himself 

129 



Old Silver-grizzle 

into convulsions, he was worn out at sundown and 
slept little that night. Next morning he was in a 
raging fever and ever he called for "My Badgie!" 
He seemed at death's door the next day, but a week 
later he began to mend and in three weeks was 
strong as ever and childishly gay, with occasional 
spells of sad remembering that gradually ceased. 

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

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



130 



vin 

The Squirrel and 
His Jerky-tail Brothers 



VIII 

The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail 
Brothers 

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

" Ad- je- daw-mo" I called it, but the Indian cor- 
rected me; "Ah-chit-aw-w0" he made it; and when 
I translated it " Tail-in-air" he said gravely, "No, 
it means head downward." Then noting my sur- 
prise, he added, with characteristic courtesy, "Yes, 
yes, you are right; if his head is down, his tail must 
be up. " Thoreau talks of the Red-squirrel flicking 
his tail like a whip-lash, and the word ''Squirrel," 
from the Latin "Sciurus" and Greek "Skia-oura" 
means "shady tail." Thus all of its names seem 

133 




:gMg*g*0 

'**#*' 



^ 



The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

to note the wonderful banner that serves the 
animal in turn as sun-shade, signal-flag, coverlet, 
and parachute. 

THE CHEEKY PINE SQUIRREL 

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

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

The pinyons, or nuts of the pinyon pine, are 
perhaps the most delicious nuts in all the lap of 

134 





\\v. kcd-sriuirrel storing 



n ,, Av /',. 

- fur \\intt-r u-c- 



The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

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

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





The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

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

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

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

136 




The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

CHIPMUNKS AND GROUND-SQUIRRELS 

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

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

THE GROUND-SQUIRREL THAT PLAYS PICKET-PIN 

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



The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 





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

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

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

138 




Cu 







O) 



u 



X 
X 



The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

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

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

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

CHINK AND THE PICKET-PINS 

As already noted in the Coyote chapter, we had 
in camp that summer the little dog called Chink. 
He was just old enough to think himself a remark- 
able dog with a future before him. There was 

139 





The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

hardly anything that Chink would not attempt, 
except perhaps keeping still. He was always try- 
ing to do some absurd and impossible thing, or, 
if he did attempt the possible, he usually spoiled 
his best efforts by his way of going about it. He 
once spent a whole morning trying to run up a tall, 
straight, pine tree in whose branches was a snicker- 
ing Pine Squirrel. 

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

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

After a minute or two of this very open approach, 
Chink's excitement would overpower all caution. 

140 



The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

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

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

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

CHIPMUNKS 

Every one recognizes as a Chipmunk the lively 
little creature that, with striped coat and with tail 
aloft, dashes across all the roads and chirrups on 

141 




The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

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

THE GROUND-SQUIRREL THAT PRETENDS IT*S A 

CHIPMUNK 

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

I found it especially common in the higher parts 
of the Park. It is really a mountain species, at 
home chiefly among the rocks, yet is very ready 

142 



The Squirrel and His Jerky -tail Brothers 

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

A FOUR- LEGGED BIRD HIE NORTHERN CHIPMUNK 

The early naturalists who first made the ac- 
quaintance of the Eastern Ground-squirrel named 

143 




I I . 



The Squirrel and His Jerfcy-tail Brothers 

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

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

There is one habit of the Eastern Chipmunk 
that I have not noted in the mountain species, 
and that is the habit of song. In the early spring 
and late autumn when the days are bright and 
invigorating, the Eastern Chipmunk will mount 
some log, stump or other perch and express his 
exuberant joy in a song which is a rapid repetition 

144 



The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

of a bird- like note suggested by " Chuck," " Chuck," 
or "Chock," " Chock." This is kept up two or 
three minutes without interruption, and is one of 
those delightful woodland songs whose charm comes 
rather from association than from its inherent 
music. 

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

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

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

i45 * 




The Sqwii-irel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

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

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

Yet it does not go so early or stay so late as its 
big cousin. October still sees it active, even 
running about in the snow. As late as October 3 1 st 
at Breckenridge, Col., I saw one sitting up on a log 
and eating some grass or seeds during a driving 
snowstorm. High up in the Shoshonees, after winter 
had settled down, on October 8, 1898, I saw one 
of these bright creatures bounding through the 
snow. On a stone he paused to watch me and I 
made a hasty sketch of his attitude. 

146 




The Squirrel and His Jerky-tail Brothers 

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

A STRIPED PIGMY - - THE LEAST CHIPMUNK 

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



IX 

The Rabbits and 
their Habits 













^^ 

- X? 



^" 




( .1 /)/<;'(>. /)/(ii/c< Ay /.'. /'. .V(/.. 

xxxii. The Snowshoc Hare is ;i cross bi-lwmi a Kahhit and a 

Snowdrift 




*^ w 

c/ 

*< 7 ix 

The Rabbits and their Habits 

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

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

There are'three marked types of Rabbits in the 
Rockies - - the Cottontail, the Snowshoe, and the 
Jackrabbit. All of them are represented on the 



/ X 






The Rabbits and their Habits 

Yellowstone, besides the little Coney of the rocks, 
which is a remote second cousin of the family. 

MOLLY COTTONTAIL, THE CLEVER FREEZER 

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

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

In July, 1902, I tried it myself. I was camped 
with a lot of Sioux Indians on the banks of the 
Cheyenne River in Dakota. They had their fami- 
lies with them, and about sundown one of the 
boys ran into the tepee for a gun, and then fired 
into the grass. His little brother gave a war- 
whoop that their "pa" might well have been 
proud of, then rushed forward and held up a fat 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

Cottontail, kicking her last kick. Another, a 
smaller Cottontail, was found not far away, and 
half a dozen young redskins armed with sticks 
crawled up, then suddenly let them fly. Bunny 
was hit, knocked over, and before he could recover, 
a dog had him. 

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

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




The Rabbits and their Habits 

hold the boys back by "wanting another picture." 
Five times I did this, taking five pictures, and all 
the while steering Molly toward a great pile of 
drift logs by the river. I had now used up all 
my films. 

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

"Go it, Molly!" 

"Go it, dogs!" 

"Ki-yi, Injuns!" 

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

THE RABBIT THAT WEARS SNOWSHOES 

The Snowshoe Rabbit is found in all parts of the 
Park, though not in very great numbers. It is 




The Rabbits and their Habits 

called "Snowshoe" on account of the size of its 
feet, which, already large, are in snow time made 
larger by fringes of stiff bristles that give the 
creature such a broad area of support that it 
can skip on the surface of soft snow while all its 
kinsmen sink in helplessness. 

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

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

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

The trails were so crooked and hidden in thick 



ft 



II 









The Rabbits and their Habits 

woods, that sometimes the man at the rear might 
rfde the whole day, and never see all the horses 
until we stopped again for the night. 

THE TERROR OF THE MOUNTAIN TRAILS 

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

156 



The Rabbits and their Habits 



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

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

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

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

" Bzz-z-z-z-z" and in a moment the dark and rag- 
ing little terrors came at me in a cloud. I had no 
time to stop, or get off, or seek another way. So I 
jerked up a coat collar to save my face, held my 
head low, and tried to hold on, while the little pony 
went insane with the fiery baptism now upon him. 
Plunging, kicking, and squealing he went, and I 

157 





The Rabbits and their Habits 

stuck to him for one two three jumps, but at 
number four, as I remember it, I went flying over 
his head, fortunately up hill, and landed in the 
bushes unhurt, but ready for peace at any price. 

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

BUNNY'S EIDE 

There is a certain wild hunter instinct in us all, a 
wish to capture every wood creature we meet. 
That impulse cam on me im power. There was no 
more danger from wa?ps, so I got cautiously above 







The Rabbits and their Habits 

this log, put a hand down at each side, grabbed 
underneath, and the Rabbit was my prisoner. 
Now I had him, what was I going to do with him - 
kill him? Certainly not. I began to talk to him. 
"Now what did I catch you for?" His only reply 
was a wobble of his nose, so I continued : "I didn't 
know when I began, but I know now. I want to 
get your picture. " And again the nose wobbled. 

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

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

I rode all the rest of that day with the Rabbit 
quietly nestling in my hair. It was a long, hard 
day, for we continued till nightfall and then made a 
dark camp in a thick pine woods. It was impossi- 
ble to make pictures then, so I put the little Rabbit 
under a leatheroid telescope lid, on a hard level 

159 




L 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

place, gave him food and water, and left him for 
use in the morning. 

THE RABBIT DANCE 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 60 





r^f jtfh' 

Vf- 

V J/ 

c' wl 



a 




Plwlo by E. T. .S. 

\\i\. The Baby Cottontail tliat rode t \vcntv miles in mv hat 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

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

But they came again and in ever-increasing num- 
bers, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 at last, now in plain view, 
gazing wildly at the bright light, pushing forward 
as though fascinated. Some two or three so close 
together that they were touching each other. 
Then one gave the thumping alarm, and all scat- 
tered like leaves, to vanish like ghosts. But they 
came back again, to push and crawl up nearer to 
that blazing wonder. Some of the back ones were 
skipping about but the front ones edged up in a sort 
of wild-eyed fascination. Closer and closer they 
got, then the first one was so near that reaching out 
to smell the lantern he burnt his nose, and at his 
alarm thump, all disappeared in the woods. But 
they soon returned to disport again in that amazing 

161 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

brightness; and, stimulated by the light, they 
danced about, chasing each other, dodging around 
in large circles till one of the outermost leaped 
over the camera box and another following him, 
leaped up and sat on it. My friend was just 
behind, hidden by the light in front, and he had no 
trouble in clutching the impudent Rabbit with 
both hands. Instantly it set up a loud squealing. 
The other Rabbits gave a stamping signal, and 
in a moment all were lost in the woods, but the 
one we held. Quickly we transported it to another 
leatheroid box, intending to take its picture in the 
morning, but the prisoner had a means of attack 
that I had not counted on. Just as we were going 
to sleep he began with his front feet on the 
resounding box and beat a veritable drum tattoo 
of alarm. Every one in camp was awakened, and 
again, as we were dropping off, the camp was 
roused by another loud "tattoo." For nearly 
two hours this went on; then, about midnight, 
utterly unable to sleep, I arose and let the drum- 
mer go about his business, do anything or go 
anywhere, so only he would be quiet and let us 
attend to ours. 

Next morning I photographed the little Bunny, 
and set him free to join his kin. It is a surprising 
fact that though we spent two weeks in this valley, 

162 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

and a month in those mountains, we did not see 
another wild Rabbit. 

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

THE GHOST RABBIT 

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

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

The hound's bark for a Fox was deep, strong, 
and at regular intervals as befitted the strong 
trail, and the straightaway run. But for a Rabbit 

163 





o o 



FOX FO/ 

The Rabbits and their Habits 

it was broken, uncertain, irregular and rarely a 
good deep bay. 

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

A NARROW-GAUGE MULE --THE PRAIRIE HARE 

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

*It proved later to be an albino domestic Rabbit run wild. 

164 




Sketch by E. T. Se'.on 

xxx. Sncnvshoc Rabbits dancing in the light of tin- lantern 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

As it bounds away from your pathway its 
bushy snow-white tail and the white behind the 
black-tipped ears will point out plainly that 
it is neither the Texas Jackrabbit nor the Rocky 
Mountain Cottontail, but the White-tailed Jack- 
rabbit, the finest of ah 1 our Hares. 

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

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

THE BUMP OF MOSS THAT SQUEAKS 

No matter how horrible a certain climate or 
surroundings may seem to us, they are sure to be 

165 





-The Rabbits and their Habits 

the ideal of some wild creature, its very dream of 
bliss. I suppose that slide rock, away up in 
cold, bleak, windy country above the timber-line, 
is absolutely the unloveliest landscape and most 
repulsive home ground that a man could find in 
the mountains and yet it is the paradise, the 
perfect place of a wonderful little creature that is 
found on the high peaks of the Rockies from Cali- 
fornia to Alaska. 

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

As one reaches the Golden Gate, near Mammoth 
Hot Springs, many little animals of the Ground- 
squirrel group are seen running about, and from 
the distance comes a peculiar cry, a short squeak 
uttered every ten or fifteen seconds. You stop, 
perhaps search with your eye the remote hillside, 
but you are looking too far afield. Glance toward 
the tumbled rock piles, look at every high point. 
There on top of one you note a little gray lump, like 
a bump of moss, the size of your fist, clinging to the 
point of the rock. Fix your glasses on it, and you 
will see plainly that the squeak is made by this 
tiny creature, like a quarter-grown Rabbit with 

166 




in t/ir liillfrrniil Mts. by E. T. Seton 

xxxi. Snowshor Rabbits fasi'inaU'd l>v the lantern 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

short, round, white- rimmed ears and no visible tail. 
This is the curious little animal that cannot be 
happy anywhere but in the slide rock; this is the 
Calling Hare. "Little Chief Hare" is its Indian 
name, but it has many others of much currency, 
such as "Pika," and "Starved Rat," the latter 
because it is never fat. The driver calls it a 
"Coney, " or "Rock Rabbit." In its colour, size, 
shape, and habits it differs from all other crea- 
tures in the region; it is impossible to mistake it. 
Though a distant kinsman of the Rabbits, it is 
unlike them in looks and ways. Thus it has, as 
noted, the very un-rabbit-like habit of squeaking 
from some high lookout. This is doubtless a call 
of alarm to let the rest of the company know that 
there is danger about, for the Coney is a gregarious 
creature; there may be a hundred of them in the 
rock-slide. 

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

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

When the grass, the mountain dandelions, and 
the peavines are at their best growth for making 

167 





The Rabbits and their Habits 



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

Many a one of these I have examined in the 
mountains of British Columbia and Colorado, as 
well as in the Park. The quantity of hay in them 
varies from what might fill a peck measure to what 
would make a huge armful. Among the food 
plants used, I found many species of grass, thistle, 
meadow-rue, peavine, heath, and the leaves of 

168 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

several composite plants. I suspect that fuller 
observations will show that they use every herb 
not actually poisonous, that grows in the vicinity 
of their citadel. More than one of these wads of 
hay had in the middle of it a nest or hollow; not, I 
suspect, the home nest where the young are raised, 
but a sort of winter restaurant where they could go 
while the ground was covered Math snow, and 
sitting in the midst of their provisions, eat to their 
heart's content. 

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

THE WEATHERWISE CONEY 

A very wise little people is this little people of 
the Rocks. Not only do they realize that in sum- 
mer they must prepare for winter, but they know 
how to face a present crisis, however unexpected. 
To appreciate the following instance, we must 
remember that the central thought in the Coney's 
life is his "grub pile" for winter use, and next that 
he is a strictly daytime animal. I have often slept 

169 




\ 



The Rabbits and their Habits 



near a Coney settlement and never heard a sound or 
seen a sign of their being about after dark. Never- 
theless, Merriam tells us that he and Vernon Bailey 
once carried their blankets up to a Coney colony 
above timber-line in the Salmon River Mountains 
of Idaho, intending to spend the night there and to 
study the Coneys whose piles of hay were visible 
in all directions on their rocks. As this was about 
the first of September, it was natural to expect fair 
weather and a complete curing of the hay in a week 
or so. But a fierce storm set in with the descend- 
ing night. The rain changed to hail and then to 
snow, and much to the surprise of the naturalists, 
they heard the squeak of the Coneys all night long. 
These animals love the sunshine, the warmth and 
the daylight, and dread cold and darkness as much 
as we do. It must have been a bitter experience 
when at the call of the older ones every little Coney 
had to tumble out of his warm bed in the chill 
black hours and face the driving sleet to save the 
winter's supplies. But tumble out they did, and 
overtime they worked, hard and well, for when 
the morning dawned the slide rock and the whole 
world was covered deep in snow, but every hay- 
cock had been removed to a safer place under the 
rocks, and the wisdom of the Coney once more ex- 
emplified, with adequate energy to make it effective. 



170 















V 



.Sk,-l,h hy /:. I . 



xxxii. The Ghost Rabbit 



The Rabbits and their Habits 

HIS SAFETY IS IN THE ROCKS 

No one has ever yet found the home nest of the 
Calling Hare. It is so securely hidden under 
rocks, and in galleries below rocks, that all attempts 
to dig it out have thus far failed. I know of 
several men, not to mention Bears, Badgers, 
Wolverines, and Grizzlies, who have essayed to 
unearth the secret of the Coney's inner life. Fol- 
lowing on the trail of a Coney that bleated de- 
risively at me near Pagoda Peak, Col., I began 
at once to roll rocks aside in an effort to follow him 
home to his den. The farther I went the less 
satisfaction I found. The uncertain trail ramified 
more and more as I laboured. Once or twice from 
far below me I heard a mocking squeak that 
spurred me on, but that too, ceased. When about 
ten tons of rock had been removed I was baffled. 
There were half a dozen possible lines of continua- 
tion, and while I paused to wipe the "honest sweat" 
from my well-meaning brow, I heard behind me 
the "weak," "weak," of my friend as though 
giving his estimate of my resolution, and I de- 
scried him - - I suppose the same - - on a rock 
point like a moss-bump against the sky-line away 
to the left. Only, one end of the moss-bump 
moved a little each time a squeak was cast upon the 
air. I had not time to tear down the whole moun- 

171 



The Rabbits and thei* Habits 

tain, so I did as my betters, the Bears and Badgers 
have done before me, I gave it up. I had at least 
found out why the Coney avoids the pleasant 
prairie and the fertile banks, and I finished with a 
new and profounder understanding of the Scripture 
text which says in effect, "As for the Coney, his 
safe refuge is in the rocks. " 



172 



X 

Ghosts of 
the Campfire 



X 

Ghosts of the Campfire 

IT IS always worth while to cultivate the old 
guides. Young guides are often fresh and 
shallow, but the quiet old fellows, that have 
spent their lives in the mountains, must be 
good or they could not stay in the business; and 
they have seen so much and been so far that they 
are like rare old manuscript volumes, difficult to 
read, but unique and full of value. It is not easy 
to get them to talk, but there is a combination that 
often does it. First, show yourself worthy of their 
respect by holding up your end, be it in an all-day 
climb or breakneck ride; then at night, after the 
others have gone to bed, you sit while the old guide 
smokes, and by a few brief questions and full 
attention, show that you value any observations 
he may choose to make. Many happy hours and 
much important information have been my reward 
for just such cautious play, and often as we sat, 
there flitted past, in the dim light, the silent shad- 





Ghosts of the Campfire 

owy forms of the campfire ghosts. Swift, not 
twinkling, but looming light and fading, absolutely 
silent. Sometimes approaching so near that the 
still watcher can get the glint of beady eyes or 
even of a snowy breast, for these ghosts are merely 
the common Mice of the mountains, abounding 
in every part of the West. 

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

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

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

176 




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Ghosts of the Campfire 

succession of squeaks and trills that serve it as a 
song. 

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

THE JUMPING MOUSE 

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

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

177 




Ghosts of the Campfire 




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

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

Here is a diagram of a Jumper in the act of living 
up to its reputation. And at once one asks what 
is the reason for this interminable tail. The an- 
swer is, it is the tail to the kite, the feathering to 

178 



Ghosts of the Campfire 

the arrow; and observation shows that a Jumping 
Mouse that has lost its tail is almost helpless to 
escape from danger. A good naturalist records 
that one individual that was de-tailed by a mowing 
machine, jumped frantically and far, but had no 
control of the direction, and just as often as not 
went straight up or landed wrong end to, and 
sometimes on a second bound was back where ithad 
started from. 

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

THE CALLING MOUSE 

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

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

179 



Ghosts of the Campfire 

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

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

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

In the fall of 1912 I was staying at Standing 
Rock Agency in North Dakota, On the broken 
ground, between the river and the high level prairie,. 
I noted a ridge with holes exactly like those I had 

180 



\ / r. 




Ghosts of the Campfire 

seen on the Yellowstone. A faint squeak under- 
ground gave additional and corroborative evidence. 
So I set a trap and next night had a specimen of 
the Squeaker as well as a couple of the omnipresent 
Deer-mice. 

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



181 



XI 

Sneak-cats 
Big and Small 



XI 

Sneak-cats Big and Small 

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

If you turn out the biggest Lynx on the smoothest 
prairie you ever saw, he w r ill efface himself before 
you count twenty. The grass may be but three 
inches high and the Lynx twenty-three, but he 
will melt into it, and wholly escape the searching 
eyes of the keenest. One would not think an 
empty skin could lie more flat. Add to this the 

185 



Sneak-cats 

silent sinuosity of his glide; he seems to ooze 
around the bumps and stumps, and bottle up his 
frightful energy for the final fearsome leap. His 
whole makeup is sacrificed to efficiency in that 
leap; on that depends his life; his very existence 
turns on the wondrous perfection of the sneak, of 
which the leap is the culmination. Hunters in all 
parts where these creatures abound, agree in calling 
Wildcat, Lynx, and Cougar by the undignified but 
descriptive name of Sneak-cat. 

THE BOBCAT OR MOUNTAIN WILDCAT 

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

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

186 



Sneak-cats 

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

MISUNDERSTOOD - - THE CANADA LYNX 

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

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

He had not the nerve to fire and the Lynx walked 
back to the woods. How well I remember that 
man. A kind-hearted, good fellow, but oh! so 

187 



Sneak-cats 

timid. His neighbours guyed him about it, 
until at last he sold out his farm and joined the 
ministry. 

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

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

The first two incidents illustrate the crazy ideas 

188 





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that some folks have about the Lynx, and the last 
shows what the real character of the animal is. 

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

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

THE SHYEST THING IN THE WOODS MOUNTAIN 
LION, PUMA OR COUGAR 

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

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

Why this difference? Chiefly owing to their 
respective habits. The Cougar is the most elu- 

189 



v 



Sneak-cats 

sive, sneaking, adroit hider, and shyest thing in 
the woods. I have camped for twenty-five years in 
its country and have never yet seen a wild Cougar. 
Almost never are they found without dogs specially 
trained to trail and hunt them. 

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

If you consult the witching contraband books 
that we of a bygone age used to read surreptitiously 
in school hours, you will learn that "the Cougar is 
a fearsome beast of invincible prowess. He can 
kill a Buffalo or an ox with a blow of his paw, and 
run off with it at full speed or carry it up a tree to 
devour, and he is by choice a man-eater. Com- 
monly uttering the cry of a woman in distress to 
decoy the gallant victim to his doom." If, on the 
other hand, you^consult some careful natural his- 
tories, or one or two of the seasoned guides, you 
learn that the Cougar, though horribly destructive 




Sneafc-cats 

among Deer, sheep, and colts, rarely kills a larger 
prey, and never is known to attack man. 

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

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

This creature is also possessed of a strong curi- 
osity and many times is known to have followed a 
man in the woods merely to study the queer crea- 
ture, but without intent to do him harm. Never- 
theless the timid traveller who discovers he is 
"pursued by a Cougar" may manage to persuade 
himself that he has had a hairbreadth escape. 

THE TIME I MET A LION 

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

191 




Sneak-cats 

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

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

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

And now the thrill-monger's face lighted up, he 
straightened his paper and stuck his pencil in his 
mouth by way of getting ready, and ejaculated: 
"Say! now you're getting it; let 1 shear the details. 
Don't spare me!" 

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

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

192 



Sneak-cats 

ing up their noses, snorting softly and pricking 
their ears in a nervous way. 

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

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

"Next morning we found every horse gone, and 
halters and ropes broken, while deep hoofprints 
showed the violence of the stampede which we had 
scarcely heard. The men set out on foot after the 
horses, and by good luck, recovered all within a 
mile. Meanwhile I made a careful study of the 
ground, and soon got light. For there were the 
prints of a huge Mountain Lion. He had prowled 
into camp, coming up to where we slept, sneaked 
around and smelt us over, and I think walked 
down the alley between our beds. After that, 
probably, he had got so close to the horses that, 
inspired by terror of their most dreaded foe, they 
had broken all bonds and stampeded into safety. 
Nevertheless, though the horses were in danger, 
there can be no question, I think, that we were 
not." 

193 



Sneak-cats 

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

IN PERIL OF MY LIFE 

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

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

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

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

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

"Agreed! Which is the one? " 

I put my hands up to my mouth and let off a long 

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

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

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

Hastily rising and backing off, I said: "I've got 





Sneak-cats 

plenty of milk now for you two. The rest of us 
don't care for any. Hold on till I get back to the 
trees." 

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

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

THE DANGEROUS NIGHT VISITOR 

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

We went quietly go the edge of the timber and 
there was the monster at the place where that evil 

196 



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Sneak-cats 

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

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

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

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

197 




Sneak-cats 

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

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

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

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



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Bears of High and Low Degree 

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

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

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

He had been bad the night before, and now, by 
request, was sleeping fifty feet away. But what is 

201 




Bears of High and Low Degree 

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

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

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

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

THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF BEARS 

Some guides of unsound information will tell 
the traveller that there are half a dozen different 
kinds of Bears in or near the Yellowstone Park 



202 








> 
















- 




"Vs. ' 



r 



v / . / . 5te 



XL. Three snaps that failed: (a) The Ffcht: 0>) The 

first appearance of the old Grizzly; (c) Tin- 

Grix/l\- at fifteen feet 



Bears of High and Low Degree 

Blackbear, Little Cinnamon, Big Cinnamon, 
Grizzlies, Silver-tip, and Roach-backs. This is 
sure; however, there are but two species, namely, 
the Blackbear and the Grizzly. 

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

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

BEAR- TREES 

There is a curious habit of Bears that is well 
known without being well understood; it is com- 

203 



Bears of High and Low Degree 

mon to all these mentioned. In travelling along 
some familiar trail they will stop at a certain tree, 
claw it, tear it with their teeth, and rub their back 
and head up against it as high as they can reach, 
even with the tip of the snout, and standing on tip- 
toes. There can be no doubt that a Bear coming 
to a tree can tell by scent whether another Bear has 
been there recently, and whether that Bear is a 
male or female, a friend, a foe or a stranger. Thus 
the tree serves as a sort of news depot; and there is 
one every few hundred yards in country with a 
large Bear population. 

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

A PEEP INTO BEAR FAMILY LIFE 

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

204 




XLI. While I sketched the Bears a brother camera-hunter \vas 
stalking me without my knowledge 



Bears of High and Low Degree 

the only proofs that I found of Bears being in the 
region. 

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

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

~5 





Beats of High and Low Degree 

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

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

Meanwhile the old Bear had been sizing me up, 

206 




Pin. l.i hv E. T. >V/.'ii 

xi. il. One meets the Hears at nearly every turn in the woods 



Bears of High and Low Degree 

and evidently made up her mind that, "although 
that human being might be all right, she would 
take no chances for her little ones." 

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

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

This was a delightful peep into Bear home-life, 
and would have been well worth coming for, if the 
insight had ended there. But my friends in the 
hotel said that that was not the best place for 
Bears. I should go to the garbage-heap, a quarter- 

207 





Bears of High and Low Degree 

mile off in the forest. There, they said, I surely 
could see as many Bears as I wished, which was 
absurd of them. 

THE DAY AT THE GARBAGE PILE 

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

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

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

In the story I told how, backed by a mounted 
cowboy, I sat on the garbage pile while the great 

208 




Bears of High and Low Degree 



Grizzly that had worsted Old Grumpy, came stri- 
ding nearer, and looming larger. 

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

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

Surely it would be a wonderful evidence of my 
courage and coolness if I could show a photograph 
of that big Grizzly when he was coming on 
maybe to kill me - - I did not know, but I had a 
dim vision of my sorrowing relatives developing the 
plate to see how it happened, for I pressed the 

209 




I 




Beats of High and Low Degree 

button at the right time. The picture, such as it is, 
I give as Plate XL, c. I was so calm and cool and 
collected that I quite forgot to focus the camera. 

LONESOME JOHNNY 

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

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

FURTHER ANNALS OF THE SANCTUARY 

All of this was fifteen years ago. Since then 
there have been some interesting changes, but they 

210 



4 . 




Plwto by K. T. Seton 

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



Bears of High and Low Degree 

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

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

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

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

A large she Bear, with a couple of cubs appeared, 
but they hovered at a distance and did not give 
the artist a fair chance. He waited a long time, 

211 S 






Bears of High and Low Degree 

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

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

212 











- 

iii. to .1.1.: 

XLIV. Clifford B. Harmon feeding a Bear 



Bears of High and Low Degree 

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

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

Another of these big, spoiled babies was sent to 

213 




Bears of High and Low Degree 

Washington Zoo, where he is now doing duty as an 
exhibition Grizzly. 

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

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

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

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

Whatever that Bear came for, she seemed satis- 

214 





Photos by {'. J,iy 

XLV. The Bears at feeding time 



Bears of High and Low Degree 

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

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

From that time on she became a habitual fre- 
quenter of the bar-room. Her potations were 
increased each month. There was a time when 
one glass of beer made her happy, but now it takes 
three or four, and sometimes even a little drop of 
something stronger. But whatever it is, it has 
the desired effect, and "Swizzling Jinnie" lurches 
over to the table, under which she sprawls at 
length, and tuning up her nasophone she sleeps 
aloud, and unpeacefully, demonstrating to all 
the world that after all a "Bear is jest a kind 
o' a man in a fur coat." Who can doubt it 

215 




Bears of High and Low Degree 

that reads this tale, for it is true; at least 
it was told me for the truth, by no less an 
authority than one of Jennie's intimate associates 
at the bar-room. 

THE GRIZZLY AND THE CAN 

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

A grand old Grizzly, that was among the summer 
retinue of a Park hotel, was working with two claws 
to get out the very last morsel of some exceptionally 
delicious canned stuff. The can was extra strong, 
its ragged edges were turned in, and presently both 
toes of the Bear were wedged firmly in the clutch 
of that impossible, horrid little tin trap. The 
monster shook his paw, and battered the enemy, 
but it was as sharp within as it was smooth with- 
out, and it gripped his paw with the fell clutch of a 
disease. His toes began to swell with all this 
effort and violence, till they filled the inner space 
completely. The trouble was made worse and the 
paw became painfully inflamed. 

216 



Bears of High and Low Degree 

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

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

The officer in charge of the Park came riding 
by one day; he heard the strange tale of trouble, 
and saw with his own eyes the limping Grizzly, 
with his muzzled foot. At a wave of his hand two 
of the trusty scouts of the Park patrol set out with 
their ponies and whistling lassoes on the strangest 
errand that they, or any of their kind, had ever 
known. In a few minutes those wonderful raw-hide 
ropes had seized him and the monarch of the 
mountains was a prisoner bound. Strong shears 
were at hand. That vicious little can was ripped 
open. It was completely filled now with the 
swollen toes. The surgeon dressed the wounds, 

217 



Beats of High and Low Degree 

and the Grizzly was set free. His first blind 
animal impulse was to attack his seeming tor- 
menters, but they were wise and the ponies were 
bear-broken; they easily avoided the charge, and 
he hastened to the woods to recover, finally, both 
his health and his good temper, and continue about 
the Park, the only full-grown Grizzly Bear, prob- 
ably, that man ever captured to help in time of 
trouble, and then set loose again to live his life in 
peace. 




218 



Appendix 

Mammals of the 
Yellowstone Park 



Sif 




\ 

Skelf/ies by E. T. Scion 

XLVIT. Johnnie Hear: his sins and his troubles 



Appendix 
Mammals of the Yellowstone Park 

A LIST OF THE SPECIES FOUND IN THE PARK IN IQI2 
BY ERNEST THOMPSON SETON 

With assistance from the U. S. Biological Survey, 
aiul Colonel L. M. Brett, in charge of the Park. 

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

Mule Deer or Rocky Mt. Blacktail (Odocoileus hemi- 
nus) 

Common. The official census gives their number at 
400, of which at least 100 winter about Fort Yellow- 
stone. 

Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus mrginianus macrourus) 
A few found about Gardiner, on Willow Creek, 
on Indian Creek, at Crevasse Mt. and in Cotton- 
wood Basin. The official census gives their number 
at loo. 

Moose (Alces americanus) 

Formerly rare, now abundant in all the southerly 
third of the Park. In 1897 they were estimated 

221 



Appendix 

at 50. The official census gives their number at 550 
in 1912. 

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

Mountain Sheep or Bighorn (Ovis canadensis) 

Formerly rare, now common about Mt. Evarts, Mt. 
Washburn and the western boundary. In 1897 
there jwere about 100, perhaps only 75; in 1912 they 
are reported numbering 210 by actual count. 

American Buffalo or Bison (Bison bison) 

Steadily increasing. In 1897 there were about 
30; they now number 199 by actual count. These 
are in two herds, of 49 wild, and 150 in the fenced 
Corrals. 

Richardson Red-squirrel (Sciurus hudsonicus richard- 
soni) 
Abundant in all pine woods. 

Northern Chipmunk (Eutamias quadrimttatus lutei- 

ventris) 
_Extremely abundant everywhere. 

Least Chipmunk (Eutamias minimus pictus) 
Common about Mammoth Hot Springs. 

Golden Ground-squirrel (Citellus lateralis cinerascens) 
Common. 

Picket-pin Ground-squirrel (Citellus armatus) 

^Abundant on all level prairies. 

Prairie-dog (Cynomys ludomcianus) 

Gen. Geo. S. Anderson told me long ago that the 
Prairie-dogs, so abundant on the Lower Yellowstone, 

222 




''v M I 



xi.vin. Johnnie happy at la-i 



Appendix 

were sometimes seen as far up as the Park at Gar- 
diner. 

Yellow Woodchuck, Rock Chuck or Marmot (Mar* 
mota flaviventer) 
Abundant on all mountains. 

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

Beaver (Castor canadensis) 
Abundant and increasing. 

Grasshopper Mouse (Onychomys leucogaster} ^ 

I found a typical colony of this species on the 
Yellowstone near Yancey's but did not secure any. 

Mountain Deermouse (Peromyscus maniculatus artem- j 
isiae) 
Abundant everywhere. 

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

Redbacked Vole or Field-mouse (Ewtomys gapperi 
galei) 

Not taken yet in the Park but found in all the 
surrounding country, therefore, probable. 

Common Field-mouse (Microtus pennsyhannicus mo- 
destus) 

Recorded by Vernon Bailey from Lower Geyser 
Basin in the Park. 

Long-tailed Vole (Microtus mordax) 

Vernon Bailey records this from various surround- 
ing localities, also from Tower Falls. Doubtless it 
is generally distributed. This is the bobtailed, short- 
eared, dark gray mouse that is found making runs 
in the thick grass, especially in low places. 

Big-footed Vole (Microtus richardsoni macropus) 

223 



Appendix 

Not yet taken in the Park, but found in surrounding 

mountains, therefore probable. 
Muskrat (Fiber zibethicus osoyoosensis) 

Common and of general distribution. 
Mole-gopher or Gray Gopher (Thomomys talpoides) 

A Gopher of some kind abounds in the Park. I 

assume it to be this. 
Rocky Mt. Jumping Mouse (Zapus princeps) 

Found in all the surrounding country, and recorded 

by E. A. Preble from near Yellowstone Lake. 
Yellow-haired Porcupine (Erethizon epixanthus) 

Somewhat common in the pine woods on the Con- 
tinental Divide. 
Coney, Rock Rabbit, Pika, or Calling Hare (Ochotona 

princeps) 

Abundant in all slide rock. 
Rocky Mt. Cottontail (Sylmlagus nuttalli grangeri} 

Plentiful about Gardiner and in some of the lower 

regions of the Park, but not general. 
Snowshoe Rabbit (Lepus bairdi) 

Common and generally distributed. 
White-tailed Jack Rabbit (Lepus campestris) 

Common and generally distributed. 
Mountain Lion, Cougar or Puma (Felis hippolestes) 

In 1897 it was considered extremely rare; probably 

not more than a dozen were then living in the Park; 

since then it seems to have increased greatly and is 

now somewhat common in the mountainous parts. 

Their numbers are given officially at icoin 1912. 
Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) 

Common. 
Bobcat or Mountain-cat (Lynx uinta) 

224 



Appendix 

Somewhat common. 
The Big-tailed Fox (Vulpes macrourus) 

Common. 
Timber Wolf (Canis occidentals) 

Very rare, noticed only at Hell Roaring Creek and 

Slough Creek. On August 25, 1912, Lieut. M. 

Murray saw two in a meadow two miles southeast 

of Snow Shoe Cabin on Slough Creek. They were 

plainly seen in broad daylight; and were nearly 

white. 
Coyote (Cants latrans) 

Abundant everywhere, although officially reckoned 

they numbered only 400 in 1912. 
Otter (Lutra canadensis) 

Common, particularly around the Lake and the 

Canyon. 
Mink (Lutreola vison energumenos) 

Common. 
Long-tailed Weasel (Put onus longicauda) 

Said to be found. I did not see any. 
Short-tailed Weasel (Putorius cicognanii) 

Included because its range includes the Park. 
Marten (Mustela caurina) 

Found throughout the Park, but not common. 
Pekan or Fisher (Mustela pennanti} 

Rare. Gen. G. S. Anderson tells me that in the 

early 'go's he took the skin of one from a poacher. 
Wolverine (Gulo luscus) 

Of general distribution, but not common. 
Northern Skunk (Mephitis hudsonica) 

Rare, but found at Mammoth Hot Springs and 

Yancey's. 

225 



Appendix 

Badger (Taxidea taxus) 
Common. 

Raccoon or Coon (Procyon lotor) 

Said to occur. Fifteen years ago at Gardiner I 
was shown one that was said to have been taken 
in the Park, but it was not certain. 

Grizzly Bear (Ursus horribilis} 

Common. The official count gives 50 in 1912. 

Blackbear (Ursus americanus) 

Abundant and increasing. The official count gives 
100 in 1912. 

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

Marsh Shrew or Water Shrew (Neosorex palustris) 
Probably occurs there, since its known range sur- 
rounds the Park. 

Long-eared Bat (Corynorhinus macrotis pallescens) 
A few were seen in the Devil's Kitchen, Mammoth 
Hot Springs, and one sent to the Biological Survey 
for identification. This is the only Bat taken, but 
the following are likely to be found, as their 
known range surrounds the Park: 
Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus} 
Silver-haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) 
Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) 
Great Hoary Bat (Nycteris cinereus) 



226 




THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS 
GARDEN CITY, N. Y.