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Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches by Theodore Roosevelt

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drooped, and he rolled over and over like a shot rabbit. Each of my
first three bullets had inflicted a mortal wound.

It was already twilight, and I merely opened the carcass, and then
trotted back to camp. Next morning I returned and with much labor took
off the skin. The fur was very fine, the animal being in excellent
trim, and unusually bright-colored. Unfortunately, in packing it out I
lost the skull, and had to supply its place with one of plaster. The
beauty of the trophy, and the memory of the circumstances under which
I procured it, make me value it perhaps more highly than any other in
my house.

This is the only instance in which I have been regularly charged by a
grisly. On the whole, the danger of hunting these great bears has been
much exaggerated. At the beginning of the present century, when white
hunters first encountered the grisly, he was doubtless an exceedingly
savage beast, prone to attack without provocation, and a redoubtable
foe to persons armed with the clumsy, small-bore muzzle-loading rifles
of the day. But at present bitter experience has taught him caution.
He has been hunted for the bounty, and hunted as a dangerous enemy to
stock, until, save in the very wildest districts, he has learned to be
more wary than a deer and to avoid man's presence almost as carefully
as the most timid kind of game. Except in rare cases he will not
attack of his own accord, and, as a rule, even when wounded his object
is escape rather than battle.

Still, when fairly brought to bay, or when moved by a sudden fit of
ungovernable anger, the grisly is beyond peradventure a very dangerous
antagonist. The first shot, if taken at a bear a good distance off and
previously unwounded and unharried, is not usually fraught with much
danger, the startled animal being at the outset bent merely on flight.
It is always hazardous, however, to track a wounded and worried grisly
into thick cover, and the man who habitually follows and kills this
chief of American game in dense timber, never abandoning the bloody
trail whithersoever it leads, must show no small degree of skill and
hardihood, and must not too closely count the risk to life or limb.
Bears differ widely in temper, and occasionally one may be found who
will not show fight, no matter how much he is bullied; but, as a rule,
a hunter must be cautious in meddling with a wounded animal which has
retreated into a dense thicket, and had been once or twice roused; and
such a beast, when it does turn, will usually charge again and again,
and fight to the last with unconquerable ferocity. The short distance
at which the bear can be seen through the underbrush, the fury of his
charge, and his tenacity of life make it necessary for the hunter on
such occasions to have steady nerves and a fairly quick and accurate
aim. It is always well to have two men in following a wounded bear
under such conditions. This is not necessary, however, and a good
hunter, rather than lose his quarry, will, under ordinary
circumstances, follow and attack it, no matter how tangled the
fastness in which it has sought refuge; but he must act warily and
with the utmost caution and resolution, if he wishes to escape a
terrible and probably fatal mauling. An experienced hunter is rarely
rash, and never heedless; he will not, when alone, follow a wounded
bear into a thicket, if by that exercise of patience, skill, and
knowledge of the game's habits he can avoid the necessity; but it is
idle to talk of the feat as something which ought in no case to be
attempted. While danger ought never to be needlessly incurred, it is
yet true that the keenest zest in sport comes from its presence, and
from the consequent exercise of the qualities necessary to overcome
it. The most thrilling moments of an American hunter's life are those
in which, with every sense on the alert, and with nerves strung to the
highest point, he is following alone into the heart of its forest
fastness the fresh and bloody footprints of an angered grisly; and no
other triumph of American hunting can compare with the victory to be
thus gained.

These big bears will not ordinarily charge from a distance of over a
hundred yards; but there are exceptions to this rule. In the fall of
1890 my friend Archibald Rogers was hunting in Wyoming, south of the
Yellowstone Park, and killed seven bears. One, an old he, was out on a
bare table-land, grubbing for roots, when he was spied. It was early
in the afternoon, and the hunters, who were on a high mountain slope,
examined him for some time through their powerful glasses before
making him out to be a bear. They then stalked up to the edge of the
wood which fringed on the table-land on one side, but could get no
nearer than about three hundred yards, the plains being barren of all
cover. After waiting for a couple of hours Rogers risked the shot, in
despair of getting nearer, and wounded the bear, though not very
seriously. The animal made off, almost broadside to, and Rogers ran
forward to intercept it. As soon as it saw him it turned and rushed
straight for him, not heeding his second shot, and evidently bent on
charging home. Rogers then waited until it was within twenty yards,
and brained it with his third bullet.

In fact bears differ individually in courage and ferocity precisely as
men do, or as the Spanish bulls, of which it is said that not more
than one in twenty is fit to stand the combat of the arena. One grisly
can scarcely be bullied into resistance; the next may fight to the
end, against any odds, without flinching, or even attack unprovoked.
Hence men of limited experience in this sport, generalizing from the
actions of the two or three bears each has happened to see or kill,
often reach diametrically opposite conclusions as to the fighting
temper and capacity of the quarry. Even old hunters--who indeed, as a
class, are very narrow-minded and opinionated--often generalize just
as rashly as beginners. One will portray all bears as very dangerous;
another will speak and act as if he deemed them of no more consequence
than so many rabbits. I knew one old hunter who had killed a score
without ever seeing one show fight. On the other hand, Dr. James C.
Merrill, U. S. A., who has had about as much experience with bears as
I have had, informs me that he has been charged with the utmost
determination three times. In each case the attack was delivered
before the bear was wounded or even shot at, the animal being roused
by the approach of the hunter from his day bed, and charging headlong
at them from a distance of twenty or thirty paces. All three bears
were killed before they could do any damage. There was a very
remarkable incident connected with the killing of one of them. It
occurred in the northern spurs of the Bighorn range. Dr. Merrill, in
company with an old hunter, had climbed down into a deep, narrow
canyon. The bottom was threaded with well-beaten elk trails. While
following one of these the two men turned a corner of the canyon and
were instantly charged by an old she-grisly, so close that it was only
by good luck that one of the hurried shots disabled her and caused her
to tumble over a cut bank where she was easily finished. They found
that she had been lying directly across the game trail, on a smooth
well beaten patch of bare earth, which looked as if it had been dug
up, refilled, and trampled down. Looking curiously at this patch they
saw a bit of hide only partially covered at one end; digging down they
found the body of a well grown grisly cub. Its skull had been crushed,
and the brains licked out, and there were signs of other injuries. The
hunters pondered long over this strange discovery, and hazarded many
guesses as to its meaning. At last they decided that probably the cub
had been killed, and its brains eaten out, either by some old male-
grisly or by a cougar, that the mother had returned and driven away
the murderer, and that she had then buried the body and lain above it,
waiting to wreak her vengeance on the first passer-by.

Old Tazewell Woody, during his thirty years' life as a hunter in the
Rockies and on the great plains, killed very many grislies. He always
exercised much caution in dealing with them; and, as it happened, he
was by some suitable tree in almost every case when he was charged. He
would accordingly climb the tree (a practice of which I do not approve
however); and the bear would look up at him and pass on without
stopping. Once, when he was hunting in the mountains with a companion,
the latter, who was down in a valley, while Woody was on the hill-
side, shot at a bear. The first thing Woody knew the wounded grisly,
running up-hill, was almost on him from behind. As he turned it seized
his rifle in its jaws. He wrenched the rifle round, while the bear
still gripped it, and pulled trigger, sending a bullet into its
shoulder; whereupon it struck him with its paw, and knocked him over
the rocks. By good luck he fell in a snow bank and was not hurt in the
least. Meanwhile the bear went on and they never got it.

Once he had an experience with a bear which showed a very curious
mixture of rashness and cowardice. He and a companion were camped in a
little tepee or wigwam, with a bright fire in front of it, lighting up
the night. There was an inch of snow on the ground. Just after they
went to bed a grisly came close to camp. Their dog rushed out and they
could hear it bark round in the darkness for nearly an hour; then the
bear drove it off and came right into camp. It went close to the fire,
picking up the scraps of meat and bread, pulled a haunch of venison
down from a tree, and passed and repassed in front of the tepee,
paying no heed whatever to the two men, who crouched in the doorway
talking to one another. Once it passed so close that Woody could
almost have touched it. Finally his companion fired into it, and off
it ran, badly wounded, without an attempt at retaliation. Next morning
they followed its tracks in the snow, and found it a quarter or a mile
away. It was near a pine and had buried itself under the loose earth,
pine needles, and snow; Woody's companion almost walked over it, and
putting his rifle to its ear blew out its brains.

In all his experience Woody had personally seen but four men who were
badly mauled by bears. Three of these were merely wounded. One was
bitten terribly in the back. Another had an arm partially chewed off.
The third was a man named George Dow, and the accident happened to him
on the Yellowstone about the year 1878. He was with a pack animal at
the time, leading it on a trail through a wood. Seeing a big she-bear
with cubs he yelled at her; whereat she ran away, but only to cache
her cubs, and in a minute, having hidden them, came racing back at
him. His pack animal being slow he started to climb a tree; but before
he could get far enough up she caught him, almost biting a piece out
of the calf of his leg, pulled him down, bit and cuffed him two or
three times, and then went on her way.

The only time Woody ever saw a man killed by a bear was once when he
had given a touch of variety to his life by shipping on a New Bedford
whaler which had touched at one of the Puget Sound ports. The whaler
went up to a part of Alaska where bears were very plentiful and bold.
One day a couple of boats' crews landed; and the men, who were armed
only with an occasional harpoon or lance, scattered over the beach,
one of them, a Frenchman, wading into the water after shell-fish.
Suddenly a bear emerged from some bushes and charged among the
astonished sailors, who scattered in every direction; but the bear,
said Woody, "just had it in for that Frenchman," and went straight at
him. Shrieking with terror he retreated up to his neck in the water;
but the bear plunged in after him, caught him, and disembowelled him.
One of the Yankee mates then fired a bomb lance into the bear's hips,
and the savage beast hobbled off into the dense cover of the low
scrub, where the enraged sailor folk were unable to get at it.

The truth is that while the grisly generally avoids a battle if
possible, and often acts with great cowardice, it is never safe to
take liberties with him; he usually fights desperately and dies hard
when wounded and cornered, and exceptional individuals take the
aggressive on small provocation.

During the years I lived on the frontier I came in contact with many
persons who had been severely mauled or even crippled for life by
grislies; and a number of cases where they killed men outright were
also brought under my ken. Generally these accidents, as was natural,
occurred to hunters who had roused or wounded the game.

A fighting bear sometimes uses his claws and sometimes his teeth. I
have never known one to attempt to kill an antagonist by hugging, in
spite of the popular belief to this effect; though he will sometimes
draw an enemy towards him with his paws the better to reach him with
his teeth, and to hold him so that he cannot escape from the biting.
Nor does the bear often advance on his hind legs to the attack;
though, if the man has come close to him in thick underbrush, or has
stumbled on him in his lair unawares, he will often rise up in this
fashion and strike a single blow. He will also rise in clinching with
a man on horseback. In 1882 a mounted Indian was killed in this manner
on one of the river bottoms some miles below where my ranch house now
stands, not far from the junction of the Beaver and Little Missouri.
The bear had been hunted into a thicket by a band of Indians, in whose
company my informant, a white squaw-man, with whom I afterward did
some trading, was travelling. One of them in the excitement of the
pursuit rode across the end of the thicket; as he did so the great
beast sprang at him with wonderful quickness, rising on its hind legs,
and knocking over the horse and rider with a single sweep of its
terrible fore-paws. It then turned on the fallen man and tore him
open, and though the other Indians came promptly to his rescue and
slew his assailant, they were not in time to save their comrade's

A bear is apt to rely mainly on his teeth or claws according to
whether his efforts are directed primarily to killing his foe or to
making good his own escape. In the latter event he trusts chiefly to
his claws. If cornered, he of course makes a rush for freedom, and in
that case he downs any man who is in his way with a sweep of his great
paw, but passes on without stopping to bite him. If while sleeping or
resting in thick brush some one suddenly stumbles on him close up he
pursues the same course, less from anger than from fear, being
surprised and startled. Moreover, if attacked at close quarters by men
and dogs he strikes right and left in defence.

Sometimes what is called a charge is rather an effort to get away. In
localities where he has been hunted, a bear, like every other kind of
game, is always on the look-out for an attack, and is prepared at any
moment for immediate flight. He seems ever to have in his mind,
whether feeding, sunning himself, or merely roaming around, the
direction--usually towards the thickest cover or most broken ground--
in which he intends to run if molested. When shot at he instantly
starts towards this place; or he may be so confused that he simply
runs he knows not whither; and in either event he may take a line that
leads almost directly to or by the hunter, although he had at first no
thought of charging. In such a case he usually strikes a single knock-
down blow and gallops on without halting, though that one blow may
have taken life. If the claws are long and fairly sharp (as in early
spring, or even in the fall, if the animal has been working over soft
ground) they add immensely to the effect of the blow, for they cut
like blunt axes. Often, however, late in the season, and if the ground
has been dry and hard, or rocky, the claws are worn down nearly to the
quick, and the blow is then given mainly with the under side of the
paw; although even under this disadvantage a thump from a big bear
will down a horse or smash in a man's breast. The hunter Hofer once
lost a horse in this manner. He shot at and wounded a bear which
rushed off, as ill luck would have it, past the place where his horse
was picketed; probably more in fright than in anger it struck the poor
beast a blow which, in the end, proved mortal.

If a bear means mischief and charges not to escape but to do damage,
its aim is to grapple with or throw down its foe and bite him to
death. The charge is made at a gallop, the animal sometimes coming on
silently, with the mouth shut, and sometimes with the jaws open, the
lips drawn back and teeth showing, uttering at the same time a
succession of roars or of savage rasping snarls. Certain bears charge
without any bluster and perfectly straight; while others first
threaten and bully, and even when charging stop to growl, shake the
head and bite at a bush or knock holes in the ground with their fore-
paws. Again, some of them charge home with a ferocious resolution
which their extreme tenacity of life renders especially dangerous;
while others can be turned or driven back even by a shot which is not
mortal. They show the same variability in their behavior when wounded.
Often a big bear, especially if charging, will receive a bullet in
perfect silence, without flinching or seeming to pay any heed to it;
while another will cry out and tumble about, and if charging, even
though it may not abandon the attack, will pause for a moment to whine
or bite at the wound.

Sometimes a single bite causes death. One of the most successful bear
hunters I ever knew, an old fellow whose real name I never heard as he
was always called Old Ike, was killed in this way in the spring or
early summer of 1886 on one of the head-waters of the Salmon. He was a
very good shot, had killed nearly a hundred bears with the rifle, and,
although often charged, had never met with any accident, so that he
had grown somewhat careless. On the day in question he had met a
couple of mining prospectors and was travelling with them, when a
grisly crossed his path. The old hunter immediately ran after it,
rapidly gaining, as the bear did not hurry when it saw itself pursued,
but slouched slowly forwards, occasionally turning its head to grin
and growl. It soon went into a dense grove of young spruce, and as the
hunter reached the edge it charged fiercely out. He fired one hasty
shot, evidently wounding the animal, but not seriously enough to stop
or cripple it; and as his two companions ran forward they saw the bear
seize him with its wide-spread jaws, forcing him to the ground. They
shouted and fired, and the beast abandoned the fallen man on the
instant and sullenly retreated into the spruce thicket, whither they
dared not follow it. Their friend was at his last gasp; for the whole
side of the chest had been crushed in by the one bite, the lungs
showing between the rent ribs.

Very often, however, a bear does not kill a man by one bite, but after
throwing him lies on him, biting him to death. Usually, if no
assistance is at hand, such a man is doomed; although if he pretends
to be dead, and has the nerve to lie quiet under very rough treatment,
it is just possible that the bear may leave him alive, perhaps after
half burying what it believes to be the body. In a very few
exceptional instances men of extraordinary prowess with the knife have
succeeded in beating off a bear, and even in mortally wounding it, but
in most cases a single-handed struggle, at close quarters, with a
grisly bent on mischief, means death.

Occasionally the bear, although vicious, is also frightened, and
passes on after giving one or two bites; and frequently a man who is
knocked down is rescued by his friends before he is killed, the big
beast mayhap using his weapons with clumsiness. So a bear may kill a
foe with a single blow of its mighty fore-arm, either crushing in the
head or chest by sheer force of sinew, or else tearing open the body
with its formidable claws; and so on the other hand he may, and often
does, merely disfigure or maim the foe by a hurried stroke. Hence it
is common to see men who have escaped the clutches of a grisly, but
only at the cost of features marred beyond recognition, or a body
rendered almost helpless for life. Almost every old resident of
western Montana or northern Idaho has known two or three unfortunates
who have suffered in this manner. I have myself met one such man in
Helena, and another in Missoula; both were living at least as late as
1889, the date at which I last saw them. One had been partially
scalped by a bear's teeth; the animal was very old and so the fangs
did not enter the skull. The other had been bitten across the face,
and the wounds never entirely healed, so that his disfigured visage
was hideous to behold.

Most of these accidents occur in following a wounded or worried bear
into thick cover; and under such circumstances an animal apparently
hopelessly disabled, or in the death throes, may with a last effort
kill one or more of its assailants. In 1874 my wife's uncle, Captain
Alexander Moore, U. S. A., and my friend Captain Bates, with some men
of the 2nd and 3rd Cavalry, were scouting in Wyoming, near the
Freezeout Mountains. One morning they roused a bear in the open
prairie and followed it at full speed as it ran towards a small creek.
At one spot in the creek beavers had built a dam, and as usual in such
places there was a thick growth of bushes and willow saplings. Just as
the bear reached the edge of this little jungle it was struck by
several balls, both of its forelegs being broken. Nevertheless, it
managed to shove itself forward on its hind-legs, and partly rolled,
partly pushed itself into the thicket, the bushes though low being so
dense that its body was at once completely hidden. The thicket was a
mere patch of brush, not twenty yards across in any direction. The
leading troopers reached the edge almost as the bear tumbled in. One
of them, a tall and powerful man named Miller, instantly dismounted
and prepared to force his way in among the dwarfed willows, which were
but breast-high. Among the men who had ridden up were Moore and Bates,
and also the two famous scouts, Buffalo Bill--long a companion of
Captain Moore,--and California Joe, Custer's faithful follower.
California Joe had spent almost all his life on the plains and in the
mountains, as a hunter and Indian fighter; and when he saw the trooper
about to rush into the thicket he called out to him not to do so,
warning him of the danger. But the man was a very reckless fellow and
he answered by jeering at the old hunter for his over-caution in being
afraid of a crippled bear. California Joe made no further effort to
dissuade him, remarking quietly: "Very well, sonny, go in; it's your
own affair." Miller then leaped off the bank on which they stood and
strode into the thicket, holding his rifle at the port. Hardly had he
taken three steps when the bear rose in front of him, roaring with
rage and pain. It was so close that the man had no chance to fire. Its
fore-arms hung useless and as it reared unsteadily on its hind-legs,
lunging forward at him, he seized it by the ears and strove to hold it
back. His strength was very great, and he actually kept the huge head
from his face and braced himself so that he was not overthrown; but
the bear twisted its muzzle from side to side, biting and tearing the
man's arms and shoulders. Another soldier jumping down slew the beast
with a single bullet, and rescued his comrade; but though alive he was
too badly hurt to recover and died after reaching the hospital.
Buffalo Bill was given the bear-skin, and I believe has it now.

The instances in which hunters who have rashly followed grislies into
thick cover have been killed or severely mauled might be multiplied
indefinitely. I have myself known of eight cases in which men have met
their deaths in this manner.

It occasionally happens that a cunning old grisly will lie so close
that the hunter almost steps on him; and he then rises suddenly with a
loud, coughing growl and strikes down or seizes the man before the
latter can fire off his rifle. More rarely a bear which is both
vicious and crafty deliberately permits the hunter to approach fairly
near to, or perhaps pass by, its hiding-place, and then suddenly
charges him with such rapidity that he has barely time for the most
hurried shot. The danger in such a case is of course great.

Ordinarily, however, even in the brush, the bear's object is to slink
away, not to fight, and very many are killed even under the most
unfavorable circumstances without accident. If an unwounded bear
thinks itself unobserved it is not apt to attack; and in thick cover
it is really astonishing to see how one of these large animals can
hide, and how closely it will lie when there is danger. About twelve
miles below my ranch there are some large river bottoms and creek
bottoms covered with a matted mass of cottonwood, box-alders, bull-
berry bushes, rosebushes, ash, wild plums, and other bushes. These
bottoms have harbored bears ever since I first saw them; but, though
often in company with a large party, I have repeatedly beaten through
them, and though we must at times have been very near indeed to the
game, we never so much as heard it run.

When bears are shot, as they usually must be, in open timber or on the
bare mountain, the risk is very much less. Hundreds may thus be killed
with comparatively little danger; yet even under these circumstances
they will often charge, and sometimes make their charge good. The
spice of danger, especially to a man armed with a good repeating
rifle, is only enough to add zest to the chase, and the chief triumph
is in outwitting the wary quarry and getting within range. Ordinarily
the only excitement is in the stalk, the bear doing nothing more than
keep a keen look-out and manifest the utmost anxiety to get away. As
is but natural, accidents occasionally occur; yet they are usually due
more to some failure in man or weapon than to the prowess of the bear.
A good hunter whom I once knew, at a time when he was living in Butte,
received fatal injuries from a bear he attacked in open woodland. The
beast charged after the first shot, but slackened its pace on coming
almost up to the man. The latter's gun jambed, and as he was
endeavoring to work it he kept stepping slowly back, facing the bear
which followed a few yards distant, snarling and threatening.
Unfortunately while thus walking backwards the man struck a dead log
and fell over it, whereupon the beast instantly sprang on him and
mortally wounded him before help arrived.

On rare occasions men who are not at the time hunting it fall victims
to the grisly. This is usually because they stumble on it unawares and
the animal attacks them more in fear than in anger. One such case,
resulting fatally, occurred near my own ranch. The man walked almost
over a bear while crossing a little point of brush, in a bend of the
river, and was brained with a single blow of the paw. In another
instance which came to my knowledge the man escaped with a shaking up,
and without even a fight. His name was Perkins, and he was out
gathering huckleberries in the woods on a mountain side near
Pend'Oreille Lake. Suddenly he was sent flying head over heels, by a
blow which completely knocked the breath out of his body; and so
instantaneous was the whole affair that all he could ever recollect
about it was getting a vague glimpse of the bear just as he was bowled
over. When he came to he found himself lying some distance down the
hill-side, much shaken, and without his berry pail, which had rolled a
hundred yards below him, but not otherwise the worse for his
misadventure; while the footprints showed that the bear, after
delivering the single hurried stoke at the unwitting disturber of its
day-dreams, had run off up-hill as fast as it was able.

A she-bear with cubs is a proverbially dangerous beast; yet even under
such conditions different grislies act in directly opposite ways. Some
she-grislies, when their cubs are young, but are able to follow them
about, seem always worked up to the highest pitch of anxious and
jealous rage, so that they are likely to attack unprovoked any
intruder or even passer-by. Others when threatened by the hunter leave
their cubs to their fate without a visible qualm of any kind, and seem
to think only of their own safety.

In 1882 Mr. Casper W. Whitney, now of New York, met with a very
singular adventure with a she-bear and cub. He was in Harvard when I
was, but left it and, like a good many other Harvard men of that time,
took to cow-punching in the West. He went on a ranch in Rio Arriba
County, New Mexico, and was a keen hunter, especially fond of the
chase of cougar, bear, and elk. One day while riding a stony mountain
trail he saw a grisly cub watching him from the chaparral above, and
he dismounted to try to capture it; his rifle was a 40-90 Sharp's.
Just as he neared the cub, he heard a growl and caught a glimpse of
the old she, and he at once turned up-hill, and stood under some tall,
quaking aspens. From this spot he fired at and wounded the she, then
seventy yards off; and she charged furiously. He hit her again, but as
she kept coming like a thunderbolt he climbed hastily up the aspen,
dragging his gun with him, as it had a strap. When the bear reached
the foot of the aspen she reared, and bit and clawed the slender
trunk, shaking it for a moment, and he shot her through the eye. Off
she sprang for a few yards, and then spun round a dozen times, as if
dazed or partially stunned; for the bullet had not touched the brain.
Then the vindictive and resolute beast came back to the tree and again
reared up against it; this time to receive a bullet that dropped her
lifeless. Mr. Whitney then climbed down and walked to where the cub
had been sitting as a looker-on. The little animal did not move until
he reached out his hand; when it suddenly struck at him like an angry
cat, dove into the bushes, and was seen no more.

In the summer of 1888 an old-time trapper, named Charley Norton, while
on Loon Creek, of the middle fork of the Salmon, meddled with a she
and her cubs. She ran at him and with one blow of her paw almost
knocked off his lower jaw; yet he recovered, and was alive when I last
heard of him.

Yet the very next spring the cowboys with my own wagon on the Little
Missouri round-up killed a mother bear which made but little more
fight than a coyote. She had two cubs, and was surprised in the early
morning on the prairie far from cover. There were eight or ten cowboys
together at the time, just starting off on a long circle, and of
course they all got down their ropes in a second, and putting spurs to
their fiery little horses started toward the bears at a run, shouting
and swinging their loops round their heads. For a moment the old she
tried to bluster and made a half-hearted threat of charging; but her
courage failed before the rapid onslaught of her yelling, rope-
swinging assailants; and she took to her heels and galloped off,
leaving the cubs to shift for themselves. The cowboys were close
behind, however, and after half a mile's run she bolted into a shallow
cave or hole in the side of a butte, where she stayed cowering and
growling, until one of the men leaped off his horse, ran up to the
edge of the hole, and killed her with a single bullet from his
revolver, fired so close that the powder burned her hair. The
unfortunate cubs were roped, and then so dragged about that they were
speedily killed instead of being brought alive to camp, as ought to
have been done.

In the cases mentioned above the grisly attacked only after having
been itself assailed, or because it feared an assault, for itself or
for its young. In the old days, however, it may almost be said that a
grisly was more apt to attack than to flee. Lewis and Clarke and the
early explorers who immediately succeeded them, as well as the first
hunters and trappers, the "Rocky Mountain men" of the early decades of
the present century, were repeatedly assailed in this manner; and not
a few of the bear hunters of that period found that it was unnecessary
to take much trouble about approaching their quarry, as the grisly was
usually prompt to accept the challenge and to advance of its own
accord, as soon as it discovered the foe. All this is changed now. Yet
even at the present day an occasional vicious old bear may be found,
in some far-off and little-trod fastness, which still keeps up the
former habit of its kind. All old hunters have tales of this sort to
relate, the prowess, cunning, strength, and ferocity of the grisly
being favorite topics for camp-fire talk throughout the Rockies; but
in most cases it is not safe to accept these stories without careful

Still it is just as unsafe to reject them all. One of my own cowboys
was once attacked by a grisly, seemingly in pure wantonness. He was
riding up a creek bottom and had just passed a clump of rose and bull-
berry bushes when his horse gave such a leap as almost to unseat him,
and then darted madly forward. Turning round in the saddle to his
utter astonishment he saw a large bear galloping after him, at the
horse's heels. For a few jumps the race was close, then the horse drew
away and the bear wheeled and went into a thicket of wild plums. The
amazed and indignant cowboy, as soon as he could rein in his steed,
drew his revolver and rode back to and around the thicket, endeavoring
to provoke his late pursuer to come out and try conclusions on more
equal terms; but prudent Ephraim had apparently repented of his freak
of ferocious bravado, and declined to leave the secure shelter of the

Other attacks are of a much more explicable nature. Mr. Huffman, the
photographer of Miles City, informed me once when butchering some
slaughtered elk he was charged twice by a she-bear and two well-grown
cubs. This was a piece of sheer bullying, undertaken solely with the
purpose of driving away the man and feasting on the carcasses; for in
each charge the three bears, after advancing with much blustering,
roaring, and growling, halted just before coming to close quarters. In
another instance a gentleman I once knew, a Mr. S. Carr. was charged
by a grisly from mere ill temper at being disturbed at mealtime. The
man was riding up a valley; and the bear was at an elk carcass, near a
clump of firs. As soon as it became aware of the approach of the
horseman, while he was yet over a hundred yards distant, it jumped on
the carcass, looked at him a moment, and then ran straight for him.
There was no particular reason why it should have charged, for it was
fat and in good trim, though when killed its head showed scars made by
the teeth of rival grislies. Apparently it had been living so well,
principally on flesh, that it had become quarrelsome; and perhaps its
not over sweet disposition had been soured by combats with others of
its own kind. In yet another case, a grisly charged with even less
excuse. An old trapper, from whom I occasionally bought fur, was
toiling up a mountain pass when he spied a big bear sitting on his
haunches on the hill-side above. The trapper shouted and waved his
cap; whereupon, to his amazement, the bear uttered a loud "wough" and
charged straight down on him--only to fall a victim to misplaced

I am even inclined to think that there have been wholly exceptional
occasions when a grisly has attacked a man with the deliberate purpose
of making a meal of him; when, in other words, it has started on the
career of a man-eater. At least, on any other theory I find it
difficult to account for an attack which once came to my knowledge. I
was at Sand point, on Pend'Oreille Lake, and met some French and Meti
trappers, then in town with their bales of beaver, otter, and sable.
One of them, who gave his name as Baptiste Lamoche, had his head
twisted over to one side, the result of the bite of a bear. When the
accident occurred he was out on a trapping trip with two companions.
They had pitched camp right on the shore of a cove in a little lake,
and his comrades were off fishing in a dugout or pirogue. He himself
was sitting near the shore, by a little lean-to, watching some beaver
meat which was sizzling over the dying embers. Suddenly, and without
warning, a great bear, which had crept silently up beneath the shadows
of the tall evergreens, rushed at him, with a guttural roar, and
seized him before he could rise to his feet. It grasped him with its
jaws at the junction of the neck and shoulder, making the teeth meet
through bone, sinew, and muscle; and turning, tracked off towards the
forest, dragging with it the helpless and paralyzed victim. Luckily
the two men in the canoe had just paddled round the point, in sight
of, and close to, camp. The man in the bow, seeing the plight of their
comrade, seized his rifle and fired at the bear. The bullet went
through the beast's lungs, and it forthwith dropped its prey, and
running off some two hundred yards, lay down on its side and died. The
rescued man recovered full health and strength, but never again
carried his head straight.

Old hunters and mountain-men tell many stories, not only of malicious
grislies thus attacking men in camp, but also of their even dogging
the footsteps of some solitary hunter and killing him when the
favorable opportunity occurs. Most of these tales are mere fables; but
it is possible that in altogether exceptional instances they rest on a
foundation of fact. One old hunter whom I knew told me such a story.
He was a truthful old fellow and there was no doubt that he believed
what he said, and that his companion was actually killed by a bear;
but it is probable that he was mistaken in reading the signs of his
comrade's fate, and that the latter was not dogged by the bear at all,
but stumbled on him and was slain in the surprise of the moment.

At any rate, cases of wanton assaults by grislies are altogether out
of the common. The ordinary hunter may live out his whole life in the
wilderness and never know aught of a bear attacking a man unprovoked;
and the great majority of bears are shot under circumstances of no
special excitement, as they either make no fight at all, or, if they
do fight, are killed before there is any risk of their doing damage.
If surprised on the plains, at some distance from timber or from badly
broken ground, it is no uncommon feat for a single horseman to kill
them with a revolver. Twice of late years it has been performed in the
neighborhood of my ranch. In both instances the men were not hunters
out after game, but simply cowboys, riding over the range in early
morning in pursuance of their ordinary duties among the cattle. I knew
both men and have worked with them on the round-up. Like most cowboys,
they carried 44-calibre Colt revolvers, and were accustomed to and
fairly expert in their use, and they were mounted on ordinary cow-
ponies--quick, wiry, plucky little beasts. In one case the bear was
seen from quite a distance, lounging across a broad table-land. The
cowboy, by taking advantage of a winding and rather shallow coulie,
got quite close to him. He then scrambled out of the coulie, put spurs
to his pony, and raced up to within fifty yards of the astonished bear
ere the latter quite understood what it was that was running at him
through the gray dawn. He made no attempt at fight, but ran at top
speed towards a clump of brush not far off at the head of a creek.
Before he could reach it, however, the galloping horsemen was
alongside, and fired three shots into his broad back. He did not turn,
but ran on into the bushes and then fell over and died.

In the other case the cowboy, a Texan, was mounted on a good cutting
pony, a spirited, handy, agile little animal, but excitable, and with
a habit of dancing, which rendered it difficult to shoot from its
back. The man was with the round-up wagon, and had been sent off by
himself to make a circle through some low, barren buttes, where it was
not thought more than a few head of stock would be found. On rounding
the corner of a small washout he almost ran over a bear which was
feeding on the carcass of a steer that had died in an alkali hole.
After a moment of stunned surprise the bear hurled himself at the
intruder with furious impetuosity; while the cowboy, wheeling his
horse on its haunches and dashing in the spurs, carried it just clear
of his assailant's headlong rush. After a few springs he reined in and
once more wheeled half round, having drawn his revolver, only to find
the bear again charging and almost on him. This time he fired into it,
near the joining of the neck and shoulder, the bullet going downwards
into the chest hollow; and again by a quick dash to one side he just
avoided the rush of the beast and the sweep of its mighty forepaw. The
bear then halted for a minute, and he rode close by it at a run,
firing a couple of shots, which brought on another resolute charge.
The ground was somewhat rugged and broken, but his pony was as quick
on its feet as a cat, and never stumbled, even when going at full
speed to avoid the bear's first mad rushes. It speedily became so
excited, however, as to render it almost impossible for the rider to
take aim. Sometimes he would come up close to the bear and wait for it
to charge, which it would do, first at a trot, or rather rack, and
then at a lumbering but swift gallop; and he would fire one or two
shots before being forced to run. At other times, if the bear stood
still in a good place, he would run by it, firing as he rode. He spent
many cartridges, and though most of them were wasted occasionally a
bullet went home. The bear fought with the most savage courage,
champing its bloody jaws, roaring with rage, and looking the very
incarnation of evil fury. For some minutes it made no effort to flee,
either charging or standing at bay. Then it began to move slowly
towards a patch of ash and wild plums in the head of a coulie, some
distance off. Its pursuer rode after it, and when close enough would
push by it and fire, while the bear would spin quickly round and
charge as fiercely as ever, though evidently beginning to grow weak.
At last, when still a couple of hundred yards from cover the man found
he had used up all his cartridges, and then merely followed at a safe
distance. The bear no longer paid heed to him, but walked slowly
forwards, swaying its great head from side to side, while the blood
streamed from between its half-opened jaws. On reaching the cover he
could tell by the waving of the bushes that it walked to the middle
and then halted. A few minutes afterwards some of the other cowboys
rode up, having been attracted by the incessant firing. They
surrounded the thicket, firing and throwing stones into the bushes.
Finally, as nothing moved, they ventured in and found the indomitable
grisly warrior lying dead.

Cowboys delight in nothing so much as the chance to show their skill
as riders and ropers; and they always try to ride down and rope any
wild animal they come across in favorable ground and close enough up.
If a party of them meets a bear in the open they have great fun; and
the struggle between the shouting, galloping, rough-riders and their
shaggy quarry is full of wild excitement and not unaccompanied by
danger. The bear often throws the noose from his head so rapidly that
it is a difficult matter to catch him; and his frequent charges
scatter his tormentors in every direction while the horses become wild
with fright over the roaring, bristling beast--for horses seem to
dread a bear more than any other animal. If the bear cannot reach
cover, however, his fate is sealed. Sooner or later, the noose
tightens over one leg, or perchance over the neck and fore-paw, and as
the rope straightens with a "plunk," the horse braces itself
desperately and the bear tumbles over. Whether he regains his feet or
not the cowboy keeps the rope taut; soon another noose tightens over a
leg, and the bear is speedily rendered helpless.

I have known of these feats being performed several times in northern
Wyoming, although never in the immediate neighborhood of my ranch. Mr.
Archibald Roger's cowhands have in this manner caught several bears,
on or near his ranch on the Gray Bull, which flows into the Bighorn;
and those of Mr. G. B. Grinnell have also occasionally done so. Any
set of moderately good ropers and riders, who are accustomed to back
one another up and act together, can accomplish the feat if they have
smooth ground and plenty of room. It is, however, indeed a feat of
skill and daring for a single man; and yet I have known of more than
one instance in which it has been accomplished by some reckless knight
of the rope and the saddle. One such occurred in 1887 on the Flathead
Reservation, the hero being a half-breed; and another in 1890 at the
mouth of the Bighorn, where a cowboy roped, bound, and killed a large
bear single-handed.

My friend General "Red" Jackson, of Bellemeade, in the pleasant mid-
county of Tennessee, once did a feat which casts into the shade even
the feats of the men of the lariat. General Jackson, who afterwards
became one of the ablest and most renowned of the Confederate cavalry
leaders, was at the time a young officer in the Mounted Rifle
Regiment, now known as the 3rd United States Cavalry. It was some
years before the Civil War, and the regiment was on duty in the
Southwest, then the debatable land of Comanche and Apache. While on a
scout after hostile Indians, the troops in their march roused a large
grisly which sped off across the plain in front of them. Strict orders
had been issued against firing at game, because of the nearness of the
Indians. Young Jackson was a man of great strength, a keen swordsman,
who always kept the finest edge on his blade, and he was on a swift
and mettled Kentucky horse, which luckily had but one eye. Riding at
full speed he soon overtook the quarry. As the horse hoofs sounded
nearer, the grim bear ceased its flight, and whirling round stood at
bay, raising itself on its hind-legs and threatening its pursuer with
bared fangs and spread claws. Carefully riding his horse so that its
blind side should be towards the monster, the cavalryman swept by at a
run, handling his steed with such daring skill that he just cleared
the blow of the dreaded fore-paw, while with one mighty sabre stroke
he cleft the bear's skull, slaying the grinning beast as it stood



No animal of the chase is so difficult to kill by fair still-hunting
as the cougar--that beast of many names, known in the East as panther
and painter, in the West as mountain lion, in the Southwest as Mexican
lion, and in the southern continent as lion and puma.

Without hounds its pursuit is so uncertain that from the still-
hunter's standpoint it hardly deserves to rank as game at all--though,
by the way, it is itself a more skilful still-hunter than any human
rival. It prefers to move abroad by night or at dusk; and in the
daytime usually lies hid in some cave or tangled thicket where it is
absolutely impossible even to stumble on it by chance. It is a beast
of stealth and rapine; its great, velvet paws never make a sound, and
it is always on the watch whether for prey or for enemies, while it
rarely leaves shelter even when it thinks itself safe. Its soft,
leisurely movements and uniformity of color make it difficult to
discover at best, and its extreme watchfulness helps it; but it is the
cougar's reluctance to leave cover at any time, its habit of slinking
off through the brush, instead of running in the open, when startled,
and the way in which it lies motionless in its lair even when a man is
within twenty yards, that render it so difficult to still-hunt.

In fact it is next to impossible with any hope of success regularly to
hunt the cougar without dogs or bait. Most cougars that are killed by
still-hunters are shot by accident while the man is after other game.
This has been my own experience. Although not common, cougars are
found near my ranch, where the ground is peculiarly favorable for the
solitary rifleman; and for ten years I have, off and on, devoted a day
or two to their pursuit; but never successfully. One December a large
cougar took up his abode on a densely wooded bottom two miles above
the ranch house. I did not discover his existence until I went there
one evening to kill a deer, and found that he had driven all the deer
off the bottom, having killed several, as well as a young heifer. Snow
was falling at the time, but the storm was evidently almost over; the
leaves were all off the trees and bushes; and I felt that next day
there would be such a chance to follow the cougar as fate rarely
offered. In the morning by dawn I was at the bottom, and speedily
found his trail. Following it I came across his bed, among some cedars
in a dark, steep gorge, where the buttes bordered the bottom. He had
evidently just left it, and I followed his tracks all day. But I never
caught a glimpse of him, and late in the afternoon I trudged wearily
homewards. When I went out next morning I found that as soon as I
abandoned the chase, my quarry, according to the uncanny habit
sometimes displayed by his kind, coolly turned likewise, and
deliberately dogged my footsteps to within a mile of the ranch house;
his round footprints being as clear as writing in the snow.

This was the best chance of the kind that I ever had; but again and
again I have found fresh signs of cougar, such as a lair which they
had just left, game they had killed, or one of our venison caches
which they had robbed, and have hunted for them all day without
success. My failures were doubtless due in part to various
shortcomings in hunter's-craft on my own part; but equally without
doubt they were mainly due to the quarry's wariness and its sneaking

I have seen a wild cougar alive but twice, and both times by chance.
On one occasion one of my men, Merrifield, and I surprised one eating
a skunk in a bull-berry patch; and by our own bungling frightened it
away from its unsavory repast without getting a shot.

On the other occasion luck befriended me. I was with a pack train in
the Rockies, and one day, feeling lazy, and as we had no meat in camp,
I determined to try for deer by lying in wait beside a recently
travelled game trail. The spot I chose was a steep, pine-clad slope
leading down to a little mountain lake. I hid behind a breastwork of
rotten logs, with a few young evergreens in front--an excellent
ambush. A broad game trail slanted down the hill directly past me. I
lay perfectly quiet for about an hour, listening to the murmur of the
pine forests, and the occasional call of a jay or woodpecker, and
gazing eagerly along the trail in the waning light of the late
afternoon. Suddenly, without noise or warning of any kind, a cougar
stood in the trail before me. The unlooked-for and unheralded approach
of the beast was fairly ghost-like. With its head lower than its
shoulders, and its long tail twitching, it slouched down the path,
treading as softly as a kitten. I waited until it had passed and then
fired into the short ribs, the bullet ranging forward. Throwing its
tail up in the air, and giving a bound, the cougar galloped off over a
slight ridge. But it did not go far; within a hundred yards I found it
stretched on its side, its jaws still working convulsively.

The true way to hunt the cougar is to follow it with dogs. If the
chase is conducted in this fashion, it is very exciting, and resembles
on a larger scale the ordinary method of hunting the wildcat or small
lynx, as practised by the sport-loving planters of the southern
States. With a very little training, hounds readily and eagerly pursue
the cougar, showing in this kind of chase none of the fear and disgust
they are so prone to exhibit when put on the trail of the certainly no
more dangerous wolf. The cougar, when the hounds are on its track, at
first runs, but when hard-pressed takes to a tree, or possibly comes
to bay in thick cover. Its attention is then so taken up with the
hounds that it can usually be approached and shot without much
difficulty; though some cougars break bay when the hunters come near,
and again make off, when they can only be stopped by many large and
fierce hounds. Hounds are often killed in these fights; and if hungry
a cougar will pounce on any dog for food; yet, as I have elsewhere
related, I know of one instance in which a small pack of big, savage
hounds killed a cougar unassisted. General Wade Hampton, who with
horse and hound has been the mightiest hunter America has ever seen,
informs me that he has killed with his pack some sixteen cougars,
during the fifty years he has hunted in South Carolina and
Mississippi. I believe they were all killed in the latter State.
General Hampton's hunting has been chiefly for bear and deer, though
his pack also follows the lynx and the gray fox; and, of course, if
good fortune throws either a wolf or a cougar in his way it is
followed as the game of all others. All the cougars he killed were
either treed or brought to bay in a canebrake by the hounds; and they
often handled the pack very roughly in the death struggle. He found
them much more dangerous antagonists than the black bear when assailed
with the hunting knife, a weapon of which he was very fond. However,
if his pack had held a few very large, savage, dogs, put in purely for
fighting when the quarry was at bay, I think the danger would have
been minimized.

General Hampton followed his game on horseback; but in following the
cougar with dogs this is by no means always necessary. Thus Col. Cecil
Clay, of Washington, killed a cougar in West Virginia, on foot with
only three or four hounds. The dogs took the cold trail, and he had to
run many miles over the rough, forest-clad mountains after them.
Finally they drove the cougar up a tree; where he found it, standing
among the branches, in a half-erect position, its hind-feet on one
limb and its fore-feet on another, while it glared down at the dogs,
and switched its tail from side to side. He shot it through both
shoulders, and down it came in a heap, whereupon the dogs jumped in
and worried it, for its fore-legs were useless, though it managed to
catch one dog in its jaws and bite him severely.

A wholly exceptional instance of the kind was related to me by my old
hunting friend Willis. In his youth, in southwest Missouri, he knew a
half-witted "poor white" who was very fond of hunting coons. He hunted
at night, armed with an axe, and accompanied by his dog Penny, a
large, savage, half-starved cur. One dark night the dog treed an
animal which he could not see; so he cut down the tree, and
immediately Penny jumped in and grabbed the beast. The man sung out
"Hold on, Penny," seeing that the dog had seized some large, wild
animal; the next moment the brute knocked the dog endways, and at the
same instant the man split open its head with the axe. Great was his
astonishment, and greater still the astonishment of the neighbors next
day when it was found that he had actually killed a cougar. These
great cats often take to trees in a perfectly foolish manner. My
friend, the hunter Woody, in all his thirty years' experience in the
wilds never killed but one cougar. He was lying out in camp with two
dogs at the time; it was about midnight, the fire was out, and the
night was pitch-black. He was roused by the furious barking of his two
dogs, who had charged into the gloom, and were apparently baying at
something in a tree close by. He kindled the fire, and to his
astonishment found the thing in the tree to be a cougar. Coming close
underneath he shot it with his revolver; thereupon it leaped down, ran
some forty yards, and climbed up another tree, where it died among the

If cowboys come across a cougar in open ground they invariably chase
and try to rope it--as indeed they do with any wild animal. I have
known several instances of cougars being roped in this way; in one the
animal was brought into camp alive by two strapping cowpunchers.

The cougar sometimes stalks its prey, and sometimes lies in wait for
it beside a game-trail or drinking pool--very rarely indeed does it
crouch on the limb of a tree. When excited by the presence of game it
is sometimes very bold. Willis once fired at some bighorn sheep, on a
steep mountain-side; he missed, and immediately after his shot, a
cougar made a dash into the midst of the flying band, in hopes to
secure a victim. The cougar roams over long distances, and often
changes its hunting ground, perhaps remaining in one place two or
three months, until the game is exhausted, and then shifting to
another. When it does not lie in wait it usually spends most of the
night, winter and summer, in prowling restlessly around the places
where it thinks it may come across prey, and it will patiently follow
an animal's trail. There is no kind of game, save the full-grown
grisly and buffalo, which it does not at times assail and master. It
readily snaps up grisly cubs or buffalo calves; and in at least one
instance, I have know of it springing on, slaying, and eating a full-
grown wolf. I presume the latter was taken by surprise. On the other
hand, the cougar itself has to fear the big timber wolves when
maddened by the winter hunger and gathered in small parties; while a
large grisly would of course be an overmatch for it twice over, though
its superior agility puts it beyond the grisly's power to harm it,
unless by some unlucky chance taken in a cave. Nor could a cougar
overcome a bull moose, or a bull elk either, if the latter's horns
were grown, save by taking it unawares. By choice, with such big game,
its victims are the cows and young. The prong-horn rarely comes within
reach of its spring; but it is the dreaded enemy of bighorn, white
goat, and every kind of deer, while it also preys on all the smaller
beasts, such as foxes, coons, rabbits, beavers, and even gophers,
rats, and mice. It sometimes makes a thorny meal of the porcupine, and
if sufficiently hungry attacks and eats its smaller cousin the lynx.
It is not a brave animal; nor does it run its prey down in open chase.
It always makes its attacks by stealth, and if possible from behind,
and relies on two or three tremendous springs to bring it on the
doomed creature's back. It uses its claws as well as its teeth in
holding and killing the prey. If possible it always seizes a large
animal by the throat, whereas the wolf's point of attack is more often
the haunch or flank. Small deer or sheep it will often knock over and
kill, merely using its big paws; sometimes it breaks their necks. It
has a small head compared to the jaguar, and its bite is much less
dangerous. Hence, as compared to its larger and bolder relative, it
places more trust in its claws and less in its teeth.

Though the cougar prefers woodland, it is not necessarily a beast of
the dense forests only; for it is found in all the plains country,
living in the scanty timber belts which fringe the streams, or among
the patches of brush in the Bad Lands. The persecution of hunters
however always tends to drive it into the most thickly wooded and
broken fastnesses of the mountains. The she has from one to three
kittens, brought forth in a cave or a secluded lair, under a dead log
or in very thick brush. It is said that the old he's kill the small
male kittens when they get a chance. They certainly at times during
the breeding season fight desperately among themselves. Cougars are
very solitary beasts; it is rare to see more than one at a time, and
then only a mother and young, or a mated male and female. While she
has kittens, the mother is doubly destructive to game. The young begin
to kill for themselves very early. The first fall, after they are
born, they attack large game, and from ignorance are bolder in making
their attacks than their parents; but they are clumsy and often let
the prey escape. Like all cats, cougars are comparatively easy to
trap, much more so than beasts of the dog kind, such as the fox and

They are silent animals; but old hunters say that at mating time the
males call loudly, while the females have a very distinct answer. They
are also sometimes noisy at other seasons. I am not sure that I have
ever heard one; but one night, while camped in a heavily timbered
coulie near Kildeer Mountains, where, as their footprints showed, the
beasts were plentiful, I twice heard a loud, wailing scream ringing
through the impenetrable gloom which shrouded the hills around us. My
companion, an old plainsman, said that this was the cry of the cougar
prowling for its prey. Certainly no man could well listen to a stranger
and wilder sound.

Ordinarily the rifleman is in no danger from a hunted cougar; the
beast's one idea seems to be flight, and even if its assailant is very
close, it rarely charges if there is any chance for escape. Yet there
are occasions when it will show fight. In the spring of 1890, a man
with whom I had more than once worked on the round-up--though I never
knew his name--was badly mauled by a cougar near my ranch. He was
hunting with a companion and they unexpectedly came on the cougar on a
shelf of sandstone above their herds, only some ten feet off. It
sprang down on the man, mangled him with teeth and claws for a moment,
and then ran away. Another man I knew, a hunter named Ed. Smith, who
had a small ranch near Helena, was once charged by a wounded cougar;
he received a couple of deep scratches, but was not seriously hurt.

Many old frontiersmen tell tales of the cougar's occasionally itself
making the attack, and dogging to his death some unfortunate wayfarer.
Many others laugh such tales to scorn. It is certain that if such
attacks occur they are altogether exceptional, being indeed of such
extreme rarity that they may be entirely disregarded in practice. I
should have no more hesitation in sleeping out in a wood where there
were cougars, or walking through it after nightfall, than I should
have if the cougars were tomcats.

Yet it is foolish to deny that in exceptional instances attacks may
occur. Cougars vary wonderfully in size, and no less in temper. Indeed
I think that by nature they are as ferocious and bloodthirsty as they
are cowardly; and that their habit of sometimes dogging wayfarers for
miles is due to a desire for bloodshed which they lack the courage to
realize. In the old days, when all wild beasts were less shy than at
present, there was more danger from the cougar; and this was
especially true in the dark canebrakes of some of the southern States
where the man a cougar was most likely to encounter was a nearly naked
and unarmed negro. General Hampton tells me that near his Mississippi
plantation, many years ago, a negro who was one of a gang engaged in
building a railroad through low and wet ground was waylaid and killed
by a cougar late one night as he was walking alone through the swamp.

I knew two men in Missoula who were once attacked by cougars in a very
curious manner. It was in January, and they were walking home through
the snow after a hunt, each carrying on his back the saddle, haunches,
and hide of a deer he had slain. Just at dusk, as they were passing
through a narrow ravine, the man in front heard his partner utter a
sudden loud call for help. Turning, he was dumbfounded to see the man
lying on his face in the snow, with a cougar which had evidently just
knocked him down standing over him, grasping the deer meat; while
another cougar was galloping up to assist. Swinging his rifle round he
shot the first one in the brain, and it dropped motionless, whereat
the second halted, wheeled, and bounded into the woods. His companion
was not in the least hurt or even frightened, though greatly amazed.
The cougars were not full grown, but young of the year.

Now in this case I do not believe the beasts had any real intention of
attacking the men. They were young animals, bold, stupid, and very
hungry. The smell of the raw meat excited them beyond control, and
they probably could not make out clearly what the men were, as they
walked bent under their burdens, with the deer skins on their backs.
Evidently the cougars were only trying to get at the venison.

In 1886 a cougar killed an Indian near Flathead Lake. Two Indians were
hunting together on horseback when they came on the cougar. It fell at
once to their shots, and they dismounted and ran towards it. Just as
they reached it it came to, and seized one, killing him instantly with
a couple of savage bites in the throat and chest; it then raced after
the other, and, as he sprung on his horse, struck him across the
buttocks, inflicting a deep but not dangerous scratch. I saw this
survivor a year later. He evinced great reluctance to talk of the
event, and insisted that the thing which had slain his companion was
not really a cougar at all, but a devil.

A she-cougar does not often attempt to avenge the loss of her young,
but sometimes she does. A remarkable instance of the kind happened to
my friend, Professor John Bache McMaster, in 1875. He was camped near
the head of Green River, Wyoming. One afternoon he found a couple of
cougar kittens, and took them into camp; they were clumsy, playful,
friendly little creatures. The next afternoon he remained in camp with
the cook. Happening to look up suddenly he spied the mother cougar
running noiselessly down on them, her eyes glaring and tail twitching.
Snatching up his rifle, he killed her when she was barely twenty yards

A ranchman, named Trescott, who was at one time my neighbor, told me
that while he was living on a sheep-farm in the Argentine, he found
pumas very common, and killed many. They were very destructive to
sheep and colts, but were singularly cowardly when dealing with men.
Not only did they never attack human beings, under any stress of
hunger, but they made no effective resistance when brought to bay,
merely scratching and cuffing like a big cat; so that if found in a
cave, it was safe to creep in and shoot them with a revolver. Jaguars,
on the contrary, were very dangerous antagonists.



In the United States the peccary is only found in the southernmost
corner of Texas. In April 1892, I made a flying visit to the ranch
country of this region, starting from the town of Uvalde with a Texan
friend, Mr. John Moore. My trip being very hurried, I had but a couple
of days to devote to hunting.

Our first halting-place was at a ranch on the Frio; a low, wooden
building, of many rooms, with open galleries between them, and
verandas round about. The country was in some respects like, in others
strangely unlike, the northern plains with which I was so well
acquainted. It was for the most part covered with a scattered growth
of tough, stunted mesquite trees, not dense enough to be called a
forest, and yet sufficiently close to cut off the view. It was very
dry, even as compared with the northern plains. The bed of the Frio
was filled with coarse gravel, and for the most part dry as a bone on
the surface, the water seeping through underneath, and only appearing
in occasional deep holes. These deep holes or ponds never fail, even
after a year's drought; they were filled with fish. One lay quite near
the ranch house, under a bold rocky bluff; at its edge grew giant
cypress trees. In the hollows and by the watercourses were occasional
groves of pecans, live-oaks, and elms. Strange birds hopped among the
bushes; the chaparral cock--a big, handsome ground-cuckoo of
remarkable habits, much given to preying on small snakes and lizards--
ran over the ground with extraordinary rapidity. Beautiful swallow-
tailed king-birds with rosy plumage perched on the tops of the small
trees, and soared and flitted in graceful curves above them.
Blackbirds of many kinds scuttled in flocks about the corrals and
outbuildings around the ranches. Mocking-birds abounded, and were very
noisy, singing almost all the daytime, but with their usual irritating
inequality of performance, wonderfully musical and powerful snatches
of song being interspersed with imitations of other bird notes and
disagreeable squalling. Throughout the trip I did not hear one of them
utter the beautiful love song in which they sometimes indulge at

The country was all under wire fence, unlike the northern regions, the
pastures however being sometimes many miles across. When we reached
the Frio ranch a herd of a thousand cattle had just been gathered, and
two or three hundred beeves and young stock were being cut out to be
driven northward over the trail. The cattle were worked in pens much
more than in the North, and on all the ranches there were chutes with
steering gates, by means of which individuals of a herd could be
dexterously shifted into various corrals. The branding of the calves
was done ordinarily in one of these corrals and on foot, the calf
being always roped by both forelegs; otherwise the work of the
cowpunchers was much like that of their brothers in the North. As a
whole, however, they were distinctly more proficient with the rope,
and at least half of them were Mexicans.

There were some bands of wild cattle living only in the densest timber
of the river bottoms which were literally as wild as deer, and
moreover very fierce and dangerous. The pursuit of these was exciting
and hazardous in the extreme. The men who took part in it showed not
only the utmost daring but the most consummate horsemanship and
wonderful skill in the use of the rope, the coil being hurled with the
force and precision of an iron quiot; a single man speedily
overtaking, roping, throwing, and binding down the fiercest steer or

There had been many peccaries, or, as the Mexicans and cowpunchers of
the border usually call them, javalinas, round this ranch a few years
before the date of my visit. Until 1886, or thereabouts, these little
wild hogs were not much molested, and abounded in the dense chaparral
around the lower Rio Grande. In that year, however, it was suddenly
discovered that their hides had a market value, being worth four bits
--that is, half a dollar--apiece; and many Mexicans and not a few
shiftless Texans went into the business of hunting them as a means of
livelihood. They were more easily killed than deer, and, as a result,
they were speedily exterminated in many localities where they had
formerly been numerous, and even where they were left were to be found
only in greatly diminished numbers. On this particular Frio ranch the
last little band had been killed nearly a year before. There were
three of them, a boar and two sows, and a couple of the cowboys
stumbled on them early one morning while out with a dog. After half a
mile's chase the three peccaries ran into a hollow pecan tree, and one
of the cowboys, dismounting, improvised a lance by tying his knife to
the end of a pole, and killed them all.

Many anecdotes were related to me of what they had done in the old
days when they were plentiful on the ranch. They were then usually
found in parties of from twenty to thirty, feeding in the dense
chaparral, the sows rejoining the herd with the young very soon after
the birth of the litter, each sow usually having but one or two at a
litter. At night they sometimes lay in the thickest cover, but always,
where possible, preferred to house in a cave or big hollow log, one
invariably remaining as a sentinel close to the mouth, looking out. If
this sentinel were shot, another would almost certainly take his
place. They were subject to freaks of stupidity, and were pugnacious
to a degree. Not only would they fight if molested, but they would
often attack entirely without provocation.

Once my friend Moore himself, while out with another cowboy on
horseback, was attacked in sheer wantonness by a drove of these little
wild hogs. The two men were riding by a grove of live-oaks along a
woodcutter's cart track, and were assailed without a moment's warning.
The little creatures completely surrounded them, cutting fiercely at
the horses' legs and jumping up at the riders' feet. The men, drawing
their revolvers, dashed through and were closely followed by their
pursuers for three or four hundred yards, although they fired right
and left with good effect. Both of the horses were badly cut. On
another occasion the bookkeeper of the ranch walked off to a water
hole but a quarter of a mile distant, and came face to face with a
peccary on a cattle trail, where the brush was thick. Instead of
getting out of his way the creature charged him instantly, drove him
up a small mesquite tree, and kept him there for nearly two hours,
looking up at him and champing its tusks.

I spent two days hunting round this ranch but saw no peccary sign
whatever, although deer were quite plentiful. Parties of wild geese
and sandhill cranes occasionally flew overhead. At nightfall the poor-
wills wailed everywhere through the woods, and coyotes yelped and
yelled, while in the early morning the wild turkeys gobbled loudly
from their roosts in the tops of the pecan trees.

Having satisfied myself that there were no javalinas left on the Frio
ranch, and being nearly at the end of my holiday, I was about to
abandon the effort to get any, when a passing cowman happened to
mention the fact that some were still to be found on the Nueces River
thirty miles or thereabouts to the southward. Thither I determined to
go, and next morning Moore and I started in a buggy drawn by a
redoubtable horse, named Jim Swinger, which we were allowed to use
because he bucked so under the saddle that nobody on the ranch could
ride him. We drove six or seven hours across the dry, waterless
plains. There had been a heavy frost a few days before, which had
blackened the budding mesquite trees, and their twigs still showed no
signs of sprouting. Occasionally we came across open space where there
was nothing but short brown grass. In most places, however, the
leafless, sprawling mesquites were scattered rather thinly over the
ground, cutting off an extensive view and merely adding to the
melancholy barrenness of the landscape. The road was nothing but a
couple of dusty wheel-tracks; the ground was parched, and the grass
cropped close by the gaunt, starved cattle. As we drove along buzzards
and great hawks occasionally soared overhead. Now and then we passed
lines of wild-looking, long-horned steers, and once we came on the
grazing horses of a cow-outfit, just preparing to start northward over
the trail to the fattening pasture. Occasionally we encountered one or
two cowpunchers: either Texans, habited exactly like their brethren in
the North, with broad-brimmed gray hats, blue shirts, silk
neckerchiefs, and leather leggings; or else Mexicans, more gaudily
dressed, and wearing peculiarly stiff, very broad-brimmed hats with
conical tops.

Toward the end of our ride we got where the ground was more fertile,
and there had recently been a sprinkling of rain. Here we came across
wonderful flower prairies. In one spot I kept catching glimpses
through the mesquite trees of lilac stretches which I had first
thought must be ponds of water. On coming nearer they proved to be
acres on acres thickly covered with beautiful lilac-colored flowers.
Farther on we came to where broad bands of red flowers covered the
ground for many furlongs; then their places were taken by yellow
blossoms, elsewhere by white. Generally each band or patch of ground
was covered densely by flowers of the same color, making a great vivid
streak across the landscape; but in places they were mixed together,
red, yellow, and purple, interspersed in patches and curving bands,
carpeting the prairie in a strange, bright pattern.

Finally, toward evening we reached the Nueces. Where we struck it
first the bed was dry, except in occasional deep, malarial-looking
pools, but a short distance below there began to be a running current.
Great blue herons were stalking beside these pools, and from one we
flushed a white ibis. In the woods were reddish cardinal birds, much
less brilliant in plumage than the true cardinals and the scarlet
tanagers; and yellow-headed titmice which had already built large
domed nests.

In the valley of the Nueces itself, the brush grew thick. There were
great groves of pecan trees, and ever-green live-oaks stood in many
places, long, wind-shaken tufts of gray moss hanging from their limbs.
Many of the trees in the wet spots were of giant size, and the whole
landscape was semi-tropical in character. High on a bluff shoulder
overlooking the course of the river was perched the ranch house,
toward which we were bending our steps; and here we were received with
the hearty hospitality characteristic of the ranch country everywhere.

The son of the ranchman, a tall, well-built young fellow, told me at
once that there were peccaries in the neighborhood, and that he had
himself shot one but two or three days before, and volunteered to lend
us horses and pilot us to the game on the morrow, with the help of his
two dogs. The last were big black curs with, as we were assured,
"considerable hound" in them. One was at the time staying at the ranch
house, the other was four or five miles off with a Mexican goat-
herder, and it was arranged that early in the morning we should ride
down to the latter place, taking the first dog with us and procuring
his companion when we reached the goat-herder's house.

We started after breakfast, riding powerful cow-ponies, well trained
to gallop at full speed through the dense chaparral. The big black
hound slouched at our heels. We rode down the banks of the Nueces,
crossing and recrossing the stream. Here and there were long, deep
pools in the bed of the river, where rushes and lilies grew and huge
mailed garfish swam slowly just beneath the surface of the water. Once
my two companions stopped to pull a mired cow out of a slough, hauling
with ropes from their saddle horns. In places there were half-dry
pools, out of the regular current of the river, the water green and
fetid. The trees were very tall and large. The streamers of pale gray
moss hung thickly from the branches of the live-oaks, and when many
trees thus draped stood close together they bore a strangely mournful
and desolate look.

We finally found the queer little hut of the Mexican goat-herder in
the midst of a grove of giant pecans. On the walls were nailed the
skins of different beasts, raccoons, wild-cats, and the tree-civet,
with its ringed tail. The Mexican's brown wife and children were in
the hut, but the man himself and the goats were off in the forest, and
it took us three or four hours' search before we found him. Then it
was nearly noon, and we lunched in his hut, a square building of split
logs, with bare earth floor, and roof of clap-boards and bark. Our
lunch consisted of goat's meat and /pan de mais/. The Mexican, a
broad-chested man with a stolid Indian face, was evidently quite a
sportsman, and had two or three half-starved hounds, besides the
funny, hairless little house dogs, of which Mexicans seem so fond.

Having borrowed the javalina hound of which we were in search, we rode
off in quest of our game, the two dogs trotting gayly ahead. The one
which had been living at the ranch had evidently fared well, and was
very fat; the other was little else but skin and bone, but as alert
and knowing as any New York street-boy, with the same air of
disreputable capacity. It was this hound which always did most in
finding the javalinas and bringing them to bay, his companion's chief
use being to make a noise and lend the moral support of his presence.

We rode away from the river on the dry uplands, where the timber,
though thick, was small, consisting almost exclusively of the thorny
mesquites. Mixed among them were prickly pears, standing as high as
our heads on horseback, and Spanish bayonets, looking in the distance
like small palms; and there were many other kinds of cactus, all with
poisonous thorns. Two or three times the dogs got on an old trail and
rushed off giving tongue, whereat we galloped madly after them,
ducking and dodging through and among the clusters of spine-bearing
tress and cactus, not without getting a considerable number of thorns
in our hands and legs. It was very dry and hot. Where the javalinas
live in droves in the river bottoms they often drink at the pools; but
when some distance from water they seem to live quite comfortably on
the prickly pear, slaking their thirst by eating its hard, juicy

At last, after several false alarms, and gallops which led to nothing,
when it lacked but an hour of sundown we struck a band of five of the
little wild hogs. They were running off through the mesquites with a
peculiar hopping or bounding motion, and we all, dogs and men, tore
after them instantly.

Peccaries are very fast for a few hundred yards, but speedily tire,
lose their wind, and come to bay. Almost immediately one of these, a
sow, as it turned out, wheeled and charged at Moore as he passed,
Moore never seeing her but keeping on after another. The sow then
stopped and stood still, chattering her teeth savagely, and I jumped
off my horse and dropped her dead with a shot in the spine, over the
shoulders. Moore meanwhile had dashed off after his pig in one
direction, and killed the little beast with a shot from the saddle
when it had come to bay, turning and going straight at him. Two of the
peccaries got off; the remaining one, a rather large boar, was
followed by the two dogs, and as soon as I had killed the sow I leaped
again on my horse and made after them, guided by the yelping and
baying. In less than a quarter of a mile they were on his haunches,
and he wheeled and stood under a bush, charging at them when they came
near him, and once catching one, inflicting an ugly cut. All the while
his teeth kept going like castanets, with a rapid champing sound. I
ran up close and killed him by a shot through the backbone where it
joined the neck. His tusks were fine.

The few minutes' chase on horseback was great fun, and there was a
certain excitement in seeing the fierce little creatures come to bay;
but the true way to kill these peccaries would be with the spear. They
could often be speared on horseback, and where this was impossible, by
using dogs to bring them to bay they could readily be killed on foot;
though, as they are very active, absolutely fearless, and inflict a
most formidable bite, it would usually be safest to have two men go at
one together. Peccaries are not difficult beasts to kill, because
their short wind and their pugnacity make them come to bay before
hounds so quickly. Two or three good dogs can bring to a halt a herd
of considerable size. They then all stand in a bunch, or else with
their sterns against a bank, chattering their teeth at their
antagonist. When angry and at bay, they get their legs close together,
their shoulders high, and their bristles all ruffled and look the very
incarnation of anger, and they fight with reckless indifference to the
very last. Hunters usually treat them with a certain amount of
caution; but, as a matter of act, I know of but one case where a man
was hurt by them. He had shot at and wounded one, was charged both by
it and by its two companions, and started to climb a tree; but as he
drew himself from the ground, one sprang at him and bit him through
the calf, inflicting a very severe wound. I have known of several
cases of horses being cut, however, and the dogs are very commonly
killed. Indeed, a dog new to the business is almost certain to get
very badly scarred, and no dog that hunts steadily can escape without
some injury. If it runs in right at the heads of the animals, the
probabilities are that it will get killed; and, as a rule, even two
good-sized hounds cannot kill a peccary, though it is no larger than
either of them. However, a wary, resolute, hard-biting dog of good
size speedily gets accustomed to the chase, and can kill a peccary
single-handed, seizing it from behind and worrying it to death, or
watching its chance and grabbing it by the back of the neck where it
joins the head.

Peccaries have delicately moulded short legs, and their feet are
small, the tracks looking peculiarly dainty in consequence. Hence,
they do not swim well, though they take to the water if necessary.
They feed on roots, prickly pears, nuts, insects, lizards, etc. They
usually keep entirely separate from the droves of half-wild swine that
are so often found in the same neighborhoods; but in one case, on this
very ranch where I was staying a peccary deliberately joined a party
of nine pigs and associated with them. When the owner of the pigs came
up to them one day the peccary manifested great suspicion at his
presence, and finally sidled close up and threatened to attack him, so
that he had to shoot it. The ranchman's son told me that he had never
but once had a peccary assail him unprovoked, and even in this case it
was his dog that was the object of attack, the peccary rushing out at
it as it followed him home one evening through the chaparral. Even
around this ranch the peccaries had very greatly decreased in numbers,
and the survivors were learning some caution. In the old days it had
been no uncommon thing for a big band to attack entirely of their own
accord, and keep a hunter up a tree for hours at a time.



In hunting American big game with hounds, several entirely distinct
methods are pursued. The true wilderness hunters, the men who in the
early days lived alone in, or moved in parties through, the Indian-
haunted solitudes, like their successors of to-day, rarely made use of
a pack of hounds, and, as a rule, did not use dogs at all. In the
eastern forests occasionally an old time hunter would own one or two
track-hounds, slow, with a good nose, intelligent and obedient, of use
mainly in following wounded game. Some Rocky Mountain hunters nowadays
employ the same kind of a dog, but the old time trappers of the great
plains and the Rockies led such wandering lives of peril and hardship
that they could not readily take dogs with them. The hunters of the
Alleghanies and the Adirondacks have, however, always used hounds to
drive deer, killing the animal in the water or at a runaway.

As soon, however, as the old wilderness hunter type passes away,
hounds come into use among his successors, the rough border settlers
of the backwoods and the plains. Every such settler is apt to have
four or five large mongrel dogs with hound blood in them, which serve
to drive off beasts of prey from the sheepfold and cattle-shed, and
are also used, when the occasion suits, in regular hunting, whether
after bear or deer.

Many of the southern planters have always kept packs of fox-hounds,
which are used in the chase, not only of the gray and the red fox, but
also of the deer, the black bear, and the wildcat. The fox the dogs
themselves run down and kill, but as a rule in this kind of hunting,
when after deer, bear, or even wildcat, the hunters carry guns with
them on their horses, and endeavor either to get a shot at the fleeing
animal by hard and dexterous riding, or else to kill the cat when
treed, or the bear when it comes to bay. Such hunting is great sport.

Killing driven game by lying in wait for it to pass is the very
poorest kind of sport that can be called legitimate. This is the way
the deer is usually killed with hounds in the East. In the North the
red fox is often killed in somewhat the same manner, being followed by
a slow hound and shot at as he circles before the dog. Although this
kind of fox hunting is inferior to hunting on horseback, it
nevertheless has its merits, as the man must walk and run well, shoot
with some accuracy, and show considerable knowledge both of the
country and of the habits of the game.

During the last score of years an entirely different type of dog from
the fox-hound has firmly established itself in the field of American
sport. This is the greyhound, whether the smooth-haired, or the rough-
coated Scotch deer-hound. For half a century the army officers posted
in the far West have occasionally had greyhounds with them, using the
dogs to course jack-rabbit, coyote, and sometimes deer, antelope, and
gray wolf. Many of them were devoted to this sport,--General Custer,
for instance. I have myself hunted with many of the descendants of
Custer's hounds. In the early 70's the ranchmen of the great plains
themselves began to keep greyhounds for coursing (as indeed they had
already been used for a considerable time in California, after the
Pacific coast jack-rabbit), and the sport speedily assumed large
proportions and a permanent form. Nowadays the ranchmen of the cattle
country not only use their greyhounds after the jack-rabbit, but also
after every other kind of game animal to be found there, the antelope
and coyote being especial favorites. Many ranchmen soon grew to own
fine packs, coursing being the sport of all sports for the plains. In
Texas the wild turkey was frequently an object of the chase, and
wherever the locality enabled deer to be followed in the open, as for
instance in the Indian territory, and in many places in the
neighborhood of the large plains rivers, the whitetail was a favorite
quarry, the hunters striving to surprise it in the early morning when
feeding on the prairie.

I have myself generally coursed with scratch packs, including perhaps
a couple of greyhounds, a wire-haired deer-hound, and two or three
long legged mongrels. However, we generally had at least one very fast
and savage dog--a strike dog--in each pack, and the others were of
assistance in turning the game, sometimes in tiring it, and usually in
helping to finish it at the worry. With such packs I have had many a
wildly exciting ride over the great grassy plains lying near the
Little Missouri and the Knife and Heart Rivers. Usually our
proceedings on such a hunt were perfectly simple. We started on
horseback and when reaching favorable ground beat across it in a long
scattered line of men and dogs. Anything that we put up, from a fox to
a coyote or a prong-buck, was fair game, and was instantly followed at
full speed. The animals we most frequently killed were jack-rabbits.
They always gave good runs, though like other game they differed much
individually in speed. The foxes did not run so well, and whether they
were the little swift, or the big red prairie fox, they were speedily
snapped up if the dogs had a fair showing. Once our dogs roused a
blacktail buck close up out of the brush coulie where the ground was
moderately smooth, and after a headlong chase of a mile they ran into
him, threw him, and killed him before he could rise. (His stiff-legged
bounds sent him along at a tremendous pace at first, but he seemed to
tire rather easily.) On two or three occasions we killed whitetail
deer, and several times antelope. Usually, however, the antelopes
escaped. The bucks sometimes made a good fight, but generally they
were seized while running, some dogs catching by the throat, others by
the shoulders, and others again by the flank just in front of the
hind-leg. Wherever the hold was obtained, if the dog made his spring
cleverly, the buck was sure to come down with a crash, and if the
other dogs were anywhere near he was probably killed before he could
rise, although not infrequently the dogs themselves were more or less
scratched in the contests. Some greyhounds, even of high breeding,
proved absolutely useless from timidity, being afraid to take hold;
but if they got accustomed to the chase, being worked with old dogs,
and had any pluck at all, they proved singularly fearless. A big
ninety-pound greyhound or Scotch deer-hound is a very formidable
fighting dog; I saw one whip a big mastiff in short order, his
wonderful agility being of more account than his adversary's superior

The proper way to course, however, is to take the dogs out in a wagon
and drive them thus until the game is seen. This prevents their being
tired out. In my own hunting, most of the antelope aroused got away,
the dogs being jaded when the chase began. But really fine greyhounds,
accustomed to work together and to hunt this species of game, will
usually render a good account of a prong-buck if two or three are
slipped at once, fresh, and within a moderate distance.

Although most Westerners take more kindly to the rifle, now and then
one is found who is a devotee of the hound. Such a one was an old
Missourian, who may be called Mr. Cowley, whom I knew when he was
living on a ranch in North Dakota, west of the Missouri. Mr. Cowley
was a primitive person, of much nerve, which he showed not only in the
hunting field but in the startling political conventions of the place
and period. He was quite well off, but he was above the niceties of
personal vanity. His hunting garb was that in which he also paid his
rare formal calls--calls throughout which he always preserved the
gravity of an Indian, though having a disconcerting way of suddenly
tip-toeing across the room to some unfamiliar object, such as a
peacock screen or a vase, feeling it gently with one forefinger, and
returning with noiseless gait to his chair, unmoved, and making no
comment. On the morning of a hunt he would always appear on a stout
horse, clad in a long linen duster, a huge club in his hand, and his
trousers working half-way up his legs. He hunted everything on all
possible occasions; and he never under any circumstances shot an
animal that the dogs could kill. Once when a skunk got into his house,
with the direful stupidity of its perverse kind, he turned the hounds
on it; a manifestation of sporting spirit which roused the ire of even
his long-suffering wife. As for his dogs, provided they could run and
fight, he cared no more for their looks than for his own; he preferred
the animal to be half greyhound, but the other half could be fox-
hound, colley, or setter, it mattered nothing to him. They were a
wicked, hardbiting crew for all that, and Mr. Cowley, in his flapping
linen duster, was a first-class hunter and a good rider. He went
almost mad with excitement in every chase. His pack usually hunted
coyote, fox, jack-rabbit, and deer; and I have had more than one good
run with it.

My own experience is too limited to allow me to pass judgment with
certainty as to the relative speed of the different beasts of the
chase, especially as there is so much individual variation. I consider
the antelope the fleetest of all however; and in this opinion I am
sustained by Col. Roger D. Williams, of Lexington, Kentucky, who, more
than any other American, is entitled to speak upon coursing, and
especially upon coursing large game. Col. Williams, like a true son of
Kentucky, has bred his own thoroughbred horses and thoroughbred hounds
for many years; and during a series of long hunting trips extending
over nearly a quarter of a century he has tried his pack on almost
every game animal to be found among the foot-hills of the Rockies and
on the great plains. His dogs, both smooth-haired greyhounds and
rough-coated deer-hounds, have been bred by him for generations with a
special view to the chase of big game--not merely of hares; they are
large animals, excelling not only in speed but in strength, endurance,
and ferocious courage. The survivors of his old pack are literally
seamed all over with the scars of innumerable battles. When several
dogs were together they would stop a bull-elk, and fearlessly assail a
bear or cougar. This pack scored many a triumph over blacktail,
whitetail, and prong-buck. For a few hundred yards the deer were very
fast; but in a run of any duration the antelope showed much greater
speed, and gave the dogs far more trouble, although always overtaken
in the end, if a good start had been obtained. Col. Williams is a firm
believer in the power of the thoroughbred horse to outturn any animal
that breathes, in a long chase; he has not infrequently run down deer,
when they were jumped some miles from cover; and on two or three
occasions he ran down uninjured antelope, but in each case only after
a desperate ride of miles, which in one instance resulted in the death
of his gallant horse.

This coursing on the prairie, especially after big game, is an
exceedingly manly and attractive sport; the furious galloping, often
over rough ground with an occasional deep washout or gully, the sight
of the gallant hounds running and tackling, and the exhilaration of
the pure air and wild surrounding, all combine to give it a peculiar
zest. But there is really less need of bold and skilful horsemanship
than in the otherwise less attractive and more artificial sport of
fox-hunting, or riding to hounds, in a closed and long-settled

Those of us who are in part of southern blood have a hereditary right
to be fond of cross-country riding; for our forefathers in Virginia,
Georgia, or the Carolinas, have for six generations followed the fox
with horse, horn, and hound. In the long-settled Northern States the
sport has been less popular, though much more so now than formerly;
yet it has always existed, here and there, and in certain places has
been followed quite steadily.

In no place in the Northeast is hunting the wild red fox put on a more
genuine and healthy basis than in the Geneseo Valley, in central New
York. There has always been fox-hunting in this valley, the farmers
having good horses and being fond of sport; but it was conducted in a
very irregular, primitive manner, until some twenty years ago Mr.
Austin Wadsworth turned his attention to it. He has been master of
fox-hounds ever since, and no pack in the country has yielded better
sport than his, or has brought out harder riders among the men and
stronger jumpers among the horses. Mr. Wadsworth began his hunting by
picking up some of the various trencher-fed hounds of the
neighborhood, the hunting of that period being managed on the
principle of each farmer bringing to the meet the hound or hounds he
happened to possess, and appearing on foot or horseback as his fancy
dictated. Having gotten together some of these native hounds and
started fox-hunting in localities where the ground was so open as to
necessitate following the chase on horseback, Mr. Wadsworth imported a
number of dogs from the best English kennels. He found these to be
much faster than the American dogs and more accustomed to work
together, but less enduring, and without such good noses. The American
hounds were very obstinate and self-willed. Each wished to work out
the trail for himself. But once found, they would puzzle it out, no
matter how cold, and would follow it if necessary for a day and night.
By a judicious crossing of the two Mr. Wadsworth finally got his
present fine pack, which for its own particular work on its own ground
would be hard to beat. The country ridden over is well wooded, and
there are many foxes. The abundance of cover, however, naturally
decreases the number of kills. It is a very fertile land, and there
are few farming regions more beautiful, for it is prevented from being
too tame in aspect by the number of bold hills and deep ravines. Most
of the fences are high posts-and-rails or "snake" fences, although
there is an occasional stone wall, haha, or water-jump. The steepness
of the ravines and the density of the timber make it necessary for a
horse to be sure-footed and able to scramble anywhere, and the fences
are so high that none but very good jumpers can possibly follow the
pack. Most of the horses used are bred by the farmers in the
neighborhood, or are from Canada, and they usually have thoroughbred
or trotting-stock blood in them.

One of the pleasantest days I ever passed in the saddle was after Mr.
Wadsworth's hounds. I was staying with him at the time, in company
with my friend Senator Cabot Lodge, of Boston. The meet was about
twelve miles distant from the house. It was only a small field of some
twenty-five riders, but there was not one who did not mean going. I
was mounted on a young horse, a powerful, big-boned black, a great
jumper, though perhaps a trifle hot-headed. Lodge was on a fine bay,
which could both run and jump. There were two or three other New
Yorkers and Bostonians present, several men who had come up from
Buffalo for the run, a couple of retired army officers, a number of
farmers from the neighborhood; and finally several members of a noted
local family of hard riders, who formed a class by themselves, all
having taken naturally to every variety of horsemanship from earliest

It was a thoroughly democratic assemblage; every one was there for
sport, and nobody cared an ounce how he or anybody else was dressed.
Slouch hats, brown coats, corduroy breeches, and leggings, or boots,
were the order of the day. We cast off in a thick wood. The dogs
struck a trail almost immediately and were off with clamorous yelping,
while the hunt thundered after them like a herd of buffaloes. We went
headlong down the hill-side into and across a brook. Here the trail
led straight up a sheer bank. Most of the riders struck off to the
left for an easier place, which was unfortunate for them, for the
eight of us who went straight up the side (one man's horse falling
back with him) were the only ones who kept on terms with the hounds.
Almost as soon as we got to the top of the bank we came out of the
woods over a low but awkward rail fence, where one of our number, who
was riding a very excitable sorrel colt, got a fall. This left but
six, including the whip. There were two or three large fields with low
fences; then we came to two high, stiff doubles, the first real
jumping of the day, the fences being over four feet six, and so close
together that the horses barely had a chance to gather themselves. We
got over, however, crossed two or three stump-strewn fields, galloped
through an open wood, picked our way across a marshy spot, jumped a
small brook and two or three stiff fences, and then came a check. Soon
the hounds recovered the line and swung off to the right, back across
four or five fields, so as to enable the rest of the hunt, by making
an angle, to come up. Then we jumped over a very high board fence into
the main road, out of it again, and on over ploughed fields and grass
lands, separated by stiff snake fences. The run had been fast and the
horses were beginning to tail. By the time we suddenly rattled down
into a deep ravine and scrambled up the other side through thick
timber there were but four of us left, Lodge and myself being two of
the lucky ones. Beyond this ravine we came to one of the worst jumps
of the day, a fence out of the wood, which was practicable only at one
spot, where a kind of cattle trail led up to a panel. It was within an
inch or two of five feet high. However, the horses, thoroughly trained
to timber jumping and to rough and hard scrambling in awkward places,
and by this time well quieted, took the bars without mistake, each one
in turn trotting or cantering up to within a few yards, then making a
couple of springs and bucking over with a great twist of the powerful
haunches. I may explain that there was not a horse of the four that
had not a record of five feet six inches in the ring. We now got into
a perfect tangle of ravines, and the fox went to earth; and though we
started one or two more in the course of the afternoon, we did not get
another really first-class run.

At Geneseo the conditions for the enjoyment of this sport are
exceptionally favorable. In the Northeast generally, although there
are now a number of well-established hunts, at least nine out of ten
runs are after a drag. Most of the hunts are in the neighborhood of
great cities, and are mainly kept up by young men who come from them.
A few of these are men of leisure, who can afford to devote their
whole time to pleasure; but much the larger number are men in
business, who work hard and are obliged to make their sports
accommodate themselves to their more serious occupations. Once or
twice a week they can get off for an afternoon's ride across country,
and they then wish to be absolutely certain of having their run, and
of having it at the appointed time; and the only way to insure this is
to have a drag-hunt. It is not the lack of foxes that has made the
sport so commonly take the form of riding to drag-hounds, but rather
the fact that the majority of those who keep it up are hard-working
business men who wish to make the most out of every moment of the
little time they can spare from their regular occupations. A single
ride across country, or an afternoon at polo, will yield more
exercise, fun, and excitement than can be got out of a week's decorous
and dull riding in the park, and many young fellows have waked up to
this fact.

At one time I did a good deal of hunting with the Meadowbrook hounds,
in the northern part of Long Island. There were plenty of foxes around
us, both red and gray, but partly for the reasons given above, and
partly because the covers were so large and so nearly continuous, they
were not often hunted, although an effort was always made to have one
run every week or so after a wild fox, in order to give a chance for
the hounds to be properly worked and to prevent the runs from becoming
a mere succession of steeple-chases. The sport was mainly drag-
hunting, and was most exciting, as the fences were high and the pace
fast. The Long Island country needs a peculiar style of horse, the
first requisite being that he shall be a very good and high timber
jumper. Quite a number of crack English and Irish hunters have at
different times been imported, and some of them have turned out pretty
well; but when they first come over they are utterly unable to cross
our country, blundering badly at the high timber. Few of them have
done as well as the American horses. I have hunted half a dozen times
in England, with Pytchely, Essex, and North Warwickshire, and it seems
to me probable that English thoroughbreds, in a grass country, and
over the peculiar kinds of obstacles they have on the other side of
the water, would gallop away from a field of our Long Island horses;
for they have speed and bottom, and are great weight carriers. But on
our own ground, where the cross-country riding is more like leaping a
succession of five or six-bar gates than anything else, they do not as
a rule, in spite of the enormous prices paid for them, show themselves
equal to the native stock. The highest recorded jump, seven feet two
inches, was made by the American horse Filemaker, which I saw ridden
in the very front by Mr. H. L. Herbert, in the hunt at Sagamore Hill,
about to be described.

When I was a member of the Meadowbrook hunt, most of the meets were
held within a dozen miles or so of the kennels; at Farmingdale,
Woodbury, Wheatly, Locust Valley, Syosset, or near any one of twenty
other queer, quaint old Long Island hamlets. They were almost always
held in the afternoon, the business men who had come down from the
city jogging over behind the hounds to the appointed place, where they
were met by the men who had ridden over direct from their country-
houses. If the meet was an important one, there might be a crowd of
onlookers in every kind of trap, from a four-in-hand drag to a spider-
wheeled buggy drawn by a pair of long-tailed trotters, the money value
of which many times surpassed that of the two best hunters in the
whole field. Now and then a breakfast would be given the hunt at some
country-house, when the whole day was devoted to the sport; perhaps
after wild foxes in the morning, with a drag in the afternoon.

After one meet, at Sagamore Hill, I had the curiosity to go on foot
over the course we had taken, measuring the jumps; for it is very
difficult to form a good estimate of a fence's height when in the
field, and five feet of timber seems a much easier thing to take when
sitting around the fire after dinner than it does when actually faced
while the hounds are running. On the particular hunt in question we
ran about ten miles, at a rattling pace, with only two checks,
crossing somewhat more than sixty fences, most of them post-and-rails,
stiff as steel, the others being of the kind called "Virginia" or
snake, and not more than ten or a dozen in the whole lot under four
feet in height. The highest measured five feet and half an inch, two
others were four feet eleven, and nearly a third of the number
averaged about four and a half. There were also several rather awkward
doubles. When the hounds were cast off some forty riders were present,
but the first fence was a savage one, and stopped all who did not mean
genuine hard going. Twenty-six horses crossed it, one of them ridden
by a lady. A mile or so farther on, before there had been a chance for
much tailing, we came to a five-bar gate, out of a road--a jump of
just four feet five inches from the take-off. Up to this, of course,
we went one at a time, at a trot or hand-gallop, and twenty-five
horses cleared it in succession without a single refusal and with but
one mistake. Owing to the severity of the pace, combined with the
average height of the timber (although no one fence was of
phenomenally noteworthy proportions), a good many falls took place,
resulting in an unusually large percentage of accidents. The master
partly dislocated one knee, another man broke two ribs, and another--
the present writer--broke his arm. However, almost all of us managed
to struggle through to the end in time to see the death.

On this occasion I owed my broken arm to the fact that my horse, a
solemn animal originally taken out of a buggy, though a very clever
fencer, was too coarse to gallop alongside the blooded beasts against
which he was pitted. But he was so easy in his gaits, and so quiet,
being ridden with only a snaffle, that there was no difficulty in
following to the end of the run. I had divers adventures on this
horse. Once I tried a pair of so-called "safety" stirrups, which
speedily fell out, and I had to ride through the run without any, at
the cost of several tumbles. Much the best hunter I ever owned was a
sorrel horse named Sagamore. He was from Geneseo, was fast, a
remarkably good jumper, of great endurance, as quick on his feet as a
cat, and with a dauntless heart. He never gave me a fall, and
generally enabled me to see all the run.

It would be very unfair to think the sport especially dangerous on
account of the occasional accidents that happen. A man who is fond of
riding, but who sets a good deal of value, either for the sake of
himself, his family, or his business, upon his neck and limbs, can
hunt with much safety if he gets a quiet horse, a safe fencer, and
does not try to stay in the front rank. Most accidents occur to men on
green or wild horses, or else to those who keep in front only at the
expense of pumping their mounts; and a fall with a done-out beast is
always peculiarly disagreeable. Most falls, however, do no harm
whatever to either horse or rider, and after they have picked
themselves up and shaken themselves, the couple ought to be able to go
on just as well as ever. Of course a man who wishes to keep in the
first flight must expect to face a certain number of tumbles; but even
he will probably not be hurt at all, and he can avoid many a mishap by
easing up his horse whenever he can--that is, by always taking a gap
when possible, going at the lowest panel of every fence, and not
calling on his animal for all there is in him unless it cannot
possibly be avoided. It must be remembered that hard riding is a very
different thing from good riding; though a good rider to hounds must
also at times ride hard.

Cross-country riding in the rough is not a difficult thing to learn;
always provided the would-be learner is gifted with or has acquired a
fairly stout heart, for a constitutionally timid person is out of
place in the hunting field. A really finished cross-country rider, a
man who combines hand and seat, heart and head, is of course rare; the
standard is too high for most of us to hope to reach. But it is
comparatively easy to acquire a light hand and a capacity to sit
fairly well down in the saddle; and when a man has once got these, he
will find no especial difficulty in following the hounds on a trained

Fox-hunting is a great sport, but it is as foolish to make a fetish of
it as it is to decry it. The fox is hunted merely because there is no
larger game to follow. As long as wolves, deer, or antelope remain in
the land, and in a country where hounds and horsemen can work, no one
could think of following the fox. It is pursued because the bigger
beasts of the chase have been killed out. In England it has reached
its present prominence only within two centuries; nobody followed the
fox while the stag and the boar were common. At the present day, on
Exmoor, where the wild stag is still found, its chase ranks ahead of
that of the fox. It is not really the hunting proper which is the
point of fox-hunting. It is the horsemanship, the galloping and
jumping, and the being out in the open air. Very naturally, however,
men who have passed their lives as fox-hunters grow to regard the
chase and the object of it alike with superstitious veneration. They
attribute almost mythical characters to the animal. I know some of my
good Virginian friends, for instance, who seriously believe that the
Virginia red fox is a beast quite unparalleled for speed and endurance
no less than for cunning. This is of course a mistake. Compared with a
wolf, an antelope, or even a deer, the fox's speed and endurance do
not stand very high. A good pack of hounds starting him close would
speedily run into him in the open. The reason that the hunts last so
long in some cases is because of the nature of the ground which favors
the fox at the expense of the dogs, because of his having the
advantage in the start, and because of his cunning in turning to
account everything which will tell in his favor and against his
pursuers. In the same way I know plenty of English friends who speak
with bated breath of fox-hunting but look down upon riding to drag-
hounds. Of course there is a difference in the two sports, and the fun
of actually hunting the wild beast in the one case more than
compensates for the fact that in the other the riding is apt to be
harder and the jumping higher; but both sports are really artificial,
and in their essentials alike. To any man who has hunted big game in a
wild country the stress laid on the differences between them seems a
little absurd, in fact cockney. It is of course nothing against either
that it is artificial; so are all sports in long-civilized countries,
from lacrosse to ice yachting.

It is amusing to see how natural it is for each man to glorify the
sport to which he has been accustomed at the expense of any other. The
old-school French sportsman, for instance, who followed the bear,
stag, and hare with his hounds, always looked down upon the chase of
the fox; whereas the average Englishman not only asserts but seriously
believes that no other kind of chase can compare with it, although in
actual fact the very points in which the Englishman is superior to the
continental sportsman--that is, in hard and straight-riding and
jumping--are those which drag-hunting tends to develop rather more
than fox-hunting proper. In the mere hunting itself the continental
sportsman is often unsurpassed.

Once, beyond the Missouri, I met an expatriated German baron, an
unfortunate who had failed utterly in the rough life of the frontier.
He was living in a squalid little hut, almost unfurnished, but studded
around with the diminutive horns of the European roebuck. These were
the only treasures he had taken with him to remind him of his former
life, and he was never tired of describing what fun it was to shoot
roebucks when driven by the little crooked-legged /dachshunds/. There
were plenty of deer and antelope roundabout, yielding good sport to
any rifleman, but this exile cared nothing for them; they were not
roebucks, and they could not be chased with his beloved /dachshunds/.
So, among my neighbors in the cattle country, is a gentleman from
France, a very successful ranchman and a thoroughly good fellow; he
cares nothing for hunting big game, and will not go after it, but is
devoted to shooting cotton-tails in the snow, this being a pastime
having much resemblance to one of the recognized sports of his own

However, our own people afford precisely similar instances. I have met
plenty of men accustomed to killing wild turkeys and deer with small-
bore rifles in the southern forests who, when they got on the plains
and in the Rockies, were absolutely helpless. They not only failed to
become proficient in the art of killing big game at long ranges with
the large-bore rifle, at the cost of fatiguing tramps, but they had a
positive distaste of the sport and would never allow that it equalled
their own stealthy hunts in eastern forests. So I know plenty of men,
experts with the shot-gun, who honestly prefer shooting quail in the
East over well-trained setters or pointers, to the hardier, manlier
sports of the wilderness.

As it is with hunting, so it is with riding. The cowboy's scorn of
every method of riding save his own is as profound and as ignorant as
is that of the school rider, jockey, or fox-hunter. The truth is that
each of these is best in his own sphere and is at a disadvantage when
made to do the work of any of the others. For all-around riding and
horsemanship, I think the West Point graduate is somewhat ahead of any
of them. Taken as a class, however, and compared with other classes as
numerous, and not with a few exceptional individuals, the cowboy, like
the Rocky Mountain stage-driver, has no superiors anywhere for his own
work; and they are fine fellows, these iron-nerved reinsmen and rough-

When Buffalo Bill took his cowboys to Europe they made a practice in
England, France, Germany, and Italy of offering to break and ride, in
their own fashion, any horse given them. They were frequently given
spoiled animals from the cavalry services in the different countries
through which they passed, animals with which the trained horse-
breakers of the European armies could do nothing; and yet in almost
all cases the cowpunchers and bronco-busters with Buffalo Bill
mastered these beasts as readily as they did their own western horses.
At their own work of mastering and riding rough horses they could not
be matched by their more civilized rivals; but I have great doubts
whether they in turn would not have been beaten if they had essayed
kinds of horsemanship utterly alien to their past experience, such as
riding mettled thoroughbreds in a steeple-chase, or the like. Other
things being equal (which, however, they generally are not), a bad,
big horse fed on oats offers a rather more difficult problem than a
bad little horse fed on grass. After Buffalo Bill's men had returned,
I occasionally heard it said that they had tried cross-country riding
in England, and had shown themselves pre-eminently skilful thereat,
doing better than the English fox-hunters, but this I take the liberty
to disbelieve. I was in England at the time, hunted occasionally
myself, and was with many of the men who were all the time riding in
the most famous hunts; men, too, who were greatly impressed with the
exhibitions of rough riding then being given by Buffalo Bill and his
men, and who talked of them much; and yet I never, at the time, heard
of an instance in which one of the cowboys rode to hounds with any
marked success.[*] In the same way I have sometimes in New York or
London heard of men who, it was alleged, had been out West and proved
better riders than the bronco-busters themselves, just as I have heard
of similar men who were able to go out hunting in the Rockies or on
the plains and get more game than the western hunters; but in the
course of a long experience in the West I have yet to see any of these
men, whether from the eastern States or from Europe, actually show
such superiority or perform such feats.

[*] It is however, quite possible, now that Buffalo Bill's company has
crossed the water several times, that a number of the cowboys have
by practice become proficient in riding to hounds, and in steeple-

It would be interesting to compare the performances of the Australian
stock-riders with those of our own cowpunchers, both in cow-work and
in riding. The Australians have an entirely different kind of saddle,
and the use of the rope is unknown among them. A couple of years ago
the famous western rifle-shot, Carver, took some cowboys out to
Australia, and I am informed that many of the Australians began
themselves to practise with the rope after seeing the way it was used
by the Americans. An Australian gentleman, Mr. A. J. Sage, of
Melbourne, to whom I had written asking how the saddles and styles of
riding compared, answered me as follows:

"With regard to saddles, here it is a moot question which is the
better, yours or ours, for buck-jumpers. Carver's boys rode in
their own saddles against our Victorians in theirs, all on
Australian buckers, and honors seemed easy. Each was good in his
own style, but the horses were not what I should call really good
buckers, such as you might get on a back station, and so there was
nothing in the show that could unseat the cowboys. It is only back
in the bush that you can get a really good bucker. I have often
seen one of them put both man and saddle off."

This last is a feat I have myself seen performed in the West. I
suppose the amount of it is that both the American and the Australian
rough riders are, for their own work, just as good as men possibly can

One spring I had to leave the East in the midst of the hunting season,
to join a roundup in the cattle country of western Dakota, and it was
curious to compare the totally different styles of riding of the
cowboys and the cross-country men. A stock-saddle weighs thirty or
forty pounds instead of ten or fifteen and needs an utterly different
seat from that adopted in the East. A cowboy rides with very long
stirrups, sitting forked well down between his high pommel and cantle,
and depends upon balance as well as on the grip of his thighs. In
cutting out a steer from a herd, in breaking a vicious wild horse, in
sitting a bucking bronco, in stopping a night stampede of many hundred
maddened animals, or in the performance of a hundred other feats of
reckless and daring horsemanship, the cowboy is absolutely unequalled;
and when he has his own horse gear he sits his animal with the ease of
a centaur. Yet he is quite helpless the first time he gets astride one
of the small eastern saddles. One summer, while purchasing cattle in
Iowa, one of my ranch foremen had to get on an ordinary saddle to ride
out of town and see a bunch of steers. He is perhaps the best rider on
the ranch, and will without hesitation mount and master beasts that I
doubt if the boldest rider in one of our eastern hunts would care to
tackle; yet his uneasiness on the new saddle was fairly comical. At
first he did not dare to trot and the least plunge of the horse bid
fair to unseat him, nor did he begin to get accustomed to the
situation until the very end of the journey. In fact, the two kinds of
riding are so very different that a man only accustomed to one, feels
almost as ill at ease when he first tries the other as if he had never
sat on a horse's back before. It is rather funny to see a man who only
knows one kind, and is conceited enough to think that that is really
the only kind worth knowing, when first he is brought into contact
with the other. Two or three times I have known men try to follow
hounds on stock-saddles, which are about as ill-suited for the purpose
as they well can be; while it is even more laughable to see some young
fellow from the East or from England who thinks he knows entirely too

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