Part 4 out of 4
It was apparent from the first that dogs were of little use in taking
grizzly. It would be necessary to shoot from blinds set conveniently
near bait. Frost assured us that bears of this variety, when just out
of hibernation and lean, would run out of the country if chased by a
pack of dogs, and incidentally kill all that they could catch. In the
fall of the year, when the bears are fat, they refuse to run, but wade
through the pack, which is unable to keep him from attacking the
As an example of this, he related an instance where he started a
grizzly with eight or ten Russian bear hounds, and chased the beast
about thirty miles. As he followed on horseback, he found one after the
other of his dogs torn to pieces, disemboweled, and dismembered. At
last, he came upon the bear at bay in deep snow, against a high cliff.
Only two of his hounds were left, and one of these had a broken leg.
Mad with vengeance, Frost shot the grizzly. It charged him at forty
yards. In quick succession he fired five bullets in the oncoming bear,
seemingly with no effect. Up to his waist in the snow, he was unable to
avoid its rush. It came on and fell dead on his chest, with the
faithful hound hanging to it in a desperate effort to save his master.
This is one of the three or four maulings that Ned has received in his
hunting experiences, which, he says, "have added frost to my golden
locks." The dog became a cherished pet in the family for many years.
Frost killed his first bear when fourteen years of age, and has added
nearly five hundred to this number since that time.
It is characteristic of the grizzly that he will charge upon the
slightest provocation, and that nothing will turn him aside from his
purpose. Later we found this particularly true where the female with
cubs is concerned.
Instances of this are too well known to recount, but one coming under
our own experience was related to me by Tom Murphy, the bear hunter of
In early days in Humboldt County, there lived an old settler named Pete
Bluford, who was a squaw man. He shot a female grizzly with cubs within
a quarter of a mile of what are now the town limits of Blocksburg. The
beast charged and struck him to the ground. At the same time she ripped
open the man's abdomen. Bluford dropped under a fallen tree, where the
bear repeatedly assaulted him, tearing at his body. By rolling back and
forth as the grizzly leaped over the log to reach him from the other
side, he escaped further injury. Worried by the hunter's dog, she
finally ceased her efforts and wandered off. The man was able to reach
home in spite of a large open wound in his abdomen, with protruding
intestines. This was roughly sewed together by his friend, Beany
Powell. He recovered from the experience and lived many years with the
Indians of that locality. As an example of Western humor, it is related
that Beany Powell, when sewing up the wound with twine and a sack
needle, found a large lump of fat protruding from the incision, of
which he was unable to dispose; so he cut it off, tried out the grease
in the frying-pan and used it to grease his boots.
Old Bluford became a character in the country. He was, in fact, what is
colloquially known as "an old poison oaker." This is an individual who
sinks so low in the scale of civilization that he lives out in the
backwoods or poison oak brush and becomes animal in type. His hair grew
to his shoulders, his beard was unkempt, his finger nails were as long
as claws and filthy with dirt. Rags of unknown antiquity partially
covered his limbs, vermin infested his body and he stayed with the most
degraded remnants of the Indians.
One cold winter they found him dead in his dilapidated cabin. He lay on
the dirt floor, his ragged coat over his face, his hands beneath his
head, and two house cats lay frozen, one beneath each arm. These old
pioneers were strange people and died strange deaths.
In our plans to capture grizzlies we took into consideration the
proclivity of this beast to attack. We knew his speed was tremendous.
He is able to catch a horse or a dog on the run. Therefore, it is
useless for a man to try to run away from him. There is no such thing
as being able to climb a tree if the animal is at close quarters. Adams
has shown that it is a mistake to attempt it. One only stretches
himself out inviting evisceration in the effort.
We decided if cornered either to dodge or to lie flat and feign death.
So we practiced dodging, our running being more for the purpose of
gaining endurance and to follow the bear if necessary.
Ishi, the Yana Indian, said that grizzlies were to be overcome with
arrows and if they charged, they were to be met with the spear and
fire. So we constructed spears having well-tempered blades more than a
foot in length set upon heavy iron tubing and riveted to strong ash
handles six feet in length. Back of the blade we fashioned quick
lighting torches of cotton waste saturated with turpentine. These could
be ignited by jerking a lanyard fastened to a spring faced with
sandpaper. The spring rested on the ends of several matches. It was an
ingenious and reliable device.
The Esquimaux used a long spear in hunting the polar bear. It was ten
or twelve feet in length. After being shot with an arrow, if the bear
charged, they rested the butt of the spear on the ground, lowered the
point and let the bear impale himself on it.
When the time came to use our weapons, Ned Frost dissuaded us from the
attempt. He said that he once owned a pet grizzly and kept it fast with
a long chain in the back yard. This bear was so quick that it could lie
in its kennel, apparently asleep, and if a chicken passed within proper
distance, with incredible quickness she reached out a paw and seized
the chicken without the slightest semblance of effort. And when at
play, the boys tried to stick the bear with a pitchfork, she would
parry the thrusts and protect herself like a boxer. It was impossible
to touch her.
The fire, Frost thought, might serve at night, but in the daylight it
would lose its effect. So he insisted that he would carry a gun to be
used in case of attack. On our part, we stipulated that he was to
resort to it only to prevent disaster and protested that such an
exigency must be looked upon by us as a complete failure of our plans.
We knew we could not stop the mad rush of a bear with our arrows, but
we hoped to kill at least one by this means and compromise on the rest
Indians, besides employing the spear, poisoned arrows, and fire, also
used protected positions, or shot from horseback. We scorned to shoot
from a tree and were told that few horses could be ridden close enough,
or fast enough, to get within bowshot of a grizzly.
Inquiry among those qualified to know, led to the estimate of the
number of all bears in the Park to be between five hundred and one
thousand. Considering that there are some three thousand square miles
of land, that there were nearly sixty thousand elk, besides hundreds of
bison, antelope, mountain sheep, and similar animals, this does not
seem improbable. I am aware that recent statements are to the effect
that there were only forty grizzlies there. This is palpably an
underestimate, and probably takes into account only those that frequent
the dumps. Frost believes that there are several hundred grizzlies in
the Park, many of which range out in the adjacent country. So we felt
no fear of decimating their ranks, and had every hope of seeing many.
In fact, their number has so increased in recent years that they have
become a menace and require killing off.
During the past five years four persons have either been mauled or
killed by grizzlies in Yellowstone. One of these was a teamster by the
name of Jack Walsh. He was sleeping under his wagon at Cold Springs
when a large bear seized him by the arm, dragged him forth and ripped
open his abdomen. Walsh died of blood poison and peritonitis a few days
later. Frost himself was attacked. He was conducting a party of
tourists through the preserve and had just been explaining to them
around the camp-fire that there was no danger of bears. He slept in the
tent with a horse wrangler by the name of Phonograph Jones. In the
middle of the night a huge grizzly entered his tent and stepped on the
head of Jones, peeling the skin off his face by the rough pressure of
his paw. The man waked with a yell, whereupon the bear clawed out his
lower ribs. The cry roused Frost, who having no firearms, hurled his
pillow at the bear.
With a roar, the grizzly leaped upon Ned, who dived into his sleeping
bag. The animal grasped him by the thighs, and dragged him from the
tent out into the forest, sleeping bag and all. As he carried off his
victim, he shook him from side to side as a dog shakes a rat. Frost
felt the great teeth settle down on his thigh bones and expected
momentarily to have them crushed in the powerful jaws. In a thicket of
jack pines over a hundred yards from camp, the bear shook him so
violently that the muscles of the man's thighs tore out and he was
hurled free from the bag. He landed half-naked in the undergrowth
several yards away.
While the frenzied bear still worried the bedding, Frost dragged
himself to a near-by pine and pulled himself up in its branches by the
strength of his arms.
The camp was in an uproar; a huge fire was kindled; tin pans were
beaten; one of the helpers mounted a horse and by circling around the
bear, succeeded in driving him away.
After first aid measures were administered, Frost was successfully
nursed back to health and usefulness by his wife. But since that time
he has an inveterate hatred of grizzlies, hunting them with grim
It is said that nearly forty obnoxious grizzlies were shot by the Park
rangers after this episode and Frost was given a permit to carry a
weapon. We found later that he always went to sleep with a Colt
automatic pistol strapped to his wrist.
We planned to enter the Park in two parties. One, comprised of Frost,
the cook, horse wrangler, my brother, and his friend, Judge Henry
Hulbert, of Detroit, was to proceed from Cody and come with a pack
train across Sylvan Pass. Our party consisted of Arthur Young and
myself; Mr. Compton was unexpectedly prevented from joining us by
sickness in his family. We were to journey by rail to Ashton. This was
the nearest point to Yellowstone Station on the boundary of the
reservation that could be reached by railroad in winter.
We arrived at this point near the last of May 1920. The roads beyond
were blocked with snow, but by good fortune, we were taken in by one of
the first work trains entering the region through the personal interest
and courtesy of the superintendent of the Pocatello division.
We had shipped ahead of us a quantity of provisions and came outfitted
only with sleeping bags, extra clothing, and our archery equipment.
This latter consisted of two bows apiece and a carrying case containing
one hundred and forty-four broad-heads, the finest assembly of bows and
arrows since the battle of Crecy.
Young had one newly made bow weighing eighty-five pounds and his
well-tried companion of many hunts, Old Grizzly, weighing seventy-five
He later found the heavier weapon too strong for him in the cold
weather of the mountains, where a man's muscles stiffen and lose their
power, while his bow grows stronger.
My own bows were seventy-five pounds apiece--"Old Horrible," my
favorite, a hard hitter and sweet to shoot, and "Bear Slayer," the
fine-grained, crooked-limbed stave with which I helped to kill our
first bear. Our arrows were the usual three-eighths birch shafts,
carefully selected, straight and true. Their heads were tempered steel,
as sharp as daggers. We had, of course, a few blunts and eagle arrows
in the lot.
In the Park we found snow deep on the ground and the roads but recently
cleared with snow plows and caterpillar tractors. We traveled by auto
to Mammoth Hot Springs and paid our respects to Superintendent
Albright, and ultimately settled in a vacant ranger's cabin near the
Canyon. Here we awaited the coming of the second party.
Our entrance into the Park was well known to the rangers, who were
instructed to give us all the assistance possible. This cabin soon
became a rendezvous for them and our evenings were spent very
pleasantly with stories and fireside music.
After several days, word was sent by telephone that Frost and his
caravan were unable to cross Sylvan Pass because of fifty feet of snow
in the defile, and that he had returned to Cody where he would take an
auto truck and come around to the northern entrance to the Park,
through Gardner, Montana.
At the expiration of three days he drove up to our cabin in a flurry of
snow. This was about the last day in May.
Frost himself is one of the finest of Western types; born and raised in
the sage brush country, a hunter of big game ever since he was large
enough to hold a gun. He was in the prime of life, a man of infinite
resource, courage, and fortitude. We admired him immensely.
With him he had a full camp outfit, selected after years of experience,
and suited to any kind of weather.
The party consisted of Art Cunningham, the cook; G.D. Pope, and Judge
Henry Hulbert. Art came equipped with a vast amount of camp craft and
cookery wisdom. My brother came to see the fun, the Judge to take
pictures and add dignity to the occasion. All were seasoned woodsmen
We moved to more commodious quarters, a log cabin in the vicinity, made
ourselves comfortable, and let the wind-driven snow pile deep drifts
about our warm shelter while we planned a campaign against the
So far, we had met few bears, and these were of the tourist variety.
They had stolen bacon from the elevated meat safe, and one we found in
the woods sitting on his haunches calmly eating the contents of a box
of soda crackers. These were the hotel pets and were nothing more than
of passing interest to us.
Contrary to the usual condition, no grizzlies were to be seen. The only
animals in evidence were a few half-starved elk that had wintered in
the Park, marmots, and the Canadian jay birds.
We began our hunts on foot, exploring Hayden Valley, the Sour Creek
region, Mt. Washburn, and the headwaters of Cascade Creek.
The ground was very wet in places and heavy with snow in the woods. It
was necessary, therefore, to wear rubber pacs, a type of shoe well
suited to this sort of travel.
Our party divided into two groups, usually my brother and the Judge
exploring in one direction while Young and I kept close at the heels of
Frost. We climbed all the high ridges and swept the country with our
binocular glasses. Prom eight to fourteen hours a day we walked and
combed the country for bear signs.
Our original plan was to bring in several decrepit old horses with the
pack train and sacrifice them for bait. But because of the failure of
this part of our program, we were forced to find dead elk for this
purpose. We came across a number of old carcasses, but no signs that
bear had visited them recently. Our first encounter with grizzly came
on the fourth day. We were scouting over the country near Sulphur
Mountain, when Frost saw a grizzly a mile off, feeding in a little
valley. The snow had melted here and he was calmly digging roots in the
soft ground. We signalled to our party and all drew together as we
advanced on our first bear, keeping out of sight as we did so.
We planned to go rapidly down a little cut in the hills and intercept
him as he came around the turn. Progressing at a rapid pace, Indian
file, we five hunters went down the draw, when suddenly our bear, who
had taken an unexpected cut-off, came walking up the ravine. At a sign
from Ned, we dropped to our knees and awaited developments. The bear
had not seen us and the faint breeze blew from him to us. He was about
two hundred yards off. We were all in a direct line, Frost ahead, I
next, Young behind me, and the others in the rear. Our bows were braced
and arrows nocked.
Slowly the bear came feeding toward us. He dug the roots of white
violets, he sniffed, he meandered back and forth, wholly unconscious of
our presence. We hardly breathed. He was not a good specimen, rather a
scrawny, long-nosed, male adolescent, but a real grizzly and would do
as a starter.
At last he came within fifty yards, stopped, pawed a patch of snow, and
still we did not shoot. We could not without changing our position
because we were all in one line. So we waited for his next move, hoping
that he would advance laterally and possibly give us a broadside
But he came onward, directly for us, and at thirty yards stopped to
root in the ground again. I thought, "Now we must shoot or he will walk
over us!" Just then he lifted his head and seemed to take an eyeful of
Young's blue shirt. For one second he half reared and stared. I drew my
bow and as the arrow left the string, he bounded up the hill. The
flying shaft just grazed his shoulder, parting the fur in its course.
Quick as a bouncing rubber ball, he leaped over the ground and as
Young's belated arrow whizzed past him, he disappeared over the hill
We rose with a deep breath and shouted with laughter. Ned said that if
it had not been for that blue shirt, the bear would have bumped into
us. Well, we were glad we missed him, because after all, he was not the
one we were looking for. It is a hard thing to pick grizzlies to order.
You can't go up and inspect them ahead of time.
This fiasco was just an encouragement to us, and we continued to rise
by candle light and hunt till dark. The weather turned warmer, and the
snow began to melt.
At the end of the first week we saw five grizzlies way off in the
distance at the head of Hayden Valley. They were three or four miles
from us and evening was approaching, so we postponed an attack on them.
Next morning, bright and early, we were on the ground again, hoping to
see them. Sure enough, there they were! Ned, Art and I were together;
my brother and the Judge were off scouting on the other side of the
ridge. It was about half past eight in the morning. The bears, four in
number this time, were feeding in the grassy marshland, about three
miles up the valley. Ned's motto has always been: "When you see 'em, go
and get 'em."
We decided to attack immediately. Down the river bank, through the
draws, up into the timber we circled at a trot. It was hard going, but
we were pressed for time. At last we came out on a wooded point a
quarter of a mile above the bears, and rested. We knew they were about
to finish their morning feeding and go up into the forest to lay up for
the day. So we watched them in seclusion.
We waxed our bowstrings and put the finishing touches on our
arrow-heads with a file.
Slowly the bears mounted the foothills, heading for a large patch of
snow, where Frost thought they would lie down to cool before entering
the woods. It seems that their winter coat makes them very susceptible
to heat, and though the sun had come out pleasantly for us, it was too
hot for them. There was an old female and three half-grown cubs in
their third year, all looking big enough for any museum group.
At last they settled down and began to nuzzle the snow. The time had
come for action. We proposed to slip down the little ravine at the edge
of the timber, cross the stream, ascend the hill on the opposite side,
and come up on our quarry over the crest. We should thus be within
shooting distance. The wind was right for this maneuver, so we started
Now as I write my muscles quiver, my heart thumps and I flush with a
strange feeling, thinking of that moment. Like a soldier before a
battle, we waded into an uncharted experience. What does a man think of
as he is about to enter his first grizzly encounter? I remember well
what passed through my head: "Can we get there without alarming the
brutes?" "How close will they be?" "Can we hit them?" "What will happen
Ned Frost, Young and I were to sneak up on four healthy grizzlies in
the open, and pit our nerve against their savage reaction. Ned had his
rifle, but this was to be used only as a last resort, and that might
easily fail at such short range.
As we walked rapidly, stepping with utmost caution, I answered all the
questions of my subconscious fears. "Hit them? Why, we will soak them
in the gizzard; wreck them!" "Charge? Let them come on and may the best
man win!" "Die? There never was a fairer, brighter, better day to die
on." In fact, "Lead on!" I felt absolutely gay. A little profanity or a
little intellectual detachment at these times is of material help in
the process of auto-suggestion.
As for Young, he was silent, and possibly was thinking of camp
Half way up the hill, on the opposite side of which lay our grizzlies,
we stopped, braced our bows, took three arrows apiece from our quivers,
and proceeded in a more stealthy approach.
Young and I arranged ourselves on each side of Frost, abreast with him.
Near the top Ned took out a green silk handkerchief and floated it in
the gentle breeze to see if the wind had changed. If it had, we might
find the bears coming over the top to meet us. Everything was perfect,
so far! Now, stooping low we crept to the very ridge itself, to a spot
directly above which we believed the bears to be. Laying our hats on
the grass and sticking our extra arrows in the ground before us, we
rose up, bows half drawn, ready to shoot.
There on the snow, not over twenty-five yards off, lay four grizzly
bears, just like so many hearth rugs.
Instantly, I selected the farthest bear for my mark and at a signal of
the eye we drew our great bows to their uttermost and loosed two deadly
We struck! There was a roar, they rose, but instead of charging us,
they rushed together and began such a fight as few men have seen. My
bear, pinioned with an arrow in the shoulder, threw himself on his
mother, biting her with savage fury. She in turn bit him in the bloody
shoulder and snapped my arrow off short. Then all the cubs attacked
her. The growls and bellowing were terrific.
Quickly I nocked another arrow. The beasts were milling around
together, pawing, biting, mad with rage. I shot at my bear and missed
him. I nocked again. The old she-bear reared on her haunches, stood
high above the circling bunch, cuffing and roaring, the blood running
from her mouth and nostrils in frothy streams. Young's arrow was deep
in her chest. I drove a feathered shaft below her foreleg.
The confusion and bellowing increased, and, as I drew a fourth arrow
from my quiver, I glanced up just in time to see the old female's hair
rise on the back of her neck. She steadied herself in her wild hurtling
and looked directly at us with red glaring eyes. She saw us for the
first time! Instinctively I knew she would charge, and she did.
Quick as thought, she bounded toward us. Two great leaps and she was on
us. A gun went off at my ear. The bear was literally knocked head over
heels, and fell in backward somersaults down the steep snowbank. At
some fifty yards she checked her course, gathered herself, and
attempted to charge again, but her right foreleg failed her. She rose
on her haunches in an effort to advance, when, like a flash, two arrows
flew at her and disappeared through her heaving sides. She faltered,
wilted, and as we drew to shoot again, she sprawled out on the ground,
a convulsed, quivering mass of fur and muscle--she was dead.
The half grown cubs had disappeared at the boom of the gun. We saw one
making off at a gallop, three hundred yards away. The glittering
snowbank before us was vacant.
The air seemed strangely still; the silence was oppressive. Our nervous
tension exploded in a wave of laughter and exclamations of wonderment.
Frost declared he had never seen such a spectacle in all his life; four
grizzly bears in deadly combat; the din of battle; the wild bellowing;
and two bowmen shooting arrow after arrow into this jumble of
[Illustration: OUR CAMP AT SQUAW LAKE, WYOMING]
[Illustration: THE RESULT OF OUR FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH A CHARGING
[Illustration: BRINGING HOME THE TROPHIES]
The snow was trampled and soaked with blood as though there had been an
Indian massacre. We paced off the distance at which the charging female
had been stopped. It was exactly eight yards. A mighty handy shot!
We went down to view the remains. Young had three arrows in the old
bear, one deep in her neck, its point emerging back of the shoulder. He
shot that as she came at us. His first arrow struck anterior to her
shoulder, entered her chest, and cut her left lung from top to bottom.
His third arrow pierced her thorax, through and through, and lay on the
ground beside her with only its feathers in the wound.
My first arrow cut below the diaphragm, penetrated the stomach and
liver, severed the gall ducts and portal vein. My second arrow passed
completely through her abdomen and lay on the ground several yards
beyond her. It had cut the intestines in a dozen places and opened
large branches of the mesenteric artery.
The bullet from Frost's gun had entered at the right shoulder,
fractured the humerus, blown a hole an inch in diameter in the chest
wall, opened up a jagged hole in the trachea, and dissipated its energy
in the left lung. No wound of exit was found, the soft nose
copper-jacketed bullet apparently having gone to pieces after striking
Anatomically speaking, it was an effective shot, knocked the bear down
and crippled her, but was not an immediately fatal wound. We had her
killed with arrows, but she did not know it. She undoubtedly would have
been right on us in another second. The outcome of this hypothetical
encounter I leave to those with vivid imaginations.
We hereby express our gratitude to Ned Frost.
Now one of us had to rush off and get the rest of the party. Judge
Hulbert and my brother were in another valley in quest of bear. So Ned
set off at a rapid tramp across the bogs, streams, and hills to find
them. Within an hour they returned together to view the wreckage.
Photographs were taken, the skinning and autopsy were performed. Then
we looked around for the wounded cub. Frost trailed him by almost
invisible blood stains and tracks, and found him less than a quarter of
a mile away, huddled up as if asleep on the hillside, my arrow nestled
to his breast. The broken shaft with its blade deep in the thorax had
completely severed the head of his humerus, cut two ribs, and killed
him by hemorrhage from the pulmonary arteries. Half-grown as he was, he
would have made an ugly antagonist for any man.
His mother, a fine mature lady of the old school, showed by her teeth
and other lineaments her age and respectability. In autumn she would
have weighed four or five hundred pounds. We weighed her in
installments with our spring scales; she registered three hundred and
five pounds. She was in poor condition and her pelt was not suitable
for museum purposes. But these features could not be determined readily
beforehand. The juvenile Ursus weighed one hundred and thirty-five
pounds. We measured them, gathered their bones for the museum,
shouldered their hides, and turned back to camp.
That night Ned Frost said, "Boys, when you proposed shooting grizzly
bears with the bow and arrow, I thought it a fine sporting proposition,
but I had my doubts about its success. Now I know that you can shoot
through and kill the biggest grizzly in Wyoming!"
Our instructions on leaving California were to secure a large male
_Ursus Horribilis Imperator_, a good representative female, and two or
three cubs. The female we had shot filled the requirements fairly well,
but the two-year-old cub was at the high school age and hardly cute
enough to be admired. Moreover, no sooner had we sent the news of our
first success to the Museum than we were informed that this size cub
was not wanted and that we must secure little ones.
So we set out to get some of this year's vintage in small bears.
Ordinarily, there is no difficulty in coming in contact with bears in
Yellowstone; in fact, it is more common to try to keep some of the
hotel variety from eating at the same table with you. But not a single
bear, black, brown, or silver-tipped, now called upon us. We traveled
all over that beautiful Park, from Mammoth Hot Springs to the Lake. We
hunted over every well-known bear district. Tower Falls, Specimen
Ridge, Buffalo Corrals, Mt. Washburn, Dunraven Pass (under twenty-five
feet of snow), Antelope Creek, Pelican Meadows, Cub Creek, Steamboat
Point, and kept the rangers busy on the lookout for bear. From eight to
fifteen hours a day we hunted. We walked over endless miles of
mountains, climbed over countless logs, plowed through snow and slush,
and raked the valleys with our field glasses.
But bears were as scarce as hen's teeth. We saw a few tracks but
nothing compared to those seen in other years.
We began to have a sneaking idea that the bear had all been killed off.
We knew they had been a pest to campers and were becoming a menace to
human life. We suspected the Park authorities of quiet extermination.
Several of the rangers admitted that a selective killing was carried
out yearly to rid the preserve of the more dangerous individuals.
Then the elk began to pour back into the Park; singly, in couples, and
in droves they returned, lean and scraggly. A few began to drop their
calves. Then we began to see bear signs. The grizzly follow the elk,
and after they come out of hibernation and get their fill of green
grass, they naturally take to elk calves. Occasionally they include the
mother in the menu.
We also began to follow the elk. We watched at bait. We sat up nights
and days at a time, seeing only a few unfavorable specimens and these
were as wild and as wary as deer. We found the mosquitoes more deadly
than the bear. We tracked big worthy old boys around in circles and had
various frustrated encounters with she-bears and cubs.
Upon one occasion we were tracking a prospective specimen through the
woods, proceeding with great caution, when evidently the beast heard
us. Suddenly, he turned on his tracks and came on a dead run for us. I
was in advance and instantly drew my bow, holding it for the right
moment to shoot. The bear came directly in our front, not more than
twenty yards away and being startled by the sight of us, threw his
locomotive mechanism into reverse and skidded towards us in a cloud of
snow and forest leaves. In the fraction of a second, I perceived that
he was afraid and not a proper specimen for our use. I held my arrow
and the bear with an indignant and disgusted look, made a precipitous
retreat. It was an unexpected surprise on both sides.
They say that the Indians avoided the Yellowstone region, thinking it a
land of evil spirits. In our wanderings, however, we picked up on
Steamboat Point a beautiful red chert arrow-head, undoubtedly shot by
an Indian at elk years before Columbus burst in upon these good people.
In Hayden Valley we found an obsidian spear head, another sign that the
Indian knew good hunting grounds.
But no Indian was ever so anxious to meet grizzly as we were. We hunted
continually, but found none that suited us; we had to have the best.
Frost assured us that we had made a mistake in ever trying to get
grizzlies in the Park--and that in the time we spent there we could
have secured all our required specimens in the game fields of Wyoming
A month passed; the bears were beginning to lose their winter coats;
our party began to disintegrate. My brother and the Judge were
compelled to return to Detroit. A week or so later Ned Frost and the
cook were scheduled to take out another party of hunters from Cody and
prepared to leave us. Young and I were determined to stick it out until
the last chance was exhausted. We just had to get those specimens.
Before Frost left us, however, he packed us up to the head of Cascade
Creek with our bows and arrows, bed rolls, a tarpaulin, and a couple of
boxes of provisions.
We had received word from a ranger that a big old grizzly had been seen
at Soda Butte and we prepared to go after him. At the last moment
before departure, a second word came that probably this same bear had
moved down to Tower Falls and was ranging between this point and the
Canyon, killing elk around Dunraven Pass.
Young and I scouted over this area and found diggings and his tracks.
A good-sized bear will have a nine-inch track. This monster's was
eleven inches long. We saw where he made his kills and used certain
fixed trails going up and down the canyons.
Frost gave us some parting advice and his blessing, consigned us to our
fate, and went home.
Left to ourselves, we two archers inspected our tackle and put
everything in prime condition. Our bows had stood the many wettings
well, but we oiled them again. New strings were put on and thoroughly
waxed. Our arrows were straightened, their feathers dried and preened
in the sun. The broad-heads were set on straight and sharpened to the
last degree, and so prepared we determined to do our utmost. We were
ready for the big fellow.
In our reconnaissance we found that he was a real killer. His trail was
marked by many bloody episodes. It seemed quite probable that he was
the bear that two years before burst in upon a party of surveyors in
the mountains and kept them treed all night. It is not unlikely that he
was the same bear that caused the death of Jack Walsh. He seemed too
expert in planning murder. We saw by his tracks how he lay in ambush
watching a herd of elk, how he sneaked up on a mother elk and her
recently born calf on the outskirts of the band, and with a great leap
threw himself upon the two and killed them.
In several places we saw the skins of these little wapiti licked clean
and empty of bodily structure. No other male grizzly was permitted to
enter his domain. He was, in fact, the monarch of the mountain, the
great bear of Dunraven Pass.
We pitched our little tent in a secluded wood some three miles from the
lake at the head of Cascade Creek, and began to lay our plan of attack.
We were by this time inured to fatigue and disappointment. Weariness
and loss of sleep had produced a dogged determination that knew no
relaxation. And yet we were cheerful. Young has that fine quality so
essential to a hunting companion, imperturbable good nature, never
complaining, no matter how heavy the load, how long the trail, how late
or how early the hour, how cold, how hot, how little, or how poor the
We were there to win and nothing else mattered. If it rained and we
must wait, we took out our musical instruments, built up the fire and
soothed our troubled souls with harmony. This is better than tobacco or
whiskey for the purpose. In fact, Young is so abstemious that even tea
or coffee seem a bit intemperate to him, and are only to be used under
great physical strain; and as for profanity, why, I had to do all the
swearing for the two of us.
We were trained down to rawhide and sinew, keyed to alertness and ready
for any emergency.
Often in our wanderings at night we ran unexpectedly upon wild beasts
in the dark. Some of these were bears. Our pocket flashlights were used
as defensive weapons. A snort, a crashing retreat through the brush
told us that our visitant had departed in haste, unable to stand the
glaring light of modern science.
We soon found that our big fellow was a night rover also, and visited
his various kills under the cloak of darkness. In one particularly
steep and rugged canyon, he crossed a little creek at a set place. Up
on the side of this canyon he mounted to the plateau above by one of
three possible trails. At the top within forty yards of one of these
was a small promontory of rock upon which we decided to form a blind
and await his coming. We fashioned a shelter of young jack pines,
constructed like a miniature corral, less than three by six feet in
area, but very natural in appearance. Between us and the trail was a
quantity of down timber which we hoped would act as an impediment to an
onrushing bear. And the perpendicular face of our outcropping elevated
us some twelve or thirteen feet above the steep hillside. A small tree
stood near our position and offered a possibility in case of attack.
But we had long ago decided that no man can clamber up a tree in time
to escape a grizzly charging at a distance less than fifty yards. We
could be approached from the rear, but altogether it was an ideal
The wind blew steadily up the canyon all night long and carried our
scent away from the trail. Above us on the plateau was a recently
killed elk which acted as a perpetual invitation to bears and other
prowlers of the night.
So we started watching in this blind, coming soon after dusk and
remaining until sunrise. The nights were cold, the ground pitiless, and
the moon, nearly at its full, crept low through a maze of mist.
Dressed in our warmest clothing and permitting ourselves one blanket
and a small piece of canvas, we huddled together in a cramped posture
and kept vigil through the long hours. Neither of us smoked anyway, and
of course, this was absolutely taboo; we hardly whispered, and even
shifted our positions with utmost caution. Before us lay our bows ready
strung, and arrows, both in the quiver belted upright to the screen and
standing free close at hand.
The first evening we saw an old she-bear and her two-year-old cubs come
up the path. They passed us with that soft shuffling gait so uncanny to
hear in the dark. We were delighted that they showed no sign of having
detected us. But they were not suited to our purpose and we let them
go. The female was homely, fretful and nervous. The cubs were yellow
and ungainly. We looked for better things.
Bears have personality, as obvious as humans. Some are lazy, some
alert, surly, or timid. Nearly all the females we saw showed that
irritability and irascible disposition that go with the cares of
maternity. This family was decidedly commonplace.
They disappeared in the gloom, and we waited and waited for the big
fellow that some time must appear.
But morning came first; we stole from our blind, chilled and stiffened,
and wandered back to camp to breakfast and sleep. The former was a
fairly successful event, but the latter was made almost impossible by
the swarms of mosquitoes that beset us. A smudge fire and canvas head-
coverings gave us only a partial immunity. By sundown we were on our
way again to the blind, but another cold dreary night passed without
On our way to camp in the dim light of early dawn, a land fog hung low
in the valley. As we came up a rough path there suddenly appeared out
of the obscurity three little bear cubs, not thirty-five yards away.
They winded us, squeaked and stood on their hind legs, peering in our
direction. We dropped like stones in our tracks, scarcely breathing,
figuratively frozen to the ground, for instantly the fiercest-looking
grizzly we ever saw bounded over the cubs and straddled them between
her forelegs. Nothing could stop her if she came on. A little brush
intervened and she could not locate us plainly for we could see her
eyes wander in search of us; but her trembling muscles, the vicious
champing of her jaws, and the guttural growls, all spoke of immediate
attack. We were petrified. She wavered in her intent, turned, cuffed
her cubs down the hill, snorted and finally departed with her family.
We heaved a deep sigh of relief. But she was wonderful, she was the
most beautiful bear we had ever seen; large, well proportioned, with
dark brown hair having just a touch of silver. She was a patrician, the
aristocrat of the species. We marked her well.
Next day, just at sunset, we got our first view of the great bear of
Dunraven Pass. He was coming down a distant canyon trail. He looked
like a giant in the twilight. With long swinging strides he threw
himself impetuously down the mountainside. Great power was in every
movement. He was magnificent! He seemed as large as a horse, and had
that grand supple strength given to no other predatory animal
Though we were used to bears, a strange misgiving came over me. We
proposed to slay this monster with the bow and arrow. It seemed
In the blind another long cold night passed. The moon drifted slowly
across the heavens and sank in a haze of clouds at daybreak. Just at
the hush of dawn, the homely female and her tow-headed progeny came
shuffling by. We were desperate for specimens, and one of these would
match that which we already had. I drew up my bow and let fly a broad-
head at one of the cubs. It struck him in the ribs. Precipitately, the
whole band took flight. My quarry fell against an obstructing log and
died. His mother stopped, came back several times, gazed at him
pensively, then disappeared. We got out, carried him to a distant spot
and skinned him. He weighed one hundred and twenty pounds. My arrow had
shaved a piece off his heart. Death was instantaneous.
We packed home the hind quarters and made a fine grizzly stew. Before
this we had found that the old bears were tough and rancid, but the
little ones were as sweet and tender as suckling pigs. This stew was
particularly good, well seasoned with canned tomatoes and the last of
our potatoes and onions. Sad to relate the better part of this savory
pot next day was eaten by a wandering vagabond of the _Ursus_ family.
Not content with our stew, he devoured all our sugar, bacon, and other
foodstuffs not in cans, and wound up his debauch by wiping his feet on
our beds and generally messing up the camp. Probably he was a regular
That night, early in the watch, we heard the worthy old boy come down
the canyon, hot in pursuit of a large brown bear. As he ran, the great
animal made quite a noise. His claws clattered on the rocks, and the
ground seemed to shake beneath us. We shifted our bows ready for
action, and felt the keen edge of our arrows. Way off in the forest we
heard him tree the cowardly intruder with such growls and ripping of
bark that one would imagine he was about to tear the tree down.
After a long time he desisted and, grunting and wheezing, came slowly
up the canyon. With the night glasses we could see him. He seemed to be
considerably heated with his exercise and scratched himself against a
young fir tree. As he stood on his hind legs with his back to the trunk
and rubbed himself to and fro, the tree swayed like a reed; and as he
lifted his nose I observed that it just touched one of the lower
branches. In the morning, after he had gone and we were on our way to
camp, we passed this very fir and stretching up on my tip toes, I could
just touch the limb with my fingers. Having been a pole vaulter in my
youth, I knew by experience that this measurement was over seven feet
six inches. He was a real he-bear! We wanted him more than ever.
The following day it rained--in fact, it rained nearly every day near
the end of our stay; but this was a drenching that stopped at sunset,
leaving all the world sweet and fragrant. The moon came out full and
beautiful, everything seemed propitious.
We went to the blind about an hour before midnight, feeling that surely
this evening the big fellow would come. After two hours of frigidity
and immobility, we heard the velvet footfalls of bear coming up the
canyon. There came our patrician and her royal family. The little
fellows pattered up the trail before their mother. They came within
range. I signalled Young and we shot together at the cubs. We struck.
There was a squeak, a roar, a jumble of shadowy figures and the entire
flock of bears came tumbling in our direction.
At that very moment the big grizzly appeared on the scene. There were
five bears in sight. Turning her head from side to side, trying to find
her enemy, the she-bear came towards us. I whispered to Young, "Shoot
the big fellow." At the same time, I drew an arrow to the head, and
drove it at the oncoming female. It struck her full in the chest. She
reared; threw herself sidewise, bellowed with rage, staggered and fell
to the ground. She rose again, weakened, stumbled forward, and with
great gasps she died. In less than half a minute it was all over. The
little ones ran up the hill past us, one later returned and sat up at
its mother's head, then disappeared in the dark forever.
While all this transpired, the monster grizzly was romping back and
forth in the shaded forest not more than sixty-five yards away. With
deep booming growls like distant thunder, he voiced his anger and
intent to kill. As he flitted between the shadows of the trees, the
moonlight glinted on his massive body; he was enormous.
Young discharged three arrows at him. I shot two. We should have
landed, he was so large. But he galloped off and I saw my last arrow at
the point blank range of seventy-five yards, fall between his legs. He
was gone. We thought we had missed the beast and grief descended heavy
upon us. The thought of all the weary days and nights of hunting and
waiting, and now to have lost him, was very painful.
After our palpitating hearts were quiet and the world seemed peaceful,
we got out of our blind and skinned the female by flashlight. She was a
magnificent specimen, just right in color and size for the Museum, not
fat, but weighing a trifle over five hundred pounds. My arrow had
severed a rib and buried its head in her heart. We measured her and
saved her skull and long bones for the taxidermist.
At daybreak we searched for the cubs and found one dead under a log
with an arrow through his brain. The others had disappeared.
We had no idea that we hit the great bear, but just to gather up our
shafts, we went over the ground where he had been.
One of Young's arrows was missing!
That gave us a thrill; perhaps we had hit him after all! We went
further in the direction he had gone; there was a trace of blood.
We trailed him. We knew it was dangerous business. Through clumps of
jack pines we cautiously followed, peering under every pile of brush
and fallen tree. Deep into the forest we tracked him, where his bloody
smear was left upon fallen logs. Soon we found where he had rested.
Then we discovered the fore part of Young's arrow. It had gone through
him. There was a pool of blood. Then we found the feathered butt which
he had drawn out with his teeth.
Four times he wallowed down in the mud or soft earth to rest and cool
his wound. Then beneath a great fir he had made a bed in the soft loam
and left it. Past this we could not track him. We hunted high and low,
but no trace of him could we find. Apparently he had ceased bleeding
and his footprints were not recorded on the stony ground about. We made
wide circles, hoping to pick up his trail. We searched up and down the
creek. We cross-cut every forest path and runway, but no vestige
[Illustration: LOOKING FOR GRIZZLIES ON CUB CREEK]
[Illustration: THE TREE THAT NED FROST CLIMBED TO ESCAPE DEATH]
[Illustration: MY FEMALE GRIZZLY AND THE ARROW THAT KILLED HER]
[Illustration: ARTHUR YOUNG SLAYS THE MONARCH OF THE MOUNTAINS]
He was gone. We even looked up in the tree and down in the ground where
he had wallowed. For five hours we searched in vain, and at last, worn
with disappointment and fatigue, we lay down and slept on the very spot
where he last stopped.
Near sundown we awoke, ate a little food, and started all over again to
find the great bear. We retraced our steps and followed the fading
evidence till it brought us again to the pit beneath the fir tree. He
must be near. It was absolutely impossible for any animal to have lost
so much blood and travel more than a few hundred yards past this spot.
We had explored the creek bottom and the cliffs above from below, and
we now determined to traverse every foot of the rim of the canyon from
above. As we climbed over the face of the rock we saw a clot of dried
blood. We let ourselves down the sheer descent, came upon a narrow
little ledge, and there below us lay the huge monster on his back,
against a boulder, cold and stiff, as dead as Cesar. Our hearts nearly
burst with happiness.
There lay the largest grizzly bear in Wyoming, dead at our feet. His
rugged coat was matted with blood. Well back in his chest the arrow
wound showed clear. I measured him; twenty-six inches of bear had been
pierced through and through. One arrow killed him. He was tremendous.
His great wide head; his worn, glistening teeth; his massive arms; his
vast, ponderous feet and long curved claws; all were there. He was a
wonderful beast. It seemed incredible. I thumped Young on the shoulder:
"My, that was a marvelous shot!"
We started to skin our quarry. It was a stupendous job, as he weighed
nearly one thousand pounds, and lay on the steep canyon side ready to
roll on and crush us. But with ropes we lashed him by the neck to a
tree and split him up the back, later box-skinning the legs according
to the method required by the museum.
By flashlight, acetylene lamp, candle light, fire light and moonlight,
we labored. We used up all our knives, and having neglected to bring
our whet-stones, sharpened our blades on the volcanic boulders, about
us. By assiduous industry for nine straight hours, we finished him
after a fashion. His skin was thick and like scar tissue. His meat was
all tendons and gristle. The hide was as tight as if glued on.
In the middle of the night we stopped long enough to broil some grizzly
cub steaks and brew a pot of tea; then we went at it again.
As we dismembered him we weighed the parts. The veins were absolutely
dry of blood, and without this substance, which represents a loss of
nearly 10 per cent of his weight, he was nine hundred and sixteen
pounds. There was hardly an inch of fat on his back. At the end of the
autumn this adipose layer would be nearly six inches thick. He would
then have weighed over fourteen hundred pounds. He stood nearly four
feet high at the shoulders, while his skull measured eighteen and a
half inches long; his entire body length was seven feet four inches.
As we cleaned his bones we hurled great slabs of muscle down the
canyon, knowing from experience that this would be a sign for all other
bears to leave the vicinity. Only the wolves and jays will eat grizzly
At last we finished him, as the sun rose over the mountain ridges and
gilded all the canyon with glory. We cleaned and salted the pelts,
packed them on our backs, and, dripping with salt brine and bear
grease, staggered to the nearest wagon trail. The hide of the big bear,
with unskinned paws and skull, weighed nearly one hundred and fifty
We cached our trophies, tramped the weary miles back to camp, cleaned
up, packed and wandered to the nearest station, from which we ordered a
machine. When this arrived we gathered our belongings, turned our
various specimens over to a park ranger, to be given the final
treatments, and started on our homeward trip.
We were so exhausted from loss of sleep, exertion and excitement, that
we sank into a stupor that lasted almost the entire way home.
The California Academy of Sciences now has a handsome representative
group of _Ursus Horribilis Imperator_. We have the extremely
satisfactory feeling that we killed five of the finest grizzly bear in
Wyoming. The sport was fair and clean, and we did it all with the bow
It seems as if Fate had chosen my hunting companion, Arthur Young, to
add to the honor and the legends of the bow. At any rate it fell to his
lot to make two trips to Alaska between the years 1922 and 1925.
He and his friend, Jack Robertson, were financed in a project to
collect moving-picture scenes of the Northland.
They were instructed to show the country in all its seasonal phases, to
depict the rivers, forests, glaciers and mountains, particularly to
record the summer beauties of Alaska. The animal life was to be
featured in full:--fish, birds, small game, caribou, mountain sheep,
moose and bear, all were to be captured on the celluloid film, and with
all this a certain amount of hunting with the bow was to be included
and the whole woven into a little story of adventure.
Equipped with cameras, camp outfit and archery tackle, they sailed for
Seward. From here they ventured into the wilderness as circumstances
directed. Sometimes they went by boat to Kadiac Island, sometimes to
the Kenai Peninsula, or they journeyed by dog sleds and packs inland.
They spent the better part of two years in this hard, exacting work,
often carrying as much as a hundred pounds on their backs for many
miles. Great credit must be given to Art's partner Jack Robertson, for
his energy, bravery and fortitude. His work with the camera will make
history, but for the time being we shall focus our attention on the man
with the bow. Only a small portion of Young's time was devoted to
hunting, the exigencies incidental to travel and gathering animal
pictures were such that archery was of secondary importance.
He hunted and shot ptarmigan, some on the wing; he added grouse and
rabbit meat to the scant larder of their "go light" outfit. He shot
graylings and salmon in the streams. He could easily have killed
caribou because they operated close to vast herds of these foolish
beasts. However, at the time it seemed that there was no hurry about
the matter; they had meat in camp, and pictures were of greater
interest just then. They expected to see plenty of these animals.
Strangely enough the herd suddenly left the country and no further
opportunity presented itself for shooting them. This was no great
disappointment because the sport was too easy. What did seem worth
while was the killing of the great Alaskan moose. These beasts are the
largest game animal on this continent, with the exception of the almost
Young had his first chance at moose while on the Kenai Peninsula. Here
the boys were camped and having finished his camera work Art took a day
off to hunt.
In the afternoon he discovered a large old bull lying down in a
burnt-over area, where approach by stealth was possible, so he began
his stalk with utmost caution, paying particular attention to scent and
sound. By crawling on his hands and knees he came within a hundred and
fifty yards, when his progress was stopped by a fallen tree. To go
around it, would expose him to vision; to climb over, would alarm the
animal by snapping twigs; so Young decided to dig under. He worked with
his hunting knife and hands for one hour to accomplish this operation.
When he had passed this obstacle he continued his crawling till he
reached a distance of sixty yards. At this stage Art called the old
bull with a birch bark horn, then the moose heard him and stood up. The
brush was so thick that he could not shoot immediately, but waited as
the old bull circled to catch his wind and answered the challenge. When
he presented a fair target at seventy yards or so, Art drove an arrow
at him. It struck deep in the flank, up to the feather ranging forward.
The bull was only startled a trifle and trotted off a hundred yards.
Here he stopped to look and listen. Young drew his bow again, and
overshooting his mark, his arrow struck one of the broad thick palms of
the antlers. The point pierced the two inches of bone and wedged tight,
making a sharp report as it hit. This started the animal off at a fast
trot. Young followed slowly at some distance and soon had the
satisfaction of seeing the moose waver in his course and lie down.
After a reasonable wait the hunter advanced to his quarry and found him
dead. The triumph of such an episode is more or less mixed with misery.
The pleasure undoubtedly would have been greater had some other lusty
bow man been with him, but as it was he had to feast his eyes alone,
moreover he had to make his way back to camp, which was some eight
miles off, and night rapidly coming on.
[Illustration: BULL MOOSE BAGGED ON THE KENAI PENINSULA]
This part of the story was just as thrilling to Art, because he must
stumble through the rough land of "little sticks" in the dark with the
constant apprehension of meeting some unwelcome Alaska brown bear,
which were thick there, and also the extremely unpleasant experience of
running into dead trees, tripping over fallen limbs and dropping into
gullies. He reached camp ultimately, I believe. Next day he returned
with his companion for meat, his antler trophy and the picture, which
This bull weighed approximately sixteen hundred pounds and had a spread
of sixty inches across its antlers.
Upon the second expedition a year later, Young bagged another moose.
Here the arrow penetrated both sides of the chest and caused almost
instant death, showing that size is not a hindrance to a quick exodus.
It is surprising even to us to see the extreme facility with which an
arrow can interrupt the essential physiological processes of life and
destroy it. We have come to the belief that no beast is too tough or
too large to be slain by an arrow. With especially constructed heads
sharpened to the utmost nicety, I have shot through a double thickness
of elephant hide, two inches of cardboard, a bag of shaving and gone
into an inch of wood. We feel sure that having penetrated the hide of a
pachyderm his ribs can easily be severed and the heart or pulmonary
cavity entered. Any considerable incision of either of these vital
areas must soon cause death. And this is a field experiment which we
propose to try in the near future.
There is a legitimate excuse for shooting animals such as moose, where
food is a problem and the bow bears an honorable part in the episode.
We feel moreover that by using the bow on this large game we are
playing ultimately for game preservation. For by shaming the "mighty
hunter" and his unfair methods in the use of powerful destructive
agents, we feel that we help to develop better sporting ethics.
It was partly on this account, and partly to answer the dare of those
who have said, "You may hunt the tame bears of California and Wyoming,
but you cannot fool with the big Kadiac bears of Alaska with your
little bow and arrow," that Young determined to go after these monsters
and see if they were as fierce and invulnerable as claimed. At the
present writing we who shoot the bow have slain more than a dozen bears
with our shafts, but the mighty Kadiac brown grizzly has laughed at us
from his frozen lair--as the literary nature fakir might say--we have
been told that all that is necessary if you wish to meet a brownie, is
to give him your address in Alaska and he will look you up. Also we
have been told that once insulted he will tear a house down to "get
even with you,"--so I shook Art's hand good-bye, when he started on
this Kadiac escapade, and told him to "give 'em hell."
After a long time he came back to San Francisco, and this is the story
he told me--and Art has no guile in his system but is as straight as a
"We made a false start in going after our bears. We took a boat from
Seward and sailed to Seldie, then to Kenai Peninsula. Here we hunted
for two solid weeks and found practically no signs of brownies.
"I decided at the end of this period to waste no more time, but to pull
out of the country and sail back to Seward. We had but a short time to
complete our picture before the last boat left the Arctic waters, but
hearing of good bear signs on Kadiac Island we hit out for this place
and landed in Uganik Bay. Here in the Long Arm, we found a country with
many streams flowing down from the mountains which constitute this
Island, and much small timber in combination with open grassy glades. A
type of country that is particularly suited for photographic work and
"After several days' exploring we discovered that the bears were
catching salmon in the streams and we were successful in photographing
as many as seven grizzlies at once. We took pictures of the bears
wading in the water looking for fish. Usually the bear slaps the salmon
out of the stream, then goes up on the bank and eats it. The "humpies"
were so plentiful here, however, that they were tossed out on the bank,
but not eaten, the bear preferring to capture one while in the water
then wade about on his hind legs while he held the fish in his arms and
"We got all this and many comic antics of young bears climbing trees
and playing about by using a telephoto lens. After the camera man was
satisfied I proposed that we 'pull off' a 'stunt' with the bow.
"By good fortune we saw four bears coming down the mountain side to
fish. They were making their way slowly through an open valley. The
camera was stationed at a commanding point and I ran up a dry wash
thickly grown with willow and alder to head off the bears. I was able
to get within a hundred yards by use of the willow cover, then the
brush became too thin to hide me, so I walked boldly out into the open
to meet the bears. I practically invited them to charge since they were
reputed to be so easily insulted. At first they paid little attention
to me, then the two in advance sat up on their haunches in astonishment
and curiosity. I approached to a distance of fifty yards, then the
largest brownie began champing his jaws and growling; then he 'pinned
back his ears' preparing to come at me. Just as he was about to lunge
forward I shot him in the chest. The arrow went deep and stuck out a
foot beyond his shoulder. He dropped on all fours and before he could
make up his mind what hit him, I shot him again in the flank. This
turned him and feeling himself badly wounded he wheeled about and ran.
While this was going on an old female also stood in a menacing
attitude, but as the wounded bear galloped past her, she came to the
ground and ran diagonally from us. All of them followed suit, and as
they swept out of the field of vision the wounded bear weakened and
fell less than a hundred yards from the camera.
"True to his standards the camera man continued to grind out the film
to the very last, so the whole picture is complete. You will see it
some day for yourself and it will answer all doubts about the
invulnerable status of the Kadiac bears."
Young himself was not particularly elated over this conquest. He knew
long ago that the Kadiac bear was no more formidable than the grizzlies
we had slain and he only undertook this adventure for show purposes.
Moreover though he used his heavy osage orange bow and usual
broad-heads, he declares that he believes he can kill the largest bear
in Alaska with a fifty pound weapon and proportionately adjusted
arrows. Both Young and I are convinced of the necessity of very sharp
broad-heads, and trust more to a keen blade and a quick flight than to
[Illustration: THE GREAT KADIAK BEAR BROUGHT LOW]
During his Alaskan travels Art preferred his Osage bows to the yew.
They stood being dragged over rocks and falling down mountain sides
better than the softer yew wood. His three bows were under five feet
six inches in length, short for convenience and each pulled over
eighty-five pounds. The country in which he worked was so rocky that it
was most disastrous on arrows, and every shot that missed meant a
Possibly his roughest trip was one taken to picture mountain goats.
Here a funny incident occurred. Jack and Art were stalking a herd of
these wary creatures with the camera when suddenly around a point of
rock the whole band of goats appeared. Art was ahead and had only just
time enough to duck down on his hands and knees and hide his face close
to the ground. He stayed so still that the entire flock passed close by
him almost touching his body, while the camera man did his work from a
concealed ledge higher up. Though Young counts it little to his credit,
he shot one of these male goats, which was poised on so precipitous a
point that it fell over and over down the mountain side and was lost as
a trophy and as camp meat. Humiliating as such an episode may be, it
serves, however, to add a coup to the archer's count. And there we let
the matter rest.
But what is of greater interest is his outwitting a Rocky Mountain Big
Horn. This animal is considered the greatest game trophy in America. It
is an extremely alert sheep, all eyes and wisdom. If you expose
yourself but a second, though you be a mile away from the ram, probably
you will be seen. And though the sheep may not move while you look at
him, he is gone when you have completed your toilsome climb and peer
over the last ledge of rock preparatory to shooting. Ned Frost used to
say that when he hunted Big Horns he paid no attention to hearing or
smell, but he was so careful about sight, that when he raised his head
cautiously over a ridge to observe the sheep, he always lifted a stone
and peered underneath it, or picked up a bunch of grass and gazed
Most hunters are content to stalk this game within three or four
hundred yards, then aim at it with telescopic sights. It is the last
word in good hunting.
Stewart Edward White, the author and big game hunter, has said that the
following experience is one of the finest demonstrations of stalking
and understanding of animal psychology he knows.
Up near the head of Wood River, Young and his party came on a number of
Big Horn Sheep and first devoted several days to film work. Then Young
decided to try for a trophy with the bow. After hunting all morning he
discovered with his glasses a ram a long way off.
The country was open and had no cover. The ram was resting on a ledge
of rock elevated above the level of the valley. Even at a distance of
half a mile it was evident to Art that the ram had seen him, so Young
studied the sheep and the country carefully before deciding what plan
From the lay of the land it was plain that no concealment was possible
and no detour or ambush could be employed. The glasses showed that the
ram was a fairly old specimen and had a very sophisticated look. In
fact, to Art he looked conceited and had an expression that said:
"There is a man, but I am a pretty wise old sheep; I know all about
men; that fellow hasn't seen me yet and when he does, there is plenty
of open country back of me; my best plan is to lie still and let this
tenderfoot pass." So he went on ruminating and blinking at the sun.
Taking this mental attitude into consideration, Young decided that the
best method of outwitting this particular sheep was to take him at his
own valuation and proceed as a tenderfoot down the valley. So he walked
unconcernedly along at an oblique angle to the sheep and never once
taking a direct look at him. He went gaily along whistling, kicking
pebbles and swinging his bow. When he had reached a distance of two or
three hundred yards the old sheep lifted up his head to see what was
going on. Young paid no attention to him, though he observed him out of
the corner of his eyes. So the wise old boy settled back content with
Art walked along as innocently as ever. When he was a hundred and fifty
yards off, the ram raised his head again and took a longer observation.
He seemed to be changing his mind. Young said to himself, "He will take
one more look, then he will go. Now is the time to act." So nocking an
arrow on the string he ran at full speed directly at the sheep, and
when half way he saw the tip of his horns rise above the ledge and knew
it was time to stop. He came to his shooting pose and waited, the arrow
half drawn. Sure enough! Out walked the old fellow to the very edge of
the parapet and gazed over. Off flew the arrow and in the twilight it
was lost to vision, but he heard it strike and saw the ram wheel in
flight. As it disappeared over the ridge Art followed at a run;
reaching the top he peered cautiously about and saw the sheep at no
great distance standing still with its legs spread wide apart. He knew
by the posture that it was done for. So he went back to the valley and
because of the distance from camp and the oncoming darkness he made a
fire and "Siwashed it" or camped out in the open all night without
blankets. In the morning he went after his trophy and found it near the
spot last seen. It was a fine specimen. The arrow had pierced it from
front to rear completely through and was lost; a center shot at eighty
yards; a most remarkable bit of archery and hunting stratagem. This
head now decorates the dining room of the Young home in San Francisco.
Unfortunately the moose antlers were cached near a river in Alaska and
an unprecedented flood carried them out to sea.
While speaking of Alaskan rivers there recurs to my mind a most
remarkable incident related by Young. In one picture required for their
film it was necessary to show a canoe in the course of construction,
the subsequent use of this vessel and an upset in the turbulent waters
of the river. To represent his bow in its canvas case, and still to
spare that weapon a wetting, Young went down the river bank to pick out
a stick about the same size to put in his bow case. Taking the first
piece that came to hand he started to place it in the case, when struck
by its smoothness he looked at it and found he had a weatherbeaten old
Indian bow in his hand. It seemed like a sign, a good omen,--for we
playfully indulge in omens in these romantic adventures with the bow.
[Illustration: ARTHUR YOUNG OUTWITS THE ALASKA BIGHORN]
Studying this implement later I found it apparently to be a birch Urock
bow, some five feet long, having nocks and a place for the usual
perpendicular piece of wood bound on at the handle to check the string.
It would have pulled about sixty pounds, good enough for caribou
And so in brief are the adventures of Art Young in Alaska.
But who can speak of the adventures in the heart of our archer? Here is
no common hunter, no insensate slayer of animals. Here we have the poet
afoot,--the archaic adventurer in modern game fields; the champion of
fair play and clean sport; all that is strong and manly.
I take off my hat to Arthur Young.
A CHAPTER OF ENCOURAGEMENT
STEWART EDWARD WHITE
No one can read Dr. Pope's book without an appreciation of the romance
and charm of the long bow and the broad-head arrow. And no one can
doubt that the little group of which he writes has proved that the
thing can be done. Its members have brought to bag quantities of small
game, unnumbered deer, mountain goat, big horn sheep, moose, caribou,
thirteen black bears, six grizzlies, and one monster Kadiak bear. That
point it proved beyond doubt. But, each will ask; how about it for me?
These men are experts. It all looks very fascinating; but what chance
That, I believe, is the first reaction of the average man after he has
savored the real literary charm of this book and begins to consider the
practical side of the question. It was my own reaction. Fortunately, I
live within commuting distance of Dr. Pope, so I have been able to
resolve my doubts--slowly. My purpose is here to summarize what I found
In the first place, the utter beginner has in his hands a weapon that
is adequate and humane. A bad rifle shot or a bad shotgun shot can and
does "slobber" his game by hitting it in the wrong places or with the
outer fringe of his pattern. But if an arrow can be landed anywhere in
the body it is certain and prompt death. This is not only true of the
chest cavity, but of the belly; and every rifleman knows that a bullet
in the latter is ineffective and cruel, and a beast so wounded is
capable of long distances before it dies. The arrow's deadliness
depends not on its shocking power, which of course is low, but upon
internal hemorrhage and the very peculiar fact that the admission of
air in quantity into any part of the body cavity collapses the lungs.
Furthermore, again unlike the bullet, the broad arrow seems to be as
effective at the limit of its longest flight as at the nearer ranges.
So the amateur bowman, suitably armed, may lay this much of comfort to
his soul: if by the grace of Robin Hood and the little capricious gods
of luck he does manage to stray a shaft into a beast, it is going to do
the trick for him. And of course if he keeps on shooting arrows in the
general direction of game, the doctrine of chances will land him sooner
In the meantime--and here is the second point--he is going to have an
enormous amount of enjoyment from his "close misses." With firearms a
miss is a miss, and catastrophic. You have failed, and that is all
there is to it; and you have no earthly means of knowing whether your
miss was by the scant quarter inch that fairly ruffled the beast's
crest, or by the disgraceful yards of buck ague or the jerking
forefinger or the blinking dodging eye. But the beautiful clean flight
of the arrow can be followed. And when it passes between the neck and
the bend of wing of wild goose; or it buries its head in the damp earth
only just below the body line of the unstartled deer, the bowman
experiences quite as keen a thrill of satisfaction as follows a good
center with gun or rifle,--even though the game is as scathless as
though he had missed it by miles. In this type of hunting a miss is
emphatically _not_ as good as a mile! And the chances are he can try
again, and yet again, provided nothing else has occurred to affright
his quarry. To most animals the flight of an arrow is little more than
the winging past of some strange swift bird.
Thus the joy is not primarily in the size of the bag, nor even in the
certainty of the bag, but in the woodcraft and the outguessing, and the
world of little things one must notice to get near enough for his shot,
and the birds and the breezes and the small matters along the way;
which is as it should be: and the satisfaction is not wholly centered
in merely a shot well placed and a trophy quickly come by. Indeed, the
latter is become almost an incidental; a very welcome and inspiriting
incidental; a wonderful culmination; but a culmination that is
necessary only occasionally as a guerdon of emprise rather than an
invariably indispensability, lacking which the whole expedition must be
classed as a failure.
At first the seasoned marksman will doubt this. I can only recommend a
fair trial. One of the most successful experiences of my sporting life
was one of these "close misses." A very noble buck, broadside on, was
trotting head up across my front and down a mountain slope nearly a
hundred and fifty yards away,--out of reasonable range as archers count
distances. I made my calculations as well as I could and loosed a
shaft, more in honor of his wide branching antlers than in any sure
hope. While the arrow was in the air the deer stopped short and looked
at me. The shaft swept down its long curve and shattered its point
against a rock at just the right height and about six feet in front of
the beast. If he had continued his trot, it would have pierced his
heart. Nothing was the worse for that adventure except the broad-head,
which was gladly offered to the kindly gods who had so gratifyingly
watched for me its straight true flight. And I had just as much
satisfaction from the episode as though I had actually slain the
deer,--and had had to cut it up and carry it into camp. This would not
have been true with a rifle. At any range of the bullet's effectiveness
I should have expected of myself a hit, and a miss would have hugely
disappointed me with myself and ruined temporarily my otherwise sweet
But even acknowledging all this, the fact indubitably remains that one
must occasionally get results, one must occasionally _expect_ to get
results, in order to retain interest. Even though one goes forth boldly
to slay the bounding roebuck and brings back but the lowly jackrabbit,
he must once in a blue moon be assured of the jackrabbit. And he must
get the jackrabbit, not merely through the personal interposition of
the little gods who preside at roulette tables, but because his bow arm
held true and his release sweet and the shaft true sped.
All this is perfectly possible. Any man can within a reasonable time
become a reasonably good shot if he has the persistence to practice,
and the patience to live through the first discouragements, and the
ability to get some fun along the way. The game in its essentials seems
to me a good deal like golf. It has a definite technique of a number of
definite elements which must coordinate. When that technique is working
smoothly results are certain. Like golf a man knows just what he is to
do; only he cannot make himself do it! As the idea gets grooved in his
brain, the swing--or the release and the hold,--become more and more
automatic. But always there will be "on" days when he will shoot a par:
and "off" days when both ball and shaft fly on the wings of
Of all the qualities above mentioned, I think for the beginner the most
important is to cherish confident hope through the early
discouragements. For a long time there seems to be no improvement
whatever. And there is not improvement as far as score-results go. But
the man who studies to perfect the elements of his technique, and is
not merely shooting arrows promiscuously, is actually improving for all
that. He must strive to remember that not only is each and every point
important in itself, but that all must coordinate, must be working well
together. No matter how crisp the release, it avails not an [sic]
the bow arm falter or the back muscles relax. Again like golf, one day
one thing will be working well, and another day another; but it is only
when they are _all_ working well that the ball screams down the fairway
or the arrow consistently finds its mark. Thus the beginner, practise
as thoughtfully as he may, will for a time, perhaps a month or so, find
little or no encouragement in the accuracy of his shaft's flight. This
is the period when most men, who have started out enthusiastically
enough, give up in disgust. Then all at once the persistent ones will
begin to pick up. It is a good deal like dropping stones in a pool. One
can drop in a great many stones without altering the surface of the
water; but there comes a time when the addition of a single pebble
In his chapter on Shooting the Bow, Dr. Pope has most adequately
outlined the technique. If the beginner will do what the doctor there
tells him to do, he will shoot correctly. Nevertheless he will find it
necessary to find out for himself just _how_ he is going to do these
things. It is largely a matter of getting the proper mental picture,
and finding out how one feels when he is doing the right thing. Each
probably gets an entirely individual mental image. Nevertheless a few
hints from the beginner's standpoint may come gracefully from one who
only yesterday was a beginner, and who today has struggled but little
beyond the first marker post of progress.
The target game and the hunting game differ somewhat, but the actual
technique of releasing the arrow is the same in both. I strongly advise
the use of a regulation target at regulation distances for at least
half of one's practice. There is an inexorable quality about the
painted rings. One cannot jolly oneself into a belief of a "pretty good
one!" as one does when the roving arrow comes close to the little bush.
Those rings are spaced in very definite inches! Even when one has
graduated into a fairly hopeful hunting field, one returns every once
in a while to the target to check himself up, to find out what he is
doing wrong. And in the target, too, one can find the interest along
that valley of preliminary discouragement. One should keep all one's
scores, no matter how bad they may be. Even if a lowly seventy is the
best one has been able to accomplish, there is a certain satisfaction
in going after a not-so-slowly seventy-one. Every ten scores or so
average up, and see what you have. Thus one can chart a sort of glacial
movement upwards otherwise imperceptible to one's sardonic estimate of
himself as the World's Champion Dub.
Begin with a light bow; but work up into the heavier weights as rapidly
as possible. The first bow I used at target weighed forty pounds. The
first hunting bow, made for me by Dr. Pope, weighs sixty-five. I could
draw it to the full, but only with difficulty; and it was not in any
proper control. I seriously begged the doctor to reduce it for me,
alleging that never would I be able to handle it. He very properly
laughed at me. Within the year I had worked up to the point where
seventy-five pounds seemed about right; and at the present writing I
have one of eighty-two pounds that handles for me much easier than Dr.
Pope's gift did at first. So begin light, but work up as fast as
possible. Do not linger with a weak bow simply because it is easier to
draw and because you can with it, and a light target, make a better
Beware of shooting too much just at first. If you strain the muscles of
your drawing fingers you will have to lay off just when you are most
eager. They strengthen very rapidly if you give them a chance. Once
they are hardened to the work you will have no more trouble and can, as
far as they are concerned, pop away as long as your bow arm holds out;
but if once you get them tender and sore you will be forced to quit
until they recover. It's as bad as a sprain.
Start at forty yards. Stand upright, feet about a foot apart, facing a
point at right angles to the target. Turn the head sharply to the left
and look at the bull's-eye. _Do not thereafter move it by the fraction
of an inch._ Bring your right arm across your chest. Pause and
visualize the shot, collecting your powers. Now promptly raise your bow
in direct line with the target. Draw the arrow to the head as it comes
up. All your muscles are, up to this point, alert but tensed only to
the extent necessary to draw the shaft. At the exact moment of release,
however, they stiffen to the utmost. It is like a little spurt of
energy released to speed the arrow on its way. That, I think, is what
Dr. Pope means when he says one should "put his heart in the bow." It
helps to imagine yourself trying to drive the arrow right through the
target. Pay especial attention to the muscles of the small of the back.
The least relaxation there means an ill-sped shaft. The bow arm must be
on the point of aim, and _held_ there. The release must be sharply
backward, and vigorous. Personally I find that my mental image is of
contracting the latissimus dorsi--the muscles of the broad of the back
by the shoulder blades--and thereby expanding the shoulders, forcing
the hands apart, but still in direct line with the bull's-eye. And
after the arrow has left the bow, _hold the pose!_ Carry through!
Imagine yourself as a statue of an archer, and stay just in that
position until you hear the arrow strike.
Just in the beginning, at forty yards, with thirty arrows, you may be
satisfied if you hit the target between sixteen and twenty-one times
out of the thirty shots and make a score of from sixty to eighty
points. Your ambition will be, as in golf, to "break" a hundred. By the
time you have done that your muscles will be in shape and you can begin
on the American Round. At first you will probably make a total of about
two hundred for the three distances. Progress will show in your
averages. They will creep up a few points at a time. It will be a proud
day when you "break" three hundred. Eventually you will shoot
consistently in the four hundreds; and that is about as far as you will
go unless you devote yourself to the target game, and confine yourself
to its lighter tackle and the super refinements of its delicate
The bow you will finally use for practice at the target will not be a
hunting bow. It will be longer and more whip-ended and not so sturdy.
But if you are to get the best results for the hunting field, I believe
it should approximate in weight the hunting weapon. It should not be
quite as heavy, for one shoots it more continuously. The one I use
weighs sixty pounds. With a lighter bow one would probably make a
somewhat better score; but that is a different game. Do not get the
idea, however, that mere weight is the whole thing. Nothing is worse
than to be over-bowed; and many a deer has been slain with a fifty or
fifty-five pound weapon. Only, there is a weight that is adapted to you
at your best; that "holds you together"; that keeps you on the mark;
that calls your concentration; and that is like to be on the heavier
rather than the lighter side as judged by beginner's experience.
In conclusion, let me urge you eventually to make your own tackle.
Personally, I am not dexterous when it comes to matters of finer
handicraft; and when I became interested in this game I made up my mind
that the construction of a bow or the building of a decent arrow was
outside my line, and that I would not attempt it. After a while Pope
persuaded me I ought to try arrows, at least. Under protest I attempted
the job. The Doctor says it takes about an hour to make a good arrow. I
can add that it takes about four hours to make a bad one. Still, when
completed it did look surprisingly like an arrow, and it flew point
first. Pope looked it all over and handed it back with the single
comment that I certainly had got the shaft straight. But that arrow was
very valuable. It proved to me that I could at least follow out the
process and produce _some_ result. It also convinced me that Ashan
Vitu--who was a heathen god of archers--possessed a magic that could
make one drop of glue on the shaft become at least one quart on the
fingers; and that turkeys are obsessed with small contrary devils who
pass at the bird's death into the first six feathers of its wings and
there lurk to the confusion of amateur archers. But I wanted to make
another arrow; and I did; and it was a better arrow and took less time.
I have that first arrow yet. It is a good idea to number the output;
and to preserve a sample out of every three dozen or so, just to show
not only your progress but also the advance of your ideas as to what
constitutes a good arrow. And some you will probably find valuable for
especial emergencies. Number Three of my own product is just such a
one. It starts straight enough for the point at which it was aimed.
When about thirty yards out it begins to entertain its first distrust
of its master, and to proceed according to its own ideas. It makes up
its mind that it has been held too high, and immediately goes into a
nose dive to rectify the fault. Instantly it realizes that it has
overdone the matter, and makes a desperate effort to straighten back on
its course. A partial success darts it to the right. Number Three
becomes ashamed and flustered. Its course from there on is a series of
erratic dives and swoops. I should be very sorry to lose Number Three,
for I am quite confident that I could never make another such. When my
most painstaking shooting has resulted in a series of misses, I launch
Number Three. There is no particular good in aiming it, though it can
be done if found amusing. But it is surprising how often it will at the
last moment pull off one of its erratic swoops--right into the mark!
As a compensating device for rotten shooting it is unexcelled. It is a
pity to laugh at it as much as we do; for I am convinced it is a
conscientious arrow doing its best under natural handicap; like a prima
donna with a cleft palate, for instance.
In a manner not dissimilar to my beginning of the fletching art, I took
up bow making. It can be done. The only thing is to go at it without
any particular hope. Then you will be surprised and pleased that you
have achieved any result at all, and will at once see where you could
do better again. To make a very fine bow is a real art and requires
much experience and many trials. But to make a serviceable bow that
will shoot and will hold up for a time is not very difficult. And it is
great fun! The first occasion on which you go afield with bow,
bowstring, arrow, quiver, bracer, and finger tips all of your own
composition, and loose the shaft and the thing not only flies well but
straight and far, you will taste a wonder and a satisfaction new to
your experience. It will probably take you some time to convince
yourself that somehow the whole outfit is not a base imitation.
From that moment you are a true archer, and you will actually look with
tolerance on anything so stiff and metallic and mechanical as a gun.
Your wife will accustom herself to shavings and scraps of feathers on
the rugs. Inspirations will come to you anent better methods, which you
will urge enthusiastically on the old timers; and the old timers will
smile upon you sweetly and sadly. They had those same inspirations
themselves in their green and salad days. Then no longer will you need
a Chapter of Encouragement. 
[Footnote 1: Stewart Edward White, the author and big game hunter, has
so entered into the spirit of archery, that he has become an expert
shot with the bow after a year's practice. The use of fire-arms no
longer appeals to him because it is a foregone conclusion just what
will happen when he aims at an animal. He was considered by Col.
Roosevelt to be the best shot that ever entered the African game field
with a gun.
In the use of the bow he has revived his interest in hunting, and
admits that it is a more sporting proposition. At this present writing
Stewart Edward White, Arthur Young, and I, are on our way to Tanganyika
Colony, Africa, to carry the legends of the English long bow into the
tropics. What is written on the scroll of Fate is not visible; but with
a sturdy bow, a true shaft, and a stout heart, we journey forth in
search of adventure.
In ancient times when archery was practiced in open fields and shooting
at butts or clouts, men walked between their distances much as golfers
do today, and having completed their course, it was often customary to
shoot a return round over the same field. This was called the upshot,
and has descended into common parlance, just as many other phrases have
which had their origin in the use of the bow and arrow.
So we have come to the end of our story and prepare to say good-bye.
Although we have said much, and probably too much of ourselves, we have
not spoken the last word in archery. There are a few things that we
have learned of the art; others know more. And though we would praise
our pastime beyond measure, protesting that it is healthful, admirable
and full of romance, yet we cannot claim that it accomplishes all
things and is the only sport a man should pursue.
Its devotees will find ample room for differences of opinion. The shape
of a feather and the contour of a bow have been subjects for argument
since time immemorial. Nor is our art suited to all men. Few indeed
seem fitted for archery or care for it. But that rare soul who finds in
its appeal something that satisfies his desire for fair play, historic
sentiment, and the call of the open world, will be happy.
People will scoff at him for his "medieval crotchet," will think of him
as the Don Quixote of Sherwood Forest, but in their hearts they will
have a wistful envy of him; for all men feel the nobility and honorable
past of our sport. It carries with it dim memory pictures of spring
days, the green woods and the joy of youth.
It is also futile to prophesy the future of the bow and arrow. As an
implement of the chase, to us it seems to hold a place unique for
fairness. And in the further development of the wild game problem,
where apparently large game preserves and refuges will be the order of
the day, the bow is a more fitting weapon with which to slay a beast
than a gun or any more powerful agent that may be invented.
Of course, there are those who say that all hunting should cease, and
that photography and nature study alone should be directed toward wild
life. That sweet day may come, but at least no man can consistently
decry hunting who eats meat, wears furs or leather, or uses any vestige
of animal tissue; for he is party to the crime of animal murder, and
murder more brutal and ignoble than that of the chase.
And those who think the bullet is more certain and humane than the
arrow have no accurate knowledge on which to base their comparison. Our
experience has proved the contrary to be the case.
Yet these are not the reasons why we shoot the bow: we do it because we
love it, and this is no reason; it is an emotion difficult to explain.
Nor should I close this chapter without reference to that noble company
of archers, the members of the National Archery Association--men and
women who can shoot as pretty a shaft as any who ever drew a bowstring.
The names of Will Thompson, Louis Maxson, George P. Bryant, Harry
Richardson, Dr. Robert P. Elmer, Homer Taylor, Mrs. Howell, and Cynthia
Wesson are emblazoned on the annals of archery history for all time. To
them and the many other worthy bowmen who have fostered the art in
America, we are eternally grateful. The self-imposed discipline of
target shooting is much harder work than the carefree effort of
hunting. The rewards, however, are less spectacular.
To you who would follow us into the land of Robin Hood, let me say that
what you need most is a great longing to come, and perseverance; for if
I should try to explain how we have accomplished even that little we
have in hunting, I would protest that it is because we have held to an
idea and been persistent. In my own mind the credit is ascribed to the
fact that I have surrounded myself with good companions and tried again
and again in spite of failure.
All that we have done is perfectly possible to any adventurous youth,
no matter what his age.
Nor is that which is written here the finis, for even as I scribble we
are on our journey to another hunt, and bowmen seem ever to be
increasing in numbers.
May the gods grant us all space to carry a sturdy bow and wander
through the forest glades to seek the bounding deer; to lie in the deep
meadow grasses; to watch the flight of birds; to smell the fragrance of
burning leaves; to cast an upward glance at the unobserved beauty of
the moon. May they give us strength to draw the string to the cheek,
the arrow to the barb and loose the flying shaft, so long as life may
Farewell and shoot well!
[Illustration: (Signature of) Saxton Pope]