Hunting Stories From e Early 1900’s
June/July 2010 - $4.95

Family Hunt For Alaska Brownies...
see page 46 for more details

The Black Ghost...
Find Out how this mystery gets solved after three years... page 62

The Power of Nucleotides

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June/July 2010


I’m not quite sure how this is happening, but as I grow older time begins to pass faster and faster. If there was just some way to slow it down,..somebody please tell me. It seems like only a few issues ago we were talking about our spring planting of food plots, mineral licks and the great hunts we had during spring turkey season. Well guess what? the blink of an eye an entire year has passed and it is time to begin our spring rituals again. I hope everyone has enjoyed a safe spring turkey season. We had one of our best ever here in central PA. During this past spring turkey season I was able to witness first hand the fruits of our labor on our food plots. We had large amounts of birds picking the clover every morning and most mornings we could watch several deer eating the chicory and clovers that we planted. I couldn’t help but think as I watched those deer eat that 20% plus protein meal,…where would they be, or what would they be eating if we hadn’t planted that? It was very obvious at that very moment that food plots are so much more than just getting the animals there to hunt in the fall. We are putting them on such a quality diet without them even knowing it. In our area there are lots of corn and bean fields, but not much of the green fields,…naturally they only use the corn and beans seasonally, so our high impact food plots do a great job on holding game all year round. I also know that it is no accident that we harvested some of the largest turkeys we ever did off of our hunting area. They simply have the proper food to grow. Now couple that with the proper management of the resource and you will have a hunting area to be proud of. I encourage everyone to do something for wildlife,… far to often we take, take and take some more without the thought of putting back. We can make a difference,… positive or negative for our future generations,…..and the spring time is the best time to do it. What will you do?

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• January, 2010 • February, 2010 • April/May, 2010 • June/July, 2010 • August/September, 2010 • October, 2010 • November, 2010

Publication Issues

• December, 2010


OVER PAINTING BY NED SMITH (“Keeper of the Cliffs”) FUR SIGN - A story of two boys trying to make their way on the trap line (CONTINUED STORY)
which I clung


June/July 2010


C 3 20 30 33 34 40 46 52 56 62 66 72

Mr. Smith has long been admired for his love for the outdoors and possessing the talent of placing his heart’s passion on canvas. Each issue of Hunter’s Journal features an amazing cover painted by Mr. Ned Smith.

FOR WANT OF A BONE - This fall Ace Demers plans to go to British Columbia to search for a piece of bone - a fragment from the base of a grizzly bear’s skull. The quest will be concentrated in the wild regions of Mt. Baldface in the Itcha Mountains. Seems like looking for a needle in a haystack, but Demers believes he knows just where that hunk of skull is. His reasons for wanting to find it are explained in this story. FLESH AND ROCK - What if he were to take alarm and come pounding up the narrow trail to ON A LIGHTER NOTE Need A Good Laugh!!! Check “The Funnies” CURRENT NEWS Read interesting articles of what’s happening in the world of hunting

BLIND BAYOU - It’s true what they say about rainbows!” my son Lowell called to me from across the narrow river. On a rock by his side lay three rainbow trout weighing up to two pounds apiece. And he’d been in that spot only fifteen minutes. FAMILY HUNT FOR ALASKA BROWNIES - My first bullet knocked the bear flat, but he scrambled to his feet quickly and came along the beach for us. I knew it was now or never! CORNFIELD FORKTAILS - The woods reeked as the old codger threaded his giant
hook with a little piece of something brown

THE THREE BEARS - In a mood of ugly surprise, the huge beast heaved erect and let go a
murderous growl Sheep

THE BLACK GHOST - As the reign of terror spread, farmers set up watches over their HOGS A-RUNNIN’ -

The boar was behind me! I wheeled in a rouch and got off a quick shot


June/July 2010

Fur Sign
By Hal G. Evarts
NEIL forded the South Fork and headed for the camp. He found that both boys were out on the trap line and that Kennedy was off riding fence. The camp was temporarily deserted. Neil returned to the point where he had crossed the creek and gave a shrill whistle. An undersized figure scrambled down the timbered slope and the little man mounted Neil’s back to be carried across the stream. Neil led the way to the camp. “Here she is,” he said. “Get the lay of it in your mind.” He examined the green hides hanging on the stretchers under the canvas tarpaulin and the bundles of cured pelts suspended from the tent pole. “I’d have caught all that fur myself if that pair hadn’t kept me off the Forks,” he said. “This was the best stretch of country for a hundred miles. I even offered to pay their fares out where they want to go and have you locate them on a homestead; but they wouldn’t hear to my setting out a trap.” The small man grunted impatiently. “Me locate ‘em!” he protested. “I’m not out there anymore. I’m here. And besides, they can’t homestead till they come of age.” “I thought you were out there then and anyway they wouldn’t have discovered either fact till after they got there and tried to file,” Neil pointed out. “So I told them I had people out there that would start them right if they’d let me trap the Forks.” “You must have put up a real convincing talk,” the small man grumbled. “They’re still here. And here’s right at a thousand dollars’ worth of fur. That’s enough for me.” He snapped the string which held a bundle of mink pelts to the tent pole. “Don’t you!” Neil ordered sharply. His companion pulled down a second bale of fur. Neil seized his arm and jerked him back as he reached for a third. “You want to get us jailed?” he demanded. “You dragged me clear up here to lift this fur,” the dwarfish one stated. “Let’s get it! You put it off till the snow caught us and we couldn’t get near without leaving our tracks. You want to wait for another snow that may lay on the ground for months? Right now suits me.” He reached again for a bundle of fur but Neil jerked his arm savagely and moved outside the tent, where he peered off in all directions. “I’ve got to stay in the clear,” he declared. “We’d have



been gone with it now except that Brown saw me the first day I landed and he knows I’m back in the country. Nobody knows you’re this side of the pit. They’ll link me up with it sure unless I can prove to the contrary, and that fellow Kennedy would never quit till he had me picked up if I stopped anywheres short of Siam. He’s a hard nut, that old lizard, and he’ll back those two stray kids to the limit. I don’t want him camped on my trail.” “I suppose you want him on mine,” the small man asserted. “He don’t know you’re in the country,” Neil returned. “I’ll stay over at Brown’s every minute of the day you lift this fur. That’ll let me out. It’s got to be that way since Brown saw me up in the hills. Then I’ll join you in a couple of days.” Neil’s counsel prevailed and he rearranged the bundles of fur in their original positions and led the way to the creek, forded it with the dwarfed man riding his back, and disappeared in the timber of the slope. Two days thereafter Rawhide rode into camp and prepared to skin out the skunk, mink and two possums that constituted his catch for the day. Something seemed amiss but for a space of thirty seconds he could not place what it was. Then he noted the absence of green hides on the stretchers under the tarp. The full sense of disaster failed to penetrate at once and he gazed stupidly for a moment, then whirled and peered into the tent. The compact bales of cured fur were gone. Day after day he had counted those pelts and exulted over every addition that helped swell their growing assortment of fur. Their catch had loomed large as a stepping stone to future ambitions and he had dreamed great dreams. This sudden wiping out of their entire resources left him stunned. The squeak of oarlocks came from down the creek. Buckskin was coming in from his round of the lower trap line. A species of inertia seemed to lay hold of Rawhide and numb his faculties. He sat upon a log and all the brightness seemed gone from the earth. The lapse of time between the discovery and the moment when his partner made the boat fast to the bank was sufficient to bring about a revulsion of feeling. The determination to recover the fur surged through him and roused an intense desire for action. When Buckskin reached the tent his partner was scouting the vicinity for some sign that would reveal the identity of the thief.

Battler sniffed at several objects that had been touched by the intruder and struck a track which he worked out to the bank of the South Fork. Rawhide took the shotgun and followed. “He’s on the trail,” he said. “Come on.” But the dog was puzzled. The trail was cold and he could not find even a trace on the far shore. He had hunted coons that had taken to the water to break their trails so he now employed tactics similar to the ones he used on such cases, scouting both banks for some sign of the trail leaving the water. Rawhide saw him pass one spot and return to it. He repeated this maneuver, then branched away from the creek and circled through the timber. But the man’s boots had been thoroughly cleansed by the long wade and Battler could not work out the cold trail. Rawhide investigated the spot where Battler had left the creek. He found one faint boot print under water. “That’s Neil’s boot,” he announced. He had never forgotten the sole pattern which Kennedy had pointed out near the scene of the stolen coon. Kennedy rode into camp as they returned. He shook his head when Rawhide named Neil as the thief. “Couldn’t have been,” he stated positively. “I’ve just come from Brown’s, and Neil has been there all yesterday and today. Says he’s going to pull up-country in two or three days.” “But that boot track,” Rawhide objected. “Some other boot the same kind as Neil’s,” Kennedy said. “Or maybe some man wearing Neil’s boots. Let me study this out. We’ve got to get back that fur.” He called Battler and headed for the South Fork. In two hours he was back in camp, but with all his knowledge of woodcraft he had been able to unearth but little additional sign. However, his mind had not been idle. It was certain that all the fur could not have been transported in one load, its bulk precluding such a possibility, yet only one man had been concerned in it. Kennedy had found where the thief had left the creek some fifty yards upstream on his second trip. It would have required almost an hour to make two trips between the camp and this point and the man must have been armed with accurate information as to the habits of the three who lived at the camp. A stray prowler drifting through and stumbling upon the tent by chance would never have come back for the second load of fur, for he would not know at what moment the occupants might return. Neil was the one man who knew that each one of the boys had a regular route and seldom returned before mid-afternoon and that Kennedy rode fence on certain days. The boys had based high hopes on Kennedy’s woodcraft. A dozen times during his absence they had attempted to reassure themselves by stating that Kennedy would

June/July 2010
come in with accurate news of the one who had raided their camp and they were numbed by the shock of disappointment when he dropped from his horse and shook his head. “Hardly a scratch,” he announced. “But we’ll get that fur back or nail somebody’s hide to the fence.” He knew what this loss meant to the two homeless boys. Their world had crashed about their ears with this sudden sacking of the camp. Kennedy explained his train of reasoning. “Neil is in this,” he said. “But he had some other man do the work while he stuck close round Brown’s place so we couldn’t link him up with it. Later they’ll meet some place and split. The only way I know is for me to keep a line on Neil and try and follow him when he leaves.” “How about that friend of his – Martin?” Rawhide asked. “The one he visited over on Otter Fork?” “No such party,” Kennedy informed. “Neil invented him on the spur of the moment to account for his being up the South Fork at that hour in the morning. “Newt Sanders has trapped the Otter Fork for ten years. There’s no other trapping camp within fifteen miles and if there was there’d be no way for them to learn our habits. That fellow had to make two trips up the creek. He knew we wouldn’t be back. Then he could relay the two packs a mile at a time and be way off across the hills before ever we discovered it. No way to tell which way he headed. Maybe he cached the fur or maybe he had a pack horse, but I couldn’t pick up a horse track. We’ll go out and scour the hills on the off chance that we’ll find him coming back to a cache tonight to make off with his haul.” They scattered through the hills and moved silently, listening for some sound which might indicate the presence of the thief. Once Rawhide heard the popping of a dead limb under a heavy foot. A moment later he heard the swish of brush across a canvas coat. He stationed himself behind a tree, the shotgun at ready, and tensed himself to shoot if it proved to be the thief and he refused to surrender the fur without a fight. There was the sound of a foot striking a down-log, then a low whistle which had been arranged as a signal between the three. Rawhide answered it and joined Buckskin, who had heard his partner’s progress through the timber and headed for the spot, believing it might prove to be the thief. “Good thing Kennedy arranged that signal,” Buckskin whispered. “We might have been shooting at each other without that. Kennedy thinks of everything — never overlooks a point.” They separated again to prowl the hills. By midnight they were back in camp. Battler had failed to pick up any sign of an intruder, which he would certainly have done if any had been abroad in the country covered by their cir-

June/July 2010
cling. An hour before their return he had treed a possum and his music would have apprised any man within earshot that the three were scouring the hills near that point. It was not until after their return that Rawhide recalled the dwarfish man he had seen some five days before and mentioned the fact to Kennedy. Kennedy laid a hand on his shoulder and looked down at him. “Son, you ought to take more notice of such things,” he said. “That’s the man that got your fur. If you’d mentioned at the time about seeing him I’d have guessed right off and moved our catch up to Brown’s.” “But how would you have known?” Rawhide objected. “First off, there’s not a house off up that way for fifteen miles,” Kennedy explained; “ nor even a camp, which fact ought to have set you thinking in itself. He wouldn’t be trapping for there’s mighty little fur up on those ridges; there’s nothing to hunt besides cottontails and squirrels and he wasn’t even packing a gun. Now if that’s the little sawed-off spider I’m thinking of his name is Neil. He was one of the two that hung out down in the Santag Swamp before they got chased out. Likely our friend Neil is a branch of the same tribe after all and since this one has come back from the West he’s put him up to this job. This simplifies matters some — but not a tenth part as much as if you’d told me two hours before dark.” “I’ve never thought of it since,” Rawhide lamented. “But how could you have done any differently than what we did tonight?” “I’d have hunted downstream instead of up-country,” Kennedy said. “Men run true to form, sort of. Any man that lives in the Flint Hills would plan to get that fur out on a horse because they live mostly on horses. This fellow was pretty much of a swamp dweller so his ideas would naturally lean toward boats. Ten to one he’s been scouting back in the hills like a coyote waiting for this chance, and had a boat cached a few miles below. The very fact that he headed upstream first is probably because he figured your mind would work like his and you’d hunt downstream for his tracks. Then he doubled back and relayed his furs down along the slopes and cached them till night. While we were prowling up-country he was way down below getting them to his boat. I may be way off but it’s the best guess I can make. You turn in for some sleep. It’s out before sun-up for us.” What little sleep Rawhide gathered was of a feverish sort. The loss of the fur and the consequent crumbling of his plans preyed on his mind and served to keep him awake. Buckskin tossed restlessly beside him throughout the balance of the night and it was with a sense of relief that they heard Kennedy’s hail from the teepee two hours before dawn.

“Turn out,” he called. “Time to be off. I’ll get breakfast while you boys strap your bed roll and pack it to the boat. Then we’ll sack up some grub. We may be off on a long hunt with no telling when we’ll see camp again. Rawhide, you throw my saddle on Warrior. One of us will maybe have to make a ride.” Daylight found them below Brown’s line fence, Buckskin and Kennedy in the boat while Rawhide rode Warrior along the bank. They slowed their pace and Kennedy investigated every nook which might serve as a hiding place for a boat. Where little spring creeks broke into the Clearwater he prospected back up the willow-grown channels wherever it seemed possible that a man might have dragged even a light canoe. When something over a mile below the fence he left the boat and waded up the narrow channel of a spring run, the tops of the tall willow brush meeting over his head. He hailed the boys from a few yards beyond and Buckskin tied the boat and waded up to him while Rawhide put Warrior into the stream and forded it. “Here’s where his boat was cached,” Kennedy announced. “So far we’re right.” The bark of some few willows had been rubbed by the edge of the boat. The tangle of brush had been spread apart by the passage of some heavy body and not all of the saplings had lifted back into place. Beyond the twenty-yard fringe of willows the rank stand of slough grass had been bent over by several journeys through it. Kennedy pointed to one stretch of bank which showed more moisture than the rest and looked inquiringly at Rawhide. “He splashed water over it to wash out the sign,” Rawhide said. “The same as Neil did when he stole my coon out of the trap.” “That’s what,” Kennedy assented. “You’re learning fast. He’s wearing Neil’s boots or a pair just like ‘em. Now he didn’t start bringing down that fur from wherever he cached it till after nightfall and it would take up considerable time, so he didn’t leave here till late. Even at that he would have a big start, only that he’ll lay up somewhere during the day. There’s twenty miles of the Santag River that’s pretty well lined up with farms. A hundred people might see him if he covered that stretch when it’s light and he couldn’t have made it past the whole bottoms before daylight this morning, what with switching back and forth across the channel to dodge bars and such. At low water the Santag is mainly sandbars and a man will travel five miles for every three he gains downstream. We may nip him yet.” Kennedy scribbled hastily on three sheets of his note book, detached them and handed them to Rawhide who headed out across the Flint Hills. He stopped at Brown’s and handed him the first sheet. The second page contained directions for his day’s travel and he consulted it

from time to time. His course was angling and cut off much distance from the route leading along the shore line. He held Warrior to a shuffling trail trot and occasionally pulled him to a walk for he had forty miles to cover before night. He followed the high ground well back from the river without descending to the wide bottoms of the Santag, thickly settled for a long stretch on the near side of the river. The bottoms narrowed eventually and pinched out where the stream entered a gorge flanked by limestone bluffs. At the far end of this little canyon he rode out onto the shoulder of a hill and viewed a vast, timbered flat spread out below him, the sheen of water showing in every opening between the trees. The main channel of the river skirted the bluffs on the near shore but there was no definite bank on the far side, the water apparently spreading through the timber without check. He rode down till he struck a small creek flowing to the river. A mile up its course an open glade was fenced off for a pasture and a small log cabin stood on the far edge of it. The third note was destined for McIntyre, the man who dwelt here, requesting his assistance. The cabin was locked and gave no evidence of recent occupancy. There was no help to be gained in this quarter and it was squarely up to Rawhide to do his single-handed best. He hung saddle and bridle over a log, thrust the note under the cabin door in case Mclntyre should return, and headed for the river, carrying his grub sack and the shotgun. Night was shutting down when he reached the river and headed downstream till he drew abreast of the first tongues of the swamp on the opposite side. After half a mile the channel swept away from the high country and he could progress no farther and keep within sight of it as there were lanes of water reaching back through the swales between the timbered hummocks. But he could not stop now. The water was icy cold and chilled his whole body as he stripped off his clothing and waded in, carrying his lunch sack and garments lashed to the barrel of the shotgun. He felt his way cautiously lest he step off into a deep hole and find himself over his depth and his equipment soaked. Eventually he came out on a flat piece of ground that flanked a long open stretch of water. A sluggish current testified that this was the main channel of the Santag. Rawhide was blue with cold and the crisp air stung his skin. He stamped and swung his arms to restore circulation and dry his body before pulling on his garments, then posted himself behind a log jam which commanded a long stretch of the channel either way from his stand. Black night shut down around him and left him alone in the swamp. Hour after hour he listened without catching the sound for which his ears were strained although

June/July 2010
the night seemed full of other weird noises. Some tree near him groaned as if in agony with every breeze that stirred its top. Across from him the slanting dead trees squeaked loudly at the intersection of their crossed trunks, which grated together with every wind-swayed movement of the living trees upon which they leaned. Once some creature splashed in the swamp close at hand. Owls hooted hollowly from far and near and lent a ghostly quality to the night. The cold gripped him but he dozed off several times, only to rouse with a start and peer off into the shadows. At last the sound came — the distant squeak of rowlocks from upstream. They drew nearer and he caught the muffled splash of oar blades in the water. Kennedy had figured rightly. If only McIntyre had been at home and ready with his boat they might even now intercept the thief and recover his cargo of stolen fur. The sounds drew abreast of him but the boatman kept to the far side of the stream in the shadow of the timber and he could not even make out the dark blot of the boat upon the water. Rawhide’s eyes were accustomed to the darkness and he could travel at a fair rate of speed. He followed after the boat, his feet making no sound on the moist earth. After a quarter of a mile the boat had almost distanced him but he held on. The open channel swept back toward the bluffs two miles behind and he followed the curve. He stopped to listen again for the squeak of oars. They drifted faintly to his ears but seemed to come from directly opposite instead of from far downstream as before. It came to him that the man no longer followed the sweep of the main channel but had turned off into some watery byway instead. He strained his ears and at last the sounds died away without having gained either upstream or down. The boatman had headed directly back into the depths of the swamp. After marking the spot by a small stick thrust into the mud at the water’s edge he retraced his way to the log jam and ate a few bites of his lunch. The balance of the night seemed months long as he alternately dozed and roused to stamp about and warm his chilled body. He dared not light a fire lest its light should apprise the man of the fact that he had been traced this far and send him deeper into the swamp. After a period that seemed ages long a faint gray streak showed in the east. Rawhide heard again the squeak of oars, very soft this time, as if the oarlocks had been greased to eliminate all sound. The splash of oars was barely audible. Then the sounds ceased as the boatman rested on the oars. Into the silence came the first few bars of a red-bird’s whistle as if the cardinal had been roused from sleep to greet the false dawn; another brief spell of rowing and another silence of shipped oars. The redbird’s whistle came again. Rawhide breathed a sigh of relief and moved to the bank. That was Kennedy’s signal.

June/July 2010
Buckskin and Kennedy had taken turns at the oars all night and reached the swamp. The three drifted down the sluggish current, bolting a hasty bite of cold breakfast as the shadows lifted in the east. Tired as they were they could not afford to stop for a rest. Rawhide pointed out his marker at the water’s edge. “Whoever it was in the boat turned back into the swamp right across from here,” he said. Kennedy headed the boat for the opposite shore. Within two hundred yards there were three broad lanes of water leading back between wooded banks. “We’ll take the middle one on a chance,” Kennedy decided. “The worst thing about the Santag Swamp is the fact that you can’t guess in advance whether a patch of water will prove a blind lead or run on for miles.” After half a mile the open lane feathered out into branching waterways and there was no way to determine which one their man had chosen. Kennedy selected one that angled off toward the right as being a more likely route for the reason that it led toward the depths of the swamp. The water was shallow and as the boat glided along Kennedy peered over its side and scanned the mud a few inches below the surface. “A man will naturally dip a little too deep from force of habit and let his oars slice into the bottom where it’s as shallow as this,” he explained. Several times he nodded as he made out the slash of an oar blade in the mud bottom. “He came this way,” he announced. But after following the lane for some four hundred yards it suddenly terminated in a little bay that widened out among the trees. Kennedy backed water with the oars to arrest the advance of the boat as he scanned every inch of shore line. There were no trees at this point within fifty yards of the water’s edge and an oozing mud flat merged almost imperceptibly with the water. “The tree line is high-water mark,” Kennedy said. “A man couldn’t cross that mud flat without it wallowing up to his hips. He never crossed out through here. He’s cut back down below.” They headed the boat back along its former course and Kennedy examined every watery lead that branched away from it. The majority of these were mere indentations that pinched out within a few yards of the mouth, the water too shallow to permit the passage of a boat. There were several which led farther back and Kennedy stood up in the boat to determine their possibilities. At last he pointed to a channel some five feet across, leading straight back through the trees for a dozen yards,

only to end in a sloping bank. At the extreme tip of this the slash of an oar blade showed on the mud of the bank. “That makes a square turn,” Kennedy announced. “He slid into it with shipped oars and gave one dig to throw him round the bend.” He headed the nose of the boat at the mouth of the narrow lead and two strokes of the oars furnished sufficient momentum to carry the boat to the turn after he lifted the oars. A single swift slice at the bank with one oar veered the boat around the sharp bend and the waterway widened perceptibly, then twisted again and swept on toward the heart of the swamp. Twice more they were delayed by branching lanes but each time Kennedy found some sign which revealed which way the boat had passed; the marks of oar blades on the mud bottom of the shallows or a single clean slice on the shore. Once it was a sleek patch on the bank at the water line which guided him up a narrow passage. The boatman had headed into it with shipped oars after gathering momentum, and the side of the gliding boat had sheered along one bank and smoothed the mud for six feet along the water’s edge. They had worked out the trail for a distance of four miles back into the swamp by the time the sun was two hours high. Here there was a veritable network of passages breaking into one another and feathering out in every directon. A boatman might turn off on either hand at will. “It’s time for us to hole up,” Kennedy asserted. “He might be asleep after putting in hard nights — and again he might be awake. From now on we’d have to work out ever foot of his trail and he’d hear us messing round before we got within half a mile of his hangout. He’d take to his boat and he could travel at about forty times the rate at which we could track him.” He chose a blind lead that made a sharp bend into a patch of high ground. This served to conceal the boat. The bed rolls were spread on the ground. “If that fellow you saw in the hills was Bantam Neil, he’s got a regular hangout down years past,” Kennedy said. “And all the signs point to him. He couldn’t even guess we were anywhere this side of camp and might be a bit careless in moving round. One have to stand guard and keep awake in case he stirs up any racket that will tip off his whereabouts, or in case Reese Neil comes in through the swamp to join him. You boys turn in for a nap and I’ll stand first guard.” Rawhide insisted, however, that the first guard should be his and Kennedy assented. “If we only had Battler we wouldn’t need a guard,” Buckskin said. “If we had Battler we might as well go home,” Kennedy returned. “That’s why I left him chained up at Kell’s


farm on the way down. He’d likely tree a possum first off and make enough noise to rouse the whole swamp. If ever the Neils get a notion we’re here they’ll decamp. Our game now is to wait.” Rawhide stood his turn for two hours. The whole world seemed wrapped in a vast silence except for a few bird notes. Once a belated bittern that had failed to move south with the rest of his tribe boomed from far out in the swamp. Rawhide roused his partner at the end of two hours and turned in for a much-needed rest. The whole day passed without a sound that might have been made by a human. Three different times one of the boys had scaled a tall tree that grew on the knoll and scanned the swamp for some ribbon of smoke which would indicate the presence of human habitation but not the faintest haze drifted above the trees. An hour after sundown Kennedy built a small fire, its light shrouded by blankets, and cooked a hot meal. The swamp was in the grip of a dead calm and the night as silent as the day except for the infrequent splash of some small fur bearer. At last Kennedy held up his hand. The strokes of an ax, far and faint, drifted to their ears. “There he is,” Kennedy said. “A mile or more off I’d say. At daylight we’ll shift camp a notch closer and lay up for the day.” This move was made, and before the sun showed above the eastern horizon the boat was safely cached and the bed rolls spread in a thick cluster of trees some threequarters of a mile nearer the point from which the ax had sounded the preceding night. “He might come poking along this way in a boat and we’ll hold him up and tie him to a tree,” Kennedy said. “Then we could go on and locate his den. Or maybe we can catch the glow of his night fire. My note to Brown told of the raid and that two of us were hunting up-country while Rawhide rode to town to post a reward for the thief. Brown has told Neil. Neil figures he’s in the clear and he’ll likely come sifting down here before long. Anyway, we’ll have to wait for something to break.” Only once during the day was there indication of life in the swamp. This was a hollow boom as if some heavy object had been dropped in the bottom of a boat. It served to point out the direction of Bantam Neil’s retreat and Kennedy estimated that it could not be more than a half mile farther on. “Once we’ve located it exactly and find a clear water route to the spot we can move in on him quick,” Kennedy explained. “If we make one false move to inform him we’re anywheres near it’s all off. He wouldn’t need over a five-minute start to shake us.” Just before dusk Kennedy held up his hand in silence. “Boat coming from the other way,” he whispered.

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“Don’t even wag an ear while it’s passing. It’s a canoe, not a rowboat. I can tell by the dip of the paddle; and twice he’s bumped the paddle shank as he rested it on the edge to drift; likely a log dugout the Neils had cached out at the edge of the swamp. If this Reese Neil our calculations have checked out correct.” The three sprawled flat behind a windfall at edge of the little hollow which sheltered air makeshift camp. A canoe shot into sight passed along an open lane of water. All three recognized Reese Neil as he came abreast of their log screen. Kennedy stood up to peer over the top log of the windfall after Neil had sed. The sounds of the paddle died out in distance. “I’ve got his course marked out for the next four hundred yards,” Kennedy announced. “I could catch a glimpse of his hat here and there long after the canoe was out of sight. We know how to get that far and it ought not to be far from there to the camp.” During the early part of the night there were various sounds from the direction in which the canoe had disappeared. “We’ll try her in the morning,” Kennedy decided. As soon as there was sufficient light for them to see fifty yards ahead they were in the boat. Kennedy had greased the rowlocks to eliminate any possible squeak, and as he followed Neil’s route of the evening past he dipped his oars with exceeding care to avoid the least splash, dodging the water-soaked logs with which the swamp was studded. Even a single bump of the boat against one of these snags might serve to warn their quarry. “This is where I caught the last peek at his hat,” Kennedy whispered at last. “We’re close onto them but there’s a hundred little feathering sloughs to choose from. We’ll head right through the middle of them. Here’s hoping the Neils are asleep.” He held on for another three hundred yards and rested his oars, signaling for silence as he peered off to the right. A distant voice had drifted faintly to his ears. He headed the boat into a slough and eased it along without a sound. The waterway ended in a round pool. A rowboat was tied to a huge log that slanted up the bank from the water. The top of the log was worn by the passage of many feet. He eased the nose of the boat against the bank and Rawhide stepped out and made it fast to a snag. In leaving the boat Buckskin picked up the oars to hand them out to Kennedy, as it had been agreed that they should cache the oars whenever they left the boat. In his haste he allowed them to slip from his hands and they fell to the boat with a clatter that sounded for a mile through the silent swamp. “Quick!” Kennedy ordered sharply. “Make it lively. That’ll start them off.”

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He mounted the bank with the boys close behind him and struck off through the timber at a trot. Within a hundred yards he caught the gleam of water between the tree trunks and knew that the high ground Avas but a narrow strip; but it might be a long island, and he headed to the left through a tangle of windfalls. He had confidently expected to find a beaten path from the log but there was none and it occurred to him that the landing was an old one, previously much used but not sufficiently traveled of late to leave a trail. Another hundred yards and he made out the white of a tent through the timber and motioned the boys to swing out to either side of his route. Kennedy was first to reach the tent and he peered through the flap, his gun thrust before him, but there was no occupant for his pistol to cover. The two boys were closing in from either side. “They’ve gone with the fur,” he called. “After ‘em! Quick!” He leaped into the tangle of blow-downs behind the tent, struck a path and followed it. Rawhide was forty yards on his right flank and his advance was retarded by dodging down-logs. Kennedy was well in the lead when Rawhide observed a movement directly in front of him. Bantam Neil’s head and boulders appeared above a windfall and his rifle was trained on Kennedy. Rawhide lined along the barrel and at the roar of the shotgun Neil pitched down behind the logs while his rifle clattered down the opposite side of the windfall. Reese Neil’s hat showed for an instant off to the right of his companion’s stand and Rawhide shot again, then a third time at some moving shape that darkened the space between two breast-high logs. There was no further sign of life and Rawhide lay prone on the ground and watched the spot. Kennedy had whirled at the first shot and made for Rawhide’s location. He had seen neither of the Neils in the tangle off to his right. Rawhide pointed out the spot. He was heading for the windfall and Rawhide rose to follow him. Buckskin was angling swiftly in from the left. Kennedy rounded the end of the logs at a run but halted suddenly as he stumbled against a huge bale of furs. A similar bale had been dropped some twenty yards farther on through the timber. “Here’s what we came after,” he announced. “Let’s take it and get out of here. I’d rather hoped to take this Neil outfit back for a chat with the sheriff but they’re gone in the canoe by now. Likely they had it cached on the far side from the rowboat so they’d have two routes of retreat. It didn’t take ‘em over ten seconds to get started away from the tent with that fur after Buckskin dropped the oars.” “Then I didn’t kill either one,” Rawhide said with evi-

dent relief. “Too far for a shotgun,” Kennedy returned. “But you must have nicked Bantam’s ear or spattered the bridge of his nose with bird shot to make him drop that gun. Hope you filled Reese’s hide with shot too.” They retrieved Neil’s rifle and shouldered the bales of fur. These were so bulky as to cause them considerable difficulty in threading the timber to the boat. Somewhat later the swamp echoed again to the roar of the shotgun as Kennedy touched off two loads of shot through Neil’s boat and tore two ragged holes at the water line. Three days thereafter they were back in the home camp at the forks of the Clearwater. The recovered fur was safely stored at Brown’s and both boys were busily engaged in stripping the pelts from thirty-odd rats and two mink gathered from the lower trap line, which Buckskin had run on the homeward trip of the boat. All seemed well with the world. The Neils had been outlawed by the theft and were wanted by the sheriff. The season’s catch was intact and they were still catching fur. The first swirling flakes of snow were sifting down through the trees. “She’s going to blow up a storm,” Kennedy said. “Fur critters will be running to-night.They always come out to prowl just prior to a storm. Then they hole up during the cold snap that follows. There’s times when you won’t see a track, except rabbits and such, if it turns off cold after a snowfall.” “If my bait traps have pinched the toes of as much fur in six days’ accumulation as Buckskin’s rat lines did I’ll hardly be able to pack in all my catch tomorrow night,” Rawhide speculated. “Here’s hoping.” The following morning he set out on Warrior to ride his lines while the snow whirled through the hills. He had been toughened to the saddle by much riding and even the long day’s ride back from Mclntyre’s cabin on the edge of the Santag Swamp had failed to stiffen him. The rough life in the open had expanded his chest, and the city pallor which had stamped his face a few months past had been replaced by a healthy brown; his muscles were tough and springy and the stoop was gone from his shoulders. He took a mink from a bait set under the overhanging roots of an elm and found a coon waiting for him in the big log jam above camp. Then there was trap after trap that been touched. This monotony induced preoccupation and his thoughts were of the future as he continued on his rounds. He was roused from his abstraction with a start by the movement of some large object off to the right of him. Warrior snorted and sidled uneasily. Raw-

hide had almost forgotten the trap on the down-log bridging the creek at this point for it had not made a catch in three weeks. A big red fox paced nervously to and fro on the log, his foot fast in the trap. Rawhide rode into camp that night with a big catch of fur, the last good haul of the winter. The snow fell without a break for three days and all the world was smothered in white. A freeze-up followed the storm. The shore had prevented the trapping of bank rats and the water sets on the Clearwater were pulled. As snow followed snow the bait sets were increased and water sets were made at the spring pools that never froze over; but the fur seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth and catches were few. They worked hard at their lines nevertheless, for each added pelt was that much to the good. Mink still traveled when the cold was not too intense and civets were prone to prowl abroad long after their larger cousins, the skunks, had denned for the winter. A few stray foxes left their tracks in the snow. There were brief chinooks when warm winds fanned their breath across the hills for a few days at a time. During these warm snaps an occasional coon or possum strayed out of his winter quarters and planted his foot on a trap. Only three skunks were caught over the course of two months, these latter being bagged when their tribe grew restless and came from the dens during a week’s thaw; but the skunks holed up once more when a cold wave followed this touch of false spring. A big dog fox was caught in a spring pool set. All told, they averaged a trifle over one pelt a day for two months. The fur was beginning to slip and the trap lines were pulled, for Kennedy explained that rubbed hides or spring shedders brought even less on the market than unprime hides caught in the fall. “Anyway, you’ve caught enough from up there. Never trap too close, but be dead sure and leave plenty of critters to raise another crop of fur for next year,” Kennedy said when last trap was in. “Now we’ll work the big marsh. This will be a little different from any trapping you’ve done up to date.” The snow lay deep across the ice of the marsh but it was beginning to pack and melt off before the thaws of approaching spring. Kennedy pointed out scores of white mounds rising above the flat plain of ice. “Those are rat houses, built of rushes and mud,” he said. “Marsh rats live in houses instead of tunneling into the banks. We could cut in through the walls of the houses and trap them that way but I never break into rat houses now. It drives the rats out and they’ve no place to go. I’ll show you a better way.” He pointed out numerous smaller bumps that had been left above their surroundings as the snow melted down.

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“Those are what trappers call push-ups,” he said. “A rat cuts up through the ice to the snow line and makes a feed shelf on the ice and under the snow. He comes there with slough grass, willow roots, water plants and such. After he eats the best part he pushes what’s left up into the snow over his head instead of spilling it back into the water.” He broke the snow crust above a push-up and uncovered a heap of vegetable refuse underneath. This he pried apart with the handle of his hand-ax and revealed a small shelf at the tinder edge of the snow. A hole led down through solid ice to the water. He had brought a bundle of three-foot willows an inch in diameter. The trap chain was fastened in the center of one so that any pull would be exerted crosswise and the stick could not be pulled down through the hole. The trap was set on the shelf and the vegetable refuse closed again at the top, the stick remaining outside of the push-up. “There you are,” Kennedy said. “Go to it. All trapping is simple once you get lined out – and considerable difficulty if you don’t right kinds of sets for special sorts There’s push-ups in hundreds, all over the marsh. In a few days now they’ll be showing up black as the snow melts off the top. Then you can spot them a mile. Spring rats are better than fall.” The boys had learned that the pelt of the muskrat is prime in the spring when the fur of most others will slip. Later they would come to know that this was equally true of beaver and bear. They made sixty sets before night and the day’s run yielded two dozen rats. They gloated over this big catch after the weeks of hard work on the bait lines with an average of pelt a day. But the season’s yield as a whole had run large. Up to date they had the pelts of some five hundred rats, sixty-three minks, forty-one coons, two of red fox and seventy odd of each of civet, possum and skunk. “You boys have made a nice stake,” Kennedy said. “As pretty a bunch of fur as I’ve seen in many a year; all clean-fleshed and not an unprime fall hide or a spring rubbed or shedder in the lot. Fur’s taken another little hitch upward in price. We’ll take this fur to market ourselves. I figure you ought to clean up close to eighteen hundred dollars on the bunch if you knock out another two hundred rats down on the marsh. Then you can work down at Brown’s for the summer and add a little to the pile without cutting into your capital for expenses. That piece of land and all those cows you’re figuring to own someday are looming right near if you keep this up.” A SLENDER, wiry youth pulled up his horse and slipped sidewise in the saddle, resting one hand on the animal’s rump as he looked back at the vista spread out below him. The valley widened as it fell away from him


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and a swift stream boiled through the rocks and tumbled toward the low country. Cotton-woods and willow clumps studded the stream bed, an occasional spruce thrusting up from among the deciduous trees. Aside from this watercourse timber the land was treeless except for the scattered cedars, gnarled and wind-twisted, that sprouted from among the boulders of the side-hills. Here and there a pinon pine had found roothold among the clusters of sandstone outcroppings that had been worn into weird shapes by erosion. Far down the bottoms a flat spread out between the twin buttes that stood as sentinels at the mouth of the valley. Between these buttes an endless expanse of gray sage rolled away to the far horizon. The flat was marked by a small square of vivid green, evidence that here the home of some man had been made possible by irrigation. Once the boy had been Bob Tanner of the congested city, and had dreamed that he was Rawhide, the free lance of the open. Now that the fact itself was accomplished, there was no further use for the fanciful title that had fostered pretense and it had been relegated to the past; for he was now Bob Tanner, not of the city, but of the sage country, the lodgepole valleys and the snow-capped mountain ranges. The boy’s eyes lingered fondly on that distant square of green that had come to mean home to him. Then he turned and headed his horse up-country. The trail mounted steeply to the notch in the rims where Bobcat Creek broke through from the higher hills. It was plainly blazed after he entered the timber, for it was a Forest Service pack trail. He followed it through a valley of stately lodgepole pines, their trunks rising straight and true as rifle barrels as they stretched their tufted tops toward the sun. The horse nickered and drew an answer from just ahead. Bob had arranged to meet Dickson, the local Forest Ranger, at this point, and found him waiting round a bend in the trail. “All right, Bob,” Dickson greeted. “We’ll get those trees marked out for your house logs in less than an hour. I have to go on up to the sheep camp as soon as we’ve finished.” The ranger led his horse as they angled up the slope through the trees but Bob elected to leave his own animal tied near the trail. A hundred yards from the start the ranger laid his hand on the trunk of a lofty lodgepole. It was twelve inches through at the butt, rising straight and true. “How’s this fellow?” Dickson asked. Bob nodded his approval and Dickson blazed a patch on the trunk six inches from the ground with his ranger’s hatchet, then swung the butt against the white wood and the U.S. brand loomed in the center of the blaze, evidence that this tree had been legally marked for cutting. They

tacked back and forth, angling up-country, and in something over an hour had marked out forty trees that were perfectly matched for size. The ranger had also blazed a hundred smaller trees which could be used for corral poles, selecting these from among heavy stands of young growth in order that the trees might be thinned out and give the remaining ones room for growth. Then Dickson rode away, headed for the sheep camp. This camp lay twenty miles beyond along the pack trail, just at timber line. Here a sheep outfit whose home ranch was well out in the flats on the far flank of the hills ranged their flocks in summer, grazing the woolly bands slowly through the broad meadows at the upper edge of the tree line. Bob headed back to his horse but when he reached the spot where he had left him the animal was gone. The boy held on down the trail, assuming that his mount had taken the back track for home, as a horse which breaks loose in the hills almost invariably does. But there were no horse tracks pointing down-country on top of those his steed had left coming up a short time before. Bob returned to the spot where the horse had been tied and examined both flanks of the trail, determining that the runaway had veered to the left. For a short distance he worked out the trail from the patches of fresh earth and disturbed pine needles at points where the horse had evidently stepped on either the trailing bridle reins or neck rope and stumbled. Eventually he lost the trail and could not pick it up. He repaired to the shoulder of a spur that rose above the trees and from this point of vantage he examined the country below, scanning the open parks and meadows opening out among the trees. Sheep grazing was not permitted on this slope of the range but cows were summered in the Forest and he made out several scattered bunches grazing in the openings. He chose another spur and eventually located the runaway feeding in a side hill glade. When he reached the horse he discovered that his gun, a heavy .33 rifle, was gone from the saddle scabbard. “You, Split Ear,” he admonished, “you onery flea-bit little rascal, what sort of antics did you perform in order to spill that rifle out of there? Must have been standing on your head.” For two hours he rode back and forth through the country between the glade and the point where the horse had been tied, but eventually gave up hope of discovering the missing rifle and turned his horse toward home. A slender thread of smoke issued from the chimney of the little cabin as he neared it. An Airedale bounced up the trail to greet him and Battler fell in behind Split Ear, following the horse to the corral. Wally Porter — once Buckskin of the Flint Hills — opened the cabin door and announced that a meal was on the table. After the evening meal had been completed

and the dishes washed the two partners sat on the doorsill and watched the sun pitch down behind the western hills. The sense of being crowded for space in the swarming slums had once filled them with a longing for the open, and they had themselves as roaming in vast forests, the fastness of lofty mountain ranges the starlit wastes of the desert. Here was a touch of all three combined; for a desert sage rolled endlessly away from their door while the forested slopes of the rose just behind; and above the black of spruce and lodgepole jungles lifted the snowcapped peaks of the giant ranges. Yet with all this they were not quite content for in the background of each boy’s mind was that this little ranch, round which all hopes centered, might soon be lost to them. Raw furs had taken another stiff rise just before they marketed the heavy catch they had made in the Flint Hills and both boys had elected to head for the mountain country which was their goal instead of operating for another season on the Clearwater. They had discovered that they could not exercise homestead rights till after reaching legal age, so had cast about to find a tract of deeded land for sale at a price within their means. This isolated half-section in the flats at the mouth of Bobcat Canyon had seemed the ideal spot. The land carried first water rights for two hundred and forty acres, the entire flow of Bobcat Creek. The original entry-man had done only sufficient work to permit his making final proof and receiving a patent to the two quarters. Most of the land was in raw sage, untouched by the plow, and the original cultivated tract of forty acres had lapsed back to the wild. The boys had found that irrigated land was highpriced. But this little tract on Bobcat Creek was isolated; it was forty miles from a railroad point and the land was in a raw state. All those things had operated to hold down the price and the owner held it for four thousand dollars. It could be bought for one thousand dollars cash payment and the balance at one thousand dollars a year, with eight percent interest on deferred payments. Their combined capital, derived from the sale of their fur, totaled a trifle over sixteen hundred dollars, and they had decided that they could handle the little ranch. But the boys were minors, and while they could make a contract they could also move to have it voided at any time they chose. The owner of the land had pointed out this fact. “Any time that you boys decided not to stand by the contract, I’d be compelled to hand your money back,” he said. “Then where’d I be? Maybe I’d have missed a chance to make an actual sale in between.” But he had made a proposition that was satisfactory to all. Their work would be increasing the value of the land and he would be that much ahead in case they failed to fulfill their obligation. He incorporated in the contract a

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clause to the effect that in event of their failure to meet any deferred payment when due, he retained the right to void their agreement after ninety days by refunding any amounts paid on the contract up to that date. The partners had paid a thousand dollars of their slender capital as a first payment on the place. They sat in silence as the shadows deepened and obscured the valley. The crests of the hills seemed to draw closer as their outlines blackened and the last glints of light faded from the peaks. A great gray owl hooted from the rims of the canyon. A wild quavering yelp rose from the field. Another answered from well up the slope of the hills, a third from far out in the flat. Then a score of eerie howls rose in unison, the wild music of the desert choir, as the coyote nation voiced their exultation in the falling night. “It would certainly be tough to have to move out and leave all this, Wally,” Bob said. “This little ranch is all I want in the world and I’d hate to lose out on it now.” “We’d get our original payment back but that wouldn’t seem like much if we lost the place,” Wally agreed. “And we’d by out a year’s work and all the money we’ve spent getting that little patch shaped up. It looked easy on the start; but we miscalculated by just ninety percent, some way. We need a thousand dollars and need it bad, and after we pay up our odds and ends we’ll have maybe a hundred left to see us through the winter — with a thousand-dollar payment overdue.” He had stated their case exactly, for his assertion was not in the least overdrawn. A few implements had been acquired as part of the place. The purchase of two geldings and two mares, averaging eleven hundred pounds apiece, and which could be used for either work of saddle stock, two sets of harness and a cow consumed the greater part of their remain-capital. They had worked early and late and had plowed out a forty-acre tract, piled and burned the sagebrush, leveled it and it to crop. The patch had been seeded with oats and alfalfa in order that the faster growing grain might shade the tender shoots of the young alfalfa. This crop had been cut for hay before the outs matured. Seed oats and alfalfa seed had been costly. The fences were in poor repair and they had been forced to string a quantity of new wire to keep range stock off the crop. The storekeeper at Grayson, the little railroad town where they traded, had carried them for their supplies until the crop could be marketed. They had counted upon a good catch of fur during the winter but had found that this was a different sort of trapping than any they had learned in the Flint Hills. The coyotes had proved too cunning and had avoided their most artful sets. Occasionally they had caught one. A few bobcats had been taken in coyote traps and a number of badgers, but a badger pelt was worth little. They had

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found a few dens of big prairie skunks in the flats. All told, their catch had been but a fifth of that of the preceding year, netting a trifle over three hundred dollars. But it had helped. Their fifty tons of hay had been contracted to a cow outfit for six dollars a ton. After meeting their interest on deferred payments and settling their account at the store they had but a hundred dollars on which to winter; and the first payment of a thousand dollars was now past due. Their contract could be voided at the owner’s will. “Lawton said he wouldn’t crowd us,” Bob said hopefully. “He’ll extend the time for another year. Pretty decent of him, I’d call it. But if we can’t raise the thousand in another twelve months we’re through. We’ll lose the place after increasing its value by two thousand dollars at least. We’ll have to raise the money. I simply refuse to believe that we’ve got to give up this ranch.” The coyote chorus had been silent but now the wild howls broke forth once more, sounding from far and near along the foot of the hills. Battler rose and peered off in the night, his hackle fur fluffing angrily. The Airedale had small love for these yellow cousins of the wild. Bob waved an arm toward the howling horde. “There’s where we miscalculated,” he announced. “Because we could catch a lot of small fur in a country that hadn’t been trapped for years, and right under Kennedy’s guidance, why we thought we could come out here and pinch the toes of the little yellow wolves — and we can’t.” The soft bawl of a calf sounded from the field and Wally slapped his partner on the back. “Cheer up, old Top,” he said. “We’ve got our herd started, anyway.” That one calf and the two colts, constituting the increase of their live stock, were highly prized by their owners. Three days later Dickson, the ranger, rode down from the hills and headed his horse across the flat to where the boys were breaking out a strip of ground next to the cultivated tract. He slouched sidewise in the saddle as he talked and his eyes kept traveling back to the four horses hitched to the plow. “Not very well matched as far as color goes,” he commented. “But matched for size — which is all that’s required.” The two mares were bays, Split Ear a pinto, and Warrior — named for that little horse that had dragged their first outfit through the Flint Hills — was a blue roan. “Do you ride ‘em all?” “Yes,” Bob said. “But mostly we straddle Warrior and Split Ear.” “How long since you’ve been up in the peaks south of the sheep camp?” Dickson asked. “Never have been there,” Bob answered. “I haven’t been much farther back than where we marked out those

trees the other day. We’ve been too busy ever since we moved on the place to do much riding round.” The ranger nodded, but again his eyes slipped back to the roan gelding and the pinto. “Sometimes, when a man is needing money, he’ll do things he wouldn’t consider when things were breaking right,” Dickson commented. “There’s been many a man decided he could pick up a few hundred easy dollars killing elk for their teeth. A pair of good bull tusks are worth twenty-five dollars. It don’t take but a few days to accumulate quite a piece of wealth. But folks are down on that sort of thing now. They can understand a man’s killing a critter for meat, even out of season, but when a big bull elk is shot down for his teeth and left to rot, why it’s different again; they send folks up for a few years in the pen for tusk-hunting nowadays.” “They should be sent up,” Bob agreed. “Shooting elk for their teeth is pretty low-down.” “Most of the elk summer farther up-country,” the ranger said. “But there’s always a scattering few, maybe a hundred head that summer in the Hogback Range at the extreme head of Bobcat and Gravel Bar Creeks. That country lays eight or ten miles west of where the sheep outfit graze their woollies. You say you’ve never been up in there?” “Never have,” Bob stated. “Do you know the Cole boys that herd up at the sheep camp?” Dickson asked. Both boys denied acquaintance with the Coles. “They don’t know you either,” the ranger remarked. “Said they’d never heard your names before I mentioned them. I asked if they’d seen any one back in the hills and they said they’d seen two fellows riding a blue roan and a pinto a couple of times of late — picked ‘em up with their glasses as they crossed out on some shoulder above timber line.” “Someone else,” Wally asserted. “It certainly wasn’t Bob and me.” “Whoever it was has been killing elk for the teeth,” the ranger said. “At least the signs point to them. I noticed a bunch of magpies and ravens pitching down into a little gorge and went down to investigate. The bird flights, if you watch ‘em careful, will always point out a carcass. I found an old bull that had been shot down for his teeth. Then I took to noticing the meat-eating birds to see where they congregated, and I found six more carcasses strung out for ten miles. A man can make a thousand dollars pretty easy in a few weeks by hunting elk for their teeth, but he’ll always get caught in the end. If those fellows operate up there any more I’ll get them sure. You’re a good pair of boys and I want to see you come out on top. I’d hate to see you trying that tusk-hunting game. I’m in the Forest Service and friendship can’t stand in a ranger’s

way when any one starts looting in the Forest. Well, I’ll be sauntering on. Good luck.” He headed his horse out across the flat while the two boys stood gazing after him. “Now do you suppose Dickson really figures we’ve been into that mess up there?” Wally asked. “More likely he was just mentioning it so we’d stay out of the hills with these two horses till after he’s caught the fellows that are riding round on mounts of the same color. He’s been a good friend to us ever since we hit the country.” That night they sat as usual before the cabin and listened to the coyotes. There was a cold snap of frost in the air. “Another six weeks and the fur will prime up,” Wally said. “Do you suppose we can learn to trap those coyotes this winter?” Battler rose from the ground and peered off across country. Soon the boys could hear the steady hoof beats of a trotting horse. There was a creak of wire as the horseman dropped the gate at the mouth of the lane. The Airedale disappeared, sliding silently away from the cabin. Suddenly Battler broke forth with a series of delighted yelps and a voice sounded from the night, a familiar voice which they had not heard for more than a year. “Down, Battler!” the visitor ordered. “You, Battler! You’ll claw the clothes off me.” Both boys jumped to their feet. “Jack Kennedy!” Bob said. They headed for the gate and Kennedy’s voice hailed them. “Well, well! “he said. “Little old Rawhide and Buckskin. I can tell your walk in the dark.” KENNEDY had been with them for a week and knew every detail of the place, for the boys had proudly conducted him over every acre of it. “Your plans were all right,” he said as the three friends sat with their chairs tilted back against the cabin. “Only you forgot how hard it was to raise money to meet those payments. It’s not every year that a trap line will pay like yours did last year. Everything broke just right; fur prices high and the country hadn’t been trapped. Trapping coyotes is another sort of a game.” “We know that now,” Bob agreed. “Otherwise your calculations were correct,” Kennedy said. “Once you get the place shaped up it’s worth three times what you paid. When you get two hundred acres cleared and seeded to alfalfa you can cut from five to six hundred tons of hay every year, sell your surplus and put the money in cows. After you reach legal age you can each take a pasture homestead adjoining. There’s open range all around for grazing your cows in the spring. You

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can get grazing permits on the Forest Reserve and summer your stock back in the Forest. Those possibilities are right here, just as you figured, but it takes time and money to clear and shape up a piece of raw sage. You’ll pour in more cash than you can take out for the first few years; seed, lumber for head gates, living expenses, fencing — any number of little items will come up and add to the steady stream of expenses. For the first three years it will hustle you to raise enough crop to break even. Then there’s the payments and interest to meet on top of it all. Where’s the surplus coming from to buy those cows? If you’d had a little more capital, enough to pay cash for the place, or even two-thirds, and let the rest ride for three years, you’d have made it all right, but those payments and interest may eat you up before you get the place cleared of brush and seeded to crop.” “We’ll have to pay out somehow,” Bob stated. “No other ranch would ever quite fill the place of this one.” “Maybe we can plan some way out,” Kennedy said. “What I really came clear out here for was to take a camp hunt in the hills, I figured you’d soon be through breaking out ground and would be about ready to lay in your meat for the winter.” “We’re through clearing brush for this year,” Bob agreed. “We’ve broken out fifty acres next to the piece we seeded this spring. That’s all we’ll be able to seed down and handle next year. But we hadn’t counted on taking a hunt, there’s so much work to be done. Those house logs have to be cut and peeled before fur primes up.” “I’ll show you how to save enough time on that one item to make up for the hunt,” Kennedy promised. “There’s a trick in all trades. You cut those logs now, or any time through the winter, and you’ll find the bark growed so tight that it’s just like part of the wood. You’ll have to whittle it away with a drawshave. That’s a long, hard job for the pair of you. If you wait till next June the bark on the lodgepoles will slip. A June-cut lodgepole log will peel out like a banana. Then one of you can snatch the bark off as many logs in a day as the pair of you could peel now in a week. You need meat and lard for the winter, so we’ll go to the hills and get it. I’ll rent a few extra pack ponies to-morrow and the next day we’ll start.” Two days thereafter a little pack outfit filed up Bobcat Creek and headed for the higher hills. They found game trails threading the hills, affording good footing for their horses. The evening of the second day they made camp in a narrow valley. Just above the camp site the bottoms widened out into open meadows dotted with clumps of trees. Heavily timbered side-hills flanked the bottoms and lifted to rocky ledges that rose above timber line. It was an ideal camp site, for the hors-


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es could be turned out to graze on the meadows and if they should elect to make a break for home they would be forced to pass through the narrow neck near the camp and could easily be headed back up-country. “There’s everything here to make it a good camp,” Kennedy said. “Wood and water, good grass for the horses and an easy place to hold ‘em so they can’t make a break for home and leave us afoot.” The two boys had fishlines wound round their hats and extra hooks fastened in their hatbands. They cut willow poles and repaired to the creek. In half an hour they returned with a dozen trout for supper. “Tomorrow we’ll hang up a piece of camp meat,” Kennedy predicted as they sat round the camp fire after the meal. “This is the best game country in America, except maybe parts of Alaska and the Yukon. There’s more varieties of big game within a hundred miles of here than in any other place I know. Antelope in the foothills, and up here there’s deer, elk, moose, mountain sheep and black, brown and grizzly bear.” A clear silvery bugle note sounded from far back in the hills. Another answered from the rim of the valley. “That was an old bull elk that bugled first,” Kennedy said. “An old herd boss likely. The other was younger and his voice had more of a squeal. We’ll have meat in camp tomorrow. Now since Rawhide has lost his rifle there’s only two guns in the outfit so we’ll have to draw straws and see which two of us will hunt tomorrow. The more I think of it the less I see how that rifle could have slipped out of the scabbard; looks like it might have been stolen. But anyhow, two guns are enough, for one of us will have to tend camp every day to do the cooking and keep an eye on the horses.” The short straw fell to Kennedy, electing him as camp tender for the following day. Kennedy gave them a few points about the habits of different varieties of game. “Bull elk and mule-deer bucks don’t stay with the cows and does except in the running moon,” he explained. “They summer high up near timber line by themselves. Now that the bulls are bugling you’ll find an old herd bull bossing every band of cows, and the younger bulls hanging round by themselves. The old fellows whip the youngsters out of the herd. A buck deer don’t stay with one band of does, but mills all through the hills from one bunch to the next. This time of year you won’t find bighorn rams with the ewes, for the running moon of the sheep is later by several weeks. The ewes and lambs will be out in the peaks on the grassy plateaus and meadows but the old rams will be lower down. During the day you’ll find ‘em bedded down on the point of a rim-rock or on the shelf of a cliff where you wouldn’t think a squirrel could find a foothold. Elk and deer rely mostly on their sense of smell to warn them. Their eyes

are only fair, and if a man is standing quiet they can look right at him and not be able to make out for sure whether he’s a man or a tree stump. But if they catch a whiff of scent they’re off. A sheep hasn’t much of a nose and he doesn’t seem to hear over well, but he’s got a pair of eyes that can’t be fooled. An old ram can see the buttons on your shirt two miles away. When you try to get within range of elk or deer keep the wind on ‘em every second; with a bighorn ram keep out of sight. You’ll learn at you go along.” It was just turning gray in the east when the two boys left camp in the morning, heading tip the valley and taking opposite sides of the stream. A mile above camp Bob chose a tributary creek and turned off to the left. He followed game trails that traversed down-timbered sidehills and rocky shoulders, finding the country littered with fresh elk sign, but he failed to catch a glimpse of the game. Once a covey of blue grouse flushed from a thicket and the roar of wings startled him. The hills were full of little red squirrels and these resented his intrusion, barking steadily as he stole silently along the game trails. By noon he had crossed out above the tree line. The creek headed in a just at timber line, fed by hundreds of trickles seeping from the perpetual snowbanks. Elk had been crossing frequently through a low saddle that formed a pass through the divide to the head of another creek, the trails worn deep and well defined. Bob chose a point on the divide and for an hour he scanned the country with his glasses. The report of a heavy rifle drifted faintly to his ears and he knew that Wally had found game. He dropped down to the head of another creek that emptied into the larger stream on which they were camped, the confluence some three miles above the meadow. Elk sign was plentiful and once he crossed the trail of a few does and fawns, the prints of their tiny sharp-pointed hoofs showing plainly in the soft earth near a spring. Twice he found fresh bear tracks on the dusty side-hills devoid of vegetation and his nerves tingled at the sight of the broad prints in the dust. He had reached the bottoms where the stream had widened to join the main valley. All through the day he had been tense and alert, momentarily expecting to see game. Now a reaction set in. “Better luck tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll have to hustle if I reach camp before dark.” He chose a game trail leading through a dense stand of lodgepole pine and swung along at a brisk pace. The hunt was over for the day. Suddenly he came to an abrupt halt and stared. A cow elk had stepped into the trail ahead of him. Another crossed within fifty yards. Tawny shapes moved in the timber on either flank. His feet had made no sound on the soft dirt of the trail and the wind was just right; he had walked almost into the middle of a band of

cow elk that had risen from their beds to graze in the cool of the evening. His heart hammered wildly as he peered about for the bull that must be with the band. Even in his excitement he remembered that Kennedy had said that an elk’s eyes were indifferent, so he stood motionless. Several cows seemed to gaze straight at him but none detected his presence. The breeze eddied and a curling blacklash carried his scent to the cows. Big shapes sprang into motion and there was a clatter of hoof on down-logs as the animals hurdled the windfalls. A huge bull leaped into sight and halted. The scent had not reached him and he seemed unable to determine the source of the danger. In a second he would be off. Bob’s muscles seemed to cramp as he raised the rifle. The barrel wavered unsteadily as he lined down the sight. The bull was galvanized into action with the crash of the report. The boy fired again as the animal wheeled and disappeared in the timber. An hour later a disappointed hunter turned up at camp. His drooping spirits revived as he sat down to a meal of elk liver and bacon. Wally had scored on a young spike bull. Kennedy chuckled as Bob explained his failure. “Buck fever,” he pronounced. “Most folks get it at first. You’re usually pretty steady, Rawhide, but this surprise was too much and upset your nerves.” “If I’d only been expecting it,” Bob regretted. “It’s always when you’re least expecting it that you see game,” Kennedy stated. “That seems to be almost a rule. You either run onto it just as you’re leaving camp or maybe after you’ve hunted all day without seeing a hair. You give it up for a bad job and start back for camp — and jump your meat. Maybe you’ll sit down on a log to rest and an elk or a deer will come sauntering along and nearly run over you. That’s the way it goes. Better luck to-morrow. There’s plenty of elk in the hills.” Bob left camp with the first streak of light, heading downstream. When he had covered a few hundred yards he stopped at the edge of a little park that opened out in the timber, his eyes trained on a rocky sidehill as he debated whether to climb up by that route and hunt on the ridges or to wait till he reached some gulch that led back through a break in the rims. He was prepared to make a strenuous day of it, having resolved to hunt far from camp and to keep on the move till sunset should drive him back. He decided to move on a bit farther before climbing the rims, took one step and stiffened with surprise. A mighty bull elk stood in the center of the open park. It seemed impossible that he could have failed to see the animal before. A massive pair of six-point antlers crowned the head of this monarch of the forest. The rifle wavered as he raised it but he steadied it and did not press the trigger till the sights rested on the elk’s shoulder. The roar of the shot filled the narrow valley and

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the old bull went down in his tracks. As he viewed his prize Bob decided that those massive antlers should one day adorn the walls of the new cabin they expected to build on the ranch. Kennedy did not return till an hour after dark. The boys were vastly excited when he reported killing a black bear that would weigh three hundred pounds; after wounding it with the first shot he had followed it into a tangle of down-timber to finish the animal off with a second shot. The old man chuckled and shook his head when the boys asked if the wounded bear had put up a fight. “There’s considerable misinformation about bears floating round,” he said. “A black or brown bear is as harmless as a pet coon. Not one out of a hundred will fight even if it’s wounded. The bear is a fine game animal and should be protected at certain seasons the same as other game, but the tales circulated by green hunters has made the bear an outlaw. Whenever a man sets up and tells you about a desperate battle he’s had with a black bear you can figure it’s a hundred-to-one shot that he’s a green hand that knows mighty little about bear.” “But what about a grizzly?” Bob asked. “The grizzly is a different proposition,” Kennedy said. “He’ll keep out of your way if he can, but once you wound a grizzly, he’s the most dangerous beast in America. A wounded grizzly won’t always fight, but most of ‘em will, and when they do turn on a man he has trouble on his hands a-plenty. They’re hard to stop, once they go on the warpath, and can carry a pile of lead. They’ve got brains. I’ve known grizzlies to circle back and lay hind a windfall jam when a man was on their track, then rush him just after he’d passed and batter him before he could turn and shoot.” “Is there a chance of our getting a grizzly on this trip?” Bob asked. “Not likely,” Kennedy said. “The grizzly is almost extinct in the States, only a scattering few left in the western hills, and the most part of those are right up in this country, but they’re so scarce that we’re not apt to run onto one. If any cross through here I can maybe show you a track. I’d like you to see what size track an old grizzly makes. There was many a man mauled by grizzlies in the early days. A few more years and they’ll all be gone.” Kennedy decreed that they should stop hunting for two days and care for their meat. “It’s a poor hunter that keeps on shooting till he’s got so much game down that a part of his kill sours and spoils before he can take care of his meat. We’re not that kind. Tomorrow morning we’ll start packing the meat into camp.” To Be Continued...

Press Contact: Alexis Dow Campbell, Marketing Coordinator Phone: 717.692.3699 Email:

MILLErSBUrG, PA – the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art will host its 17th annual Nature and Arts Festival along the banks of the scenic Susquehanna river at MYO Park in Millersburg, PA on Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31.

by the Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs, and presentation from John D. Laskowski, a.k.a. “The Mothman,” (who also serves as Program Chair for the Festival) and a nighttime bat program by biologist Cal Butchkoski. Saturday is the real main event, with live music from Celtic folksters Seasons, a live animal demonstration by the Red Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, a dance performance from Pennsylvania Regional Ballet and a preview of Twin Valley Players’ summer musical The Pajama Game, all on the Main Stage. As for the nature programming, an extraordinary mix of recognized experts will be on hand, including Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and Northern Saw-Whet owl expert Scott Weidensaul; Kermit Henning, an authority on edible wild plants; and many, many more. The MAD Disc Dogs will return for another demonstration, and you can bring your own dog for a chance to compete in the area championship of the Hyperflite Skyhoundz Canine Disc Championships. All competitors will receive a free official Hyperflite K-10 Competition standard flying disc. To register or learn more, visit mad-dogs. org. The wide variety of programming and the unique blend of nature and the arts exemplifies the Center’s mission and the vision of its namesake, nationally-recognized wildlife artist and naturalist, Ned Smith. “This festival epitomizes the mission of the Ned Smith Center’s continuing goal to honor the life work of Ned Smith and his wonderful, supportive wife Marie,” says John D. Laskowski, Festival Planning Committee Program Chair. “Ned deftly fused nature and art in his cherished gifts on canvas and we are honored to continue his legacy.” In keeping with the Center’s strong education mission, there are ongoing youth activities throughout the day led by Ned Smith Center’s Director of Education Beth Sanders and a dedicated group of volunteer educators. Activities include appearances by the Millersburg Tall Cedar Clowns and Smokey Bear, as well as face painting, environmental games and the ever-popular fish print t-shirts. “I’ve attended the Ned Smith [Center] Festival for the past ten years, and enjoy the family-oriented nature of the event,” says Festival Planning Committee Chair Don Helin. “It’s great to watch how much fun the kids have at the Youth Activities Pavilion. For several years, I have brought my grandchildren, who have had a ball.” In addition to the exciting programs at the Festival, a wide range of vendors and exhibitors will be in attendance, as well as several fabulous food vendors. “I can hardly wait to have another milkshake!” says Helin. Program chair John D. Laskowski hopes that Festival-goers will leave MYO Park on July 25 “with a better understanding and appreciation of the effect that Ned Smith has had on so many of our presenters, volunteers and supporters. If so, our mission will be a success.” For a complete listing of Festival programming, visit For more information contact the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art at (717) 692-3699 or visit The Ned Smith Center was founded in 1993 to commemorate the life and works of its namesake. Its mission is to merge the arts and the natural world and foster a celebration of both.
Gallery and Gift Shop Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The festivities will kick off Friday evening, with performances from area favorites Down To Earth Band, a demonstration


. . . . . . . . . . . . A rECOrD WAS LOSt? . . . . . . . . . . . .
this fall Ace Demers plans to go to British Columbia to search for a piece of bone - a fragment from the base of a grizzly bear’s skull. the quest will be concentrated in the wild regions of Mt. Baldface in the Itcha Mountains. Seems like looking for a needle in a haystack, but Demers believes he knows just where that hunk of skull is. His reasons for wanting to find it are explained in this story.

For four years I was skunked. Then it happened. One blast from my .375 Magnum rifle in the wilds of British Columbia and I got the reputation of being a big-game hunter. Lots of fellows keep asking me how it happened. They say, “Ace, how come you got interested in shooting big bears? What’s the scoop on that hunting trip?” Well, it’s quite a story, and it started with moose. I operate a flying service, and back in 1947 I was doing aerial dust and spray application work for some farmers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The farmers kept swapping stories about hunting in Canada and about killing moose, deer, goats, and even grizzly bears. They got me so steamed up about hunting I made them promise to take me along on their next trip. They said OK, and made good on it that fall. Seven of us arranged for a hunt in British Columbia. It was a big operation, and since the fellows seemed sure we’d kill large game we took plenty of equipment with us. We had three pick-up trucks and one four-ton job. Quite a caravan. Driving out of the Willamette, we went through Portland, Oreg., crossed the border at Sumas, Wash., on into the Fraser River valley and over good roads to Williams Lake. About 150 miles beyond there, on dirt roads, we came to Trail’s End Lodge at Anahim Lake, our destination.

By Ace Demers


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We were ready to start shooting the minute we arrived, but instead we got together with the guides and planned the hunt. John Glaser and I were to be hunting buddies, and we drew Lester Dorsey as our guide. Lester’s a tall, slim woodsman – a regular storybook guide – who has been in that territory for 35 years. We took a shine to him right away. He described the area we’d hunt in and told us some hair-raising stories about grizzly bears. Watch those moose-kill area,” he warned. “Many times grizzlies take them over and cause trouble.” He explained that after hunters strip a killed moose of horns and whatever meat they want, often a grizzly will move

in and claim what’s left. Lester showed us several such places. The moose remains gave off an awful stench and usually were half buried under piles of dirt and debris clawed up by the grizzlies. But we didn’t see any bears. “I want a big grizzly,” I told Lester. “First let’s get moose, then we’ll go after bears,” he replied. By the second day of the hunt every member of our party had a moose- except John and me. We’d seen moose and shot at moose, but that’s all. The .30/06 I was carrying seemed altogether useless. The fourth day found us on a trail in the Clipper

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Had the big grizzly surprised the intruders in his food cache and slaughtered them in a battle royal?
Heights area of the Rainbow Range, and we spotted two bulls breaking ice on a small lake. The distance was about 250 yards. We piled off the horses and pumped lead. After the third or fourth shots the bulls turned and trotted swiftly up the slope. “Didn’t you hit yours?” I asked John. “I made a sieve out of him,” he shouted. Evidently my .30/06 just didn’t pack enough hitting power. We trailed those bulls for a long time but didn’t catch up with them. Some days we were in the saddle 12 hours at a stretch. No moose. No nothing. We glared at Lester. Lester glared ahead. Finally we came to the last day of the hunt. Even the weather turned bad, and snow set in. Late in the day we spotted a timber wolf and shot right between his back legs. Snow blew up under his belly. We’d missed again. At dusk the three of us were riding toward a ridge, eye-weary and saddle-sore, when Lester yelled, “Moose, moose, moose!” Sure enough. Moose all over the slope on the other


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get a .300 Magnum. It’s a fast and hard-shooting gun if you use it properly and can handle the recoil. Since I’m short and stubby I figured I could take the kick all right. John and I teamed up with Lester again in 1948, and this time we had better luck. First day out we spotted a huge bull moose 350 yards away. John and I both ran up the slope to shorten the range, but my greater weight and shorter legs gave John the advantage. He got the first shot, and that did it. After dressing out the moose we were heading for camp when John pointed a horse in a far meadow. “Horse, nothing,” I said as my scope outlined a fair-size moose. The .300 Magnum paid off on the first shot. Good. Two moose on the first day. Now we could use the remaining six days to hunt bears. The three of us combed the area. We found lots of bear tracks, but no bears. One day Lester picked up a trail made by a grizzly with a bloody forepaw. “This ought to be easy,” I thought. But no results. We had to content ourselves with goats, deer, moose, and fish. Our 1949 and 1950 trips were duplicates of the 1948 hunt. No grizzlies. Then came the fall of Demers displays grizzly’s hide racked on 14 x 14-foot frame. Note uncleaned skull 1951. I was working in Mexico at the time, and my hunting partners side of the ridge, like spots before your eyes. The jackwere getting itchy feet and were worried I’d hold up the pot, and just in time. John and I each collected a moose, trip until too late. This eventually led to a split in the and that was that. ranks, but I wired John. The gang was happy back at the lodge. Seven men “We’ll head for Canada,” I assured him, “and this killed seven moose in seven days. I felt so good I forgot year it’s a grizzly first.” His answer was kind of indirect. about grizzly bears and headed for Nimpo Lake to do “I’ve got all the arrangements made. We’re going some fishing. caribou hunting,” he replied. Evidently John wasn’t too By 1948 the urge for a grizzly was still on me. I keen about hunting grizzlies. Well, the way it worked couldn’t forget those moose-kill areas and the earthout was that John went hunting caribou in Alberta with moving work grizzlies do when making food caches. two other friends, and I made my own arrangements. I wired Lester, “This year we get grizzly bears.” His I phoned Ike Sing early in October. He runs the genresponse wasn’t enthusiastic. Like many other guides, eral store at Anahim Lake and had been our cook on Lester himself has no fear of bears but has reservations previous trips. about what inexperienced hunters might do when they “Send a runner to Lester’s ranch,” I told him, “and come across a grizzly for the first time. Just the same, I see if Lester will take me out this year. Tell him I’ve got was determined to get a trophy bear. to have a grizzly. Tell him I want to know if there’s any The stories I’d heard about grizzlies, together with bear sign around. If he can’t find grizzlies I won’t come the poor results I’d had with my .30/06 caused me to up.”

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Ike phoned back. “Lester says bear sign good.” That was enough. I went out and traded my .300 Magnum for a real cannon – a .375. With the pick-up pulling a boat and trailer, it took me two days and a night to make the lake from Salem, Oreg. Snow set in, but I told myself snow’s good for tracking. I met Lester and Ike at the store, and as a starter we arranged a couple of short pack trips on the slopes behind Lester’s 750-acre ranch. It’s near Mt. Baldface in the Itcha Mountains at 4,000 feet. Grizzly skull which Demers says was two inches longer before it was cut from body We got nothing on either trip. On the second one we sighted a young bull moose in a meadow, and I stalked him to within 150 yards. But there were two cows with him and when they saw me they romped and side-kicked to the other end of the clearing. I let the bull go. After all, I was out for a bear. Lester decided we’d better take a pack train and head for the higher elevations. He and his son loaded nine horses with tents, stoves, food, guns – the works. We were prepared to go all the way to Alaska if necessary. Then we started climbing. Rain and snow pelted us off and on, and Length of present world-record grizzly skull tops Demers’ trophy by 3/8 of an inch before long we ran into a real storm. around the Bella Coola River where the fish-eaters are We camped early that first day, hit a catching the fall run of salmon.” He gestured out into the few grouse, and had a nice supper. Next morning we’d been on the move an hour or valleys below, toward the coast. It would be a 75-mile so when the pack train was thrown into a panic. A big jaunt, but that didn’t bother me. I’d been ghost hunting bull moose popped out of the brush along the trail and long enough. So our pack train eased down the slopes stood there looking straight at us. He wouldn’t move. toward Lester’s ranch. From the ranch to Anahim Lake is one day by horseI jumped off my horse, cracked a bullet into the bull’s back. At the lake Lester and I took a pick-up and headed backbone, and finished him with a head shot. That filled toward the coast thought Precipice Pass, which actually my ticket for moose. The second day brought us to timber line on Bald- is a horse trail. In several places the drop-off is straight face. Lester told me this was grizzly territory for sure. down 2,000 feet. It was rough, but we made it and ended He said the larger animals usually stay on the upper up at Bert Robson’s place, which is close to Antnirko. Bert is a guide in that area and a good friend of Lesreaches and seldom associate with the fish-eating bears ter’s. He’s also an authority on grizzlies and has written below and around the coastal streams. That sounded good. Lester spent a lot of time searching the area but a book about them. After we’d told him about our tough reported only a few bear tracks. They showed that the luck, he helped us map another campaign. But before we animals were moving fast, night and day, and heading hit the trail again Lester and I had the pleasure of soaking ourselves in Bert’s modern bathtub, a luxury which for distant places. On one scouting expedition we ran into Pam Phil- had been hauled 40 miles on horseback. The first hunt we made was a short one. The second lips, a guide from another area. “This is a bad year for covered more territory. The third was tiring. We tramped bears,” he told us. “Surest bet for a grizzly is down

for a week and didn’t see a single bear. There were grizzly tracks in the sands along the streams, but no animals. Anyone who thinks grizzlies are easy to track has another thing coming. If a grizzly doesn’t want to stand ground he vanishes. In many places we tracked bears right down to the waterline and found fresh fish tossed up on the banks. But no bears. I was almost ready to declare there was no such animal as a grizzly. Yet around Bella Coola I heard plenty of stories that made hitting a bear sound like a pushover. “There was a guy here last week.” one fellow told me. “Just walked out a mile and shot a grizzly. It bawled, rolled down river, and washed up on the bank. All we did was pull it up the trail and bring it in.” Fine, but Ace Demers doesn’t get grizzly bears that easily. Finally I spoke up to Lester. “Let’s get out of here and head back to the hills.” No sooner had I said that than who should walk into Robson’s place but Pam Phillips. He’d made a second trip through Mt. Baldy’s slopes, he said, and had seen grizzly tracks coming down the mountain. I reacted like I’d been given a shot in the arm. Next day Lester and I were back in Ike’s store at Anahim Lake. Indian trappers kept drifting in and out of the place, and several remarked they’d seen grizzly tracks on the west slopes. Lester and Ike went into a huddle over these rumors, and then we had a conference. The upshot was that Lester felt there might be some truth in the stories. There was a fellow at the store called Olie Johnson, part Indian with some Norwegian and English, who was a bear hunter. Lester said he’d like to get him to join us, and I told him OK. After some preliminary arrangements, Olie agreed to come along. We decided Lester would spend a day scouting around his ranch to check for bear sign. If he saw any he’d get the information to Ike Sing, who would notify me at Nimpo Lake where I’d be fishing. I tramped into Ike’s store on Sunday, October 21, and met a trio of grins. “What’s up, Lester?” I asked. “He’s a big one.” “Are you sure?” “Yes. Day-old tracks. He’s heading up the mountains.” “Let’s go. I don’t care if we ride two weeks.” We outfitted three saddle horses and one pack horse, and hit the trail next morning. The bear was a steady plodder. It was heading straight up the mountain, keeping close to the brush and stubby timber. The going was tough on the horses. The temperature was 12 above, and the dry snow on the trees kept falling on us. But the light snow over the frozen ground didn’t hamper our speed, and it was good for tracking. We made a quick camp at twilight of the first day.

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There was no fussing around. A good camp is out of the question when you’re hot on a bear’s trail and the weather is changeable. We unpacked the minimum, built a fire, and made do as best we could. All we talked about was how long it might take to catch up with that bear. At one point the Indian said, “Bear, big bear, but small foot.” “How’s that?” I asked. “The tracks look big to me.” “Bear never step on log,” he replied. “Bear step here and step over it. Never put any print on log at all. Even when log is big, bear afraid to step. Afraid he break it and make noise.” What he said about the bear stepping over logs was true, even though in many cases they were 12 inches thick. The bear was keeping his trail in the brush and taking no chances on exposing himself. I checked the guns before turning in. The Indian’s was rusty and the barrel looked like a gravel road, but he kept it loaded. I kept my .375 Magnum loaded too. After supper we built up the fire and rolled into sleeping bags, and during the night we were buried under a foot of snow. Next day we hit the trail as early as dawn would permit, and rode in silence. We made good progress for several hours, then held a confab. At no time had the trail taken us other than upward in a relatively straight line. It was evident the bear was heading for the top elevation of Mt. Baldy. The tracks were becoming more distinct. There was powdery snow in the deep, firm prints, and even the claw marks were well defined. We pushed ahead in single file with the Indian in the lead. Occasionally he’d stop, jump from his horse, and bend over to examine the ground closely. He seemed more pleased with each inspection. Lester paced his horse behind mine. I was in the middle. For miles there wasn’t a break in the trail, and no sign that the bear had bedded down anywhere. Late that afternoon we flushed a flock of ravens immediately ahead. I watched the birds scatter, then looked at Olie. The Indian seemed startled, sat uncertainly in his saddle for a minute, then pumped both feet from the stirrups and flew off his horse. “Fresh bear tracks, fresh bear tracks, he yelled, pointing excitedly to where the trail led into some dense brush. I piled off my horse and lit in knee deep snow. Passing Olie, I took the lead and advanced cautiously. Soon there were bear tracks all over, a regular stamping ground. Could this be the end of the trail? The three of us pushed straight ahead. We stopped a minute 200 feet from where we’d left the horses and surveyed the area. Here the timber had thinned out, giving way to brush and evergreens too bushy to see through. We heard branches crackling. “Up this way.” Lester gestured from behind.

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“Bear over here,” Olie whispered and pointed. Again I took the lead, moved toward the spot he indicated, and quietly pushed my rifle around the end of a thicket. I bent forward and looked into a sizable clearing. Straight ahead, not more than 125 feet away, a huge bear stood on its hind legs, pawing over a large dirt mound. It spotted me immediately, let out a ferocious grrooff, grrooff, and lunged for me. I jammed one knee into the snow, leveled the gun at the bear and put a quick shot into its heart area. As the bullet smashed into it the animal staggered, but came right on. I pumped a fast second shot as the bear pitched into a somersault in front of me. It lay still. “Never heard or saw a bolt-action rifle give two shots so fast,” Lester said as he ran up. I’d carried five shots, four in the magazine and one in the barrel and was prepared to let go with the whole works if necessary. Hesitantly the three of us approached the huge body. The bear was hot and sweaty, and a layer of snow which the fur had picked up when the monster fell was now beginning to melt slowly. “Lester, don’t get too close.” I shouted, remembering the stories I’d hear. “He might be alive. He might jump up. They’ve done that.” But Lester walked up close and pointed to the blood oozing from the bear’s underside. “You don’t have to shoot anymore,” he said. I was still cautious. “Well, go around behind and kick him. If he moves I’ll shoot.” Lester and the Indian went around the body and gave it several swipes. There was no movement. I didn’t know until later how well that first bullet had found its mark. The initial excitement was over, but Lester couldn’t control his enthusiasm. Neither could the Indian. “Big bear, big bear,” Olie kept shouting. “Biggest bear I ever seen.” Then he rushed over to the body and stepped off its length. “Fourteen feet.” He went through the act again and again and always came up with the same answer. He slapped me on the shoulder, almost knocking me down. All I knew, it was a big bear. I hardly noticed it was a grizzly until I saw its big hump and four-inch fur tipped with silver. Lester took a good look over the area and said it was the grizzly’s winter food cache. Several hundred feet back on the trail we found the remains of two moose partly buried under leaves and dirt. The ravens we’d flushed had been working them over. Near the moose grave Lester picked up a small piece of brown fur. It looked like wolf skin, but Lester said it was grizzly hide. That was a puzzler. Where had it come from? We couldn’t answer that – not just then.’ I walked around the cache area kicking up clumps of debris here and there. Then I jumped up on the large

mound which the bear had been pawing over when we surprised him. The pile was four or five feet high and as I stepped on it, it shivered like jelly. “Hey, there’s a live bear under here.” I yelled to Lester as I jumped clear and got my rifle in position for a shot. Lester came over to the mound and skinned off about three inches of the outside dirt with his shoe. The dirt was soft and crumbly where it had been defrosted by the heat of the grizzly’s body. Under Lester’s shoe a mass of brown fur was exposed. We both dug deeper and uncovered the carcass of a brown bear ripped and torn and covered with blood. The right shoulder had been clawed from the spine down, and the jaw severed from the skull. No doubt this was the work of the giant grizzly. With Olie’s help we rolled the remains of the brown bear to one side, and as we did so the mound of dirt yielded another body. This time it was a black bear. The two dead bears had been stacked in a neat pile, one on top of the other, and covered over. The mound forming the double grave was made up of earth, leaves, small trees, and logs, all scraped over the bodies by the grizzly’s clam-rake paws, and topped with logs six to eight inches in diameter. So despite all this, the mound was so shaky it gave easily when we pushed it. Now we stopped to figure out the puzzle. Evidently sometime within the previous 24 hours the killer grizzly had had a terrific fight with the two bears that had trespassed on his territory. The cache area was a real battleground, with trees, brush, small vegetation, earth, and snow all plowed up. When I spotted him, the grizzly undoubtedly was cleaning house and giving his victims a proper burial. All the time we’d been tracking him the wind had been in our favor, and the monster was genuinely surprised when we jumped him. Lester told me grizzly bears often set up winter quarters in food-cache areas. So it had been with this fellow, for we found a bed of boughs and sticks near the mound. Lester thought the grizzly had left his cache now and again to raid ranches on the lower mountain slopes. We picked up his trail while he’d been exploring the rangeland near Lester’s place. While the grizzly was on this raiding expedition, a smaller grizzly must have invaded the area. It probably was snooping around the moose remains when it was surprised and overpowered by either the black bear or the brownie, or maybe both. Hence the hunk of grizzly fur Lester found. Then, to complete the drama, the big grizzly had caught the two intruders and slaughtered them in a battle royal. After we’d done fitting this jigsaw puzzle together we turned back to the grizzly. Its body was so large and fat


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In the four years I’d spent prowling around British Columbia after a grizzly, I’d heard many hunters bent on similar missions. Usually the guides told of being left to shoot bears while their hunters high-tailed it for cover. Lester and Olie risked no such danger with me. I’m not built for high-tailing it anywhere. I weigh 235 pounds and stand 5 feet 8 inches in riding chaps, and any bear would see at a glance that I’d be going nowhere fast. The situation I faced offered no alternatives. I had to stand my ground and shoot. Next morning we got ready to head back to the ranch. The worst problem we ran into was loading the grizzly on the packhorse, a big roan mare. She wanted nothing to do with it. She jumped to one side, then the other, kicked, bucked, and tried to roll the hide off. Anything to get away from that grizzly smell. Even with the roan under control we had a tough time because the skin was so heavy and slippery it wouldn’t stay put. It kept shifting around like liquid. We’d left quite a bit of fat on the underside, intending to do a real cleaning job later, and Lester figured that the fat and the skin weighed 350 “there’s a live bear under here,” I yelled, jumping clear of the shivering mound pounds. We tucked the greasy bundle into two rawhide saddle bags – that the chubby paws just hung in a playful form across one on each side of the horse - and lopped the skin from one side, not touching the ground. one bag to the other over the roan’s back. She didn’t care “He’s an old bear,” the Indian said. To which Lester for that one bit. But we got under way and highballed it added, “Biggest I’ve ever seen. Didn’t think they came down the side of the mountain. so big.” Ike Sing was on hand to hear the news. As I told him It was dark when we started skinning the bear, and it the story he kept looking at the hide. “You got a big took us until midnight to finish the job. We found lard bear there,” he said. He didn’t think the skin weighed as four or five inches thick immediately under the skin. Our much as it did, though, until we had him heft it. “What hunting knives turned dull in no time, and we had no do you think now, Ike?” He smiled and nodded vigorwhetstone with us. By the time we had that hide loose ously. “You got a record, maybe even a world record.” we were so tired we could have fallen asleep right there After we’d done a little celebrating we started cleanin the snow. ing off the hide, and filled a big tub with fat. While we I wanted to see what damage my two shots had done, were scraping away Olie kept taking time out to step so we did a little surgery. The first killed the bear outback off the hide, look at it, and wag his head. “Big bear, right, blew his heart to bits. Yet that 300-grain bullet big bear,” he kept saying. When we’d finished we packed with its 4,400 pounds of shocking power never got bethe hide with the skull, and I started out for home. yond the chest cavity. It was stopped cold by the grizAs I drove south from Anahim Lake the report I’d got zly’s thick, tough muscles. The second bullet had ripped a big bear spread ahead of me. I had to stop dozens of a three-inch gouge out of a tree trunk, but had gone on times to show the skull and hide. Finally I got so tired of to blast the bear on top of the shoulder. rolling the hide back into the rye-grass sack each time

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folks had seen it. I just left it piled up loosely in the back of the pick-up. When I got to the border the Canadian officials who checked the hide and skull said they’d never seen or heard of a grizzly that big, and suggested I write to the provincial government and record its size. But after I got back to Salem, Oreg. I had other things to do and didn’t think much about all the talk there’d been of how big the bear was, or of what Ike Sing had said about maybe I had a world record. Then the local newspaper wanted a story, and the reporter asked me if I’d rack up the skin for a photograph. I put the hide on a 14 x 14 foot frame and stood next to it to have my picture taken. After the newspaper article appeared I got up enough enthusiasm to call Jim Bond, a big-game hunter, at Seattle, Wash. He told me that if the trophy was as big as all that I should send the skull to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. “They’ll record it for you,” he said, “and if you have a world record they’ll tell you so.” I shipped the skull to New York by plane, and soon got a letter from Samuel B. Webb, chairman of the Boon and Crockett Club’s Committee on North American Big Game. My trophy, he assured me, would be well up on the list. Then Mrs. Grancel Fitz, the committee’s secretary, wrote, asking me for more facts about the trophy and telling me it would be entered in the club’s 1951 competition. I could scarcely wait to hear the results. The news came in March, 1952. I learned that my grizzly had placed third in the 1951 competition. Its skull

measured without the lower jaw was 15 13/16 inches long, while the skull that took first prize was 16 inches long – just 3/16 more. My trophy ran up a total score of 25 5/16 points, compared with 25 6/17 points for the winner. In addition, my trophy placed fourth on the newly compiled world-record list for grizzlies. Length of the present No. 1 grizzly skull is 16 3/16 inches, only 3/8 of an inch longer than mine. Maybe my story should end there but Mrs. Fitz told me something about my trophy I never thought about before. It appears that when the skull was taken from the grizzly’s spine it was cut short. “Sawing the back off, as it has been done,” she wrote, “was a great loss to your fine trophy. In fact, you might have had a world record. Of course this is only a guess.” Well it’s not guess to me. The committee could only measure what it had, but I know that at least two inches of bone were sawed off the skull and left attached to the rest of the body. That’s why I’m convinced my grizzly deserves to rank as the world record, and I hope to prove it by finding that missing chunk of bone. I would have gone back last year except the ban on bringing meat into the United States. I’ve already arranged with Lester Dorsey for a hunt this fall, and the first item on the program will be to look for that piece of skull. Both Lester and I know exactly where we left the grizzly’s remains, and have hopes the skeleton will still be there. I want to find the missing link that should put my trophy up front, where I’m sure it belongs. Outdoor Life – September 1953

As we dug deep into it, the pile of dirt and debris gave forth the body of a large brown bear and, later, that of a huge black


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What if he were to take alarm and come pounding up the narrow trail to which I clung



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Lying there on our bellies, we could stare over the brink of the precipice and figure how long it would take a boulder, pried loose from the top, to reach the sink of the valley below. Several seconds, probably. Through our 6X binoculars we watched an osprey hover over the wind-scuffed waters of Last Man Lake, then power-dive and come up with what looked like a half-pound rainbow trout in its claws. Without the binoculars we couldn’t see the fish hawk at all. That’s how high we were. Northward, the 10,500-foot spire of Mount Tatlow seemed almost within hand touch. But that was only a trick of the clear altitude to which our goat had led us; Tatlow was a full 10 miles away as the crow flies. Yes, we could see many things from the sheer spine of the cliff, things both near and far, but we could not see the goat. I wasn’t surprised, for I had never expected we would. “Bit exasperating, isn’t it?” The Englishman had rolled over and now lay on his back, propped on his elbows. The remark came in his usual good-natured Oxford accent but I knew it barely covered the frustration that was eating him. And there was sound reason for that frustration. Three days in a row we had come out after the old man of the cliff, and three times in a row he had eluded us. We had yet to fire a shot. At first we tried to take him from below. I should have known better, for previous experience either in the Chilcotin district of British Columbia had taught me that not often will a goat be taken from below. But we tried it – zigzagged up from the valley floor until we stood at the base of the palisade upon which the goat bedded. From its shale-littered base it reared 2,500 feet above us, its wall as vertical as that of a skyscraper and made almost as smooth by centuries of spring run-off’s and autumnal winds. About halfway up the palisade the goat stared down from its precarious perch on a ledge. Next we tried an approach from the east, more wishfully than wisely. Since there was a half-mile strip of shale that somehow had to be crossed in full view of the goat before we could get within even doubtful range, our effort was barren of result. On the morning of this third day we’d left camp with the intention of climbing to the top of the mountain and working around until we were immediately above the goat. For me, the spark of hope burned mighty low, for I judged that the ledge upon which the goat slept was a good 1,000 feet below the top. And I doubted that we’d be able to see it from above. But the Englishman was stubborn and determined, so we sweated, puffed, and cursed our way up the mountain – again to taste the bitter fruit of defeat. I studied this scion of the British aristocracy whose weightiest concern at the moment was to get within

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range of an old billy goat. His 6-foot, 1 1/2-inch frame toted 70 pounds of healthy flesh and muscle. And he was no novice in the trickier, finer points of big-game stalking. I wasn’t surprised to learn he’d been to the Austrian Alps for chamois, which are almost as elusive, he told me, as our own Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Half-heartedly now I said, “We could settle for some other goat.” The retort bounced back like a rifle shot: “And admit the beast has us whipped? No. We’ll not break off the engagement this early.” That was the heart of the matter. The British will not recognize defeat even when it laps at the shores of their isle. Being English-born myself I can speak with some authority. At the outset he hadn’t wanted a second goat trophy any more than I wanted the sword Excalibur. He’d crossed an ocean and a continent for just one thing: a bighorn ram with horns no less than 40 inches in curl and 15 around the base. He’d hired me for a 28-day hunt and we’d spent seven of the days in getting his trophy. On our 10th day a single 180-grain bullet from his .303 British rifle got him a mountain goat with black, tapering prongs that were 9 ¾ inches long. I told him that by law he was entitled to another but he shrugged it off. Neither was he interested in mule deer, moose, or bear. So with our thoughts on fishing, we had dropped back down into the valley and pitched camp on the north shore of Last Man Lake, whose trout are totally uncivilized and strike at anything remotely resembling a fly. Across the lake, on the southern shore, the cliff reared abruptly toward the September sky. And the goat was there on its face when we moved in to set up camp. Out of habit I uncased my binoculars and focused them on the cliff. “An old buster,” I said aloud. “Horns run maybe 10 inches or better.” “What sort of fly shall we use?” asked the Englishman. “Fly?” I echoed. “Shucks, they’ll swallow a naked hook.” The sun had set and shadows enveloped the rock when the goat got up out of his bed on the sheer cliff. For several seconds he stood like a statue peering down at our camp. Then he slowly descended the rock and disappeared into a small patch of junipers 300 feet below his bed. By sunup next morning he was back in the bed, and in the clear morning light my binoculars revealed how he had reached that ledge on the cliff. From the juniper patch a narrow ribbon of trail ran up to the ledge and then corkscrewed crazily skyward, branching out like a three—tined pitchfork where the west contour of the continued on page 35...

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Two lawyers were out hunting when they came upon a couple of tracks. After close examination, the first lawyer declared them to be deer tracks. The second lawyer disagreed, insisting they must be elk tracks. They were still arguing when the train hit them. If a man says something in the woods and there are no women there, is he still wrong?

Hunting Lawyers Good Question!

Two Polish hunters were driving through the country to go bear hunting. They came upon a fork in the road where a sign read “BEAR LEFT” so they went home.

We Go Bear Hunting Fishing License...!!!

A couple of young fellers were fishing at their special pond off the beaten track when out of the bush’s jumped the Game Warden !! Immediately, one of the boys threw his rod down and started running through the woods, and hot on his heels came the Game Warden. After about a half mile the fella stopped and stooped over with his hands on his thighs to catch his breath and the Game Warden finally caught up to him. “Lets see yer fishin license, Boy !!” the Warden gasped. With that, the fella pulled out his wallet and gave the Game Warden a valid fishing license. “Well, son”, said the Game Warden, “ You must be about as dumb as a box of rocks !! You don’t have to run from me if you have a valid license!” “Yes Sir”, replied the young feller,” But my friend back there, well, he don’t have one”...


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May 11, 2010

Man Pleads Guilty To Unlawful Killing Of Migratory Bird…Again; Tipline Call Results In Nearly $15,000 In Fines
READING – Pennsylvania Game Commission officials today announced that Roy Gordon Lovell, 74, of Glen Rock pled guilty to one count of the unlawful killing of a Canada goose and one count of false or fraudulent statements to an officer on April 28.

Bear Hunting Laws & Regulations
Arms and Ammunition Statewide: (1) Manually operated center-fire rifles, handguns and shotguns with all-lead bullet or ball, or a bullet designed to expand on impact; (2) muzzleloading firearms of any type or caliber; (3) long, recurve or compound bows with a peak draw weight not less than 35 pounds, and crossbows with a draw weight of not less than 125 pounds, and not more than 200 pounds. Bowhunters must use arrows equipped with broadheads having an outside diameter of at least 7/8-inch with no less than two cutting edges, which shall be in the same plane throughout the length of the cutting surface; (4). crossbows with a draw weight of not less than 125 pounds, and not more than 200 pounds, using bolts tipped with broadheads of cutting edge design. Special Regulations Areas: (all of Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) Muzzleloading long guns, bow and arrow, manual-loading shotguns, 20 gauge or larger, slugs. Only crossbows, bows and arrows are permitted in Philadelphia County. Automatic and semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns; air or gas-operated rifles and handguns. Unlawful Sighting Devices It is unlawful to use a sight, scope, or any device on a firearm, bow, or crossbow that projects a light beam of any kind from the sight onto the target.

Unlawful Sporting Arms

June/July 2010
continued from page 32... rock wall met, a drab shale slide. The mere thought of any living thing moving to and fro over such a dubious footpath chilled me. The Englishman squinted up at the cliff and observed, “Bit inaccessible, isn’t he?” That was putting it mildly. Then he added, “Just how would we tackle the job of taking him?” That’s when I blundered. Impossible!” I blurted out. The Englishman’s eyebrow went up. “Impossible?” There was a challenge in his voice if I ever heard one. But it was too late to retreat. “As long as he stays on that ledge by day,” I said, “and feeds and waters in the juniper by night, he’s as safe as a hibernating groundhog.” For the next 10 minutes the Englishman was silent as his glasses raked the cliff. Then they dropped to the juniper patch and held steady. “Yes,” I heard him say. “There’s a rill in the brush.” By “rill” he meant a spring. He dropped his glasses to his chest and said, “Y’know, he presents a bit of a problem, but I think it’s one we might solve. Anyway, we’re going to try.” You couldn’t argue with that tone of voice…. We were at the top of the cliff. At first it seemed physically impossible to descend the chimney which rose from the juniper patch where the goat fed and watered. At its top the chimney was a mere fissure in the cliff but it widened out, funnel-like, as it dropped. We had inspected the chimney earlier in the day and decided that even if one could climb clear down it to the junipers, no useful purpose would be served. The feeding habits of the goat were as punctual as the chimes of Big Ben; when he moved off the cliff and into the junipers it was far too dark to see through any type of sight. Now we came back to the rim of the chimney and stopped. The Englishman examined it again and said thoughtfully, “There’s a foothold here, another one there. All in all, I’d wager a five pound note I could get down the blessed thing and into the brush.” “It’s possible,” I conceded. Then bleakly I reminded him, “Suppose you do, and see the goat on the cliff. Suppose he’s in range. What happens when you shoot? He goes off that rock into space, and by the time we catch up to him at the bottom there’s barely a splinter of horn left. You’d be risking neck or limb for a trophy you wouldn’t take home.” The Englishman’s steady gaze made me uneasy. After a moment he said, “he won’t be on the ledge if and when I shoot. He’ll be down in the junipers.” This was getting silly, so I said tartly, “never in daylight will he be in the junipers.” “He hasn’t been – so far. But supposing someone moved down along that cliff trail above his bed?” The

Englishman’s eyes quizzed mine, and now the pattern of his plan took bold, definite shape. Slowly I said, “You mean someone traveling the face of that cliff from top to bottom?” “There’s no other way,” he said simply. I buttocked down onto the cold ground, sudden weakness in my knees. Making an effort to keep my voice steady I said, “Go on.” The Englishman took a .303 cartridge from his pocket and traced a line in the shale. “Right here,” he said, “the trail leaves the junipers. And here” – the shell formed a circle –“is the bed. Here” – continuing the single line – “the trail leaves the ledge and climbs the rock wall.” With the shell he traced two lines branching from the single one, “Here are the forks on the slide. We can’t do anything with them, even if we could induce the old gentleman to go up there. So he’s got to come down to the junipers.” As simple as that! “Who,” I demanded, “is going to send him down?” “You.” I! I come around the face of that cliff on a trail that only a mountain sheep, goat, or little red fox would dare travel! I, who dreaded high places. I picked up that fear as an 11-year old boy in rural England. At the time the collecting of birds’ eggs was a highly important matter to me, and I’d discovered the nest of a kestrel hawk some 60 feet up on the branches of an old elm that boasted very few limbs on the first 50 feet of its trunk. By swarming up a few feet here and clinging to a dead snag there, I was almost within reach of the nest when the branch on which I was perched snapped with a sickening crack. I was left dangling in space, unable to go higher, fearful of trying to move down. I soon realized that I had to do something, so I began sliding down the trunk. Twenty-five feet from the ground, I twisted my head and looked below. I sickened with fear, my arms and legs became numb, I lost my grip, and I fell. I came out of that deal with a fractured shoulder, two broken ribs, and a badly wrenched ankle. My hurts healed quickly but the psychological wounds never did. Today, 40 years later, I’m still unable to look over the edge of a precipice or crag without experiencing the same sickening of the stomach I felt as I clung to the elm. Apart from the highly questionable matter of my ability to navigate the trail, there was a certain soundness to the Englishman’s plan. With care, he might well be able to descend the chimney. And the hint of danger from above should send the goat right down into the ambush. continued on page 38...

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of wind would be held on leash. Fifteen or 20 minutes, I kept telling myself – that’s all the time the job should take. Then the three prongs met and I was on the main trail. I could no longer see the sun – the cliff hid it. A sudden rush of wind pressed me against the wall, and I flattened there, waiting for a lull. I didn’t dare move until the wind subsided. Suddenly I was beset by an urge to glance downward, to look at the tents across the lake. But I fought the temptation. I must not look below, for just a glance would nauseate the stomach, buckle the legs, almost shut off the air from my lungs. Look above or ahead – yes. Below, never. The wind died down. With my outstretched hand palming the rock wall I moved forward. Shut off from the sun I should have felt cold there on the cliff, but beads of sweat formed on my forehead and my underclothes were clammy against my skin. A new thought rose to torment me. What if the goat should decide to come up that trail? Then he and I would face each other in a spot where neither could turn back. Huddled against the rock I gingerly unslung my rifle and bolted a cartridge into its chamber. Then, having doubly checked the safety, I reshouldered the rifle and inched forward. I gained considerably more footage before another rush of wind plastered me against the cliff. Again a magnet was plucking at my eyes, trying to draw them below. I wanted badly to flash just one quick downward glance to find a landmark that might give me a clue as to how much of my scary journey still lay ahead. But I resisted stubbornly and kept my eyes on the wall. Then I was tempted from a new side. Why go onward another step? Why not shout now? Surely the goat would hear me, even though I was above him and a considerable distance away. He’d hear me and move down into the sight of the Englishman’s rifle. Then I could turn back and claw my way to the top. Again I fought temptation. I was a guide, accepting good money from a hunter. He, in return, had every right to expect that I’d leave nothing to chance. The acoustical qualities of a mountain of solid rock are unpredictable. If I shouted now, the goat would hear me. But could he determine where the shout came from? Wasn’t there a chance that instead of going down he might come up? I couldn’t do a halfway job; I had to keep moving down the trail until I was close enough to the billy to leave him no alternative but to go down. For the next three minutes the wind pinned me motionless on the ledge. Then, as suddenly as it had come, it subsided. I was able to move again. I found

But the trail! A writhing eight-inch wide thread nicking the face of the cliff. Sheer perpendicular rock above, sheer perpendicular rock below. And never a tree limb or tuft of grass on which to get a handhold. I wanted to shout, “No – not for all the goats in these hills!” The Englishman’s eyes were still on mine. “Well?” he said. “Too late this afternoon,” I replied. He nodded. “But if he’s still there in the morning?” “Let us cross that one when we come to it.” There was still a chance – an honorable avenue of escape. The goat might be gone from the face of the cliff by the dawn of another day.’ In the morning we sat by the campfire, dawdling over coffee, waiting for the mist to clear in the valley. I was nibbling furiously at my fingernails when the sun broke through and the dark face of the rock slowly took shape. As I found it in my glasses I muffled a deep sigh. There on the ledge, in bold relief against the somber background, was a single blob of white… I hunkered back on my heels and watched the Englishman start down the chimney. There was nothing easy about his end of the bargain. It called for iron muscles, steady nerves, and only a passing acquaintance with the word fear. Slowly, as if he were being lowered on a rope, he slid down the crevasse, his hands groping cautiously for cracks or outcroppings that offered holds for hand or foot. I waited at the top until he dropped out of the mouth of the funnel and, with a wave of the hand, melted into the junipers. Then I got up, hitched the sling of my .303 Ross tightly over my shoulder, and moved flaggingly along the skyline. That morning the wind was out of the north and it was erratic, now barely rustling the stalks of alpine weeds, now coming with a force that sent clouds of granulated shale billowing away. With each sudden blast I paused, listening. Down on the face of the cliff it seemed that a thousand doors banged shut each time the wind flailed that solid, impregnable barrier. The rimrock petered out and I moved onto the shale slide. Though tilted at an angle of 70 or 80 degrees, there was nothing challenging about it, for it was littered with rock fragments that offered plenty of handholds and footholds. I’d been up and down a hundred similar slides in the years I’d been hunting big game. Now I moved onto the trail that formed the upper time of the fork and drew steadily nearer the rock wall where the goat had his bed. I hoped – almost pray – that for the next 15 or 20 minutes the spasmodic bursts

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that by taking short, quick steps I could balance myself far more easily than by sliding along like a snail. I was wearing rubbers over Indian moccasins and they gripped the rock firmly. Between the goat’s bed and the prong trails, I knew, the ledge made three separate loops around as many shoulders of rock. I’d got around two of them and the third was directly ahead. I moved nearer to it, then halted. If the goat had not moved from his bed it was now within 100 yards of him. A large fragment of slide rock lay across the trail and I toed it off into space. I could hear it strike the cliff again and again as it hurtled toward the bottom, and I listened intently. From far to the north, somewhere around Tatlow’s snow-capped spire, came the muted drone of the wind. There was no other sound save the beating of my heart. Somehow I dreaded rounding that final loop to see the goat ahead of me. There is a belief among Chilcotin Indians – maybe it’s a superstition – that when a mountain goat is cornered on one of his trails he fears neither man nor beast, and will butt either over the edge. True or not, I now had no choice. So I filled my lungs with air and roared, “Look out below!”

I heard the faint tinkle of rocks on the cliff, then the unmistakable thud of hoofs. To me, sweating it out on the ledge, time seemed immeasurable. But perhaps only a minute passed before I heard the muffled roar of the Englishman’s rifle. One, two, three quick shots – the volley you hear when someone is shooting at a fast-moving target. Now, for the first time since leaving the slide, I dared a glance below. I saw the frothing waters of the lake, the tents on the farther shore, the dark mass of spruce girdling its marge. How many times in the past had I cursed windfalls? How many times had I fretted at the density of brush as I circled the tracks of a buck? Now that timber seemed a friendly haven where one could move from tree to tree without care where one placed one’s feet. I rounded the final loop and stared down at the juniper patch. I could see the goat, lying on its side, and the Englishman standing over it. He glanced up at me, waved, and called, “Well done.” I shrugged the rifle into a more comfortable position and edged down the trail to join him.
Outdoor Life – June 1953

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It’s true what they say about rainbows!” my son Lowell called to me from across the narrow river. On a rock by his side lay three rainbow trout weighing up to two pounds apiece. And he’d been in that spot only fifteen minutes. G. B. got his last two customers loaded into a skiff, made sure the bait well was full of live shrimp, primed their motor, wished them good luck, and came ambling off the pier. I was sitting under a moss-draped oak, my feet resting on a complacent pointer dog. It was mid-October, but the man who supplies southeast Alabama’s weather didn’t know it. It was June weather we were getting. G. B. came into the shade. I sat back, raked a contemplative toe along the pointer’s ribs, and observed that it was a pretty good crowd for the middle of the week. I waited for the fishing camp’s owner to take the conversational ball from there, but he wasn’t in any hurry. Later, he began to think out loud. “Five skiffs full of fishermen,” he reflected, “and every one of ‘em is going to anchor over the clam flats and catch school trout. They’ll have a whale of a time and tote plenty of fish back, but they don’t know what they’re missing, and I’m downright glad they don’t.” I pricked up my ears. For three weeks I’d watched G. B. shove off alone when he had time to spare, and head down Weeks Bay until his skiff was lost to sight in the haze. He’d be gone maybe three hours, and come roaring back to camp with two or three green trout – large-mouth bass anywhere north of the Georgia line – with heads so big they wouldn’t fit in a Texas hat.

I wasn’t foolish enough to ask him a direct question. I thought, maybe, he deserved some fun by himself after all the opinions of self-styled expert anglers he had to listen to, and, besides, I didn’t think he’d tell me anything. But I wasn’t above doing my best to find out what address those deep-bellied bass called home. Furthermore, G. B. always took along a fly rod, and he was more than ready for bed by sundown. And if there’s anything that gives me pleasure it’s having fish tire me out. I had sense enough to let him ramble on, for I thought he was in a gentle state of self-hypnosis induced by the peace and quiet that had descended with the departure of the last skiff. There was nothing to do until the fishermen headed in when it got too dark for them to see their floats. “Maybe the specks won’t be running too fast this evening,” he mused, “and you’ll be able to help clean fish when they come in. I been working right hard, and it’s time I got down to Blind Bayou again.” “Blind Bayou,” I prompted, in what I tried to make a soothing-sirup tone, “that’s down towards the pass into bon Secour Bay, isn’t it?” Man, was I being the coy one. I’d never even heard of Blind Bayou before, and I was sure it wasn’t on the big map tacked on the porch wall.

Silence reigned. It practically poured before he answered my question. “Blind Bayou. Yeah. Couple of hours before sundown this evening those trout will really bust a popping bug. Reckon I better not keep ‘em waiting.” Then he shut up. I could cheerfully have hit him with a rock, but oyster shells were the biggest missiles handy. He popped upright like a listening squirrel. “How’s that?” he demanded. I pretended to gloat as I blandly informed him he’d been telling me right where Blind Bayou was. G.B. grinned. “You’re lyin’,” he remarked amiably, “and even if I’d told you where it was, you couldn’t find it. Wouldn’t do you any good to ask anybody, either, because I named it myself.”

“If you ever bring anybody else in here,” G.B. said, “I’ll feed you to the crabs”

I could be as stubborn as he, so I got up, went into my cabin, and spent the next half an hour polishing the lenses of a pair of SX glasses. I was stretched out on the porch, ears cocked like a shying mule’s, when G.B.’s outboard started up an hour later. I didn’t move until its sound began to die in the distance. Then I moved fast. My motor caught on the first pull, and I headed down Fish River. Fish River widens into Weeks Bay just below G.B.’s camp, then hurries through a narrow pass to empty into Bon Secour Bay. That’s pretty big water to negotiate in a skiff with eighteen inches of freeboard when there’s a strong southwest breeze coming off the Gulf. I throttled the motor down, wiped the salt spray out of my eyes, eased around the point into the pass, and uncased the glasses. I could still hear the muffled sound of G.B.’s motor, and as I scanned the shoreline with the glasses I picked up his skiff immediately. He was opposite a half-mile stretch of marsh which broke the outline of piney woods silhouetted by the westering sun. That is, he was there one minute and gone the next. I thought spray had fogged the glasses, and fumble out a rag to wipe them off. It didn’t help. G.B. had disappeared with the suddenness of a coachwhip snake down a gopher hole. I shoved the throttle over and headed in. An unbroken expanse of marsh grass edged the shoreline, and all my searching up and down and poking with an oar couldn’t find an entrance. I let the boat drift. Then, as I sat staring blindly out over the marsh, I caught a flashing movement fifty yards inland over the grass tops. G.B. had a fresh coat of varnish on his fly rod, and, praise be, it reflected the sun like a heliograph as he raised it over the grass. Locating him didn’t help much, though, for I couldn’t tote the skiff over the intervening marsh. I

June/July 2010
heaved the anchor overboard and just sat there. G.B. had to come out sometime, and my time wasn’t valuable. A mocking bird swooped into a scrub oak on the bank, cocked a beady eye at me, and then started whistling a medley. I waited. A school of mullet darted out of the channel, making twelve-foot jumps to dodge pursuers. A marsh hen began hollering. I guess I’d be waiting yet if a steady splashing hadn’t intervened. It sounded just a few yards inland from where I was, and it was too steady to be anything but someone wading in shallow water. When it passed me I eased up the anchor, pushed a cautious paddle over the side, and followed in the wake of the sound. I’d barely got the skiff moving when the nose of G.B.’s boat came poking out of the solid wall of grass, propelled by him wading at the stern. He was within spitting distance and yet, for all I could see, he simply materialized out of salt air. I hastily took a bearing on the oak tree, made a mental note of the distance involved, and got ready to start the motor just in case my snooping got the sort of reception it deserved. But a fishing-camp proprietor learns tolerance quickly or he soon goes out of business. G.B. bowed gracefully to the inevitable. After all, he couldn’t eat the pair of five-pound bigmouths trailing on his stringer. “All right, so you snuck up on me” he said. “But if ever you bring anybody else in here I’ll feed you to the crabs.” He sounded about fifteen-sixteenths in earnest. G.B. took it for granted that I’d easily be able to find Blind Bayou anytime I wanted to fish it, and I thought so myself. But both of us sadly overestimated my bump of direction. I didn’t wait to fry any fish the next morning. I just gulped a cup of coffee, jumped into the boat, tore over the water with the throttle wide open, and then spent

June/July 2010
nearly an hour of predawn darkness trying to find the opening to that elusive Blind Bayou. I’d about decided that those bass were as safe from me as they’d be in Fort Knox when I bumbled my way into it. The river’s tide was at young flood, and shore grass waved over a foot of water. I heard something smash on the surface behind the screening grass. I went overboard and waded through to the bayou’s bank, separated from the river by twenty feet of marsh, and stood goggle-eyed as a whopping largemouth smashed savagely into a school of skittering minnows. It was easy, then, to wade along to where the bayou joined the river, its opening completely screened by the grass. I paused to light a quick smoke before wading down to the skiff, grabbing its painter, and pulling it across the bar into more promising bass water than any man deserves to find. It was promising all right, but I couldn’t figure out how to collect on the promises. As I eased the skiff along I saw many a narrow V cut the surface ahead of me – bass going up the bayou and fairly begging to have a popping bug laid down ahead of them. But the grass towered five feet over my head even standing on a thwart, and the bayou wasn’t over twenty yards wide. How was I going to work in a backcast long enough to get a bug out near the opposite bank? I didn’t know. Not only was the water narrow, but its course was as crooked as a mouse-hunting fox’s trail. The straightest stretch I found didn’t run for much more than the bayou’s width before it cut sharp and doubled back. A bull gator grunted in the marsh, and almost every time I cut a corner a startled marsh hen went sailing downwind like a carelessly tossed bundle of rags. I must have paddled a mile and a half without finding any change in the bayou’s topography. By then the tide had reached flood and turned. Paddling that heavy skiff with the big outboardon its stern was hard work. Now I don’t mind doing some work to earn my fishing, but I couldn’t see where the pay-off would come in. In desperation I eased the anchor over waited until the skiff swung bow on to the tide, tied on a popping bug with a generous touch of yellow in its plumage, and slammed it on the water not twenty feet from the boat. Those bass were unsophisticated, but no fish, no matter how far removed from civilization they may live, are simple enough to go for a bug presented as clumsily as I presented that one. They’d have turned down ice-cold watermelon or fried chicken if it was chucked at them with so much hullabaloo, and I couldn’t blame ‘em. I kept casting until the sun had me frying, and my total score was two little linesides that were just too hungry to care about table manners. I imagined the aldermanic bellies of their grandpas shaking as they laughed at me. When it got too steaming hot for fishing, I felt my way back down the bayou with the tide, and found that the

falling water had left a thirty-foot sandbar at its mouth. Dragging the skiff across it gave my solo expedition to Blind Bayou its last futile touch. As I went back up the bay I did some intensive thinking on how best to butter up G.B. For the next several days I was the most helpful fellow around camp. I helped carry motors to the pier and attached them to skiffs. I bailed. I trawled a shrimp net to keep the pens full of lively bait. I cleaned fish until I thought I could feel gills sprouting under my chin. And I must have picked backlashes out of fifty reels. I did all this with half my attention. The other half was centered on G.B., for I knew he couldn’t stay away from the bayou long, and, though I hadn’t told him so, I’d declared myself in on the next visit. Instinct is a wonderful thing. One morning I woke out of a sound sleep at exactly 4:15. There was no earthly reason for me to wake up, but my subconscious had rung a bell. I looked out of the window and saw a light in the kitchen of the main house. I hurried over, yelling to G.B. to brew enough coffee for me, too. Funny how a man who knows can cut across a body of water and hit the mouth of a screened bayou in darkness comparable to the insides of a cat. That’s what G.B. did. Yet twice since then, in broad daylight, I’ve had as much trouble finding it as I had the first time. That’s why I feel so free to tell about it. The tide was a week later than it had been on my first trip. It had just turned, and there wasn’t enough water over the bar for us to run in. But as soon as we were well into the bayou G.B. started the motor and ran up at slow throttle. It beat paddling, but I couldn’t see how, in small water like that, we could fail to run every bass way back into the marsh. But it didn’t seem to worry G.B. We got as far as the first bend when G.B. cut the motor gathered an armful of marsh grass, and tied the skiff to it. I kept quiet. The bayou here was still too small and the grass too high for even a sharpshooter to do fancy tricks with a bass bug. G.B. tied a popping bug to his four-foot nylon leader. He stripped off line and let it coil in the skiff’s bottom, greasing it as he went along and flipped the bug out on the water almost in the shadow of the boat. The incoming tide drifted it up the bayou, and G.B. fed line out by gentle twitches of the rod tip. When the bug reached the end of the stretch, he checked and held it against the pull of the tide. The bug was half awash, and arced from side to side. In the middle of a swing G.B. twitched the rod tip, and the bug popped, gurgled, and splashed. Now I’ve always known that the more fuss a popping bug raised on the surface, or the more commotion a floating plug can produce, the better our southern largemouths like it. But I’d never seen a bug kick up a row like that one. It did everything

but whistle Dixie. What G.B. was doing, essentially, was a kind of still fishing with a bass bug for bait. G.B. held the line steady against the rod handle, neither giving nor taking, and the bug whooped and hollered over a spot not more than two feet in diameter. When five or ten minutes hadn’t produced any results, he slipped our mooring and let the skiff drift around the bend and into the tail of the next stretch. There the process was repeated with the same results. I started to suspect that G.B. was deliberately giving me a bum steer to show me the futility of any more trips to Blind Bayou. But I should have known he takes his fishing too seriously for such monkeyshines. G.B. fished four stretches without a strike while I watched and waited and grew more and more skeptical. I was lighting a cigarette when it happened. Just let me do anything like trying to take a picture light a smoke, or allow my attention to stray, and it always happens. A medium-size bomb exploded at the head of the stretch, and drops from the splash spattered almost up to the skiff. I stuck the match in my mouth, threw the cigarette overboard, and grabbed the gunwales with both hands. The bass came buckjumping toward us, shaking his head as he cleared the water, and looking mean enough to run both of us right out of the boat. G.B. was calm, but I wasn’t. Next to doing the job myself, I’d rather see a man who knows his stuff fight a mean one, and this bass was plenty mean. G.B. took nothing for granted. He knew that it was necessary to keep the bass in the open water. Let him bulldoze his way around a bend, and it would be Katy bar the door. The bamboo quivered, and G.B. arched and stripped in line. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that these warm-water largemouths are lethargic, and won’t jump and fight to a finish. Maybe it’s the salt in their diet that gives them such zip, but if those bass in Blind Bayou were much more pugnacious than that one was they’d just never be caught at all. The last jump he made wasn’t more than ten feet from me. He shook his head and he gave me a dirty look, his gill covers flapping like a tarpon’s, before he took off up the bayou again. G.B. eased down, letting the strain of the rod work for him. In a few minutes he led bigmouth up to the skiff, took a firm hold on its lower jaw, with his thumb and forefinger, and hefted him for my envious stare. “Now,” he commented, “you ought to know how to do it yourself.” No matter how simple any method of fishing may seem, it’s hard to follow the example set you. I messed up my first couple of tries. My trouble was that I’d let the current put a belly in the line and when the first two smashes came at my bug, I set the hook in slack instead of fish. It doesn’t take a largemouth long to realize that a bunch of feathers and cork isn’t edible, and to spit it out.

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But on the third try I connected, and the shock that ran up my arm prepared me for a struggle. I don’t know why it is, but every good fish that I’m fortunate enough to hook seems just a little more evil tempered than the one before. It’s probably because, in the heat of the fight, I get just as angry at them as they get at me. Later, when I’ve landed them I become more tolerant. G.B. was hollering advice. The men I fish with always holler advice, which may come in the form of criticism, but I never pay too much mind. It’s always strictly between the fish and me, and this time was no different. I declare that bass must have visited around in the big water, for somewhere he’d learned the tail-walking tactics of marlin, and only a tuna could have shown him how to get his head down like that and take what line he wanted. When I finally saw the flash of his black-striped side I was ready to turn over myself, but I called on enough reserve energy to let the bow of the rod bring him in. I caught his jaw on the first grab. In spite of what G.B. may say, my fish was every bit as big as his. We caught five more bass in Blind Bayou before we finished that morning, and never mind who caught four of them and who caught one. And there was still enough water over the sandbar for us to skate through with the motor and to get into the river without dragging the skiff. A quarter of a mile upstream we passed the wide inviting mouth of Hallet’s Bayou 100 yards from where it enters Fish River. Now there’s a stream that gives a man elbow room, and as we went by it it looked plenty bassy to me. Moss-hung cypress trees overhung the black water, deep right up to the banks, their surrounding knees furnishing exactly the kind of places where largemouths love to lurk. I crawled toward the stern so G.B. could hear me over the motor’s roar. “Looks good,” I hollered. “You fish Hallet’s much?” I wasn’t favorably impressed with the superior grin he gave me. It looked too much like the smirk of a wellfed shark. “Uh huh,” he yelled, “that’s where I’ve been catching my fish. But I thought you’d appreciate them more if you had to hunt for them, and I figured it’d do you good to find out there’s a lot about taking bass you don’t know. There’s more bass in Hallet’s than there is in Blind Bayou, and they’ll run much bigger on average.” Well, lots of fish isn’t all there is to fishing. Hidden waters like Blind Bayou hold a fascination all their own, and you won’t run into crowds there. I don’t go fishing to practice casting bugs but to fight fish. So Hallet’s Bayou will have to wait if it craves my attention. tHE END From Outdoor Life October, 1952

Sartore strives to share ‘Fragile Nature’ National Geographic photographer hopes his images bear witness to the Earth’s ills. BY MARCUS SCHNECK
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June/July 2010

Family Hunt for ALASKA
My first bullet knocked the bear flat, but he scrambled to his feet quickly and came along the beach for us. I knew it was now or never!


June/July 2010
A jinx is a nasty thing for a man to have dogging him when he’s out for big game. In 1941, while hunting on Admiralty and Chichagof Islands in southern Alaska, I knocked down a small brown bear which got away, and I missed a much larger one completely on the last day of the trip. Now, five years later, I was out of the Army and back in this great bruin country, and already six days had passed without one of us getting a crack at a bear. What’s more, it was beginning to look as if the jinx had spread to the various members of my family and perhaps the trip itself! Late in April we had set out from Seattle on the 84foot yacht Onawa for Ketchikan – my father (we call him the Colonel because of his Tennessee ancestry), my wife Molly, and my two sons: Chambers and Sherman, aged thirteen and twelve, respectively. Trouble struck right away. A gale enveloped us, and the Onawa groaned and trembled like a cinched-up cayuse, turning everything movable upside down – including several stomachs! Molly would gladly have swapped places with a carefree meadow lark back home in South Dakota. Our Diesels quit several times. Then the plumbing went out of whack. Sherman came down with the measles. And we got lost at the height of the storm, when the night was blacker than a Halloween cat. After six days, however, we finally did make Ketchikan, where we picked up Arnold Israelson and Wes Meyers, who were to guide us. Wes, who had arrived in Alaska along with the ice worm, the totem pole, and the Taku wind, told us he’d have to take it easy, for he’d just been released from the hospital. But this suited the Colonel well – he was nearly eighty, and had been ordered to hunt without walking. Sherman was still spotted like a brook trout, and a doctor advised us to keep him abed for a couple of days more. At last we got under way for Tenakee Inlet on Chichagof Island. The Onawa carried two outboard-powered dinghies, plus a pair of canoes. A guide and his hunters would travel to the entrance of a narrow bay, usually towing a canoe with their dinghy. Here this would be anchored or beached, and the party would proceed with the canoe, stealing in with the tide. This was an unbeatably silent approach to the head of the bay, where there was always a small meadow of from five to twenty acres. You could expect to find this open land lush with salt grass in the spring. You could also expect brown bears fresh from hibernation to waste no time getting to these meadows to feed. So you picked a bit of cover for a screen, and sat down behind it on a soggy log or equally wet bit of moss. This takes the patience of a saint and the heart of an assassin, and we went through the ritual for six days

– without any of us firing a shot. That was why I was wondering if my jinx had spread to the others. Oh, I had taken a luckless crack at a hair seal from the deck of the Onawa. The range was 500 yards, and I hardly expected to collect Alaska’s bounty on the animal. Spring was a full month behind schedule, a condition hardly in favor of good brownie hunting. Arnold and I found two feet of snow right down to tidewater on our first day out. The bear tracks we came across were all pretty old. We did jump twenty-nine Sitka deer that day, but it was brownies we wanted – not those little blacktails. After four fruitless days on Chichagof, we moved across Chatham Straight to Whitewater Bay on Admiralty Island. Here we at least saw some game. The Colonel, Chams – my elder son – and Wes spotted a brown bear working along a piece of shoreline, but the rascal ducked into the timber before a shot could be fired. The jinx again? That same evening Arnold and I canoed up the north arm of the bay. This was familiar territory, for it was here that I’d missed a grand trophy in 1941. We saw one old track in the mud. However, things picked up a little on the following day. Sherman and I had just returned to the Onawa from the exciting Dolly Varden fishing, when I heard the Colonel yell from the other side of the boat. We dashed around in time to see a female brownie ambling along a strip of beach about half a mile away, accompanied by a cub and a yearling. The old lady was plainly nervous, and soon shepherded her family into the timber. No attempt was made to stalk the animals, as it isn’t considered sporting to shoot a female when she has a helpless cub. It was comforting to at least look at bears, though. “Seeing that little feller reminds me of something,” Wes said to the Colonel. “Once we picked up two Kodiak cubs for mascots on a boat trip. It got pretty rough that day, and the bears spent a lot of time at the rail – heaving. Then one of them fell overboard.” The old guide paused. “What happened?” prompted the Colonel. “Well sir, it was the craziest thing I ever saw. The other cub ran to the galley and hit the cook in the leg to attract attention. Then the bear jumped in after his pal!” Chaik Bay was our next stop, and here I noticed one good sign right away: the meadows had grass that was green enough to interest bears! So Sherman and I set off in a dinghy with Arnold for the north arm of the bay. Mergansers, sooters, and harlequin ducks were everywhere. And I was surprised to find plenty of robins about when we landed at a fine meadow. But although we found the track of a huge brownie, we had nothing to show for waiting at that opening in the timber from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

However, chambers, the Colonel and Wes made out better. They picked the south arm of Chaik for their operations. There was no excitement until about 3 o’clock, when the Colonel heard a splash to the rear, and turned to find a bear snooping along the beach. Here at last was game! “No noise!” bade Wes as he ran the boat ashore behind a little point. The trio left the craft quietly, climbed the slight rise of the point, and peered through a screening cedar. Trotting along the beach was the brownie – headed right for them! Chams raised his .30/06 as the animal approached the 100-yard mark. Then he gulped in a big lungful of air and slowly let out half of it; but the weapon wobbled so, Wes felt he had to interrupt him. “Lower your rifle for a second,” the guide said, “and take it easy. But when you start, keep shooting until that bear is down for keeps!” More calmly now, Chams lifted up his sights and squeezed the trigger. At the roar of the .30/06 the brownie was knocked sprawling on the sand. As the animal rolled over and picked itself up Chams slammed another bullet into it. But the brownie wasn’t done for yet. Staggering, it kept coming down the beach. Four more times the rifle spoke out sharply, and then the bear lay still, hit in the neck, behind the shoulder, in both front legs, and in the lower jaw. Chams had missed only once! His “Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh boy!” broke the

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sudden silence. Wes Meyers quickly skinned out the trophy, a four year-old brownie of medium size. Its pelt was a rich chocolate-brown. Later Wes told me the lad was cooler and handled himself better than nine out of ten adult hunters he had taken out. The party then proceeded to the meadow at the head of the bay. Almost at once the Colonel spotted a bear in the grass at the far edge of the opening. But unfortunately the animal was too far away for him to shoot at and, as I mentioned earlier, my father was under doctor’s orders to hunt without walking more than a few paces. Reluctantly the trio returned to the Onawa. When I heard about this last bear, I shouted to Arnold, and in jig time we’d piled into a canoe and were paddling with all our strength down the bay, even though it was quite late – 8:30 p.m. The canoe had scarcely grated on the beach before we were off at a dead run toward the spot where the brownie had been seen. En route a herd of more than thirty deer stampeded ahead of us with all the noise of a squadron of cavalry. Winded and tired, Arnold and I parted the branches of a Sitka spruce – one of a clump projecting into the meadow – and peered out through the cover which had been screening our approach. The bear had disappeared! Glumly, and thinking about that jinx of mine, I picked out a stand to try on the next day, and then we went back.

From our hiding place I saw a doe stop feeding and raise her head sharply. then my glasses picked up a bear that had just emerged from the timber

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Ten o’clock the following morning found It took five shots to down the Arnold and me ready bear for keeps, and then Chams and waiting at the and the others ran to inspect it edge of the meadow. The wind kept shifting, and finally we decided to move to the middle of the meadow to take cover under a large spruce. There we made ourselves comfortable and prepared for a long wait. “I’ll bet that bear shows up at 3 o’clock,” I said to Arnold jokingly. Then we forgot about the matter, for deer soon came out of the timber to graze, and it was fascinating to watch them from such close range. We sat back to back, occasionally sweeping the timberline with our glasses. The sun climbed past the meridian and began to cast long shadows across the meadow. Still we waited. Suddenly, a doe stopped feeding, brought its head up sharply, and gazed toward the timber. I swung my glasses over the deer just in time to see a bear emerge from the tangle of devil’s-club, spruce, and cedar. “Look!” I whispered to Arnold. “A brownie at last!” I snatched a glance at my watch. It was two minutes to 3. “It’s a good 400 yards,” said my guide. “What do you say we get a little closer?” This made sense to me. For one thing, I didn’t have a scope sight on my .375 Magnum; and for another, I didn’t want to miss, as I had in 1941. There were a bear and a jinx at stake! Hurriedly we shucked off extra sweaters and stripped ourselves of unnecessary gear. Then we began the stalk – on our bellies across the meadow. Taking advantage of every hummock and declivity, we snaked along to within a scant eighty yards of the feeding bear. Ever so carefully I sneaked a look at bruin. Although it had been broadside to us all during the stalk, the animal’s rump was toward me now, and I thought I could see a rubbed place on it. The brownie was only a 7 ½ footer, but just then this hardly mattered. I nudged Arnold. “How does the pelt look to you?” I whispered. He put his glasses to his eyes and raised up slowly. Then something made me take a second look, and I wasn’t a moment too soon. Apparently alarmed by our peeping, the bear was just getting into overdrive for the timber about forty feet away. Hastily I threw up the Magnum, and at its roar of authority the brownie swung around and bit itself savagely in the flank. But the animal didn’t go down. Instead, it made four or five jumps toward the timber and was just about to disappear when my second shot crashed into it. This knocked it flat, but it scrambled up quickly and was gone. Arnold was sure I had a dead trophy; however, I wasn’t any too certain of this. From past hunts I’d


formed a healthy respect for bruin’s ability to absorb punishment. With extreme caution we began to force our way though the spiny devil’s-club, looking over with care all likely hiding places of the bear. We found several pieces of bone, and evidence that the animal was bleeding at frequent intervals. But after we’d followed the trail for about 600 yards, we decided to quit pushing the brownie. Let alone, it might soon stiffen up and lie down. So Arnold and I called it a day, resolving to return

and look for my prize on the morrow. My jinx, so far as I was concerned, still rode with me. Early the next morning the two of us had just started across the meadow toward the scene of yesterday’s action when Arnold happened to look to the left. There was a brownie working along the edge of a spruce thicket, and he hadn’t discovered us yet! We ducked back into the edge of the timber for a short conference, and then began a fast stalk, with both the cover and the wind in our favor. It wasn’t long before we’d crept pretty close to the feeding bear, and had just halted momentarily to try and check its position – for it was still screened – when the animal wandered out into the meadow, just about ninety yards away! I raised the .375 Magnum, lined up the sights on the brownie’s shoulder, and squeezed. The animal was knocked flat by the terrible impact of the 300-grain bullet. But the bear bounced up quickly and once again the rifle roared out, catching it amidships. Bruin was down for keeps, but I shot a third time – for jinx insurance. At last I’d licked it! Jubilantly Arnold and I ran over to inspect the trophy. It was about the same size as the one Chams had killed, beautifully pelted, though lighter in color. Arnold got to work skinning it, and after we had lugged the pelt back to the dinghy, we set out to trail the bear I’d crippled the day before. It led us straight up a mountain, through the worst combination of devil’s-club, rock slides, and snow I’ve ever encountered. Though the sign showed that the bear had never stopped once, trailing it was slow work nevertheless, for we had to assume that our quarry might be hiding behind every boulder and stump. Arnold and I struggled through this dense cover for several miles, and by late afternoon concluded that it was a hopeless task. The animal was bleeding less and less, and was still going strong at the point where we called it quits. I hated to leave a cripple in the woods, but it did look as if the bear might recover. Wearily we turned back, buoyed up by the knowledge that there was a nice pelt in our dinghy. The Onawa took us back to Chichagof Island the next day, and we dropped anchor in Freshwater Bay. As I was still hoping for a big brownie, I passed up the seven-footer Arnold found for me on the first afternoon. My father was in favor of turning south at this point, but I pleaded for one more hunt. Now that my jinx was licked, I was beginning to feel lucky! Arnold and I spent a long and fruitless ten hours on a meadow, without ever setting eyes upon anything wearing bear hair. For a last hunt, this day was certainly a washout. At 7:30 p.m. we were headed back for the yacht, easing along in glum silence, and my mind was not on bears by this time. Thoughts of a hot supper filled

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it completely. Perhaps that was why I didn’t see that brownie on shore. But Arnold did – and swung the dinghy into a little cove. “I couldn’t see him too well,” he said. “But that bear looked pretty big to me.” This was endorsement enough! Without wasting any time the two of us began creeping along the timber’s edge toward the bear, which was working slowly down the beach in our direction. Suddenly the brownie came right out into the open. This was my first good look at the animal, and it seemed huge! Taking a deep breath and holding it, I squeezed off a shot, which struck the bear in the shoulder and knocked it flat. Despite this the brownie regained its feet quickly. The second bullet slammed into the creature’s middle a few inches under the backbone, and again the bear was bowled over by a terrific impact. For a moment or two my quarry lay on its back, feet waving in the air. Then it scrambled up and got going again. My third shot – a miss – struck the rocks right in front of the bear and turned it toward the timber. But now I had a broadside view of the head. As cooly as I could I tightened up on the trigger, and before the last echo of the Magnum’s blast had died away, my prize lay still on the sand. The closer we got to that bear, the bigger it looked. Then Arnold was unreeling his tape – right up to the nine foot mark! Together we rolled the carcass over, looking at the pelt. There wasn’t a rubbed mark on it! I had a big brownie for a trophy at last, and we returned to find the yacht ready to go. As the Onawa’s refrigerator had stopped working, the captain had been obliged to jettison our supply of meats and poultry. This made nearby Juneau our next stop – for fresh provisions. From this point we turned south, toward home. The Onawa was cruising along the mainland now; good black bear country. Now and then we’d stop for a short hunt, or perhaps a try for salmon or trout. These were easy, pleasant days, with plenty of beautiful scenery. At one anchorage the Colonel distinguished himself by hitting a black bear from the deck of the Onawa with the first shot from his .375 Magnum, despite the fact that the range was about 400 yards, and the yacht was swinging on her cable, as well as rolling with the tide. This happened at 9 p.m., so that it was too late to follow the animal, which appeared to be badly wounded. However, we found it the next morning – Wes, Arnold, Chams and I. The bear had traveled only a quarter of a mile, and Arnold dispatched the cripple with one shot. It was an old-timer, with a bald belly, and only three teeth in its mouth. Farther down the coast, at Port Houghton, I was fortunate in killing a nice black bear, and during our stop at Prince Edward Island, Chams bagged one too – a seven-

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footer, which is a fine trophy for a thirteen year old boy. There was action of one kind or another all the way down the coast, from the Chinook salmon that took everything from me but my shirt, right up to our last anchorage. The guns had been cleaned and put away by this time, so that all of us were unprepared for any kind of shooting. The Colonel and I were lolling on the rail, when we heard something on the shore. “What’s that?” my father asked. “Probably some wolves fighting over a bone,” I said, more in jest than anything else. The words were hardly out of my mouth when three enormous wolves appeared, walking out of the timber in Indian file! The scramble for rifles at this point must have been something to watch. I couldn’t find my Magnum right away, and settled for a .30/06. We were soon laying down quite a barrage around the animals. None of us connected, though. The range was pretty long, for one thing, and the wolves ran up and down the beach rathererratically, for another. So after firing about twenty shots we quit. The Onawa weighed anchor, and we headed for home.


Outdoor Life – July 1947

I heaved and hauled on the cane pole while Granddad coached from the sidelines the top of a narrow wall that divided the

A man can’t take a chance on getting his wife drowned. Better to leave her behind a railing along the powerhouse, even if nobody had ever caught anything there. So that’s where I left her fishing in a mildly stirring eddy, safe from any sudden, jarring strike of a channel cat. To reach my favorite spot I had to negotiate 100 feet along

river proper from the swooshing turbine wake below the powerhouse. It was necessary for me to cross the laps of several anglers seated on this uncomfortable perch. As I edged by the first paunchy torso I heard a yell behind me. Turning, I knew that my supremacy as head of the house was about to receive another jolt. It was that sort of yell.

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My wife, a diminutive figure in gray slacks and green sweater, was tied to something in the water, something that bucked the line and strummed the rod in a tense arc. Two minutes later I netted a racy, fork-tailed channel cat. He tangled saw-toothed horns in the mesh, a blur of creamy belly and steel-blue back. A dozen fishermen smiled indulgently as they watched me string him and re-bait my wife’s hook. Fool woman. Blind luck. The fish was a freak and definitely out of bounds. Winking at a lean angler on the rail, I started once more for my favorite spot. I took a dozen careful steps, and again that excited feminine yell pierced the air. We repeated the performance with net, stringer, and soft crawdad tail from the bait bucket. Smiles among the assembled company turned to chuckles. This second fish went better than two pounds. I started again for the end of the wall, and the fat guy began to resent the traffic. He just grunted and lowered his rod between his knees as I went by. I heard loud laughter when my wife shouted out my name for the third time. Another channel cat! She played him and I landed him amid much good-natured joshing. Half a dozen fishermen advised me to give up and just hold onto the net. “I can’t help it. They just keep biting,” my wife said defensively. She took eight as quickly as I could string them and get a peeler back on her hook. The biggest cat weighed more than three pounds. The run stopped as abruptly as it started. No one else caught a thing all morning.

It’s never happened to her since. But like a foxhound pup who overhauls his first deer caught in a fence, it ruined her for life. That, for me, proves two things. One is that channel-cat fishing gets the same hold on its devotees as the worst case of fly-rod fever. The other is that most rules for catching them don’t mean much. You can dope out pretty well where bass and trout will lie. Same for crappies or northerns. And trial and error will determine finally what they’re taking. Not so with the forktailed racer. He’s more than just a big bullhead with oomph. He’s a striking, sporty gamefish. And bless him, he’s available to farmland creek and river fishermen isolated by distance and duty from what’s generally considered to be sport fishing. The first channel cat I ever tied onto came while I was fast to a line myself. I was at the darting age, too small to be safe straddling the log that protruded above the water, so Granddad anchored me to the bank with a clothesline around my middle. My bait was a strip of something from the lower abdominal cavity of a groundhog that Old Shep had caught on our way to the river. My rod was a long river-bottom cane. I fished tightline. The fish struck hard and quick. None of that preliminary bullhead nibbling. Just socko, and I was in for it. I heaved and hauled on the cane while Granddad coached frantically from the sidelines. Finally the cat gave up, and I scooted backward along the snag to drag him out. He was a trim sixteen-inch monster, twice the size of any bullhead I’d taken up to then.

the woods reeked as the old codger threaded his giant hook with a little piece of something brown

It was a month before I caught another. But it wasn’t because I didn’t dunk the innards of everything from chickens to chipmunks at every opportunity. I was constantly poised for that slashing, vicious jerk, for the feel of the monster’s smash vibrated clear to my tail bone every time I thought of it. I’ve been addicted to channel-cat fishing ever since. It’s pretty well conceded that cats feed mainly by scent and prefer nighttime foraging. But you can’t be certain. I recall the time I was working an artificial Wooly Worm with spinner along a Missouri bass stream called Silver Fork. It was a warm summer day just before lunch. The water was milky from a recent shower, but from the bottom end of a pool I flipped a worm under some willows along the bank. As it touched water I got a strike. The fish was hooked and he was heavy. Momentarily expecting a bass to break water, I changed my mind as the critter kept boring for the bottom. A medium-weight fly rod wasn’t exactly the right stick for this game, but luck and a relatively small pool were on my side. Finally a three-pound channel cat lay gasping on a sandbar. A few miles farther west, in the slow-moving Blackwater River near Marshall, Mo., I saw another channel cat take a standard Black Gnat fly at 2 p.m. on a hot August afternoon. Old Ictalurus lacustris can see as well as smell, and he doesn’t mind striking at game on the surface when it suits his mood. But my experience, unfortunately, indicates he does it only often enough to build up false hopes in anglers. Scent-emitting baits have always produced best for me in my channel-cat wanderings. But this hasn’t convinced me that bait, to be good, must render its user a social outcast. Such ultra-dainty fare as soft crawfish tail shrimp, and fresh beef liver or steak seem to produce enough olfactory attractions. Even certain fishworms must leave a tempting wake in the current, if results mean anything. The so-called stink baits are hard to rule out, though. The best lure I ever found the most consistent and sure-fire for over a period of days, was definitely in the untouchable class. It was beef. Not a measly sliver or a stingy chuck roast, but a whole cow! She’d mired in a ford at the head of a deep pool known as Simeon’s Hole and a hard rain with fast-rising water drowned her. There she remained, half submerged, when the torrent receded. After a few days the town picnickers deserted that stretch of river and even the cattle quit crossing the ford. A stiff breeze was in my favor the day I fished up the winding river bed toward this cow. I’d forgotten all about her until rounding a bend, I saw her carcass a few rods away. Not a fish had hit my line so far, but Simeon’s Hole was always a pretty good spot. My bait bucket contained nothing more offensive than the remains of a freshly dressed frying chicken. I put on a gob and cast at the pool just below the animal. The bait was settling slowly when something hit it with jarring force. He kept me busy for the next three minutes. It was only when I was stringing him and the wind sagged off a little that I remembered the condition of the poor cow. I was fired with an idea. Breathing through my mouth like an underprivileged kid

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with adenoids, I lived like a prince for the next half hour. Five husky channels in the two and three-pound class took the hook before their threshing and churning spooked the place to inactivity. For several days thereafter, whenever the wind was right, I fished the hole, and it seemed like every channel cat for a mile down the river had congregated there. Almost any bait that landed a few feet from the king-size lure took fish. You couldn’t raise a fiddler anyplace else. Finally a flash flood cleaned up the place, and the hole went back to normal oncein-a-while catches. If you find it hard to understand why I kept coming back to this unpleasant spot, take a sniff of some commercial catfish baits. Not so another concoction that I chanced on one sunup in the Big Bend loop of Grand River. It flows through Decatur County, Iowa, and points south. One hot summer night two of my boyhood friends and I were dozing, slapping mosquitoes, and expectantly waiting for some action on the rods. We’d caught one skinny cat about a foot long, and a vagrant hound had swiped the last of our beef liver. Any sensible party would have gone home long ago, but not us kids who’d felt the surge of a head-strong forktail charging in the current. I was hopefully drifting my last chunk of bait into some good water when the willows parted across the river. Out stepped a slouchy, tobacco-chewing old codger shoving a cane pole ahead of him. Shifting his cud, he nodded, sat down directly across from us, and rigged up. First he took a pair of rubberized work gloves from a hip pocket. Then he opened a quart fruit jar, complete with rubber sealing ring. From this he dumped out a little piece of something brown, about hickory-nut size. After rapidly threading a giant hook he replaced the jar lid, skinned off the gloves, and tossed them behind him on the bank. Up to then the damp morning mist hanging over the river bottoms had been pure and refreshing. Now I was conscious of a strengthening taint that spread out like an insidious wave of sin over a good community. The old-timer cocked his pole and swung his sinker pendulumlike a couple of times to give the cast momentum. The motion set up a chain reaction, driving nearly pure nitrogen into the sweet air. It was lethal. I couldn’t be certain, but it looked as if the water sizzled when the bait hit. He sat there five minutes, his only motion a slight turn of the head to relieve himself of tobacco juice. The current tugged and slacked gently on our lines. Then the stranger’s cane pole bent almost double, and I reeled in to watch the scrap. It didn’t last long. The venerable angler had just one thought in mind, and it wasn’t to wear down the fish by playing it. He horsed it right up past his feet, and from where I sat it looked like a five-pounder. Grinning, he stuffed his catch into a gunny sack and sat on the open end of it. Again the gloves, and off came the jar lid. The woods reeked once more, and I felt myself swaying with the willows. The bait had an afterscent that hinted some

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sort of pickling. When he caught another fish I was bursting with curiosity. “What’s that you have in the jar?” I ventured. “Fox bait,” he said dryly, never taking his eyes off the river. “Some I had left over from trapping.” “What’s in it?” “Cat and stuff. Mostly cat.” “You mean catfish?” “Nope. Tomcat.” I pondered these things a few minutes while he caught another fish. “Try some?” he asked casually. Then, preparing to lob the jar across thirty feet of water, he warned, “Let ‘er light in the mud so’s if it breaks you won’t get none on yer clothes. Yer folks won’t let you come in the house.” Somehow I managed to get the jar open and closed, and my hook baited with a chunk of something brown, tough, and absolutely alone in the world. I tossed the offending morsel far from me in the water and rubbed my hands in the dirt. It didn’t help. I remember thinking that a little jar of fish bait couldn’t possibly be responsible for the log around me. Then there was a warning hit, followed by a vigorous tug that clicked off yards of line. But I stopped him, and soon a sleek fish with silver specks on his gray-blue sides came flopping out of the water. The thrill was worth all it had cost. The channel cat has been called the hound dog of our inland fresh water. The one I pulled in could have been a hotnosed apartment Peke and still found my bait. Bait like that worked then, it does now, and probably always will, but it’s strictly desperation dope. You break it out in an emergency or when some wise guy shoots off about the sterling scent properties of his secret formula. But I’m still convinced that channel-cat bait doesn’t need to be that unpleasant. After all, fishing’s a sport and not a test of human endurance. There are enough other hardships connected with catfishing – such as mud, mosquitoes, and loss of sleep. Your dyed-in-the-wool channel-cat fisherman doesn’t mind missing a little sleep. He operates about the same sort of shift as a coon hunter, only at a warmer season. Most old ,stove-up coon hunters make good channel fishermen. They can still sit on a log in the dark and hear owls hoot while waiting for something to happen. But men of all ages and a surprising variety of occupations have their own systems and times of day for taking channel cats. Like the prosperous Kentucky tobacco farmer who once took me fishing. We arrived at the Elkhorn River just west of Georgetown shortly before dusk, made a pot of coffee, and rigged up with light sinkers and tiny three-pronged hooks. A little spring wound around the main hook shank helped to keep our pasty blood-base bait from washing off. It was dark when we started to fish. I chose a little rapids that tumbled over rocky shallows, and drifted my bait into the upper end of a deep hole in the hope that some fish might be

waiting below for a tidbit to float down. My Kentucky friend put on a small bobber set about 2 ½ feet above the hook. He let his bait in below me, and it drifted with the slow current. Keeping just a little tension against the floating bobber, he stripped off line gently. “How do you know where it’s going?” I asked. “I don’t,” he replied. “That cork just follows the natural flow of current. It moves along the bank or out in the open, taking the path any free-floating object would take. This way I can fish quite a stretch of water without moving around to scare them, and I’ve found that catfish frequent that part of the channel where food is most likely to be carried.” He proved his logic when he had fifty yards of line out. There was a sudden splashing in shallow water at the far end of the hole, and when I played the flashlight on my friend I saw him pumping and reeling, his line throbbing in a long slant downriver. That night his catch tripled mine. You might lose a cat or two fishing that way when your line tangles in brush or around rocks, but any fishing in the dark is pretty much touch and go. You can’t hold them all. Conditions permitting, I use my Kentucky friend’s method whenever I go night-channel fishing. It works at any depth, I’ve found, since under the cover of darkness Old Whiskers doesn’t always hug bottom. He’s just as likely to grab the bait with ten feet of water under him as when it’s moving a few inches off bottom. Speed of the current determines how much sinker and the size of float to use. Probably the sportiest channel-cat fishing I know of comes at dusk, early morning, or sometimes on a gray day, where fast water breaks into a deep, mild stretch. Use a good, whippy bamboo bait rod and nurse your three-pronged hook into the eddy where fast and still water meet. Hold it there. If you’re sinkered properly your bait will ride a couple of feet off bottom. Frequent retrieves are necessary if the bait is not durable. When you get a hit it’s likely to be as savage as any smallmouth delivers, and the fish catches you off guard. With the current to help, and his own sinuous length writhing in desperate charge, a channel cat is strictly gamefish on such a rod. No channel fisherman ever forgets that sort of a tussle any more than he does the joy of having a platter-length catfish beneath his knife and fork. Golden crisp-brown on the outside, delicate white underneath, no other fish tastes quite so good. This taste is acquired young. A friend returning from a successful rainbow trip stopped by my house not long ago and left some magnificent twelve-inch trout. My kids jigged around happily while these beauties were trimmed and fried. But during the meal the youngest slacked off long before his usual quota. “ ‘Smatter, bub? Don’t you like rainbow trout?” I chided. “Aw, they’re all right,” he said, “but why didn’t he get us some channel cats?”


From Outdoor Life, October, 1952

by kenneth k. irving
From the minute we began talking about an Alaska bear hunt we knew we’d be starting from scratch. I’d hunted deer in Maine, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, but I was far from what you’d call an experienced big-game hunter. As for my wife, Virginia, and our 13-year-old son, Donnie, neither had fired anything bigger than a .22 caliber rifle, and their hunting experience was limited to an occasional jaunt through our back pasture for cottontails. Nevertheless we’d got Alaska and its big brownies in our blood, and I’ve had enough experience to know there’s only one cure when that happens. The Irvings were going on a bear hunt. It all started back in October when a severe case of flu laid me low. Time drags when you’re ill, and I speeded it along as best I could by catching up on long-neglected reading. One night when I was deep in a gripping yarn about a bear hunt in a back number of OUTDOOR LIFE, the idea hit me like a thunderbolt. If other people went to Alaska for bears why couldn’t we? I’m a dealer in gravel and stone, and I live near Muncie, Ind. I told myself that Hoosier businessmen don’t go traipsing off to Alaska with their wives and sons after brown bears. Or do they? The more I thought about it the less I was able to think of a good reason why bear hunting in far-off Alaska wasn’t for us. A few pages farther back in the magazine, while I was still turning that revolutionary idea over in my mind I came across an advertisement run by Alf Madsen, Kodiak Island guide, which told about his spring bear hunts. That decided it. Seeing that ad was the beginning of a trip that lasted five weeks and took Virginia, Donnie and me close to 12,000 miles from the flat corn country of Indiana to the snow-blanketed slopes of a Kodiak Island mountain. We spent the winter on plans, preparations, and dreams. I sent a letter to Madsen. It brought a quick reply

In a mood of ugly surprise, the huge beast heaved erect and let go a murderous growl

giving detailed information about the spring hunts, including a list of the equipment we’d need. Alf made it plain that light-caliber rifles aren’t for brownies. So I got a .375 Magnum Winchester Model 70, equipped with a Weaver scope, and borrowed a .30/06 Remington, scoped with a Lyman Alaskan. We figured two rifles would be adequate. We bought a camera, binoculars, and the other items on Madsen’s list. We’d practically nothing to start with, but we soon discovered what every veteran sportsman knows – half the fun of a major hunt is getting ready for it. By the end of April, after we’d done some target shooting with our new guns, I figured that we were ready for the big adventure. So one warm, rainy Spring morning we left Muncie behind and headed west for Seattle. A week later we were aboard the liner Baranof plowing north up the inside passage on our way to Seward. From there we went by train to Anchorage, and then flew the final 250 miles to Kodiak. We arrived at the Kodiak airport just one day under two weeks from the time we left home, and Alf was there waiting. He greeted us with the heart-warming announcement that the bear hunt was all set, down to the last frying pan, and that we’d be on our way to the bears’ hangout in the morning. Flying out to his camp on Karluk Lake in Vince Day’s chartered plane that forenoon, we saw our first Alaska brownie. Donnie and Virginia spotted him, digging in a patch of skunk cabbage. His pelt was bright sulphur yellow, and it gleamed in the morning sun like a

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gold coin. We were 2,300 feet above him, and I must say that I was a little disappointed about his size. He didn’t look anywhere near as big as I’d expected. Certainly he gave us no warning of what a full-grown brownie is like when you meet him face to face. Madsen’s French cook, Jake Blanc, and two guides, John Morton and Eli Metroken, were waiting for us at camp. As soon as our gear was stowed Alf suggested we have a whirl at the Dolly Vardens that were schooled where the outlet leaves Karluk Lake. We saw no bears that day, but we got trout fishing of a brand I’d never dreamed was possible. The fish were so plentiful where the current gathers at the head of the stream that they almost covered the gravel bars. We fished with fly rods, and every time we cast a lure into the water we hooked into a good trout. Next morning we settled down to the bear hunt. We saw fresh tracks at two places on the beach of Karluk Lake, but Madsen predicted that if we killed a bear we’d have to climb for him. He proved his prediction a couple of hours later. While glassing the high slopes of the surrounding mountains we picked up a patch of brown that didn’t look like a rock. It was at the foot of a steep slide close to two miles away, and while we were watching it it moved. After a long, careful look Alf announced that it was a bear worth going after. But he shook his head when I asked about cutting Virginia and Donnie in on the stalk. “This one’s for you and me,” he said. “It’s a tougher climb than it looks.” Long before we reached the place where we’d seen the bear I found out how good Alf’s judgment is. At the end of two heartbreaking hours he called a halt and dropped down on a slope of shale to rest. “If the bear hasn’t moved we’ll have him in sight just over this next ridge,” he explained. But the bear had moved. We located the rockslide where we’d spotted him, and found his tracks at the edge of a snow patch a little higher up. There were plenty of tracks but no bear. We worked back and forth across the mountain for over an hour but saw no sign of him. I was dog tired when we got back to camp, and ready to admit that the tough side of Alaska bear hunting was tougher than I’d anticipated. But by the next morning I was full of zip and

the author poses with Donnie’s bear, on a slope above mountain-ringed Karluk Lake

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ready to go. It was a fine day, with a cloudless blue sky above the shining snow fields, and Madsen stationed us on an island out in Karluk Lake. We’d been using our glasses less than half an hour when we spotted a bear at the mouth of a ravine just below the snowline. I wasn’t as impatient to get going as I’d been the day before. All the same, sitting there on the beach and watching the distant brownie was an itchy business. We waited for two hours while the bear filled his belly on winter-dry mossberries, dug for ground squirrels under rocks, and explored twenty acres of mountainside. My patience was worn thin by that time, but Alf wouldn’t budge so long as the bear kept moving. Finally the brown got tired. He picked a sunny spot above an alder patch, lay down, and curled in a big ball. Alf watched him for another minute or two, then climbed to his feet. Virginia had stayed in camp that morning but Donnie was with us. Alf thought the stalk wouldn’t be too much for him at this time, so we started up the mountain. It was easier going than it had been the day before, but we had a long, hard climb and the tangled alder patch at the finish gave us a brisk workout. Donnie didn’t complain, and he didn’t lag, and when Alf finally stopped us at the upper edge of the foliage the boy was right on the guide’s heels and not panting any harder than I was. Alf took a cautious peek through the fringe of alders, settled back softly on his haunches, and motioned us up beside him. “Take it mighty easy,” he whispered. “He’s just across a ravine.” It had taken us more than an hour to make the stalk and in that time the bear hadn’t stirred. He lay just as we’d seen him through the glasses, curled up like a huge wooly caterpillar. But he was only 225 paces from us now, and he’d grown to giant size. Staring at him across the snow-patched ravine, I began for the first time to appreciate the Alaska brownie’s bulk. If he looked that big curled up, I thought, what would he be like when he got to his feet? I soon found out. We’d agreed beforehand that if a chance at a bear came when my son and I were together, I’d step aside for the boy. So it was Donnie who listened to the few final words of instruction from Madsen and brought the .30/06 into shooting position as confidently as if he were hunting fox squirrels in our woodlot. He was shooting 220-grain Silvertips. The Remington smashed out its wicked report, and on the heels of the blast I heard the solid slap of the bullet strike home. The huge ball of fur straightened and came to its feet. The bear’s head whipped around and he bit savagely at his shoulder where the bullet had plowed in. He was big, breath-takingly big, and he was mad to the roots of

his tail. I heard Alf’s low, urgent “Give him another.” The words were half blotted out by the sharp clatter of Donnie’s bolt as he shoved in a fresh hull. He drove home a second bullet and the bear went down, rolled over once, and bounced back on his feet like a huge football turning end for end. Donnie put a third shot into him without any prompting, and the bear let go a bawl of rage loud enough to make a man’s hair stand straight up. Then for the first time the brownie gathered his wits and tried to scram. But he was too late. He’d taken only a few staggering steps when Donnie thudded a fourth Silvertip into his shoulder. That finished him. The bear collapsed, rolled into the ravine, and was dead before he hit bottom. When we’d finished the skinning we did an autopsy to trace the effect of the four bullets. The last one had blown up the heart, but any one of the other three would have won Donnie a bearskin. So far as we’ve been able to find out since, he is the youngest nonresident ever to kill a brownie on Kodiak Island. The bear we’d talked about as “he” for two hours while we made the stalk and the kill turned out to be a she, as is often the case. But she was a monster. When Madsen and Morton got the pelt off it squared two inches over ten feet, the biggest female bear Alf had seen killed in nine years. The guides guessed her weight at around 1,000 pounds. Our spell of good weather ended that evening in a drizzle of cold rain, and for close to a week the sun was hidden behind thick cloud blankets. We did the best we could with the glasses, and spotted bears three or four times, but they were either too small to interest us or the weather was so bad we knew there was no use going after them. The break came finally on Sunday, a week from the day we’d begun our hunt. There was light rain and shreds of fog on the lower slopes of the mountains, but the rockslides and snow fields higher up were in the clear. It was Virginia’s turn now to carry the .30/06. She, Morton, Madsen, and I went down the shore of Karluk Lake in the boat and endured the cold rain for three or four hours without seeing so much as a bear track. We came back to camp wet and discouraged, but food and hot tea took the chill out of us and pepped us up once more. After luncheon we went down to an open point on the lake that affords good opportunities for glassing. Donnie tagged along to be in on any excitement that might happen. Before we’d finished looking the mountain over we located a family of four bears, a female with three half-

grown cubs. They were on a rocky slope 2,000 feet up. For once Alf didn’t advise waiting. “We can keep that bunch in sight while we climb,” he declared. “That old sow looks good. The sooner we start the sooner we’ll catch up with ‘em.” So we started. It wasn’t a hard stalk, but I’ll probably never be able to make Virginia believe that. We climbed for an hour at a pretty fair pace. The mountain got steeper above the alders, and I began to wonder whether I’d let my wife in for more that she could handle. Just then John Morton, who was leading, stepped around a boulder half as big as a house and suddenly ducked back. “They’re right up ahead,” he said in a low undertone. “I can’t see the old girl, but two of the cubs are there and she won’t be far away.” We edged up for a look. The two half-grown bears were nosing a little patch of grass and moss. While we were watching them the big female suddenly walked into the picture a dozen yards away and stood looking out over Karluk Lake. She was a sight to make a hunter’s heart turn handsprings. She stood there like a bronze statue, motionless save for the slow swinging of her huge head as she tested the wind and studied the alder thickets below. I wanted Virginia to have this chance. But the bear was 250 yards off, and the shot seemed too long to chance with the .30/06. I urged her to try the Winchester, and she took the .375, found a convenient rest, and smashed a 300-grain Silvertip into the brownie’s shoulder. That one shot was all it took. The bear fell off the rock shelf like a sack of meal, and she never got back on her feet. She was not quite as big as Donnie’s. Her pelt squared two inches under ten feet, but it was dark and heavy – a fine trophy. We hunted hard the next three or four days, but it did no good. I was getting a little discouraged with my prospects, but Alf didn’t share my doubts. “Let’s go trout fishing in the morning,” he suggested. “Maybe that will change your luck.” “I’d rather keep on hunting bears,” I said.

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“We’ll take our rifles along,” he replied. “You never know what you’ll see on a fishing trip.” So Donnie, Virginia, Alf, and I started down the lake in the boat the next morning hoping to catch Dolly Vardens. None of us got to wet a line that day. Halfway to the lake’s outlet Alf ran the boat to a rocky point and stepped out. He lifted his glasses and held them in one spot for a long time. When he lowered them and turned to me he was grinning from ear to ear. “Your bear is up there,” he announced, “and as near as I can make out you won’t be sorry you waited for him.” I focused my binoculars on the place he indicated. High above snowline a big, dark bear was lumbering along the edge of a sparse thicket of alders. While we watched he came out into the open a few yards and lay

Irving’s big pelt almost covers the end of the cook shack. Alf Madsen is at left

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down on the snow. “Sun’s getting him,” Madsen said with a chuckle. “That’s a heavy coat he’s wearing and he can’t take this spring weather. If he’ll wait around a while we’ll hang his coat up for him.” We left Virginia and Donnie on the beach with the boat. Alf instructed them to signal us with a red seat cushion if the bear moved. “We’ll be able to see you when we get halfway up to him,” he explained. “Just swing the cushion whichever way he’s traveling and we’ll try to head him off.” We found a canyon angling up the mountainside, with a brawling little snow-fed stream at the bottom, and we followed it. The clatter of the stream, dropping over one low waterfall after another, drowned out our noise and saved us the trouble of having to climb quietly. We reached the snowline and climbed another half a mile without sighting the bear or getting a glimpse of Virginia and Don back on the beach. Madsen called a halt at a spot where the canyon angled sharply to the left. “We better get up on top and have a look,” he said. We were breathless and drenched with sweat by that time, but we figured we were almost within range of the bear. We scrambled up the canyon wall and peered cautiously over a big rock. The snow field was empty. There was a patch of thin alders 300 yards above us, but there was no bear in sight along its edge. When we’d convinced ourselves that the brownie had given us the slip, we moved out into the open where we could see the boat, a toy on the beach of Karluk Lake far below, and tried to attract the attention of Virginia and Don. It was five or ten minutes before they saw us. Then watching through the glasses, I saw them wave. Virginia caught up the red cushion and swung it urgently to the right. We started ahead, floundering to our knees in the soft snow. It was the hardest going I’d encountered in Alaska. But we inched along, sweating and puffing, and stopped a couple of times to look back at the boat. Each time Don and Virginia waved us on. We came to the edge of the alders where the snow, shaded from the sun, was packed harder. The going was better now. We topped a big, wind-rounded snowbank, and there in a shallow hollow twenty-five feet away lay what looked to me like the biggest bear in the world. He was sprawled out on the snow fast asleep. But he was sleeping with one eye open, for he saw us the instant our heads poked above the edge of the snowbank. The huge beast heaved to his feet and let go a murderous growl that seemed to lift the hat off my head. I think then’s when my heart stopped beating. Staring at that big brown giant eight paces off, I couldn’t believe

what I saw. I’d measured Don’s bear and Virginia’s, and marveled at their great size. But I hadn’t seen either of them under circumstances anything like these, in a mood of ugly surprise and only the length of my own living room away from me. I hadn’t thought any bear on earth grew to be this big. Then, almost in the same movement that brought him up from his bed, the brownie reared on his hind feet, as straight as a man, a towering, furry monster. The growl deepened in his throat. My heart started again and made up for any time it had lost. It all happened a lot faster than I tell it here. Actually, I doubt that more than two or three seconds passed from the time I first saw the bear until I sent the 300-grain Silvertip smashing into his chest. I know that my rifle was bedded against my shoulder and I was crooking my finger around the trigger when I heard Alf’s sharp “For Pete’s sake, shoot!” The heavy bullet drove into the bear without knocking him off his feet. He let go a horrible roar, came down on all fours, and lunged for us. I can’t recall exactly what happened after that, but I must have set some kind of a record working the bolt of that Magnum. I rammed two more shots into that bear point-blank while he was coming five yards, and it doesn’t take a wounded brownie long to cover that much ground. The third shot belted him over backward like a sledge hammer had hit him, and he went down in a heap. I blew my top then. Without waiting to see whether he could get up again, or even noticing that he’d not so much as kicked after he went down, I sent a fourth shot crashing into the middle of his skull. John and Eli came up and gave us a hand with the skinning. When we got the pelt off it squared eleven feet four inches, and was too big to fit the shoulder pack the guides use regularly for that purpose. Back at camp we nailed it out on the end of Jake Blanc’s cook shack, and it covered the building the way a slice of ham used to cover the bun in a sandwich. The guides estimated the bear at 1,400 pounds in spring condition, and Alf thought he might have weighed 1,600 in the fall. A couple of days later we left Kodiak for Seattle by air. The trip that had taken eight days by ship and train was completed in six hours. I doubt that three prouder or happier bear hunters ever left Alaska. As a fathermother-and-son team of rank amateurs, the Irvings had done all right.

From Outdoor Life, October, 1952

We trailed the sheep killer that morning with some of the best dogs on earth, a pack brought to north-central Michigan from the mountains of Tennessee. They were great hounds, sure-nosed and bear-wise, and they did their best. But the killer stopped the hunt cold by swimming the Muskegon. Armed farmers guarded their sheep again that night. And the killer bear exploded a flock a dozen miles away, leaving the sprawling tracks that made him a legend in the Muskegon Valley. He was as elusive and clever at saving his skin as he was malicious in his killing. In three years he had slaughtered hundreds of sheep, and been seen but once. That time he walked insolently out of the woods in full daylight and in plain sight of an unarmed farmer. Scattering a flock of sheep, he picked the one he wanted, killed it, and carried it off.


“Slippery as a black ghost,” somebody remarked in the general store at Merritt. The name stuck. He was the Black Ghost the length and breadth of the Muskegon Valley. Half a dozen of the big sheep ranchers offered a reward for his pelt, but nobody knew how to collect it. Dogs, traps, and all-night vigils over abandoned kills had failed. While the Black Ghost kept the sheep ranchers tearing their hair month after month, I was developing and training a pack of bear dogs of my own. Those Tennessee hounds had turned me into a confirmed bear hunter. We had plenty of blackies in our part of Michigan, and my hunting partner, George Nystrom, and I decided to hunt them as it’s done in the Southern mountains and in certain sections of the West. By the end of the year we’d developed a pack of dogs that we thought were good enough to tackle the Ghost.

As the reign of terror spread, farmers set up watches over their sheep

Then we let it be known that we’d go to the help of any farmer. Complaints came in faster than we could take care of them, some from as far as 300 miles away. We managed to take outlaw bears off the necks of quite a few farmers, but not the phantom raider we really wanted. At first we had trouble getting onto his track while it was still fresh. The Ghost was not only smart but lucky. Then we were called to a kill that was only a few hours old and the hounds took the trail with all stops out. They ran it into the thick swamps along the Muskegon, swam the river, picked up the trail on the far side and were out of hearing in a matter of minutes. Hours later, in the middle of the afternoon, they straggled back one by one, an exhausted and dejected pack. When the same thing happened three or four times after that, we figured out the reason. The simple truth was

that the Ghost was just too much bear for our dogs. As often as they overtook him he beat them off in a running fight, tearing into them with a savage fury they couldn’t stand up to. That was a challenge that had to be met. We kept at it and he kept sending whipped dogs back to us. It was three years from the day I’d first seen his tracks at the border of a sheep pasture that things came to a head. I had a phone call late one afternoon from Hartley Davis, a local rancher. “My boys just found a sheep killed last night, Carl. Tracks? Yeah, the Black Ghost.” It was too late to go after him that day, but at that season there was a good chance he’d strike two nights in a row somewhere in the neighborhood. Hartley promised to check his flock early the next morning. I alerted three or four other ranchers and warned them to do the same thing.

My phone jangled next morning. “He butchered two more of our ewes last night,” one of Hartley’s boys blurted. By 1 p.m. we had rounded up fifteen determined farmers and were ready to give the Ghost a run he’d remember. Nystrom and I picked our three best dogs, Banjo, Traze, and Ranger. Banjo, a big Walker-and-bluetick with a coarse voice, was the fastest of the three. Ranger, half black-and-tan and half Plott, with a tenor bawl as clear and far-carrying as a bugle, would keep close on Banjo’s heels. Traze, black-and-tan with traces of bluetick and redbone, was the oldest and most reliable of the three. We’d use him for a strike dog and if the going turned hard we could count on him to stay with it, no matter what the younger hounds might do. The bear played his usual canny tricks from the start. He had carried his sheep down from the pasture into a marshy swale, where the dogs hit his scent strong and sure, opening like an organ choir. But their excitement was short-lived. Bear smell hung rank and heavy in the damp grass of the swale, but at the edge of the upland fields it petered out. Even wise old Traze lost it and gave up. But by that time we had hunted the Ghost long enough to know where to look for him after he left a kill. We put Ranger and Banjo on leash to avoid any false alarms and swung south in a wide circle along the West Branch River. With the field to himself, Traze was a pretty sure bet. He opened cold in less than an hour, but it was no place for a bear. “He’s got his signals mixed,” I said flatly. “Coon in a log,” George agreed. But when we clawed our way through the cedar tangles for a look my heart skipped a couple beats. A line of bear tracks led across a mud bar at the edge of the river and only one bear in that part of the country could have made ‘em. We had the Black Ghost on wet ground now, where the hounds could follow. We slipped the leashes off Banjo and Ranger and they went away like the wind, singing a trail song to make your hair stand on end. But we had another setback coming. The dogs trailed the bar out across a dry ridge and the scent faded again. Ranger and Banjo gave up and headed back toward the Muskegon, casting in wide circles. But not Traze. He plodded along at a walk, picking a trace of bear smell off weeds or brush every now and then and chopping out a gruff announcement each time he made a find. Then he too hit a snag. We had divided the party by that time, half of us keeping on after Traze, the rest doubling back to pick up the young dogs. On the George Boynton ranch Traze left the track. We met him coming back to us, something I had never known

June/July 2010
him to do before. He had quit at the edge of a freshly plowed field. It didn’t take long to discover why. The field had been plowed that forenoon, but the bear had crossed it before daybreak. No wonder the old dog was baffled. I led him across the field and at the far side he made a couple of short casts and picked up a ribbon of bear scent that a pup could have followed. When he swung down into a cedar swamp, bawling steadily, I knew the Black Ghost had some traveling to do. Traze put him up from his daytime bed and drove him beyond hearing before we could get into the swamp. Aaron Vandenboss and I went in together, and when we heard the dog again he had the bear at bay, a long way ahead. The swamp was a horrible place to get through. It took us almost an hour to overtake them. All that time Traze chopped and fretted without letup, harassing and fighting the bear in and out of a big windfall, in a tangle so thick a man had to get down on his hands and knees to crawl through. Then Traze stopped barking as if he had been choked with noose. There was a sharp yelp of pain, and we heard the bear growl. It was half snarl, half explosive grunt – and pure poison all the way through. We were still trying to figure out what had happened when Ranger came tearing unexpectedly through the brush a dozen paces from us. The bear had broken bay by that time and move on. Ranger picked up the Ghost’s tracks about where Traze had left off, and the swamp rang with his clear bawling. But even reinforced in that fashion, old Traze still wasn’t persuaded to go back for more. He’d had all the bear he wanted for one day. Ranger was running the smoking track by himself, a mile or more ahead, when Traze came to us at a stiff walk, the weariest hound I had ever seen. It would be dark in another hour, and Aaron and I reluctantly agreed we were whipped. We had one dog worn to the bone, one lost, and the third running the bear, somewhere beyond hearing. We worked our way out of the swamp and found the rest of the party waiting on a road, Nystrom and Banjo among them. He had encountered the dog near the Muskegon in late afternoon. We scattered along the border of the swamp and just at dark Ranger came out to us, unhurt but worn to a frazzle. We still hadn’t seen the Black Ghost. But we had come closer to him than at any time in the three years we had hunted him. The dogs had had him at bay, close enough that Vandenboss and I had heard the sounds of the fight. We were tired and so were the hounds, but it was likely the bear was at least as tired as we were. He had traveled three hours ahead of the two dogs after Traze put him up, fighting one or the other of them most that time. The pace had been fast. He was a lot of bear but he wasn’t tough enough to take that much punishment and start off fresh the next morning. Tomorrow, we’d close in. We agreed to

June/July 2010
meet at the Davis ranch at daybreak. That night the bear did a most amazing thing. Exhausted? He raided two sheep pastures in that same neighborhood, on opposite sides of the West Branch River and a mile apart. He killed one sheep at the first place and two at the second, dragging them into the brush, eating the livers and leaving the rest. We got the word from a pair of angry and excited farmers on our way to the Davis place that morning. We led the dogs into a thicket where the last sheep had been gutted. Traze put his nose down to the wet grass, let out a long bloody-hungry bellow, and the show was on. Ivan Elenbass slipped the leashes from Ranger and Banjo and the three dogs made the bottoms ring. For the first time in his long career ahead of hounds, the Black Ghost had allowed himself the luxury of going only a short distance from his kill before bedding down for the day. Traze tracked him across a couple of ridges (Banjo and Ranger lost the trail on the high ground and had to be brought back and put on it again) and busted him from his bed. And now the three dogs went stark crazy on the hot track. The dogs were driving him north, between the Muskegon and the West Branch, at a clip that kept them out of hearing most of the time. We divided our party and sent six or eight hunters around by car to come into the swamp from that direction. The rest of us kept on after the dogs. The pace proved too fast now for Traze’s tired old legs. He dropped behind and his insistence on paddling his own canoe cost him his chance. He stuck stubbornly to the track, doing his work the only way he knew, and when he caught up he was too late. Nobody was close enough to hear Banjo and Ranger when they overtook the bear. But an hour later Elenbass and I heard them coming back south, bawling in broken outbursts. They’d trail a short distance and quit, trail and quit again. We knew the bear was fighting them off, driving them back, gaining a brief respite each time. They couldn’t hold him at bay but the two of them had guts enough to stay with him and badger him to a frenzy. It was not Ivan’s and my luck to be in at the showdown. They drove him past only fifty feet in front of us, but in cover so thick we caught no glimpse of either dogs or bear. We could hear the brush crackling and the two hounds snarling and yammering in an almost impenetrable windfall and alder thicket. To our surprise no sound came from the bear. Maybe he was saving his breath. It fell to Aaron Vandenboss and Wes Thompson to be in the right spot at the right time, a quarter mile farther on. The dogs brought the bear to a halt there, baying him fiercely. Wes and Aaron were only a short distance away when Ranger quit. He ran to them repeatedly, hair erect, looking for help. They’d sick him on and he’d go back to the fight, but the Ghost was too much for even his Plott heri-

tage and little by little his courage oozed away until he dropped out. It was Banjo and the bear now, back and forth through the alders, over and under the windfalls, the dog chopping and snarling, the bear growling and popping his teeth in red-eyed rage. The two men were fairly in the thick of it but the cover was so heavy and the hound so close they didn’t dare risk a shot. Half a dozen times Banjo had black fur in his teeth. As often as that happened the bear spun and lunged for him and Aaron and Wes were sure the dog was a goner. But he dodged away each time and came dancing in again. Wes and Aaron had only one rifle between them, Thompson’s .348. Because he had killed other bears on his trapline, Wes passed the gun the Aaron. “You shoot him,” he whispered. “It’s your first crack at a bear.” Vandenboss poured in his first shot at a dozen paces when the bear came clear of brush for a second. It smacked the Ghost in the rump. He let go a breath-stopping roar and slashed at Banjo to avenge his hurt. But the dog eluded him and Aaron got in another shot in about the same spot. And then, all in a split second, the bear saw the men. He dived headlong for the hound once more, missed, changed ends and came smashing at the real cause of his troubles. Aaron rammed a third bullet into him at just ten yards and he went down in a heap, bawling and screaming. But the 250-grain Silvertip had ripped his heart to a pulp and he was dead in a minute. We got him out of the swamp and hung him in the yard of the Davis ranch late that afternoon. In an hour more than 150 neighbors came for a look at the legendary killer that had harassed their flocks for so long. What sort of bear was this notorious outlaw? Big of course, the biggest any of us had ever seen. But not fat, as we had expected, maybe because of his age. One tusk had rotted away, likely from an injury years before. The other was a yellow stub, worn to the gum. He measured eight feet from nose to tail and dressed out (we did that job in the swamp to make it easier to drag him out) at 378 pounds. We figured his live weight at 500 and an experienced taxidermist who looked him over said he would have weighed better than 600 had he been as fat as the average black. He was the most destructive raider in the history of our neighborhood and it had taken us three years to track him down. I don’t think George Nystrom and I have ever been happier over the outcome of a hunt than we were when we drove home with our tired dogs at dark that night.

THE END From Outdoor Life, March, 1953

the boar was behind me! I wheeled in a crouch and got off a quick shot


June/July 2010

June/July 2010 I got my first taste of boar hunting back in 1950, and it gave me an appetite for more. That year Oscar Warford of Lebanon, Tenn., organized a hunting party of men who dream the year round of chasing “Rooshians” through the Cherokee National Forest. Since he’d promised earlier to give me a chance to kill one of the big, black, murderous European boars, he included me in the party. I wasn’t lucky enough to get a boar that year but I fell completely for the sport of Rooshian hunting. I knew I’d slide down mountainsides on my tail, wade cold creeks, and stretch muscles I’d never used before until I got me a boar. The following year Oscar passed me the word that he, Charlie Wilkerson, and Earl Rayburn were setting up a hunt for the early part of November, and that I could bring along three friends. They were easy to find. M. V. (High) Highsmith was one; he’s a Memphis gunsmith (one of the best, for my money) and he’d just completed a fine custom .30/06 rifle for me. Then there was Jack Wooten, also of Memphis, 250 pounds of deer and turkey hunter. My third pick was Shorty Hiter, a Mississippi cotton planter who can walk your legs off and who takes hunting as seriously as church. I was especially anxious to break my new sporter in on one of those rough, tough, hard-to-kill boars. High had built it around a Remington Model 721 action and barrel. He cut the barrel to twenty-two inches and mounted a Redfield Sourdough front sight and Lyman 48 rear sight. The completed job, with quick-detachable swivels and 7/8inch sling, weighed 7 ½ pounds. The four of us met Oscar in the little town of Lebanon and headed out into the hill country in Shorty’s station wagon. The upended terrain drew dismayed glances from Shorty and High, who do most of their hunting in the flat Mississippi country. “Look good?” I asked. High grunted. “Give me delta cane and willows and that old black horse to ride,” he said gloomily. Oscar had arranged for his party to stop

PAGE 67 at Tellico Plains hunters’ lodge run by a Mrs. Muntz. It was a big, roomy, comfortable place. The living room, heated by a vast stove and its walls covered with pictures of boar and bear hunts, got us right in the mood for the action to come. We stowed our gear and then, since the rest of the party hadn’t yet arrived, drove out to the fringe of the mountain area so that Shorty and High could see what they were up against. By the time we got back to the Muntz place, the full party of seventeen hunters had assembled. After a man-size dinner we checked in with R. J. Williams, the game warden who had been assigned to our party. He O.K.’d the armament and then gave us a fill-in on conditions up in the hills. Talk turned to boar hunting generally, and someone offered the observation that he’d never read a story in a sporting magazine by a hunter who’d killed a Rooshian – somebody else always seemed to have the luck. I made a mental note that if I were fortunate to down a boar I’d make a stab at putting the story in print. We were shaken out of bed at 4 a.m. next morning by the clamor of a hand bell and Mrs. Muntz’s shouts: “Hit the floor, boys! Them hogs is a-runnin’.” With a lumberman’s breakfast under our belts we headed for the hills. Earl Rayburn and Charlie Wilkerson had made a deal with Bill Thomas of Tellico Plains to guide us and furnish the dog pack. Those dogs deserve a few words. Without a good pack there wouldn’t be any boar hunt. A pack is made up mostly of Plott hounds, with a sprinkling of good tan-andwhites that show a mixture of Walker and bloodhound stock. The dogs are tough, persistent, and full of courage. They have to be, for the boars and black bears sought on these hunts weigh in the neighborhood of 300 and 400 pounds, actual scale weight. Some of the biggest black bears in the country roam the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and the fact that the Rooshian boars run about the same weight as the bears and stand 2 ½ or 3 feet high at

PAGE 68 the shoulder gives you a notion of what the dogs are up against. The hunters are up against plenty, too. They take stands of sorts, but it can be mighty unprofitable to sit on your tail bone and wait for the dogs to run a Rooshian over you. What you do is park in one spot and be ready to run like crazy somewhere else. The boar is completely unpredictable, follows no trails, loves to buck the heaviest brush, and can outrun practically anything in the woods. Tough? I don’t think you could assemble enough dogs to hold a large boar at bay once he’d decided to break and run. The mortality rate on hounds is high. The boar’s lower tusks run from three to five inches in length, and a full-curled upper tusk will measure three or four. Once a Rooshian gets a fair poke at a dog it’s “Katy bar the door.” The guide’s plan was to start his pack somewhere between Eagle Gap and Hemlock Tower in the hope they’d drive along either Flats Mountain, Eagle Creek, South Fork Citico, or somewhere in the neighborhood of Hemlock Mountain. He sent Earl Rayburn, Jack Wooten, Logan Arnold, Donald Lane, and me about five miles to Citico Station, where we left the car and took off in a fast walk up the Citico River. Soon after we left the fork of the North and South Citico, we heard dogs sounding somewhere near the crest of Flats Mountain. We were headed for the Eagle Creek area at the time and still some two or three miles from it, so we got into high gear. We didn’t even pause before wading the icecold water of the South Fork. In its protected gorge there were two or three inches of snow. That, added to the water that had poured into my eight-inch-high boots, gave my feet a thorough chilling, but I kept plodding until we hit Eagle Creek. We’d left Don back at the fork and Wooten a mile beyond it, and now Earl Rayburn and Logan Arnold moved up Eagle Creek Gap. That left me to cover the area near the creek. In a little while I heard dogs running; they seemed to be on a ridge behind me. I

June/July 2010 listened for a minute or so, then their baying faded out; apparently they were going down the opposite side of the ridge. Then suddenly I heard them again, and they seemed to be much closer. Slinging my rucksack and jacket onto a bush, I took off up the ridge. Before I got halfway to its crest the sound of the pack had faded out completely. But I climbed to the top. When I got there I could hear nothing at all of the dogs, so I sat down to blow and rest my aching legs. I was just beginning to get my breath back when I again heard the dogs. Now they seemed to be working directly toward me, so I eased out onto a small knoll where I could cover the creek gap for quite a distance in both directions. The baying grew louder and louder, then the dogs raced into sight and passed within seventy-five yards of me. “What in the world are they after?” I muttered to myself, for I’d seen nothing but dogs. I moved down a bit to where they’d passed and looked for animal tracks but there was no sign of anything but dogs. That made me angry, for their baying had sent me laboring up the ridge and then scurrying down again, and all to no purpose. My legs felt like boiled macaroni by this time, so I slowly eased my way down to the bottom of the gap and reclaimed my jacket and rucksack. The cold was really working on my wet feet, so I decided to build a fire. I set up several flat rocks to act as a reflector and got a small fire going in front of them. Then I gathered plenty of dry wood, spread a slicker to sit on, and dug dry socks out of the rucksack. Soon I was as comfortable as could be. I’d built my fire on a ledge overlooking the creek and had a good view of perhaps 200 yards each way, up and down its course. “Here,” I said determinedly, “I will stay till further notice.” I was still there when I glanced at my watch and found it was 3 p.m. I watched the smoke of my fire as the wind carried it away – and suddenly became aware of movement on the other side of the creek. I leaned forward and peered at the brush –

June/July 2010 and out of it stepped a little black bear not much larger than a shepherd dog. He shuffled calmly along, totally unaware that anyone was spying on him. Just as he got opposite me and below my ledge the wind shifted and carried a whiff of smoke down to him. Instantly he stopped and reared up. Amused by the little fellow I filled my lungs, then bellowed in the meanest tone possible: “Get out of here!” He got, and his frantic feet sent gravel flying in the air. He didn’t even slow down to take a bend in the creek but galloped straight across it. About twenty minutes after that I again heard the baying of dogs, and then their “treed” bark. Just as I reached for my rifle and started to get going, I heard two shots. So I relaxed and decided to sit tight where I was. Almost an hour later Earl Rayburn came down the creek, with a small bear over his shoulder. With him was Logan Arnold and seventeen-year-old Jimmy Stephens. I soon found out what had happened. The little bear I’d shagged up the creek had run headlong into three dogs, and they quickly treed him. Jimmy, close by, had hustled to the tree and unloaded on the bear with his 8 mm. Mauser. He was as proud of his trophy as I’d be with a Rooshian boar. “Oh Jimmy,” I kidded, “that’s an awful small blackie.” “He looked mighty big up in the tree,” the kid retorted. “I guess the fall knocked the stuffing out of him.” By the time our section of the hunting party got back to Citico Station and the car, the shadows were already darkening the creek gorge, and a strong wind was whipping the tops of the trees. Just as I reached the car I felt a few drops of cold rain hit my face. That evening the wind and rain really went into action, and it felt good to be snug in Mrs. Muntz’s living room. I casually mentioned the dogs that had seemed to be chasing thin air and learned they were part of a pack that had split up on a bear chase. They’d finally set the bear up for

PAGE 69 the hunters. I saw that blackie weighed on Fairbanks scales and it went 360 pounds. “If this storm keeps up there won’t be much action tomorrow,” said one of the group. He was right. When we left the lodge next morning the rain had temporarily let up, but the wind seemed to be trying to move all the landmarks in the valley. Big hemlocks, pines, and oaks were bending over in toe-touching exercises. With that sort of thing it was impossible to hear the dogs for more than a few yards, and dangerous to stay in the woods. The rain returned, followed by sleet and snow, and most of us were back in the lodge by 2 p.m. The guides didn’t reckon the day a total loss, since they figured the rough weather on the ridges would move a lot of game down into low country. So the following morning we started the dogs on some of the lower ridges. I was set down beside a small creek that emptied into the Tellico River and I took my stand in a little clearing that was almost circular in shape and not more than forty yards in diameter. Where the creek crossed my clearing it cut into a steep bluff that was covered with laurel and heavy brush. Anything that moved through the clearing on the far side of the creek would have to hug mighty close to water. For that reason, I figured that an animal being run by the dogs would probably cut straight across the clearing and into the brush below me. Near the clearing was a rise about twenty feet high, covered with large cedars, and beyond it a fairly steep climb to the top of a 600-foot ridge. I figured the best place for me would be on the cedar rise. There I’d be far enough away from the noise of the creek water to be able to hear the dogs, and I could also get a fairly good view for about 150 yards up the creek. I’d reached the summit of the rise and sat down when the sound of dogs came to me from about a mile up the creek. At first their barking was strong and heated – then it changed, as though they had bayed. But a few minutes later they were on the move again. They passed out of hearing and I

PAGE 70 guessed that they were working away from me. But in a minute or so I heard their barking again; now it seemed that they were passing over to the ridge. I shed my jacket in a hurry and took off on a hard run. I’d covered maybe 300 yards when I heard a shot, so I stopped. What now? Apparently the dogs had circled and were now coming straight down the creek. I swung around and started down the ridge. When I reached the cedars on the little rise again, I paused and took a quick look up the creek. At that instant I saw a flash of black in the brush about 100 yards upstream and on the far side. That was my first glimpse of a live Rooshian boar. He was a big, bristling, black hulk of an animal that seemed all head, shoulders, and tusks. Evidently he planned to move down the creek under the ledge and avoid the clearing. I took off in a wild scramble through briers and brush in an attempt to head him off. When I got a little beyond the clearing I looked to my right. The boar had turned, crossed the creek, and was at the edge of the clearing almost behind me! I whirled, got into a half crouch, and touched off a quick shot. The boar went down and slid along on his chest, then got back onto his feet before I could work the bolt. He stumbled, fell, got back to his feet, fell again – and then scrambled out of sight into the brush at the edge of the creek. I ran into the clearing and came to a quick stop – a mighty quick stop. The infuriated boar stood facing me, not twenty feet away. And then I got company. A tan-andwhite hound, ahead of his pack, burst into the clearing, and as he did I touched off my second shot. The boar went down, tossing his head and kicking in an attempt to rise. But it was all over for him. Now the rest of the pack was in the clearing and chewing furiously on the dead boar’s hide. And I was perfectly content to let them have their fun. All but one bushelmouthed rascal; he ignored the boar and searched out my rucksack. When I found him he was eating my lunch.

June/July 2010 After I got my breath back I gutted the boar. My first shot had penetrated just ahead of his left shoulder, midway up the body, and had broken that shoulder and two ribs. It had also chewed up the lungs, and a fragment of it had traveled lengthwise through the body and lodged just in front of the right ham. The tough Rooshian had taken all of this punishment from a 180-grain Western soft-point bullet and stayed on his feet. The Rooshian takes a lot of killing, and I could understand why as I examined him. His rib cage and shoulders were covered with thick, tough hide, and under that there was a plate of gristle measuring almost three quarters of an inch thick. Heavy bristles extended out four or five inches along his shoulders and neck. My second bullet had entered the head just back of the jaw and emerged through the mouth, tearing the tongue away. However, it didn’t damage my trophy. Evidently the hog had wheeled to face the oncoming hound just as I fired. Stretched out, he measured exactly sixty inches from tip of nose to base of tail. With his front legs extended, he ran thirty-four inches from foot to top of shoulder. His upper tusks, measured along its curve from the gum line, were three inches long, and the lower tusks ran four inches. Later, we weighed my Rooshian in at 340 pounds. He was the largest boar taken that season. That night, sitting in front of the bones of what once had been five big sirloin steaks, Shorty, Jack, Oscar, and I agreed that next year we’d be on hand when Mrs. Muntz started to yell from the foot of the stairs, “Hit the floor, boys! Them hogs is arunnin’.” THE END FROM OUTDOOR LIFE, MARCH, 1953

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3 c. flour 2 t. black pepper 1 tsp. onion powder (optional) 1 tsp. hickory seasoning


12 venison loins in. thick high quality cooking oil for frying

June/July 2010

Mix flour, black pepper, onion powder and hickory seasoning. Pound each loin with meat hammer to 1/16 inch thick. Lightly coat loins with the flour mixture. Heat about 1inch of cooking oil in deep cast iron skillet. Fry loins for about 30 seconds for each side. Place cooked loins on paper towels to drain.

1 deer roast 4 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, diced 1 teaspoon minced garlic 2 tablespoon flour 1/2 cup crushed tomato

Recipe: Marinate the deer roast with the olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Keep it in a zipper bag for at least 8 hours in a refrigerator. Cook deer in a slow oven for 3-4 hours, basting often with the marinade. When the deer roast is tender and ready, remove it from the roasting pan and keep the meat juices to use for the sauce. Heat the butter in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic. Add the flour and stir until it becomes light brown. Add the crushed tomatoes and meat juices and bring to a boil. Serve the dear roast with the sauce.

1 teaspoon thyme 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon tarragon

1 teaspoon rosemary Salt & pepper 1 tablespoon butter.

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1. Health Problem - Take 1-2 in morning, 1-2 at night. 2. Prevention - One a day. Possibly two if heavy. 3. Children - 5+ (Check with doctor) Perhaps fractions of a capsule.


TESTIMONIES - Try This Natural Antibiotic & Share Your Results With Others.
EAR ACHE - Usually when I get a bad ear ache, which usually stays for about two weeks, “Very Painful” eventually gets better if I take antibiotics regularly. Now Formula #717 cleared up my ear ache in ONE DAY! TOOTH ACHE - I had a bottle on hand, and was dealing with a terrible toothache, so took 4 tablets a day, & I’m convinced it helped, as my toothache was gone! A.F. Dauphin Co. EAR INFECTIONS - My chronic ear infections usually last 3 to 4 days. I used Formula #717 with my last infection and it cleared up overnight. (Open a capsule and put it in a little water. Put a few drops in the ear.) (Also take the pills.) KNEES & BACK - My knees and back seem to limber up and have less pain while on Formula #717. MOUTH ULCERS - Had mouth ulcers all summer. After taking Formula #717 they cleared up. NL SORES - The pimple or sore on my forehead is much smaller after using Formula #717 - Emma WISDOM TEETH - We really like this product. It does wonders for bad wisdom teeth; also energy level. -Leroy, Blain, PA LUMP - “I had a lump on my chest for 32 years. It was very hard; about 2 inches. Once the area became sore. The doctor gave me antibiotics. It didn’t help.” I took the 717 Formula. the next morning it was smaller. I thought I was imagining things. In two days, it was less than half the size. Now, it’s 95% gone.” COLD PREVENTED - “I felt a sore throat coming. My nose was running. I was congested. I took 2 a day for two days. On the 3rd day, no more symptoms.” SWOLLEN ANKLE - A woman in Tennessee had an inllamed ankle from a car accident. It was really swollen; it was hard to walk. She took the pills for 3-4 days. The swelling soon went down and she could walk again. STAPH INFECTION - “I developed a staph infection in my breast and antibiotics did not help. I started the 717 Formula. Within days the infection started to go away. By the second week, the infection was gone.” EAR INFECTION - “A 55-year-old woman had an ear infection. It was painful. The woman took a capsule of the 717 Formula and mixed it with water. She used an eye dropper and put a few drops in the infected ear at bedtime. She claimed the ear infection and pain were gone the next morning.”
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Staph Infection Healed. “I developed a staph infection. Antibiotics did not help. I had to go back to the hospital. I started the Formula #717. In a matter of days, the infection started to go away. By the second week, the infection was gone.” Ingredients. Monolaurin, Extract of Olive Leaf, IPC inositol hexaphosphate, Beta 1,3 Glucan, Colostrum, MSM, Calcium Phytate, Alph Lipoic Acid, N-acetyl-cysteine, Echinacea, Zinc, DMG, glutathione, Neem Leaf Extract, Garlic & Golden Seal, Calcium.

STEP #1. Nutrients in Formula #717 help to dissolve the outer, protective coating on the bacterial wall. Antibiotics do NOT break down this outer membrane on bacteria, viruses or fungi. STEP #2. Nutrients in Formula #717 block the bacteria’s ability to use IRON -- their main source of energy. So the bacteria and virus STARVE TO DEATH! STEP #3. The bacteria DIES -- from lack of energy. It can no longer reproduce; it’s DNA is destroyed.

3198 Deibler Road Millersburg, PA 17061

White Oak




Name ____________________________________________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________________________________________ City __________________________________________ State ____________________ Zip _______________ Phone # __________________________________________________________________________________ 3 Bottles...........................$94.50 1 Bottle.............................$34.95 6 Bottles ........................$184.00 2 Bottles...........................$65.50 FREE SHIPPING....!!!! TOTAL AMOUNT ENCLOSED __________________________ ORDER FORM PLEASE NOTE: All Orders Must Be Prepaid! ORDER FORM

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