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of the tent floor, and a piece of tin or sheetiron through which the stove-pipe projects is fastened to the tent roof. Thus fixed, it is comfortable in a wall tent even with the thermometer at twenty-five to thirty degrees below zero. Filled with cedar wood, the stove has a most annoying way of dropping sparks on the canvas roof and burning holes through it, although there is but very little danger of the tent catching afire unless a very strong wind is blowing; even then it is hardly worth any great precaution. When the smell of burning cotton is noticed by the occupant of the tent, looking up he will always see a little circle of fire, from a quarter to a third of an inch in diameter, vividly outlined against the black sky outside, and showing where the spark has fallen.. It is always put out by inserting the little finger as far as it will go, and then withdrawing it, all being done with a quick thrust and recover that does not burn one's finger.
of the stream, all of them, when reaching a certain distance to be agreed upon, say four, five, or even ten, miles, turning to the left or right at the same angle. This brings two parties on the river who turn and hunt back along it to camp. The other two parties hunt parallel to the river from their turning-points until directly opposite camp, when they turn in directly for it. A diagram of such a plan will show that the country has received a pretty good examination by the time all parties are in camp. Of course such a plan depends somewhat on the kind of game to be hunted, and as I have given it is particularly applicable to elk. If only "white-tailed" deer are wanted, there is no great use in leaving the valleys of the streams or the little partly wooded pockets running out from them. If" black-tailed" or mountain deer are wanted, only the hills need be scoured.
Our first day's regular hunt was planned on this method, and after the other three parties
had taken their choice, there was left for the doctor and me and our attendant a south-east course of six or seven miles to the right, which would make us hunt parallel to the Dismal, which there runs from west to east. It was understood by all four parties that if any small band of elk were seen it would be given chase by the discoverers, but if large, it would be allowed to rest until the morrow, unless circumstances forced an immediate attack. Any small game that fell in the way, as any kind of deer, antelope, etc., would fall a prey at once, if the hunter were only a goodenough shot. Our course was over rolling hills covered with the autumn's somber colors of brown and drab, a most fortunate hue for the elk, almost the same shade, and we had to watch with keen eyes and good field-glasses to prevent our stumbling on top of our game or getting so close that they would get our "wind." By the time we turned back to hunt parallel to the river we had seen nothing but a few old tracks, and as the breeze was now blowing in our faces, thereby increasing our chances of success, at the doctor's suggestion we separated about four hundred yards apart, hoping that we might pick up a black-tailed deer or antelope, their tracks being fresher and much more numerous than the few elk signs we had found. Our man was placed about half-way between us and a little to the rear, to communicate from one to
the other should it be deemed necessary. We had hardly gone a mile on our new course when I discerned a yellowish-brown mass of creatures on the hillside from six to eight hundred yards away. At first I supposed they were elk, but the glass showed them to be a band of eight or ten antelope. Beckoning to the man to approach me cautiously, I dismounted, and, leaving my horse standing, ran forward a couple of hundred yards to a low ridge. Seeing that I could get no closer without considerable manoeuvring, and fearing that the doctor might frighten them, I took aim at the most conspicuous fellow in a bunch of them and fired. After a quick scattering dash to the right and then one to the left they seemed to collect their senses and made off through a little gap in the hills, allowing me one more shot "on the wing" as they disappeared. I thought I had been unsuccessful, but the man, looking through the glass, saw a bunch of brown on the ground that "looked mightily like a dead antelope," and we trotted over to find his conjecture true. We dismounted, cut the animal's throat, and bled him by throwing his hindquarters up-hill on the slope, and I was just sending the man after the doctor, when he appeared on the crest, having heard the two shots. There was the usual formula of questions under such circumstances,-"Where is it shot?" "How far did you shoot him?" "How many
were they?" etc., etc. All of these were answered but the first, and the man got down to settle that apparently simple problem. But the longer he looked the more mystified we all became; and when the carcass was thrown behind one of the saddles no one was the wiser, the doctor even going so far as to say that the antelope might have been frightened to death. Reaching camp late that evening, we found that none of the others had seen any game during the day, which made us feel a little more pride about our slight capture. The doctor brought up the subject of the singular killing, which revived in each one a dozen similar instances. We had not finished, when a sharp rap at the tent-flap was heard, and the head of the hunter who had been with us that day appeared. With a grin he said: "Lieutenant, the cook has found out where the antelope was shot." Each one present, in his own eager way, asked for an immediate report, and the hunter continued with the information that the bullet had gone through the gullet, and when he cut it with his huntingknife to bleed the animal, he had not noticed it. When he started to look it up, the slashed throat precluded all apparent possibility of another wound in the same place.
The most important problem of the chase, however, was what to do as the result of the day's investigations, and we were not long in determining to break camp next morning, and move over to the Middle Fork of the Loup, some twenty miles to the northward, where the prospects were supposed to be better. In fact, this stream was our main objective point in starting out, but the Dismal was always worth giving a fair trial, and in some instances had proved to be better hunting-ground than the main stream. As we approached the Middle Loup the next afternoon, a few scattering snow-flakes were falling softly around us in the gloomy weather, but as a light fall of snow was exactly what we wanted, we saw them more with pleasure than with regret. Too deep a fall, however, was more to be deplored than none at all. Just as camping was nearly completed, an over-zealous flanker, who had pushed his excursions some three or four miles to the westward, put in an appearance, and reported that not only had he seen abundant signs of elk (we ourselves had crossed a small, fresh trail that day), but had seen the animals themselves on the crest of a distant hill. He had made no unusual efforts to ascertain their numbers, for fear of frightening them, but judging from the trail which he had crossed, he had estimated the herd to number from five hundred to a thousand. As he was a trusty trailer and hunter, his statements sent our thermometer of hunting-excitement up to fever
heat. All the evening was employed in getting ready and making the most formidable preparations for the next day's chase, and I was appealed to by the novices for information of all kinds, as if I were a Kit Carson or a Daniel Boone. Ordinarily the horses are fed half their forage at night and half in the morning, whether they be on full or reduced forage; but in this case the rule was departed from, and the "elk" horses received threequarters forage at night and a quarter forage in the morning. As the weather threatened to be stormy, the horses were blanketed so that none would feel stiff and chilly on starting the next day. Even the mules were given extra feed, to prevent these noisy creatures from breaking forth in stentorian brays, as they are very likely to do when a little hungry and there is any semblance of feeding going on around them. Some energetic soldiers get up early in the morning and spend a good while in a thorough grooming of their horses, which no doubt freshens them for a lively dash of a few miles. The question of arms and ammunition was settled by our being armed with the government Springfield carbines, although a far superior weapon for these horseback chases are any of the trustworthy kinds of magazine guns. Even the old Sharp's carbine was better, because when heated by rapid firing to a point where it would no longer eject the cartridge shell by the usual methods, the open guard could be brought down on the pommel of the saddle with a vehemence that brought out the shell or broke the guard, and ninety-nine cases in a hundred it would be the former. With the Springfield carbine, however, the rider was hors de combat under the same circumstances. In hunting game on horseback, the cartridges are taken from the belts, given a good cleaning, and the number that it is expected will be used on a single run-from twenty to thirty-are placed in the right-hand side-pocket of a loose-fitting sacque coat. I know of no improvement on this very simple method. With a Sharp's carbine I have in this way used sixty cartridges in a single run after buffaloes. We went to bed early, with good intentions of rising early for the fray, but, as generally happens, we did not get a wink of sleep till well past our usual hours. We were up in good time, however, for the simple reason that the night sentinels had orders to look after that; and although at first many yawned and stretched in the cold night air, fully an hour before daylight, it was not long. before all were thoroughly awake and keener than ever for the sport.
We hurried through our breakfast of halfcooked antelope steak and hot coffee, and when daylight streamed through the dark-gray
eastern clouds it saw our little party of about a dozen moving up the valley of the Middle Loup, talking in whispers and closely filing after one another in sets of two. The wagons had orders to follow in about an hour, and sooner if they heard firing; and the mules were being watered and hitched up as we "pulled out" of camp. As the wind was in the south, I thought it best to follow the valley of the Loup to a point directly opposite the place where the herd had been "raised" by the sergeant the day before, and then make squarely for it. When we struck the trail, we could follow it up until we overtook the game. The sergeant had seen the herd so late the evening before, and we had started so early, with a dismal, dreary night and a light fall of snow in our favor, that I had but few doubts of finding it soon after we left the river. One amusing incident of our march will show how narrowly our well-ar ranged plan escaped utter failure. While riding alongside of me when within about a mile of our point of turning out from the valley, the judge, a venerable Nimrod with white hair that had taken nearly sixty winters to bleach, but with an enthusiasm for the sport of a man of half his years, saw a large pair of fine elk
horns in the high valley grass near a clump of willow brake about forty yards away. He expressed a desire to examine them more closely, and I sent a trumpeter back to pick them up. He left the ranks to do so, everything, for reasons that are manifest, being done in as noiseless and subdued a manner as possible. When the trumpeter was within about ten yards of the horns, the owner of them, a noble buck five or six years old, with a snort that startled every one jumped high into the air, and with a bound started for the main herd, leaving us all too astounded to know what to do. Seeing the main column, he wheeled abruptly around, and, dashing across the Loup, made to the northward. Had this animal reached the main herd, as he at first attempted to do, our fun would have been ended for that day. It was a great temptation to shoot at him, and the trumpeter, forgetting all the surroundings, started to pull his pistol and fire; but his rearing horse, half frightened out of his wits, by wheeling and plunging prevented him from doing so.
I remember, on another hunt after elk in the Nebraskan hills, planned on the same method as this, that when nearing the herd
until we had ridden by. They were so close that any one of the party could have easily killed them. Not till we had passed did they run away. There were a number of experienced hunters in the party who had often hunted this wary animal, and every one acknowledged it to be the boldest effrontery ever shown by that species of deer. Surely these two must have known how fatal to our success with the elk the sound of a gun-shot would have been at that moment.
After the incident of the elk-horns we advanced up the valley of the Loup for nearly a mile; then turning abruptly southward against the wind, we began to ascend a long winding acclivity up through a little valley where luxuriant grass grew as high as our stirrups. Look ing ahead even a couple of hundred yards, we could see stripes of darker green cutting at all angles through this grass, and advancing warily we saw the tracks of elk in the light covering of snow. Our party huddled together in the ravine while two of us dismounted and slowly crawled up the slight ascent. About two-thirds of the way up we saw a moving
we had returned and mounted our horses again there came the difficult feat of winding around through the lowest levels and depressions and gaps, and at the same time making headway towards the game while keeping completely out of their sight. Another ravine was reached, and once more two of us dismounted and crawled forward to the crest to get a view of the situation. It was also necessary to do so rapidly, for it was perfectly evident that the outlying members of the herd were close by, and the snorting and snuffing of a horse might send them away with the speed of the wind. I felt perfectly satisfied, before I got half-way across the slope, that a substratum of sand makes a much better support for a covering of snow for crawling purposes than can ever be found in the thick growth of the prickly-pear of the plains, although on this particular slope Nature seemed to think otherwise. Nearing the crest of the ridge, I secured a "tumble-weed" or " rolling-weed," one of those globular perennials of the plains that when dead is pulled up by the wind and goes rolling around over the prairies at the mercy