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Ten Thousand Miles Through Canada
Chapter XVIII

Big game—Guides—Natural history—Wapiti—When Greek meets Greek—Defence of young—The mule deer—Plentiful west of Rockies—The old doe leader—Destruction of species —The Virginian deer—Its keen sight—Giving the alarm— Simulation of the young—The moose—Feeding on mountain ranges—Antlers’ growth—Calling the moose—Its mettle— Yarding—Dispersion—The Caribou—Speed and swimming powers—Telegraphic communications and pungency—Dispersion—The black bear—Habits—Mating season—Insect food —The Captain’s midnight encounter—Stealing the beans—The grizzly bear—Widely distributed—Hibernation—Rolling like a ball—Trapping—Charged with manslaughter—The Buffalo— The penned monarch—Causes of extermination—Illegal and legalized trade—The big-horn sheep—The sentinel—Falling on its horns—The mountain goat—Dispersion—The value of the fleece—Wariness and aloofness—Guides outfit—Big game excursions.

THE big game in the Dominion are widely distributed and found in great variety. Reliable guides are to be procured in all the provinces who provide the necessary equipment for an expedition to the haunts of moose and deer, black bear and grizzly. The ambition of many travellers is not unnaturally to add the antlers of moose and wapiti to their sporting collection, and to exhibit with pardonable pride the hide of a grizzly bear that has fallen victim to their prowess. Others, inspired with a different motive, find in the great mammalia of mountain and forest a fascinating subject of natural history, and penetrate the deep recesses of the woods or scale the rocky ranges where height calls unto height, for the mere delight of coming into touch with the wonderful varieties of animal life. Personally I prefer to study the living history of these magnificent creatures, and find it a more interesting spectacle to watch the graceful curve of a black-tailed buck, and mark the toss of his branching antlers, than to measure its carcase or count its points in death. Wherever I had the opportunity I got away from the familiar trail, climbed the rugged rocks over which the golden eagle soared and the sure-footed mountain goat leaped from crag to crag.

Whatever be the ambition that prompts one to pursue the big game, it is necessary to penetrate the wilds of the great continent to come in contact with them. With the ever-widening boundaries of advancing civilization, they have retreated to the remote fastnesses of the mountains and into the impenetrable wilds. There are abundant facilities by the great railway systems to pursue them north and west, and with camp and canoe they may be followed to their far-distant haunts. In the wilds of Temagami, the unexplored region of rivers and lakes along the Hudson Bay Coast or the vast territories of Cassiar, Cariboo, Okanagan and Vancouver, they are to be found.

In the autumn the wapiti or elk, Cervus Canadensis, in the first flush of realized adult age, rings out its bugle challenge on the border of the forest. The Cree Indian called it the wa-was-ka-sioo. The muskoos was the name by which it was known to the Salteaux tribes. The coat of the bull probably determined its name. Wapiti means white deer, and its bleached colour suggests the title. In December it sheds its antlers, which break off close to the skull. On the young bull they grow with great rapidity. The grey tints of the body grow darker along the spine, and a brown tinge spreads from the head down the neck and legs. The breast and underpart are red, and black stripes set off the hams. A splash of white extends down each side of the tail, and the animal is white between the legs. The bull has the marks and pose of strength and grace in the fineshaped head and the well-set body. The growing antlers on which his masterful prowess depends, frequently to his own undoing, are rubbed against the trees, as if they were a source of great irritation during their unset condition. The bushes near its haunt are often stained with blood. The fuller growth goes on from year to year, the points of the antlers marking definite stages until the fourth and fifth year is reached, when they cease to grow with regularity.

Below the spot where the bull has repeated his challenge, the cows are moving among grassy plateaux in apparent indifference to the impending issue of which they are the innocent cause.

In the summer the cows calve, making their offspring objects of most solicitous care. They hide them in the thick grass, where their dappled coats might be easily mistaken for the light and shade that play amongst the herbage. Danger near, they lie still as death, the mother never far off and at the first cry for help ready to defend them with her life, r Sometimes nothing but the echo answers the challenger, at others his rival responds and emerges from some part of the hillside hard by to give battle and silence for ever the upstart. If it happens to be an older and bigger bull, the task is not difficult, and at the first onset the challenger, deeming discretion the better part of valour, retreats. If he has time he attempts to drive the cows before him, rudely butting them with his horns. When it comes to Greek meeting Greek, the conflict is often quickly decided, and the vanquisher takes charge of the herd. It is not an uncommon occurrence for the antlers of the combatants to become so firmly locked together that both animals perish, after repeated efforts to extricate their horns.

Wapiti are by no means as plentiful in Canada as they used to be. Very few are met with east of Manitoba, although they were plentiful there years ago. Vancouver and adjacent islands are now their habitat Disease has decimated their ranks, and left the survivors so weak that a severe winter on the heels of an epidemic, wrought wholesale destruction. The Indians also killed them in great numbers. A prolonged close season has had beneficial effects, and the latest Government report prophesies a good supply of the game throughout Vancouver at an early date. Wapiti’s food consists chiefly of roots and mosses until the severe weather buries the supply. Then they take to the bark of alder, willow, and maple trees. In moving from place to place, they march in well-disciplined order* usually under the generalship of an old bull which heads them. The cows and calves are surrounded by the young bulls, which are ready to beat off any intruder.

The wapiti is the largest of the deer family, but there are other species by no means lacking in interest, and which hold a conspicuous place in natural history. The mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus, ranks next in size. They are called the black-tail by the Cree Indian, the description of which is expressed in the vernacular as kas-ki-che-way-oos. The jumper was another title applied to them by the same tribe—the kwas-kvve-pai-hoos, and also the a-pi-si-mo-soos, or “the little moose.” The mule deer is plentiful west of the Rocky Mountains. At one time it was not found far north, but of late years s it has penetrated higher latitudes in numbers. It frequents the districts of East Kootenay, Lillooet, and Chilcotin. It has a summer coat of a pale yellow tint, which grows darker as autumn advances, and ultimately becomes grey. There is a dark horseshoe marking on the forehead, and the throat is streaked by a black band. The lower portion of the legs are cinnamon. Underneath, as well as on the flanks, the prevalent colour is black, shading into a lighter tint towards the middle, and posteriorly a dull white. The inside marking of the thigh is white. Widening out as it passes over the tail it forms a conspicuous mark on the animal. The ears are disproportionately large for the head, the limbs are excessively strong, and in motion lack the grace of other species of deer. The speed of the animal is determined by the swift bounds it gives—all the four feet leaving the ground and alighting together. Hence, the alternate name of jumping deer given to it by Cree Indians. Its peculiar movement is adapted to the rocky environment where it is found. It also frequents the plains close to well-timbered streams where it browses on the foliage and bark. It was first called the black-tailed deer, owing to its black tip, until the true species of Columbian black-tailed deer was discovered, after which it was called the mule. The species moves about in bands during the winter months, unlike the wapiti choosing an old doe as their leader. The common argument against female suffrage does not seem to weigh with them. There is no evidence that the bucks object to this masterfulness on the part of the weaker vessel, except that in or about the month of January, the old males leave the drove in twos and threes and shift for themselves. Natural historians are particular to notice that this act of ungallantry is committed by the older bucks, from whom the conservative element is generally supposed to derive its chief recruits. It is in January that the mule deer sheds its antlers. The destruction amongst the species has thinned its ranks. At one time the droves spread over a vast area, but the wanton slaughter that took place thirty years ago has largely reduced the number. At that time, skins were sold for one shilling each, and the carcases were left to rot by hundreds. Such reprehensible acts, incidental to all new countries, where greed is generally disposed to run amuck, are happily ancient history, and not likely to be repeated in the Dominion. The number of head of deer allowed to each gun is strictly limited, and neither antlers nor hides can be taken out of the country without a Government badge, which is issued to all licensed sportsmen.

The Virginian deer, Odocoileus virginianus, is one of the most common species in Canada. The Cree Indians of the west called it the wap-ai-oos, and those of Northern Manitoba the wep-ai-oos. It is found in most parts of the Dominion which are removed from civilized life. In British Columbia it inhabits the southern portion of the province and the district east of the Cascade Mountains. This deer depends principally on its power of scent for protection. Like most creatures highly developed in one organ, it is weak in another. The sight of the mule deer is not keen. A man standing still will not frighten it if the wind is not blowing from his direction, and after a while it will begin to browse or move quietly away. Its hearing is very sharp, and any noise, however slight, will put it suddenly to flight. The moment danger is discovered it gives the alarm by stamping its feet, the noise and vibration of which can be heard and felt a good way off. The fawn, when too young for flight, makes a feint of death by lying perfectly still. It will even allow itself to be handled without resistance or concern. In one particular only is the illusion said to be defective—it does not close its eyes. Has Nature failed after all in teaching the full lesson of simulation? I do not think so; it must be borne in mind, in fairness to the great teacher, that in death the eyes do not close. From the point of mimicry, therefore, the posture is a true one. Nature knows her own business best. Actually attacked, the fawn have a peculiar bleat, which the mother hears and responds to instantly.

The moose, Alee gigas, derives its name from the Cree Indian mooswa, and the Salteaux mooz. This magnificent species is almost ubiquitous. In the waste and uninhabited parts of most of the provinces it is to be found. I came across it in the French River district. During the hot weather they wallow in the lakes, and a short portage from the river brings one upon them. They make their home in the northern interior, and in the Far West, and their nomadic habits take them to territories where they have not been seen before and drive them from others where they were once plentiful.

In summer, keeping near the high mountain ranges, moose go in search of plants and shrubs for food, and will even risk their necks like an enthusiastic botanist in search of a succulent species. They are the largest of the deer order, and are given the alternate name of the fiat-horned elk. The moose stands six feet high, measuring from the forefeet to the shoulders, and is nine feet long. The head is narrow, surmounted with big coarse ears ten inches long, which are relieved by the low-spreading antlers. His short neck gives him an apoplectic appearance. The forelegs are longer than the hind, which perches him up in front. Long hair hangs round the neck, and the colours vary at different seasons, between black, brown, and yellow, winter investing him with the lighter coat. The eyes look smaller than they are in reality by being deep-set in the head.

The antlers, of which the bull has the monopoly, are the chief feature. They begin to show at two years old in the form of two snags, a few inches long. These are cast the following spring, and the prongs grow year by year, passing into fuller development. In the seventh or eighth year they are complete. The antlers are too squat to look graceful, and give the animal a grotesque rather than a dignified appearance, but they subserve their object, as the principal weapon of the powerful beast. A singular appendage which hangs like a purse between the juncture of the neck and head is called the bell. It seems to have no economic purpose, and can only be a rudimentary relic of an earlier stage in development.

On the approach of the rutting season the bulls, which are said to be monogamous, fall an easy prey to the call of a crude horn made of birch-bark. Some hunters profess great skill in the use of this instrument, which is supposed to mimic the bellowing of the cow. It rather discounts the value of the accomplishment to learn that the trick of blowing into the folded hands, known to every schoolboy, is equally effective. It does not speak well for the bull’s keenness of discernment that it mistakes the braying of a mule for a moose call, an error of which it is said to be guilty. The monarch’s bravery in the mating season is of the finest mettle. He will fight to the death any assailant of his domestic felicity. Two peculiar horn protuberances on the forefeet aid him in combat, and so formidable is the weapon, that the stroke of a bear’s paw is scarcely

more destructive. Even the wolf attacking the moose stands a poor chance against such defensive armour.

After the mating season the bulls go off by themselves, and leave the cows in sole charge of their offspring. The latter seem to be in excellent hands, as no wild animal will long brave the mother’s anger. The only enemy that they hesitate to attack is man. Their protective instincts stand the young in good stead at such a juncture. Like the deer, they lie perfectly still, and their colour is difficult to detect amongst the rocks and flora of the forest.

Canadian hunters and guides vouch for the truth of the habit of moose “yarding.” It seems to be a kind of social function in which a herd tramps round and round a circle in such regularity as to be a crude dance. The Indians call it a “voodoo.” The singular habit seems to have no meaning apart from the gregarious instinct taking an unusual form.

There are lonely bulls and solitary cows, which isolate themselves in a hermit fashion. Usually the bulls are old and the cows barren. Hermaphrodite cases have also been discovered.

In British Columbia, moose are found in greatest abundance. The environment of mountain and forest, so suited to their habits, is common there. A canoe trip on the Fraser River touches Bear Lake district, near Fort George, where they are numerous. Proceeding from Petersborough, on the coast, via the Stikine River through Telegraph Creek, is another resort. Higher up still they frequent Cassiar territory. The finest specimens are found in the northern regions.

The caribou, mus-keek-as-tik of the Western Cree and a-akh of the Salteaux, has two varieties: the mountain caribou, Rangifcv montahus, and the Osborn, Rangifer osborni. Naturalists are not agreed as to whether these are distinct species or only varieties. Climate and habits work such changes that the same species develop different characteristics, very confusing to an exact classification. The caribou is the reindeer of America, and has many points in common with the Lapland congener. It stands from 3^ feet to 4b feet in height, and is 6 feet long, with a short tail, 4 or 5 inches. It is much heavier than the common deer, and lacks its graceful movements. The body is short and thick, and the neck in proportion. Its hoofs are spread to a degree that gives it firm foothold in the snow regions which it frequents. The breadth of its feet also aids it in swimming. The hairs, which are tubular and filled with air, add to the buoyancy of its heavy body in the water. In flight it travels at enormous speed, and is capable of outpacing the fastest pursuer. Once away, hunters rarely follow it. The body is a greyish dun, growing lighter towards the throat. The neck is white, the shoulders spotted. The legs are brown, and a white band encircles the hoofs.

When in movement, a pungent substance is exuded from the glands between the toes, by which the species track each other. Signalling communication is also established in time of danger by the quick movements of the short white tail. Both male and female have horns, the buck’s being particularly fine.

The caribou thrives amongst the hills, where pine woods afford food and shelter. They are fond of wandering amongst the swamps contiguous to such places, when the heights are snowbound and food is scarce.

Those that confine themselves to the higher planes do not compare in size and appearance with those that frequent richer feeding ground. It is this fact that accounts for the different varieties.

Fleet of foot as the caribou is, it sometimes shows great cowardice. When one or two in the herd are shot, the others seem paralysed, and do not attempt to take to flight. In crossing lakes, they swim so rapidly that a canoe can hardly keep pace with them. They frequent parts of the Ottawa district, Lake Nipissing, and the northern shores of Lake Superior. The chief home is in British Columbia. The Selkirk Mountains, Chilcotin, and the banks of the Columbia and Stikine rivers are favourite haunts.

The black bear, Ursus americanus, is called the musk-wa by the Cree Indians, and ma-kwa by the Salteaux. It is one of the chief specimens of Canadian big game. Its propensity for wandering makes it difficult to locate. It is so cosmopolitan in this particular, that its discovery anywhere and everywhere is no matter for surprise. Bears are found in the very heart of the Rocky Mountains, far removed from all human haunts, and in the orchards close to outlying towns, in the lonely canon of a Fraser tributary clawing out salmon, and in the shack munching the trapper’s dinner. The only time when the black bear seems to rest is when hibernating. Once on the move he wanders far and wide. The male is larger than the female, about 3 feet high, and weighing 600 lb. to 700 lb. They mate in July and August, and about February go abroad with their cubs, generally two in number. The latter play like kittens, and reach adolescence in three years. Their whole life covers a period of about twenty years. The food of bears is varied. Hard up, they will eat anything, and run the risk of their lives to obtain it. Their staple food consists of the bark of trees, which is the first form of diet that they patronize after their long winter’s sleep. They lie down very fat, curl up, and putting their toes in their mouths, subsist on the store of fat with which their ribs are lined.

On awaking they are thin and hungry, and some of the bark they take is supposed to possess medicinal properties adapted to their needs. In the forest the freshly stripped tree trunks bear witness to recent visits, though the bears themselves are nowhere in sight. It seems out of keeping with their appetites that insects should form a part of their diet, but the habit of breaking up old logs infested with insect life leaves no doubt on that point. Honey is another favourite dish, and as their thick hides give immunity from the stings of outraged bees, they plunge their heads in a nest without hesitation Chestnuts and acorns are favourite comestibles. In quest of these they climb trees, and break down the fruit-laden branches. Hunters often surprise them in such situations, but the animal’s hearing is so keen that the crunching of a leaf is sufficient to alarm them. Then they drop from the tree with a heavy thud and disappear in the forest.

Impelled by hunger they will attack calves, sheep> pigs or any other quadruped that crosses their path. The coolness with which they enter huts in the night in search of food is remarkable.

Lumber men and trappers have constant experience of this. My Algonquin Park guide came fresh from an encounter in which one of them had been taken red-clawed in theft. The bear got into a hut, where a military captain was sleeping. The animal reared itself on its hind legs against the stove, and scooped out the beans from a saucepan with its paw. The captain, brave enough in warfare, had no liking for crossing swords with that kind of antagonist. He recruited his forces by inviting Mark

to share the hut with him. The next night, during the bewitching hours, the ranger received a dig in the ribs: “Mark, Mark, that divil has come in agin’. Wake up, man.”

Mark, tired and sleepy, responded with only a grunt.

“Wake up, man. I tell ye it’s the bear, an’ there’s no pays for him to-night, it’s one of us he’ll be havin’, bedad.”

The captain in his excitement betrayed his nationality, but the ranger was obdurate.

“Arrah, Mark avic, do ye hear me now? Shure it’s killed and murthered we’ll be in our sleep, if ye don’t stir yerself. Mark, ye divil, wake up! Bejabers there he is in the dure.”

And, sure enough, the black form of the bear loomed in the first shimmer of the breaking day. Mark levelled his revolver and fired, and the intruder decamped with a growl, the small bullet of the revolver having little effect on his tough hide.

Black bears are for the most part harmless, and rarely attack human beings. In defence of their cubs they are fearless and formidable. The general tendency is to get out of a man’s way as quickly as possible.

They travel rapidly, and it is difficult to track them except with dogs. They return to places where they have obtained food, so that it is not very hard to trap them. The sense of hearing and sight is so keen that they are rarely surprised in the thick forest.

The grizzly bear, Ursus hovribilis, is in the Cree vernacular mist-a-ya. It is a much more formidable animal than the black bear. It measures 8 feet to 9 feet, and weighs from 700 lb. to 900 lb. It is found in many parts of the Dominion, but in greatest abundance in British Columbia. With the exception of Vancouver Island, it is widely distributed over the interior. For size and strength and general interest it is princeps facile amongst Canadian big game. It hibernates like the black species, and emerges from its winter sleep very hungry. Its marks are discovered on the trees where it has been scratching like a cat, as if sharpening its claws for use after the long period of somnolent inactivity.

For strength the grizzly is said to be unmatched by any beast of prairie or forest. A single blow with its fore-paw will break the neck of a steer or buffalo like a sledgehammer. A rip with its claws on a pine or maple tree will gouge out a wedge, like the stroke of an axe.

With the invasion of civilization the animal has been driven to the mountain fastnesses and the less frequented parts of the Rockies. From East Kootenay to Caribou district he may be tracked, his broader and squarer heel-marks distinguishing him from the smaller species. He lurks in some remote creek, or sheltered ledge of ravine, where he seeks to live in undisturbed repose. He chooses a place if possible close to acorn and chestnut trees, and within spring of an unwary elk that wanders down to feed on the roots that protrude through the fissures. The only enemy he fears is man, whose powerful rifle he seems instinctively to know and shun. From him, he plunges into the ravine, seeks the cover of the brushwood, or scurries over the steeps dodging behind rocks and sheltering ledges, which shield his broad side from the deadly bullet. In a cul de sac he takes the aggressive, and unless his assailant is well armed, of quick eye, and steady nerve, he stands a poor chance against so formidable an antagonist.

When shot at or slightly wounded the bear has a trick of rolling down the steep, heels over head, like a ball. The pace is so quick, that it is disconcerting to marksmanship. At the most convenient moment he surprises the sportsman by taking to his feet again and speedily escaping. A wounded grizzly is extremely dangerous. With a broken limb or otherwise disabled, he will make an unexpected lunge, and inflict terrible if not fatal injuries.

Trapping is another method of outwitting Ursns horribilis. Powerful spring traps chained to a log encompass his destruction. The weight is sufficiently heavy to handicap his movements, and the trail it leaves enables the hunter to trace him. If he has sufficient time, he is capable of gnawing the wood into splinters, even when the log is 12 feet long, and a foot in diameter. The carcase of a deer or other animal is the usual bait used for this purpose. The beasts are cunning, and, their suspicions once aroused, it is difficult to entrap them.

Although they usually move off in the presence of man, at times they deliberately attack him. I came across some well-authenticated cases. At Alyeen Lake an old trapper named Dennison was attacked by a grizzly. He called to his nephew, a small boy, to run to the shack for help, but when it came the trapper was found quite dead and frightfully mutilated. During a hard winter, a boy was attacked and killed, and devoured beyond recognition. The lad’s boots were the only part by which it was possible to identify him.

Such occasions are happily rare and belong to the early age of colonization, when there were few people about and animals were bolder and more disposed to take the aggressive.

From Lillooet to Caribou, in the northern part of the province of British Columbia, grizzlies may be discovered. A trip along the Skeena or Stikine River and breaking inland on its higher reaches is a certain means of an introduction, more or less exciting, to his bearship. Spring is the best season, when the snow is disappearing from the mountain, and a sprinkling remains on the timbered slopes. His tracks begin to appear about that time, and with a good guide that knows his business there is not much doubt of an encounter with him in persona propria.

The buffalo, Bos americanus, is called by the Cree the moos-toos. It is, unhappily, an animal that in its wild state only survives in history. It has ceased to form an entity in the big game of the Far West. The magnificent creature may be seen chafing in his pen in Vancouver, or aimlessly wandering in the larger confines of Yellowstone Park^ These examples of the American bison are little more than spiritless survivals of the noble beast whose strength and mad rushes across the prairie on thundering hoofs thrilled us in the pages of romance.

Indeed it is only in such records that anything like a true picture of the buffalo remains. It seems almost incredible that within living memory great herds were scattered far and wide over the Western plains. The causes that led to the practical extermination of the buffalo are incidental to exploration and colonization. The early settlers largely subsisted on buffalo meat, of which the herds amongst the foothills offered an abundant supply. It entailed little labour and less cost. Traders bound for more northern regions found the fat of the animal, and its preserved flesh, the best food on which to subsist amidst frost and snow. Miners and adventurers who joined in the rush to the spoil of real or imaginary El Dorados shot them unsparingly, and little was left of great herds but their bleached bones scattered far and wide over the plains.

In looking at the caged specimen in Vancouver Park, one could readily believe the excitement the buffalo afforded to the Indians and early settlers. The strongly shaped body is set on sinewy, powerful limbs. The shoulders rise broad and hog-backed above the massive head, capable of enormous charge in aggression, or withstanding a fierce assault. The horns surmounting the bull-shaped head, short and sharp, comprise a weapon which no hide could resist. A lion’s strength indefinitely magnified seems to be embodied in the creature which watches one suspiciously with its black eyes overshadowed with a matted mane of thick short curls.

As long as the North American Indians had no weapons more formidable than the bow and arrow, the decimation of the buffalo was impossible. The introduction of the muzzle-loading gun and rifle was not in itself calculated to effect rapid extermination, but combined with skilfully organized methods, destruction proceeded at a more alarming rate. Then came the improved rifle and with it the doom of the fine beasts was sealed. A fresh impetus was given to the butchery by traffic in buffalo hides. The coin given in exchange was at first nothing more than the fiery liquor vended by unscrupulous traders. A cupful of this was the price paid for a well-dressed buffalo robe. The infatuation of the Indian tribes for this beverage stimulated their zeal for accumulating skins, and wholesale slaughter was the result. Every hide was bartered, down to that covering the Indian’s sleeping child.

Fearful of the consequences that might ensue when the Indians awoke from their drunken sleep, the cunning traders stole off in the dead of night to carry on their nefarious commerce in a more distant camp.

It would be unjust, however, to saddle the Indian and the vendor with the entire work of extermination. A legalized trade in buffalo hides sprang up. Going back to 1843, the following particulars appear in official reports. “The average annual returns for eight or ten years amounted to 90,000 robes, made up as follows: American Fur Co. 70,000, Hudson Bay Co. 10,000, all other Companies probably 10,000.”

Rifles of large calibre made it possible to stalk the buffalo at a much longer range. A deadly shot under cover has been known to kill the greater part of a herd without moving from his position. The choice meat so easily procured was sold as low as 2\d. a pound, for as a rule the hunters encumber themselves with nothing more than the buffalo hams.

The big-horn sheep, Ovis canadensis, the mai-a-tik of the Crees, are found in the Rocky Mountains from the coast to the Arctic Circle. Protection has been extended to them in the Gold Range in Okanagan, and on the coast in the Ashnolo Mountains. In

south-east Kootenay they are plentiful, and in the Lillooet district on the Eastern Coast Range.

Considerable variety has been developed in consequence of environment. The Rocky Mountain specimens found on the rugged heights are thicker in the horns than those of Lillooet, which are more slender, having a wider spread and finer points. The Ovis stonei variety is abundant in the Cassiar locality. Good specimens have been found round the headwaters.

In Atlin the saddle-back variety, Ovis fannini are found, and generally through the North-West Territories. The Yukon sheep, Ovis dalli, frequents the territory from Teslin Lake to the McMillan River, which can be most conveniently reached from Atlin.

The big-horns go in flocks, occupying steep ranges, difficult of access. A sentinel is generally in charge, sharp of eye and quick of ear to give the alarm in times of danger. Mountain sheep possess great agility, and leap from rock to rock with marvellous surefootedness. Their feet are provided with a pad which clings to the rocks and aids them in their perilous saltatory movements. The habit attributed to the Ovis canadensis of saving itself by alighting on its horns is questioned by some naturalists and hunters. Catlm refers to it and states that he saw one fall from a considerable height on its horns, and afterwards bound away unhurt. The battered and broken condition in which the appendage is often found to some extent accounts for the belief. This, however, may be caused by fighting. The horns grow, in some cases, to 17½ inches round the base, and 38 inches long. The animal itself is about 3 feet high. Its coat is a reddish brown colour, which turns to grey in winter. It is patched with white in the rear, and is entirely white underneath. The hair is very coarse and stiff.

The mountain sheep of Canada is found in the Rocky Mountains and in South and East Kootenay. In the spring it approaches the lower levels to crop the young vegetation. The snapping of a twig or the displacement of a stone puts them to flight. Comparing the Ovis canadensis with the Ovis stoiei, the horns of the latter are longer, and curved farther round. Those of the Ovis fatmitii almost complete the circle. The diversity applies to the rams; the sheep’s horns rise erect from the head, curving slightly.

The mountain goat, Oreamus montanas, also found in the Rocky Mountains. They keep nearer to the coast, where there are lofty crags suitable to their habits. Like the sheep they are fond of spring vegetation, and leave the heights in search of it. Their home is, however, the rocky cliffs, far detached from pass or trail trodden by human feet. Their fleece is white, with an undergrowth of fine wool. Long hairs grow on the sides and down the legs. Bristles stand erect on the back. The legs are short and the hoofs broad. The horns curve backwards and are about 12 inches long. From the base, rings form half-way up ; the rest is smooth, and the extremities a jet black and sharply pointed. Nature is not invidious in the bestowal of these horns, which are conferred on both sexes. The fleece is spun into yarn by the Indians and woven into coarse blankets. The agility of the mountain goat is not equal by any means to that of its congener, the sheep. When disturbed, it is more disposed to lurk behind the nearest rock than to take to flight. Their clumsy appearance does not suggest speed. Their safety consists in the high altitudes which they reach, in many places inaccessible to anything but themselves. When the snow interferes with their provender they frequent the lower timbered reaches and browse there. The young grass that begins to grow when the frost relaxes its hold is the only thing that tempts them to leave their rocky fastnesses. It is in these lower reaches that they become the comparatively easy spoil of the hunter’s rifle.

The mountain goat is not much sought after by the North American Indians. It entails too much climbing, and the blankets its fleece provides have been superseded by a warmer and cheaper manufactured article. There is no scarcity of the animal at present, and its possible extinction is regarded as a remote contingency. It will probably seek the protection of still loftier crags as civilization invades its territory. Like other mammalia of the Far West it will probably grow in wariness and aloofness. One can only hope that this will be so generally amongst the big game, in order that they may not share the fate of the magnificent, and at one time ubiquitous, buffalo.

Whether one goes armed with rifle or field-glasses it is important to secure the services of a competent guide. This is not difficult, as trustworthy men are to be found. In the busy season it is necessary to book them in advance; the best are naturally in demand, and the second best is a doubtful quantity. Guides supply nearly all the essentials of an excursion : tents, blankets, canoes and also the commissariat. Clothing should be light, of woollen material. Guides naturally object to carrying anything beyond essentials. Along the coast the expense is comparatively small, as travelling is done for the most part by water. Going inland pack-horses are necessary, the cost of which varies. In Chilcotin and Lillooet they can be hired for about 2s. a day. Saddled horses 3.5. In Cassiar and Kootenay the price runs from 8½. to 9s. A complete outfit, including provisions, costs from £2 to .63 per diem.

August is the best time of year to start on a big-game excursion. Sheep and goats are in good condition then. In October moose and caribou are in their prime ; their antlers have become set and past the velvet stage. Bears are not in condition until spring, and shooting them in the autumn is

wanton destruction. Wapiti present all their attractions to the naturalist and sportsman in December. There is a chance for a wolf and cougar during that month. In spring the bears emerge from their winter sleep, and their fur is in excellent condition.

They feed in places where the snow avalanches have scoured the mountain side, and new vegetation is awakening at the touch of spring’s vitalizing breath. Grizzlies are never far from the inlets, and throughout Kootenay and Lillooet districts they are pretty sure to be found.

In the autumn and winter wild-fowl shooting can be varied with the more strenuous quest for horned game, and early trout and salmon fishing with the pursuit of the black bear and the grizzly.

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