Postcard from the Past – Elk and Deer Plentiful
In 1904 Wyoming ranch owner Henry Seton-Karr penned a book entitled, “My Sporting Holidays,” which contains many good stories of ranching and hunting in the Cowboy State in the late 1800s.
Over the past weeks, we have passed along several of those quips. Here’s another one:
“September had just begun. Elk and deer were in grand condition, and fairly plentiful in the neighborhood. We had a bear trap in the wagon. The climate and weather were perfect. There was nothing whatever to mar our happiness as we turned into our blankets, thinking only of sport for the morrow.
“Next day I hunted alone, as I knew the locality, on a steep and thickly-wooded mountain south of camp, while my friend Dendy, with an old hunter named Bob Snell, explored the range to the north. I was fortunate enough, as it happened, to kill a good bull elk that day in rather a curious way.
“I had ridden nearly round and over the mountain in question without seeing anything but a few cow elk and was making for camp late in the afternoon, when I suddenly came in sight of a good bull with a small band of cows. The elk saw me and disappeared down a steep gully before I had the chance of a shot. I galloped round the head of the gully, intending to cut off the elk in case they went up the other side through some thick timber and rocks, as seemed likely, but I overshot the mark.
“The leading cow appeared for a moment, emerging from cover on the far brink, saw me and led the band at full gallop back down the gully and round the shoulder of a steep hill to an open valley below. I heard the elk crashing through the timber, and at length, they emerged in the open ground far below me and at least 400 yards away. I sat down on the crest of the hill and opened fire in desperation on the bull as he followed his harem – a bad last – across the open valley not half a mile from our camp. I must have fired at least six shots at him from my double express and had begun to look upon it as a lost opportunity, when he suddenly stopped, walked round in a circle and then fell stone-dead at least 600 yards away and some 200 yards below me. One lucky shot, as I afterwards found, had entered behind the ribs and raked forward into his vitals. He turned out to be a very good bull, with a 58-inch 12-point head.
“I reached camp at dusk that night and found the party assembled round the fire. Jack Savage, one of our cowboys from the roundup, was in camp, his horse’s bridle over his arm, apparently just arrived after a hard ride. Something evidently was up…”
But, then, again that’s for the rest of the story.