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A hunter's experiences in the Southern States of America being an account of the natural history of the various quadrupeds and birds which are the objects of chase in those countries / by Captain Flack ('The ranger')

01 Jan 1866-

AboutThe article was published on 1866-01-01 and is currently open access. It has received 1 citation(s) till now.

Summary (5 min read)

On

  • Higher ground the wild peach-bush growls abundantly, and so thickly together that their tops shut out the light of heaven, and thus check all the undergrowth, though they spring to a sufficient height to allow the deer-stalker or still-hunter to exercise his calling with comparative freedom.
  • According to their success the hunters were early or late in their return, and each man then saddled his horse and returned to the forest for the purpose of brino^ing his garje to the camp, from the spot where it lay ; unless they happened to have killed turkeys, which were packed in on the hunter's back.
  • But though the prairie appears thus smooth and unbroken to the eye, it is frequently furrowed by large chasms, or canons, while in some parts small streams are to be met with, the banks of which are fringed with an undergro^\i:h of shrubs, with here and there a few cotton trees {PoiDulus angulata).
  • Over the boundless grassy plains the buffalo roams in vast herds, as far as the eye can reach, covering the whole landscape, till their diminished forms appear in the di.-tance like so many black spots on the horizon.
  • He fits his arrow and draws the bowstring ; but either from want of force or from nervousness, it glances from a rib of the buffalo and runs up under the skin where it hangs, swinging backward and forward with every motion of the great game.

It would have been very

  • Difficult to imagine a more beautiful country than those wide savannahs, which were here and there dotted with small clumps of live oak trees, or magnolias, amongst which the Old World visitor each moment expected to see the mansion of some fine old English gentleman peering through the park-like scenery.
  • A brace of subalterns were armed with Colonel Colt's celebrated revolvers, or ' six shooters,' as they were more commonly called, these weapons being always used by the army.
  • During the few moments employed in delivering this oracular speech, the authors had reached the summit of a swell, or undulation, of the great plain, from which they could discern, at a long distance, the dark forms of the masses of buffalo.
  • The huge beast raised himself up on his forelegs, shook his shaggy mane savagely as he uttered a low growl of defiance, while his eyes flashed with anger, terrible to behold.

BOS TATJEUS.

  • TILL the discovery of the New World by Columbus, no cattle except the bison, or, as they are commonly called in America, buffaloes, roamed its forests or its prairies ; and the inhabitants of the whole continent, from ' the land of fire ' to the frozen North, knew no more of them than of the horse.
  • The wild horse is caught either with the lasso, b}p enning, or by cutting foals off from their mothers.
  • A good hunter would repl}^, ' In spite of all you say, my friend, I mean to have the best deer from one of the nearest herds.

THE AMERICAN HARE LEPUS AMERICANUS.

  • THE GEEAT PRAIEIE HABE OR JACKASS EABBIT-LEPrS TEXIANTS.
  • The hare, the ^vorld over, is more frequently found by the sparkle of its eye than by its body being detected.
  • Like the English hare, it will wind and double amongst the bushes in the most tortuous manner, and in such a style as to throw the dogs entirely off its track.

THE AMERICAN HAEE.

  • This great hare has only a limited range, being only found in the western parts of Texas and the southern parts of New Mexico.
  • All hares have much the same habits ; and the great hare of Texas much resembles in its manners and customs the hares with which English sportsmen are acquainted ; but it seems to resemble its namesake, the jackass, not only in length of ears, but in scarcity of sense.
  • Others of the tribe then go in and beat the bushes, accompanied by their dogs, if they have any ; and by dint of ferocious yells and screams, soon frighten the poor hares from their forms.
  • English sportsmen, who have, in all probability, never drawn trigger on any animal larger than a rabbit or hare, may be led to suppose that bear-hunting is a very dangerous pastime, and that those who indulge in it necessarily expose themselves to a great deal of risk from panthers, wolves, and other animals besides the bears themselves.
  • He then generally runs off into the forest ; but this is only a short retreat, and as soon as the smart of the sting has abated, the bear returns witii increased appetite to the attack, seldom leaving the tree whilst any honey remains.

All hands

  • Hastened forward, and it was soon discovered that the 170 THE AMERICAJ5 BLACK BEAR.
  • And Uncle Ben soon showed himself fully equal to the task.
  • Round this the hunters built a pile of dry sticks and moss, to which a light was applied ; this, being fanned with their broad sombreros, soon burst out into a splendid fire.
  • His once glossy black coat was singed to a rusty bro^^^l colour, his eyes were blinded by the smoke, and his jaws were covered with foam.
  • The dead bear was all this while in the fork of the tree, at a height of at least thirty feet from the ground on which the authors were standing, and it was necessary to get him down before they could despoil him of his furry robe.

THE WILD HOG.

  • THE COLLARED PECCAEY ; DTCOTYLES TORQUATUS-THE COMMON HOG; SUS SCROFA.
  • The authors put them across a horse, and, in trying to get loose, they so tightened the ropes and entangled them about their necks, that they died before they observed this on their way home with them.
  • No sooner was this done, than another peccary's head took up the position of the former one ; and in this way the Colonel killed seven all that were in the den.

I knew

  • But I got little consolation from that thought, for many an evening was passed down at the lake, fishing, and I, as often as not, boiled my own fish supper m my wigwam.
  • How-how-poo-oo-oo-oo-ahl' I yelled out; then listened again.
  • When a h#g finds a snake in its wanderings, ceiled up ready for attack, it walks r#und and r^und its prey several times, giving an occasional grunt, as much as to say, 'You'd better give up quietl}^, for I mean to have y«u.
  • The pen is baited inside with several ears of Indian corn, a train of grain being laid up to the swing-door.
  • The old boars and useless sows are shot where they stand in the pen ; the young porkers, after being subjected to some painful but necessary operations, are carted away, and soon forget, amongst a plentiful supply of corn and pumpkins, their old days of freedom.

THE EACOON.

  • -Muzzle long and pointed, projecting beyond the lower jaw ; ears short, oval ; tail long and bushy.
  • ^Mlen the oyster-beds are left dry, or nearly dry, by low tides, he preys upon the bivalves.
  • Xo animal, not even excepting the wild cat, will fight harder or Cjiiicker than a racoon; and I have seen thrice, in one afternoon, three female 'coons in quick succession 'whip,' to use a Yankeeism, thi'ee large bear-dogs.
  • It has, indeed, been stated that the Spaniards found a domestic turkey in the possession of the inhabitants of Mexico and the West Indian Islands ; and if such be the case, it will go far to prove that the domestic turkey is a distinct species from the wild.

Crosses sometimes

  • Occur ; -such being the influence of slavery, even upon birds, that in remote settlements the robust gobbler from the forest will drive his degenerate kinsmen from their females, and even from their food.
  • The produce of such commixtures is much esteemed.
  • Young turkeys perish very fast, although, according to Audubon, the mother physics them with the buds of the spice-wood bush.*.
  • In a dry season they grow apace, insect food being at such times plentiful; and at the end of three weeks the young birds are able to take their perches at night on the low branch of a tree.
  • The hens have recovered their flesh which they had lost by sitting, the gobblers have regained their plumpness by feeding upon nuts, grapes, and a thousand and one good things picked up in the forest.

His

  • But the following reasons incline me to think otherwise.
  • A hunter, while chasing a wounded deer in the neighbourhood of Baton Rouge, suddenly found himself in the midst of a number of allig-ators, which seemed to reg^ard him with the utmost indifference ; not only manifesting no desire to devour him, but also appearing to have no idea of fear.
  • Sometimes, after having been most terribly wounded, the alligator will escape, full of life and vitality, while X at other periods, a scratch, which would scarcely injure an infant, will be sufficient to kill it.
  • In the upper jaw are placed the deadly fangs, concealed between the external and internal jaws, like the blade of a penknife in its sheath.
  • Philosophers who study snakes from stuffed specimens, and write very learned books after seeing the reptile in a bottle of spirits of wane, may perhaps doubt ; and there is nothing in the example before them to lead them to believe that snakes have such fascinating manners.

She

  • Had always enjoyed good health, but was suddenly seen to waste awav, till she became a mere skeleton.
  • They seem to be able to handle snakes with impunity, as the following anecdote w411 show.
  • But the hot, sultry weather prevented him from sleeping for some time and as he lay tossing on his couch, a slight noise attracted his attention, which sounded very much like somethinof slidincf along: the floor.
  • The gentleman proceeded thither, and saw the snake coiled up, its head raised above the body, its mouth open with the tongue shooting about, while the tail kept up a continual humming rattle.
  • These remedies they often carry about with them, and when bitten, chew some, swallowing the juice, while the masticated pulp is applied to the wound.

CHAPTER XVIII.

  • BLACK bass; centropristes nigricans -bed fish -WEAK FISH.
  • The sea alonof the coast, as well as the rivers that water the interior of Texas the beautiful, are provided with fish as plentifully as the forests and prairies are filled with furred and feathered game.
  • It has some resemblance to an English chubb, both in form and in the size of its scales, but differs in its colour, from the pink hue of which the fish has been named.
  • There is also an ugly-looking Flounder (the Stingaree), with a loDg whip-like tail, at the end .of which is a venomous bone T\dth which it sometimes wounds its captor, or an incautious bather who may ventmre within its reach.
  • Each man, having caught one, attached the end of his line to its shell, and then, thromng out his bait, held the turtle on his back until another was hooked.

CHAPTER XIX.

  • The Bee is said to have been the pioneer of the white man across the American continent, as the Indians have noticed that wherever the bee made its appearance, the woodman's axe was soon heard felling the monarchs of the wilderness in its rear.
  • As the country, however, becomes settled, the wild honey-bee flies further and deeper into the undisturbed forests, so that the backwoodsman, who makes a business of collecting honey for sale, is compelled to follow the bees, and, consequently, the bee-hunter is rarely seen, except when he comes into the settlements to barter his ' plunder ' for necessaries.
  • Like a rough diamond he knew his innate value, and did not care to be polished and set, knowing he should lose some precious particles in the process.
  • The next, however, headed a trifle to the right of the peccan tree, and T. S. pronounced himself satisfied that he had ' angled ' the bee-tree.
  • A good saddle, more suited to the country, and to pack game on, can be got for five pounds.

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/Tr
r R
K E L E
Y
LI3RARY
UNiVERSITY
OF
CALIFORNIA



A
HUNTERS
EXPERIENCES
IX
THE
SOUTHEEN
STATES
OF
AMERICA
BEING A>-
ACCOUNT OF
THE
NATURAL
HISTORY
OF THE
VARIOUS
QUADRUPEDS
AND
BIRDS
"^'HICH
ARE THE
OBJECTS
OF
CHASE IN
THOSE
COUNTRIES
BY
CAPTAIN
FLACK
('THE
EANGER')
LONDON
LONGMANS,
GREEN,
AND
CO.
1866

Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
01 May 2000
Abstract: (2000). The British Big-Game Hunting Tradition, Masculinity and Fraternalism with Particular Reference to the ‘The Shikar Club’. The Sports Historian: Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 70-96.

21 citations