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as no longer to be found in plenty; and within a year one of the greatest of living hunters has stated that it is no longer possible to find any American wapiti bearing heads comparable with the red deer of Hungary. As a matter of fact, in the early eighties there were still great regions 5 where every species of game that had ever been known within historic times on our continent were still to be found as plentifully as ever. In the early nineties there were still large regions in which this was true of all game except the buffalo; for instance, it was true of the elk in 10 portions of northwestern Wyoming, of the blacktail in northwestern Colorado, of the whitetail here and there in the Indian Territory, and of the antelope in parts of New Mexico. Even at the present day there are smaller, but still considerable regions where these four animals 15 are yet found in great abundance, and I have seen antlers of wapiti shot in 1900 far surpassing any of which there is record from Hungary. In New England and New York, as well as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the whitetail deer is more plentiful than it was thirty years ago, and 20 in Maine (and to an even greater extent in New Brunswick the moose and caribou have, on the whole, increased during the same period. There is yet ample opportunity for the big game hunter in the United States and Canada; while not even in the old days was it possible to go on 25 any trip better worth taking than the recent successful hunt of Mr. Dall DeWeese, of Cañon City, Colorado, after the giant moose, giant bear, white sheep, and caribou of Alaska.
While it is necessary to give this word of warning to 30 those who, in praising time past, always forget the opportunities of the present, it is a thousand fold more necessary
to remember that these opportunities are, nevertheless, vanishing; and if we are a sensible people, we will make it our business to see that the process of extinction is arrested. At the present moment the great herds of 5 caribou are being butchered as in the past the great herds of bison and wapiti have been butchered. Every believer in manliness, and therefore in manly sport, and every lover of nature, every man who appreciates the majesty
and beauty of the wilderness and of wild life, should 10 strike hands with the far-sighted men who wish to pre
serve our material resources, in the effort to keep our forests and our game beasts, game birds, and game fishindeed all the living creatures of prairie, and woodland, and seashore-from wanton destruction.
THE WHITETAIL DEER
The whitetail deer is now, as it always has been, the most plentiful and most widely distributed of American big game. It holds its own in the land better than any other species, because it is by choice a dweller in the thick forests and swamps, the places around which the tide of 5 civilization flows, leaving them as islets of refuge for the wild creatures which formerly haunted all the country. The range of the whitetail is from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Canadian to the Mexican borders, and somewhat to the north and far to the south of these 10 limits. The animal shows a wide variability, both individually and locally, within these confines; from the hunter's standpoint it is not necessary to try to determine exactly the weight that attaches to these local variations.
There is also a very considerable variation in habits. 15 As compared with the mule-deer, the whitetail is not a lover of the mountains. As compared with the prongbuck, it is not a lover of the treeless plains. Yet in the Alleghanies and the Adirondacks, at certain seasons especially, and in some places at all seasons, it dwells high 20 among the densely wooded mountains, wandering over their crests and sheer sides, and through the deep ravines; while in the old days there were parts of Texas and the Indian Territory where it was found in great herds far out on the prairie. Moreover, the peculiar nature of its 25 chosen habitat, while generally enabling it to resist the onslaught of man longer than any of its fellows, sometimes exposes it to speedy extermination. To the westward of the rich bottom-lands and low prairies of the
Mississippi Valley proper, when the dry plains country is reached, the natural conditions are much less favorable for whitetail than for other big game. The black bear, which in the East has almost precisely the same 5 habitat as the whitetail, disappears entirely on the great plains, and reappears in the Rockies in regions which the whitetail does not reach. All over the great plains, into the foot-hills of the Rockies, the whitetail is found, but
only in the thick timber of the river bottoms. Through10 out the regions of the Upper Missouri and Upper Platte,
the Big Horn, Powder, Yellowstone, and Cheyenne, over all of which I have hunted, the whitetail lives among the cottonwood groves and dense brush growth that fringe the
river beds and here and there extend some distance up the 15 mouths of the large creeks. In these places the whitetail
and the mule-deer may exist in close proximity; but normally neither invades the haunts of the other.
Along the ordinary plains river, such as the Little Missouri, where I ranched for many years, there are three 20 entirely different types of country through which a man
passes as he travels away from the bed of the river. There is first the alluvial river bottom covered with cottonwood and box-elder, together with thick brush. These bottoms
may be a mile or two across, or they may shrink to but a 25 few score yards. After the extermination of the wapiti,
which roamed everywhere, the only big game animal found in them was the whitetail deer. Beyond this level alluvial bottom the ground changes abruptly to bare,
rugged hills or fantastically carved and shaped Bad Lands 30 rising on either side of the river, the ravines, coulies,
creeks, and canyons twisting through them in every direction. Here there are patches of ash, cedar, pine, and
occasionally other trees, but the country is very rugged, and the cover very scanty. This is the home of the muledeer, and, in the roughest and wildest parts, of the bighorn. The absolutely clear and sharply defined line of demarkation between this rough, hilly country, flanking 5 the river, and the alluvial river bottom, serves as an equally clearly marked line of demarkation between the ranges of the whitetail and the mule-deer. This belt of broken country may be only a few hundred yards in width; or it may extend for a score of miles before it changes into the 10 open prairies, the high plains proper. As soon as these are reached, the prongbuck's domain begins.
As the plains country is passed, and the vast stretches of mountainous region entered, the river bottoms become narrower, and the plains on which the prongbuck is found 15 become of very limited extent, shrinking to high valleys and plateaus, while the mass of rugged foot-hills and mountains add immensely to the area of the mule-deer's habitat.
Given equal areas of country, of the three different types alluded to above, that in which the mule-deer is 20 found offers the greatest chance of success to the riflebearing hunter, because there is enough cover to shield him and not enough to allow his quarry to escape by stealth and hiding. On the other hand, the thick river bottoms offer him the greatest difficulty. In consequence, 25 where the areas of distribution of the different game animals are about equal, the mule-deer disappears first before the hunter, the prongbuck next, while the whitetail holds out the best of all. I saw this frequently on the Yellowstone, the Powder, and the Little Missouri. When 30 the ranchman first came into this country the mule-deer swarmed, and yielded a far more certain harvest to the