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While due to the open winter the deer were not in evidence in large herds as they are sometimes found, there seemed to be at least the usual numbers of both black-tailed and white-tailed varieties, and they were in splendid condition all winter Deer are frequently killed in open season by hunters several miles outside of the park, and I am convinced that many of them stray over the boundaries of the park annually.
The weather was so mild and there was so little snow in March and April that the elk went up to high ground earlier than usual, and it was impracticable to take an accurate census of them. They were all in splendid condition, however, and careful estimates by experienced men placed the increase in the northern herd at 10 per cent and the decrease from natural causes at 3 per cent. Taking this into consideration, and deducting 375 elk shipped out of the park under authority of the department during the winter of 1914-15 leaves an estimated total of 37,192 in the herd. Those shipped were consigned as follows: January 25, 2 crated by express to the city park at Columbia, S. C.; January 27, 4 crated by express to the park commissioner, Borough of Queens, N. Y.; January 29, 3 crated by express to the mayor of St. Joseph, Mo.; February 12, 50 in 2 cars by freight to the State game warden of New Mexico; February 15, 50 in two cars by freight to the State of Montana; February 19, 50 in two cars by freight to the State of Idaho; February 21, 50 by express in a large express car to the State of South Dakota; February 24, 2 by express, crated, to Little Falls, Minn.; February 26, one car of 25 by freight to the State of Michigan, one car of 30 yearlings by freight to the State of Wisconsin, and 4 for the New York Zoological Society in the car by freight with elk for Michigan as far as St. Paul where they were crated and shipped the balance of the journey by express; March 3, 50 in a large car by express to the State of Colorado by the United States Biological Survey; March 5, one car of 25 by freight to the State of Utah by the United States Biological Survey; and the last shipment, on March 12, of one car of 30 by freight to the State of Minnesota. Allotments of elk for some other States were not filled on account of quarantine regulations for foot-and-mouth disease, which was prevalent in various sections during the winter. Unusual difficulty was found in capturing the elk wanted for shipment, as they did not come down for hay, on account of the warm winter. The experiment of shipping elk in carload lots by express, in the cases of South Dakota and Colorado, proved very satisfactory, as the animals receive better care than when shipped by freight, are not so long on the road, and with 50 in one large car the cost of shipping should not be much greater than if shipped in carloads of 25 by freight. In shipping by freight, rough handling of the cars by the railroads often results in considerable loss. Mr. F. M. Dille, who had charge of the shipment of the allotments made through the Department of Agriculture, is of the opinion that the method of shipment by express is far better than by freight. The presence of several bands of wolves has recently been noted on the elk ranges,
and it is feared that they will kill many of the calves. Arrangements are now being made to systematically hunt the wolves and coyotes in the park.
MOOSE. Moose are frequently seen in various sections of the park. They are reported as thriving and increasing in numbers.
Little has been seen of this herd for the past two years, and it has not been practicable to get an accurate count of them.
The tame herd, which is kept on Lamar River near the mouth of Rose Creek, 30 miles east from headquarters, has been in the best of condition during the year. This herd now numbers 239 animals, as follows:
Of those disposed of one 5-year-old bull was donated by the department to the city of St. Joseph, Mo., and shipped at the expense of the city on January 4; one 6-year-old bull was killed in the herd April 5; one yearling bull was found dead on the range, apparently from eating poisonous weeds, the latter part of June, and one 6-yearold cow died September 17.
The herd is kept out on the range most of the time during the summer months. Several attempts have been made to drive a number of the old bulls out to the range of the wild herd and to get them together, but they always return to the main herd. The usual show herd of 15 bulls was brought in to Mammoth Hot Springs on June 15 and returned to the main herd on September 20. At the present rate of increase in the herd it will soon become necessary to dispose of a large number of them or provide additional facilities for their
The herd would be in much better shape if at least a hundred of the bulls could be disposed of. About 200 acres of meadow land was kept watered during the summer, and the hay was cut and stacked in August, yielding about 150 tons, at a cost for cutting and stacking of $5.08 per ton. About 70 tons of last year's crop of hay is still on hand, and it is expected that 20 to 30 tons of good hay will be cut and stacked from a field sowed to oats last spring. This will insure an adequate supply of forage for the winter. Last winter being an open one, it was not necessary to begin feeding hay until January 26.
But few complaints were received during the summer of depredations by bears.' Travel being heavy they found an ample supply of food at the garbage dumps near hotels and permanent camps, and therefore did not have to resort to stealing from ice boxes and camper's supplies, as is sometimes the case. Two bears had to be killed during the summer to protect life and property.
A 5-year-old male grizzly bear was captured at Grand Canyon and shipped alive on November 2, 1914, to the Board of Park Čommissioners at Kansas City, Mo., at their expense. Two grizzlies, male and female 2-year-olds, were captured at Grand Canyon and shipped to the city of Los Angeles, Cal., on September 16 at the expense of the city.
COYOTES AND WOLVES.
Coyotes are numerous, although they are much hunted during the winter by employees on duty in the park. About 100 were killed during the year. Gray wolves are increasing, and have become a decided menace to the herds of elk, deer, mountain sheep, and antelope. Several were killed in the park last winter, and an effort will be made the coming winter to capture or kill them.
Mountain lions are numerous and are in evidence during the winter, when their tracks are found in abundance in the vicinity of the large herds of elk. None were killed last winter, as there was not enough snow to track them to cover.
The mountain sheep, like the deer and antelope, were considerably scattered during the winter, as the weather was mild, grass plentiful, and there was scarcely any snow to drive them down to the lower altitudes. They were apparently plentiful and wintered in excellent condition.
Other smaller animals usually found in this altitude, such as beaver, foxes, lynx, otter, marten, etc., are frequently seen.
Many kinds of birds are found in the park, and all, more particularly those classed as game birds in the States, are noticeably tamer than they are outside of the park. They, as well as many of the wild animals, seem to know where the park lines are located, although many hunters have complained that these lines are not marked plainly enough. The interest of travelers in bird life in the park has increased noticeably since the publication of a list of the names of birds found in the park in the circular of information which is generally distributed to all.
PROTECTION OF GAME.
The question of game protection in the park has been much simplified of recent years by the hearty cooperation of the authorities of the adjoining States and of the officials of the national forests which adjoin the park on all sides. The States also establish game preserves in many places adjoining the park, changing their boundaries as conditions demand. Last winter the Montana Legislature withdrew from the game preserve that section immediately west of the northwest corner of the park, thus opening up a good hunting region for elk and deer, but still retain as a preserve that section just north of the park extending from the northwest corner to the mouth of Gardiner River. It also extended the season for hunting elk and deer to December 15, so as to enable those who depend upon the fall hunt for a winter supply of meat to get it late enough in the fall so it will not spoil. Hunting has been very poor during the last two seasons, as cold, stormy weather did not come in time to drive the elk down before the close of the hunting season. Last winter the Wyoming State Legislature set aside a large part of the area east of the park as a game preserve.
Additional scouts were employed during the hunting season in adjoining States, and several arrests were made; but in few cases were the parties indicted, and under the present law it is an expensive and difficult process to prosecute offenders, as under a decision of the Attorney General the United States commissioner in the park can not dispose of a case but can only hold violators of the park laws to trial before the United States district court. In most cases where evidences of depredations were found the guilty, parties were discovered and brought to trial. One violator of the law—a soldier who was a member of the detachment stationed in the southwest corner of the park-pleaded guilty to the charge of killing an elk in the park, before a general court martial, and was sentenced: "To be dishonorably discharged the service of the United States; to forfeit all pay and allowances now due, or to become due while in confinement under this sentence; and to be confined at hard labor at such place as the reviewing authority may direct for one and one-half years.” The United States Disciplinary Barracks, Alcatraz, Cal., was fixed by the reviewing authority as the place where the sentence would be served.
Seventeen snowshoe cabins were put in repair and supplied for the use of patrols traveling on skis during the winter.
VIOLATIONS OF LAW. Several violations of law were discovered, in addition to those protecting game, and in many cases arrests have been made.
In February, the evening of the first or morning of the second, some miscreant cut the high woven-wire fence on the north line of the park, about 3} miles west from the entrance arch. Tracks of a man were found leading away from the point where the fence had been cut, but it was impossible to fix the blame. On the evening of February 3 some one went to the pens, at the haystacks on the flat, in sight of the town of Gardiner, and killed five of the elk that had been captured for shipment. It was apparent that the elk had been killed
with a large knife tied to a long stick, from the outside of the pen. As scarcely any of the meat had been taken, it appeared likely that the work was done by some one for spite, possibly by the same persons who cut the fence. Efforts were made to fix the blame, but so far they have been fruitless.
A highway robbery occurred about 10 o'clock a. m., July 9, at a point about a mile south of Madison Junction, on the road toward Fountain. The day was very rainy; and being one of the days of heavy travel from the western entrance, about 12 miles of passenger vehicles were in the line leaving Yellowstone that morning. After one vehicle had passed without being molested five were held up and the passengers forced to give up some of their money. The robber, who was masked and carried a rifle, was described by all who saw him as evidently an amateur in the business, and he was doubtless frightened away before he had completed the job by seeing a man from one of the rigs pulling up from the rear drop off, and go back on the road to give the alarm. Had he continued a few minutes longer he would have been captured in the act, as soldiers were at the scene within about half an hour. The alarm was at once given and all available men from stations and scouts from headquarters were at once sent out, some to the scene of the holdup to try and pick up some trail or bit of evidence and others to cover trails, roads, etc., leading out of the park. The country was searched for two days for several miles around, but not a trace or clue was found. This, however, might easily have been due to the excessive rain that day, which completely obliterated all tracks. Suspicion rested on some near-by road camps, where many men of unknown character were employed as laborers, and as they did not work the morning of that day on account of the rain it was a difficult job to check and account for them. Later the Department of Justice sent detectives to the scene, who still have the matter in hand and are following clues. The total amount secured by the robber is less than $200.
Through the efforts of the secret-service men of the Department of Justice a man is now being held in jail charged with the crime of holding up the coaches in the park on July 29, 1914, and it is believed that the evidence is strong enough to convict him.
During the tourist season frequent inspections of hotels and camps were made by officers of my command with a view to keeping them in the best possible condition of cleanliness. Two men with a twohorse team and wagon were kept on the move all summer keeping the camping grounds in a sanitary condition and caring for the earth closets maintained for public use throughout the park.
Since the admission of automobiles on August 1, a demand has been created for special sanitary camps for parties traveling in private automobiles and carrying their own camp equipment. The regular camps are selected with a view to providing grazing for horses, which also need to be kept at some distance from hotels and permanent camps. A separate set of camps, about three in number, located at Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper Geyser Basin, and Grand Canyon, not too far from the points of interest and provided with a few conveniences, would be appreciated by those who travel in their own automobiles, and as the