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took another leap and started to run once
But now the hounds were too quick, and in a trice they had the cougar surrounded. Slipping in, Theodore Roosevelt ended the struggles of the wild beast by a knife-thrust behind the shoulder.
The next day there was another hunt, and this had rather a tinge of sadness to it. The dogs tracked a mother cougar, who occupied her den with her three kittens. The hounds rushed into the hole, barking furiously, and presently one came out with a dead kitten in his mouth.
“I had supposed a cougar would defend her young to the last,” says Mr. Roosevelt, “ but such was not the case in this instance. For some minutes she kept the dogs at bay, but gradually gave ground, leaving her three kittens." The dogs killed the kittens without loss of time, and then followed the cougar as she fled from the other end of her hole. But the hounds were too quick for her, and soon had her on the ground. Theodore Roosevelt rushed up, knife in one hand and rifle in the other. With the firearm he struck the beast in the jaws, and then ended the
struggle by a knife-thrust straight into the heart.
To many this may seem a cruel sport, and in a certain sense it assuredly is; but my young readers must remember that cougars and other wild beasts are a menace to civilization in the far West, and they have been shot down and killed at every available opportunity.
More than this, as I have already mentioned, Theodore Roosevelt is more than a mere hunter delighting in bloodshed. He is a naturalist, and examines with care everything brought down and reports upon it, so that his hunting trips have added not a little to up-to-date natural history. The skulls of the various animals killed on this trip were forwarded to the Biological Survey, Department of Agriculture, Washington, and in retum Mr. Roosevelt received a letter, part of which stated :
66 Your series of skulls from Colorado is incomparably the largest, most complete, and most valuable series ever brought together from any single locality, and will be of inestimable value in determining the amount of individual variation."
THE ROOSEVELT FAMILY IN THE
ADIRONDACKS THE PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION AT BUFFALOSHOOTING OF PRESIDENT McKINLEY – THE VICEPRESIDENT'S VISIT — DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
THEODORE ROOSEVELT's companions of the hunt remained with him for fourteen days, after which they departed, leaving him with Goff, the ranchman and hunter already mentioned.
When the pair were alone, they visited Juniper Mountain, said to be a great ground for cougars and bob-cats, and there hunted with great success. All together the trip of five weeks' hunting netted fourteen cougars, the largest of which was eight feet in length and weighed 227 pounds.
Mr. Roosevelt also brought down five bob-cats, showing that he was just as skilful with his rifle as
The hero of San Juan Hill fairly loved the outdoor exercise of the hunt, and spent three weeks in keen enjoyment after his
companions had departed. During this time it snowed heavily, so that the hunters were often compelled to remain indoors. As luck would have it there were other ranches in that vicinity, with owners that were hospitable, so that they did not have to go into camp, as would otherwise have been the case.
On the last day of the hunt, Theodore Roosevelt was able to bring down the largest cougar yet encountered. The hounds were on the trail of one beast when they came across that of another and took it up with but little warning.
“We're going to get a big one now, said Goff. “ Just you wait and see.”
“Well, if we do, it will be a good ending to my outing,” responded Theodore Roosevelt.
The cougar was at last located by the hounds in a large pinyon on the side of a hill. It had run a long distance and was evidently out of breath, but as the hunters drew closer, it leaped to the ground and trotted away through the snow. Away went the hounds on the new trail of the beast.
“He's game, and he'll get away if he can,” said the guide.
At the top of another hill the cougar halted and one of the hounds leaped in, and was immediately sent sprawling by a savage blow of the wild animal's paw. Then on went the cougar as before, the hounds barking wildly as they went in pursuit.
When Theodore Roosevelt came up once more, the cougar was in another pinyon tree, with the hounds in a semicircle on the ground below.
“Now I think I've got him,” whispered Theodore Roosevelt to his companion, and advanced on foot, with great cautiousness. At first he could see nothing, but at last made out the back and tail of the great beast, as it lay crouched among the branches. With great care he took aim and fired, and the cougar fell to the ground, shot through the back.
At once the hounds rushed in and seized the game. But the cougar was not yet dead, and snapping and snarling the beast slipped over the ground and down a hillside, with the dogs all around it. Theodore Roosevelt came up behind, working his way