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distinctly. Leaving the creek bank, he ran silently to where the watercourse made a turn and then crawled forward in the brush. Soon the fog lifted once more, and he saw the geese resting on the water close to the bend. He fired quickly and brought down the largest of the flock, while the others lost no time in disappearing. It was a good fat goose and made excellent eating.
GROUSE AND OTHER SMALL GAME - THE SCOTCHMAN
AND THE SKUNK – CAUGHT IN A HAILSTORM ON THE PRAIRIE — BRINGING DOWN BLACK-TAIL DEER
It cannot be said that Theodore Roosevelt's venture as a ranchman was a very successful one, and it is doubtful if he expected to make much money out of it. He lost nothing in a financial way, and there is no doubt but that the experience was of great benefit to him. In this semi-wilderness he met all sorts and conditions of men, and grew to know them thoroughly. In the past his dealings had been almost entirely with people of large cities and towns, and with men of learning and large business affairs; here he fell in with the wildest kind of cowboys and frontiersmen. Some he soon found were not fit to be associated with, but the majority proved as honest and hard-working fellows as could be met with anywhere. Many of these loved the young 6 boss” from the start, and when, years
later, the war with Spain broke out, and there was a call to arms, not a few of them insisted upon joining the Rough Riders just to be near Theodore Roosevelt once more.
Around the ranches owned by Theodore Roosevelt there were more or less grouse of the sharp-tailed variety. As this sort of game made excellent eating, ranchmen and regular hunters did not hesitate to bring them down at every opportunity.
One afternoon Theodore Roosevelt left his ranch to visit the shack of one of his herders, about thirty-five miles down the river. It was a cold, clear day, and he was finely mounted on a well-trained pony. He writes that he was after grouse, hoping to get quite a number of them.
He had trusted to reach the shack long before sundown, but the way was bad, over bottoms covered with thin ice and snow, and soon darkness came on, leaving him practically lost in the cottonwoods that lined the watercourse.
What to do the young ranchman did not know, and it is safe to say that he wished himself heartily out of the difficulty. It was so dark he could not see three yards
ahead of him, and it was only by the merest accident that he struck the shack at last, and then he found it empty, for the herder had gone
off elsewhere on business. So far Roosevelt had seen no game, so he was without food, and what made matters worse, the larder of the shack proved to be empty. All he had with him was a little package of tea.
It was a dismal outlook truly, and especially on such a cold night. But firewood was at hand, and after turning his pony loose to shift for itself, the future President of our country started up housekeeping for himself by lighting a fire, bringing in some water from under the ice of the river, and brewing himself a good, strong cup
of tea! It was not a very nourishing meal, but it was all he had, and soon after that he went to sleep, trusting for better luck in the morning
He was up almost before daybreak, and my young readers can rest assured that by that time his appetite was decidedly keen. Listening intently, he could hear the grouse drumming in the woods close by.
“I must have some of them, and that
directly,” he told himself, and rifle in hand lost no time in making his way to the woods. By keeping out of sight behind the brushwood he managed to get quite close to the game, and so brought down one after another until he had five. Such success was a great satisfaction to him, and returning to the shack he fixed himself a breakfast of broiled sharptails, to which he did full justice.
It was not all play at the ranches, and sometimes Theodore Roosevelt went out with his men to round up the cattle and help “ cut out” what was his own. This was hard work, for frequently the cattle did not want to be separated from the beasts belonging to another ranchman. More than once an angry cow or a bull would charge, and then there would be a lively scramble on pony-back or on foot to get out of the way. Sometimes, too, the cattle would wander off and get lost, and then a long and hard hunt would be necessary in order to find them again.
But there was fun as well as hard work, and Mr. Roosevelt has told one story about a skunk that is sure to be remembered. He