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says that skunks were very numerous, and that they were more feared than larger animals by the cowboys because the bite was sure to bring on hydrophobia.
One night a number of the cowboys and Mr. Roosevelt were sleeping in a hut. A skunk came along, and after a time worked its way into the hut. . It got among the pots and pans and made a noise which quickly awoke a Scotchman named Sandy
Thinking something was wrong, Sandy struck a light, and seeing the eyes of the skunk, fired. But his aim was bad, and the animal fled.
“What were you firing at?" asked half a dozen of the other cowboys.
The Scotchman explained, and, satisfied that it had been a skunk, the others told him he had better leave the animal alone or there would be trouble.
Nobody thought the skunk would come back, but it did, and again Sandy heard it among the pots and pans. This was too much for his Scotch blood, and taking aim once more, he fired and gave the skunk a mortal wound. At once the hut was filled
with a powerful odor that made all the inmates rush for the open air.
“Now see what you have done!” cried several, indignantly.
“Hoot mon !” answered the Scotchman, holding his nose tightly, “A didna ken 'twould cause sec' a tragedee!'
And after that we may be sure that Sandy let skunks severely alone.
Hunting in the summer time, or when the weather was but moderately cold, was well enough, but hunting in the dead of winter was quite a different thing. Then the thermometer would frequently drop to thirty and forty degrees below zero, and there would be a cutting“ norther” fit to freeze the very marrow in one's bones. Seldom was there much snow, but when it came, it caused a veritable blizzard, during which neither man nor beast felt like stirring out.
It was during such weather that Theodore Roosevelt once had the tip of his nose and one cheek frozen — something that caused him not a little pain and trouble for a long time afterward.
It was in those dreary days that the logs were piled high in the broad fireplace of the
ranch home, and Theodore Roosevelt spent his days in reading and studying, in writing letters to his friends and relatives, and in penning some of the hunting sketches that have won him literary fame.
One day, early in the winter, Theodore Roosevelt and his foreman went out to see if they could not bring in two white-tail deer which had been seen in the vicinity of the ranch the day before. One of the deer, a large buck, had been shot in the ankle by the foreman, so the beginning of the trail was easy to follow. The buck and his mate had gone into a thicket, and it was likely that there the pair had spent the night.
“We'll have our own trouble finding the tracks again,” said the foreman. And so it proved; for during the night some cattle and other animals had passed in and out of the thicket, which covered a large extent of territory.
At last the hunters hit upon the right trail, and the foreman went ahead, leaving Roosevelt to keep somewhat toward the outside of the cover. Both were wide-awake and on the alert, and presently the foreman
announced that he had found the spot where the wounded buck had passed the night.
“He is not very far from here," said the foreman, and hardly had he said this than Theodore Roosevelt heard a cracking of fallen twigs and a breaking of the brush and lower limbs of the trees as the buck rushed through the thicket.
the thicket. He ran with all speed in the direction and took station behind a large tree.
Only a few seconds passed, and then the buck showed his head and antlers
the brushwood. He was gazing ahead anxiously, no doubt trying to decide if it would be safe to leap into the open and run up the trail. Then he turned his gaze directly toward where Theodore Roosevelt was crouching, rifle in hand.
Another instant and it would have been too late. But just as the buck's head was turned and he sniffed the air suspiciously, the young ranchman pulled the trigger.
“ He turned his head sharply toward me as I raised the rifle,” says Mr. Roosevelt, in writing of this adventure, “and the bullet went fairly into his throat, just under the
jaw, breaking his neck, and bringing him down in his tracks with hardly a kick.”
The buck proved to be an extra fine one, and the two hunters lost no time in dressing the game and taking it to the ranch. Not wishing to go back for their horses, the two dragged the game over the snow, each taking hold of an antler for that purpose. It was intensely cold, so that each of the hunters had to drag first with one hand and then with the other for fear of having his fingers frozen.
This was one of the times when the young ranchman and hunter was successful in his quest. But Mr. Roosevelt has not hesitated to tell of the many times he has gone out on the hunt only to return empty-handed and glad enough to get back to a warm shelter and where he was sure of a good meal.
“Ranching and hunting was no bed of roses,” some one who knew him at that time has said. “Many a time he came back utterly fagged out and not a thing to show for his labor. But he never complained, and on the contrary could generally tell a pretty good story about something he had seen or had taken note of. In the summer he would