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told us much about the habits of the beasts and birds that he has hunted, showing that he followed the sport intelligently and not in the haphazard fashion of many who go out merely to get a big bagful of game.
Hunting was not all fun in those days. We have already related how Theodore Roosevelt was caught in a heavy hail-storm. At another time he and his companions were caught in a three-days' rain-storm, during which the wind blew a hurricane. They were miles away from the ranch home, and it was utterly impossible to move in any direction.
“Reckon we are booked to stay here,” said one of the cowboys, a fellow from the South. “It's a right smart storm, and it's going to stay by us.” And stay by them it did, until the party were almost out of provisions. They got what shelter they could in something of a hollow overhung with trees and brush, but this was not very satisfactory, and all were soaked to the skin, and the blankets in which they rolled themselves at night were both wet and muddy.
Teddy Roosevelt didn't like that wetting, and I know it,” one of the cowboys
has said since. “But he didn't grumble near as much as some of the others. We had to take our medicine, and he took his like a man.'
There were no elk in the immediate vicinity of Theodore Roosevelt's ranches, nor were there many bears or buffaloes. But all of these animals were to be met with further westward, and the young ranchman had been after them during a previous year's hunting while on a trip to Montana and Wyoming
At that time the destination of the party was the Bighorn Mountains, which were reached only after a painful and disheartening journey over a very uncertain Indian trail, during which one of the ponies fell into a washout and broke his neck, and a mule stuck fast in a mud-hole and was extricated only after hours of hard work.
“It was on the second day of our journey into the mountains that I got my first sight of elk,” says Mr. Roosevelt. The party was on the trail leading into a broad valley, moving slowly and cautiously along through a patch of pine trees. When the bottom of the valley was gained, Mr. Roosevelt saw a
herd of cow elk at a great distance, and soon after took a shot at one, but failed to reach his mark.
“I'm going after that herd,” he said. And as soon as the party had pitched camp, he sallied forth in one direction, while his foreman, Merrifield, took another.
As Theodore Roosevelt had supposed, the elk had gone off in a bunch, and for some distance it was easy to follow them. But further on the herd had spread out, and he had to follow with more care, for fear of getting on the wrong trail, for elk tracks ran in all directions over the mountains. These tracks are there to-day, but the elk and the bears are fast disappearing, for ruthless hunters have done their best to exterminate the
game. After passing along for several miles, Theodore Roosevelt felt he must be drawing close to the herd. Just then his rifle happened to tap on the trunk of a tree, and instantly he heard the elk moving away in new alarm. His hunting blood was now argused, and he rushed forward with all speed, but as silently as possible. By taking a short cut, the young ranchman managed to come
up beside the running elk. They were less than twenty yards away, and had it not been for the many trees which were on every side, he would have had an excellent shot at them. As it was he brought low a fine, full-grown cow elk, and hit a bull calf in the hind leg. Later op he took up the trail of the calf and finished that also.
Of this herd the foreman also brought down two, so that for the time being the hunters had all the meat they needed. But Theodore Roosevelt was anxious to obtain some elk horns as trophies of the chase, and day after day a watch was kept for bull elk, as the hunters moved the camp from one place to another.
At last the long-looked-for opportunity arrived. Three big bulls were seen, and Roosevelt and his man went after them with all possible speed. They were on foot, and the trail led them over some soft ground, and then through a big patch of burnt timber. Here running was by no means easy, and more than once both hunters pitched headlong into the dirt and soot, until they were covered from head to foot. But Theodore Roosevelt was bound to get