Historical Events

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"When the band is first located the hunters keep at some distance behind to avoid dispersing them and to frighten them the more a continual noise is kept up by hallooing and shooting over them which causes immediate confusion and collision of the band and the weakest Elk soon begin to drop on the ground exhausted"

January 3, 1843

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Journal of a Trapper

Man The Fat Hunter
Facultative Carnivore
Carnivore Diet

Osborne Russell

THE ELK

This animal is Eight feet long from the tip of the nose to the insertion of the tail and stands 4 1/2 ft. high its proportions are similar to those of the Deer except the tail which is 4 inches long and composed of a black gummy substance intermingled with fibres around the bone, the whole being clothed with skin and covered with hair like the body. Its color in summer is red but in winter is a browish grey except the throat and belly the former being dark brown and the latter white inclining to yellow extending to the hind part of the thighs as far as the insertion of the tail - They are very timid and harmless even when so disabled as to render escape impossible its speed is very swift when running single but when running in large bands they soon become wearied by continual collision with each other and if they are closely pursued by the hunter on horse back they soon commence dropping down flat on the ground to elude their pursuers and will suffer themselves to be killed with a knife in this position: when the band is first located the hunters keep at some distance behind to avoid dispersing them and to frighten them the more a continual noise is kept up by hallooing and shooting over them which causes immediate confusion and collision of the band and the weakest Elk soon begin to drop on the ground exhausted: their rutting time is in Sepr. when they collect in imense bands among the timber along the streams and among the Mts. It has been stated by Naturalists that the male is a very formidable and dangerous animal when pursued but I never saw it act on the offensive neither have I ever known one to offer resistance in defense of itself against man otherwise than by involuntary motions of its head or feet when too much disabled to raise from the ground. I have often seen the female come about the hunter who has found where her young is secreted uttering the most pitiful and persuasive moans and pleading in the most earnest manner that a dumb brute is capable of for the life of her young This mode of persuasion would I think excite in the sympathy breast of any human that was not entirely destitute of the passion - The fawn has a peculiar cry after it is able to run which resembles the faint scream of a child by which it answers the Dam who calls it by a note similar to the scream of a woman in distress

In the month of Septr. the males have a peculiar shrill call which commences in a piercing whistle and ends in a coarse gurggling in the throat by this they call the females to assemble and each other to the combat in which by their long antlers they are rendered formidable to each other the hair stands erect and the head is lowered to give or receive the attack but the Victor seldom pursues the vanquished