Puslapio vaizdai

come glorious with a soft, yellow light, gradually A man becomes so nervously alive to the slightdying out as the night crept on, till only in the est disturbance of the almost awful silence of a western sky there lingered a faint glow fading still night in the woods, that the faintest soundinto a pale, cold apple-green, against which the the cracking of a minute twig, or the fall of a pines stood out as black as midnight, and as leaf, even at a great distance—will make him sharply defined as though cut out of steel. As almost jump out of his skin. He is also apt to the darkness deepened, a young crescent moon make the most ludicrous mistakes. Toward shone out pale and clear, with a glittering star a morning, about daybreak, I have frequently mislittle below the lower horn, and above her another taken the first faint buzz of some minute fly, star of lesser magnitude. It looked as though within a foot or so of my ear, for the call of a supernatural jewel—a heavenly pendant, two moose two or three miles off. great diamond solitaires, and a diamond crescent About ten o'clock the Indian gave it up in -were hanging in the western sky. After a despair and came down the tree; we rolled ourwhile, the moon too sank behind the trees, and selves up in our rugs, pulled the hoods of our darkness fell upon the earth.

blanket coats over our heads, and went to sleep. I I know of nothing more enchanting than a awoke literally shaking with cold. It was still perfectly calm and silent autumnal sunset in the the dead of night; and the stars were shining woods, unless it be the sunrise, which to my mind with intense brilliancy, to my great disappointis more lovely still. Sunset is beautiful, but sad; ment, for I was in hopes of seeing the first streaks sunrise is equally beautiful, and full of life, hap- of dawn. It was freezing very hard, far too hard piness, and hope. I love to watch the stars be- for me to think of going to sleep again. So I gin to fade, to see the first faint white light clear roused the Indian and suggested that he should up the darkness of the eastern sky, and gradually try another call or two. deepen into the glorious coloring that heralds the Accordingly we stole down to the edge of the approaching sun. I love to see Nature awake little point of wood in which we had ensconced shuddering, as she always does, and arouse her- ourselves, and in a few minutes the forest was self into active, busy life; to note the insects, reëchoing the plaintive notes of the moose. Not birds, and beasts shake off slumber and set about an answer, not a sound-utter silence, as if all their daily tasks.

the world were dead! broken suddenly and horStill, the sunset is inexpressibly lovely, and I ribly by a yell that made the blood curdle in one's do not envy the condition and frame of mind of veins. It was the long, quavering, human, but a man who can not be as nearly happy as man unearthly scream of a loon on the distant lake. can be when he is lying comfortably on a luxuri- After what seemed to me many hours, but what ous and soft couch, gazing in perfect peace on was in reality but a short time, the first indicathe glorious scene around him, rejoicing all his tions of dawn revealed themselves in the rising senses, and saturating himself with the wonder- of the morning star, and the slightest possible ful beauties of a northern sunset.

paling of the eastern sky. The cold grew alSo I sat quietly below, while the Indian most unbearable. That curious shiver that runs called from the tree-top. Not a sound answered through nature—the first icy current of air that to the three or four long-drawn-out notes with precedes the day-chilled us to the bones. I which he hoped to lure the bull; after a long rolled myself up in my blanket and lighted a interval he called again, but the same perfect, pipe, trying to retain what little caloric remained utter silence reigned in the woods—a silence in my body, while the Indian again ascended the broken only by the melancholy hooting of an tree. By the time he had called twice it was owl, or the imaginary noises that filled my head. gray dawn. Birds were beginning to move It is extraordinary how small noises become about, and busy squirrels to look out for their magnified when the ear is kept at a great ten- breakfast of pine-buds. I sat listening intently, sion for any length of time, and how the head and watching the blank, emotionless face of the becomes filled with all kinds of fictitious sounds; Indian as he gazed around him, when suddenly and it is very remarkable also how utterly im- I saw his countenance blaze up with vivid excitepossible it is to distinguish between a loud noise ment. His eyes seemed to start from his head, uttered at a distance and a scarcely audible sound his muscles twitched, his face glowed, he seemed close by. After listening very intently amid the transformed in a moment into a different being. profound silence of a quiet night in the forest for At the same time he began with the utmost an hour or so, the head becomes so surcharged celerity, but with extreme caution, to descend to with blood, owing, I presume, to all the faculties the ground. He motioned to me not to make any being concentrated on a single sense, that one noise, and whispered that a moose was coming seems to hear distant voices, the ringing of bells, across the barren and must be close by. Graspand all kinds of strange and impossible noises. ing my rifle, we crawled carefully through the


grass, crisp and noisy with frost, down to the boil, and set the moose kidneys, impaled on sharp edge of our island of woods, and there, after sticks, to roast by the fire; and with fresh kidpeering cautiously around some stunted juniper- neys, good strong tea, plenty of sugar and salt, and bushes, I saw standing, about sixty yards off, a some hard biscuit, I made one of the most sumpbull moose. He looked gigantic in the thin morn- tuous breakfasts it has been my lot to assist at. ing mist which was beginning to drift up from Breakfast over, I told the Indian to go down the surface of the barren. Great volumes of to camp and bring up the other men to assist in steam issued from his nostrils, and his whole cutting up and smoking the meat. As soon as aspect, looming in the fog, was vast and almost he had departed, I laid myself out for a rest. I terrific. He stood there perfectly motionless, shifted my bed—that is to say, my heap of dried staring at the spot from which he had heard the bracken and pine-tops—under the shadow of a cry of the supposed cow, irresolute whether to pine, spread my blanket out, and lay down to come on or not. The Indian was anxious to smoke the pipe of peace in the most contented bring him a little closer, but I did not wish to frame of mind that a man can ever hope to enjoy run the risk of scaring him, and so, taking aim in this uneasy and troublesome world. I had as fairly as I could, considering I was shaking all suffered from cold and from hunger-I was now over with cold, I fired and struck him behind the warm and well fed. I was tired after a hard shoulder. He plunged forward on his knees, day's work and long night's vigil, and was thorjumped up, rushed forward for about two hun- oughly capable of enjoying that greatest of all dred yards, and then fell dead at the edge of the luxuries-sweet repose after severe exercise. The heavy timber on the far side of the barren. day was so warm that the shade of the trees fell

We went to work then and there to skin and cool and grateful, and I lay flat on my back, clean him, an operation which probably took us smoking my pipe, and gazing up through the an hour or more, and, having rested ourselves a branches into a perfectly clear, blue sky, with few minutes, we started off to take a little cruise occasionally a little white cloud like a bit of round the edge of the barren and see if there swan's-down floating across it, and felt, as I had were any caribou on it. I should explain that often felt before, that no luxury of civilization can “cruising” is in the provinces performed on land at all compare with the comfort a man can obas well as at sea. A man says he has spent all tain in the wilderness. I lay smoking till I summer “cruising " the woods in search of pine dropped off to sleep, and slept soundly until the timber, and, if your Indian wants you to go out men coming up from camp awoke me. for a walk, he will say, “Let us take a cruise Such is a pretty fair sample of a good day's around somewhere." Accordingly, we trudged sport. It was not a very exciting day, and I off over the soft, yielding surface of the bog, and, have alluded to it chiefly because the incidents taking advantage of some stunted bushes, crossed are fresh in my mind. The great interest of to the opposite side, so as to be well down wind moose-calling comes in when a bull answers early in case any animals should be on it. The In- in the evening, and will not come up boldly, and dian then ascended to the top of the highest you and the bull spend the whole night trying to pine-tree he could find, taking my glasses with outwit each other. Sometimes, just when you him, and had a good look all over the barren. think you have succeeded in deceiving him, a There was not a thing to be seen. We then little air of wind will spring up; he will get scent passed through a small strip of wood, and came of you, and be off in a second. Sometimes a out upon another plain, and there, on ascending bull will answer at intervals for several hours, a tree to look round, the Indian espied two cari- will come up to the edge of the open ground, and bou feeding toward the timber. We had to wait there stop and cease speaking. You wait, anxsome little time till they got behind an island of iously watching for him all night, and in the trees, and then, running as fast as the soft nature morning, when you examine the ground, you of the ground would permit, we contrived to get find that something had scared him, and that he close up to them just as they entered the thick had silently made off, so silently that his deparwoods, and, after an exciting stalk of about half ture was unnoticed. It is marvelous how so an hour, I managed to kill both.

great and heavy a creature can move through Having performed the obsequies of the chase the woods without making the smallest sound; upon the two caribou, we returned to our calling- but he can do so, and does, to the great confusion place. By this time it was about noon: the sun of the hunter. was blazing down with almost tropical heat. We Sometimes another bull appears upon the had been awake the greater part of the night, scene, and a frightful battle ensues; or a cow and had done a hard morning's work, and felt a will commence calling and rob you of your prey; decided need for refreshment. In a few minutes or you may get an answer or two in the evening, we had lighted a little fire, put the kettle on to and then hear nothing for several hours, and go


to sleep and awake in the morning to find that You set out early in the morning, in any direction the bull had walked calmly up within ten yards you may think advisable, according to the way of you. Very frequently you may leave camp on the wind blows, examining carefully all the tracks a perfectly clear, fine afternoon, when suddenly that you come across. When you hit upon a a change will come on, and you may have to track, you follow it a little way, examining it and pass a long, dreary night on some bare and naked the ground and trees, to see if the animal is spot of ground, exposed to the pitiless pelting of traveling or not. If you find that the moose has the storm. One such night I well remember last "yarded,” that is to say, sed, and you can come fall. It rained, and thundered, and blew the across evidences of his presence not more than whole time from about eight o'clock, until day- a couple of days or so old, you make up your light at last gave us a chance of dragging our mind to hunt that particular moose. chilled and benumbed bodies back to camp. For- The utmost caution and skill are necessary. tunately such exposure, though unpleasant, never The moose invariably travels down wind some does one any harm in the wilderness.

little distance before beginning to feed, and then Occasionally a moose will answer, but nothing works his way up, browsing about at will in variwill induce him to come up, and in the morning, ous directions. He also makes a circle down if there is a little wind, you can resort to the only wind before lying down, so that, if you hit on a other legitimate way of hunting the moose, name- fresh track and then follow it, you are perfectly ly, “creeping,” or “ still hunting,” as it would be certain to start the animal without seeing him. termed in the States, which is as nearly as possi- You may follow a moose-track a whole day, as I ble equivalent to ordinary deer-stalking.

have done before now, and finally come across the After the rutting-season the moose begin to place where you started him, and then discover "yard,” as it is termed. I have seen pictures of that you had passed within fifty yards of that a moose-yard in which numbers of animals are spot early in the morning, the animal having represented inside and surrounded by a barrier made a large circuit and lain down close to his of snow, on the outside of which baffled packs of tracks. The principle, therefore, that the hunter wolves are clamorously howling; and I have seen has to go upon is, to keep making small semia moose-yard so described in print as to make it circles down wind so as to constantly cut the appear that a number of moose herd together tracks and yet keep the animal always to windand keep tramping and tramping in the snow to ward of him. Having come across a track and such an extent, that by mid-winter they find made up your mind whether it is pretty fresh, themselves in what is literally a yard—a hollow whether the beast is a large one worth following, bare place, surrounded by deep snow. Of course and whether it is settled down and feeding quietsuch a definition is utterly absurd. A moosely, you will not follow the track, but go down does not travel straight on when he is in search wind and then gradually work up wind again till of food, but selects a particular locality, and re- you cut the tracks a second time. Then you mains there as long as the supply of provisions must make out whether the tracks are fresher or holds out; and that place is called a yard. older than the former, whether they are tracks

Sometimes a solitary moose "yards” alone, of the same moose or those of another, and leave sometimes two or three together, occasionally as them again and work up, and cut them a third many as half a dozen may be found congregated time; and so you go on gradually, always trimin one place. When a man says he has found a ming down wind and edging up wind again, until, “ moose-yard,” he means that he has come across finally, you have quartered the whole ground. a place where it is evident from the tracks cross- Perhaps the moose is feeding upon a harding and recrossing and intersecting each other in wood ridge of beech and maples of, say, two or all directions, and from the signs of browsing on three miles in length and a quarter of a mile in the trees, that one or more moose have settled width. Every square yard you must make good down to feed for the winter. Having once se- in the way I have endeavored to describe, before lected a place or “yard,” the moose will remain you proceed to go up to the moose. At length, there till the following summer if the food holds by dint of great perseverance and caution, you out, and they are not disturbed by man. If will have so far covered the ground that you will forced to leave their “yard,” they will travel a know the animal must be in some particular spot. long distance - twenty or thirty miles—before Then comes the difficult moment. I may say at choosing another feeding-ground. After the rut- once that it is mere waste of time trying to creep ting-season moose wander about in an uneasy except on a windy day, even with moccasins on ; state of mind for three weeks or so, and are not and it is of no use at any time trying to creep a all settled down till the beginning of November. moose unless you are provided with soft leather

In "creeping,” therefore, or stalking moose, moccasins. No human being can get within the first thing to be done is to find a moose-yard. shot of a moose on a still day; the best time is

VOL. VII.-12


when windy weather succeeds a heavy fall of dences of their labors have far outlived the work rain. Then the ground is soft, the little twigs of aboriginal man. They dam up little streams strewed about bend instead of breaking, and the and form shallow lakes and ponds. Trees fall in noise of the wind in the trees deadens the sound and decay; the ponds get choked with vegetaof your footsteps. If the ground is dry, and tion, fill up, and are turned into natural meadows there is not much wind, it is impossible to get of great value to the settler. Beavers have played near the game. When you have determined that an important part in rendering these savage courthe moose is somewhere handy—when you come tries fit for the habitation of civilized man. across perfectly fresh indications of his presence The moose may also be run down in winter-you proceed inch by inch; you must not make time on snow-shoes. This may be called partly the smallest noise; the least crack of a dead a legitimate, and partly an illegitimate, mode of branch or of a stick underfoot will start the animal. killing the animal. If the snow is not very deep, Especially careful must you be that nothing taps the moose can travel, and to come up with him against your gun-stock, or that you do not strike requires immense endurance on the part of a the barrel against a tree, for, naturally, any such man, but no skill except that involved in the art unusual sound is far worse than the cracking of of running on snow-shoes. You simply start the a stick. If, however, you succeed in imitating the animal and follow after him for a day, or somenoiseless movements and footsteps of your In- times two or three days, when you come up with dian, you will probably be rewarded by seeing him and walk as close as you like and shoot him. him presently make a "point" like a pointer dog. If the snow lies very deep in early spring, Every quivering fiber in his body proves his ex- moose may be slaughtered with ease. The sun citement. He will point out something dark to thaws the surface, which freezes up again at you among the trees. That dark mass is a moose, night and forms an icy crust strong enough to and you must fire at it without being too careful support a man on snow-shoes or a dog, but not what part of the animal you are going to hit, for nearly strong enough to support a moose. Then probably the moose has heard you and is only they can be run down without trouble. You find waiting a second before making up his mind to your moose and start a dog after him. The unbe off.

fortunate moose flounders helplessly in the snow, Generally speaking, the second man sees the cutting his legs to pieces, and in a very short moose first. The leader is too much occupied in time becomes exhausted, and you can walk up to looking at the tracks—in seeing where he is going him, knock him on the head with an axe or stick to put his foot down. The second man has only him with a knife, as you think best. Hundreds to tread carefully in the footsteps of the man pre- and hundreds of moose have been slaughtered ceding him, and is able to concentrate his atten- in this scandalous manner for their hides alone. tion more on looking about. The moment you The settlers also dig pits for them and snare spy or hear the animal you should imitate the them, both of which practices, I need hardly say, call of a moose, first to attract the attention of are most nefarious. There is nothing sportsthe animal, which, if it has not smelt you, will manlike about them, and they involve waste of probably stop a second to make sure what it is good meat, because, unless a man looks to the that has frightened him ; secondly, to let the In- snare every day (which these men never do), he dian in front know that the game is on foot. runs the chance of catching a moose and finding Moose-creeping is an exceedingly difficult and the carcass unfit for food when he revisits the exciting pastime. It requires all a man's pa- place. I shall not describe the method of snartience, for, of course, you may travel day after ing a moose, for fear some reader who has folday in this way without finding any traces of lowed me thus far might be tempted to practice it, deer. To the novice it is not interesting, for, ap- or lest it might be supposed for a moment that parently, the Indian wanders aimlessly about the I had ever done such a wicked thing myself. woods without any particular object. When you Many men prefer caribou-hunting to moosecome to understand the motive for every twist and hunting, and I am not sure that they are not turn he makes, and appreciate the science he is dis- right. The American caribou is, I believe, idenplaying, it becomes one of the most fascinating tical with the reindeer of Europe, though the pursuits in which the sportsman can indulge. American animal grows to a much larger size,

Sometimes one may be in good luck and come and the males carry far finer horns. The does across a moose in some glade or “ interval,” the have small horns also. I believe the caribou is result of the labors of former generations of bea- the only species of deer marked by that peculivers. An“ interval " is the local term for natural arity. Caribou are very fond of getting out on meadows, which are frequently found along the the lakes as soon as the ice will bear, and feedmargins of streams. Beavers have done great ing round the shores. They feed entirely on and useful work in all these countries. The evi- moss and lichens, principally on the long gray moss locally known as “old men's beards," which progress, some a hundred yards or more from hangs in graceful festoons from the branches of shore, and apparently just beginning to move ; the pines, and on the beautiful purple and cream- others half-way to their destination, and others colored caribou-moss that covers the barrens. again, as I have said, high and dry above the They are not very shy animals, and will venture water. In all cases there is a distinct groove or close to lumber - camps to feed on the moss furrow which the rock has clearly plowed for itwhich grows most luxuriantly on the tops of the self. I noticed one particularly good specimen, pines which the axe-men have felled. Caribou an enormous block which lay some yards above can not be run down, and the settlers rarely go high-water mark. The earth and stones were after them. They must be stalked on the bar- heaped up in front of it to a height of three or rens and lakes, or crept up to in the woods, pre- four feet. There was a deep furrow, the exact cisely in the same manner as the moose. breadth of the block, leading down directly from

Such is a brief outline of some Canadian it into the lake, and extending till it was hidden sports. Life in the woods need not be devoted from my sight by the depth of the water. Loose entirely to hunting, but can be varied to a great stones and pebbles were piled up on each side of extent by fishing and trapping. The streams this groove in a regular, clearly defined line. I and lakes teem with trout, and the finest salmon- thought at first that from some cause or other fishing in the world is to be found in New Bruns- the smaller stones, pebbles, and sand had been wick and on the north shore of the gulf. In dragged down from above, and consequently had Lower Canada there is still a good deal of fur to piled themselves up in front of all the large rocks be found. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia too heavy to be moved, and had left a vacant beavers are almost extinct, and marten, mink, space or furrow behind the rocks. But, if that lynx, otter, and other valuable fur-bearing ani- had been the case, the drift of moving material mals are comparatively scarce. It would be hard, would of course have joined together again in I think, for a man to spend a holiday more pleas- the space of a few yards behind the fixed rocks. antly and beneficially than in the Canadian On the contrary, these grooves or furrows rewoods. Hunting leads him into beautiful sce- mained the same width throughout their entire nery ; his method of life induces a due contem- length, and have, I think, undoubtedly been plation of nature, and tends to wholesome caused by the rock forcing its way up through thought. He has not much opportunity for im- the loose shingle and stones which compose the proving his mind with literature, but he can read bed of the lake. What power has set these rocks out of the great book of Nature, and find “ books in motion it is difficult to decide. The action of in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and ice is the only thing that might explain it; but good in everything.” If he has his eyes and ears how ice could exert itself in that special manner, open, he can not fail to take notice of many in- and why, if ice is the cause of it, it does not teresting circumstances and phenomena ; and, if manifest that tendency in every lake in every part he has any knowledge of natural history, every of the world, I do not pretend to comprehend. moment of the day must be suggesting some- My attention having been once directed to thing new and interesting to him. A strange this, I noticed it in various other lakes. Unforscene, for example, which came within my ob- tunately, my Indian only mentioned it to me a servation last year, completely puzzled me at the day or two before I left the woods. I had not time, and has done so ever since. I was in time, therefore, to make any investigation into Nova Scotia in the fall, when one day my Indian the subject. Possibly some of my

readers may told me that in a lake close by all the rocks were be able to account for this, to me, extraordinary moving out of the water, a circumstance which I phenomenon. thought not a little strange. However, I went to Even from the point of view of a traveler who look at the unheard-of spectacle, and sure enough cares not for field sports, Nova Scotia and New there were the rocks apparently all moving out Brunswick, and in fact all Canada, is a country of the water on to dry land. The lake is of con- full of interest. It is interesting for many reasiderable extent, but shallow, and full of great sons which I have not space to enter into now, masses of rock. Many of these masses appear but especially so as showing the development of to have traveled right out of the lake, and are what in future will be a great nation. For now high and dry, some fifteen yards above the whether in connection with this country, or as margin of the water. They have plowed deep independent, or as joined to the United States, and regularly defined channels for themselves. or any portion of them, that vast region which You may see them of all sizes, from blocks of, is now called British North America will assursay, roughly speaking, six or eight feet in diam- edly some day support the strongest, most powereter, down to stones which a man could lift. ful, and most masterful population on the contiMoreover, you find them in various stages of nent of America.

DUNRAVEN, in Nineteenth Century.

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