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A Trek Out West - Part 3

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Continued from A Trek Out West - Part 2. [Otto Franc] Wednesday July 31 - Our fish are all eaten up and we go out to hunt for meat in earnest. Tip soon has a fat buck antelope, Jack gets a fawn I put 2 bullets into a large buck but he gets away, Dr. wounds a doe with the same result; After dinner, we go out again, Tip and I start 4 enormous buck elk out of a timbered canyon but can not get a shot at them they run in the direction where Dr. and Jack are hunting and the Dr. kills the largest of them, Tip and I start a blacktail buck and Tip kills him.

[Dr. Ferber] 31st.—Soon after breakfast we all went out to kill some game for our dinner. Jack and Tip killed an antelope each, while Frank and myself only wounded one each ; I broke the hind leg of one, but my old Jimmy, being slow, could not catch him, and gave the chase up. After dinner we tried it again. Jack and I came in camp at 6 o'clock, let our horses loose, and I took the cartridge out of my rifle. When we were putting our saddles aside we saw four large buck elks coming down a canyon. We took our rifles and ran all speed to cut them off in a little cut-out in the mountain. Jack was over 100 yards ahead of me, when I could not run any more. I rested a minute, and then I saw Jack making signs to me to come up to him. I tried all my strength, and when on the top of the hill I saw three elks to the left and the big buck about 100 yards ahead of them near the creek, 200 yards from me. I put my Sharps to the shoulder and pulled, but no shot responded—I forgot to load. Still the buck gave me time to do this, and then I fired, with what success I could not tell. He ran after a sudden jump over the hill and got out of sight. Meanwhile Jack fired several shots at the others, broke one down, which ran off again. When I climbed up to the top of the hill I saw Jack raising his gun at my big buck that had fallen down in the high grass, and tried to gel up again; but he was so sick that he could only walk, and after a bullet broke one of his fore feet he sank down close to the creek, where a bullet through his head killed him. When he was lying there he looked at us angrily and showed fight. My bullet had penetrated the abdomen about three inches before his right hind leg, and very likely went through the bowels into the lungs. He was a very large buck, and Jack estimated his weight up to 800 or 900 pounds. His antlers are enormous, large and fine, although in velvet. The guides said that they seldom saw such large horns in velvet. I felt proud, but at the same time a kind of sadness came over me for having killed such a large animal and not being able to make use of all the meat. We only took the loins, tongue and antlers. When we came to camp, Tip brought a black-tailed buck home.

[Otto Franc] Thursday August 1 - We break camp, travel 10 miles and camp on Savery Creek which is supposed to contain a good many trout, we fish with poor success and come home very hungry when we find a splendid dinner waiting for us, the menu was: Loin of Elk, Hindquarter of Antelope, Saddle of Deer, Coffee. Supper consists of: Trout Venison Flapjacks Coffee.

[Dr. Ferber] August 1. —We moved south about eight miles to the main branch of the Savery Creek. Here I found good trouting of small size; could catch more than we could eat. Frank and Jack went out shooting, and Frank succeeded in killing a fine antelope buck, whose horns he brought in camp as a trophy.

[Otto Franc] Friday August 2 - One-half inch of ice in the waterpots; during the day the thermometer rose to 92 degrees (altitude 7200 feet) Dr. and Tip catch a nice lot of trout; Jack and I go out looking at the country; Antelope, doe, and fawns are so plenty we might have killed 25 of them, but we do not care to butcher them. So I wait till I get a chance at a buck and kill one at 125 yards; I also kill 2 sage hens running at 25 yards with one bullet. The valley where we camp seems to be a favorite breeding place for waterbirds; we see a good many geese, I find a nest with young sandpipers, Tip catches some young geese and I chase a young duck but he got away; In the evening we will take a swim in the creek.

[Dr. Ferber] 2nd.—Tip and I took horses and rode up the creek about three miles, where I caught some good-sized trout, but not many; while Tip, during his fishing, caught by chance a young wild goose. Our camp was very well furnished with meat and fish, and for dinner our bill of fare showed elk, deer, antelope, trout, flapjacks and coffee.

[Otto Franc] Saturday August 3 - Tip and Jack go out to look for a shady camp, they come back at 10 o'clock and report a good place 8 miles up the creek; Dr. and I stay in camp and do some washing and sewing, as we have enough meat and fish on hand; Thermometer 96 degrees 3 p.m. - 5 –

[Dr. Ferber] 3d. —Today, like the last few days, the thermometer showed between 80 and 90, while in the morning at 5 o'clock we found ice in our cups. It was too hot to go shooting or fishing, so we stayed in camp and put our things to rights. In the morning we had a good wash and in the afternoon we mended our clothes and smoked the pipe of peace. After this hard work we took a nice, cooling and refreshing bath in the Savery. Jack and Tip had looked out for the next day's camp. Elevation, 7,700 feet.

[Otto Franc] Sunday August 4 - Move camp to the foot of the Mountains in a pretty little grove on the bank of Savery Creek, which here swarms with Trout; Jack and I go out hunting but a thunderstorm soon compels us to return without game; Dr. and Tip come home with plenty of trout.

[Dr. Ferber] 4th—At five we got up, took breakfast at 5:30, and started at seven, and then moved about eight or ten miles south to the head of Savery Creek. The stream is small here, and so are fish, which everywhere in this water take the fly readily, so that I could catch a mess at any time. While I was fishing, wading the stream and casting the fly into a shadowy pool, overhung by willow bushes, suddenly I saw a big old antelope buck standing within five yards before me without any fear, knowing very well that I could not kill him with my split bamboo rod, then walked slowly away. Nothing of importance occurred this day.

[Otto Franc] Monday August 5 - Our meat is eaten up and we go hunting; I mistake a large doe antelope for a buck and shoot her at a long distance, she is able to run and gives Tip and myself a lively chase as fast as our horses could run for one-half hour up and downhill over rocks and through brush, when finally I come near enough to give her another bullet which finishes her, we find her to be so lean and old that we could not use her meat; we then climb a very high mountain and have a magnificent view into Colorado. In coming back I kill a mountain grouse with a bullet; we see some deer but cannot get a shot at them; in the afternoon we go hunting again but cannot get anything decent to shoot at so Jack kills an antelope fawn for breakfast (2nd) & supper (1st).

[Dr. Ferber] 5th. —Game was here in great abundance, but as we had meat enough in camp Jack and I took our horses and went out sight-seeing; but, unluckily, I forgot to take my aneroid with me. We climbed up very high mountains, and had magnificent views. The highest point we ascended was about 10,000 feet. When we came in camp we heard that Frank had killed an antelope.

[Otto Franc] Tuesday, Aug 6 - Game is very wild, we were all out hunting but could not get anything. Does and fawns are very plenty but we do not like to kill them; Tip & I take a very long ride through some beautiful timber & over some high mountains [10,000 feet], my horse & I roll down a steep but not high bank, both very much frightened but not hurt; get home very tired & hungry & make a good meal of stewed gooseberries & flapjacks; the country abounds with gooseberries which are just ripe & make a splendid sauce.

[Dr. Ferber] 6th.—The day was hot again, and we did not do much hunting or fishing. I caught some trout near the camp, and then Frank and I picked gooseberries, of which we cooked with sugar a fine preserve, which went first-rate with the fat flap-jacks we had for supper.

[This story will continue, following the summer trek of Texas Jack, Otto Franc, and Dr. Ferber in Part 4.]

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