The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, April 18, 1915, MAGAZINE SECTION, Page 6, Image 74

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    THE SUNDAY OREGONIAN, PORTLAND, APRIL' 18, 1915.
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BY RENE BACHB.
ONK of Uncle Sam's most difficult
problems, relating to the preserva
tion of wild same In this country,
Is that of dealing with predatory crea
tures, euch as wolves and wildcats. To
keep down' their numbers the Govern
ment for a number of years past has
employed professional hunters and
trappers.
It Is mainly a forest problem, for
most kinds of wild game are forest
products. Probably three-fourths of all
the Important same animals of the
Western states dwell within the borders
of the National forests, and the ques
tion of their proper management and
perpetuation Is one that has to be
reckoned with by the Forest Service.
The National forests are great nat
ural game preserves, maintained by
Government. Not only Is it sought to
encourage the breeding and increase
of the desirable wild animals within
their borders, but "plants" are being
made in them of buffalo, elk, prong
horned antelope and other valuable
species now threatened with extermi
nation. The Wichita game refuge is one of
the showplaces of Oklahoma, famous
for its Bcenic beauty and, with its
forest cover and rare game animals,
attracts vilstors from far and wide. A
herd of buffalo has been established
there and, already numbering 48, is
increasing rapidly. Also there are elk,
antelope and wild turkeys.
The elk come from the Yellowstone
region, where there are actually too
many elk. There is not grass enough
to feed them, and so they perish in
larg numbers of starvation. Hence
the plan, first adopted four years ago,
of shipping bunches of them to the
National forests in Colorado, Wyoming
and elsewhere. Already more than 500
have been planted in this way, and the
success of the enterprise is marked.
It Is popularly supposed that the elk
In this country have been killed off by
hunters, the result being that alarm
ingly few of them are left. As a mat
ter of fact, however, they have been
"eaten out." In other words, the sheep
and cattle have consumed their food
supply. In Winter, when they come
down into the valleys, they no longer
find plenty of grass a natural hay,
cured on the stem to feed upon. Cat
tle and sheep have been before them,
and the land is cropped bare. Suffering
from hunger, they gather about the
the farmers' haystacks, climbing on
each other's backs to get at the hay,
which is so protected that they cannot
reach it. Consequently they starve
and die.
There are now in the Grand Canyon
game refuge at least 10,000 deer, the
Increase of their numbers being largely
due to an active campaign waged by
the Forest Service, against thetr nat
ural enemies, especially the mountain
lion and "bobcat." In this kind of
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work, all over the West, the Govern
ment foresters work in co-operation
with the Biological Survey, which Is
the branch of the Department of Agri
culture that has special supervision
over all matters relating to birds and
mammals.
Predatory animals destroy not only
game, but also domestic stock sheep,
cattle, hogs and chickens. But the
number of them grows smaller each
year, and the damage they do is cor
respondingly less. During the last
year there were killed in the National
forests 71 wolves, 60 pumas, 07 lynxes,
633 bobcats, 240 bears and 3166 coyotes.
In addition, eight wolf pups were de
stroyed. Wolves and coyotes are transient vis
itors, freauenting the forests only dur
ing months when game and domestio
animal3 are most abundant. They are
bred, born and spend most of their
lives in the foothills and plains out
side the forests. Under these condi
tions, those killed in the forests are
replaced by others from outside ranges,
and this will continue until the Gov
ernment institutes a general movement
to destroy the animals throughout the
length and breadth of the public do
main. The most destructive of all beasts
of prey in this country is the big gray
wolf, which still roams over the thinly
settled ranch country on Montana, the
Dakotas and parts of Nebraska, Wyom
ing, Colorado. New Mexico and West
ern Texas, where stock-raising is the
principal industry. In earlier days it
was the buffalo wolf; now it is the
cattle wolf.
Bach wolf costs the ranchman $100(1
a year. Such an animal will kill a
cow or calf every three days, or 100
head of cattle per annum. Its victims
are mostly calves and yearlings; but.
when these are not available, it will
kill cows and even full-grown steers,
attacking them from behind and lit
erally eating them alive. Even If only
slightly bitten they will die of blood
poisoning. Hunting these wolves with dogs and
horses is thrilling sport. No bound
can overtake them in a straightaway
run, and not even the fiercest and larg
est dog is a match for one. Sometimes
the wolf, if cornered by a pack of dogs,
will turn and kill a number of them.
The big gray wolf is animated by a
lust for blood; be kills for the love of
it. His Ingenuity in. evading traps set
by the most experienced trappers is
almost beyond belief. To avoid leav
ing a trail, he will travel over the
roughest places, and it is next to im
possible to get him with a poisoned
bait, so suspecious is he, and so keen
to distinguish the scent of a man.
The successful fight made by the
Government against predatory animals
infesting the National forests and ad
jacent ransea ha encouraged settler
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to take up the business for themselves.
Not long ago, in Oregon, there was an
epidemlo of rabies among the coyotes,
causing widespread apprehension and
resulting in serious losses of livestock.
At the request of settlers, officers of
the Wallowa National Forest were as
signed to destroy the brutes, and so
successful were their efforts that the
sheep with lambs were, soon grazing
unattended a condition of affairs
without precedent.
The gray wolves are becoming stead
ily scarcer. They are retiring before
civilization, and. eventually will be ex
terminated. With the small prairie
wolf, or coyote, it is quite otherwise.
He may be said to welcome civilization
and thrives in, the midst of it. The
stranger who visits Santa Fe. New
Mexico, or many another Western
town, may hear coyotes at night howl
ing about the hotel in which he is
lodged.
The coyote makes himself at home
in well-populated country, raises his
young under the settler's nose. and. in
spite of poison and traps, increases. In
Spring he follows the sheepman's herd
up into the mountains, there to prey on
lambs or even ewes. In Autumn he '
comes down with them and winters
close to the farmer's feedlot and
chicken coops.
While the individual gray wolf is
most destructive, the coyote, by reason
of his numbers,, is the worst enemy of
game animals and domestic stock. The
amount of damage he individually does
has been estimated all the way from
100 to $250 a year. As the settlers
express it. he is "pizen on sheep." He
will kill them for sheer devilment. To
catch him is difficult, for he is ex
tremely cunning and can outrun any
dog. Inasmuch as the female produces
from eight to ten young in a litter,
coyotes multiply with enormous rapid
ity, if allowed to breed, and the busi
ness of keeping dpwn their numbers is
expensive and troublesome.
On the other hand, oddly enough,
there are well-informed persons who
contend that the extermination of coy
otes would be a misfortune. They are
the principal natural . enemies of
prairie dogs and Jackrabbita. In Cali
fornia, not long ago, a bounty of $5
was voted by the Legislature for every
coyote killed. Seventy-five thousand
of them were destroyed during the fol
lowing 12 months, but immediately
thereafter a plague of rabbits followed
and it was claimed that the balance
of nature had been unwisely disturbed.
The puma, or mountain lion, ia an
other beast of prey which officers of
the Forest Service are obliged to take
into serious account. It is very fond
of deer meat. But. above all, it is a
killer of horses. There are regions in
the Rocky Mountains where it is al
most impossible to raise horse on
open ranges, because thes great cat
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kill the young colts as fast as they
are born. The mountain Hon is very
keen of scent and hard to trap, but to
human beings it is harmlees. When run
down and exhausted it will lie flat on
its back and spit and snarl, but may
then be dispatched without danger. Will
C. Barnes, an expert of the Forest
Service, told the writer of an occa-
sion when he chased a puma for half
an hour around a clump of trees, part
of the time on foot, trying to rope
him.
Wlth the wildcat it is much the same
aratr Th. xp.ntitr. D rl -a if .7 a
fierce, but will never attack a man. mals therein. There is money in the together, and they are destroyed by
At the same time it is a dreaded killer business, the pelt of a coyote, for ex- P'son or traps. Meat alone is of llt
of sheep, and especially lambs, destroy- ample, having a present market value use as ba,t: there muat b some
ing them for the pure lust of blood- of 5. With a view to extending the thing else to attract them, and the
shedding. - Mr. Barnes knew a wildcat work as much as possible, the Forest worse It smells the better. Old trap
to kill 90 sheep in one night in an Service makes it a practice to lend Pers. for this purpose, allow half a
Arizona camp, tearing open the throat traps and even to give poison to Bet- pound of raw beef to decompose in a
of each victim and leaving it. Next tiers and other private individuals. wide-mouthed bottle; then add oil tried
day the animal was run up a tree by The prairie dog is hardly to be out of Prairie dog fat, with half an
dogs and killed. - classed as a predatory mammal. Never- ounce of assafoetida dissolved in al
Wildcats (otherwise known as bob- theless. he i recognized as very harm- cohol, and one ounce of tincture of
cats) and lynxes are easily exterml- ful, and the Forest Service is co- Siberian musk. This mixture is applied
nated by trap and dogs. Commonly, operating with the Biological Survey to grass and weeds near the trap, so
they are chased Into trees, knocked for the destruction of the species, which that tie coyote may roll about and
down with stones and clubs and beaten is being successfully wiped out over ' Bret caught.
to death, Bears, with, the. sxcepUon great area, Whola counties la Kan- Syen, by. such, means the bl gray.
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of the grizzly, are not dangerous, and
do comparatively little damage, though
nuw a" lnen "c aquues w-e
mutton or pork, and makes forays upon
sheepfolds and pigpens. The black and
Dea" do no harm worth men-
"" 10 m? or DeasI. eyon?
bing an occasional campers outfit of
CL,a-1
The recent rise in the price of furs
has attracted many professional trap-
pers, who have either sought employ-
ment from the Government in the Na-
tional forests, or have obtained per-
Trtita Ifl hunt It Tl (1 t rill) nredatorv ani-
LxteriTti nation s
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sas, long abandoned to the "dogs," have
been redeemed for stock-raising.
It is estimated that 250 prairie dogs
will eat as much grass as one cow.
Thirty-two of them will eat as much
as would feed one sheep. Inasmuch as
no use whatever has been found for
the dogs, it Is impossible that such a
condition of affairs should be toler-
ated. Not only do they eat the grass,
but they convert the territory they
occupy into a bare desert, on which
there is no further growth for many
years afterward. Having used up one
area in this way, they move on to
another, extending
mischief in-
definitely.
It has been found that the most
effective way to deal with prairie dogs
is to feed them poisoned grain, a tea
spoonful of which is placed near each
burrow. With one bushel of wheat are
mixed three ounces of sulphate of
strychnine, half a pound of cyanide of
potash, a teaspoonful of oil of anise,
and two quarts of heavy New Orleans
molasses. This is used in February,
when the little animals are hungry.
Tnree men on horseback, shooting a
Bpoonful at each burrow. and working
across country and back as a farmer
wouId ,ow wneat can put out four
,,, , a )lav baltlnK 16 000 holes,
dispose of nearly all the
prairie dogs, and any boles tbat show
BlgDa of occupancy may be ,lmj;ariy
treated the following season.
The really serious problem, where
predatory animals are concerned, has
to do with wolves or coyotes. The lat
ter usually travel In packs, sometimes
as many as eight or a dozen of them
SAazottct s or as
wolves are rarely taken; and thou In
dividuals which are trupped are uku
ally young ones, less than a year old.
Kxperlence has howu tliat the bout
way to destroy these cunning and de
structive animals Is to find and kill
the young In their dens. Knowledge of
their habits, their season of breeding,
etc., renders It comparatively easy to
discover their home quartern. The
young are born in March or early April,
in caves, among rork, or In old badger
holes which the wolves have enlarged.
Ordinarily the opening of a wolf den
is big enough (or a man to enter by
trawling and the mother. If present,
sneaks off. making no u nipt to de
fend her pups.
How Baked Earth Is Useful
TERRA COTTA means literally
baked earth. Jt is usually em
ployed as though it meant only archi
tectural ornaments made of baked clay.
Yet Michael Angelo mad stamps of
it; the Japanese use it cleverly painted
as "imitation bronze" for busts, tea
Jars and bowls, and the ancient Greek
children had terra cotta dolls, with
movable legs fastened by wooden pegs.
In the trade today pieces of clay
work for architectural ornament over
eight Inches sijuare are called terra
cotta; under that size they are called
ornamental brick.
The famous Delia Robbla ware of
Italy was of terra cotta covered with
opaque enamel, and painted. England
used it much. From the time of Henry
VIII it was popular in largo buildings,
and since Queen Anne's day it has been
used for ornamenting smaller houses.
For a while it fell into disuse, but
since the use of iron and steel in bulld-
ings has come Into fashion good archi
tects are employing terra cotta as a
more honest material, and hence in bet
ter taste, than galvanized iron sanded
to simulate stone. It Is common to
build the lower stories of a house of
stone and the upper stories of brick,
with terra cotta decorations,
Terra Cotta can be produced in a
variety of colors, und while rain leave
stone surfaces dingier, they brighten
surfaces made of the clay. It is a
durable as stone; it can be produced in
more shades and colors; it can be
molded into a great variety of designs;
it can be given more delicate outlines
than stone'; it is lighter than stone.
Well Gushes Hot Water
I
N THE: Flathead Indian Reservation,
well containing hot mineral water, said
to be the only one in the world. Around
it. within a mile, are other artesian
wells in which the water Is clear and
cool.
A few years ago the Government
threw open the Flathead lie nervation,
and those who were successful in the
drawing now own fine ranches
fertile valley. Artesian wells hav
in a
have been
truck at a depth ranging from 90 to
365 feet.
In the Bummer of 1913, on a ranch
within a mile of one of these cold wells
drillers were at work when, at the
depth of 244 feet, hot water gushed
upward with such force that the drill
ers were forced to flee. In a few days
the rush of hot water had washed a
large hole, with the drill still in, though
incapacitated.
The well was finally curbed so tbat
It could be used. The water is 120
Fehrenheit, flowing at the rate of 60
barrels a minute.
N. O. S. Martial.
Philadelphia Ledger.
"Why are you flying your flag up
side down, Suburbs?"
"To let the neighbors know that the
cook's gone and all invitation are
off,"