Charles Frederick Holder.

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pricking up his round ears in an
alarming manner. I was armed only
with a knife and a double-barrel gun,
loaded with number eight shot. I
had hunted bruin before, but this was
my first solitary interview. What
was to be done? The grizzly was
between me and the camp, and if I
made a dash through the clearing he
would undoubtedly take after me.
My best course, apparently, was to
reach the edge of the thick brush.
Could I accomplish this move success-
fully ? My first attempt was a mis-
erable and heart-thumping failure.
Just as I took a step forward; whang!
went the powder flask against the
barrel of my gun. Turtle like I drew
my head down between my shoulders.
The bear stopped eating, looked
sharply in my direction and then
dropping down on all fours, made a
move towards me. I watched the
monster closely and then glanced
around. Never before was the sky so
blue or the sun so bright. A few
fleeting moments of terrible anxiety
ensued and then to my great joy the
grizzly turned round and went back to
his meal. Now was my chance.
Jumping to my feet, I dashed into the
brush, and by a circuitous route made
my way to the camp in safety.

At first my account of the adven-
ture was regarded by my comrades as a
joke, but I soon convinced them to
the contrary. Picking up our rifles
we started for the scene of my exciting



experience and on the way I insisted
upon having the first shot by right of
discovery. El Pelado also demanded
his usual prerogative of holding brief
converse with the stranger before com-
mencing hostilities, to both of which
propositions all were agreed. We soon
reached the spot and found bruin still
making his repast. El Pelado and I
went ahead, quietly taking our posi-
tions, while my brother and cousin
assumed theirs. A whistle had been
agreed upon as the signal for El
Pelado to advance, and when all was
ready I gave the signal. Pelado
stepped to the center of the clearing,
and the moment the bear saw him he
stopped eating, advanced a trifle and
then stood still confronting the in-
truder.

I wish I could give a literal trans-
lation of El Pelado' s words and de-
scribe his gestures and appearance.

II Que hay vale qiie estus had en do



aqui



( Well, old pard. what are



you doing here?) he began famil
i a rl y . " Eso m ira m e bien ; soy tu tata"
(Look at me well ; I am your daddy.)
Bruin seemed to resent this last
insinuation for he rubbed his claws on
the ground, angrily. Pelado now
launched forth on a long tirade re-
flecting on the bravery of all bears
from time immemorial, and then
indulging in personalities, he made
the most unkind and unwarranted
allusions to the grizzly's own pedigree.
At last picking up a stone, he threw
it at the bear with the remark, u Tiino
eres hombre y me retiro. ' ' (You are no
man and I retire.) And retire he did,
but with the grizzly in full tilt after
him. The stone struck the bear on
the nose and put him at once in the
most fearful rage. El Pelado, instead
of running to one side so as to enable
me to shoot, made a bee line in my
direction. My brother and cousin,
though solely tried, held to our agree-
ment, and I ran to one side so as to
get out of line of the pursuit and to
get in my promised first shot. I
dropped on one knee, and the next
moment the report of my Spencer



II



BIG GAME IN THE WEST.



317



awoke the echoes and evoked a roar
from the bear. Another shot stag-
gered him and diverted his attention
to me.

My comrades now ran to my assis-
tance, their rifles speaking at a lively
rate. When the grizzly was within ten
yards of me, he reared up on his hind
feet and in that position continued to
advance, his eyes naming with rage,
his snout wrinkled and curled back,
displaying the glistening fangs, while
his powerful forearms thrust forward
and slightly curved were ready for the
fatal hug. There was one chance
still for another shot. Taking as
careful aim as time would permit, I
pulled the trigger, when, instead of the
loud report there was a sharp click,
which indicated that the magazine of
my seven-shooter was exhausted. At
this discovery I stepped backward,
swung the rifle over my head and
hurled it at the bear with all the force
at my command. The barrel struck
the grizzly in the mouth. As the gun
left my hand, I drew my hunting
knife ; but just as the great shaggy
mass was about to crush down upon
me, there came a stunning report close
to my head. The bear sank down on
his haunches, then slowly toppled
over, dead.

My brother had given him the fin-
ishing shot just in time. After
looking the fallen mountain king over
thoroughly, we concluded that he '
weighed at least 1,200 pounds. We
found thirteen bullet holes, some going
clear through the body. I kept the
skin as a trophy for many years.

Two or three weeks after the hunt
I have described, El Pelado and my-
self being the only ones in camp,
(our companions had gone to Ven-
tura to get the mail and a supply of
provisions), made up our minds to go
on a deer hunt. We laid our plans
the night before as we sat around the
fire.

A heavy shower fell during the
night, and the morning dawned bright
and bracing, the sky fairly shining
with that deep blue so peculiar to



California. Tying Cordero, our
watch dog, to the front pole of our
tent, we began our ascent of the
mountain. The base of the mountain
rested in deep shadows, but far out on
the plain a flood of warm, bright sun-
shine was mellowing every tree and
bush with its touch. Now and then
a gentle breeze stirred the leaves,
causing the scattered raindrops to
flash and glimmer like jewels. In the
mountains the scenery was grand
beyond description. As the sun rose
it tipped with gold the lofty peaks,
then the light creeping lower seemed
to rest for a moment on the divide of
some great canon as if loath to pene-
trate the dark depths ; suddenly one
golden shaft spanned the cool abyss,
and finding a resting-place on the
rocky wall, shone there — a bright
beacon encouraging the rest to fol-
low — then with a bound as it seemed
the sun rose above the mountain rim,
and what a moment before was chilly
quiet gloom was filled with light
welcomed by the song of birds.

El Pelado having no eyes for the
beautiful and who had been ranging
about, called to me. I found him
looking at a large fresh bear track.
Without loss of time we started in
pursuit. The trail of the animal lead
us in a diagonal course along the
face of the mountains, up and down
through canons and wet brush, and
sometimes we were so near the bear
that we could hear him shaking the
water drops from his shaggy coat.
The density of the brush, however,
made it impossible to get a shot at
him. El Pelado, being in the lead, had
to force or break his way through the
thick undergrowth, making it easy for
me to follow ; otherwise, I doubt if I
could have kept up with him, for he
was as tireless as a stag. The pur-
suit had lasted for hours, when fortu-
nately the bear made a turn, heading
in the direction of the camp. Encour-
aged by this fact, we redoubled our
efforts and were exchanging congratu-
lations when the trail turned again
straight up the mountain. My com-



3 i8



BIG GAME IN THE WEST.



panion stopped abruptly and striking
the butt end of his rifle on the ground,
said, " Let us give it up ; the bear is
playing with us. We can never catch
him."

Weary as I was, this proposition
did not suit me, and I knew the bear
must soon stop. But El Pelado ob-
stinately refused to stir a foot, so I
determined to keep up the chase by
myself. I had not gone a half mile
when I came on my game, whom I
found in an opening, (t fanning " him-
self — briskly moving his body from
one side to the other, facing the
breeze. Being pretty well blown I
knelt down and taking a knee rest,
opened fire. The bullet struck the
bear full in his side, and after tapping
the wound with his paw, he rushed
toward me ; but from his unstable
movements, I knew he would never
reach me, and taking a quieter aim,
a second bullet brought him down.
The next instant there was a crashing
in the brush, and El Pelado, breath-
less and hatless, dashed upon the
scene. He was soon assured that no
harm had come to me, and fervent
and numerous were his entreaties for
pudon in allowing me to go off
alone.

Another animal incomparably safer
,to hunt but which requires more en-
durance, perseverance, tact and cun-
ning than is necessary for either the
grizzly or cinnamon bear, is the moun-
tain lion ; so shy and astute is he that
only by the merest chance a hunter is
able to shoot one. The mountain
lion can worm his way through
brush, thorns and cactus that are im-
passable to aught else except, perhaps,
a rabbit. This animal has a great
reputation for ferocity and bravery
among those who are unfamiliar with
his habits — a greater reputation than
he deserves. There is no doubt, and
I speak from experience, that the lion
when cornered, will fight with all his
might, while the female with cubs
will not wait to be cornered ; if her
whelps are too young and weak to
retreat with her she will, like all good



mothers, die on the spot, rather than
abandon them. To prove the love of
the female lion for her young, I will
tell of an incident that came under
my personal observation. One wet
winter day my foxhounds got on the
trail of a very young lion, the damp
ground giving such powerful scent
that the dogs seemed to be running by
sight. Occasionally I would have
glimpses of the cub, and I could see by
its movements that it was sorely dis-
tressed. Suddenly, far up the moun-
tain sounded a long, thrilling cry — a
cry once heard not easily forgotten. I
knew it well enough ; it was the voice
ol the mother lion telling her offspring
that she was coming to the rescue.
How she became aware of his peril is
one of the mysteries of animal nature.
There was a large burned spot, per-
fectly clear of brush, through which
either the lioness or the cub had to
cross before they could meet. Fortu-
nately for me, the meeting took place
almost in the middle of the bare
ground. The hounds had not emerged
from the brush, but they were coming
in full cry. When the lioness met
her cub, she stopped and fondled him,
but an instant later the foremost
hound burst through the screen of
bushes, followed by the whole pack.
The cub continued its flight, evi-
dently by its mother's advice, while she
herself walked toward the on-coming
dogs. When only a few feet from them
she made a magnificent leap that land-
ed her right in the middle of her pur-
suers, scattering them right and left.
Then she dashed off in great bounds
in an opposite direction from that
taken by her young. The strategem
was a perfect success, for the hounds
diverted from the original trail took
after the lioness in full voice. Up
and down the mountain side, but
always avoiding the v : cinity of her
whelp's retreat, the ; ag icious mother
led the chase. But it was all in
vain. Twisting and turning was of
no avail, for the pursuers were led by
one of the most tireless, relentless and
surest hounds that ever bayed. The



BIG GAME IN THE WEST.



319



hunt at last disappeared in a deep,
wooded canon, and from the short,
sharp barks that came to us presently
we knew that the game was treed.
Working our way through the thick
brush we found the lioness perched
on the limb of a large oak. One of
my companions was about to shoot
her, when I restrained him, remarking
that for two reasons that animal
should live. Firstly, because of her
tact and bravery in defending her
young ; secondly, to enable her to
raise the whelps that would give us
sport in the future. My friends de-
murred, but I drew off the hounds
and the lion's life was saved.

There is one animal I never spare ;
that is the wild cat. This cruel and
savage beast is not worthy of either
pity or admiration. In no carnivora
is the thirst for blood so rapacious.
I have known instances in which thirty
or forty lambs have been killed by one
cat in a single night, often repeating
the nocturnal slaughter several times
in succession. It is in vain to try and
poison the creatures, since, unless ex-
ceedingly hungry, they will not eat
anything that they have not killed
themselves. To destroy is their first
incentive.

I have heard many arguments as to
the proper classification of the wild
cat, some calling him the lynx or
bay lynx. I have caught with the
hounds over one hundred wild cats,
but not more than two or three lynx.
There is a great difference in the
appearance of these animals. The
common bob, or wild cat, is more
diminutive in every way ; he has a
shorter tail, smaller tufts on the ears,
and is generally of a lighter color.
The lynx, on the other hand, is of a
rich grayish red, beautifully mottled ;
he has long, half-curled tassels droop-
ing in front of his ears, while long
black hair, dangling from under his
neck, is as straight and coarse as that
from a horse's tail. The lynx is one
of the most deceptive of animals in
appearance. When running it looks
no larger than an average wild cat,
Vol. IV— 21



but when stretched on the limb of a
tree and looking down at the baying
pack below, it shows the muscular
development of its limbs. The high
Sierras is the home of the lynx, and
that of his fiercer cousin, the moun-
tain cat.

Early one morning in May, while
hunting far up the Arroyo Seco Canon,
the hounds started, a very large lynx,
and judging by the race he led the
dogs, the animal was in prime condi-
tion for the chase. Instead of adopt-
ing the regular cat manoeuvre of
running round and round and enlarg-
ing the circle at each turn, he made a
straight run for at least two miles.
In fact, his course was so direct that I
thought the animal wa< a deer, a coyote,
or a fox. The chase went in and up a
precipitous canon where it seemed im-
possible to follow. "Well," said I
to my comrade, "that settles the hunt
as far as we are concerned. If the
dogs tree, and we can hear where they
are, we will try and go to them ; at
present the only thing we can do is to
eat our lunch and await developments. "
We had been sitting perhaps an hour,
with no sound save the lonely chirp-
ing of crickets to break the intense
silence, when from far up the canon
came floating down, faint at first, the
bay of a hound. Again that musical
note ; then another and another till
the whole pack came over the crest.
How the mountain walls echoed and
re-echoed the sounds. It was as
though a hundred dogs were engaged
in the grand chorus, so welcome to the
huntsman's ear. The chase descended
into the bottom of the gorge ; nearer
and nearer they came, while the short,
sharp yelps of the hounds indicated
that they were almost on the game.
A sudden uproar of sounds told that
the quarry had been sighted, and the
next moment a large lynx went up a
tree a short distance from where we
stood. The animal did not wait for
us to stone him off his perch, but
gave a flying leap and landed on the
back of Ranger— the largest dog and
best fighter in the pack. An unfor-



320



BIG GAME IN THE WEST.



tunate selection, but the big cat made
it exceedingly lively for Ranger before
his companions came to the rescue.
The lynx was soon dispatched and
weighed eighty-six pounds.

The mountain cat is larger, fiercer,
and by far a better and more enduring
fighter than his brother of the foot-
hills. There is always greater danger
of losing hounds, especially if they are
young, hunting this species. Unlike
the lowlander, the mountaineer cat
prefers to come to bay on the top of
some huge rock, rather than climb a
tree ; and to reach him requires good,
steady nerves on the part of hunter as
well as dogs. If the cat jumps from
a rock, a good hound will leap after
him regardless of consequences.

As a proof of the pluck, the indom-
itable courage of that king of dogs —
the foxhound — I will relate an in-
stance that came under my own obser-
vation.

Col. W., a famous hunter, his
two sons and myself once went cat-
hunting in the Sierra Madre Mountains
with thirteen hounds ; eight of these
belonging to the Colonel and five to
me. In all amity we sometimes held
long and warm disputes regarding the
efficiency, pluck and good scent of our
respective leaders — his *' Bawler " and
my " Ranger." It was fated that on
that day should be settled the existing
doubt, although injustice to Ranger,
I will add that he was a much older
dog than Bawler. Very soon after
entering the range, the hounds started
a fine cat. Up and down, dodging
here and twisting there it went, but
always keeping among the most inac-
cessible rocks and along the faces of
the precipices. We could see the
cat and dogs most of the time, and
watched with interest the many
manceuvers of the animal to throw
his pursuers off the scent. Sometimes
the cat would climb a tree and remain
there till the hounds drew near, when
he would make a grand jump and
alight as far as possible from the tree.



This trick would fool the youngsters,
but the veterans knew better. Mak-
ing a wide circle round the tree they
would soon find the trail, and away
they would go with the tree barkers
after them, making frantic efforts with
foot and tongue to regain lost ground.
At length, after a long, hard run, the
cat took refuge on the apex of a huge
boulder, which stood on the brink of
a bluff. Eighty feet below, by actual
measurement, great oaks spread their
thick branches, and arriving at the
base of the boulder, we tried every
possible way to make the cat jump to
the mountain side instead of below ;
all to no purpose, however, for down
he went and landed on top of one of
the oaks beneath. The hounds now
rushed to the brink of the precipice,
but all stopped except Bawler, who
launched himself after the game and
crashed through the thick branches of
the oak where the cat had disappeared.
The next moment we cheered loudly
as we heard the gallant fellow give
tongue far below. Poor Bawler broke
one of his forelegs in accomplishing
this great feat, but his master had it
carefully attended to by a surgeon, so
that in two months' time he was as
sound and brave as ever. The dogs
caught and killed the cat.

For our little gray fox I have
nothing but praise and admiration.
This diminutive but cunning ball of
gray fur will lead the staunchest
hounds such races, that by the time
they are done there is little or no
ambition left in them. On the bluff
overlooking the Arroyo Seco, and
within the city limits of Pasadena,
lived an old gray fox that my hounds
chased probably twenty times. So
familiar did he become that we dubbed
him " the old man," and I could point
out a dozen trees, up which he had
been sent by the dogs. I was resolved
never to shoot foxes, but give the little
fellows a chance, and I am glad to say
that the "old man "was never
captured.



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'■■■



A REVIVAL OF THE CHINESE QUESTION.

THE recent decision of the Supreme Court
has re-aroused discussion of the Chinese
question. The declaration that the Geary-
Law is constitutional, which must be followed
by arrest and deportation of the Chinese,
has alarmed the friends of the Missionaries
in China, and disturbed those interested in
trade in that country. The cheap labor ad-
vocates have joined these elements, not as
conspicuously but as effectively, in efforts
to have the Chinese retained in this country.
They are making more of a contest than it
has been supposed they could make in be-
half of a cause, the success of which would
result in immeasurable injury to the Pacific
Coast and to the whole country, if the Chi-
nese should become as numerous elsewhere
as they have been here. The people of the
East have had no experience with Chinese
labor, or with their presence in large num-
bers. Hence they are incapable of
understanding the subject from a practical
standpoint, and are liable to misconceive
the true state of facts, and the consequences
of the presence of that race in large num-
bers. It is often asserted that there has
been a marked change of sentiment here
within a few years on the Chinese question,
as if that gave support to the views of those
friendly to Chinese immigration. Experi-
ence and changes of conditions naturally
produce modification, if not an entire change
of opinions, and this is explanatory of the
revolution that has taken place on the
Pacific Coast. The opposition to Chinese
which generally prevails on the Pacific
Coast does not proceed from an unchristian
spirit, but from the belief that a nation is
like a household, and that he who does not



provide for his own household is worse than
an infidel. It is not from mere hate that
our people want the Chinese to go, or to do
them a gratuitous injury, but it is to protect
the nation against an irreparable damage.

Thirty years ago, and for ten or more years
thereafter, there was a great want for labor
on the Pacific Coast, in consequence of the
tremendous war which drew from the fields
of industry, and the railway enterprises that
were being carried on. Labor could not be
obtained to the requisite amount anywhere
in the nation ; the only recourse was to
Asiatic, and that from China was the most
available. There is no doubt that the Chi-
nese contributed materially to an early con-
struction of railroads, and a more rapid
development of this part of the country
than would otherwise have taken place.
There has been a change of conditions here
as marked as has been the change of opinion
on the Chinese question. The country now
has plenty of white labor, if not immediately
on this coast, certainly in the nation as a
whole. The Chinese character is better
understood, and also the purposes for which
they come here. That they are of the Mongo-
lian race and Confucian in religion (if in-
deed Confucius taught any religion at all)
are minor objections to their presence. By
coming here they do not expatriate them-
selves, for they have no idea of becoming
citizens ; on the contrary they all expect to
return to the Celestial Kingdom ultimately,
either alive or dead. Nor do they learn our
language or gain a knowledge of our laws
and institutions beyond what is absolutely
necessary to enable them to carry on their
business. They retain the habits, customs
and dress of their own country.. It is im-



321



3 22



QUESTIONS OF THE DAY



possible to conceive a more alien, indigest-
ible and unassimilable branch of the human
family. So far as we are able to learn they
are the same unchangeable race that they
have been for twenty-five hundred years.
They are so walled in by their teachings and
habits, that they seem non-receptive to new
thoughts or new ways that are suggested by
their intercourse with other peoples. They
are industrious, frugal and peaceable,
though they are growing apparently more
and more disorderly among themselves.
They can work for small wages because they
live on almost nothing. They consume
little of American production but obtain
their clothing and as much of their food as
they can from China, while they send nearly
all their earnings back to their own country.
The Chinese are leeches upon our resources;
they depress wages and undignify labor.
The adverse balances of trade with China,
and the sums continually sent away by Chi-
nese merchants and laborers go far to ex-
plain where a large part of the $2, 000,000,000
of gold produced in this country since
1848 has gone. To be here does not benefit
the Chinese except in their material con-
dition, and their presence in that respect
does immeasurable harm to our country. It
is the policy of that people to support and en-
rich their own country from the resources of
other nations. Because wages here are high-
er and resources are richer than anywhere
else in the world they seek this country first,
and if there were no check upon immigra-
tion they would swarm out of that hive of
400,000,000 people and cover the land as
the locusts did Egypt. We do not want
cheap servile labor, for it is the support of
monopoly, and especially of land monopoly,
from which California suffers more than
any State in the Union. To protect against
injury to a nation's material interests is not
unchristian nor inhuman.

Perhaps demagogism has something to
do with the hostility to Chinamen, but there
are valid and cogent reasons for the oppo-
sition arising out of economic and social
considerations. The legislative methods em-



Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 39 of 120)