Unique Zoo in the Wilds: Interesting Story of Dick Rocks Collection of Wild Game at Henrys Lake, Idaho, Daily Racing Form, 1919-09-04


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UNIQUE , ZOO IN THE WILDS Interesting Story of Dick Rocks Collection of Wild Gamo at Henrys Lake, Idaho. Henrys Lake is located in Idaho, about eighteen miles Avest of the Yellowstone National Park. A tributary of Snake River bears the name of Henrys Fork. Irving. in "Boonevilles AdAciiturcs" is authority for the statement that Henrys Fork is "called after the first American trader Avho erected a fort beyond the mountains." As Henrys Lake is not far from Henrys Fork, it would seem that the lake avus named after the same trader. During the eighties and early nineties Henrys Lake A-as famous as the center of a big game region, about which the Avapiti, deer. bear, .antelope, moose and bighorn AA-crc abundant. lt their spring and fall migrations the antelope passed just north of tlie lake, so it Avas a favorite place for antelope hunters. Today it is AA-ell knoAvn for its trout fishing in the summer and duck shooting in the autumn. EA-en during the depth of Avinter there is much fishing through the ice at nenrys Lake, and a story is told of an old fisherman there aa-1io uses grubs taken -from decayed logs for bait. During a severe cold spell, When the mercury is from tAA-enty to forty below, these grubs freeze hard and cannot be put on the hook, so the old fisherman devised a simple plan for keeping them warm and active. He keeps them in his mouth until they are needed! The postoffice bears the designation Lake, Idaho, and at the store- AA-here the postoffice is located there is quite a collection of antlers, mounted specimens of animals and birds, Indian relics and old photographs of AAcsterh scenes. Two of .the early, settlers at Henrys Lake were Dick Rock and Yic Smith, both being Avell knoAvn hunters. They Came-to the lake from the.-YclloAV-stone River, country about 1SS5, and before that time AA-orked together . as buffalo hunters. Smith doing the shooting and Rock the skinning. Dick Bock built several corrals at Henrys Lake and spent considerable time and effort in collecting specimens of the native game, which he kept in captivity in these corrals. He obtained two mountain goats near Darby in the Bitter Roots and brought them to his ranch. The time necessary to bring these goats from Darby to Henrys Lake was at least from fiA:e to six days. A platform Avas built in the goat corral, and the goats much preferred c-en that slight elevation to the surface of the ground. These goats Avere considered by Rock to be more dangerous than any of the other ariimals kept by him. - Rock finally sold them and in all probability they1 arc the captive goats described by Dr. Hornaday in "Camp Fires in the Canadian Rockies." KILLED BY A BUFFALO. Rock also had quite a . herd of buffalo. He collected several calves on Warm River, a tributary of Snake River, during early May and brought them on s.leds along the Avestern line of Yellowstone Park to, Henrys Lake. From this nucleus" he formed quite a herd, some of the descendants of which arc still kept in incisures not far from Henrys Lake. One of the buffalo owned by Reck would permit him to mount his back and ride him; but one day, as Rock-had often been Avarned by his friends, the wild instinct of the animal returned and he gored and trampled Rock to death. Some of the descendants of a buffalo herd established by Dick Rock are still kept under fence not far from Lake. A few years ago tlie herd escaped and Avandcred about over the prairies and mountains without restraint. Employes-of tho Yellowstone National. Park, learning of the presence of some buffalo at. largo in the vicinity of the park, concluded that they .had., escaped from, the park, rounded them up- and drove them into the park. But later it developed that the herd was priA-ately owned, so it A-as returned to the oAA-ner. While these buffalo were at large Glenn Conklin took some photographs of them, two of AA-hich are quite characteristic of the buffalo. Incidentally, these pictures will illustrate certain habits of the buffalo described by Audubon in volume 2, at pages 3G and 124 of Audubon and his journals may bo found the following notes made by that famous naturalist: "The buffalo, old and young, are fond of rolling on tho ground in the manner of horses, and turn quite over; this is done not only to clean themselves, but also to rub off the loose old coat of hair and A-ool that hangs about their liody like so many large, dirty rags. . .When buffaloes are about to lie down they draAV all their. four feet together slowly, and balancing their body for a moment, bend their forelegs and fall on fheir knees first and the hind ones follOAA." In one of the pictures taken by Mr. Conklin the dust created by the buffalo in pawing is shoAA-n and also the head of the herd with all four feet together, the body balanced and about ready to fall. In another picture the same animal AA-as rolling in his wallow1, almost on his back, and a shaggy foreleg in the air. . YOUNG ANTELOPE FREQUENTLY CAUGHT. Young antelope, Avere frequently caught in the vicinity of. Henrys Lake, but they could only bo caught Avhen a day or so old. An antelope mother leaves her young lying in the grass while she goes off to feed, but , returns occasionally to nurse it. By watching the doe antolope go to nurse her young the location of the young can often be found. Ea-ch then it was difficult to find them, as the little ones lie close in the grass, Avith ears laid back, thus rendering them quite, inconspicuous and hard to detect. When a day or so old they may be easily picked up, but if four or five days old they cannot bo run down, even with a horse. When caught young they, remain about a ranch Avell contented, even to the- extent of 5oming into the house and climbing onto the beds. . A fevv years ago there were thousands of .these beautiful animals on. the plains, but, civilization has crowded them into the mountains. There they cannot survive, as they are peculiarly adapted to level land, running with marvelous speed, but unable to jump as does tlie deer. Thus in the mountains they can make little progress where gulches, rocks and down timber are encountered and they become easy prey for hunters and predatory animals. Tho antelope Avere ruthlessly slaughtered during the eighties and early nineties. In one Avinter the Indians near Henrys Lake killed over three thousand for their hides and the ranchmen formerly killed them for dog feed, hog feed and coyote bait. With moose Rock A-as not so successful. At different times, covering a period of a few years, he caught about fifty-tAvo moose, principally calves, but only succeeded in raising two or three. One of thee he could drive to a sulky. Nearly all the moose he succeeded in. capturing died before he got them, to his ranch. Rock avus as successful in keeping bear and elk in captivity as Avith the buffalo. But it is Avell known that both bear and elk. Avill stand reasonable confinement Avell. Elk inay be: captured in the early spring AA-lien tlie snow is deep and upon being caught they kick A-i-ciously Avith both fore and hind feet; but Avhen striking with the forefeet tlie elk rears and the blow j can be. avoided easily, as the forpfeet separate as the animal comes to the ground. One ranchman captured and kept nine elk in a corral for several weeks. A blizzard piled the snoAV up to the top of the fence, thereby affording a convenient way Tor them to escape and they AA-crc not sIoav in Avalking across tlie snow drift. Dick Rock Avas an unusually hard Avorker, a fast traveler. Avonderfully adept at snowshoeing .and ate but little meat. Vic Smith did most of the hunting for the outfits that he and Rock aa-ouUI take into the mountains. Smith used a. .38 caliber Winchester, model 73, and Avas one of the best and quickest shots that ever hunted in the Avest. He could hit an empty rifle shell thrown into the air and has been known to alight from his horse us grouse AA-ere rising from the ground and kill two with his rifle before they could get out of range. His faA-orite rifle AA-as given him by the Marquis de Mores, Avho AA-as a A-elI-known ranchman in Dakota. Mcdora Avas named for the wife of Mores. Both. Dick Rock and Vie Smith Avere fine exponents of that hardy race of pioneers aaIio pushed across the mountains a half century ago and. delved into a region of game, the like of which will never be seen again on this continent. Sportsmen of today love to picture Avhat that land must have meant to the men Avho loved the Avild creatures of the Avilderness. What Avonderful chances for obsen-ation they must have had and Avhat a limitless field for the naturalist! Just to have liveiHin that unbounded range was, indeed a glorious heritage. Henry Bannou in Forest, and Stream, . .. ,

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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800