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Old May 11, 2009, 06:04 PM   #1
Jack O'Conner
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Elk taken by Lewis & Clark

My family and I recently toured the impressive mansion and grounds of Monticello. This impressive house was home of Thomas Jefferson and is located in foothills of Appalachian Mts of northern Virginia.

Many trophies are displayed in the "entrance parlor". This high domed room has many western animal antlers plus buffalo hides and Indian archery items as well. I was impressed by the elk antlers brought to Thomas Jefferson by Lewis & Clark. They are 6 X 7 antlers with extra-long eye guards. Unfortunatley, photography is not allowed so you'll have to visit this remarkable site for yourself.

Lewis & Clark explored the American West when predators were quite numerous and Indian tribes hunted year round. I doubt that as many animals reached trophy age as they do in 2009. You're allowed to disagree.

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Last edited by Jack O'Conner; May 11, 2009 at 06:04 PM. Reason: mispelled word
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Old May 11, 2009, 06:28 PM   #2
thallub
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Thanks for the informative post.

The plains grizzly bear gave the Lewis and Clark expedition fits. They had to shoot one bear 11 times before it died. The plains grizzly bear, now extinct, could out run a buffalo.
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Old May 11, 2009, 06:30 PM   #3
davlandrum
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Quote:
Lewis & Clark explored the American West when predators were quite numerous and Indian tribes hunted year round. I doubt that as many animals reached trophy age as they do in 2009. You're allowed to disagree.
I will disagree, in the spirit of friendly discourse. The one thing I would throw out to consider is predators and possibly the Native Americans were more interested in food than in big antlers, so there may have been just a many trophys back then. I think it would have to be on a percentage of the population, since game populations have changed significantly.

The other aspect is if elk, for example, had a perception of how close they could let those 2-legged-things get before they represented danger, it might have been easier with a firearm since that could reach out further.

Absolutely speculation on my part.
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Old May 11, 2009, 06:57 PM   #4
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Lewis & Clark explored the American West when predators were quite numerous and Indian tribes hunted year round. I doubt that as many animals reached trophy age as they do in 2009. You're allowed to disagree.
I assume this is open for discussion.
I seriously doubt that herd levels ever will reach the heights they were at prior to the western expansion by the white man. After this influx of people and their repeating rifles most North American herds were nearly decimated. After walking many of the open areas in Wyoming alone, I cannot imagine a band of early Americans making any significant impact on the overall herds of their day. As a combined effort, they and the 4 legged meat eaters also would have concentrated on the sick, weak, stupid, and or slow allowing the breeding bulls, etc to grow and proliferate. The only serious advantage that early Americans and the other predators had was that their survival depended upon knowing their prey. Much more so than the modern hunter. He arrives in his pickup truck and struggles to kill anything unless it is near a road.
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Old May 11, 2009, 09:30 PM   #5
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The only serious advantage that early Americans and the other predators had was that their survival depended upon knowing their prey.

I don't know. I bow hunted Elk during the rut for about 20 years in the Bob Marhall wilderness. It's a challenge. I've probably had a dozen 300 plus bulls within 100 yards, closing it to 40 or 50 yards is exponentially harder. With a good Hawken it would have been pretty easy hunting.

I have walked within 50 yards of mule deer many times to the point you wonder why the indians didn't kill them all. And fools chickens, how in the world did they survive. I've killed them with a stick.
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Old May 11, 2009, 09:45 PM   #6
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Keeping mind the lower population of humans (natives) and the fact that they were sustenance hunters rather than sport hunters alone, the population of the game herds would have been steady if not growing each season. Top that off with the un-dieing respect the natives had for the land and all the flora and fauna of the earth, I agree the herds would have been at a level never to be seen after the white man took the place over.
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Old May 11, 2009, 10:16 PM   #7
Gbro
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I just took a quicky tour via the internet. The trophy's are shown.
http://www.monticello.org/house/vr/entrancewide.html
Quote:
Unfortunately, photography is not allowed so you'll have to visit this remarkable site for yourself.
With cell phone cameras today, how do they stop picture taking??
Flash cameras can do damage, but com-on! I looked in the site info for camera info, one would think it would be posted there??
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Old May 12, 2009, 07:45 AM   #8
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I have walked within 50 yards of mule deer many times to the point you wonder why the indians didn't kill them all.
Because the injuns didn't have 50 yds bows. Those simple wooden bows they had with heavy stone points didn't reach out nearly as effectively as a nice compound bow with a razor point. I'm sure they had to do lots more sneakin to get closer to their quary.
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Old May 12, 2009, 08:26 AM   #9
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The plains grizzly bear gave the Lewis and Clark expedition fits. They had to shoot one bear 11 times before it died. The plains grizzly bear, now extinct, could out run a buffalo.
I don't think the plains grizzly bear is extinct, just retreated back to the mountains. Grizzly bear went to where the food was at. Without the large plains herds to prey on they had to adapt or die out. They would survive on the plains today preying on livestock if the Farmers/Ranchers didn't have rifles to prevent it as well. There used to be bison in the forests on the East Coast when white people started settling there.

Quote:
I have walked within 50 yards of mule deer many times to the point you wonder why the indians didn't kill them all.
I've been close to many animals in the wild without them knowing or sometimes caring I was there. The reason Indians didn't kill them all is the simple fact they didn't kill more than they could use.

Last edited by taylorce1; May 12, 2009 at 08:51 AM.
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Old May 12, 2009, 08:33 AM   #10
hogdogs
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One more point of note...
The native Americans were true predators in regard to hunting. They knew the rules involved in what we now call "the law of attrition". By expending excessive energy on the largest, healthiest of game animals in a herd they would need more prey to regain the lost energy and nutrition. I doubt they went after newborns but would likely have went after the younger more mediocre of herd members. Darwinian rules say the less wary of prey animals will fall to predators first...

Give them natives the credit due them as the ultimate stewards of their realm.
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Old May 12, 2009, 09:12 AM   #11
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I just threw 50 yards out there. Here is a little mule deer buck at about 20 feet. And, I actually had a doe walk up to me, maybe 10 feet.

I wouldn't underestimate the ability of an ancient hunter with a longbow.

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Old May 12, 2009, 09:16 AM   #12
Jack O'Conner
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Many interesting opinions have been expressed.

This is the basis for my comment about predators:
The Clinton Administration's re-introduction of wolves to portions of NW Wyoming and adjacent Idaho have already affected elk populations. Wolves kill whatever they can catch. Young immature animals are often easiest to kill and within a fairly short time there are LESS adult animals.

It's true that elk once roamed the plains in large numbers. The present city of Omaha, Nebraska was home to many elk. Kansas now has none but this state also had enormous herds of elk, pronghorn antelope, bison, and mule deer. Certainly, uncountable B & C bulls existed in these former domains.

I have no idea of total population of combined Indian nations at time of Lewis & Clark. But it's evident that they never "wiped out" local animal populations as European settlers have and continue to do so.

Food for thought:
The Rocky Mts have been cleared of Native Indians and vast areas are empty of human life. The beaver have come back. But to my knowledge there are no sizeable numbers of modern day men exploring and trapping these amazing wild places.

Jack

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Old May 12, 2009, 09:45 AM   #13
ZeroJunk
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The Clinton Administration's re-introduction of wolves to portions of NW Wyoming and adjacent Idaho have already affected elk populations.
There are plenty of wolves wher I hunt in the Bob Marshal and Scapegoat Wilderness. I've only seen them once, but have seen their tracks many times. I'm not sure why they were re-introduced. It's not like there was some overpopulation problems in the elk and deer herd.

Of course some of the fanatic enviornmentalist are about as wacked out as the polititians and judges back east that tell the western fisn and game people how to manage their wildlife. They would bring back the sabre tooth tiger if they could find one.
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Old May 13, 2009, 06:15 PM   #14
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With cell phone cameras today, how do they stop picture taking??
It's nearly impossible. I occasionally conduct tours of our manufacturing facilities to groups from off-site. I round them all up and ask them to pull out their phones, then I tell them to shut them off and put them away. Then I start the tour and almost invariably, someone pulls out their phone and tries snapping photos. The one thing I sometimes do is bring a camera with me and offer to take photos of the group with something cool, but not sensitive. That works pretty good, but not well enough to stop me from considering actually taking custody of cell phones in the future.


Quote:
They would bring back the sabre tooth tiger if they could find one.
That would be great. One of the real pleasures of the woods is knowing that your not necessarily top predator. Keeps it interesting.
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Old May 16, 2009, 12:56 AM   #15
Alaskee
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Limitations

Plains natives during the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition were limited by their technology on the impact they would have on local game populations. If an area became overhunted by them or by predators they would have to move on to areas of more abundant game.
I would also imagine (since there were no game biologists there taking census numbers) that the game populations of that time followed localized boom and bust patterns similar to remote areas today which see little or no human impact. Game populations would rise, follwed closely by predator numbers, range holding capacity would eventually become degraded along with increased predation disease etc. and the prey population would begin a decline, sometimes precipitous. Been happening for a gazzilion years.
If one wants to read an eye opening story about the technology chasm between the Lewis and Clark expedition and the natives they encountered, find the account where Nez Perce hunters spent hours chasing a small band of pronghorns within view of a parlay between the Expedition and the Nez Perce Cheifs. A couple expedition hunters were then dispatched with long rifles and had two of the animals down within minutes.
I'm also of the opinion that had the Nez Perce been in possesion of those rifles, they would have had at least the same deleterious effect on local game populations as did the Expedition.
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Old May 16, 2009, 10:44 AM   #16
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Within this article the points are made regarding overkill by early american groups. Worth the read.

http://wings.buffalo.edu/anthropolog...ts/burning.txt
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