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Old November 17, 2013, 12:37 PM   #406
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,297
Never give up on a deer

This thread with some sage advice reminded me of reading an incident involving the men of the First Colorado.

The night we left Chug Water one of he boys (we called him Baron, for his Munchausenism,) came in about dusk from the Black Hills on the west, and said he had wounded an elk. He was sure he had given him his death-shot, but the animal had plunged into a deep gorge and got away. The moon was up, the night splendid, and a party went out to find him. They rode as far as horses could go (the guide here excused himself on the plea of fatigue, and returned), then afoot they hunted up and down the wild ravines and climbed the steep rocky ridges until nearly exhausted, when they struck a deep chasm which the moon's soft light could not penetrate, answering to the one in which the wounded elk disappeared. Tumbling down into this, they found racks and a small puddle of blood. Encouraged by these signs, they hurried on at the risk of their necks, but they soon came to a jumping off place. A low, heavy growl that shook the hills, arrested their attention. Peering intently through the darkness, toward the sound, they behold two balls of fire darting sparks in every direction. They were in a cougar's den. They were too excited to shoot for an instant. A large dog venturing in reach, was quietly ripped open by a scratch of the animal's fore-paw. At this their rifles were unloaded in his carcass. A minute consumed in struggles and he was dead. They examined their prize. He was nine feet long, stood three feet high, and had arms like mill posts. The Baron had shot him through the after-parts, while lying down in the brush, and as he bounded twenty feet through the air and disappeared, he could have seen that it was no elk. Perhaps he did, and was scrupulous about following him to his lair alone. The boys now began to think of getting back, for the dead lion's mate was probably in the vicinity and might prove an ugly customer, thought it is believed they will not attack a man unless forced by hunger. They reached camp about day-break, satisfied. They would not take any more elk-hunting by moonlight, in theirs.
Taken from Ovando Hollister's Colorado Volunteers in New Mexico. It's the story of the Union regiment that composed the primary force that defeated Sibley's Brigade in Glorieta, New Mexico.

ETA: My article on the New Mexico Campaign was published in Oct. 2013 edition of Crossfire, the magazine of the UKCWRT. A longer, two part version of the article will be published next year in Muzzle Blasts.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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