22 December 2012

Candid Story by Daniel Boone at Omaha

I had always read about the hunting grounds of the West with interest, and here I was as far West as Omaha, and with a couple of guns and ammunition suitable for the destruction of anything from a Bob White to a buffalo. I went to a hotel with my baggage and asked to be shown to a room. When I went up I was decently attired "commercial traveler," but when I came down with one of my guns I was a "knight of the plains," a "deer slayer," a "r-r-red handed ranger of the plains." I was characteristically attired in a pair of grass colored pantaloons with a row of fringe and eagle feathers down the outside; a pair of moccasins made by an "Indian" and his son, of your city; a coat with sporting topics stamped on the buttons of the same color, and a cap to march; then I had some revolvers, a hatchet, a knife and some cartridges in a belt buckled around my waist. I also had a waterproof box in my pocket containing money, matches and salt. I was going out on the Union Pacific Railway for geese. My appearance at the depot caused the most profound commotion, for, although it may be no new thing for the Omahawsers to see men going out from among them armed to their teeth, and with a resolute mein, bespeaking that they are prepared to protect themselves "to the last extremity." I still fancy that, without meaning to be partial to myself, they seldom saw among them a hunter with everything about him so entirely fresh and modern. It was perhaps with some such thought as this that I asked a policeman how long it would be till train time, and if there was a photographer handy. He said there wasn't, and then he looked at something on my coat and told a man if he'd tell him what that was he could have it. I looked there to brush it off, whatever it was but I couldn't see anything. There was a man on the train who was a hunter also. His name was Tucker; the other man's name was Penny. They were going after geese too. They asked me if I could shoot geese — if I had ever shot geese before. I said no, but I could soon get into the hang of it; I was a regular stunner on glass balls and hitting oyster cans. he said he wasn't very good on geese himself, and I said what he wanted was nerve. He oughtn't get excited. He was too much afraid he'd miss. Then he commenced telling the other men about, if a fellow had a pug nose he was always sure to be a "smart Alex," and then I went and sat in another seat. There is no use in a man getting mad at a fellow, even if his nose is inclined in the right direction, just because he can shoot geese better than he can himself.

The first evening I was out after geese I didn't shoot any, owing to the altitude of the geese. The next day, as I was to leave the next morning, I was a little hurried and didn't do as well as I mostly do when I'm after geese. I only brought home eight. They are thirty-five cents apiece out West. That's all.

Daniel Boone, Jr. December 30, 1880. A candid story. Forest and Stream 15(22): 430.