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Title: Sport in Vancouver and Newfoundland

Author: John Rogers

Release Date: October 31, 2014 [EBook #47253]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Greg Bergquist, Moti Ben-Ari and the Online
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Book cover







K.C.M.G., D.S.O., F.R.G.S.




Richard Clay & Sons, Limited,






The following pages are simply a transcription of my rough diary of two autumn holidays in Vancouver Island and Newfoundland in search of sport—should they prove of any use to those who may follow in my steps, I shall feel amply rewarded.

J. G. R.








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A 60 LB. FISH50
LAKE NO. 1110
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[To face page 3.



From the day I read in the Field Sir Richard Musgrave's article, "A seventy-pound salmon with rod and line," and located the river as the Campbell River, I determined that should the opportunity arise, I, too, would try my luck in those waters.

Subsequent articles in the Field, which appeared from time to time, only increased my desire, and the summer of 1908 found me in a position to start on the trip to which I had so long looked forward.

Living in Egypt, the land of eternal glare and sunshine, I counted the days till I could rest my eyes on the ever-green forests of Vancouver Island.

My intention was to arrive in Vancouver about the end of July, spend the month of August, when the great tyee salmon run, at the Campbell River, and pass September, when the shooting season begins, in hunting for wapiti in the primeval forests which clothe the north of Vancouver Island.


I also hoped, should time permit, to have a try for a Rocky Mountain goat, and possibly a bear on the Mainland.

I sailed from Southampton on July 10, on the Deutschland, the magnificent steamer of the Hamburg-American Line, and never did I travel in greater luxury.

The voyage across the Atlantic is always dull and monotonous; it was therefore with great relief that, having passed Sandy Hook in the early morning, I found myself approaching New York on the 16th.

Here I was to have a new experience.

I am, I hope, a modest man, and never dreamt that I was worthy of becoming the prey of the American interviewer.

The fact of being a Pasha in Egypt, a rank which I attained when serving in the Egyptian Army, was my undoing.

A kind German friend who had used his good offices on my behalf with the Board of the Hamburg-American Line, gave the show away, for I found myself on the printed passenger list figuring as Sir John Rogers Pasha.

To the American interviewer, a Pasha was, I presume, a novelty, and the opportunity of torturing one not to be forgone, for as soon as we came alongside the quay at Hoboken, a[5] pleasant and well-spoken individual came up to me and, raising his hat, remarked, "The Pasha I believe. Welcome to America." I then realized what I was in for.

Had I been a witness in the box, I could not have undergone a more merciless cross-examination. It was almost on a par with a declaration I had to make for the Immigration Authorities—giving my age, where I was born, who were my father and mother, when did they die, what was the colour of my hair and eyes, and lastly, had I ever been in prison, and if so, for what offence?

I really think New York might spare its visitors this ordeal.

Wriggle as I could, my interviewer was determined to obtain copy, and though I insisted that the title of "Pasha" had been entered on the passenger list by mistake, and that it was one not intended for exportation, he was not to be satisfied.

Giving as few details as possible as to how I had obtained my exalted title, I eventually shook off my persecutor. No sooner had I moved a few steps away, than if possible a more plausible person expressed the great pleasure it gave him to welcome me to New York, and endeavoured to impress on me that it was a duty I owed to myself and to the[6] American nation, not only to explain what a "Pasha" was and how I became a Pasha, but also to allow my photograph to be taken, which he guaranteed would appear the following day in his paper—naturally the leading journal of New York.

On my point-blank refusal to accord any more interviewers an audience or to be immortalized in his paper, he sadly expressed his astonishment that I should refuse the celebrity he wished to confer on me.

Had not Mr. Kingdon Gould allowed himself to be photographed?—then why not I?

Other interviewers gave me up as a bad job, but just before landing I was leaning over the side of the steamer when some one shouted, "I have got you!" and I saw that one of my persecutors had taken a snapshot, which I am glad to say must have been a failure, for I did not appear in the New York papers the next day.

I acknowledge that one of my interviewers to whom I had refused any information heaped coals of fire on my head, by rendering me valuable assistance in getting my luggage through the Customs.

I had often heard of the difficulties of the New York Customs, but I must say I never met with greater civility, and there was no[7] delay in passing all my baggage, fishing-rods, guns, rifles, no duty being charged.

New York possessed few attractions for me, and the call of the Campbell River was strong—so July 17th found me starting for Montreal, where I arrived the same night and put up at the excellent Windsor Hotel.

Only a top sleeping berth on the Trans-Continental Express was available for the following night, and, as I desired a section—that is two berths, upper and lower—I had to wait till the evening of Sunday, the 19th, before I could start for Vancouver.

Leaving Montreal at 10.15 p.m., I arrived at Vancouver about noon on the 24th, having travelled straight through.

The Canadian Pacific Railway is probably the most extensively advertised line in the world. I cannot say it complied with modern requirements as regards convenience and comfort.

Every one knows the much-vaunted Pullman Car system of America—men and women in the same carriage, the only privacy being offered by drawing the curtains across the berths which are arranged in two long rows on either side of the car.

If you have a section of two berths, which is essential to comfort, you can stand upright[8] in the lower berth to dress and undress, and put away your clothes where you can.

If you have only a single berth, you have to dress and undress as best you can, sitting in your berth.

On my first trip to Canada, I was only going as far as Mattawa, one night in the train, so contented myself with a single lower berth.

The upper berth was occupied by a very stout lady, who in descending in the morning, gave me an exhibition of understandings as unexpected by me as it was unintentional on her part.

The real advantage of a section, in taking the long Trans-Continental journey, is that when the berths are put up in the day-time, one has a nice compartment to oneself; that is, if the black porter does not condescend sometimes to occupy one of the seats, and only to move, on being politely requested to do so.

The sporting pamphlets of the Canadian Pacific Railway make a sportsman's mouth water. Here we have the paradise of the fisherman—there the Mecca of the sportsman.

It was certainly then disappointing, to say the least of it, to find in the Restaurant Car, that though passing through the paradise of the fisherman, two days out from Montreal, we were eating stale mackerel, and on the return[9] journey when the sporting season was in full swing and duck and prairie hens were being brought in abundance to the car for sale—they were only purchased by the black porters for re-sale at Montreal at a handsome profit. None of them appeared at our table.

The food was indifferent and dear. Everything was "à la carte," and to dine moderately cost 1½ to 2 dollars, while a tiny glass of whisky, served in a specially constructed bottle of infinitesimal proportions, was charged at an exorbitant price.

Food in the car, without wine, beer or spirits, may be put down at 5 to 6 dollars a day, and I would recommend any one making the trip to stow away a bottle of good whisky in his suit-case, from which to fill his own flask for meals.

Travelling for six days and five nights continuously, one would have thought that some simple bathing arrangements would have been provided. A douche even would have been welcome. The lavatory and smoking-room were one and the same—five to six persons could find sitting accommodation, and four basins had to meet the washing requirements of the entire car.

I do not wish to be over critical, but I am glad to say I have met many Canadians who agree with me that the arrangements for the[10] comfort of the passengers on the Canadian Pacific Railway are capable of improvement.

Very different, I was told, was the comfort to be found on the American Trans-Continental Line from Seattle via Chicago to New York. The train is provided with a bathroom, library and a barber's shop, while an American friend who recommended me to return by the American Express, assured me that the food left nothing to be desired.

When competition arises between the two Trans-Continental lines in Canada, the second of which is now being constructed, some improvements may be hoped for.

The scenery of the Rocky Mountains has so often been described, that I will not inflict my impressions at any length on my readers. It is certainly fine, but no part of it can in my opinion compare with that of the line from Lucerne to Milan via the St. Gothard, and what a difference in the engineering of the line and the speed of the trains. Accidents by derailing of ballast trains seemed fairly common. We saw one on our way across, and two engines which had toppled over the embankment marked the site of at least one other.

As regards the Rockies, it must be admitted that the effect of their real height is taken[11] away by the gradual rise in level as one crosses the plains.

Calgary, where the mountains are first approached, stands at 3,428 feet above sea-level.

All things come to an end, and the morning of July 24th found us steaming into the city of Vancouver, glad that the weary journey was at last over.

The town of Vancouver is beautifully situated on the Mainland overlooking the Straits of Georgia.

I am glad, after my criticisms of the Canadian Pacific Railway, to testify to the comfort and moderate charges of the Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel at Vancouver.

A charming bedroom with bathroom attached cost only 5 dollars, all meals included. Excellent beer, locally brewed, was cheap, and a bottle of Californian Chianti, quite a drinkable wine, cost only a dollar, so there was nothing to complain of.

My waiter happened to be an Irishman, and he took quite a personal interest in my comfort, whispering into my ear in the most confidential manner the dishes of the day that he recommended as the best.

On a day's acquaintance, claiming me as a countryman, he confided to me his story. His[12] father had been manager of a bank in Ireland, and he was sent abroad to settle in Canada.

Starting on a farm, and, according to his own story, doing well, a fire destroyed his house and farm implements. Drifting through various stages, he arrived at his present position, with which he seemed quite content. He was married, and lived outside the hotel. Fishing was his passion, and every spare moment was devoted to it.

He was really a most entertaining companion, with a keen sense of humour, and he made the meal-time pass very pleasantly, for he never ceased chatting.

A run by steamer to Seattle to see some friends, gave me a glimpse of Victoria and the exquisite scenery of the trip from Vancouver to Seattle.

At Vancouver I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mr. Bryan Williams, the Provincial Game Warden of British Columbia, with whom I had been already in correspondence, and to whom I was indebted for much valuable assistance and advice.

A true sportsman, his heart is in his job, and if he only be given a free hand and adequate funds, the preservation of game in British Columbia will be in safe hands.

The licence, 100 dollars, is not a heavy one,[13] but I think it might with justice be graduated, fixing one sum, say 50 dollars, for Vancouver Island, where only wapiti, an occasional bear and deer are found, and imposing the higher licence for the Mainland, to include moose, mountain sheep, goat, caribou and grizzly bear.

One would have thought that in the city of Vancouver, the centre of a great angling country, every requirement of the fisherman would have been found. The contrary was the case.

Fortunately I had brought my own fishing-tackle, for in the best sporting shop in the town I could not obtain a suitable spare fishing-line.

Rods, reels, lines, flies and baits were inferior in workmanship as compared to what one is accustomed at home.

I therefore strongly recommend any fisherman to bring all his tackle from home. In the case of rods, reels and lines, New York may have better, as I shall show when I come to discuss the question of tackle later on.

From the manager of the Bank of Montreal, to whom I had a letter of introduction, I met with great courtesy financially as well as socially, and I became free of the excellent Vancouver Club, so charmingly situated, and only regretted that my short stay prevented my availing myself more of its hospitality.







The morning of July 29th found me on board the Queen City, the small but most comfortable steamer of the Canadian Pacific Railway running north to the Campbell River and beyond.

The Captain was a delightful companion, patriotic to a degree, and regretting what he considered the neglect shown by the Old Country to the Dominion of Canada, when American and Canadian interests were at issue.

The steamer was well found and well managed, while the Captain's skill in approaching our various stopping-places, often dangerous coves with no lights, at any time of the night and in any weather, was to me a continual source of admiration. I travelled with him three times, and never wish for a more charming host or a Captain that inspired more confidence as a navigator.

We arrived at the Campbell River Pier at the unearthly hour of 1 a.m. The proprietor,[18] however, was on the pier waiting with lanterns to show us the way up to the Willows Hotel, where I was to spend a happy month.

The Willows Hotel, beautifully situated on the Valdez Straits within a few yards of the sea, is all that a sportsman could desire. Clean, well-furnished bedrooms, a bathroom and quite a decent table, all for the moderate sum of 2 dollars a day.

The proprietor did not quite realize the fact that the majority of the guests came for the fishing, and not for the food.

The lady who directed the establishment seemed to think the latter the more important.

The breakfast bell rang at 6 a.m., and breakfast was served from 6 to 8 a.m. Lunch or dinner from 12 to 2 p.m., and supper from 6 to 8 p.m.

Woe betide the guest who broke the rules of the house as regards the hours, for he was expected to lose his meal.

In those glorious autumn evenings when it was light up to 10 o'clock, the manageress forgot that a keen fisherman might stay out till 9 or even 10, if the fish were taking.

Dinner he could not expect, but a cold supper, if ordered beforehand, might have been laid out in the dining-room. Nor could attendance be looked for; servants were few and[19] overworked, and it was but natural they should like to go to bed at 10 o'clock, or be free to wander in the woods or along the foreshore with the special young man of the moment.

By making love to the manageress and the Chinese cook, I generally succeeded in finding something to eat if I was late, but I often had to forage for myself in the kitchen, and on one occasion came back to find a plate of very indifferent sandwiches laid out for supper.

Morning tea in one's bedroom was prohibited. I should therefore advise any one addicted to the habit of early morning tea, to provide himself with a "Thermos" bottle, and fill it overnight—besides which, if very enthusiastic, a start might sometimes be made at 4 a.m., when a cup of hot tea and a biscuit make all the difference to one's feelings of comfort.

The hotel was a strange mixture of civilization and discomfort.

We had written menus of which I give a specimen below, but I had to grease my own boots and wash my own clothes, until I found an Indian squaw in the adjoining village who for an exorbitant charge relieved me of my washing, though I greased my boots till the end of my stay.



Menu.      Dinner.

Purée of Split Pea.

Baked Salmon (Spanish).
Boiled Cod.      Lobster Sauce.

Beef Hot Pot.
Pig's Head à la Printanière.
Macaroni au Gratin.

Boiled Ox Tongue.      Kipper Sauce.
Boiled Ham.

Roast Beef.      Horse-radish.
Roast Pork.      Apple Sauce.
Roast Mutton.      Jelly.

Sliced Beets.
Fish Salad.

Boiled Mashed Potatoes.
Green Peas.

Snow Pudding.      Peach Pie.
Apple Pie.      Stewed Rhubarb.

The drawback to the hotel was the logging camp in the neighbourhood.


The bar of the hotel was about fifty yards from the hotel itself, in a separate building, and on Saturday night many of the loggers came dropping in to waste the earnings of the week. Drunkenness on these occasions was far too common, and till the small hours of the morning the sound of revelry from the bar was not conducive to a good night's rest.

Some of the characters who frequented the bar were weird in the extreme, and when fairly "full"—as the local expression was—the hotel was not inviolate to them. One who particularly interested me might have been taken out of one of Fenimore Cooper's novels. My acquaintance with him was made on the hotel verandah. With a friendly feeling born of much whisky, he placed his arm on my shoulder, and assured me that although if he had his rights he would be a Lord, he did not disdain the acquaintanceship of a commoner like myself; in fact, that he had seldom seen a man to whom he had taken such a fancy, or with whom he would more willingly tramp the woods, if I would only give him the pleasure of my company in his trapper's hut some few miles inland. His suggestion that our friendship should be cemented by an adjournment to the bar did not meet with the ready acceptance he expected, which evidently disappointed[22] him, for he could not grasp the fact that any one living could refuse a drink.

Poor "Lord B.," as he was called, was only his own enemy. As I always addressed him "My Lord," which he took quite seriously, we became quite pals.

A trapper and prospector by profession, he had a fair education, and when sober was a shrewd man of the local world, which confined itself to prospecting for minerals and cruising timber claims.

Persistently drunk for two or three days at a time, he would suddenly sober down, put a pack on his back which few men could carry, and disappear into the woods to his lonely log cabin, only to return in a few days ready for a fresh spree. At least, this was his life while I stayed at the hotel, for in one month he appeared three times.

No doubt during the winter, when occupied with his traps, he could neither afford the time nor the money for an hotel visit.

He was wizened in appearance and lightly built, but as hard as nails. Dishevelled to look at when on the spree, as soon as it was all over he became a different character, appearing in neat, clean clothes, and full of reminiscences of backwoods life. He was always a subject of interest to me, and, poor fellow,[23] like many others on the west coast, only his own enemy.

Another frequenter of the bar had been on the Variety stage in London, and his step-dancing when fairly primed with whisky was something to see and remember.

We were a pleasant party at the hotel. Some came only for the fishing, some en route for Alaska or elsewhere on the Mainland for the coming shooting season, others returning from sporting expeditions in far lands.

We had J. G. Millais, the well-known naturalist and author of the most charming book ever written on Newfoundland, bound for Alaska in search of record moose and caribou.

Colonel Atherton, who, starting from India, had recently crossed Central Asia and obtained some splendid trophies, the photographs of which made us all envious.

F. Grey Griswold from New York, of tarpon fame, come to try his luck with the tyee salmon, and good luck it was, which such a good sportsman deserved.

Mr. Daggett, an enthusiastic angler from Salt Lake City, who took plaster casts of his fish, and was apparently an old habitué of the hotel.

Powell and a young undergraduate friend Stern, also bound for Alaska, just starting on[24] the glorious life of sport, with little experience—that was to come—but who with the tyee salmon were as good as any of us, and whose keenness spoke well for the future.

It was curious that in such a small community three of us, the Colonel, Millais and I, had fished in Iceland, and many interesting chats we had about the sport in that fascinating island.

As the sun went down, the boats began to come in, and all interest was concentrated on the beach, where the fish were brought to be weighed on the very inaccurate steelyard set up on a shaky tripod by the hotel proprietor.

Any one reading Sir Richard Musgrave's article in the Field, would be led to believe that the fishing was in the Campbell River itself.

Whatever it may have been in his time, the river is now practically useless from the fisherman's point of view. This is due to the logging camp in the vicinity, for the river for about a mile from its mouth is practically blocked with great rafts of enormous logs. The logs are discharged into the river with a roar and a crash, enough to frighten every fish out of the water; the rafts when formed are towed down to Vancouver.

The river no doubt was a fine one till the[25] logging business was established, and it is possible that late in the autumn fish may run up to spawn—but during the entire month of August, I personally never saw a salmon of any kind in the river itself.

Flowing out of the Campbell lake a few miles away, its course is very rapid, and it falls into the sea about one and a half miles north of the hotel.

The falls, impassable for fish, can be visited in a long day's walk from the hotel. The distance is not great, but the impenetrable character of the Vancouver forest makes the walk a very fatiguing one. It is most regrettable that no track has been cleared along the banks, to enable the water to be fished and to give access to the falls, which I am told are very beautiful.

I endeavoured to reach them by the river, but spent most of the day up to my waist in water, hauling my boat through the rapids, and then only got half-way and saw no fish.

Below the falls, there is a fine deep pool in which Mr. Layard, who described his trip in the Field, states he saw the great tyee salmon "in droves." He does not say at what time of the year he visited the falls or whether the logging camp then existed. It must have been late in the season, for he describes the swarms[26] of duck and wild geese, the seals that were a perfect plague, the sea-lions that were seen several times, and the bear, panther (cougar), deer and willow grouse in the immediate vicinity of the hotel.

I can only give my personal experiences during the month of August.

Forgetting that the shooting season did not begin till September 1st, I took with me 300 cartridges and never fired a shot, nor did I see anything to shoot at. A few duck were occasionally seen flying down the Straits between Vancouver and Valdez Island, but the seals, sea-lions and other game described by Mr. Layard were conspicuous by their absence in the month of August. No doubt later on, in September and October, different conditions may prevail, but August is the month par excellence for the fisherman and he may leave his gun behind.

The tide runs up the river for about 800 yards from the mouth, where there was some water free from logs and rafts. Some good sport with the cut-throat trout was to be had, more especially at spring tides.

My best catch was fourteen weighing 16½ lb.

The water was intensely clear; careful wading, long casting and very fine tackle were necessary to obtain any sport.


The cut-throat trout appeared to me to resemble the sea trout in its habits, hanging about the mouth of the river and running up with the tide, many falling back on the turn of the tide, but a certain number running up and remaining in the upper reaches.

The largest I killed, 5 lb., was immediately in front of the hotel, in the sea itself, one and a half miles from the river, and he took a spoon intended for a tyee salmon.

They were most sporting fish and were excellent eating, differing in this respect from the salmon. I only regretted I did not give more time to them, but we all suffered from the same disease, that desire to get the 70 lb. fish, or at least something bigger than any yet brought to the gaff.

I started with the best intentions, and talked over with Mr. Williams at Vancouver the possibility of inducing the tyee salmon to take the fly, denouncing, as all true fishermen must do, the monotony of trolling for big fish with a colossal spoon and a six-ounce lead, which takes away half the pleasure of the sport.

All the same I found myself sacrificing my principles to the hope of the monster fish which never came, but was always a possibility.

The Straits between Vancouver Island and Valdez Island are about two miles broad, and[28] through them runs a tide against which it is almost impossible to row a boat.

The favourite fishing-ground was about 300 yards north and south of the mouth of the river, and tides had to be seriously considered in getting on to the water.

Another good spot neglected by most of us, except the Salt Lake City angler, was just opposite the Indian Cemetery about a mile from the hotel.

Here, in one morning, I killed three large fish on my way back to the hotel from the more favourite ground which I had fished all the morning in vain.

South of the hotel and down to the Cape Mudge Lighthouse, about four miles away, a few tyee salmon were to be met with, but in the water all along Valdez Island and near the lighthouse, the cohoe salmon were in abundance, and it was the favourite spot for the Indian fishermen who were fishing for the salmon cannery at Quatiaski.






Different names have been given by different sportsmen to the salmon found on the Pacific Coast.

Sir R. Musgrave talks of spring salmon of 53 lb. and silver salmon of 16 and 8 lb.

I inquired carefully from the manager of the Cannery Factory in Quatiaski Cove, and believe the following to be the correct nomenclature.

The tyee or King salmon, running from 28 lb. to 60 and upwards.

The spring salmon, which appeared to me to be the young tyee, having the same relation to the big tyee as the grilse has to the salmon, from 15 to 20 lb.

The cohoe, which run from 7 to 12 lb.; and lastly the blue back, generally termed cohoe, averaging about 6 lb.

These latter most of us called cohoe, and were the fish being caught on my arrival at the hotel.

The run of tyee had not regularly set in, though a few odd ones were being caught.


Later on, when making a trip on the Cannery steamer which collects fish daily from various stations up and down the coast, the manager of the factory, who was on board, pointed out to me amongst the hundreds of fish we collected, the difference between the blue back and the real cohoe.

The former runs much earlier than the latter, and is seldom over 6 lb. in weight; the latter were, he stated, just beginning to run—then the middle of August—and the largest on board weighed 14 lb.

It was not, however, till my return from Vancouver that I came across the volume on Salmon and Trout of the American Sportsman's Library, edited by Caspar Whitman, and there found recorded all that is known about the salmon and trout of the Pacific Coast.

To begin with, the Pacific salmon does not belong to the genus "Salmo," but to the genus "Oncorhynchus," which, according to Messrs. C. H. Townsend and H. W. Smith, the authors of the most interesting chapters on the Pacific salmon in the above-mentioned book, is peculiar to the Pacific Coast.

One peculiarity of the Pacific salmon seems to be that they invariably die after spawning, and never return to the sea.

In the case of the humpback, I saw this for[33] myself later on in the season, when every stream was literally a mass of moving fish all pushing up to the head-waters, and there dying in vast numbers.

The tyee salmon, "Oncorhynchus tschawytscha," has many names. It is known to the Indians as "Chinook," "tyee" and "quinnat," to others as the Columbia salmon, the Sacramento and King salmon.

It appears to range from Monterey Bay, California, as far north as Alaska.

Messrs. Townsend and Smith state that in the Yukon and Norton Sounds it attains a weight of 110 lb., and in the Columbia 80 lb.

The largest I saw caught at Campbell River weighed close on 70 lb. The largest fish brought to the hotel by any of us was about 60 lb.

The blue back salmon, "Oncorhynchus Nerka," is stated by the same authorities to run up to 15 lb., and the average to be under 5 lb.

This would appear from its description to correspond with the fish pointed out to me by the Cannery manager as blue back—though I cannot quite reconcile its other names: red fish, red salmon, Fraser River salmon and Sockeye—for the fishermen at Campbell River spoke of the Sockeye as quite a different fish, running at a different season of the year.

No doubt, however, the scientists are right.[34] I only wish I had known of this valuable book before instead of after my visit.

Another of the "Oncorhynchi" is the humpback, "Oncorhynchus Gorbuscha," averaging about 5 lb.

I only saw one caught on the rod at Campbell River.

At the mouth of the Oyster River, some miles south, I saw them one evening in incredible numbers, and though right in the middle of immense shoals, I could not get them to look at fly or spoon. A few yards up the river they were said sometimes to take the fly.

The silver salmon, "Oncorhynchus Kisutch," known also as "Kisutch," "Skowitz," Hoopid and lastly Cohoe, is stated to attain a weight of 30 lb.—the average weight being about 8 lb. As stated before, the largest I saw was 14 lb. and the largest I caught 12 lb.

The above being the fish I met with at Campbell River, I need not enter into the other varieties. One interesting fact mentioned in the book to which I am indebted for all the above information is that the steel-head salmon is one of the "Salmonidæ." "Salmo Gairdnerii" differs from all other Pacific salmon, in that it alone returns to the sea after spawning, thus following the habits of the true "Salmonidæ."


The only trout I came across at Campbell River or throughout my trip was that known as the cut-throat, so called from the red slash on the throat.

On turning to Mr. Wilson's article on "The Trout of America," I was surprised to find that there were thirteen varieties of this fish, but so far as I could identify those I caught, they must come under the heading of "Salmo Clarkii," the cut-throat or Columbia River trout.

After many inquiries and after having visited the aquarium at New York, I was led to believe that my fish was the "Salmo Clarkii Pleuriticus," but as those I caught had no lateral red band they must have been the "Salmo Clarkii."

The largest I caught weighed 5 lb., and, as I have mentioned before, it was caught in the sea on a large spoon one and a half miles from the river, when trolling for tyee.

The number of fish which frequent the Campbell River waters is almost incredible. When it is realized that between one and two thousand salmon of the various kinds are collected daily by the Cannery launch, and that all these have been caught with rod and hand-line—the great majority with hand-line—some idea may be formed of their numbers.


No one fishing at the Campbell River should miss the trip, which through the courtesy of the manager at Quatiaski Cove is always possible, of going with the Cannery steam-launch on its daily round collecting fish at the various stations, north and south.

Starting from Quatiaski early in the morning, the run is down to Cape Mudge, where perhaps thirty or forty boats, mostly Indian, have been working their hand-lines the evening before. From Cape Mudge up to the Seymour Narrows, about seven miles, many calls are made.

Picturesque Indian camps are numerous all along the shore, and at each of these a stop is made. The canoes come crowding alongside, and the fish are checked as they are thrown into the deep well in the centre of the launch.

Each Indian has a book in which is entered to his credit the number of his fish, and the launch passes on to the next collecting station, to which single canoes from all sides are gathering. On the return the boats of the successful hotel fishermen stop the launch and hand over their catch, for the fish caught are the perquisites of the men who row the boats.

On the day I made the trip we collected about 1,500 salmon.

The business of the Cannery must be a profitable one. So far as I could gather there were[37] but two prices: 50 cents for a tyee, no matter what his weight was, and 10 cents for each smaller fish.

Associated with the Cannery is a general store kept by the Cannery owners, and payment is partly made in goods, so the Cannery has the double profit, first on the fish and then on the goods bartered in exchange.






A MORNING'S CATCH. 10 lb., 46 lb., 47 lb., 58 lb.
[To face page 41.



July 30th I looked forward to as a red-letter day in my life, for was I not to have my first chance for that 70 lb. fish, about which I had dreamt for so many years?

The early morning (we were all up at 6 a.m.) was spent in getting my tackle ship-shape, and, most important of all, in engaging the services of a good boatman—for on his strength and willingness to "buck the tide," as they happily term rowing against the strong tidal currents, depends largely the chance of success.

The man I selected was a fine boatman. Keen on getting fish—jealous of all others of his craft, and with a capacity for bucking about himself, and what he had done and could do, which I have seldom seen equalled.

His command of strong and even highly flavoured language was remarkable, but a little of it went a long way. When I asked his name, he replied, "Every one calls me Billy." No one on the West coast seems to have a surname, so "Billy" he was to me for all my fishing days.


Billy was, I should say, about twenty-three years of age, slightly built, but extraordinarily strong with an oar. His temper was not of the best, and when I lost a fish he always considered that I was to blame, and resented the unfortunate fact as if it were a personal insult to his own powers as a boatman.

I don't believe he ever thought of the Cannery or of the sum which under happier auspices would have stood to his credit. His pay was three dollars a day (12s.) plus the value of the fish. His appetite corresponded with his pay, which was large.

He was willing to row all day long with suitable intervals for his meals—but any attempt to keep him on the water at meal-time was somewhat sulkily resented.

We fished together for some thirty days, more or less harmoniously, and there was only one great explosion which threatened to sever our connection.

Through his gross stupidity my boat, which was being towed behind the Cannery launch, was upset, and I had the pleasure of seeing all my fishing-tackle, fly-books, the companions of years—all my pet flies, spoons, spring balance—sunk in sixty feet of water—£20 worth of tackle gone in a moment.

Fortunately I had taken my rod and camera[43] on board the launch, or they, too, would have been lost.

It was infra dig. that he should express any regret, and very unreasonable from his point of view that I should show any annoyance, which I did in what I considered very moderate terms, considering the provocation.

On landing, he suggested that I did not seem satisfied with him, which was quite true, and that "Joe," a hated rival, was disengaged and available.

I very nearly took him at his word and "fired him out"—but we made it up somehow, and he remained my boatman, though I never quite forgave the loss of so much valuable tackle.

Fortunately I had only a few more fishing days left and had some spare tackle to replace what was gone.

Our opening day was simply glorious, a bright sun and a crispness in the air which made one feel that it was good to be alive.

The scenery was exquisite. The sea calm as a mill-pond, only broken by the oily swirls of the rushing tide, and then there was the possibility of that long-hoped-for big fish, who did not come that day, though every pull from a cohoe might have been him.

Billy was positively polite, as it was his first[44] day. Why many of these West coast men should imagine that politeness means servility, while roughness and rudeness only show equality and independence of character, I never could understand.

It was not long before I was in a fish, but as he was only a 5½ lb. cohoe, he was hauled in with scant ceremony and was soon in the net.

As I shall have something to say about tackle later on, I would only now mention that I was fishing with a fourteen-foot Deeside spinning rod, made by Blacklaw of Kincardine.

I had a large Nottingham reel with 200 yards of tarpon line, purchased in England, not, alas! in New York; a heavy gut trace with large brass swivels which would have frightened any but a Vancouver salmon; a 4 oz. lead, I afterwards came to a 6 oz., and one of Farlow's spoons specially made for the tastes of Vancouver salmon.

My bag that day, fishing morning and evening, was only six cohoe, weighing 3O½ lb. and one cod about 5 lb. I never had a pull from a tyee.

The row home that evening compensated for everything. The sun was setting behind the snow-covered peaks of the Vancouver Mountains, bare and cold below the snow-line, but[45] gradually clothed with foliage down the slopes till the dense pine forest of the plain between the mountains and the sea was reached, from which the evening mists were beginning to rise. In the foreground, the sea, like molten glass, reflected the exquisite colouring of the northern sunset, its surface broken by the eddies of the making tide, or the occasional splash of a leaping salmon. Across the Straits on the Mainland, the tops of the great mountains clothed with eternal snow were lit up a rose-pink by the rays of the setting sun.

I have seldom seen a more beautiful scene, or one which gave such a deep sense of peace. There was a grandeur and immensity about it which satisfied one's very soul, it amply justified the realization of the call of the wild which had brought me so many thousand miles to those distant shores.

The morning of the 31st found me late in starting, as I had to interview Cecil Smith, who was to be my guide, companion and friend on my hunting trip in September.

On that morning, I got only two cohoes of 5½ and 4½ lb., one spring salmon of 9 lb., and as there was evidently no take on, I went up the river for a short time. I saw no salmon, but landed three cut-throat trout weighing 3½ lb., one a good fish of 2 lb.


On the way home to luncheon I killed a 20 lb. fish—a small tyee, and going out for half-an-hour in the evening after dinner lost a heavy fish.

Bad luck as regards the big fish still pursued me. It was true the big run of tyee had not yet begun, but a few were being taken from day to day.

On the morning of August 1st I hooked a heavy fish, but in his second big race, the line slipped over the drum of the Nottingham reel and the inevitable break came.

My catch that day was only three cohoes and three cut-throat trout.

A very high north wind blowing against the tide raised a heavy swell, and fishing was impossible in the afternoon.

August 2nd, I fished all the morning without getting a pull, so decided to try to go up the river to the falls, which attempt, as previously described, was not a success.

Returning to the sea in the afternoon I found Griswold with three fine fish, of 59, 45 and 40 lb. I landed a small tyee of 30½ lb. and four cohoe weighing 20 lb.

On August 3rd, I got my first good fish of 53 lb. and another of 42 lb. The tide was running strong and the 53 lb. fish took out about 120 yards of line, but eventually I got[47] him in hand, when he made two wild runs—threw himself clean out of the water each time and then went to the bottom like a stone and sulked.

It took me just under an hour to kill that fish, and I found that he was foul hooked on the side of the head.

The 42 lb. fish was a lively one and tired himself out by repeated runs—he never got to the bottom and in about fifteen minutes he came to the gaff.

In addition to the two tyee, I had seven cohoe weighing 46½ lb., so luck was beginning to turn.

August 4th was a great day. Four tyee, 45, 44½, 42½ and 35 lb.; one cohoe, 6 lb.; one cut-throat trout, 5 lb., a picture of a fish; one sea trout, 2 lb., and one cod, 5 lb.; all before two o'clock.

There was a big take in the evening, and I missed it by getting out too late.

Griswold had five tyee, the largest 47 lb.; I came in for the tail end of the take and only picked up eight cohoe, weighing 43½ lb., and one spring salmon, 13 lb. Total weight for the day: 240½ lb.

August 5th. I had two tyee, 45 and 37 lb., and sixteen cohoe averaging about 6 lb., and so on day after day, with varying luck and[48] always hoping for that 70 lb. fish which never came.

On August 10th, I got my second biggest fish. The spring tides were racing up and down the Straits and it was impossible to hold a boat, much less row it against the tide.

By this time from a study of the bottom, at low water, I had a fair idea of how the fish ran up and down with the tide. I accordingly anchored my boat off a point I knew the fish were bound to pass. The anchor was fixed on to a log of wood to which the boat was moored by a running knot. It was Billy's duty to cast off the moment I was in a fish.

The greatest race of the tide was at about half flood, and the current was so strong that the heavy spoon and 6 oz. lead were swept away like a cork. Letting out about thirty yards of line and giving Billy the rod to hold, I began casting with the fly, using a fourteen-foot Castleconnell rod, fine tackle and a two-inch silver doctor. I soon had a sea trout, 2½ lb., and two cohoe, besides many rises, and grand sport these fish gave in the racing tide on a light rod.

I had just killed my last fish when the scream of the reel on the rod which Billy was holding told me we were in a big fish. Taking the rod from Billy, I told him to cast off. The fish[49] was racing up with the tide some 150 yards away, but the rope was fouled, or Billy bungled, and the result was a smash.

Hardly had I got out another spoon when I was in another fish. I was evidently lying in their track. This time we got away, and how that fish raced! Before I knew where I was we were up about a mile, being literally towed by him on the flowing tide before I could get him in hand. I eventually killed him, almost opposite the hotel, one and a half miles from where I had hooked him: weight, 59 lb.

In the evening I got two tyee of 47 and 46 lb. The big fish's measurements were: length, 47½ inches; greatest girth, 31½ inches, and girth round the anal fin, 22 inches.

The well-known formula for estimating the weight of a fish from measurement is as follows—

girth^2 × length  =  weight.

Applying this formula, the weight worked out just 59 lb., which the scales corroborated. The weighing machine, an old rusty steelyard, set up on the beach in front of the hotel, left a good deal to be desired; but I had a spring balance weighing up to 60 lb., which I tested at the local store and found to be quite accurate.


On August 24th heavy clouds were piling up, and a break in the glorious weather we had enjoyed from the beginning of August seemed imminent.

On August 26th, my last day at the hotel, I started to fish in a heavy gale from the south-east, the worst wind one could have in these waters.

Though leaving that night and having all my packing to do, I determined to have one last try for the big fish which had so far evaded me.

There was a heavy sea on and it was almost impossible to hold the boat, but Billy was on his mettle for the last day's fishing and really did wonders.

On the way down to the mouth of the river, I got a 10 lb. cohoe, and on arriving at the best ground I put on a big brass spoon, which Mr. Daggett had kindly lent me, about twice as long as the Farlow spoon. I was letting out the spoon when I got a tremendous pull and a very short run, which apparently took the fish to the bottom or into some kelp. There he remained and simply sulked without taking out a yard of line.

The rod was bent double and I put on all the strain possible, but it was a full three-quarters of an hour before I could see my lead coming up to the surface, and my arms and back were aching. How the rod did not break I cannot[51] understand, for the fish came up gradually from straight under the boat; but at last I had the gaff in the biggest but least sporting fish I had killed during the month. He weighed 59½ lb. at the hotel, having lost a good deal of blood, and must have been over 60 lb. when he came out of the water. The brass spoon was either bitten or broken in half.

TWO GOOD FISH. 53 lb., 42 lb.

A 60 lb. FISH
[To face page 50.

Having killed forty-one tyee, fished steadily for a month, and seen most of the fish that were caught, I do not think many fish over 60 lb. are killed. One fish caught by a hand-line and small spoon by a young settler named Pidcock, I weighed, and he must have been close on 70 lb. My spring balance went down with a rush to its limit of 60 lb., and I heard afterwards that when weighed at the Cannery it scaled 68 lb., so when fresh must have been close on 70 lb. This was the biggest fish I saw on the coast.

Farther north there are other fishing grounds well worth a visit, where the fish are said to run up to 100 lb.—such are the Kitimaat River and McCallister's Bay at the entrance to Gardner Canal, about four hundred miles north of Campbell River.

A steamer runs direct to Kitimaat and Hartley Bay once a month. Accommodation[52] can be had at Kitimaat, but a camp is necessary at McCallister's Bay. Fish run as early as May. Campbell River is getting too well known, and there are too many boats on the water.

The following amusing description of an evening's fishing is from the clever pen of J. G. Millais, and was published in Country Life. I venture to reproduce it—

"Amidst gorgeous sunset hues we went to fish the usual beat opposite the Indian village on August 11th. The sun had already set, when of a sudden a suppressed excitement ran through the boats. A fresh run of tyee were in and had begun to take. Three or four Indians were 'fast' at once, and yells for help came down the line. In a moment, while close to the beacon stake at the mouth of the river, Mr. Powell, Sir John Rogers and I were 'into' fish at the same moment.

"Then the circus began. 'Look out there; don't you see I'm fast?' 'Confound you; get up your line, or I'll be over you.' 'Gangway, gangway,' 'Where the devil are you coming to!' 'Mind your oars,' 'He's off to the tide. Hurry' (Mac or Bill, as the case might be); 'row like blazes,' were a few of the cries that broke from excited anglers, while [53]even phlegmatic Indians grinned or yelled 'tyee, tyee' in sympathetic encouragement. We all cleared each other somehow. I do not quite know how. Sir John was whisked straight out to sea, and was a quarter of a mile off in no time. Mr. Powell broke, while my fish, to my horror, went straight for the beacon. I lugged at him to steer clear, and he took the hint so forcibly that he burnt my finger on the line with the rush he made for the deep water. It was like poor Dan Leno's hunting song, 'Away, away and away. I don't know where we're going to, but away and away and away.' We could hear men laughing and joking in the darkness behind, and then in a moment we were out of it all in the silence of the boiling tide. Mac was a good boatman, and the way he followed that tyee in the eight-knot current did him credit. This was the strongest fish I have ever hooked. He seemed to do with us just what he chose, and we, like sheep, had to follow. If he had carried out his first laudable intention of a visit to Queen Charlotte Islands he might have defeated us, but seemingly he altered his plan and made a fierce hundred yards' run for the curl of the current at the mouth of the Campbell River. Here there were nasty lumps of floating kelp, and the two anglers fishing there received our return landwards [54]with shouts of warning. In the gloom I could see by their attitudes that they were intensely interested in our welfare, for the next best thing to playing a fish yourself is to watch another at the game. Then began a series of 'magnificent cruises.' It is part of the interest in salmon-fishing that the fish you have 'on' is infinitely larger than anything previously hooked. Generally it is a pleasant delusion; but sometimes it is true, and then the conflicting emotions of the play and the thrill of subsequent capture are something to live for.

"My fish was, I knew, the biggest I had ever hooked, so one had to follow the same old ways of playing him, coupled with such extra force as that stout tackle warranted. After every great circuit of the boat I resorted to all sorts of devices for tiring my antagonist, but he refused to give in or to allow me to shorten the line. But my fish was as gallant a fighter as ever was hatched, and the better the fighter the quicker he kills himself. Half-an-hour has elapsed and I see the lead six feet up the line for the first time. Soon we shall see back and tail. Yes, there they are, and what a monster. He must be 60 lb. at least. At last he shows side, and that is the beginning of the end. Mac, an indifferent gaffer under the most favourable circumstances, now surpasses himself[55] in the fields of incompetence. He makes one or two feeble shots, and then, getting the gaff well home, attempts to lift the fish as I throw my weight on to the reverse side of the light boat to prevent an upset. He heaves with both hands, and a great head appears, when crack goes the steel, and Mac sits down heavily in the boat, looking supremely foolish. I was not distressed, however, as that brief view of the fish's head had shown me the hook well placed; moreover, I knew that somewhere under the thwarts we possessed a goodly club. Mac, after a few moments' search, produced the truncheon, and, at the first attempt, stunned the salmon with a well-directed blow, and lifting it with his hand drew it into the boat. Ha! this is a fish indeed; one of the best of the season, we flatter ourselves, and 60 lb. for certain. But no; those cruel scales blast our hopes by 3 lb. Still, a fifty-seven-pounder is something to be proud of, and we rowed home that night at peace with the world. This, then, is Campbell River fishing for the great tyee salmon. If you wish to collect records you can do so by sitting all day in your boat for a month and using a tarpon-rod, which kills the biggest fish in two minutes, and a Vom Hofe reel, which carries a drag that would stop a buffalo."


If there are many Indians out the rod has not much chance, for their canoes cross and recross in every direction, and as they fish with a short hand-line, a long line let out from the rod is apt to get fouled.

Fortunately, their favourite ground is by Cape Mudge Lighthouse, where the cohoe abound. I only tried this water once, and was so jostled by Indian canoes that I determined to stick to the tyee and the mouth of the Campbell River.

The large majority of the salmon were really sporting fish. The cohoe had no chance with the strong tackle necessary for the tyee, but still were wonderfully lively, and when caught with light tackle on the fly, gave great sport.

In one respect they were all a hopeless failure—they were quite unfit to eat. Why it should be so I cannot say. Perfect to look at, as good as any Atlantic fish, the flesh was like cotton wool, dry and devoid of all flavour. On the other hand, the cut-throat trout were excellent eating.

During the entire month of August we had little or no rain. The climate was absolutely ideal and the eye never tired of the exquisite scenery, varying in colouring and effect every day.

The row of one and a half miles from the[57] hotel to the best fishing ground, if the tide was not favourable, was a drawback, and personally I should prefer to pitch a camp on one of the many excellent sites at the mouth of the Campbell River, so one would be independent of the hotel hours and meals. When the tide is not favourable, a good plan is to leave the boat at the mouth of the river and walk home along the shore to the hotel for meals.

The fish generally took best at the turn of the tide, and about half water. Many enthusiasts were out at 3 and 4 a.m. and in some cases struck a good rise, but these early mornings without a cup of tea, I fear, did not often appeal to me.

The following table shows my bag day by day—

  Spring Cut-Sea
     No.    W.    No.    W.    No.    W.    No.    W.    No.    W.

So the last day had come and the fishing was to be a memory of the past. Our pleasant party was broken up—Millais and his young undergraduate friends, Powell and Stern, had gone north to Wrangel to start on their hunting trip in Alaska; Griswold back to New York,[59] planning the construction of a special boat and the adding of the great tuna to his many trophies of big sea fish. Daggett alone remained, seated daily in the comfortable armchair he had rigged up in his boat, still intent on that 70 lb. fish we had all hoped for, but failed to secure.

The pleasant days of friendly intercourse had come to an end. No more the quiet row home in the gloaming after a successful or moderately successful day. No more the nightly gathering on the beach and the weighing of the great fish. The weather itself looked despondent, and was making up its mind to break. The certainty of the past was over, the uncertainty of the future before me, and it was with a sad heart I bade farewell to the Willows Hotel, and to the fishing days that were now no more.

The depressing hour of 1 a.m. found me sitting on the end of the pier waiting for the arrival of the Queen City, which was only an hour late, and once more I was bound for the unknown.







As regards tackle, one rule only must be followed: everything must be of the best, and the best is to be obtained either in England or New York.

The choice of a rod is a difficult matter, and depends altogether on the individual idea of what constitutes sport.

If by sport is meant the taking of the greatest number of fish in the shortest possible time, in fact the making of a record—no rod is necessary. Follow the Indian method of fishing with a strong hand-line and no trace, the spoon being fastened on to the line direct. The moment the fish is on, if a small one, he is hauled hand over hand up to the canoe and jerked in—if a tyee, he is played by hand. I have never seen one allowed to make a race, and when fairly done he is hauled alongside the canoe, the line held short with the left hand, while a sharp blow on the head is administered with a wooden club, and he is then done for and lifted into the boat—no gaff being used.


It is astonishing how quick the Indians are in killing even a large tyee by this method. The hand playing apparently takes all the life out of the fish, and the strong tackle does the rest.

I have seen many white men follow this system—but they were all fishing for business and the Cannery. Only one white man from the hotel fished in this way, and I don't think any of us envied him his so-called sport.

The take comes on quite unexpectedly—boats will be rowing backwards and forwards without a pull. Suddenly the take comes on and nearly every boat may be in a fish. He, therefore, who can kill his fish quickest will make the biggest bag, if record breaking be his object.

I have seen one Indian canoe bring in over one hundred fish in a day's fishing—but is this sport? I think all true fishermen will say it is not.

After the hand-line comes the rod, and again, if the object be to catch as many fish as possible while the take is on, a small tarpon rod with a Vom Hofe multiplying reel and an 18-thread tarpon line, practically unbreakable, may be used.


One American tarpon fisher, Mr. Griswold, a true sportsman too, followed this method and naturally defended it. I do not in any way criticize his methods, I only felt they did not appeal to me. It is true I have seen him kill three fish while I was killing one, but I did not feel at all envious.

Generous to a degree, he more than once offered to fit me out and instruct me in the art of "pumping" fish, but though much tempted, I did not fall. Had I succumbed, I much fear I should have become an ardent advocate of tarpon methods applied to tyee salmon.

On the other hand, to fish for tyee with a highly finished 18-foot split cane, or other make of rod, seemed to me out of place. There were some who did it and gloried in the fact that they had caught a great tyee on an ordinary home salmon rod.

It seemed to me a waste of good material, for the rod was likely to be broken or permanently strained in the process of lifting a great fish from the depths of the sea—for after one or two rushes taking out 100 to 150 yards of line, the tyee will often go straight down to the bottom, stand on his head and sulk, and then you want that power to bring him up which only a very stiff rod possesses.


One of our number who had killed many a salmon at home, fished with an ordinary 18-foot rod. The fish seemed to do what it liked with him, and it generally ended in the rod being lowered till the tip touched the water, and the boat disappearing in tow of the fish, up or down the Straits with the racing tide.

In fact the fish was being played on the line from the reel without the power of a hand-line. To give him the butt would have inevitably resulted in breaking the rod. Yet this good sportsman sometimes got his fish and came back triumphant, having had him on for a couple of hours.

The local rods, whether those to be obtained in Vancouver or at the store on the pier at Campbell River, seemed to me most inferior in quality and workmanship, and the same applies to all other tackle, except possibly the leads, which are too heavy to carry about and which can be purchased locally.

As stated before, I used a three-piece Deeside spinning rod, twelve feet long, built by Blacklaw of Kincardine—but I must confess that twice my tip was broken by the strain of the weight of a big fish which had to be brought up to the gaff from the bottom of the sea.


Many a time was this little rod bent double, till I wondered how it ever bore the strain. On it I had killed all my tyee and most of my cohoe, but it suffered in the process, and the middle and top joints had to be replaced on my return home. If I were going again, I should feel inclined to take a 10-foot rod built on the same lines and of the very best material and workmanship. Such a rod would give more power and stiffness than the 12-foot rod.

Besides the 12-foot rod, I had a 14-foot three-piece Castleconnell rod, an old friend. This I used for fishing for cohoe with the fly, and grand sport they gave in the racing tide on a rod which played its fish right down to the reel. An ordinary 12-foot trout rod for the cut-throat trout completed my rod equipment.

Reels and Lines.—I started with a large Nottingham reel, but soon gave it up. It had the advantage, of course, of not rusting, but the workmanship could not stand the rush of a heavy fish. I lost big fish by the line slipping over the drum and jamming, though I had fixed up the usual guard improvised out of the brass wire handle of a tin can purchased locally. I then came to my largest bronze[68] salmon reel, after which I had no more trouble—though the salt water caused rusting of the screws.

The reel should take 200 yards of tarpon line and be of the very best and strongest make. The Vom Hofe multiplying reels are perfect specimens of workmanship, and the attached leather drag worked by pressure with the thumb is an excellent device. In fact, for the big fish, from tyee to tarpon, I think the American tackle makers beat us as regards reels and lines.

I purchased two tarpon lines in London; who the maker was I cannot say. One did good service, the other seemed of inferior quality, for it broke without any special reason.

I should recommend 200 yards of 18 or 21 Vom Hofe tarpon line, which now can be purchased in England at Messrs. Farlow & Son's, or in New York.

One great advantage of this line is that it need neither be washed in fresh water after use in the sea nor dried. It can remain on the reel wet without rotting.

Gaff.—Farlow makes a specially strong gaff lashed into a long ash or hazel handle. I found this quite satisfactory. On the other hand, the American fishermen use quite a short gaff,[69] but fishing with a six or seven foot tarpon rod they can bring the fish much closer up to the side of the boat.

A good strong landing net capable of taking a fish up of eight or ten pounds is most useful, and saves gaffing the smaller salmon.

Flies.—I started with the idea that the ordinary trout fly on No. 11 or 13 hook should be as good in Vancouver as it was in Scotland. I had very soon to acknowledge my mistake—the trout preferred a small salmon fly on No. 8 hook; silver grey, silver doctor, Wilkinson and Jock Scott, I found the best patterns.

The cohoe took a 2-inch silver doctor and rose steadily to the fly.

Spoons and Minnows.—Spoons can be obtained locally, either in Vancouver or in the Campbell River Store, but I should recommend their being purchased in England. The spoon specially made by Farlow is three inches long, silver on both sides, with a hook attached to the end of the spoon by a strong wire loop.

Local tastes varied, and in the local store there were many varieties of spoons. One year dull lead spoons were supposed to be most killing—another year it would be brass. Each fisherman had his special fancy.


Mr. Griswold had a silver spoon invented by a friend of his, or himself, for which a patent was about to be applied. He naturally, therefore, did not wish to give away the secret. It certainly was a most killing bait, and Mr. Griswold, between his special spoon and his tarpon methods, killed more fish than any of us for the time he remained at the Campbell River.

He most generously lent me one of his pet spoons on a day he was hauling in fish and I was getting nothing. I was promptly in a big fish which broke me, owing to the line jamming round the Nottingham reel, and away went the patent spoon. I did not feel justified in examining the spoon too closely or taking a drawing of it. It seemed longer than the Farlow spoon. The hook was suspended by a chain and the bait seemed to wobble rather than spin. The material was metal with bright silver plating.

An ordinary large-sized silver Devon Minnow spun from the boat, or at Cape Mudge from the shore, will take cohoe, and good sport can be obtained in this way.

A Tacomah spoon is deadly for cut-throat trout, but I preferred the fly.

Traces.—I took out some specially strong[71] gut spinning traces made by Farlow, but I do not think any traces are necessary. The line is quite as invisible as the trace, and a few feet can be made into a trace by fixing two or three swivels—bronze, if possible, instead of bright brass—about two feet apart.

For fly fishing, good stout loch casting lines which will land a five or seven pound fish are sufficient. Very fine trout casts are unnecessary, except for trout in the river.

Leads.—These can be purchased locally, and one is saved the trouble of adding to the weight of baggage.

The method of fastening the lead on to the line all depends on whether it is decided to lose the lead when the fish is hooked or to fix it permanently on the line. A six-ounce lead when the fish is being played takes away considerably from the pleasure, owing to the dead weight on the rod. On the other hand, if it be decided to lose the lead each time a fish is hooked, a couple of hundred leads may be required.

In the former case, two methods can be adopted: loop up the line about twenty feet from the spoon with a piece of thread, on which is hung the lead; when the strike comes the thread is broken and the lead slips off—or, as[72] described by Mr. Whitney: Tie two swivels on the line, nine inches apart; a small ring is soldered to one end of the lead, join the two swivels by a piece of weak cotton, thread the cotton through the ring of the lead and shorten it to four inches, which loops up the line, and when the strike comes the lead is released.

In the latter case, which I adopted, I found the simplest way was to cut the line about ten feet from the spoon and fasten the lead by two split rings and two swivels. Starting with a four-ounce lead I soon came to a six ounce, which I believe to be the most suitable, certainly in spring tides.

Odds and Ends.—One must carry out all one's own repairs, therefore an ample supply of repairing material and spare tackle must be taken.

Strong silk for splicing breakages, cobbler's wax, seccotine or liquid glue, rod varnish, spare hooks, split rings, bronze single and double swivels, fine copper wire, snake rod rings, and screws for reels.

A small portable case of tools, such as the "Bonsa," is invaluable, and with this and a sharp clasp knife most current repairs can be made.


Two good spring balances are advisable, one weighing up to seventy or eighty pounds, and one up to fifteen pounds. Both should be tested, which avoids any dispute afterwards as to their accuracy.







The morning of the 27th fulfilled the promise of the previous day. The weather had at last broken, and it was in a dense wetting mist that we crept north, bound for Alert Bay. We had no delay at the Seymour Narrows, which can only be navigated at a certain state of the tide. The whole force of the Pacific runs through these narrows—not more than half-a-mile broad—and the eddies and whirlpools that are formed are terrifying. There is one great rock in the middle of the passage—a special source of danger.

I had visited these narrows in a steam launch from the hotel, and had there seen the water at its worst—a wonderful sight; but the tide was now suitable, and as the Queen City passed through there was only a strong current.

The best guides and hunters are always snapped up early in the season, and before I left England, Mr. Bryan Williams had secured for me the services of Cecil Smith—better known in the local sporting world as "Cougar"[78] Smith, from the number of cougars he had shot. As he lived at Quatiaski Cove, immediately opposite the Willows Hotel, I had frequently met him and discussed our plans together.

We had arranged to go from Alert Bay up the Nimquish River to the Nimquish Lake, from which we were to strike in north-west to some valleys in the interior where wapiti were reported as fairly plentiful. Cecil Smith did not know the ground personally, but his brother Eustace, who had been in that part of the country several times, was to meet us at Alert Bay and act as head guide. Unfortunately for us, at the last moment he was unable to come, and we had to find our way as best we could in an unknown and unmapped country. I had to find a man to replace Eustace Smith, and was fortunate in picking up Joe Thomson at Campbell River, and two better men than Smith and Thomson I could not have had.

Smith was to act as head hunter and guide and Thomson more particularly look after the cooking and camp generally. Thomson came on board with me and we picked up Smith at Quitiaski Cove at about 4 a.m.

Two other members of the party were even of more interest to me than the men. They were "Dick" and "Nigger," the latter generally[79] known as "Satan." "Dick," who belonged to Smith, was a most adorable dog and celebrated throughout Vancouver for treeing cougars; indeed, as Smith himself acknowledged, he owed his reputation as a cougar hunter to Dick, who did everything except the actual shooting. It was difficult to say what Dick's breed was. He looked like a cross between a spaniel and a retriever. He was one of the most fascinating dog characters I have ever met. He adored his master, who returned his worship, but ingratiated himself with every one; soon discovering that I had a warm corner in my heart for all dogs, we at once became fast friends.

"Nigger," the property of Thomson, was a powerful, black, evil-looking bull terrier, but like many of his kind his character belied his looks, for he really was a soft-hearted, affectionate beast with a special ability for making himself comfortable under any circumstances. Thomson asserted that if there was no food, "Nigger" subsisted on berries, and he was an adept at catching fish for himself in the river. He had had some trouble with the authorities at Comox in a matter of sheep, and so a temporary absence from his native town was desirable, and he became, to his great joy, one of our party.


At 2 p.m. on the 27th we arrived at Alert Bay, which is situated on an island opposite where the Nimquish River discharges itself into the sea. Alert Bay is an important settlement of the Siwash Indians, and the village possesses one of the most remarkable collections of Totem Poles on the coast.

The question was, where to put up—hotels there were none. Mr. Chambers, the local merchant, had in the most generous manner built an annexe to his charming house, containing several bedrooms, but they were all occupied. Fortunately, I had been introduced to Mr. Halliday, the Alert Bay Indian Agent, at Campbell River, and he most kindly offered me a shakedown on a sofa in his drawing-room, which I gratefully accepted. I found Mr. Halliday was devoted to music, but seldom could find an accompanist—while to accompany was a pleasure to me, and we passed the evening going through many songs I had not heard for years, which recalled the Old Country and days long gone by.

Eustace Smith met us here and gave a rough sketch map to his brother Cecil, and indeed pointed out to us the peak on Vancouver Island under which we were to camp, and which only looked about fifteen miles off as the crow flies, and yet what difficulty we had afterwards to find our way through the impenetrable forest!


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The morning of the 28th was spent in sorting out the kit we could take with us, which, as packing was our only means of transport, had to be cut down to nothing. Mine consisted of two flannel shirts, one change of underclothing, two pairs of socks, one sweater, one spare pair of boots, a few handkerchiefs, sponge, soap and towel. One Hudson Bay blanket, for it was not yet cold in the woods, and one waterproof ground sheet in which the pack was made up, completed my outfit. The men had a single fly to sleep under. My tent, which Mr. Williams had kindly ordered for me in Vancouver, was of the lean-to pattern, made with a flap which let down in front in bad weather, completely closing the tent. Being made of so-called silk, it weighed only five pounds. It measured 7 feet × 6 feet, was about 7 feet high in front and sloped back to about 2 feet high behind. It was most comfortable so long as one slept on the ground, but was not high enough behind to take even a small camp bedstead. It was quite waterproof, but should a spark from the fire fall on it, a hole was burnt rapidly. I understand that the following renders the silk almost fire-proof—


Dissolve half-a-pound of powdered alum in a bucket of soft boiling water. In another bucket half-a-pound sugar of lead; when dissolved and clear, pour first the alum solution, then the sugar of lead, into another vessel; after several hours pour off the water, letting any thick sediment remain, and soak the tent, kneading it well: wring out and hang up to dry.

Camp furniture I had none. A tin plate, knife, fork and spoon for each man; a nest of cooking pots which Thomson provided, a small tin basin in which we washed and which also served to mix our bread, and lastly the invaluable portable tin baker which will roast or bake anything. It was strange that the Hudson Bay Stores at Vancouver could not provide light cooking utensils suitable for packing. They had excellent blankets, waterproof sheets and the larger articles of camp equipment, but light cooking utensils there were none. Mr. Williams took infinite trouble to get a nest of cooking pots made for me, but on their arrival at Campbell River they were found impossible owing to their weight, so I made them a present to Smith.

We fitted out as regards provisions at Mr. Chambers' Store: the usual articles of food—bacon, pork, beans, tea, sugar, flour, baking[83] powder, oatmeal, dried apples and peaches, a couple of tins of meat, a couple of tins of jam—one of which only sufficed for a meal—some butter as a great treat, and a few potatoes and onions on which I insisted.

No liquor could be purchased in Alert Bay; the sale was prohibited on account of the Indian Settlement. Fortunately, I had secured two bottles of rum from the Queen City, or otherwise I should have fared badly—as it was, I had to be content with about a dessertspoonful of rum each night before turning in. It is said that the Indians will do anything for liquor, and once they get hold of any, drink without any self-restraint. At Campbell River I had more than once seen an Indian lying on the side of the road hopelessly drunk and insensible. It is therefore a wise provision that the sale of liquor should be prohibited at Alert Bay. The settlement was full of Indians and their squaws, and a very unattractive lot the squaws were. Once having seen them, it was difficult to believe in the immorality with which they are credited. These Siwashes seemed a degraded race, and one heard of men who deliberately took their wives to logging camps to live on their earnings.

The provisions we laid in were supposed to[84] last three men for twenty days, and I was assured we would be helped out with game, an occasional deer, ruffled grouse and plenty of fish once we got into the forest.

A man cannot carry a pack weighing more than eighty pounds in the country we had to traverse, and, having cut down everything to the absolute necessaries of life, we still had to make double trips to get our stuff into camp, wasting a day each time.

We got away in the afternoon and crossed the Straits to the mouth of the Nimquish River in an Indian canoe. About a mile up the river was the comfortable log house of B. Lansdown, a settler. We were lucky enough to find him at home and he agreed to be the third man of our party. At first the idea was that he should help to pack in about three marches to where we proposed to make a permanent camp, and then return; but subsequent events compelled us to keep him the whole time. He was a fourth mouth to feed and at all times had a most excellent appetite.

Having arranged with two Siwash Indians to take us up to the lake, a distance of about seven miles, the following morning, we accepted Lansdown's invitation to put up at his house, where we were most hospitably entertained.

After some food at 5 o'clock I had my first[85] experience of a Vancouver forest. A cougar had been killing cattle in the immediate neighbourhood, and Smith's and Dick's services were requisitioned to bring him to book.

Crossing the river, we were soon in the densest and most impenetrable undergrowth I ever attempted to crawl through. We were shown the spot where the last kill had taken place, and though we spent till dusk scrambling over and under fallen trees and through a tangle of undergrowth, unable to see five yards ahead, Dick could find no trace of the cougar. It had been raining in the morning, so we were all wet to the skin, as forcing our way through the undergrowth was like taking a shower bath. Hunting the cougar is, in my opinion, unworthy of the name of sport. Success depends on having a good dog to follow up the cougar by scent and to drive him up a tree, when the hunter comes up and pots him. Why such a powerful animal—for he is as big as a panther—should be such a coward, I cannot understand. I never heard while on the coast of a single case where the cougar attacked a man. The dog he sometimes goes for, and Dick had been once severely mauled.

I confess my first attempt at hunting in the Vancouver forest was most disappointing, as I had formed no idea of the nature of the[86] forest we were to hunt in. Several people at the Campbell River Hotel had asked me if I knew what I was "up against" in deciding to try for a wapiti. Some, including my men, took a brighter view, and assured me that the dense undergrowth was only on the coast, and that as one got inland the forest became more open. Had I known what I was really "up against," I think I would have turned back, for never have I endured greater discomfort.






The morning of the 29th was fine and the river was looking lovely in the brilliant sunshine.

Just before the Indians with their canoes arrived, a doe deer came down on to the shingle across the river. As we required meat, neither sex nor season was taken into consideration. My rifle was not ready, so Smith had a shot at about 120 yards and missed. I then had a try and missed the deer, which stood without moving, but with a second shot I brought her down. In a moment "Nigger" was into the river and across worrying the carcass—what for I could not understand, for the poor beast was stone dead. It was lucky we secured this meat, for it was the last we saw for many days; but we afterwards regretted our generosity in leaving half the carcass behind as a present to our host's family.

On the arrival of the big Siwash canoe, with two Indians to pole, we loaded up our kit and at last were off on our trip. Smith went on[90] through the forest on the chance of seeing any game, when he was to communicate with me. Lansdown and Thomson went up in Lansdown's canoe, but spent most of their time in the water hauling it over the many rapids. My Indians were splendid boatmen and poled up all but one of the rapids. The river has a considerable fall from the lake, and heavy rapids and miniature cataracts alternate with deep pools—an ideal fishing water.

Without stopping to fish, I trailed a small Tacomah spoon behind the canoe and got twelve cut-throat trout, weighing 9 lb., by the time we entered the lake.

The scenery, as pure river scenery, was superb the whole way, the banks being clothed with dense forest through which the river rushed and tumbled on its short course to the sea. It reminded me very much of the scenery on the Kippewa River in Eastern Canada. The river opened out as we approached the lake, and the scenery as we entered the lake was, if possible, more beautiful than that we had passed through.

To the south extended the Nimquish Lake as far as the eye could see. The perennial snow of the Vancouver Mountains formed an impressive background, while a dense forest clothed the sides of the steep hills, which in[91] some places fell almost perpendicularly down to the lake. The evening was lovely, the lake without a ripple, mountain and forest reflected as in a mirror. The whole scene gave a feeling of peace which can only be found in communion with nature.

Camp and dinner took our thoughts away in a more practical direction, and leaving Smith and Thomson to pitch camp, Lansdown and I started for the lake end of the river to secure a few more trout for the pot.

There was the most extraordinary collection of driftwood on the beach—colossal trees lying packed across one another, showing how high the lake must rise when the torrents descend from the precipitous mountains.

On our return, we found Smith and Thomson had pitched camp in the forest near the lake, but the ground was sodden and covered with a thick moss. No drier spot could be found, so we had to make the best of it. The mosquitoes were troublesome till sunset, when they disappeared. I had the same experience during the entire trip. Very often unbearable the hour before sunset, they disappeared as night closed in, and I never had occasion to use a mosquito curtain. The nights were cold, which perhaps accounted for it.

I could not help contrasting the camp and its arrangements with my camping experience in Eastern Canada, some seven years before.[92] There we had ideal camping grounds, on the bank of some river or lake, dry sandy soil, a fairly open forest with undergrowth only in parts, and lovely views from the tent door over rushing river or placid lake. I had French Canadians for companions and guides and they have a perfect genius for making comfortable and even luxurious camps; unlimited supplies, for we travelled with two canoes, and most of our way was over lakes or rivers with short portages; a comfortable tent, and if we were to camp for two or three days, my men soon ran up a dining-table and bench under a birch bark shelter. The table was always laid with a clean napkin, and an excellent dinner of soup, fish, stuffed ruffled grouse, deliciously cooked, was served. We had plenty of knives, forks, plates and drinking cups—in fact, all the comfort which two canoes allow.

Here, we had only once a decent camp, and that was on Lake Keogh. The edges of the lake were generally swamps and piled up with driftwood. Our camps had to be pitched in the forest, a short distance from the shore of the lake, or on the bank of the river on the most level bit of land we could find. The ground was always sodden, and a few branches of damp hemlock with a waterproof sheet[93] spread over them was my bed. We each had a tin plate, cup, knife, fork and spoon. We all ate together, sitting on the damp ground in front of the camp fire. Lastly, the comforting tot of whisky at or after dinner had to be abandoned, for we had only two bottles of rum in case of illness.


[To face page 92.

At the first camp we fared quite luxuriously, for we had the venison we had brought along and the trout I had caught en route—but later on, the daily fare of bacon and beans became, to say the least, monotonous. In one thing we were lucky: Thomson baked the most delicious bread; so we were certain of good bread and tea.

The morning of the 30th broke fine and we got away about 8.30 a.m., but before long the rain came down and we plodded along through the forest for some seven hours, during which we did not cover much more than three miles.

The undergrowth was nearly everywhere dense, consisting of wine-berries and that curse of the forest, the thorny devil-club. The trees rose from one to two hundred feet in height over our heads. Windfalls of timber were numerous, adding to the difficulty of the march.

Of animal life we could see nothing. Deer[94] marks were plentiful, and in the early morning before starting we heard the melancholy howling of two wolves. Game might have been in abundance, but what was the good when it was impossible to see more than a few yards ahead. I began to have serious misgivings as to what stalking a wapiti would be like in such a country. The wapiti country was, however, far away and we had still to get there.

About 4 o'clock we pitched camp, if possible on a worse ground than that of the day before.

Packs for two men had been left behind to be brought on next day, which meant that I had to remain in camp on the 31st with nothing to do, for there was neither game nor fish in the neighbourhood. Smith went on to find the way for next day's march, and the other two men went back to bring up the loads left behind. They turned up about 7 p.m. Smith got back in the afternoon, having found Kitsewa River, which was to be our objective the next day.

About 5 p.m. the rain came down in torrents and continued all night. Fortunately my little tent was quite waterproof. One great advantage of a camp in the forest is that there is no wind to drive the rain through the tent. I doubt whether my tent would have kept[95] out such rain if the camp had been in the open.

September 1st. The rain stopped about 5 a.m. but the trees and undergrowth were dripping and a bad wet march was before us.

Getting away about 8.30 a.m.—it was always difficult to get the men to make an earlier start—we were soon wet to the skin. Smith, having got the compass bearings of the river, tried to find a better route than that he had taken the day before; but towards the end of the march we hit on a very bad windfall on the slope of a steep hill. Giant trees lay in a dense tangle, over, under and across which we had to make our way. It was timber crawling at its worst, and the trunks of the trees being covered with damp, slippery moss made the going really dangerous at times. Unfortunately I was wearing a pair of strong shooting boots with Scafe's patent rubber studs instead of nails. They had no hold on the slippery trunks of the trees we had to cross; the result was a bad fall and a sprained knee which caused me great pain and discomfort for the rest of the trip. I shall never forget the end of that march, for my knee kept giving way, and I stumbled and tumbled about till I was covered with bruises.

We made the Kitsewa River after six hours'[96] march, and as the rain again set in, we camped at a disused trapper's hut on a high bank overlooking the river. The river here was about thirty yards broad and full of humpbacked salmon, but apparently no trout. We had seen many tracks of deer, wolves and one cougar on the march, but the undergrowth was so dense that shooting was impossible.

September 2nd. The men had again to go back to bring up the packs left behind. These double journeys were most annoying, and yet I do not see how they could have been avoided. We certainly only had the bare necessaries of life—more packers would have meant more mouths to feed and more provisions to carry—yet each double journey meant a lost day.

My knee was so swollen and painful I could not move from the tent, so Smith decided to go on and hunt for the Keogh Lake—where his brother Eustace had on a previous trip left the material for a rough raft; where the Keogh Lake was, he was not quite certain, but it had to be found.

Left alone in camp I could not help thinking what would have happened had I broken my leg. Putting the question to the men they said, "Oh! it would have been all right—we would have packed in food to you." In fact I would have had to lie in my tent till I[97] recovered or died, for it is impossible to move a sick or injured man through the Vancouver forest. With nothing to read and obliged to lie on my back, the day was long in passing, and I find the following entry in my diary: "Knee very painful, am quite unable to walk and miserable at the idea that my entire trip may be spoiled and that I may have to turn back. Am black and blue with bruises from the many falls I had yesterday after I injured my knee."

Smith had succeeded in getting one willow grouse, shooting it with a pistol, but he missed two others close to the camp. The men returned about 4 o'clock, having made good time, as we had blazed our track of yesterday. Smith got in about 7 p.m., utterly exhausted, and having failed to find Lake Keogh.

Here was a man, certainly one of the best woodsmen in the island, defeated by the difficulties of the Vancouver forest. It must be remembered the northern portions of the Island are unsurveyed, so marching was all compass work. There had probably been some slight error in the bearings given him by his brother, but the fact remained, that Keogh Lake had still to be hunted for.

Dick had found a cougar and Smith shot him—a fine specimen of a male. Smith's[98] appearance with the skin fastened over his shoulder was certainly dramatic, rendered more so by his throwing himself on the ground in a state of utter exhaustion. Here the rum came in useful, and after a good tot and some food, he was quite himself again. I think he felt bitterly that he had failed to find the lake, but he had done his best, and no man can do more.

September 3rd. My knee was still painful and I was quite unfit to march. It was useless to start without knowing where we were going, so after consultation we decided that Smith and Thomson should go ahead and try to find the lake. As it turned out Smith had gone too far east the previous day.

Lansdown and "Nigger" remained in camp, but Dick, who must have been pretty tired after yesterday's work, refused to leave his master.

Cutting a strong stick—my daily companion for the rest of the trip—I hobbled down to the river to try and get some fish for ourselves and the dogs.

There were shoals of humpbacked salmon in the pools, but they were hideous to look at, as the spawning season was coming on. They would not look at a fly or minnow, so I had resort to the worst form of poaching: "sniggering."[99] I soon had five on the bank and could as easily have had fifty. To us the fish were quite uneatable, but the dogs thoroughly enjoyed them. I could see no sign of trout of any size or in any number. I only caught one tiny cut-throat. Dead humpbacks were lying in all the pools, and along the banks of the river; there were tracks of a big bear close to camp and many deer tracks, but the dense undergrowth destroyed any chance of a shot.

Returning to camp about 6 p.m. I set out for a grassy hollow, fairly open and close to the river where Lansdown said deer were certain to come out to feed in the evening. I stood the mosquitoes for about five minutes when I had to retire ignominiously, as they were simply in clouds.

Night fell and there was no sign of Smith or Thomson. Fortunately the weather had been quite perfect and a bivouac in the woods would be no great hardship.

"Nigger" was a source of continual amusement to me that day. He was a dog of great character and had become much attached to me. He liked the camp fire and never was so happy as when sitting on his haunches as close as he could get to it and blinking with intense joy. His master, I fear, often drove him away, but he always crept back a few minutes after.[100] He loved, too, to crawl under the fly of my tent and curl up for the night at the foot of my blanket.

I spent a portion of the day cleaning and skinning the paws of the cougar, and as I finished each paw, threw it away some distance from the camp. "Nigger" carefully watched my proceedings, and when he thought I was not looking, slunk away and had soon retrieved each paw, and carefully buried it for future use. Poor beast! I expect he had experienced many a hungry day and instinct had taught him to make provision for the future.

September 4th. Smith and Thomson had not returned, which meant another wasted day. Here we were the sixth day out from the lake, but we had only made two marches and were not yet in our hunting ground. Eustace Smith had said it was only a two or three days' march at the outside—but he probably travelled alone, very light, and knew his way. The two men turned up about 3 p.m., pretty well tired out, as they had been walking all the day before and from 6 o'clock in the morning. They reported the country ahead very bad going, but they had found a river which must have had its source in the Keogh Lake; the lake itself they had not reached. I had caught about a dozen salmon parr, so[101] had a poor fry as an addition to the never varying menu of bacon and beans.

September 5th. We did not yet get away till 9.30, as the men were tired after their two days' tramp. We followed the bed of the Kitsewa River, crossing and recrossing the stream several times, which was very tiring. Fortunately the water was only above our knees, but a slip with his pack gave Lansdown a real ducking. Though the going was bad over rough boulders, still it was a relief after the struggle through the undergrowth of the forest. The packs were heavy, as we were now packing everything, so our progress was somewhat slow. We had cachéd some provisions in the trapper's hut and had got through six days' supplies, still the packs were as heavy as the men could well manage and a rest every fifteen minutes was necessary.

Leaving the river after about two miles, we again struck some bad country, and at 4 p.m. arrived at the stream supposed to flow out of Lake Keogh. The men were pretty well done from the extra heavy packs, so a halt was decided on and we pitched camp as best as could on the side of a precipitous hill. My knee was very painful; marching was anything but a pleasure and I was glad of an early rest.

Smith went ahead and came back reporting[102] the lake only half-a-mile away, so it was a pity we had not gone on a little further. He had also seen the track of a big bull wapiti and a fresh bear track, which news cheered us all up.

September 6th. Starting early we were soon on the shore of the lake—a lovely sheet of water about two miles long, surrounded by steep forest-clad hills a few hundred feet high. The growth round the shore was so thick, and the rocks in parts so precipitous, we decided it would save time to build a raft to get to the end of the lake. We found some logs with which Eustace Smith had made a raft and soon put them together, and had a rough raft on which we paddled slowly to the north end of the lake.

We pitched camp on the first decent camping ground we had found. The men were in shelter under an enormous cedar-tree, of great age and quite hollow in the middle. My tent was pitched on an open bit of ground running out to the lake, over which I had a beautiful view.

Misfortune was still to pursue us—Smith had had a bad fall two days before, but did not attach much importance to it. He now felt very ill and complained of great pain and tenderness in his side. On examining him, it appeared to me that one of his ribs was[103] cracked if not broken. He was not a very strong man physically, though as hard as nails. All we could do was to foment his side with one of our flannel shirts and let him lie in his blankets near the fire, which had been lit at the base of the cedar-tree.

There were some open glades at the end of the lake and the country looked more gamelike. I went out in the afternoon to have a look round. The country was more open and I found a two-day-old track of a big bull, so game was in the neighbourhood—there were also fresh bear tracks and bear droppings close to camp.

I returned to try for a dish of trout while Thomson went out to lie in wait for deer coming out to feed at sunset—a form of sport I did not appreciate.

The question of food was now becoming serious, as the men had calculated on plenty of deer and grouse, and we had had no fresh meat since the deer I shot the day we started up the Nimquish River. Fishing from the shore and from our raft I caught six cut-throat trout, the largest about half-a-pound, with the fly. The lake was very deep and peaty—no doubt there were bigger fish in it, but they would not rise freely; it was late in the season and possibly my flies were not big enough.


Thomson returned, having wounded a deer—I don't think he was a crack shot, but like all the men I met on the coast, very fond of loosing off. He also reported having met a bear which he missed clean, but doubt was expressed in camp as to the bear.

September 7th. The rain was coming down in torrents and the camp most uncomfortable, while to move on was impossible, as Smith was feverish and in considerable pain, quite unfit to carry a pack. I had, therefore, most reluctantly to decide to remain where we were.

Thomson took "Nigger" out to find the wounded deer and returned in the evening successful. The deer was a young doe. There was great joy in camp at the prospect of a meat meal at last, for we had had no fresh meat since August 29th.

During the night we had an alarm. The men had pitched their fly under a very old cedar-tree and the camp fire was lit against the tree, which was hollow. About midnight there was a sound of an explosion and a roar of flames. Jumping out of bed, a most extraordinary sight presented itself; the entire tree was in flames from the base to the summit. The fire had evidently crept up the hollow trunk till the whole tree was ablaze.

Pulling down the fly, the men saved everything[105] from being burnt, but morning found the tree still a roaring pillar of fire.

In Eastern Canada in the fall of the year such an occurrence might have set the whole country ablaze and resulted in one of those tracts of burnt country called "brulés" so common through that country. While on the Campbell River we heard of great forest fires taking place on the Mainland, but in the north of Vancouver Island I saw no sign of a burnt forest, for it was too saturated to burn.







September 8th. We got away in fine weather through the most open country we had yet met. Our objective was a lake about three miles away, for having found Keogh Lake, Eustace Smith's rough-sketch map now came in useful.

The country looked more promising for game, for we came across many well-beaten wapiti tracks and at least two fresh tracks of good bulls.

We got into camp fairly early and selected the most level piece of ground to be found some twenty yards from the lake; the edge of the lake itself was swampy.

The lake was about a mile long by a quarter of a mile broad. It was the first of a chain of lakes connected by a narrow stream with a rough rocky bed running to the west. The sides were clothed with dense forest and the tops of the surrounding hills were even now covered with snow.

The view in the morning was most beautiful —the mist floating up the forest-clad ravines[110] to the distant hill-tops all reflected in the glassy surface of the lake. At sunset it was equally lovely.

This lake we called No. 1, as we understood the chain consisted of three lakes extending westward down the valley which was to be our future hunting ground.

Smith suggested he should go out, look quietly round, examine the country and search for fresh tracks, so that we could begin our regular hunting the next day.

Being now in the game country I had given strict orders that no one was to shoot at anything, but to come back and report what he had seen—I was therefore somewhat astounded to hear a single shot at no great distance as I was catching a dish of trout for dinner.

Smith soon came back looking very dejected. He said he had come on fresh tracks of a good bull, and in following them up saw something brown in the undergrowth which he thought was a small deer, and as we wanted meat in camp he took a snapshot at it, and then found it was the bull and he feared he had wounded it.

I had to accept this story, improbable as it was, for there was no mistaking a great bull wapiti for a small deer.


[To face page 110.

What was done was done, and there was no use making a fuss. If I were making such a[111] trip again, I would ask the men to leave their rifles behind, for they cannot resist shooting at anything that comes their way.

He had come back at once to tell me, and begged of me to go out with him and take up the track, which was only about a mile away.

The rain was again falling and we had only a couple of hours of daylight, but still I decided to see for myself the tracks and ascertain, if possible, whether the bull had been wounded and where. Taking Thomson with us, we started and were soon as usual wet through.

We found the spot where Smith had come on the bull and fired. There were a few traces of blood, but they were all high up on the bushes, and from the pace the wapiti was travelling, it was evident he was none the worse for the light bullet of Smith's Winchester rifle.

We followed the track till dusk and had a weary tramp back to camp in the dark.

I had again ricked my knee and was in considerable pain. Everything seemed to have gone wrong, first my accident, then Smith's, and now a wounded wapiti that we might never find.

The prospect of the morrow's work with a swollen and painful knee was not very cheering,[112] and I think we were all rather sad when we turned in that night.

September 9th. It had rained all night and was still pelting when we started. I had to walk with a stick and was unable to carry my own rifle.

In a couple of hours we came to the spot where we had left the track the previous evening.

Smith was a fine tracker, I have seldom seen a better.

The bull was going strong and well. We soon came to where he had rested for the night, but there was no pool of blood, so the wound was evidently not serious. In the early morning he had fed down the valley. After about three hours' tracking we came on to the shore of another lake (Lake No. 2), and thought the bull had taken to the water—to the edge of which he had gone down through heavy swampy ground covered with coarse grass. Taking a cast round, we found, however, that he had turned right back and gone up the valley we had just come down, but on the other side of the river connecting the two lakes.

Following up the track we suddenly heard a crash right ahead, but I could see nothing. Smith dashed on and I heard a shout at the top of his voice, "Come on, Sir John. Quick!"[113] It was all very well "come on quick," but with a bad knee, getting through a mass of fallen timber up a fairly steep though fortunately short hill was no easy matter. How I did it I cannot even now understand, but the pain in the knee was forgotten, my stick thrown away, the rifle, which was of course loaded, snatched out of Thomson's hand, and I found myself on the crest of the hill looking down into a valley overgrown with dense salmon-berry through which some great beast was crashing his way.

I am quite blind without a telescope sight and there was no time to fix it. I could just make out the tips of the bull's horns moving quickly through the undergrowth. I could only guess where the body was, but fortunately the body of a wapiti is a pretty big mark. Taking a snapshot as I would at a snipe I heard the welcome thud of the bullet. The bull stood for a moment, which gave me time for a second shot, on which I saw the great antlers sink out of sight in the undergrowth and I knew that the trophy I had come so far to obtain was mine.

I confess to an anxious moment as to what the head would turn out to be. The tracks were those of a big bull, but I had only seen the tips of the horn; the spread looked good, but[114] whether he was a six or a sixteen points I could not say.

Going down to where he lay we found him stone dead, a good thirteen-pointer, which the men naturally declared to be above the average. Somehow, I was disappointed, as I expected a bigger head, but after all getting him at all was a pure chance, and having now experienced what hunting the wapiti in these dense forests meant, I was, I think, on the whole very lucky. He looked an enormous beast as he lay. What his weight was I could not guess, but he must have stood about sixteen hands at the shoulder. It took the three of us all we could do to turn him over to examine the wounds.

Both of my shots were fatal. We found that Smith's bullet had inflicted a flesh wound high up in the rump, and would have done no harm.

Wet to the skin, but happy, I got under a giant cedar which gave shelter from the heavy rain, and lighting a big fire, stripped to the skin to dry my soaking clothes, while the men were removing the head and getting some meat. We soon had wapiti steaks frizzling on the fire, and a brew of hot tea made us all comfortable and happy.

The worst of the whole business was the[115] waste of meat and the impossibility of taking away the splendid skin. The head alone was one man's load and to carry out a green skin was quite impossible.

Packing as much of the meat as we could carry, we made for the camp.

The creek flowing down the valley was coming down in heavy spate and we had to cross and recross it many times—no easy matter—before we got home.

September 10th. It was still raining. Smith was feeling pretty bad, his side causing him much pain, and he was, I think, beginning to feel anxious about himself. My knee was anything but comfortable. Neither of us were up to another day in the forest, so I spent my day fishing and caught about forty small cut-throat trout, the biggest about 3 oz. I saw one fish about 2 lb. throw himself in the lake, but he would not rise when I put a fly over him; it was possibly too late in the season. This lake had practically never been fished, and I was much disappointed to find that the sport was so poor.

Lansdown had gone back to bring up a small pack left at Keogh Lake. He returned in the evening, reporting that he had come face to face with a ten-pointer bull who simply looked at him and walked away.


Such is luck. Happily he had not a rifle, or most certainly he would have loosed off.

September 11th. Our future plans had now to be discussed and decided on.

Instead of two or three days' march, we had owing to a chapter of accidents taken ten days to get into the wapiti country. Provisions were running short. Smith was practically hors de combat and feeling worse every day, and yet viewing the fact that we were now in the wapiti country, and by spending another few days we might reasonably expect to get another bull, I was extremely unwilling to turn back.

On the other hand, further exposure in the vile weather we were experiencing might have resulted in Smith's serious illness. Not liking to assume the responsibility, I left it to him. He reluctantly decided for home. I feel sure he was even more disappointed than I was, for he was a keen sportsman, but in his present condition he was quite unfit to carry a pack, while serious illness might have resulted from exposure to pouring rain. The decision was the only one that could be come to, so there was no use in repining.

We accordingly sent Thomson and Lansdown back to Keogh Lake with the wapiti head and one pack. Smith and I started out on our last[117] chance of finding another wapiti.

It was for a wonder a lovely morning, and I felt bitterly the hard luck which had pursued us all the way, and which now compelled us to turn back just as we had reached a game country. We went up a fine valley running from the east of the lake—the most open forest we had yet come to. It was timbered with magnificent spruce-trees, some of which I should say were at least 180 feet in height. There was but little undergrowth, it was the first ideal hunting ground we had struck. We worked all the morning without finding anything but two-day-old tracks. After lunch we suddenly came on quite fresh tracks of a good bull, possibly the one Lansdown had seen the day before.

Taking up the tracks, we followed steadily on and must have come close enough to disturb him, though we neither heard nor saw anything. We came, however, on the spot where he had been lying down and had jumped up and gone off at a gallop.

We tracked that bull till dusk and never came up with him. Fortunately he took us down the valley to the lake where we were camped, and we got home at nightfall.





[To face page 121.



September 12th was a lovely crisp morning with a touch of frost in the air. The lake was looking perfect as we turned our backs on it, leaving the game country and all the chances of another wapiti behind. It was hard luck and I think we were all more or less depressed.

We made a good march down the Spruce valley till we struck Keogh Lake in the early afternoon. This was the route by which we should have come in, as it was fairly open, more so than any other portion of the forest we had gone through. The timber was very fine. A small creek ran down the valley, and along it there were many beaver dams.

Beavers are still protected by law throughout the island. We saw a large one swimming across Keogh Lake when in camp on our way in, and at night more than once heard the curious noise the beaver makes striking the water with his tail as he dives when frightened.[122] Needless to say, regardless of all game laws, the men had several shots at the beaver without doing him any harm.

Arriving at our old camp at Keogh Lake we found the cedar still smouldering. Having made a new raft we reached camp at the south end of the lake, just as the sky clouded up, evidently preparing for another downpour.

The shores of the Lake were swampy and it was with difficulty we found a place to camp. It rained that night as if it had never rained before.

Lansdown now jacked up and I find the following note in my diary:—

"Smith still ill and Lansdown now sick and very sorry for himself—query, too much wapiti meat—we are a sorry crew, but my knee is free from pain for the first time since the accident occurred."

In all the discomforts I was to be "up against," none of my friends had mentioned the possibility of bad weather in September.

August at the Campbell River had been simply an ideal climate, but from August 30th to September 26th, it had rained fifteen days out of the twenty-eight, and by rain I don't mean showers, which were common and did not count, but a steady downpour which lasted all day, and made marching through the[123] undergrowth, alike on fine or wet days, like going under a continual shower bath.

September 13th. It was still raining heavily and the men were not very keen on starting. Carrying a pack in wet weather is hard work and apt to chafe the back. On the other hand, I had no prospect of more sport and did not care to pay my men 13½ dollars a day that they should rest in camp till the weather cleared. I determined, therefore, to move on, but it was noon before I could get a move on the men, and it required some determination to effect this. It was certainly a miserable march, steady rain the whole time. About 3 o'clock the men gave up and said they could pack no further in such weather.

We had struck the Kitsewa, which was rushing down in heavy flood, so camped on its bank.

Thomson was now feeling seedy, and every one was out of sorts and a bit out of temper at the vile weather.

September 14th. The river was down about a foot but still very full. After crossing and recrossing it about ten times and getting wet through, we arrived at our old camp at the trapper's hut about 1 p.m.; a short but fatiguing march owing to the state of the river. We had intended pushing on further after our midday meal, but once more torrential rains[124] had set in and we decided to remain where we were for the day.

The river was now simply alive with humpbacked salmon and dozens were lying dead on the banks. Bear marks were numerous, but the dense undergrowth rendered any chance of seeing one remote. "Nigger" was revelling in his pursuit of fish and repeatedly dashed into the shallows which were boiling with salmon struggling up stream, bringing out a fish each time, one must have been about six pounds. On the march "Dick" had come on the fresh track of two wolves and promptly started after them. He gave us some anxiety for the half-hour he was away, for with all his pluck, he would have had a poor chance if he had come up with them. I suppose it was the deserted hut which recalled to Lansdown's mind a grim tale of a trapper's fate.

The man had started out from civilization on his usual winter expedition. Spring came and he failed to return, but this did not cause any anxiety as trappers lead a nomadic life, and it was thought he might have pushed further than he intended or found some specially good hunting ground. Two years passed and his existence had been practically forgotten, when a party cruising the woods for timber came on a log hut in a lonely part of[125] the forest. Inside they found a man's skeleton lying on the little shelf which constituted the bed. By the side was a rifle and the bony hand still grasped a twig attached to the trigger, a shattered skull told the rest of the tale.

On a bench beside the bed were the tin plates, a cup and the mouldy remains of what once had been food.

What a tragedy! One could picture illness coming on and the struggle against it. Too weak to pack out, he eventually had to take to bed—at first possibly able to get up and cook a little food while provisions lasted—then his strength gradually declined, the lonely nights thinking of the inevitable end, and then the final decision possibly hastened by hearing the howling of wolves round the log cabin.

After all, his best friend was his rifle and that was close to hand. Who can blame him for the decision he had the courage to carry out?

Lansdown was one of the men sent out to bury the remains.

September 15th. The morning was fine and we got away about 8.30. Thomson announced that the provisions had practically run out—no more flour or sugar and we were two days from the lake. We had actually left some flour and other provisions behind in[126] order to lighten the packs.

Improvidence seems to characterize these men of the west. So long as provisions are plentiful there is no thought of the future.

Three spoonfuls of sugar will be put in a cup of tea and a two-pound tin of jam will disappear at a meal—treated as if it were stewed fruit, but the future is forgotten.

To-day the poor dogs had no food at all. We ourselves did not fare brilliantly, but a short march on the morrow should bring us to the Nimquish Lake. We might indeed with an effort have made it in the day.

September 16th. A two hours' march took us to the lake and our last meal was taken on its shores. It was neither luxurious nor plentiful—a few crusts of yesterday's bread fried in some bacon fat which remained on the pan, and a cup of weak tea, for tea too had run out.

I hunted for and found a portion of the skin of the deer I had shot on the first day in and which I had thrown into the lake.

"Dick" and "Nigger" devoured it ravenously. Poor doggies, they had been two days without a meal. More faithful or longsuffering companions a man never had. They seemed to understand we could not give them what we had not, and while they looked at us eating with anxious eyes, when no scraps were thrown[127] they resigned themselves to hunger and curled up to sleep.


[To face page 126.

I reserve for ever a warm corner in my heart for "Dick" and "Nigger."

How "Dick" found his way in the forest was always a mystery to me. Of the keenest sporting instinct, he considered it his duty to pursue any track he came across. Wolf, bear or deer were all the same to him. I fear even a wapiti would not have been sacred, but in the wapiti country, we always tied him up in camp.

Over and over again he went away giving tongue loudly till distance drowned his barks. He had no idea in what direction we were marching. Sometimes he would be away for an hour and we began to fear something had happened to him but he invariably turned up wagging his tail, having found our tracks and followed them. I have seldom met a more intelligent dog.

Coming out of the dense forest and suddenly striking the open lake bathed in brilliant sunshine, the effect was dazzling and our eyes were almost blinded. Fortunately we saw a Siwash canoe across the lake, and were lucky enough to find that Mr. Dickenson, one of the Directors of a timber company, was up on a tour of inspection.


He most kindly offered to take me down the river in his canoe, and we decided to fish a little on the way down. In the first pool where the river left the lake I got a couple of nice cut-throat trout, one about 2 lb., on the fly.

The pool was simply alive with cohoe salmon, which could be seen on all sides swimming about in the clear water. Mr. Dickenson trolling with a spoon was soon in a nice fish of about 7 lb., which gave really good sport on a light trout rod before it was landed.

Shooting the rapids in great form we were very soon opposite Lansdown's house, where I landed.

And so ended my hunting trip in the Vancouver forests.

I cannot say much in its favour. It was timber crawling pure and simple from beginning to end—no real stalking, only a snapshot which fortunately got me my wapiti. The weather had been all against us—the camping grounds, with the exception of that on Keogh Lake, most uncomfortable. Food was indifferent owing to difficulty of finding any game; deer there were in numbers, judging by the tracks, but one seldom saw them. There were ruffled grouse, but Smith was not very successful with his pistol, and we only got two or three the whole trip.


With the fishing I was very much disappointed. The trout in the lakes in the interior were tiny things, hardly worth catching or eating.

So long as one has to pack, I do not see how a really comfortable trip can be made. Discomfort to a certain extent I don't mind, but we had a little too much of it. I had added one more experience to a life of varied sport, but I mentally resolved that I never again would be tempted to hunt the wapiti in the Vancouver forest, or indeed, to go on any hunting trip which depended on packing for transport. Who knows whether I shall keep that resolve?

That night we put up at Lansdown's, and never in the best restaurants of Paris or London have I enjoyed a meal more than that which Mrs. Lansdown with true hospitality placed before us, abundance of food—mutton, potatoes, and other fresh vegetables, eggs, milk and cream. I fear we all ate far too much.







Having still a few days to spare, I decided to try for a Rocky Mountain goat on the Mainland.

Lansdown had lived for some years at the head of Kingcome Inlet, one of the great inlets running in to the Mainland, just behind the island on which the town of Alert Bay is situated.

He stated that goats were plentiful but that one would have to climb up to the tops of the mountains at this season of the year. He also pretended to an intimate knowledge of every turn and bend of the inlet, and the best campgrounds. I accordingly engaged him and his sixteen-feet rowing and sailing boat for the trip.

September 17th. We started early for Alert Bay and were fortunate in getting a tow across from the timber company's steam launch, and arrived at Alert Bay in the early forenoon. We laid in ample supplies of provisions at[134] Mr. Chambers' store and with some difficulty I got the men to start at 3 p.m.

My two bottles of rum had long since been exhausted though only taken in homoeopathic doses. The difficulty was to get more. No spirits were allowed to be sold in Alert Bay, a passing steamer was the only chance, and fortunately one was due before we started.

My friend Mr. Halliday saved the situation. He as a magistrate gave me a certificate that the rum was required on medical grounds, without which the Captain of the steamer would have refused to part with any. I was the envy of the entire Indian population as I left the steamer's side with a bottle of rum sticking out of each of my coat pockets.

It was a lovely evening and though Mr. Chambers had offered us a tow with his steam launch, which runs to the head of the inlet once a fortnight, if we would wait two days, I preferred to get away rather than kick my heels about Alert Bay.

Rowing up to the mouth of the inlet with a flowing tide we made about seven miles, and camped at 6 o'clock on a rocky islet where we found an ideal camping ground, near which some Siwash Indians had settled for the summer fishing. The scenery was superb. A background[135] of the snow-covered mountains of the Mainland, in the middle distance many islands clad with wood down to the foreshore, a sea like glass in which mountains, islands and forests were reflected and the surface only broken by the eddies of the flowing tide. The sunset was glorious and the colouring indescribable.

That evening, we saw a remarkable sight. Pilot whales in schools were common at the Campbell River, but here came a great whale all alone ploughing his way up the inlet and coming up every few minutes to blow—once he threw his entire body many feet out of the water and came down with a crash which echoed through the surrounding islands.

September 18th. After a hearty breakfast we got away about 9 a.m., but by 12.45 the appetites of the men called for a halt. Noon never passed without a spell for food being proposed.

Trolling with a spoon and a hand line, for I had left my rod at Alert Bay, I got a nice cohoe of about ten pounds, and strange to say quite good eating.

At 4 o'clock a halt for the night was suggested, but I would not have it, and as Lansdown said there was a good camping[136] ground some four miles away, we pushed on.

The sides of the inlet were so steep that it was only in certain places that ground where a tent could be pitched was to be found.

Lansdown had lived twelve years on the inlet, but his bump of locality was sadly deficient, for it took us three and a half hours to cover that four miles which must have been nearer nine, and I had to take the oar for the last two hours.

At last we reached the cove with a shelving sandy beach, but it was pitch dark and the rain was coming down, so I fear I was rather short with poor Lansdown, who had kept promising the camping ground a few yards round every point we passed.

September 19th. The camping ground as seen in the daylight was an ideal one. There was no undergrowth, and a grassy glade in the shelter of the great trees was a perfect site for the tents. A head wind had got up and the rain was still pouring down, so the prospects were not very encouraging, but still by tacking and rowing we made about seven miles when we were picked up by Mr. Chambers' launch and taken on to the head of the inlet where the Kingcome River falls into the sea. The[137] scenery all up the inlet was very fine. The hills got more and more perpendicular as the head of the inlet was approached, and were clothed with dense forest down to the water's edge. Down the ravines from the hill-tops 3,000 feet high poured great waterfalls, and rain-clouds and mist swept over the tops of the hills, giving from time to time a glimpse of distant snow-covered peaks some 6,000 feet high.

The evening was fine and by 6 o'clock we were anchored in the river opposite a few settlers' houses.

We found Lansdown's old house, somewhat dilapidated but habitable. There was abundance of sweet hay and it was a luxury to spread my blanket on a hay-strewn dry wooden floor with a rainproof roof over my head.

Most of the settlers, including Lansdown's strapping brother, came round to have a chat and to hear the news from the outside world. They seem to have a fairly easy time chiefly raising cattle, for the delta formed by the washed-down detritus from the hills was a rich white soil on which a fine crop of grass was raised. There were a good number of wild duck about, and the settlers were a sporting lot, so they amused themselves with the evening flighting and with occasional trips up Mount Kingcome, which overshadowed the valley, after goat, deer and[138] bear.

September 20th. It was a fine morning and the snow-covered peaks of Mount Kingcome about 6,000 feet above us, where we hoped to find our goats, were glistening in the morning sun.

Smith was hors de combat—I had offered to send him home from Alert Bay, but he said he was quite fit to go on. I think he was a bit nervous when he saw the climb before him, for carrying a pack up the steep mountain was no joke.

I was fortunate enough to secure the services of Harry Kirby, one of the settlers who knew the country well and he was willing to take Smith's place; a better man after goat I could not wish to have. He was very deaf and somewhat outspoken. Looking me over he said, "You are too stout for goat," which I rather felt to be true, though the trip after wapiti had fined me down considerably. I was, however, in hard condition by this time, and half-way up when we stopped for a midday meal, he quietly remarked, "I think after all you will do," and so my character as a prospective goat-hunter was restored.

[To face page 138.

Quite a good track was blazed and cleared[139] for about half-way up the hill, and the path though very steep was not bad, only hard on the men carrying the packs, so spells for rest were fairly frequent. The last half where the track had not been cleared was real bad going. A great torrent swept down the bottom of the steep ravine we were ascending, and it had to be crossed many times, which meant a wetting.

The undergrowth was a dense tangle, fallen trees blocked the path and never had we met the accursed devil-club in such abundance.

All things must come to an end, and by 5 o'clock we were clear of the forest and entered a fairly open valley, shut in on all sides by steep cliffs. At the end of the valley rose the snow-covered summit of Mount Kingcome about three miles away.

We had been marching since 9.30 and had ascended about 4,000 feet. We pitched camp in the last clump of wood in the valley, and on the side of the hill.

Though the forest ceased, there were dense masses of impenetrable cover, consisting of salmon-berry, wine-berry and devil-club, for about a mile up the valley, after which the ground was quite open.

Large patches of snow were lying on the bare hills just above the cover—and while selecting our camping ground, I suddenly saw a black[140] object moving across a snow patch about half-a-mile across the valley.

Leaving Kirby and Lansdown to pitch the camp I took Thomson with me, and getting within about 500 yards of the snow patch, saw what looked like a small bear, but as Thomson said, "I never saw a bear with a long tail." The animal was moving quickly over the snow and getting closer every minute to a patch of dense cover. No doubt it was a wolverine. I had a long shot at about 400 yards and knocked up the snow under his belly. In a moment he was in the cover and we never saw him again.

Further up towards the head of the valley we saw a bear moving across a patch of snow, but he, too, disappeared in the cover. Evening was now closing in, so we turned towards camp. About a mile away, just opposite the camp and on some almost precipitous rocks a goat suddenly came into view round a corner of the rock. He must have been lying down all the time out of sight, and it was bad luck not having seen him before, for though to climb the face of the cliff was impossible, we might have got a long shot from below; as it was, by the time we had got up to the foot of the cliff, it was too dark to shoot, so we decide to leave him till[141] next day.

[To face page 140.


[To face page 141.

At last I had reached a game country, having seen a wolverine, a bear and goat in one afternoon.

September 21st. It had rained all night but cleared up in the morning. Before I had turned out, Kirby reported the wolverine crossing the same patch of snow opposite the camp about half-a-mile away. Slipping on a pair of boots, I rushed out in my sleeping clothes. Getting the glass on to the beast, I found that this time it was a bear making tracks for the valley we had come up, and no doubt after the salmon which were rotting in thousands on the bank of the river below.

He was into the cover before anything could be done in the way of a stalk, and did not appear again.

Examining the ground, I found the valley extended up to the base of Mount Kingcome for about one and a half miles. The sides were precipitous cliffs quite impossible to climb. The slope up to their base was clothed with dense undergrowth, while a creek fed by the melting snow and the rain from the surrounding hills was tumbling noisily down below our camp.


The head of the valley narrowed rapidly until completely shut in by the mountains, the tops of which were covered with snow. Large patches of snow lay in the hollows of the hills all round, never melting even in the summer months.

The air was cold, but bracing, just the day for a stalk. Spying the valley carefully, I soon found a goat high up on the cliff to the right. I think it must have been our friend of last evening, who had fed along the side of the hill to his present position up in the valley. The ground did not look impossible, but Kirby pronounced against it as too dangerous.

Higher up on a hill-top at the far end and just on the edge of the snow, I picked up with the glass two more goats and we decided to go for them. It was easy going to the foot of the hill where the valley ended, but a really stiff climb of about one and a half hours to get up to the patch of snow close to which we had seen them, above the line of cover; the hill-side was covered with a sort of heather growing between the rocks and it was very slippery going.

As we arrived at the spot and were looking everywhere for the goats, I saw two goats, a nanny and a kid, moving away about 400 yards off and climbing steadily up the face of the[143] cliff. We both thought they were the two we were after, who had seen us or got our wind.

We were now 6,000 feet up and it was quite cold enough without a blizzard which suddenly set in with a bitter wind, which drove the snow and sleet almost through one.

We were huddled under a sloping rock, trying to get a little shelter, when it struck me to send Kirby up and see if by any chance the goats were still where we had seen them first, as possibly the two we saw moving away were another lot. It was lucky I did so, for he was back in a few minutes with the good news that our goats were feeding quietly in a hollow behind a ridge not a hundred yards above us.

I never was so cold in my life, but leaving Kirby behind, I crawled up to the top of the ridge, and looking over saw to my delight a good billy and two nannies feeding a hundred yards away.

Getting into position for a careful shot, I proceeded to remove the caps of my telescope sight, which I had kept on up to the last moment on account of the rain and the snow.

At the critical moment the front cap jammed, and with my half-frozen hands it took me a couple of minutes, which seemed hours, to get it off. Peering over I saw the goats moving[144] off, they may have got our wind, for heavy gales were eddying round the top of the hill.

The two nannies fortunately went first, the billy was moving on pretty quickly behind. I had just time to get a shot, another moment and he would have disappeared behind some rocks, and I heard the welcome thud of the bullet; he stood for a moment, and as the extraordinary vitality of the mountain goat had been impressed on me by Kirby, I gave him a second shot, and he came rolling down the hill like a rabbit, stone dead.

Had it not been for the jamming of the cap I would certainly have got one of the nannies as well. He was a fine beast, much heavier and bigger than I had expected.

The snow was still falling and we were both shivering with cold. While still undecided what to do a momentary break showed us two more goats, one a fine billy right across the valley and a little higher up, and as the day was young we decided to have a try for them. Climbing about 500 feet up, we arrived practically at the summit and were spying as to the best way to try a stalk, for the valley was now disturbed and the goats were on the alert and looking about in every direction.

Unfortunately, the snow set in worse than[145] ever and blotted out any view of the hill. To attempt a stalk on such dangerous ground would have been madness, so we turned back and went down to where we had left the dead goat. The cold was now so intense we could not remain to skin the goat, so made straight for camp. The going on the way down was as bad as it could be. The newly-fallen snow lying on the heather had made it very slippery and almost dangerous. I had many a slip but generally landed sitting down, and arrived at the foot of the hill bruised but thankful, for after all I had got my goat. This was real sport: to find your game, mark him down and then an honest stalk, ending in a kill; but it was stiff work and a little too much for a man of my age.

We had come down about 2,000 feet, and the snow had turned into rain, which felt quite warm and comforting after the blizzard on the hill-top. Kirby was so cold, he asked leave to go ahead, and I soon saw him running down the valley and skipping like a goat from rock to rock. Taking it easier, I got to camp about 5 o'clock, fairly tired out.

September 22nd. It rained and snowed all night, and for the first time the little tent was not waterproof. The weather cleared about[146] 8 a.m., and the morning sun broke through the rain clouds and mists which were sweeping away from the hill-tops; the effect was most beautiful.

The hills where we had been stalking yesterday were entirely covered with snow, and patches were lying far down in the valley. I sent Kirby and Lansdown up to skin the goat and bring in the head and skin, while I made preparations for striking the camp and going down the mountain on their return.

They returned about noon, and we were just preparing to start when I saw a bear—probably the same one we had seen before, moving rapidly up the valley at the foot of the cliff and across one of the numerous patches of snow. Seizing the rifle I dashed down, followed by Thomson, to try and get a shot. I left my coat, in which I always carried spare cartridges, behind.

By the time I had crossed the creek, the bear was well ahead and looked about 300 yards away. Putting up the 300 yards sight, I knelt down, rather breathless and shaky from my run, and fired. The bullet knocked up the snow in a good line but short. This started him off at a run and he was getting farther and farther away as I fired two more shots, which also[147] struck low. My last chance was another shot before he reached the thick cover, and, aiming right over his back, I hit him, where I could not say. He must have been 400 yards away when I fired. On being hit, he stumbled forward and turned right down hill into some dense undergrowth which extended right down to the creek.

Having only one cartridge left, I sent Thomson back to camp for cartridges, and sat down behind the rock from which I had fired to await events. My impression was that he was badly hit and that we would have to follow him up in the cover. To my surprise, I suddenly saw him come out of the cover and come down to the creek. He was not more than 150 yards away and passing between a lot of big boulders, and it looked as if he were heading up the valley.

Thinking it was my last chance, I fired and saw the bullet hit a rock just over his back. To my horror, I then realized I had left the telescope sight screwed up to 300 yards. Worse luck was to follow, for the shot turned him and he came down the creek towards me, very slowly and looking very sick. There was I without a cartridge and a wounded bear apparently walking on top of me. I lay[148] quite quietly behind my rock, and had the pleasure of seeing him come within thirty yards, when he turned slowly and, crossing the creek, entered the dense undergrowth on the other side just as Thomson came up with the cartridges. It was as bad a moment as I have ever experienced in my sporting life. At first we could trace his movements by the shaking of the bushes, and at one time, this ceasing, he apparently lay down.

I knew it was hopeless following him in such undergrowth, for not only was there the danger of being charged, but if even I could have made my way through the tangle, it would have been impossible to put the rifle to my shoulder. Thomson would not give him up, but begged I would lend him my rifle and he would follow him up.

I returned to camp utterly disgusted, and in about one hour Thomson returned, saying he had crawled through the cover, found lots of blood, saw the bear once in the distance, but could not get a shot. The worst of it was, it was now too late to start, and to make matters more depressing, rain and sleet fell all the afternoon and night.

September 23rd. The rain had now turned to snow, which was lying as low down as the[149] level of the camp. Everything was sodden, and a wet march was before us.

We got away by 9 o'clock, and had a hard march as the creek was now a roaring torrent, which we had to cross and recross several times. Going on the rough boulders, over and round which the flood was pouring, was as bad as it well could be, and we were all wet through by the time we reached the cleared track. Our last view of the valley, before we entered the forest, was superb. The rain had cleared away, a bright sun was breaking through the heavy clouds, which were being swept away from the summits of the snow-clad hills and from the slopes of the valley, now dazzling white in the morning sun, while looking back through the forest we were just entering the trees stood out in black silhouette against a background of snow. It was with deep regret I turned my back on the Goat Valley, where I had seen more game in two days than in all the rest of my trip.

By 3 o'clock we reached the Kingcome River, but it was too late to make a start that night.

September 24th. We got away at 8.15. The morning was fine, and the inlet and snow-covered peaks behind looked very beautiful.[150] The current always runs down this inlet irrespective of the tide, though it is, of course, stronger with the ebb. We made only one halt for lunch, and by 7.15 p.m. reached Quiesden—a deserted Indian village thirty miles from the head of the inlet; not a bad performance, as we had to row the whole way.

Here we found an empty mission house, and Lansdown somewhat burglariously effected an entrance through a window and opened the door from inside. We soon had a fire going in the dilapidated stove, and settled down comfortably for the night on the bare boards. They were at least dry and we had a roof over our heads. The walls of the sitting-room were mostly decorated with texts, but a coloured illustration representing a young naval officer making violent love to an extremely pretty girl showed that even missionaries have a human side to their nature.

The village was entirely deserted, all the inhabitants being away fishing. There were some fine totem poles, and the woods all round were the cemetery of the neighbourhood—the bodies of many departed Siwashes, packed in boxes or bundles, being slung up in the forks of the trees—the Siwash method of burial.


September 25th. Leaving Quiesden at 8.15, we had a fine sailing breeze which before night had increased to half a gale, and on arrival at Alert Bay, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Chambers most hospitably put me up till my old friend the Queen City, due at 1 a.m., should arrive.

September 26th. The Queen City did not arrive till noon, and bidding good-bye to my kind friends at Alert Bay and to Lansdown, who was returning to his farm on the Nimquish, we were soon on our way to Vancouver.

Accounts had to be made up and good-bye said to Smith and Thomson and my dear friends "Dick" and "Nigger," for they were all to be landed at some unearthly hour in the morning at Quatiaski Cove. All the roughing was over, and the comforts of civilization were before me, yet it was with sincere regret that I saw the last of my friends and companions. The discomforts were forgotten, the sodden forest, the rain, the indifferent food, and the poor sport, but the impressive scenery of the vast Vancouver forest, the still lakes and rushing creeks, and the beauty of the Kingcome inlet, with its setting of snow-covered mountains, will remain indelibly impressed on my memory, and as the prospect of future trips[152] becomes more remote, the recollections of those days will always be with me. The call of the wild may be as strong as ever, but the capacity to respond to it must diminish as years roll on. The man who has not a love for the solitudes of nature and the simple life in camp, misses experiences which to me at least have been amongst the keenest enjoyments of my life.

September 27th. We arrived at Vancouver about 5 p.m. That day I saw Mr. Williams, just returned from inspection and sport in the Kootenay district. He reported game plentiful and brought back two fine sheep heads which he had secured after hard work and stiff climbing.

I left Vancouver on the 29th and, changing trains at Winnipeg, arrived at Toronto on October 3rd—four hours late from Winnipeg.

Leaving Toronto the next morning, I spent that evening and the following day at Niagara Falls, arriving in New York in the early morning of the 6th. Through the kindness of Mr. Griswold, I had been made an honorary member of the Knickerbocker and Union Clubs. More luxurious and better-managed clubs could not be found in any capital of Europe.

At 10 a.m. I was once more steaming out of New York on the Blücher, one of the slower[153] steamers of the Hamburg-Amerika Line, and after a most comfortable voyage, with charming fellow-passengers, I disembarked at Southampton on the 17th—just three months and seven days from leaving England.








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Notwithstanding my resolve that the Vancouver trip should be my last one, the call of the wild was once more too strong, and the summer of 1910 found me planning an expedition to Newfoundland.

I think J. G. Millais' charming book Newfoundland and its Untrodden Ways, as well as the description he personally gave me of the country, were largely responsible for my decision.

I sailed from Southampton on August 5th by the Cincinnati, of the Hamburg-Amerika Line, bound for St. John's, Newfoundland, via New York.

The ship was crowded and the voyage as monotonous as all Atlantic voyages are, while being a slow boat we only arrived at New York on the morning of the 14th. The heat of New York was intense, and I was not sorry to leave it at midnight for Boston, and straight on via St. John's, New Brunswick, to Sydney, where I took the Bruce, which runs between[160] Sydney and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, a distance of a hundred miles.

I would recommend any one who is taking this route, and is not a total abstainer, to provide himself with a bottle of whisky, for Maine, through which a good portion of the journey lies, is a teetotal state, and even on board the Bruce not a drop of any form of liquor, even beer, was allowed to be served until the steamer was under way.

Getting away at eleven o'clock, and after a rather rough passage, for the Bruce is only about 800 tons, we arrived at Port aux Basques at 7 a.m. on the 17th.

It was a lovely morning, and the rocky shores of Newfoundland looked particularly wild and attractive in the bright sunshine. Port aux Basques is a small settlement, and so far as I could ascertain does not contain an hotel, but no doubt some form of lodging-house exists, where, as throughout the island, the visitor would be given a warm welcome and whatever was going, be it little or much.

The train was waiting for the steamer. The line is a narrow-gauge one, but the cars were quite comfortable, and the prospect of seeing a new country is always attractive. But how we did bump over that line; whether it was the fault of the laying of the permanent way or the[161] driving I cannot say, but in a long experience of railway travelling I never have been so jolted, the driver seeming to take a special pleasure in pulling up with a jerk sufficient to knock over any one standing up, and then to start, if possible, in a rougher manner. However, no one seemed to mind, and after all passengers should be grateful for having a line at all. My mouth watered at accounts I heard of sea trout fishing, about three hours by launch from Port aux Basques. I was told that a few days previously three rods got 110 sea trout, averaging three pounds, in the Garia River, in a few hours.

Getting away at 8.15 we passed all along the west coast, through a most beautiful country, teeming with salmon rivers, most of them I fear much over-fished, for the west coast rivers are the favourite haunts of the American angler, being easily reached from New York and Boston.

Thompson's Hotel, prettily situated on the Little Codroy River, looked particularly attractive, and two American anglers got off there. I was told there was a late run of big fish in August, an exception, for as a rule all the Newfoundland rivers are early ones.

At Crabbes a local guide, on the look-out for a job, deeply deplored the fact that Crabbes[162] should be neglected for the better-known Little and Big Codroy Rivers. He assured me there were two rivers, the one ten minutes, the other about two minutes, from the station, "crawling" of course with fish, and that a thirty-five pound salmon had been caught by a local angler a few days before. No doubt he was crying up his own wares. There was neither hotel nor boarding-house at Crabbes—camping out was necessary, but the country is a lovely one, and what could be more enjoyable than a comfortable camp on the banks of the river if only the fish were there and the water in fishing trim. Black flies and mosquitoes must not, however, be lightly put aside, for they are the curse of the island in the summer months.

As we slowly bumped our way north, the scenery became more and more beautiful, until it culminated in the views as the train skirted the Humber River, then along Deer Lake, gradually rising towards the barrens of the centre of the island. All along the sides of the railway the ground was carpeted with wild flowers, a perfect blaze of colour. Nightfall found us at the north end of the Grand Lake, where is situated "The Bungalow," a sporting hotel recently established, which from the train looked most comfortable.

The food in the dining-car was quite good,[163] but by no means cheap. Why one should pay 40 cents, about 1s. 8d., for a slice of fried cod in the very home of the cod, when a whole fish can be purchased for half the money, I could not understand, and although Newfoundland abounds in fish neither trout nor salmon were once served in the restaurant car.

On Thursday the 18th I arrived at St. John's at 12.30, having travelled without a stop from the previous Sunday at midnight. It is much to be regretted that the direct Allan Line from Liverpool to St. John's, which only takes seven days, should not have larger and more up-to-date steamers. The largest boat is under 5,000 tons; not very comfortable for crossing the Atlantic. As the Allan Line run excellent boats to Quebec, there must be some good reason for the local service to St. John's not being better served.

Leaving England on August 5th, and travelling continuously, I did not reach St. John's till the 18th. It is true I took a slow boat and came by New York. A better route would have been by one of the larger steamers to Quebec or Rimouski, and then back by rail to Sydney, and so on to Port aux Basques.

If the large steamers which pass so close to Newfoundland would only make a call at St. John's, to disembark passengers, I feel sure[164] many more tourists would be tempted to visit the island.

I was met at the station by Mr. Blair, Jr., whose firm were to provide all my outfit except camp equipment, which I had sent ahead from England. I was much indebted to him for valuable information and advice.

I was, I must confess, very disappointed with St. John's, which is not worthy to be the capital of England's oldest colony, and the less said about hotel accommodation the better. The best hotel was really only an indifferent boarding-house, and could not compare in comfort with the hotel of any small provincial town at home.

St. John's possessing few attractions for me, I decided to get away as soon as possible. When I left England the steamer Glencoe, which sails from Placentia to Port aux Basques, all along the south coast, was timed to leave every Saturday, but the sailing had been altered to Wednesday, leaving me with some idle days, which I could not face in St. John's.

I had heard of sea trout fishing and possible salmon in the south-east arm of Placentia, where good accommodation was to be had at a fishing inn, known as Fulford's. Wiring to Mr. Fulford to know if the sea trout were[165] running, the answer came back that they were all in the ponds, which I did not quite understand at the time, but anything was better than five days in St. John's, so on Saturday, August 20th, I started by the morning train for Placentia and Fulford's.

The rain came down in torrents as we left St. John's at 8.45 a.m. and lasted till we arrived at Placentia at 1.45—eighty miles in five hours. These Newfoundland trains are certainly not flyers.

Placentia is very beautifully situated at the junction of the two arms of the sea, known as the south-east and the north-east arms. The main town is on a spit of land which extends out into the sea, making the one entrance to either arm a very narrow channel, and through this the full force of the tide races, causing whirlpools and eddies which looked anything but safe. The foreshore was composed of large round stones, not pebbles, and the roar of these as they washed up and down the beach by the waves is one of the characteristics of Placentia. They say the people of Placentia talk louder than any one else in the island on account of this.

I was met at the station by George Kelly from Fulford's, who told me he had a buggy waiting for me across the ferry; but food was[166] first necessary, and I got a mess of meat at the local hotel for 35 cents. On asking for a glass of beer or a whisky-and-soda, I was told they only kept "sober drinks," an expression which I heard for the first time.

The traveller in Newfoundland must reconcile himself to teetotalism and tea, unless he can carry his own liquor along. Even at the hotel in St. John's only very indifferent beer was obtainable with meals; for anything else one had to go round the corner to a second-rate public-house. Now all this seems very unnecessary, for it would appear to me that there is much greater chance of a man getting drunk if he finds himself set down in a public-house after dinner than if he could obtain what he reasonably required in his hotel. But all Newfoundland drinks tea, and the sensible traveller will adapt himself to the local customs, as well as to the midday dinner and the light early tea or supper.

The ferry was only a couple of hundred yards across, and George and I were soon on our way to Fulford's.

The drive was a lovely one, the road winding high up over the south-east arm. The weather had cleared up, the sun was shining brightly, the hills were glistening in the sunshine after the heavy rain, and every little stream had[167] become a roaring torrent, which George said promised well for the fishing.

After a five-mile drive we arrived at Fulford's and I was warmly welcomed by Mr. Fulford and his wife, really charming people. The house was scrupulously clean. Fortunately for me, I was the only guest, and I can only say Mrs. Fulford gave me the best food I had in Newfoundland, while her terms were even more than moderate. The situation of the house was very beautiful, overlooking the mouth of the river, which was about a mile away.

I naturally inquired first about the fishing.

It seemed I was too late for the sea trout in the river itself, at least in its lower reaches. The sea trout run about July 14th, in great numbers, but only for a short time. The salmon run earlier.

In the season Fulford's is crammed, anglers sleeping anywhere all over the house, and struggling with each other for the best water.

The river, after a run of about four miles, falls out of what are locally termed ponds—what we would call lochs—and at this season of the year all the fish were in these lochs. At certain distances they are connected one with the other by short runs of a few yards, and here the fish lie. These are known as the four-mile, five-mile, six-mile and seven-mile pools.


Starting off about 4 o'clock, I drove up to the four-mile pool. The road was fairly good, winding along above the river through the wood, and the drive was most enjoyable. As we gradually ascended, the view, looking back over the south-east arm, was very beautiful, reminding me very much of Scotch scenery in Sutherland.

The entire country was saturated from the morning rain, and we started in our waders, as George said we had swampy ground to pass through before reaching the pool. Hitching up the horse where a pathway branched off, we plunged through a very wet swamp for a few hundred yards down to the pool.

The water was pouring down from the upper loch, the pool was full of fish all on the move for the run up to the higher waters, the evening was closing in—the black flies and mosquitoes were troublesome. Though I cast over many fish I never got a rise. Getting home at dusk I found an excellent dinner of roast fowl and wild raspberries and cream awaiting me.

The next morning we started early for the seven-mile pool. The going was pretty rough but the scenery very beautiful. We gradually emerged from the woods on to the higher and more open ground. A half-mile walk through a very wet marsh brought us to the bank of the[169] stream between the two lochs, which was in perfect order. It was only a few yards wide and I could cover the entire fishable water with my fourteen-foot Castleconnell rod. I rose several fish, killed three who gave good sport, and lost a fly in another. As the water was about fished out we went down to the six-mile pool, where I killed one and lost another, but the fish were all small, 5½, 4½, 4, 3½ lb.

The following day we again tried the seven-mile pool, but the water had run down and there was little or no stream between the two lochs. I got one fish of 4 lb., and never saw another. As there was little chance of more salmon I asked my host if there were any trout in the neighbourhood. He strongly advised me trying a loch nine miles up the road, where he and a friend had got twenty-seven dozen mud trout (? char) in one day's fishing the previous year. After a rough drive over a very bad road for the last three miles we found the loch, but it was so overgrown with water-lilies that there was not a square yard of water on which to cast a fly. Whether they had grown up since his visit and whether they died down later on in the season I cannot say, but we had wasted our day. I could not understand the river; thousands of sea trout run up but I never saw or rose one. It was hardly[170] a river, but a series of lochs with connecting streams. There were no boats on the lochs, but I had hoped to find sea trout in the tail of the streams. Not one, however, did I even see rise. There are a number of lochs about nine miles up. Whether they contained fish or not I cannot say. I think it would well repay Mr. Fulford, who is the fish warden of the district, to investigate the habits of the sea trout and find out where they eventually lie, presumably in the upper lochs, and put boats on. The salmon I got were in good condition and excellent eating. Driving home in the evening about sunset, we generally saw quite a number of Nova Scotia hares, locally called rabbits, sitting out on the road. I saw no other game of any description, though there are plenty of partridges (ruffled grouse) in the neighbourhood.

The steamer was due to sail from Placentia on the 24th inst., at 3 p.m., so I left Fulford's with much regret at 10.30 a.m. and drove into Placentia, where I found she would not sail till midnight owing to the amount of cargo.

Going into the Post Office to inquire for letters, I was told I must see the Communion Plate of the Protestant Church, which was kept in the Post Office. It was a very handsome service of plate presented by Prince William[171] Henry, who as a young naval officer passed a winter in Placentia, then I believe the capital of the island. It was weary work getting through the day till the steamer sailed. Every berth was taken, so I had a shakedown in the corridor, which was much more airy than any cabin.







In planning my trip I had the benefit of J. G. Millais' advice. He first recommended me to try the country at the head of the La Poile River on the south coast near Port aux Basques. On inquiry I found out that canoes could not be used. Everything would have to be packed, and it would take six men to pack to the hunting grounds. With the memory of my Vancouver trip before me, I decided against the La Poile country and packing, and chose the ground Millais had hunted with such success in 1906. He had gone in by the Long Harbour River, struck off to the north-west to Kesoquit and Shoe Hill Ridge and the Mount Sylvester region. But the Long Harbour River was very rough, and his canoes being at Hungry Grove Pond, where a series of ponds led up to Sandy Pond or Jubilee Lake, its more modern name, I finally decided on this route, which would bring me quite close to Shoe Hill Ridge and Mount Sylvester.


Millais himself had not travelled over this ground, so the map published in his book only gave an approximate idea of the country and its waterways. I had secured the services of Steve Bernard, Millais' head man, and he was to meet me with two other Indians at the head of Long Harbour when I would send a wire.

My route was to be Placentia to Belleoram by the Glencoe. At Belleoram Mr. Ryan, who is in charge of the telegraph station at the head of Long Harbour, was to meet me in his sailing schooner the Caribou, and from Long Harbour we were to pack in to Hungry Grove Pond, where the canoes were to be ready.

We did not get away from Placentia till 1 a.m., and crossing Placentia Bay arrived at Burin the following morning in a thick fog, which occasionally lifted, showing a fine, wild coast with rocky headlands on all sides. Burin was a pretty spot, and I saw it better on my return when there was no fog. We arrived at Grand Bank, a big fishing town, in the evening, but the fog outside was so thick that the Captain decided to anchor till 2 a.m. and then cross Fortune Bay to Belleoram.

Grand Bank was responsible for the change in the sailing date of the Glencoe. Leaving Placentia on Saturday she was due at Grand Bank on Sunday. The inhabitants being very[177] religious objected to loading and unloading on Sunday, so the sailing was changed to Wednesday, and their consciences were satisfied. They forgot, however, that they made some smaller port of call further west break the Sabbath, but being one of the most important shipping centres in the cod season their views had to be met.

We arrived at Belleoram at 6 a.m. on the 26th, feeling our way along the coast with our foghorn.

I and my belongings were turned out on the pier and I felt my trip had at last begun.

The Caribou was in harbour and a boat put off with Steve Bernard, who had come down to meet me and help Mr. Ryan, who was laid up on board with a bad leg. I at once went out to call on Mr. Ryan, as I wanted to get away as soon as possible. I found a sturdy Irishman of about sixty, full of go and energy, and in the cheeriest spirits, only extremely annoyed at the bad leg, which made him pretend to lie up, for lie up he never did, his restless nature would not allow it, and he was always on the move.

His illness began with a boil, but he would go off into the woods after caribou and so irritated it, that the boil had developed into a large sloughing ulcer with considerable inflammation.[178] He did not seem to mind it much and insisted on hobbling about the deck.

There was only one place at which I was recommended to put up in case I had to stay in Belleoram, so I went up to call on Mrs. Cluett and incidentally forage for breakfast. I received a courteous welcome and had plenty of eggs, bread and butter, and tea. Getting back to the Caribou I persuaded Ryan to make a start. There was a thick fog and it was blowing hard; however, away we went in grand style, steering for the different points which loomed through the fog. As soon as we got into the open and had to cross some twelve or fourteen miles of open sea, an ancient and dilapidated compass was produced from the confusion of below, for the Caribou was not altogether a tidy boat; the compass gave a certain moral support, but the needle refused to point in any direction steadily for more than five minutes. Ryan would give it a smack, "Sure I think she's only about five points out now," and in a few minutes, "She's gone all wrong again."

I was entrusted with the steering, which may account for our sighting land about four miles north of the entrance to Long Harbour. It was a pretty rough crossing, but the old Caribou was a seaworthy and dry boat. The weather was what one expects of Newfoundland, wild[179] and foggy, and the mountains looming up out of the fog looked bigger and grander than they really were.

We had a rattling following breeze, and notwithstanding Ryan's assertion that there would be no fog at his house, we ran up the fourteen miles of Long Harbour and arrived there about 4 o'clock in the afternoon in a dense fog, having left Belleoram at 10 a.m. Here I found waiting my two other Indians, John Denny Jeddore and Steve Joe. My party consisted then of Steve Bernard, head man and hunter, John Denny Jeddore, generally known as John Denny, and Steve Joe, who had to become Joe.

John Denny at once told me he had signed on as cook, but added quaintly: "I have never cooked for gentles." All the same he was an excellent plain cook, ready to learn anything, scrupulously clean in all his cooking, and a first-rate fellow. Joe was general utility man and always cheery. Steve Bernard was a pure bred Micmac, his father having been chief of the Micmac tribe, and the other two were half-breeds. John Denny's mother was a Frenchwoman, which perhaps accounted for his extraordinarily nice manners. My men were somewhat shy and reserved at first, but we soon became great friends, and I can only say I[180] never wish for better men or comrades on a hunting expedition. We never had a word of difference. They were always bright and willing, and under the most uncomfortable circumstances never uttered a word of complaint. I think I may say we parted with mutual regret. They all spoke English, but Steve Bernard was the most fluent. Amongst themselves they chattered in their own soft Micmac language, and they never seemed to stop talking. All Newfoundlanders have a specially charming accent, which is neither Irish nor Canadian, and certainly not American. It is very soft and mellifluous. "All right," pronounced as if it were "aal," is the most common expression, and seems to be used on every possible occasion.

All my men, instead of dropping their "h's" in the Cockney fashion, seemed to aspirate almost every word beginning with a vowel, for instance they always spoke of h'oil, h'oar, h'eat, and h'arm, and so with many other words.

The Micmacs are Catholics, and their headquarters in Canada are at Restigouche. Their settlement in Newfoundland is on the Conne River. A priest from Restigouche visits Conne River from time to time and preaches in Micmac. At Restigouche are published the Bible, Catechism and other books in Micmac, which[181] has the same character as English but only sixteen letters. A Micmac paper is also published at Restigouche and received once a month at Conne River. Steve was very amusing over the raising of funds for the construction of a new church at Conne River. Apparently a sort of bazaar was held at which the chief feature was a "Wheel of Fortune." Steve felt rather sore that he had gambled fifteen dollars and won nothing. All the Micmac colony, however, seemed to have enjoyed themselves hugely, gambling, dancing, and eating; they provided the food and afterwards paid for each meal—good for the church!

Ryan's niece kept house for him at Long Harbour—a lonely spot with only one other settler within twelve miles, and I received from uncle and niece the warm welcome which every traveller in Newfoundland is sure to meet with. The morning of the 27th was exquisite, the fog had cleared away, the sun was shining brightly, and the placid head-waters of Long Harbour lay without a ripple at our feet. The hills were not high but beautiful in colour and outline, and I might easily have imagined myself in a Scotch deer forest. Cases of stores had to be unpacked, tent and camp equipment looked out, and the morning was spent in making up the loads.


I had brought an 11-feet square fly for the three men, two tents for myself, both of the lean-to pattern, one heavier and stronger tent of green canvas 7 feet × 7 feet, the other the 6 feet × 7 feet silk tent I had used in Vancouver, and which weighed only 5 lb, my idea being to use it for short trips from the main camp. One pair of Hudson Bay blankets made into a sleeping bag, a pillow, the usual cooking tins in nests, and the folding baker completed my outfit. This latter is simply invaluable; I purchased one locally in St. John's.

Camp furniture I had none, but as experience had taught me that the comfort of a bed of balsam on the ground was somewhat overrated, I had brought a sheet of strong canvas 7 feet × 2 feet 9 inches, with gussets on either side, and eyelet holes at the top and bottom. Into the gussets were slipped strong poles and these laid on two logs at the head and foot in which notches were cut to receive them, and then the poles were nailed down with one 3-inch nail at each end, and the canvas at the head and foot laced round the logs.

A more comfortable camp bed it was impossible to have and it took about ten minutes to construct. With men such as I had, skilful with their axes, to bring camp furniture was unnecessary: tables, benches, poles for[183] hanging clothes, rifle and gun rests, can easily be made, and one day in a permanent camp is sufficient to have all a hunter can want. My men were as good as, if not better than the French Canadians I employed when hunting moose in Canada some nine years before. They introduced me to a bench or camp seat I had never seen before. A suitable tree with outstanding branches is cut down, a short section chosen, on which, on one side at least, there are four branches to form the legs; this is split in two and an excellent camp stool is the result.

I found we had eight loads, which meant double journeys as far as Hungry Grove Pond, so I started off Joe and John Denny with two packs, while Steve and I took a light camp up to Mitchell's Point, where the river ran into the head of the Long Harbour and from which I was assured I could get some good sea trout fishing. We had camp pitched and our midday meal over by 3 o'clock, so started up the river for the sea trout on which we depended for dinner. It was a rough journey along the river bank or in its bed, and although all the water looked tempting it was 5 o'clock before we reached the pool in which the fish were supposed to be.

Long Harbour River is one of the biggest[184] rivers in the south and in the early summer a large number of salmon and sea trout run up, but like most Newfoundland rivers that I saw, the pools alternated with long shallow runs, where no fish would lie. There were certainly some beautiful pools, so it was a disappointment, more especially as regards dinner, that I only rose one fish and hooked another which broke away. Steve unfortunately cut his foot with the small axe in making camp. It looked nothing, but on his way up the river the wound opened and bled rather freely. I fixed him up with a pad and a bandage, and dressed it on our return to camp with 1/1000 corrosive sublimate solution made from tabloids, without which I never travel.

We had only about half-an-hour to fish if we would get back to camp, some four miles away, before dark, so we really did not give the water a fair chance. We did not get into camp till about 8.30. Steve declared he was first-rate at slapjacks, so while I prepared a square of Lazenby's soup he set to work on the slapjacks. After using half a tin of butter he produced a sodden mass of dough, on which and the soup we made a poor meal.

The flies and mosquitoes were very troublesome, but Farlow's "dope" was fairly successful.

Our camping ground was too near the river[185] and on rather low ground. A very heavy dew fell during the night and everything was soaking in the morning. As the fishing was not likely to prove a success we decided to return to Ryan's and push on after our men. Getting away about 12 o'clock, for I had sent Steve back to Ryan's on foot to borrow their dory which brought our camp up, we stopped to boil the kettle and have lunch near a settler's place just beyond the mouth of the river. He was a hardy old man, by name Joe Riggs, and though he had recently undergone several operations in the hospital at St. John's to remove some diseased ribs, he was working away all alone getting in his hay. He was very lonely and sad for he had only recently lost his wife, and the way he spoke about her was very touching. In winter, however, he went down to Anderson's Cove, a small settlement at the mouth of Long Harbour, where a married daughter lived. Among the solitary settlers I met, of whom Joe Riggs was a type, it was remarkable how the spot they had selected for settling on was the very finest to be found, and to poor old Joe, Long Harbour was a sort of earthly Paradise which he would not exchange for any other part of Newfoundland.

On reaching Ryan's, where I was ashamed to trespass once more on his hospitality for the[186] night, I found John Denny and Joe had taken two packs on about eleven miles, to a spot about three miles from Hungry Grove Pond and returned for more loads.

I took another Indian, Micky John by name, to help and the three men started off about 3 o'clock. Two were to return the next day, while John Denny was to make a double trip down to Hungry Grove Pond.






The following day, the 29th, I had to wait for the men to come back, so did not start till 10.30. The track led up the steep hill behind Ryan's house. It was rough going, but nothing in daylight, and the air that morning made one feel glad to be alive. After a steady rise of about two miles we came on to a great wild plateau with hardly a tree to be seen, and I had my first experience of the great barrens of Newfoundland. The colouring was exquisite, and though desolate in the extreme the scenery had a great charm of its own, chiefly due to effects of light and shade.

Deep shadows thrown by the fleecy clouds overhead fell on ridges far away and gave an idea of immensity and distance without which the view might have been monotonous. The air was extraordinarily clear: a ridge which looked a couple of miles away was pointed out to me as six-mile ridge, the head of the divide, from which the ground sloped away to our destination, Hungry Grove Pond. It took us[190] till 3 o'clock to reach the top of the ridge, which at first sight looked so near. The rise the whole way was very gradual, in fact hardly perceptible. The whole country was undulating, low ridges alternating with little valleys, and in each bottom was a small pond from which issued a noisy stream. Dwarf balsam was scattered in patches. A bright yellow grass showed where the marshes, locally called "mishes," which we had to cross, lay, and though there had been a spell of dry weather, very wet and boggy some of these "mishes" were.

When we reached the six-mile ridge we caught our first glimpse of the top of Mount Sylvester, just showing a pale blue on the sky-line, while far down below in a valley lay Hungry Grove Pond.

I calculated we had come eight miles, for the six-mile ridge had been measured from the old Telegraph Office instead of the new.

Dark clouds were now coming up from the coast, and it looked as if we were in for a bad night. I asked Steve if he were certain he had brought the pack with my blankets and waterproof sheet. On examining the packs we found that this, the most important to me at least, had been left behind. Here was a pleasant position. Heavy rain coming up with a cold[191] driving wind and no bedding for the night. But Steve was equal to the occasion and showed me what a first-rate man he was. Our camp was three miles ahead, Ryan's house eight miles behind, and it was 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Steve quietly said, "My fault, I go back and fetch up the pack." None of the others offered to go in his place, so laying down his own pack, for which I was to send back from camp, away went Steve at a trot.

We pushed on to camp, which John had pitched in a small droke, and just as we got in, down came the rain in torrents.

Getting a tent pitched in heavy rain is poor fun, but camp was soon comfortable and a roaring fire going. I had shot three grouse with my little rook rifle on the march, out of season I may say, but when it is a question of food I fear game laws are apt to be disregarded in the wilds. I soon had a good stew of grouse, potatoes and onions cooking, which was pronounced excellent later on. John was shy of showing his own abilities as a chef and sat humbly at my feet as a learner. After dinner we were talking of poor Steve's bad luck and how wet and uncomfortable he must be, and discussing when we should send one of the men back with a lantern to meet him. It was then quite dark, about 7.30 p.m., when Steve walked[192] quietly into the camp with his pack and simply remarked: "Don't think I made bad time." I should think not. He had covered nineteen miles, eleven of them carrying a pack, in four and a half hours—a fine performance. He well deserved the tot of rum which I served out to him. I heard afterwards that in June he had left Ryan's house at 4 a.m. with a light pack and arrived at Conne River, his home, a distance of forty-eight miles, at 8 o'clock the same evening.

I had gathered from Millais' book that Steve was rather addicted to rum, which was confirmed by a letter from him to Mr. Blair, saying, "Don't forget some rum, for you know how fond I am of it." I rather chaffed him about this letter and he assured me that it was a mistake—he could not write himself and some girl in his settlement had written for him and put the passage in without his knowledge. I can only say that I had no difficulty with Steve or any of the others over the question of liquor. I kept the whisky and rum locked up in a box, but I think I might have left it open. I had only six bottles of whisky and three of rum, and on opening the box one of the latter was found broken. I spread this amount over our entire trip till I got back to St. John's. John told me he did not care for rum. Joe acknowledged[193] he liked it, but Steve more than once refused a tot, even after a hard day.

It was a cold camp that night, the ground was saturated, the balsam bedding dripping, and the cold and damp struck up through the thick waterproof sheet and two blankets.

The following morning was perfect, a bright sun shining and a cold nip in the air.

John had packed two loads down to the Pond the previous day, so we started together carrying four loads. Track down to the Pond there was none, and the ground after last night's rain was soaking. The swamps were full of water and the going very hard, but we had only three miles to cover. On the way I stalked a lot of geese, but only got a shot with the rook rifle at about 150 yards and the bullet fell short. Once at the lake all troubles were over and I had to look forward to a comfortable trip in the two Peterborough canoes lying ready. Micky John was sent home. We had seen a doe caribou on the way and he announced his intention of having a try for venison. Joe was sent back to Ryan's for the last light load, and Steve and John to bring up the two remaining loads from last night's camp. I pitched my tent and made things generally shipshape till the men came back. The camp was an ideal one, situated on a wooded spit of[194] land which separated the main pond from the smaller arm. The ground was sandy and dry, firewood abundant, and a brilliant sun was shining over the glassy lake, the shores of which were densely wooded. Packing was done with for the time, two canoes, which enabled us to travel in comfort, were lying pulled up on the sandy beach, and the caribou grounds were a couple of days ahead. What more could a hunter's heart desire. No more letters would be received, no news from the outside world for at least a month, only the joy of solitude in communion with nature, a joy which once experienced can never be forgotten. In the rush and turmoil of life which was to come, when my holiday was over, I could at least have the memories of the happy time now before me to look back on.

The men all turned up in good time in the afternoon, so I tried the lake and got three trout about half-a-pound each on the minnow. After an excellent dinner we were soon sleeping the sleep of the just, with roaring fires in front of my tent and the men's fly.





[To face page 197.



The morning of the 31st was bright and cold, though rain had fallen in the night, and we got away about 9 o'clock. One hour's steady paddling and rowing, for the larger canoe had oars, took us to the north end of Hungry Grove Pond, about three miles I should say, from which issued a brook communicating with Red Hill Pond. The water was very low and the men spent most of their time in the water dragging the canoes over the rocky shallows. I strolled along the bank and saw many old tracks of caribou, but nothing fresh. We had one portage of about half-a-mile, to pass some bad rapids. The brook was about two miles long and owing to the bad water and portage it took us some two hours to get down to Red Hill Pond. We named the brook the Two Mile Brook. Millais had shown a communication between Hungry Grove Pond and Red Hill Pond in his map of the district, but never having travelled over the line we were taking he could not show details.


Red Hill Pond takes its name from a rocky reddish bluff, which rises a couple of hundred feet on the east side of the pond. The country is said to be a good one for bear, but we did not even see fresh tracks.

The pond is only about a mile long, and we got to the end about lunch-time.

I had brought rod rings with me, and had rigged up a rough trolling rod at our first camp, to which I lashed a spare reel. I made it a rule to have this primitive rod and my twelve-foot trout rod trolling over every lake and pond we crossed. I generally put a Devon minnow on one rod, and a blue phantom on the other. I used the fly exclusively when we came to any streams. I got one trout, a lively fish of 1½ lb., in crossing Red Hill Pond and two in Hungry Grove Pond. There was a rapid and a nice pool at the north end of the pond where we halted for lunch, and putting on a small silver doctor in a few minutes I had six nice trout, some of 1½ lb., ready for lunch. John Denny said they were all onannaniche or landlocked salmon. I had never seen them before; they were just like sea trout, and played in the same way, jumping out of the water even more frequently than sea trout. They were strong, game fish, and better still, excellent eating. Here I got my first mud trout, which[199] I take to be char. They were more flabby and not in such good condition as the onannaniche; their flesh was a bright red, and they were good eating.

From Red Hill Pond, after a portage over the short rapid where I had fished, we entered a long weedy pond where fishing was impossible; then came shallow streams with just a perceptible current and three more large ponds, till we reached our camping ground at 4.30 at the head of a rough brook, over which we had to portage next day. I calculated we had come about fourteen miles. The steadies required careful navigation, for there were masses of sharp rocks, some just submerged, others showing well above the water. The bow paddler had to keep a sharp look-out, for very little will knock a hole in a Peterborough canoe. We were now getting rather anxious for meat, for it is simply impossible to carry tinned provisions in sufficient quantity to satisfy the appetites of four hungry men.

The wind had been north-east all day, and fell to a dead calm as Steve and I quietly paddled out, skirting the lake shore, with the hope of seeing game. We went about a mile and landed on a sandy beach where there were one or two fresh tracks, and then on about half-a-mile inland to a rocky knoll from which we[200] could spy the surrounding country, which was mostly marsh with patches of dense wood scattered all over the plain and becoming thicker down by the lake's edge.

At this season of the year all the stags spend their days in the woods, and only come out morning and evening to feed. There was not a breath of air and the mosquitoes and black fly were out in force; towards sunset we saw a small stag with a poor head come out of a wood about a mile away, and feed down towards us. We had visions of caribou steak and liver and bacon before us, when suddenly the wind veered right round; at the same time a fox on the shore of the lake, who had seen us, kept barking persistently. Whether it was the wind or the fox I can't say, but the stag put up his head, turned right round and walked straight away—alas, the hopes of meat were gone. It was getting dusk, so we made for the canoe. On the way we saw a very small doe, but the wind was again wrong and she was off in a moment. We got back to camp in the dark.

Steve swore we must have meat and asked for my Rigby Mauser that he might go out at daybreak and shoot anything eatable. I offered him the little rook rifle, so it was decided he would be out before daybreak for[201] meat. I was only hunting heads, but all the Indians had strong opinions on the subject of meat.

On September 1st Steve was out at daybreak with the small rifle and came back about seven o'clock triumphant, having shot a young stag in good condition. He had crawled within about fifty yards and killed the beast with one shot. I was simply astonished, for I never could have believed that the little rifle, one of Rigby's rook rifles, could have killed an animal bigger than an ordinary red deer. Steve had brought in the liver and kidneys and left the meat to be picked up on our march, for fortunately it was close to a pond we had to pass through. How we all revelled in a good breakfast of kidneys and liver and bacon. Every one was in good humour, for we now had ample meat.

The brook was about three-quarters of a mile long and everything had to be portaged.

It looked ideal fishing water, and while the men were portaging I fished every pool. I got two onannaniche and two mud trout above the first pool, and then never a rise, though the pools looked perfect.

Where the brook fell into the next lake looked the best water, but I could move nothing. Why, I could not understand, unless it was that the season was late for these waters.


When the portage was over Steve and John went across the pond for the meat, and Joe and I pushed on in the big canoe about a mile across the pond to another rapid, fortunately only about thirty yards long, where we again had to portage. The day had turned bitterly cold and heavy rain clouds were coming up. I had got very warm walking and fishing along the brook, and though I put on a thick jersey the wind seemed to cut like a knife and I got a bad cold which gave me some trouble for days after. Poor old Joe had spent most of the day up to his waist in water getting the empty canoes down the creek and was looking very miserable. The men wore nothing but their cotton shirts and coats, cotton trousers and moccasins—they were never dry, but never seemed to catch cold.

It was just the occasion for a tot of rum. Whether it went to Joe's head or not I cannot say—he certainly became extra cheerful, and when the other men returned and all the men were carrying the loads across the rapid, Joe tumbled twice right into the water and got a thorough ducking. I only made a gesture of taking a tot, when I thought these simple folk would never stop laughing. It was a joke which lasted them the rest of the trip, and in Indian circles no doubt I have the reputation[203] of being a great wit. Joe laughed if possible more heartily than the others, and though soaked to the skin was quite happy for the rest of the day.

Just as we were loading up the canoes John pointed to the sky-line about half-a-mile away and quietly said, "That good stag, I think." Sure enough there was a heavy beast, the first big stag I had seen, quietly feeding along the crest of the ridge. The wind was right, so we decided to cross the pond, land, and have a closer look at him. His head looked massive, but I could not make out the points.

I certainly never had an easier stalk, as the ground was perfect for stalking, and this holds good all over the island. We walked quietly up in perfect shelter to within about 150 yards of where we had last seen the stag, and presently saw the tops of his horns sticking up from behind a low bush. Leaving Steve behind, I crawled up to within about seventy yards and got my telescope on to count the points. The horns were in velvet, but just stripping—and as the frontal tines were interlocked it was difficult to count the exact number. Beckoning Steve up we spent some time counting the points, for the poor beast was lying sound asleep with his head nodding. Steve could make out thirty points, but said[204] we would get many better heads. We had almost determined to leave him, when I thought after all here was a certainty, so resting my rifle in the branch of a tree in front of me, I shot him through the neck. It was rather murder, for no skill either in the stalk or shot was necessary. However, he knew nothing, but rolled over stone dead. When we got up to him we could only make out twenty-nine points, but the head was quite a pretty one. The body was very big, but not in good condition.

Calling up the men, we soon had the head and meat down to the canoes and boiled the kettle before starting on. We now had enough meat for some days, though it is astonishing what a quantity of meat an Indian can get through; so we could afford to look for that extra good head—which as it happened we never came across.

We went on through some shallow and very rocky steadies, and after about a mile came to the last portage into Sandy Pond or Jubilee Lake. We had to carry the canoes over this and were soon crossing to the north shore of Sandy Pond, where we were to make our permanent camp. There was a fine following wind which helped us along, and by sunset we had covered the four miles of lake and arrived[205] at one of Steve's trapping camps, which was to be our headquarters.

Sandy Pond is a lovely sheet of water studded with innumerable islands, some densely wooded, some quite bare. In the early mornings and evenings in fair weather the view was exquisite, and I was never tired of the changing effects on the lake. One day there would not be a ripple, another day would come a gale and driving rain, and such a sea that the canoes could not be launched, but as a rule for three weeks we had perfect weather.

In crossing Sandy Pond I caught four nice trout, the two largest about 1½ lb. each, so the day's bag was two deer and eight trout. The licence only allows the shooting of three stags, but to shoot meat for food is, I think, an unwritten law of the island, and I feel sure the authorities themselves would not insist on a too strict application of the licence. It is simply impossible to carry enough tinned meat to keep four men going, and with meat at the door when it is urgently needed it is not human nature to resist the temptation. On the entire trip we shot only what was absolutely necessary for food, but with no meat in camp I used to send Steve out with the small rifle to shoot a barren doe for the pot, and not a pound of meat was wasted.


Our camp was pitched in a dense wood, for after the great forests of Vancouver the Newfoundland timber looks insignificant and only worthy of the name of wood. A good clearing had already been made by Steve on his trapping expeditions, and poles for pitching the fly were lying ready. We soon had a most comfortable camp pitched, and with plenty of food and a tot of rum to mark the occasion of arriving in our permanent camp, we passed a happy evening, smoking our pipes in front of a glorious camp fire and discussing the plans and the prospects for the future.

We decided to make this our main camp, leaving here most of our stores, and to make flying trips, at first west into the thickly wooded country where the stags were most likely to be found at this time of year, and later north-east up to the barrens and Shoe Hill Ridge.

This was Steve's advice and I naturally decided to follow it. I had originally thought of working north by Mount Sylvester, striking the higher waters of the Terra Nova River and so down to the railway at Terra Nova, which would have been a shorter way back to St. John's; but Steve told me that last season he had been with a party of Americans who came in from Terra Nova, and that the country had been shot out, as they never saw a decent stag[207] till they came on to the barrens hear Shoe Hill Ridge, where they could only stay for two days, during which they secured two good stags.

The morning of September 2nd was exquisite, all the clouds of yesterday had cleared away and a bright sun was shining in a cloudless sky. I had passed rather a bad night coughing, owing to the chill caught the day before, but in the climate of Newfoundland one never felt ill.

After an early breakfast we started off in the big canoe to explore the shores of the lake and look for signs. Stags we could not expect to see, for they were bound to be in the woods, and the whole of the northern shore of Sandy Pond is densely wooded. About a mile west of the camp was the brook connecting Sandy Pond with the large lake of Kaegudeck to the north. Here, I thought, must be the ideal spot for trout, but though I fished for an hour I never got a rise. The brook is only about ten yards wide and quite unnavigable for canoes.

We found plenty of fresh marks of deer on the sandy beaches of the lake, but saw nothing.

Returning to camp we pottered around getting the camp shipshape—including the making of my patent bed, which was a tremendous success. Poles for hanging clothes, rests for rifles and fishing-rods, shelves in my tent, and even tables were run up by the men,[208] and the camp was soon all that could be desired in the way of comfort.

About 4 o'clock we took the canoe and went east about a mile, passing another brook quite as big as that running from Kaegudeck and which takes its rise in Shoe Hill Lake. Landing, we went up to a look-out hill about half-a-mile away, from which we had a splendid view of the country to the east.

The ground, rugged and intersected with small watercourses, rose gradually to a ridge about three miles away, beyond which, Steve said, lay an open plain leading on to Shoe Hill Ridge. The hills looked about 400 feet high and from our look-out we could spy the entire face for some miles; to the south-east lay Square Box Hill crowning the ridge. There were many clumps of timber lining the sides of the watercourses and numerous small ponds lay in the hollows.

It looked an ideal caribou country, over which later on in the season all the caribou from the south and west cross to gain the barrens.

Many well-worn caribou tracks led upwards. It was a lovely evening. We could look over Sandy Pond with its wooded islands and its forest-clothed shores standing out dark against the setting sun and reflected in the placid waters of the lake. Just as the sun went down[209] in a blaze of colour we saw five deer come out of different patches of wood, but only one was a stag, and the head being poor we left him, though to get a shot would have been a very easy stalk.

In the short row home I picked up five trout, two being over a pound. I found that just half-an-hour before and half-an-hour after sunset was the best time for trolling, and I could always pick up enough fish for the camp coming home in the canoe after a day's stalking.

Next morning, September 3rd, we were up for an early breakfast and got away at 7 a.m. Here I first used the rucksack, which was most convenient, as in it we carried our midday meal, an oilskin, if it looked like rain, and a kettle for tea. The lake was dead calm and the morning mists were clearing away as we started. Our plan was to work up to the top of the ridge we had seen the evening before, hunt the face of the hill and see if there were any signs of stags on the barrens.

Unfortunately our chances of deer on the way up were spoiled by a south-west wind which got up about eight o'clock, and blew steadily from behind us the whole way up. We saw four does on one of the islands in the lake, but the whole face of the ridge was devoid of stags.


It was only about three miles to the crest of the ridge, and the country being dry the going was good. There were many small swamps and ponds along the side of the hill with small drokes in the hollows, altogether ideal ground for stags. There were not many fresh tracks, though the deep ruts cut by the hoofs of innumerable herds of deer showed what numbers must pass later on in the season.

On reaching the top of the ridge we looked over a vast undulating tract of country, the true barrens. There were only three drokes in sight. One about four miles away, which Steve pointed out to me as Shoe Hill Droke, where Millais camped and from which he got such fine heads in October; nearer still another droke where Captain Legge had camped two years before and from which he got a forty-pointer; in fact, I was looking over historic ground from a sporting point of view, and there seemed no reasons why I should not be as successful as those who had gone before me.

There were neither stags nor does in sight, and no fresh tracks. Steve said they would not move up to the barrens before the 15th or 20th of September. It made me bitterly regret I was so cramped for time, and that I had to be back to catch the Glencoe at Belleoram on September 26th. It is the greatest mistake[211] being tied down to time on any hunting trip; a week extra might have made all the difference in my sport, but steamers did not fit in, and I was bound to be in New York to sail for home on October 8th.

We had a splendid view of the entire country from the look-out hill on the top of the ridge. To the north lay Mount Sylvester about four hours' march away; to the north-west Lake Kaegudeck, buried in dense woods; behind Kaegudeck lay the hills over the Gander. To the east the view was bounded by Shoe Hill Ridge with its droke standing up against the clear sky. To the west was the country we had just come through sloping down to Sandy Pond, while far behind to the west lay Kepskaig Hill, which we were to visit later on. After spending some time spying the entire country, we boiled the kettle, had lunch and strolled leisurely down to the lake. Meanwhile the placid lake of the morning had changed and the south-west wind, now blowing half a gale, was rolling up big breakers on the shore. We had sent the canoe home in the morning and it was too rough for Joe to fetch us, so we went back to the look-out of the first evening and spied the whole country till dark. We saw two stags up on the sky-line near Square Box Hill, but it was too late to go after them; one[212] looked a heavy beast. The wind went down with the setting sun and Joe was able to come across for us, but the lake was still too rough for fishing.

On September 4th the glass had fallen badly, a gale was blowing and heavy rain clouds were coming up from the south-west. Notwithstanding the prospect of bad weather we decided to go up to Square Box Hill and have a look for the stag we had seen the previous evening. It was a five miles' walk, up hill the whole way, but the ascent was gradual. We had just reached the top of the ridge within about half-a-mile of the hill when the rain came down in sheets. Spying was impossible, so we took shelter in a droke, lit a good fire, boiled the kettle and had lunch. We waited till about two o'clock, but there was no sign of clearing, so we plodded back to camp, getting well soaked through. Just as we got to camp the rain cleared off, and after a change of clothing we started to fish about five o'clock. We picked up five nice fish, all on the minnow—one about 2 lb. Just at dusk a doe came swimming out from one of the islands as if to have a look at us. Meat was not over abundant in camp, so I gave Steve permission to shoot her with the rook rifle. Steve rather prided himself on being a good shot, but he was shooting[213] from a wobbly canoe and missed clean with the first shot, but hit her with the second, and landing, killed her stone dead. By the time the doe was gralloched and in the canoe a heavy fog had come up and it was dark before we reached camp.

On this trip I was introduced to two great delicacies. One roast doe's head, and the other roast breast-bone of stag. John was an adept at these dishes, and anything more delicious and tender I have never tasted. The head was only skinned, put in the baker and roasted whole for about six hours, the great advantage of the baker being that the heat can be regulated by the distance it is kept from the fire.

In the evening we had a long discussion as to what we had better do. There were no stags to speak of in the country we were in. So a move was necessary, and Steve decided we would take all the outfit to the west end of Sandy Pond, there make our main camp, and with a small camp work down to Kepskaig, all through a wooded country where he maintained the stags were now to be found. So we decided to make a start the following morning.

Our camp was simply infested with grey jays, generally known as robber-birds; there were at least a dozen who made the camp their home. No sooner was a bit of meat hung up in[214] the open than they descended on it and began picking it to pieces.

It was very interesting watching them, for they were so tame that Joe caught one with his hand. They appeared to be ravenous, and stuffed themselves with meat and then flew away, but Steve explained they only went a short distance to store the meat for the bad winter days to come, hiding it in crevices in the bark of the surrounding trees. They worked hard from morning to night and must have laid by a good store, for I left a good lump of venison hanging in the open for their special benefit, the rest of the meat being protected from the flies and the jays by my mosquito net, which I had turned into a meat safe.





[To face page 217.



September 5th was a lovely morning, not a breath of wind and a cloudless sky, so different from yesterday. Getting away at 9.30 we made a good four miles an hour, reaching our camping ground at the west end of the lake at 11.30. Steve, Joe and I were in the big canoe and John, a fine boatman, in the small canoe which skirted the shores of the lake. We disturbed a small stag which was feeding along the shore and which at once disappeared in the woods. The camp was simply perfect, fairly open yet with sufficient shelter from the surrounding woods. Behind it rose a hill about 100 feet high, a fine look-out over the entire country. The tents were pitched on a spur of land just where the Baie du Nord River, or rather its head-waters, left the lake in a tumbling torrent with intervening deep pools, an ideal salmon river to look at, but unfortunately no salmon can pass Smoky Falls, many miles away to the south of Lake Meddonagonax.

I had caught two trout crossing the lake,[218] but could not resist the first really good fly-fishing water I had come to, so a few minutes after arrival I was on the bank of the river fishing an ideal pool. There was about a quarter of a mile of fishing water, after which was a small lake and then more rapids below. In an hour I had landed twelve trout and char, weighing 10½ lb. The trout were all onannaniche and played like sea trout—more often out of the water than in. The largest was 2¼ lb., and the two largest char weighed 2¾ lb. In the heavy rapid water they gave grand sport. What an ideal camp it was! The best of fishing at the door of the tent, a glorious view over the lake, with its many wood-clad islands to the south, while across the lake the ground was open and sloped gradually upwards, and here Steve said he had more than once seen good stags. The whole ground could be spied from the rocky hill behind the camp, from which, too, we could look over all the woodland marshes to north and west and could see the river winding away to distant Koskācodde, and in the further distance Kepskaig Hill and the country we were to hunt later on.

After lunch, about 3 o'clock, Steve and I started for the look-outs. There were three in all, behind and to the north of our camp. We decided to go straight to the one farthest[219] north, a mile away, and from which we could command all the open ground near the lake and the numerous glades and marshes lying around us. Our only chance was to see a stag coming out to feed about sunset.

The country was undulating, and on the north side of the lake gradually rose to hills about 200 feet high. Dense woods clothed the ravines running up to the higher ground, while between the woods and the surrounding numerous small ponds were fairly open glades interspersed with marshes. The track worn by the feet of many caribou and cleared in parts by Steve, who trapped this country in the winter, was quite good going and we were on the top of our hill long before sunset. The view was a fine one; as we looked right over the entire lake and away to the south we could see the river winding down through the woods to Lake Koskācodde, only about four miles away as the crow flies. Koskācodde is the Indian for the Mackle bird, or Little Gull Pond.

On our way up we saw the first sign of a stag cleaning his antlers, and the fresh rubbing showed that he had been on the ground quite recently.

Having spied the entire country on both sides and nothing being in sight, we decided to return to camp. About half-a-mile from camp[220] we suddenly saw a big stag come out of the woods and feed along a ridge just above the shores of the lake. He was not more than 400 yards away and was walking rapidly as he fed up wind and towards the camp. Waiting until he had crossed the ridge and was out of sight, we pushed on across a small dip between us and the ridge, and so to the top of the ridge where he had disappeared. It could hardly be dignified by the name of a stalk, for on looking over there he was standing about a hundred yards away, feeding quietly. On the side towards me the frontals and middles were good, the tops poor, but stags were scarce, and hoping for the best I dropped him with one shot. It was the usual story, the two sides were not alike and the horn next to me was the best one. This is one of the great difficulties of judging heads; on one side may be a fine frontal of seven or eight points concealing the other frontal, which may be a single spike. He was a very heavy stag, in good condition and quite clean, but I should say the head was going back. In one respect it was remarkable—there were three distinct horns, the third with two points growing out of the orbital ridge and completely separated from the horn on the same side. Steve said he had never seen one like it.


The next morning I sent Steve out early to spy the country. He came back having seen only one very small stag and three does. Joe was dispatched to cut up yesterday's stag, and bring in the head and meat, while I decided to fish the river down and go out again in the evening on the chance of another stag.

Taking Steve with me, I fished down for about two miles. There was some lovely water, but all the fish were lying in the pools and none in the streams.

In the lowest pool I reached I got a fine fish of 3 lb. and five other good ones. By lunch I had twenty-one trout and five char, weighing 19 lb.; a number of small ones I had put back. The trout were all onannaniche and as game a fish for its size as I ever want to catch; in the heavy water they gave grand sport. Coming back to camp we saw two old geese and a fine lot of young ones feeding in a marsh across a small lake. Seeing us they kept cackling and moving higher up into the reeds. We both went back to camp to fetch the rook rifle, so making a great mistake, for had one of us remained where we were we certainly would have got a shot, for they would not have left the marsh so long as some one was in sight, guarding the narrow mouth of the river by[222] which they were bound to pass. When we got back with the rifle they had disappeared.

In the afternoon we went out to the second look-out, and waited till sunset. It was a wonderful evening, not a breath of wind, and the mosquitoes and flies were out in force even on the top of our little hill. In a small pond below us half-a-dozen black duck were swimming about through the reeds, while the hundreds of rings on the water showed that the pond was well stocked with trout, but Steve said they were all very small and not worth catching; the pond must have been simply alive with them judging from the number of rises.

Presently we saw a barren doe come out of the woods and feed towards where we had shot yesterday's stag. The sound of chopping wood in camp was quite distinct in the still air, and whether it was hearing this or whether she had winded where the dead stag had lain, she turned back and swam straight out into the lake for about 300 yards, then turned north and swam at least a mile to a jutting out wooded point where she landed, shook herself like a dog and disappeared in the woods. She swam very high in the water with her scut straight up. It was a pretty sight, as I could watch her all the way with my glasses.


I was not very satisfied with the system of hunting we were obliged to follow. Sitting waiting on the top of a look-out on the chance of something turning up did not appeal to me, but Steve assured me it was much too early to go up to the barrens and that our only chance was in the woods, and I have no doubt he was right. The stags do not move up to the high ground much before September 20th, though I believe the Shoe Hill country and right away east holds stags permanently, but the big stags who have summered in the woods do not begin to move much before the 20th. The season closing on October 1st, there is not much time for good stags. The close time is from October 1st to 20th, when shooting is again allowed. I have a shrewd suspicion that men who go in about October 5th, to be in time for the second season, are not very particular about dates. I feel I should be sadly tempted myself were I to see a forty-five pointer, say October 16th. But when the rutting season is on, between October 1st and 20th, the stags are easily approachable and the sport cannot be good.

We discussed our plans at length—there were not many big stags about, and though the camp was an ideal one I decided, on Steve's recommendation, to move down south to Lake Koskācodde and Kepskaig, where, though the[224] country was fairly wooded, Steve said we should have a chance of a good stag.

On September 7th the weather looked like breaking. Steve was out at daybreak and spied two stags down the river where we proposed to go. We decided to leave Joe in camp and take a light camp and provisions for a week in the big canoe and explore the country to the south. Joe was rather sad at being left behind, but though he had a good tent, lots of meat and provisions, the enforced solitude did not appeal to him.

While Steve and John were packing the canoe I went down to the river and soon had ten trout and char, 8½ lb., the two biggest being over 2 lb. each. The canoe was let down the rapids with a rope, the kit being portaged to the bottom of the rapids, only about 400 yards, where the river fell into a small lake or Podopsk, a generic term for all the small ponds in the course of a river. After crossing this we had a navigable stream with occasional rapids, all of which we were able to negotiate without unloading. Having started at 9 a.m. we reached a rapid at the entrance to Koskācodde about 1.15. Here we had to portage about fifty yards. I slipped on the rocks and took an involuntary bath, which was rather annoying. However, a change of clothes was at hand and[225] I was none the worse for my dip. Just as we got into the new lake I saw a deer make off on the far side, having seen us. I could not make out whether it was a stag or a hind, as I only saw its rump disappearing in the trees. At the same moment John saw a stag feeding quietly away on our side of the lake. We soon got close enough to see that the head was a poor one. I tried to take a snapshot with the camera, but when I got within fifty yards he saw me and was off. He was a fine big-bodied beast, and may have been one of the stags Steve had seen in the morning. We pushed on about one mile, and camped on a promontory stretching out into the lake. There was a nice sandy shelving beach and a perfect camping ground all ready, as it had been cleared by some other party the previous year, and only the undergrowth had to be cut away.


[To face page 225.

In the afternoon, taking the canoe, we paddled quietly along the shore, and after about two miles landed on a sandy beach to look for signs. A fringe of wood clothed the south shore of the lake, beyond which was a fairly open country. There were plenty of signs, and we were strolling quietly along the beach when Steve seized me by the arm and whispered, "Deer coming through wood." I confess I could hear nothing, but Steve's hearing was[226] marvellously acute. Sitting down on a big rock, I got the rifle ready and laid it across my knees. Presently I heard a crackling and breaking of branches quite close by, when a noble-looking stag walked out into the open and without looking round or ahead crossed the sandy beach down to the edge of the lake not thirty yards away. We were both in full view, but alas, though his body looked enormous his head was a very poor one, not more than twenty points. He never saw me but bent his head, had a long drink, then looked round for a couple of minutes and walked quietly back into the wood. What would I not have given for my camera!—a more perfect picture could not be imagined. Though a gentle breeze was blowing, fortunately in the right direction, there was not a ripple on the waters of the sandy bay, which was sheltered by the wood, and as he stood with his head up and every line of his body reflected in the water below, it was a noble sight, such as one could but rarely hope to see.


[To face page 226.

Allowing some ten minutes to elapse we followed him through the wood, more out of curiosity than anything else. Coming out on to an open grassy plain, there he was feeding quietly about 200 yards away. Looking round to my left I suddenly saw a second stag not 150 yards away. The horns of the[227] first stag were clean. The second stag had a better head, but the velvet was peeling off and the frontal tines, and indeed most of the horn, were crimson with blood. It was difficult to determine the points, owing to the bits of velvet hanging all about, but getting the glass on to him I saw that though the frontals were good the rest of the head was very indifferent, so he had too to be passed.

We whistled to move the second stag but he took not the slightest notice of us, and it was not until we gave him, and incidentally the first stag, our wind that they both went away over the plain at a slinging trot.

Coming home in the gloaming we saw another stag come out of the wood and walk along the shore. We got within fifty yards of him, but the head was, if possible, inferior to the other two. This was bad luck! We had seen four stags in one day and not one worth shooting.

September 8th. We got away at 6 a.m., crossed the lake in the canoe and made for the top of a small hill about a mile away. The country was undulating. Numerous ponds lay in the hollows. Clumps of wood (drokes), in which the stags rested during the day, were[228] scattered over the plain; altogether a likely looking ground. We soon saw a big stag about two miles away feeding across a swamp. The head looked a good one but it was impossible to make out the points at such a distance, so we decided to get nearer. As we moved on we saw another stag coming out of a hollow on our left, but the head was a poor one. Within four minutes we saw a third stag on our right, but the glass soon showed that he too was not of the right sort. All these were big-bodied animals, but carrying poor heads. Following on after the first stag, we saw him enter a small wood. As soon as we got close outside the wood I decided to send Steve round and give the stag his wind. I took a position commanding both sides of the wood, on one of which, if Steve's drive were successful, the stag must come out. After about half-an-hour's wait a crash in the wood just in front of me told me that our plan had succeeded, and out burst a fine stag and stood looking back into the wood and within twenty yards of me. Alas, his horns were in velvet, and although the tops were good he had only one indifferent frontal and a spike for the other. So he too had to go unharmed. Again I reproached myself for not having brought the camera. I had missed yesterday and to-day two chances of snapshots[229] such as seldom occur. On getting back to camp John reported having seen a small stag crossing the end of the lake, so at least there were plenty of caribou in the country, though unfortunately no big heads.

In the afternoon the light breeze dropped to a dead calm, so starting at 2.30 we made for the far west end of the lake, about five miles away, where a long steady ran up for about three miles, and which Steve said was a good country for deer. Landing a few hundred yards up the steady, we made for the top of a ridge about a hundred feet high, up which led one of the deepest deer tracks I had yet seen. It was at least two feet deep, cut right into the side of the hill, and there were fresh signs everywhere. Unfortunately it was one of those dead calm evenings when the stags come out very late, and as we were a good way from camp we could only wait till just after sunset, and saw nothing. On our way home just at the mouth of the steady we saw a barren hind standing in the water. As we wanted meat I sent Steve ashore with the rook rifle to get her, which he did after bungling one or two shots. As we were getting the carcass into the canoe, out came another hind, and just behind her a small stag, on the point we had just left, but the head was no good. We got to camp well[230] after dark, but it was a lovely, calm night without a ripple on the lake.

September 9th. We were up at daybreak and across the lake to spy the ground where we had seen the three stags yesterday. Nothing was in sight, but we saw for a moment one stag behind our camp on the high open ground; he was just disappearing into a small droke, so we could not make out the head. However, we went after him, but when we had crossed the pond and got up to where he had disappeared, there was nothing in sight, so we decided to get back to camp and move on if possible. Just as we reached the camp, looking back for a moment I saw him on the sky-line about a quarter of a mile away, but, getting the glass on, I found the head was no good. As we were making for camp we saw another stag on the shore where we had landed in the morning, but he was like all the rest, unshootable. He both got our wind and saw us and went off at a real gallop instead of the ordinary long slinging trot.

We certainly had seen plenty of stags, but as luck would have it not one good head. All the country round Koskācodde was very good for deer. We had been extraordinarily lucky so far in our weather, the "mishes" were all dry but rather fatiguing going, just like walking[231] over a thick bed of dry sponges. The fine weather could not be expected to last for ever, and the chances were that when we most wanted it, on the Shoe Hill Ridge, it would break.







Though the wind was almost blowing a gale against us we decided to start, and crept along under the shelter of the shore. Heavy seas were breaking over the numerous sunken rocks and we shipped a good deal of water. I was not sorry to reach a point about three miles off, where the lake turned round to the north and where we had a following wind, and though the waves were still high they were behind us, and we soon reached a short rapid leading into Kepskaig Lake. We had covered the distance from our last camp in three and a half hours.

Unloading the canoe, we got her over the rapid and camped immediately below. In front of the camp, at the bottom of the short rapid, was a nice pool, and while the men were pitching camp and cooking dinner I fished the pool, and in one and a half hours I got twenty-one trout and char; the biggest about 1½ lb.

Although the gale was a strong one the rain had so far kept off, but the clouds were now[236] piling up for heavy rain, and the glass was falling rapidly. We were lucky to have got across, for the wind was now too high to have attempted the lake. We were in a good, dry camp, plenty of fish assured, and we could afford to ignore the weather.

Kepskaig was a short and somewhat narrow lake, not more than one and a half miles long; from it two steadies led out into Meddonagonax Lake. The shores were thickly wooded, but at the far end were some fairly open marshes with two good look-out hills, from which we could spy the entire country.

We started about 4.30 for the far end of the lake, but landed half-way to spy the shores for any feeding stag that might come out. We soon saw a stag with a good-looking head feeding on the shore opposite to us, and were just about to start after him when Steve saw another stag feeding across one of the marshes at the far end of the lake. The tops of the horns looked very good, so we decided to go after him first. Pushing on in the canoe to the end of the lake, we were soon on the top of one of the small hills, and could see him feeding on towards us and moving very quickly. The glass showed that though he had good tops, both middles and frontals were very poor, so we decided to leave him and go back to the[237] first stag. It was nearly dark when we got to the place we had last seen him, but fortunately he was there still feeding amongst some big boulders on the shore of the lake. A high wind was blowing and he was not more than eighty yards away, so hidden by the rocks and long grass I could not make out his frontals, but tops and middles were good, and waiting, what seemed an indefinite time, to get a broadside shot, at last he began feeding away with his rump straight on to me. I could now hardly see the telescope sight, but fortunately he gave a half turn and as I fired I heard the bullet go home. He galloped madly right into the lake, and stood some 150 yards away among some big rocks from which I could hardly distinguish him. Taking the best sight I could I fired again and he dropped stone dead in the water. Getting him ashore, we found he was a nice thirty-four pointer, the best head we had yet seen, and as it happened the best head we saw the whole trip. He was in poor condition, having been badly wounded in the body at some time. Abscesses had formed round the wounds and Steve pronounced his flesh uneatable. It was too dark to do more than pull him out of the water and gralloch him, and we had a hard paddle back to camp in the dark. The rain was now falling heavily and a roaring fire and[238] cosy camp were more than welcome.

The following morning it was still raining, but more like a thick Scotch mist. We went over to fetch the head, and found that the first bullet had gone in just behind the ribs and raked him through lungs and heart, so the second shot was unnecessary. We saw a hind and calf swimming in the lake, and tried to overtake them to get a snapshot, but hard as we both paddled I only succeeded in getting within about thirty yards, too far for a good photo—the light too was bad, and the result was not a success. I spent the morning sketching and photoing the head, and then Steve set to work to skin and clean it. After breakfast there was great excitement, as four otters came swimming up to the rapid, possibly with the idea of going up into the lake above. Regardless of season and game laws, Steve had a shot with the small rifle and missed, but turned them back. Going out to fish I could not get a rise, the otters had evidently scared all the fish out of the pool.

The clouds now cleared away and a brilliant sun came out, while hardly a ripple stirred the surface of the lake. In the afternoon we went down again to the end of the lake, climbed the highest look-out hill and stayed there till sunset. The views on all sides were very[239] beautiful and we looked right over Meddonagonax with its numerous wooded islands, but saw no stags. We paddled down one of the steadies leading into Meddonagonax and so into the lake, hoping to see some feeding stag on its shores, but without success.


[To face page 238.

It was a wonderful night, the moonlight made it almost as bright as day.

The following morning was bright and cold and the mists hanging over the lake were soon dispelled by the morning sun. We got away about 6.30 a.m. and went down to the far end of the lake, but only saw one unshootable stag. Coming back for breakfast we decided to take a trip to the far end of Meddonagonax, where Steve said there was good fishing just where the river left the lake. It only took us one and a half hours of a steady row and paddle to get to the end of the lake where the Baie du Nord River leaves it. We ran down a few hundred yards of rapids and hauled up the canoe, leaving John to prepare lunch. It was an ideal-looking river and Steve said he had caught many large trout in it. The pools were perfect to look at, but somehow fish were comparatively few and not in very good condition. I fished down about a mile to where the river fell into a small lake, and caught eighteen trout[240] weighing about nine pounds. Steve said it was only a good day's march from where we were to where the river runs into the sea. About half-way down there is a big fall called Smoky Falls, above which salmon cannot run, but he said salmon were numerous below the falls. In the water we had fished he had caught many big trout in July, so possibly we were too late.

Leaving at 5 o'clock I trolled all the way home but never got a pull nor did we see a stag.

As we had apparently exhausted the ground, we decided to start back in the morning of the 12th and camp in a steady at the west end of Koskācodde. While John was packing up we had an early morning prowl round the shores in the canoe, but saw nothing. While the packing was being finished I fished the pool at the camp and got thirteen trout weighing 7½ lb.—the largest about 1½ lb. It was a blazing hot day, we got to our new camping ground shortly after midday, and only caught one trout on the way.

Going out in the evening we crossed some ideal-looking caribou ground, but saw only one stag with a poor head and a couple of hinds.

All our hopes were now centred on the Shoe Hill Ridge country, for though we had seen many stags we were most unfortunate as[241] regards heads. This was the seventh day away from the main camp, and we had seen fourteen stags. I cannot help thinking it was a bad year for heads, or surely we should have seen something better.

I sent Steve out early on the morning of the 13th to spy, but he came back and reported nothing in sight.

We got away about 9.30, and with a favourable wind were soon passing our old camp on Koskācodde.

Joe had been uneasy about us, or lonely, and we met him tramping down the river, and, incidentally, disturbing the whole country. He reported a stag (of course a colossal one) which had passed quite close to our old camp. It was lucky no gun was left behind, for he most certainly would have had a shot.

About dinner-time we reached a small lake from which the river ran out in a sluggish stream. Steve said it was a favourite spot for trout and suggested I should try it while lunch was being got ready. There was a deep hole just above the stream and a light wind was rippling the water. The trout was there in numbers and greedy for the fly. At every cast I rose one or two, and in an hour and a half I had forty trout weighing 19½ lb., the biggest about 2 lb. I lost one which must have[242] been at least 3 lb., and put back at least a dozen small ones. I never saw trout in such numbers or so eager to take the fly.

It was nice to get back to the cheery camp on Sandy Grove Pond, and to my comfortable camp bed, but Joe had spoiled all chance of stags. We saw a good covey of grouse close to the camp, but they were very wild. I thought Joe would never go to sleep he had so much to say to his pals, and his stag grew bigger and bigger as the evening wore on, perhaps due to a tot of rum which was served out to celebrate our meeting.

The morning of the 14th broke grey with a light rain, and the glass was falling, but there was no wind. I went down to fish the river for the last time while the men were packing up. In my favourite pool I took eleven fine trout, weighing 14 lb., four others in the smaller streams, 2 lb., and seven in crossing the lake, 5 lb.—a total for the day of twenty-two trout, 21 lb. I lost a fly in a good trout in the big pool. I fished the streams down till Steve came to say that all was ready for a start. As we passed the pool I chaffingly said, "I must get that trout which broke me." At the first cast I hooked a 2-lb. fish, and on landing him Steve quietly remarked, "Quite right, here is your fly," and sure enough there it was! Crossing the lake we saw two stags and landed[243] to look at them, but again the heads were no good. The wind was rising and the rain coming down ere we reached our main camp on Sandy Grove Pond about 2.30 p.m. Time was now getting short, so we decided to push on to the Shoe Hill Ridge and there hope for a big stag as the deer began moving out of the woods. The evening was wild and wet, so we stayed in camp making arrangements for the morrow's march inland.





[To face page 247.



The morning of the 15th was grey, and though the glass was falling, the weather looked like clearing. The men dawdled about and it was 11 before we all got away. Our plans were to take three good packs up to Shoe Hill Ridge and then send Joe back for what we wanted from time to time.

We had kippered all the big trout and very excellent they were later on, for no fish were to be had on the barrens.

We reached the top of the ridge about 1 o'clock, when heavy rain set in. As I could not walk in an oilskin, there was nothing for it but to get wet through, and very soon I was literally wet to the skin. We were all shivering with cold as a bitter wind was blowing over the open barrens, so at 2 o'clock we halted to boil the kettle under the shelter of a big rock. Though wet through, the men were as cheery as ever, and Steve challenged Joe to race him to the top of a small hill which was Millais' look-out when he was camped in the Shoe Hill[248] Droke. They came back having seen nothing. We plodded along, a sorry crew, in the pouring rain, but somewhat refreshed by the hot tea.

As we came in sight of a big lake lying south of the Shoe Hill Droke for which we were bound, we saw a good stag lying on the far side of the lake. The head certainly looked the biggest I had seen, but it was hard to use the telescope in the rain and I could not make out the points. However, both Steve and I saw that he had very big frontals, though I could only make out two points on the tops.

The wind was all wrong and to get a stalk meant going right round the lake, about three miles. The other two men would have had to wait in the rain, and as we were all feeling pretty wretched, we decided to leave him and push on to camp. The decision was mine and I shall always regret it, for I believe he carried the best head we saw on the trip, but I thought as we were to hunt for a week on the Shoe Hill Ridge we had a fair chance of coming on him again, so we passed on to camp. He got our wind at least a mile away and cleared out over a ridge and never was seen again. We got to camp about 5 o'clock and were soon warming and drying ourselves before a roaring fire.

We were now in the Shoe Hill Droke, and in the centre of what Millais described as the[249] finest caribou country he had seen in Newfoundland. There was, however, one great difference. He had been there the end of October, when all the stags had moved up. It was now only the 15th September, and it remained to be seen what our luck would be.

While getting everything shipshape I found my telescope sight was missing. Steve always carried it slung over his shoulder and must have left it behind at one of our halts. He assured me it would be "all right" and that he would go out at daybreak and bring it in, which he did. This was the first really uncomfortable day we had had—but our troubles were soon forgotten, and over a roaring camp fire and with a tot of rum each, we looked forward hopefully to our prospects for the next few days. The morning of the 16th was fine, the sun was shining brightly, the glass was rising, a fresh north-east wind was blowing, altogether a perfect stalking day.

The Shoe Hill Droke lay on a slight rise above the Shoe Hill Lake. The droke was a general camping ground for shooting and trapping parties, and the remains of many camps were scattered through the wood. To the north lay Mount Sylvester, some seven miles away, with a fine open country between; to the south the view was bounded by a ridge[250] about three miles away. A similar ridge lay about the same distance to the east, while to the west lay the country we had crossed the day before. The whole country was undulating and there were scattered clumps of wood affording nice shelter for stags. We could hunt in every direction and could not possibly have been in a better centre. The ground was hard and dry, and it was certainly the best walking in the island.

We started north about 9 a.m., and covered a lot of ground, walking continuously until 6 p.m., with an hour's rest for a midday meal. We saw four stags that day, and though two looked shootable, yet after a long tramp in each case we found the horns no good, which was a great disappointment, for we had worked really hard.

We also saw for the first time two bands of hinds, one of six with two small very young stags and one of four. We came on the spot where Millais had shot his forty-nine pointer and Steve pointed with pride to the bones still lying about, also to the scene of Captain Lumsden's thirty-seven pointer, but it was a poor satisfaction to me to know my predecessors on the ground had got such fine trophies if I could not find a shootable beast.

Millais, Captain Lumsden, Captain Legge[251] and Mr. Littledale had all shot this country with Steve, who certainly knew every inch of it, but October is the month for the Shoe Hill Ridge, when the sport must be grand, for all the stags from the north as well as those from the wooded country all round come up to these barrens in the late autumn. The country was cut up with deep trails, showing where the stags passed on their annual migration south.

For pleasure I should choose the early season, up to October 1st; the weather is finer and some fishing is to be had, but for good heads the late season is certainly the best, for all the stags are out in the open during and after the rut. In the end of October the weather is sometimes fine, but sometimes very broken, and Steve told me that he had more than once hunted in heavy snow in that month.

On our return to camp everything was most comfortable—benches, tables, shelves in the tent, rests for the rifles; only the big stag was wanted to make the Shoe Hill Droke a hunter's earthly paradise.

On the morning of the 17th we struck east and crossed two ridges till we got to a valley between Shoe Hill Ridge and the hill on which was the Kesoquit Droke, where Millais had camped on his way up from the Long Harbour River.


Looking down into the valley, we saw a good stag as regards body and two smaller ones. The head was a pretty open one, but the middles and frontals were poor, so we left him alone. I picked up a single horn with eighteen good points close by. We saw two more stags a long way off and went after them, but the distance was much greater than I thought. On our way we saw another small stag come out of a droke and walk quietly up a slight rise, where he was joined by a still smaller one from the far side of the ridge. Neither had shootable heads. They both went in for what Steve called their "standing sleep," stuck their legs out and remained perfectly motionless with the head drooping till it almost touched the ground; occasionally they woke up with a start, but were soon sound asleep again. It was a most comical sight and lasted for about a quarter of an hour. I crawled up within about sixty yards without any difficulty and could easily have shot them both. The little stag woke up first, but it was not till we showed ourselves that the bigger stag moved away in a most dignified manner, giving two or three most beautiful chances before he went out of sight.

While Steve was boiling the kettle I went on to a little hillock to spy the ground, and[253] saw the two stags we were first after, but again the heads were no good.

I heard a rustle behind me and, thinking it was Steve coming up to call me to dinner, turned round and saw a hind feeding beside me, not five yards away. She started when she saw me, but moved away quite quietly. While eating our midday meal two more hinds fed quietly up to within a few yards and passed by without showing any signs of fear. This country was certainly full of deer, but none of the right sort. When we stopped for dinner we were within one and a half miles of the Kesoquit Droke, which is only about four miles from the head-waters of the Long Harbour River. From a small hillock we could see the entire country and the hills over Long Harbour, while away to the east was the conical hill known as the "Tolt." The ground looked very much the same as far as the eye could reach and should be a grand hunting country in October. We could also see the waters of the Maelpeg Lake, about three miles away. Returning to camp, we saw a black fox in the distance, which made Steve's mouth water, as he said he could sell a good skin for two hundred and forty dollars.

Altogether the day had been a very interesting one. We had seen seven stags and a[254] number of does, but unfortunately no good heads.

On the 18th the weather broke badly, the glass fell 7/10ths, a gale of wind and heavy driving rain made stalking impossible and kept us in camp all day. Towards evening the wind went round and the rain stopped, and then we saw a wonderful sunset, the heavy rain clouds drifting away across a golden red setting sun. We saw a stag on the sky-line about two miles away, but too late to go after him.

On the 19th the wind had come round to the north, and it was a bright, lovely morning. We took the ground to the north-west, working round by where we had seen the stag the previous evening. We covered a lot of ground and altogether stalked four separate stags, only to find, on getting up to them, that the heads were no good. We must have walked over fifteen miles, but in the bracing air of the barrens fatigue was unknown. We saw another black fox to-day a long way off, and Steve said he would be back trapping in three weeks and hoped to get the two black foxes. I picked up a single horn with twenty-two points, very short and thick. There were eight points on the top just like a frontal tine.

The morning of the 20th was very cold and[255] grey, but we hoped it would clear up, so started away over the ridge to the south-west. On topping the ridge, we looked down on a great marshy plain with a few scattered drokes. Nothing was in sight, so we walked quietly on towards one of the drokes, from behind which suddenly burst out five hinds pursued by what looked like a good stag, who was grunting as he followed the hinds—the first rutting stag we had seen. They paid so little attention to us that they were almost on top of us before they saw us. Unfortunately, the head was poor, as he gave an easy shot. Almost immediately after two herds of hinds passed us, while in the distance two more stags were seen feeding about three miles away. We went on towards them, when the rain set in and we had to find shelter for lunch. There was no sign of the weather clearing and stalking was impossible in the heavy rain and mist, so we plodded wearily back to camp, which we reached after dark, wet to the skin. This valley was full of grouse; we saw seven good coveys and I shot three birds for the pot with the small rifle.

The rain continued all night, but stopped about 7 a.m. on the morning of the 21st.

We had come up to Shoe Hill Ridge on the 15th in heavy rain. It had rained on the 18th and again on the 20th, so three days out of six[256] were spoiled. The whole country was now soaked with the rain, little rivulets had become torrents, and the marshes were knee deep in water. It seemed useless to remain on, as it meant my missing my steamer in New York, so we decided to pack up and get out.

Looking back, I think this was a mistake. I might have spent another week in this grand country and taken a later boat home. Some big stags might have come up from the woods. On the other hand, the weather was broken and even Steve was in favour of moving. All along he regretted that I had not come in for the October shooting, when, he said, I was bound to have got good heads. He was just as keen as I was and sorry to leave.


[To face page 256.






Just as we had packed up a fearful thunderstorm came on which lasted over an hour, and we did not get away till 11.45, arriving at Sandy Pond at 3 o'clock, wet through. The water was pouring down the hill sides, every deep deer track was a torrent, and it was heavy going through the marshes. We had a meal and a change of clothes, and, packing the canoes, reached the portage into Sandy Pond at dusk. The evening was fine; we pitched camp in a nice droke and over a good hot supper at 9 o'clock the discomforts of the day were soon forgotten. By the aneroid the Shoe Hill Droke was 370 feet above the level of Sandy Grove Pond. There was just a last chance of a stag, as Steve said there was some good ground in the direction of where I had shot the first stag. I sent him out at daybreak on the 22nd, and he came back reporting three stags about half-a-mile away, one of which he thought was a good one.

We started away and found them feeding in an open marsh without any cover but three[260] great boulders about 800 yards from where they were. The biggest stag had a very pretty head, but careful examination with the glass decided me to let him go. Steve said, "Pity that not forty-pointer." The position looked so impossible that I told Steve we never could have got a stalk or a shot. "I drive him," said Steve. Wishing to see how he would manage it I told him to go ahead, while I lay behind the big boulder; meanwhile the stags lay down. He took a tremendous round and presently I saw him about a mile on the other side of the stags, who at the moment got his wind, rose and began to trot away, but not towards me. Suddenly I saw Steve trotting along to turn them, which he did most successfully, for the three stags came along at a swinging trot, the big one behind, and passed in the open about 150 yards from me. The shot was such a sporting one I could not resist it, and as the thud of the bullet came back to me the stag dashed forward at a gallop and rolled over stone dead, shot through the heart. My last stalk and shot of the trip. I cannot pretend that stalking caribou is a high form of sport. If the wind is right and there are not too many hinds about one can take any liberties. Of all the animals I have shot the caribou seems to me the most stupid and the[261] easiest to bag under ordinary circumstances.


[To face page 261.

I had a special permit to shoot five stags, but only shot four, not counting the deer we had to shoot for meat, generally hinds.

We soon had the meat in the canoes. The brooks and shallow steadies were now full up from the heavy rains, so we poled where we had to portage coming in. The rain was falling in torrents. We saw our last stag as we came up to Red Hill Pond, but he had no head to speak of. By 4.30 we reached Red Hill Pond, which was up over two feet. The rain was so bad we decided to camp, and soon had a fire as big as a house going, before which we dried ourselves; the men just as cheerful as if it had been bright sunshine. It was an awful night, a gale tearing through the tops of the trees, and the rain coming down in sheets; but the morning of the 23rd was fine, as the wind had come round to the north, and we made an early start as we hoped to reach Ryan's by nightfall. I had had bad luck; I had seen and stalked forty-two stags and never saw one really good head. I think it must have been a bad year for heads, or Millais, Lumsden, Legge and Littledale had cleared the best stags off the ground. A party of Americans had come over from the east the previous year, but spent only two days on the Shoe Hill Ridge and[262] got two good stags.

Steve now regretted that we had not gone back by the Terra Nova river and lake. He said we could have shot every rapid without unloading and would have reached St. John's much quicker than by going back to Belleoram. With a gale of wind behind us, but no rain, we made good time. The two-mile brook was in heavy flood and we poled the canoe up and reached the old camp on Hungry Grove Pond by 11.

Here I left all the provisions that were left over, the fly for the men and the kit I was giving them as a present, and we started for a fifteen-mile tramp to Ryan's at 11.45.

The ground was saturated and we only reached the top of the hill above Ryan's at dark. It was awful going down the hill in the dark, and the men fell with their packs more than once. We simply waded and stumbled along till we saw the welcome lights of the house at 7.30 p.m.—a real hard day's work. I shot five grouse on the way. By the aneroid the top of the six-mile hill was 800 feet above the sea-level at Ryan's.

Ryan was away, but I received a hearty welcome from his niece. The question now was what was to be done? There was no schooner or sailing boat of any kind; however,[263] as usual, Steve and John were not to be defeated, but said they would row me down to Anderson's Cove in the fishing dory.

[To face page 263.

The morning of the 24th was lovely and calm, but a wind sprang up just as we got away and it was soon blowing a gale in our teeth and we were shipping heavy seas. Steve and John struggled gallantly on, but at 2 o'clock we had to halt, as we could make no way. After about two hours, when we were considering how we could pass the night, the wind dropped as suddenly as it rose and we reached John Saunders' house just at dark. Anderson's Cove was two miles farther on. Saunders was a fine specimen of the old settler, and his house was a picture of cleanliness and neatness. The sails of his schooner were unbent, so we decided to go on to the Cove where the leading trader, Mr. Thornhill, lived, and Steve said he had a sailing boat and could put us across next morning. There was a slight difficulty about this, as one of the hands wanted a guarantee of so many dollars a day should he be detained in Belleoram. I cut matters short by sending a wire to Saunders to bend his sails and come over as early as he could in the morning. I think my friends at Anderson's Cove were a bit disappointed when Saunders and his smart[264] boat came across with a spanking breeze and picked us up about 9 a.m. We had all slept on the floor at Thornhill's, but had an excellent supper of a whole cod boiled with potatoes.

We had a lovely sail across to Belleoram—Saunders and a fine strapping son being the crew. The boat was as smart and clean as a yacht, and the two Saunders were the best type I had yet met of the Newfoundland settlers.

Steve and John came for the trip as cheery as ever, though their badly blistered hands showed the work of yesterday. By 12.30 I was at Belleoram, and by 1 o'clock the men were on their way back to Long Harbour. As Steve said good-bye it was really quite touching. "You treat us very well, you very good man. Come again, and God bless you." I certainly never parted with men with such regret and never want better friends or hunting comrades.

Being Sunday, Belleoram was very quiet. Mrs. Cluett gave me an excellent dinner and a delightful bedroom, for I had to stay the night, as my steamer was not due till next day. In the evening I went to the service in the big church on the hill. The congregation were mostly men who "go down to the sea in ships and occupy their business in great waters," while the special prayer for their protection against the perils of cod fishing struck a note[265] that was new to me. There was quite a nice little organ and the whole congregation joined devoutly in the hymns; altogether the service was most impressive.

The Glencoe turned up at 1 o'clock on the 26th and the next afternoon we reached Placentia, where the train was waiting. We got away about 5.30, but did not reach St. John's (80 miles) till 2 a.m. the following morning, a very poor performance. The engine could not pull us up the inclines. We made a rush and each time stuck half-way and had to run back a couple of miles to make a fresh try. However, it seemed a usual occurrence, for every one on board took it quite philosophically, many recounting their reminiscences of when they had to stop all night in the train.

In the train was Mr. Job, just returning from a good grouse shoot. He told me he had in his office a sixty-four pointer caribou stag shot by an Indian and bought by his brother. He very kindly allowed me to see it the next day, and a very remarkable head it was; I could make out at least sixty points.

I left St. John's at 6 p.m. on the 29th and as we reached Gaff Topsails, about the highest point of the railway, sleet and light snow were falling and a bitter wind was blowing across the open barrens. Descending to the Humber[266] Valley the climate became milder and the autumn tints made the scenery, if possible, more beautiful than when I had passed it before. I had to spend Saturday night in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but got away by the Sunday night express and reached New York early on Tuesday morning. It was still hot and muggy and I was glad to leave on the Deutschland on Saturday, October 8th, arriving in Plymouth early on October 14th.

The route I had chosen involved great loss of time, the weekly sailing of the Glencoe on the south coast being a great drawback. If one steamer be missed a week is lost.

I might just as well have gone from Port aux Basques to Belleoram by steamer and returned from Belleoram to Port aux Basques, thus avoiding the tiresome railway journey of twenty-nine hours, but I had to outfit at St. John's and wished also to see the scenery of the island.

The heads I got did not make up for a somewhat expensive trip, but, on the other hand, I had seen a great deal of very beautiful country in fair comfort and enjoyed some excellent trout fishing which I would not have got had I gone in from the railway. I had the Mount Sylvester country all to myself and it was simply bad luck that I saw no good heads. I[267] can honestly say, however, that I never enjoyed a hunting trip more, and only wish I could look forward to another visit to the island, when with my present experiences I could, I think, make better arrangements to avoid loss of time in reaching the hunting grounds.

The game laws of Newfoundland are sufficiently liberal. A licence of $50 (£10) gives the visitor the right to shoot three caribou stags. The true sportsman should be content with this limit and will carefully pick his heads.

The Newfoundlander, whether white man or Indian, is not charged the $50. The Indian certainly shoots what he wants and is not particular about a close time. Accustomed as he has been from time immemorial to range the island and shoot for food and clothing, it is difficult to get him to understand the principle underlying game laws, and to accept a game limit to which he has never been accustomed and the necessity for which he does not understand.

When the fishing laws come to be considered there seems to me great room for improvement. The Newfoundland Government prides itself on all the rivers being open to every one. For the first time, in 1910, a fishing licence of $10 was imposed on the visitor, and this gave him the right to fish any river in the island. The[268] practical result is, that many of the best-known rivers, such as the Codroy and Harry's Brook, are overfished.

All the rivers on the west coast are very accessible to the angler from the United States, and suffer most from overcrowding. I met an English angler who had been fishing the Codroy; he said it was one continual struggle as to who would get on to the water first. I heard the same story at the south-east arm, Placentia. The Government absolutely refuses to lease a river or even to limit the number of rods, and I think this policy is entirely wrong.

In practice one may decide on a season in Newfoundland. Having carefully selected a somewhat inaccessible river and made all one's arrangements for camping out, it would certainly be disappointing on arrival to find two or three other parties settled on the river and one's trip spoiled, yet this is quite possible. I was told in St. John's, no Government would dare to change the existing law and the policy of the open door in fishing. This I cannot understand, for what has been done in Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can surely be done in Newfoundland.

The application of the law is carried to the extreme. An official of the Fishery Board[269] told me of a case where an American offered a liberal rent for a remote river on the Labrador Coast. There was but one settler on the river and the American guaranteed that he would take him into his service. He proposed to build a fishing lodge and so put capital into the country. His application was refused.

The Government professes to be most anxious to encourage the tourist and sportsman to visit the island, but I venture to think they are not going the right way about it, at least as regards the angler.

They do not seem to recognize the advantage to the country of leasing any of the many rivers. First the lessee would see that the river was carefully preserved, he would give employment to watchers, he would probably build a house and in any case would spend money in the country, while at the same time his rent goes to increase the revenue.

A double object is thus attained—the preservation of fish and game, and an increase in revenue.

If, however, such a policy be impossible the least the Government can do is to limit the number of rods on each river and to have some means of knowing which rivers are being fished and by how many rods. In this way the angler contemplating a trip to Newfoundland could[270] apply for all information to the existing Fishery Board, who would advise him where to go with the least chance of being crowded out.

Given some such organization, Newfoundland should become the favourite resort of the British angler.

A hunting trip may be cheap or expensive, chiefly depending on the route selected, the number of Indians employed and the means of transport in the island. The cheapest route is by the direct steamers to St. John's. Two Indians are sufficient, but a third adds greatly to one's comfort. Their pay is—Headman, 2½ to 3 dollars a day; other men, 2 dollars. If a waterway into the interior be selected, two canoes are a luxury, one large one a necessity; with two canoes all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life can be enjoyed; the same cannot be said of packing, as my Vancouver experiences have shown. It is to say the least a nuisance to have the necessaries cut down; the luxuries, by which I mean preserved milk, butter, jam, oatmeal, and a small amount of whisky or rum, one can do without, but why not be comfortable, if comfort can be found, by the better mode of transport which canoes afford.

They can be ordered from Canada through Mr. Blair and sold on leaving the island.


I give in an appendix my list of stores, but I had far too much. One and a half stone of flour is ample for four men for one week, the amount taken will then depend on the length of the trip. The cost as paid in St. John's is given. I had many stores over, for we had abundance of venison and fish.

Fish need never be wasted; the trout split, salted and hung up over or near the camp fire make excellent kippers, and when up on the Shoe Hill Ridge, where no fresh fish were obtainable, I thoroughly enjoyed the kippered trout from Sandy Grove Pond.




7 stones Flour654.55
50 lb. Bacon3517.50
2 3-lb. tins Lard701.40
7 lb. Tea604.20
2 lb. Coffee48.96
40 lb. Sugar83.20
15 tins St. Charles Cream152.25
8 gals. Potatoes252.00
7 lb. Patna Rice8.56
15 lb. Lima Beans81.20
6 bags Salt3.18
3 lb. Dried Apples20.60
4 lb. Peaches251.00
3 lb. Apricots25.75
16 ¼-lb. tins Baking Powder162.56
3 1-lb. tins Marmalade24.72
3 1-lb. tins Apricot Jam28.84
3 lb. Cooking Butter381.14
9 lb. Eating Butter484.05
15 lb. Onions6.90
2 tins White Pepper8.16
6 tins Corned Beef221.32
1 5-lb. tin Alum15.75
7 yards Grey Calico12.84
1 Nest tin boxes for Stores .90
4 lb. Scotch Oatmeal8.32
2 bottles Worcester Sauce25.50
1 bottle Vinegar .25
2 tins Mustard10.20
6 tins Potted Meat15.90[274]
1 Dutch Oven 4.00
2 tins Dubbin15.30
1 Frying Pan made to order 1.20
2 American Axes1.102.20
1 Hatchet .75
1 ball Twine .18
6 fathom Bank Line .25
3 Sail Needles2.06
1 slip Sail Twine .25
6 yards 12-oz. Duck251.50
½ lb. ½" Copper Tacks50.25
1 2-lb. tin Grey Paint .80
2 doz. ½" Brass Screws6.12
1 lb. 3" Iron Nails .06
6 lb. Smoking Tobacco804.80
3 bottles Rum902.70
8 bottles Whisky1.3010.40
1 packet Toilet Paper .10
6 cakes Soap8.48
1 doz. Sea Dog Matches .10
2 doz. Wax Matches20.40
1 packet Sulphur Matches .20
3 lb. Price's Candles20.60
1 Candle Lantern .75
1 Oil Stove .35
1 small bottle Oil .25
2 tin Basins15.30
1 iron Spoon .15
1 tin Flash .20
2 tins Sardines20.40
2 1-lb. tins Lunch Tongue45.90
1 tin Apricots .30
1 tin Cocoa and Milk .25
3 sets Knives and Forks17.51
14 lb. Hard Bread6.84
1 Can Opener .20
3 tin Camp Cups20.60
[275]1 Enamel Mug20.20
4 tin Plates8.32
1 iron Fork .20
1 iron Spoon .18
5 Boxes and Packing 4.00
Freight to Belleoram 2.71
8 Grey Calico Bags 2.00
1 Gridiron .30
1 Lock for Box .15
1 set Hinges .10
1 Hasp and Staple .10

Richard Clay & Sons, Limited

Transcriber's Notes

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

p. 220: the horn next me -> the horn next to me.

p. 266: Belleroram -> Belleoram.

End of Project Gutenberg's Sport in Vancouver and Newfoundland, by John Rogers


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