Animal Tracking Game




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By Dan Beard

Each one of the officers of our society and every scout wears on his hunting shirt his own individual emblem of office and rank. No loyal Son of Daniel Boone should ever appear on the trail, in the field, or at the council-fire without his badge of office, which must be carefully guarded from uninitiated outsiders. Fitted out with your uniforms and other accessories, you are now ready for hunting the bear and the buffalo.

Ready for the Hunt

To hunt these animals properly you should choose a time when the ground is covered with snow, preferably a light fall of snow. Now all of us, of course, are well aware that the wild buffalo is practically extinct, and that the bear is certainly not within reach of many of the readers of this book, but such little things as these need never interfere with our hunt. Let Kit Carson assign the part of old Ephraim, the bear, to any one of the boys he chooses. 

Make the Bear's Foot of Leather

Let Ephraim visit the shoemaker and have him cut a piece of sole leather shaped like that shown in Fig. 371, and sew two stout thongs to it, as shown in the diagram. He must then procure from the cobbler a piece of soft leather for a cushion. Make the cushion by securing the piece of sole leather (represented in Fig. 371) in the top of it and stuff the cushion with excelsior or other material; stuff it tightly enough to make it firm, but at the same time not too tight; for a cord or thong tied around at the notches A and B (Fig. 370 should indent the cushion a half-inch or so, as in Fig. 372, showing the bottom of cushion, and Fig. 373, the perspective view. 

Before tying this string tightly in place, the toe strings must be attached. These are thongs of leather made fast to the A B strings, and bound tightly around from top to bottom, so as to divide the cushion into five little lumps.

Diagrams Showing How to Make the Buffalos Hoof

If this cushion is properly made it can be lashed to the ball of the foot and will leave a track in the snow or mud like that of a bear. 

Making the Buffalo Hoof

A buffalo hoof is even more simply and easily made. A block of wood (represented in Fig. 374) is sawed in half down the line C D. Saw off the corners K C and U C. Saw it in half along the line C D, trim off the corners and the inside edge, as shown in dotted lines (Fig. 374). The bottom of the block will take the shape shown in Fig, 375, and should be of a size proportioned to the bottom of the shoe of the boy chosen to be the buffalo. 

The buffalo should take a pair of old slippers large enough to slip over the shoe or the moccasin he is wearing, and from the inside of the slipper bore holes down into the hoof-blocks, as shown in dotted lines of screw in Fig. 376. With the screw-driver pushed through the holes cut for that purpose in the top of the slippers, screw the blocks firmly to the sole. It will be easier for the buffalo to walk or run if he has hoof-blocks fastened to the heel as well as to the sole of the slipper (Fig. 376). Of course this will make double tracks, but that will "cut no ice," as they say, for the hunters may just as well suppose that the tracks are made by two buffaloes.

Hunters and Hunted

The game consists in hunting the buffalo, the bear, and the Indian by following the trails they make. The trail of the Indian is made by a boy wearing moccasins. 

There may be as many buffaloes and bears and hunters in the game as you choose. The capture of the Indian counts ten points. The Indian is killed by marking him with a bit of chalk, as are also the bear and the buffalo. The death of the bear counts five points and the death of the buffalo five points. If one of the hunters receives a chalk mark from the Indian, the side represented by the Indian and the big-game animals gains ten points. This evens things up. Moreover, the hunter who is chalked is considered killed or disabled and is out of the contest. 

The Indian and the game must make distinct trails and must have plenty of time to make them. 

As soon as the hunters come in sight of the Indian or of the game they must give a loud halloo, and stop until the pursued has taken the clogs from his feet. The game then .resolves itself into a simple race of hunters and hunted. Each one of the big-game animals reaching the home stake with his coat unmarked counts five points for his side. Indians may try all kinds of Indian tricks and dodges to avoid capture. Bears may climb trees, but buffaloes must depend on their swiftness and strength and wolves and rabbits (Fig. 377) on their speed and cunning.

Fig. 377.
Making Tracks

Winter Games

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The Boy Pioneers






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B-P Snow Games ] Camp Games ] Contests ] Indoor Games ] Nature Games ] Snow Tag ] Vigorous Games ] [ Animal Tracking Game ] Game of Big Foot ] Gander-Pulling ] Goose Hangs High ] Raccoon Jumping ] Running the Gauntlet ] Running Indian Scouts ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.