Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

Turkey Hunting

Here I knew we might find game, and said to those men who had been eagerly inquiring day after day as to when we would come upon buffaloes that now was the time when they could display their skill in bringing down wild turkeys.

I had supposed that these people knew somewhat about hunting; but when one of the men turned upon me sharply, asking how I knew turkeys could be found near about, I nearly laughed in his face. For it seemed to me that a child should have known we were come at last to where game of some sort might be taken easily.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

I had no idea of hunting turkeys, for I knew that within the next few hours there should be a possibility of bringing down as many antelopes as Napoleon would be willing to carry.

Therefore I remained in camp, and saw those eager hunters striding off amid the timber, making noise enough to warn every fowl or beast of their coming.

The wonder of it was that the fellows brought in a feather; yet at night they returned triumphant and excited, with two turkeys, and one would have believed, from the way the game was displayed, that they had shown great skill.

When Susan Mitchell asked why I did not go out in search of game, I told her it was not for me to spend my time in such sport, but that before many days had passed I would show her what a hunter could and should do in this country.

It may be she thought I was boasting, and I fancied I read as much on her face; but I contented myself in silence, knowing that she soon would see what kind of hunting those, who have crossed from the Missouri River into the Oregon country twice, could do.