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The Wild Mustang

The Wild Mustang image
Parent Issue
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The southern portion of the great San Joaquín valley was overrun in the early days bj' a species of wild horse known as the mustang, or Mexican wild horse. They were to be seen in droves, not infrequently numbering several hundred each. Th,ey were too sinall, "weedy" and generally worthless for the most part to be of any valne to tbe settlers. On the contrary, they existed in such numbers as to constitute an annoyance and injnry to the settlers engaged in agriculture. In a single night a band of wild horses would sweep down upon thecnltivated fieldsand Hterally destroy the crops which it had taken months of hard labor to produce. The pioneers had ampie cause to wage war upon these animáis. They were nndoubtedly a pest and soarce of danger touch to be dreaded. Horeover, whenever a band of wild hoises came down into the settlements, tbey would lure away with them the domestic horses, leaving the settiers helpless. These depredations were so frequent that, as a matter of 6elf protection, the pioneer farmers and stockmen of these valleys were compelled to take active measures. They would inaugúrate large hnnting parties, or "drives," in oider the better and more efiectually to mínate these animáis. The early inethods nsed in this conntry ia hunting the wild horse were pecaliar. When a hunt had been determined npon and a favorable localityseleoted, the hnnters wonld erecttwo lines of fence, Btarting them abont fonr feet apart and continuing parallel for some distance, then diverging until the termináis were several hundred yards apart. These fences were strong and high eflough at the apex of the tnangle to secnrely restrain the wild horsea from breaking them down when crowded into the inclosnre. The feuce completed, the linnters, all well mounted, would start out to lócate a band of the troublesome winstangs. When the objects of their search were sighted, the hnnters groaped together, and the order of the '"drive" was decided apon. One of the party started ont on the trail of the band of wild horses, close enongh to keep them constantly moving. This did not reqnire as much exertion as raight besupposed, as the wild animáis wonld dash t)ff at full speed, but would seldom continne any great distance in a straight line. asnaUy tnrning and circüng so that the "driver" conld, by '"cntting the augles. " keep the band moving without having to travel half the coveied by the wild horses. In two hours so the first "driver" vroold be relieved by a fresh man and boree, the whole party thus taking turns at keeping the wild horses on the move. Tbe main object was to so fatigue the game as to wear out the animáis, rendering íheir capture comparati vely easy. Thns hour after honr the wild horses would have a tireless pursuer hangiDg on their tiaïj. Taro which way they wonld, be their pace swift or Blow, the eolitary horsenjan ever followed them as faiifafully as their shadows. Night for!r;ght them no rest, as the "drives" were made duriüg tbe full of the moon. On thesecond daythe drivers would be keptoD dnty for short intervals, so that they might press the now jaded wild animáis. All of the pursuers would aow assemble, and one after another tnra theflight of the wild animáis until they would have them running in a circle, the puisuer8 taking stations at regnlar distances. Then began the final "ronndnp." One man would dash after the band and chase them to bis nearest companion ín that direction, when that man would drive them as rapidly as possible to the next, and so on around the circle, each driver having a shorter and still shorter distance to ride, until the band hst! completed the entire circle. -Steadily the circles were lessened, and the horses were worked toward the open space between the outer lines of 'the corral. If there were any choice animáis in the band 'and any one desired to capture them. this would be his opportunity. It was the most interesting period of the drive. The striking, kicking, rearing, plunging, squealing and biting of the wild horse when first lassoed are dejscribed by those who have witnessed snch scènes as most exciting. After one lasso had been successfully cast a sec■tnd isthrown aboutthe neckof theaniuial, and the lassos were then drawn in uopposite directions, holding the gliug captive secnrely between its two eaptors. By this means it would be íinally forced into submission. This work completed, the band would be rapidly forced into the inelosure, the drivers cloaing up the rear and urging the wearied animáis into the corral until they wer crowded compactly together, with no hope of escape except throngh the narrow lane, where certain death awaitei them. Men armed with utrorig spears stood on each side of this narrow opening, and as the animáis tvere crowded thxongh it received its Jtonp de grace. The conditions of the country have Khanged vastly. The antelope and the Ife have gone, tho wild cattle have been forced into the wonntains, and only a Lew -of them reraain even there. This Ts aleo ti je of the wild horee. The wild. ïiorse, however, is not as yet wholly extioct in California. Those now found in this state are, so far as I have been afate to learn, confined to the regiems of Monnt Whitney and Mount Williamon. - San Francisco Chronicle. ITiíare are more than 3,000 articles of ■varions descriptions, that were lost by 'isitors duriag the World's fair season, mhoTod away ia a, room of the old Service towiïdÏDX at Jikrkson park awaiting claimmuts.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News