The Story Of Wild Animals:
Story Of The Llama
Story Of The Carpincho
Story Of The Ant-eater
Story Of The Ostrich
Story Of The Lizard
Story Of The Kangaroo
Story Of The Hedgehog.
Story Of The Wild Goat
Story Of The Musquash
Story Of The Wart-hog
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Story Of The Wild Goat
( Originally Published Early 1900's )[an error occurred while processing this directive]
I have hunted the wild goat in the Rocky Mountains, in equatorial Africa, in bleak Siberia and in the lofty Himalayas. In each of these widely separated districts the animal shows the same general characteristics and the hunter must needs use great caution if he hopes to secure his quarry.
The so-called goat of the Rocky Mountains is about the size of a large sheep, and averages one hundred pounds in weight. It has very short and stout legs, terminating in broad and blunted hoofs, pointed ears and jet black horns, curving backwards, and ringed for about half their length, but smooth above this. The body is covered with a long coat of white hair, which is nearly straight, and falls on the sides of the body and limbs, but is erect along the middle of the back, and as it becomes longer over the withers and haunches the animal looks as though it had two humps. Beneath the hair there is a thick coat of wool. In length the horns vary from six to ten and one-half inches.
The range of this animal extends through the Rocky Mountains from about latitude thirty-six degrees in California at least as far north as latitude sixty-two degrees. I believe that it will be found as far north as the mountains reach. It is extremely abundant in British Columbia, ranging from its southern boundary to the watershed of the Arctic Ocean, and from the coast-line to the Rockies. Here, amid nature's wildest scenes, amid storm-swept caņons and beetling crags, amid steel-blue glaciers and snowy peaks, where the silence is seldom broken save by the rush of mountain torrent, the howling of the storm, or the crashing of the treacherous avalanche here, far removed from the trail of the ordinary hunter, the mountain-goat, solitary in its habits, and contented with its chaotic and gloomy surroundings, increases and multiplies.
Its sure-footedness and its boldness are proverbial, as is its unpleasant odor. The power possessed by the goats of ascending very steep, heights is marvelous. On more than one occasion I have seen contrary to the teaching of AEsop that when two individuals have met on a path too narrow for both to pass, one has lain down in order that the other might go over his back.
The Spanish wild goat inhabits the Pyrenees, the ranges of Central Spain and the mountains of Portugal. The animal seeks the highest ridges and peaks of the mountains during the summer, but in winter the doe comes to the valleys, often to the villages. Far up among the snow-covered heights can be found the old bucks, who disdain seeking shelter from the storms.
When feeding or reposing, sentinels are placed in commanding positions to apprise the flock of approaching danger, which they do by means of a loud snort, upon which the whole company at once takes to flight.
Probably the most active of the wild goats is the pasang of Persia, from which species the various breeds of domestic goats are derived. This species has long scimitar-like horns, much compressed, with the front edge forming a sharp keel. It frequents craggy and rocky districts, taking leaps of great length with unerring precision. In spite of the constant persecution to which it is subjected, it exists in vast numbers. On the Kuh-i-barf, a not very lofty or extensive hill, constantly shot over, near Shiraz, I once counted over a hundred in a herd, which had been driven together by two days' consecutive fusillade. It is marvelously shy and wary. . In my earlier residence in Persia I spent many a weary day after them, but never managed to bag a buck. Even native sportsmen, though admirable shots and thoroughly familiar with every nook and cranny of the hills, rarely get one by fair stalking; most of those killed being obtained by building a all of loose stones near water and shooting the goats when drinking. The males drink in the morning and evening only, but the females, in hot weather, at least, drink also, at midday. Sixty miles north of Shiraz I came suddenly upon a herd of twenty or more does and kids, drinking by the roadside, a couple of hundred yards from the foot of the hills. Except when alarmed, bucks and does seem to keep, apart.
In Baluchistan these goats inhabit barren rocky hills, but in parts of Asia Minor they are found on forest-clad uplands. In such localities they may often be found within hearing of the drovers on the roads, or even of the railways; but this confidence is accompanied by exceeding watchfulness. The number in a flock in these districts is generally from four to ten, and at the time of my observations bucks and does were found together. Sentinels are almost always posted to warn the flock, these being relieved at short intervals; and it appears that this sentry-duty is undertaken according to seniority, the youngest animals commencing first, and the oldest buck taking his turn last. In Asia Minor pasang are hunted both by driving and by stalking; but they are so cunning that the former method is not generally very successful. The Cabulis hunt them on the lower ground of Afghanistan with greyhounds.
The bezoar-stone, so highly esteemed in Persia as an antidote to poison and a remedy for several diseases, is a concretion found in the stomach of the pasang, from whence it derives its old European name of Pazen, or Pasen.
The wild goats of the Isle of Giura are probably derived from a domestic race, perhaps crossed with the pasang. Goats have also run wild in many other places, more especially mountainous islands like St. Helena, Tavolara near Sardinia, and Juan Fernandez. In St. Helena these wild goats have completely destroyed a large portion of the native flora, and this has resulted in the disappearance of much of the fauna. Goats were introduced by the Spaniards into Juan Fernandez in the year 1563. These' soon increased enormously, and in order to diminish their numbers dogs were subsequently let loose, and likewise ran wild.