Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/225

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

and a species of very superior turtle, which is abundant in that part of the Pecos river. I have had as many as seven live wild turkeys in my corral at one time, and quite as many dead ones dressed and hanging up. On public days, such as New Year, Christmas, Fourth of July, and sometimes on Sundays, my company were fully supplied with good things from my private larder. But hunting was somewhat of a dangerous pastime in that vicinity. Prowling bands of hostile Apaches, Navajoes and Comanches were at any time liable to be met, and it was safe practice, when double-barreled guns were used, to place a dozen well-fitting balls in one's pouch and a goodly quantity of heavy buck-shot. Besides, what are known as Californian lions, were very plentiful, while catamounts, panthers, grizzly bears, and even jaguars were by no means uncommon. The Apaches never ventured out unless in sufficient force to resist an ordinary attack, until they had resided there some time and had made themselves perfect masters of the situation. On the other hand, the Comanches, with whom the Bosque Redondo had formerly been a chosen hunting ground, gradually but reluctantly withdrew, when they found out that the Apaches were numerous and would be protected by our troops.

Soon after our first arrival at that spot—then a howling wilderness, ninety miles distant from the nearest habitation—a commission of engineers, headed by Col. A. L. Anderson, was sent down to the Bosque, for the purpose of selecting a site for a permanent fort, to be called Fort Sumner, with the view of establishing a large Indian Reservation there, and erecting a valuable advance post on the line of approach from Texas. Among our visitors was Dr. J. M. McNulty, then Medical Director for New Mexico and Arizona, and probably the