Smoke Signals

Nov/Dec 2011


Captain - Staff Writer
















What a summer! Stifling heat from the mid-west to the east, unseasonable rain and winds in the west, and Gobi-desert-like sand storms in Arizona. Makes for some interesting camps

Howdy Davis attended the Western Nationals held in Montana this year. He ram-rodded the first aid tent and was kept very busy. Something like 20 people had to administered to, (thatís the serious ones; bandaids and such didnít count) and believe me the Roundup medical facilities must have been a tad stretched. Howdy said it rained a lot and made for interesting driving in and out, but the ranchers who owned the site were wonderful, even hooking up a pump and sending running water at strategic locations in the camp.

Recently, I was digging through some long forgotten books Iíd stored and ran across one written by (I'm sure itís a pseudonym) Djaugh Phydeaux titled Rocky Mountain Fur Trapperís Guide, The Uses of the Mountain Manís Gear. Particularly the Indian Trade Gun, Plains Rifle & Accoutrements of the Fur Trade Era. The publication date is listed as 1973 with a copyright by Limbo Library and the distributor seems to be the American Fur Trading Company of Taos, New Mexico. This little book is a jewel. Usually, when I find things written about the period that were written that long ago the shortcomings of the writersí historical knowledge is apparent. Few had come up with much data that is useful today. This 56 page booklet does not fit into that category. It is jam-packed full of useful, historically correct, how-to data. There are lots of explanatory drawings that really help. I learned a lot from it when I purchased it for $2.95 back in the early 70s and found it just as informative today as it was then.

Thinking that someone might want to find this work, I went looking in a couple of my favorite places on line: Alibris, and Amazon used books. I honestly didnít expect to find it by doing such a cursory look. I surprised myself by finding a couple copies at both places. No surprise that it was priced at $10.00, $50.00, and $98.24. At only 56 pages it is quick and easy to read and the information sticks with you. Even if you think you know everything about our way of life you will find much here to keep the juices flowing.

Remember, archery season is nearly upon us. That means that it is time to begin a serious program of practice. Iím looking forward to the archery meet up in the Flat Tops out of Eagle, CO. Hundreds of folk attend and it is a great to find folks willing to explain or show their skills. Not far from the headwaters of the Colorado River, it is a great camp with astounding views and lots of traders and bowyers. If you can, come on over.

Respectfully Yr Hmbl, Obít Etc.  

Bill Cunningham



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