National Geographic : 1956 Jan
VOL. CIX, No. 1 WASHINGTON JANUARY, 1956 THE HATQIOAL |g|, GEOGIAPSHIC -r MAAZllIE COPYRIGHT © 1955 BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY, WASHINGTON, D. C. INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT SECURED W ildlife Adventuring in Jackson Hole 1 Naturalist Brothers, Cabin Dwellers in the Wyoming Rockies, Learn the Ways of Mammals and Birds in the Shadow of the Tetons BY FRANK AND JOHN CRAIGHEAD With Illustrations from Photographs by the Authors NE October afternoon we were busy touching up our log cabins in the Jackson Hole valley of Wyoming. Running short of roofing nails, we hopped into Frank's car and drove south the 12 miles to the town of Jackson. A scribbled notice was taped to the door of Simpson's Jackson Hole Hardware store. "Closed," it announced. "Gone elk hunt ing. Back Thursday." Where Elk and People Coexist A stranger to this section of the Rocky Mountains probably would have been irri tated at such apparent commercial laxness in midweek. But we who had made Jackson Hole our off-and-on home for years knew the deep rooted compulsions that draw its men and elk to annual rendezvous. So we grinned at each other and decided we'd go hunting, too. Each fall a herd of elk estimated at 16,000 to 20,000 drifts down from high summer range in the Yellowstone-Teton National For est area to winter in the lower Jackson Hole valley.* The Hole is renowned as the vale from which travelers look west to the jagged granite skyline of the Teton Range, its tallest summit clawing the sky at an elevation of nearly 14,000 feet (map, page 7). Thousands of these migrant elk, or wapiti, each year end up as steaks and roasting cuts, wrapped in foil and put away in freezers up and down the valley. In the early days settlers depended on game for meat. The custom is now ingrained. Come autumn, the local people sight in their rifles and take to the hills. The killing of one elk per licensed hunter admittedly has become a provisioning, far more than a sport ing, occasion. "Got your elk yet?" is a standard autumn greeting on Jackson streets. Legal hunting is encouraged. Wildlife re search shows that even now, despite this an nual check, the herd has multiplied beyond the carrying capacity of its winter range, in * See "Deer of the World," by Victor H. Cahalane, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, October, 1939. The Authors One day in July, 1935, two teen-age Washington, D. C., youths came to the headquarters of the Na tional Geographic Society with a bundle of photo graphs and a manuscript about their experiences in photographing hawks and training them for falconry. The result was "Adventures with Birds of Prey," by Frank and John Craighead, in the July, 1937, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. On the other side of the earth, an Indian prince read their article and invited them to visit him. From this experience came another memorable Craighead article, "Life with an Indian Prince," in the February, 1942, Magazine. In all, these naturalist twins have written and illus trated six NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC articles, including one on their survival training work for the United States Navy during World War II. Now full-fledged scientists, they tell here of their furred, feathered, and human neighbors in idyllic Jackson Hole.