Game in the Yellowstone National Park

from Forest and Stream, 18 February 1886

“Reports of the abundance of game in the Yellowstone Park continue to come in. We have many times urged, and the event has proved the truth of our statements, that protection within the Park was all that was needed to make game abundant there. The varied natural features of the reservation render it both a winter and a summer range for game. We understand that a band of about two hundred head of elk have wintered in the vicinity of Swan Lake, which, as many of our readers will remember, is only five or six miles from the Mammoth Hot Springs, and in full view of the road.

We have recently conversed with a gentleman who has resided for the last three years continuously in the Park. He states that the game seems to know that within the reservation it is safe, and that if a band of elk get out of the Park and near its borders are shot at or disturbed, they head directly for the Park, and soon after crossing the boundary line seem to lose all gear and stop to feed for lie down. We have no doubt that this statement is exact. The wild creatures have learned, as we long ago said they would, that there is a place where they are safe from molestation, and having learned that lesson, they may be depended on to keep within this refuge or near to it.

With this continuance of the protection will come a great natural increase in the numbers of the game, and this increase will overflow from the Park into the surrounding region. In the time to come we look to see the vicinity of the Yellowstone National Park the great hunting ground of the United States for elk, deer, and mountain sheep, just as it will be the only place in the world, where one can hope to get a shot at the almost extinct bison.”

© 2010 Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press

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