THE OUTDOOR WEEK

A bunch of boys from Colorado, tall on western movie experience but short on the ways of the Old West, decided to shoot buffalo Indian-style and did all right once they lost their mounts
September 09, 1956

Every year, Manitou Springs, a resort center just west of Colorado Springs, throws a big barbecue as a farewell to the tourists who have emptied their pockets in the little town all summer. Buffalo is the traditional pi√®ce de résistance of the free feed.

This summer the Manitou Jaycees decided to make something special of the barbecue since the festivities were dedicated to Zebulon Pike, the headstrong explorer who, 150 years ago, came upon the 14,110-foot peak which rises above the town.

The man in charge was Jack Higgenbotham, whom the Jaycees chose as the one to put oomph into the occasion. He arrived at his brand of oomph by observing some of the tame, commercial Indians who hustle their wares in Manitou each summer. "Why not," thought visionary Jack, "get some of those fellows to stage a real oldtime buffalo hunt, killing our game for the barbecue with bow and arrow?" Jack approached a few of the Indians, mostly Pueblos and Navajos up from New Mexico. "Sure," said the first, a squatty fellow done up in full war regalia, "we'd be glad to kill buffalo for you, only we'd have to borrow some rifles." Jack explained how he wanted them killed. "You know something, Jack," said the Indian, "I've never shot a bow and arrow in my life, and I doubt if many of these other fellows have. Furthermore, I don't ride good enough to shoot from horseback, and if you think I'm going to ride a horse into a lot of hopped-up buffalo you're nuts." Undaunted, Jack sought out some of the other Indians, but the most they were willing to do was to furnish atmosphere for $10 a day. "They're a bunch of farmers," said visionary Jack.

But news of Jack's frustration got around, and soon enough local paleface bowmen had volunteered to make up a hunting party. The palefaces' enthusiasm for playing Indian, however, was dampened by Dick Spencer, editor of The Western Horseman, himself part Indian. "From what I hear," he told them, "you guys are going to dress up like a lot of Hollywood drugstore Indians and go out and slaughter some buffalo. Well, you're all wrong. This is a hunting party, not a war party. The Indian regarded the buffalo as his friend. You don't need a lot of fancy feather headdresses and war paint."

One of the archers dourly commented later: "We thought all we had to do was stick some feathers in our hair and daub our faces. It turned out we had more rules than the Army."

Jack Nellessen, a Colorado Springs tool- and die-maker, who is a local expert on Indian ways, properly outfitted the boys in Sioux regalia and they took off for Sterling, Colo., 150 miles distant, to make final arrangements for the hunt which was to take place on the Carl Sherwin ranch. Sherwin, who has one of the largest private herds of buffalo in the country, keeps it thinned down by selling animals to such outfits as the Jaycees for roasts.

Higgenbotham promptly contacted Sherwin and told him of his Wild West vision. "That's fine with me," the rancher said, "as long as you fellows guarantee to repair all the fences between here and Wyoming [40 miles away]. If you start chasing those big fellows on horseback like that, they'll go right through the fences and take them all the way to Wyoming."

Jack altered his plan again and decided to separate the needed animals from the herd and have them driven past the bow and arrow boys. But Sherwin shrewdly insisted that riflemen stand by to prevent wounded animals from tearing all over the ranch.

The day of the hunt arrived. Nellessen put make-up on a party of six including himself. They appeared pretty authentic if you overlooked the swim trunks and sneakers a couple of the boys wore.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Sherwin's hands had prepared horses for the braves to ride. Three of them mounted bareback. No sooner had the "Indians" ridden up to the herd than the horses started acting up. Two of the riders were summarily thrown. "We never could have shot an arrow off those horses anyway," said Nellessen.

The "Indians" melted into the sagebrush, and the hands loosed the first bull. It galloped by the waiting hunters at a distance of 40 to 50 yards. They popped up from their cover and began firing. The first arrow (with a one-by-three-inch hunting head and fired from a 100-pound test bow) hit the beast behind the shoulders and passed through his body. Another went plumb through the neck, and the bull dropped, cleanly killed, with seven arrows in him.

"Those boys were really good," boasted Higgenbotham. "They hauled arrows out and shot as fast as you could pump a shotgun."

They weren't so good with the next two, however, and the riflemen quickly finished them off. "We could have stopped those two easily," one miffed bowman complained. "Those fellows didn't have enough confidence in us."

By this time the herd was pretty upset. The lead bull was snorting and throwing dirt in the air, and the rest were spooking from the horses, noise and blood, so the final three were dispatched by rifle fire.

And that's the way Manitou got its meat. It's a good thing no Sioux was around to watch—it would most likely have driven him East. As for Zebulon Montgomery Pike, if he had realized what he was opening the West to, he would probably have stood in bed.

FISHERMAN'S CALENDAR

SO—season opened (or opens); SC—season closed (or closes). C—clear water; D—water dirty or roily; M—water muddy. N—water at normal height; SH—slightly high; H—high; VH—very high; L—low; R—rising; F—falling. WT50—water temperature 50°. FG—fishing good; FF—fishing fair; FP—fishing poor; OVG—outlook very good; OG—outlook good; OF—outlook fair; OP—outlook poor

TROUT: OREGON: Wickiup Reservoir producing 3-pounders on flies. Upper Deschutes, Little Deschutes and Crescent rivers FVG with small dries. Most waters L and C with OVG.

CALIFORNIA: Thunder showers past week produced season's best fly-fishing on both slopes of Sierra Nevada. Local agent reports hottest spot is east side of Alger Lake where goldens up to 1½ pounds are rising. Convict Lake trollers netting out-size browns.

IDAHO: Weather unsettled, with nights going down to 40°, days 72° to 75° and some snow at high elevations. Rainbows best in Seven Devils and Coeur d'Alene lakes. Lost Lakes dry-fly paradise. Warm Springs Creek, Little Wood River canals FVG with wets or dries. FVG on Middle Fork of Salmon near Flying B Ranch, mouth of Camas and Big Creek with water L and gin-clear. Twelve-pound rainbow reported hooked on large Mickey Finn at outlet of Morehead Lake.

MONTANA: FVG after early cold snap cooled water in western part of state. Madison top hole on Muddler Minnow fly and others. FVG in Big Hole, Yellowstone, Blackfoot and Flathead, but fish smaller. OVG until first October blizzard drives anglers to hearths.

MUSKELLUNGE: NEW YORK: Bernie Anderson, Jamestown bait dealer, used own merchandise to lure 42-pounder out of Chautauqua Lake for largest taken in locality in 15 years.

WISCONSIN: Spy says FG for small fish. Lunkers are still on vacation. OF as water cools.

ATLANTIC SALMON: NEW BRUNSWICK: St. John FF; Nashwaak FP; FG continues on Main Southwest, Upper Little Southwest and Northwest Miramichi. OVG.

TUNA: NOVA SCOTIA: As anglers pour into Wedgeport for International Tuna Cup Match (see page 66), two large fish were boated at Soldiers' Rip. Andrew Junckniewicz of Hillside, New York brought aboard a 570-pounder, and Henry Fisher of Aberdeen, Md. a 580-pounder.

MASSACHUSETTS: Local man reports many big ones but none particularly anxious to strike. Fresh squid recommended as most tantalizing tidbit for blasé bluefins.

STRIPED BASS: MASSACHUSETTS: FP along Cape Cod beaches although skillful surf casters continue to take a few fish every night on plugs. Martha's Vineyard agent says FVP but hopes for improvement by midmonth.

CALIFORNIA: FVG on Napa River in evening. San Pablo Bay, OG. Salmon trollers off Mussel Rock taking stripers up to 32 pounds and hardy surf anglers connecting at China Beach.

PHOTO PHOTOPALEFACE ARCHER SUBMITS TO A PAINT JOB

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)