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WSU/Pend Oreille Extension introduced the Sense of Place series in 1999, with a focus on local landscape and natural history of Pend Oreille County, Washington. A partnership with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians Natural Resources Department has allowed us to expand this program through EPA funding to include more classes, a newsletter and this website.

A Wealth of Wildlife

>by Carol Mack

If we look hard enough, we can still find all the species of large mammals that were here when David Thompson passed through nearly 200 years ago. Although some of our populations are hanging on by a slender thread, few other places in our nation can make a similar claim. The following letter, dated 1889, illustrates the variety and abundance of wildlife found about six miles south of the Canadian border in that era.

Colville, Washington, Sept. 9. – Editor Forest and Stream: “I left here on the first of August, 1888, and went about 20 miles up the Pend d’Oreille River from the mouth. There we made a log house and stayed for the winter and did not get back till last April. The country is full of black-tail deer, white-tail deer, caribou, black and silver gray wolves, beaver, otter, mink, fisher, black brown and silver-tip bears, besides any amount of salmon and mountain trout. When we first got there we put in all of our time catching fish and salting them; we caught 1,200 lbs, and put in brine for market, and as soon as the fur got good we commenced hunting. I killed three silver-tips, nine black, thirteen brown, and one bear about the color of slate, that weighed 208 lbs. dressed. I showed the skin to the Indians and old hunters, but they had never seen one like it. Besides I killed and trapped seventeen caribou, twenty-one wolves, thirty-six beaver, nineteen otter, twenty-seven fisher. I never kill deer except when I need meat, so we did not bother them. My partner got seven silver-tips, fourteen black and five brown bears, eight caribou, nineteen wolves, thirty-six beaver, twenty otter, twenty-three fishers and three mountain sheep. There are a good many sheep here, but they are in such rough country they are not worth trying to get. I shot a deer which I think is a curiosity. It was pure white, 7 ft. long from tip to tip, 3 ft. high; its hoofs were like a white-tail’s, and its tail was small like a black-tail. I shot it through the butt of the ear, so that the skin was not hurt. I fleshed the skin and set the hair with alum. I would like to have you tell me if you ever heard of such a deer before, and where I can send it to be stuffed; then it will be for sale. Any one wanting to know anything about this country can do so by writing me.” Lindsley, N.C. 1889. Pend Oreille Country. Forest and Stream. 33:227-228
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