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Prairie Ghost

Prairie Ghost: Pronghorn and Human Interaction in Early America

Richard E. McCabe
Bart W. O’Gara
Henry M. Reeves
Illustrated by Daniel P. Metz
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Prairie Ghost
    Book Description:

    A Wildlife Management Institute Book In this lavishly illustrated volume Richard E. McCabe, Bart W. O'Gara and Henry M. Reeves explore the fascinating relationship of pronghorn with people in early America, from prehistoric evidence through the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. The only one of fourteen pronghorn-like genera to survive the great extinction brought on by human migration into North America, the pronghorn has a long and unique history of interaction with humans on the continent, a history that until now has largely remained unwritten.  With nearly 150 black-and-white photographs, 16 pages of color illustrations, plus original artwork by Daniel P. Metz, Prairie Ghost: Pronghorn and Human Interaction in Early America tells the intriguing story of humans and these elusive big game mammals in an informative and entertaining fashion that will appeal to historians, biologists, sportsmen and the general reader alike. Winner of the Wildlife Society's Outstanding Book Award for 2005

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-111-8
    Subjects: Biological Sciences, Zoology, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Richard E. McCabe

    What a strange, timid and elusive creature the pronghorn was to the Euro-Americans who first broached North America’s western grasslands. It reminded them of a “cabri,” or goat, sort of—a very speedy goat. It was difficult to approach, difficult to kill and, when brought down, its hide proved generally meager and its meat palatable but not much more. To modern civilization’s vanguards in the West, the pronghorn was among the more curious features of a vast, unchartered and infinitely perplexing landscape.

    Also strange and curious to the newcomers were the aboriginals—“savages” they were called—perceived as neither timid...

  6. Preface
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xix)
  8. [Illustration]
    (pp. xx-xx)
  9. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Early in wecukanheyaye of a sweltering day of Wípazuk wašté wi in the year remembered as Pehin Hanksa ktepi, fewer than 500 akiæita œuktayka, led by vainglorious Hi-es-tze, fell upside down into a huge village of Tsististas and Lakota temporarily encamped along a 3-mile (4.8 km) serpentine stretch of the Hetanka watercourse of the Cukanweta region. The aggression was ill-conceived, poorly timed and badly executed. Unable and perhaps unwilling to retreat, as many as 1,200 mdetahunka swarmed from the encampment to defend against the improvidently divided force of wasichus.

    When the dust of the season When the Ponies Grow Fat...

  10. Prehistory
    (pp. 3-32)

    Successors of the Sublette pronghorn herd still migrate annually between Grand Teton National Park and their winter ranges south of Pinedale, Wyoming, as they have for 8,000 years or more. During particularly severe winters, they continue southward to rangelands near the town of Green River, Wyoming, nearly 200 miles (322 km) from their summer range (Sawyer and McWhirter 2000).

    To comprehend the ancient interactions between humans and pronghorn, it is necessary to regress through geologic time to an arbitrarily chosen point of beginning. We have selected a time when North America was unpopulated by humans, but many strange animals—herds...

  11. History
    (pp. 33-133)

    An aspect of pronghorn history of minor practical importance is identification of which humans first saw or recorded the species. By the time Old World explorers visited pronghorn range and observed this species unknown to the rest of the world, the animal had been well known to indigenous people for many millennia. Inasmuch as those Native Americans probably knew as much about pronghorn as is known by wildlife scientists today, by virtue of greater pronghorn numbers then, but primarily because of the Indians’ pragmatic use of and reliance on them to varying degrees over countless generations, it is absurd in...

  12. Appendices

      (pp. 135-142)
      (pp. 143-150)
  13. References
    (pp. 151-169)
  14. [Illustration]
    (pp. 170-170)
  15. Index
    (pp. 171-175)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 176-178)