Sunday, September 14, 2008

FIGHTING THE DOGS




Homesteaders encountered many very challenging and endless difficulties. As soon as they had solved one, another one came. Their survival depended on their victory over each test. Clint has finally planted his crop, the corn is nicely coming up but it is not time yet to relax. To his despair, the prairie dogs are robbing him. The fight is uneven: Clint is alone against a multitude. How discouraging!

"As the corn came up, prairie dogs would get out at daylight and cut the stalks at ground level, especially in a strip where their town pointed out into the forty acres that was being broken. Clint would chase them with his knotted rope, but they always beat him to their dens. Then a dozen or more “dogs” from nearby dens would peek above the earthen rim, with just one tiny eye showing, and bark mocking disapproval to the rhythm of their beating tails. He tried poison that cost him a precious dollar and a half, but the prairie dogs would not eat it. To dig them out was impossible. Their underground passageways were almost endless. Trying to shoot them was too costly. Across the prairie there was an endless panorama of circular mounds, all housing this destructive vermin?"

"Clint had struggled to get his land and had risked his life to dispel the Blackbeard gang. Now the prairie dogs were robbing him of the soil’s use and threatening his very survival. It was his living not theirs. Would they drive him off the land as they had already dislodged several of his original neighbours? They just sold out for the going rate of one hundred dollars for their 160-acre homesteads and left. Those who knew Clint knew that he would not leave. He would find a way. He would stay."

Links:

Theodore National Park Praire Dogs
http://www.nps.gov/archive/thro/tr_dogs.htm


Park Releases Final Prairie Dog Management Plan
http://www.nps.gov/wica/parknews/park-releases-final-prairie-dog-management-plan.htm

This excerpt is from Prairie Pioneers, a novel written by Emery Stoops, Vantage Press, Inc. Page 88

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