The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, February 19, 1806

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Lewis, February 19, 1806

Wednesday February 19th 1806. Sergt. Ordway set out again this morning with a party for the salt works by land. in the evening Sergt. Gass returned with the flesh of eight Elk, and seven skins; having left one skin with Shannon and Labuishe who remained over the netul to continue the chase. we had the Elk skins divided among the messes in order that they might be prepared for covering our baggage when we set out in the spring. our sick are recovering but they appear to strengthen but slowly. The common red deer we found under the rocky mts. in the neighbourhood of the Chopunnish, and about the great falls of the Columbia river and as low down the same as the commencement of tide water. these do not appear to differ essentially from those of our country being about the same size shape and appearance in every rispect except their great length of tail which is more than half as long again as our deer I measured one of them which was 17 inches long. The Black tailed fallow deer are peculiar to this coast and are a distinct species of deer partaking equally of peculiarities of the mule deer and the common deer. their ears are reather larger and their winter coat darker than the common deer; the recepticle of the eye or drane is mor conspicuous; their legs shorter and body thicker and larger than the common deer; their tail is about the length of our deer or from 8 to 10 inches the hair on the underside of which is white, and that of it's sides and top quite black the horns resemble in form and colour those of the mule deer which it also resembles in it's gate; that is bounding with all four feet off the ground at the same time when runing at full speed and not loping as the common deer or antelope do. they are sometimes found in the woodlands but most frequently in the praries and open grounds. they may be said generally to be a size larger than the common deer and that less than the mule deer. they are very seldom found in good order, or fat, even in the season which the common deer are so, and their flesh is inferior to any species of deer which I have ever seen.-