The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, February 28, 1806

Clark, February 28, 1806

Friday February 28th 1806

Reuben Field and Collins Set out this morning early on a hunting excurtion up the Netul. Kus ke-lar a Clatsop man, his wife and a Small boy (a Slave, who he informed me was his Cook, and offerd to Sell him to me for beeds & a gun) visited us to day they brought Some anchovies, Sturgeon, a beaver robe, and Some roots for Sale tho they asked Such high prices for every article that we purchased nothing but a part of a Sturgeon for which we gave a fiew fishing hooks. we Suffered them to Stay all night. Shields Jos. Field and Shannon returned late this evening haveing killed five Elk tho two of them are of a mountain at a considerable distance. we ordered these hunters to return early in the morning and continue the hunt, and Sergt. Gass to take a party and go in quest of the Elk which they had killed. the hunters informed us that the Elk is tolerable plenty near the mountains about nine or ten miles distant. Kuskalaw brought a dog which Peter Crusat had purchased with his Capo which this fellow had on.

The Hare on this Side of the Rocky Mountains is exclusively the inhabitents of the Great Plains of Columbia, as they are of those of the Missouri East of the mountains. they weigh from 7 to 12 pounds. the measure of one which weighed 10 pounds, was as follows. from the extremity of the hinder, to that of the fore feet when extended 3 Feet. length from nose to the extremity of the tail 2 feet, 2 inches. Hight when Standing erect 1 foot, 3 inches-. Girth of the body 1 foot, 4 inches-. length of tail 61/2 inches-. length of ear 51/2 inches-. width of ear 3 inches and 1/8-. from the hip to the extremity of toe of the hind foot 1 foot 41/4 inches-. The eye is large and prominent. the pupil is circular, of a deep Sea Green and Occupies one third of the diamiter of the eye, the iris is of a bright yellowish silver colour. The ears are placed far back on the head and very near each other, they are flexable and the animal moves them with great ease and quickness and can dilate and throw them foward, or contract and fold them on his back at pleasure. the fold of the front of the ear is of a redish brown colour, the inner folds are those which lie together when the ears are thrown back, and which occupies 2/3ds of the width of the ears of a pure white except the tips of the ears for about an inch. the hinder folds or those which lie on the back are of a light grey; the Sides as they approach the belly become gradually more white, the belly brest, and inner part of the legs and thyes are white, with a Slight Shade of a lead Colour. The Head, neck, back Sholders, Sides, outer part of the legs and thyes are of a Lead Coloured Grey. the tail is bluntly pointed and round, covered with fine Soft white fur not quite as long as on the other parts of the body. the body is covered with a deep fine Soft close fur. the colours here discribed are those which the Animale assumes from the middle of April to the middle of November, the ballance of the year they are of a pure white, except the black and redish brown of the ears which never changes. a fiew redish brown spots are Sometimes Seen intermixed with the white, at this Season on the heads and upper parts of the neck an Sholders. The body of this animal is Smaller and longer in purpotion to it's hight than the Rabbit. when it runs it carrys its tail Streight behind in the direction of it's body. they appear to run with more ease and bound with greater agility than any animal I ever saw. they are extreemly fleet and never burrow or take Shelter in the grounds when pursued. it's teeth are like those of the rabit, as is also its upper lip which is divided as high as the nose. it's food is Grass, herbs, and in winter feeds much on the bark of Several arematic Shrubs which grow in the plains and the young willows along the rivers and other water courses.- I have measured the leaps of this animal and find them commonly from 18 to 22 feet. they are Generally found Seperate, and never Seen to associate in any number or more than two or three.