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Another old time story from the Bar T ranch

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Soapweed

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The following is a story that shows the lengths a boy is willing to go to for his favorite dog. As a boy, Elmer Bachelor loved good horses and greyhounds. He much preferred hunting with a good horse and good dogs to eating. He had long admired the greyhounds of one man, who had the misfortune of being shot and killed, in Elmer’s presence, on the streets of Martin, South Dakota in about 1918. After the man’s death, Elmer purchased his two best greyhounds from the victim’s father for $50 for the two.

Elmer took the two hounds back home to the Bar T ranch. One of the dogs was named “Old Brownie.” He thought Old Brownie was the very best hound that ever followed a saddle horse. A coyote very seldom got away from him, once he had started after it. Elmer could make spending money with the dogs, getting to sell the hides and collecting $6 apiece bounty money on the scalps. He came home from going to school in Valentine on the weekends and would hunt coyotes. The Bar T had a man cook at the ranch at that time. One day, Elmer was at school at Valentine, and the cook called him to tell him that two men had driven in to the ranch and told him that Old Brownie was theirs. The cook did his best to talk them out of it, but they took the dog and left.

Elmer was rightfully mad to hear of such a thing, and did not take long making the 60 miles back to the Bar T. He found out that the man who took the dog was the biggest thief in the country. He lived close to where the famous Battle of Wounded Knee had occurred. At that time, Elmer did not know the man, but found out he was tough and had a bad reputation. It was rumored that he had been known to go as far as Valentine and steal hounds from the Shepard boys, who had good hounds. After getting to the Bar T, Elmer, his father Bill, and brother Orin saddled their horses and started toward Martin, the direction the man had gone. They inquired along the way. This man was known by many, and many even knew Old Brownie and told of seeing him with the man. As the horses were tired when they got to Martin, they were left there. A man with a Model T Ford was hired to take them on in pursuit of the trail. His place was finally found, not too far from Wounded Knee.

By this time it was pretty dark out. A lady answered the knock on the door. She was told that they were there to retrieve the stolen dog. Upon hearing familiar voices, the old dog started to whimper in the cabin. Elmer’s brother, Orin, entered the house and lit a match. There was no electricity in those days. If it was dark outside, it was darker inside. The poor old dog was tied to the bed with the woman’s apron strings. Orin cut the apron strings with his jackknife. The dog was so glad to see them. He greeted them, then ran and jumped right in that Model T car. Just then, here came the bad guy and his partner. They were bound they were going to keep Old Brownie. They went for their guns. Now Elmer’s father was getting old, but was still a good man, and extra good with a pistol. Elmer considered himself pretty good with a gun at the time, too. It was darker than ever now. Elmer’s father was on one side of the wooden fence, and the outlaw was on the other side. The outlaw drew, but William beat him to the draw and hit him across the face with the gun, knocking most of his teeth out. Elmer got the drop on the second man. This was quite a bit of excitement for one greyhound.

This would have no doubt ended up in a regular shoot out, but the men backed down. They ran into more than they bargained for. Elmer told them that if they ever crossed that state line again, he would shoot every one of them. It was a great day; it was a great dog.

There were some boys down on the Boiling Springs ranch south of Cody that were just of the same disposition as Elmer. They would also rather hunt coyotes than eat. They came up to the Bar T and wanted to hunt with Elmer for fun. At that time, Elmer had just one little dog that he didn’t figure was any coyote hunting dog. It was a cross between a hound and a shepherd. They scared up a coyote right on the home meadow. Elmer’s dog could not keep up with the hounds, but when the coyote turned, the little dog cut across and grabbed the coyote nice as could be. There was a lot of good-natured teasing about letting a dog like that outdo their good hounds.

There was a $6 a head bounty in Nebraska and a $3 a head bounty in South Dakota. They hunted close to the state line, but always seemed to get the coyotes in Nebraska. One winter Elmer got 45 coyotes. The hides were worth $6 - $10 at that time, plus the S6 bounty money from the state of Nebraska. Good pay for good fun.
 

efb

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Great story Soapweed. Reminded me of a greyhound I had as a teen ager. A neighbor gave her to me. I named her Rex. We'd chase jackrabbits me horseback. Had lots of fun. One day she was chasing a jackrabbit across the road and hit by a car. I had to shoot her. That was tough for a teen.
 

leanin' H

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That is a great piece of ranching and hunting history! :D I have never chased coyotes with hounds but it sounds like a bunch of fun. Dogs have a long and prestigous history on your ranch Soap! :wink: :lol:
 

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