Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/295

This page needs to be proofread.


REPORT ON OREGON TERRITORY 287 The great fishery of the Columbia is at The Dalles, but all the rivers are well supplied; the last one on the northern branch of the Columbia is near Colville, at the Kettle Falls, but they are found above this in the river and its tributaries. In Fraser River they are said to be very numerous, but not so large ; they are unable to get above the falls, some 80 miles from the sea. In the rivers and sounds are found several kinds of salmon, salmon trout, sturgeon, cod, carp, sole, flounders, ray, perch, herring, lamprey eels, and a kind of smelt called sprow in great abundance; also large quantities of shellfish, viz, crabs, clams, oysters, mussels, and so forth, which are all used by the natives and constitute the greater proportion of their food. Whales in numbers are found along the coast, and are fre- quently captured by the Indians in and at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. GAME. Abundance of game exists, such as elk, deer, antelopes, bears, wolves, foxes, muskrats, martins, beavers, a few grizzly bears, and sifflines, a kind of rat which are eaten by the Canadians. In the middle section, or that designated as the rolling prairie, no game is found. In the eastern section the buffalo is met with. The fur-bearing animals are decreasing in number yearly, particularly south of the parallel of 48. Indeed it is very doubtful whether they are sufficiently numerous to return the expenses of hunting them. The Hudson Bay Co. have almost the exclusive monopoly on this business. They have decreased owing to being hunted without regard to season. This is not, however, the case to the north ; there the company have been left to exercise their own rule and prevent the indiscriminate slaughter of the old and young and out of the proper season. In the spring and fall the rivers are literally covered with geese, ducks, and so forth.