Boy Scouts Handbook by Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts Handbook by Boy Scouts of America

Each part of the uniform is stamped with the official seal of the Boy Scouts of America.

If there is no agency for the official uniform in your city write for samples.


Manufacturer of U. S. Army and National Guard Uniform

The Best Food for The Boy Scouts is


Shredded Wheat
because it has all the muscle-building, bone-making material in the whole wheat grain prepared in a digestible form, supplying all the strength needed for work or play. It is ready-cooked and ready-to-eat. It has the greatest amount of body-building nutriment in smallest bulk. Its crispness compels thorough mastication, and the more you chew it the better you like it. Shredded Wheat is the favorite food of athletes. It is on the training table of nearly every college and university in this country. The records show that the winners of many brilliant rowing and track events have been trained on Shredded Wheat.
The BISCUIT is in little loaf form. It is baked a crisp, golden brown. It is eaten with milk or cream, or fruit, or is delicious when eaten as a toast with butter. TRISCUIT is the Shredded Wheat wafer—the ideal food for the camp or the long tramp.
Building buster boys is bully business–that’s the reason we want to help the Boy Scout movement.

The Shredded Wheat Company
Niagara Falls, N. Y.



Published for




This is to certify that _________
of ___________ State of _________
Street and City or Town address

Age_____ Height_____ Weigh_____

is a member of ________ Patrol, of Troop No. _____

Scout Master


Qualified as Tenderfoot ________ 191_

Second Class Scout _________ 191_

First Class Scout _______ 191_


1 ________________ ________________
2 ________________ ________________
3 ________________ ________________
4 ________________ ________________
5 ________________ ________________

Qualified as Life Scout ________________

Qualified as Star Scout ________________

Qualified as Eagle Scout ________________

Awarded Honor Medal ________________




The Boy Scout Movement has become almost universal, and wherever organized its leaders are glad, as we are, to acknowledge the debt we all owe to Lieut.-Gen. Sir Robert S. S. Baden-Powell, who has done so much to make the movement of interest to boys of all nations.

The BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA is a corporation formed by a group of men who are anxious that the boys of America should come under the influence of this movement and be built up in all that goes to make character and good citizenship. The affairs of the organization are managed by a National Council, composed of some of the most prominent men of our country, who gladly and freely give their time and money that this purpose may be accomplished.

In the various cities, towns, and villages, the welfare of the boy scouts is cared for by local councils, and these councils, like the National Council are composed of men who are seeking for the boys of the community the very best things.

In order that the work of the boy scouts throughout America may be uniform and intelligent, the National Council has prepared its “Official Handbook,” the purpose of which is to furnish to the patrols of the boy scouts advice in practical methods, as well as inspiring information.

The work of preparing this handbook has enlisted the services of men eminently fitted for such work, for each is an expert in his own department, and the Editorial Board feels that the organization is to be congratulated in that such men have been found willing to give their time and ripe experience to this movement. It would be impossible adequately to thank all who by advice and friendly criticism have helped in the preparation of the book, or even to mention their names, but to the authors whose names are attached to the various chapters, we acknowledge an especial obligation. Without their friendly help this book could not be. We wish especially to express our appreciation of the helpful suggestions made by Daniel Carter Beard.

We have carefully examined and approved all the material which goes to make up {vi} the manual, and have tried to make it as complete as possible; nevertheless, no one can be more conscious than we are of the difficulty of providing a book which will meet all the demands of such widely scattered patrols with such varied interests. We have constantly kept in mind the evils that confront the boys of our country and have struck at them by fostering better things. Our hope is that the information needed for successful work with boy scouts will be found within the pages of this book.

In these pages and throughout our organization we have made it obligatory upon our scouts that they cultivate courage, loyalty, patriotism, brotherliness, self-control, courtesy, kindness to animals, usefulness, cheerfulness, cleanliness, thrift, purity and honor. No one can doubt that with such training added to his native gifts, the American boy will in the near future, as a man, be an efficient leader in the paths of civilization and peace.

It has been deemed wise to publish all material especially for the aid of scout masters in a separate volume to be known as “The Scout Masters’ Manual.”

We send out our “Official Handbook,” therefore, with the earnest wish that many boys may find in it new methods for the proper use of their leisure time and fresh inspiration in their efforts to make their hours of recreation contribute to strong, noble manhood in the days to come.

Editorial Board.







Honorary President THE HON. WILLIAM H. TAFT
Honorary Vice-President Colonel THEODORE ROOSEVELT
Washington, D. C.
1st Vice-President B. L. DULANEY,
Bristol, Tenn.
2d Vice-President MILTON A. McRAE,
Detroit, Mich.
3d Vice-President DAVID STARR JORDAN,
Stanford, Ca.
Cos Cob, Conn.
National Scout Commissioner DANIEL CARTER BEARD,
Flushing, L. I., N.Y.
National Scout Commissioner Adj.-Gen. WILLIAM VERBECK,
Albany, N.Y.
National Scout Commissioner Colonel PETER S. BOMUS,
New York City
Treasurer GEORGE D. PRATT,
Brooklyn, N. Y.


Daniel Carter Beard
Milton A. McRae
Mortimer L. Schiff
Col. Peter S. Bomus
William D. Murray
Ernest Thompson Seton
B. L. Dulaney
George D. Pratt
Seth Sprague Terry
Lee F. Hanmer
Frank Presbrey
Adj.-Gen. William Verbeck
George W. Hinckley
Edgar M. Robinson
JAMES E. WEST, Executive Secretary


Charles Conrad Abbott
Arthur Adams
Dr. Felix Adler
Harry A. Allison
Henry Morrell Atkinson
B. N. Baker
Ray Stannard Baker
Evelyn Briggs Baldwin
Clifford W. Barnes
Daniel Carter Beard
Henry M. Beardsley
Martin Behrman
August Belmont
Ernest P. Bicknell


Edward Bok
Colonel Peter S. Bomus
Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte
William D. Boyce
H. S. Braucher
Roeliff Brinkerhoff
Dr. Elmer E. Brown
Luther Burbank
Dr. Richard C. Cabot
Rev. S. Parkes Cadman
Arthur A. Carey
E. C. Carter
Richard B. Carter
W. D. Champlin
Thomas Chew
Winston Churchill
G. A. Clark
P. P. Claxton
Randall J. Condon
C. M. Connolly
Ernest K. Coulter
Dr. C. Ward Crampton
George H. Dalrymple
Dr. George S. Davis
E. B. DeGroot
Judge William H. De Lacy
William C. Demorest
Dr. Edward T. Devine
Admiral George Dewey
Gov. John A. Diz
Myron E. Douglas
Benjamin L. Dulaney
Hon. T. C. Du Pont
Dr. George W. Ehler
Griffith Ogden Ellis
Robert Erskine Ely
Henry P. Emerson
Hon. John J. Esch
J. W. Everman
Eberhard Faber
Dr. George J. Fisher
Horace Fletcher
Homer Folks
Dr. William Byron Forbush
Dr. Lee K. Frankel
Robert Ives Gammell
Hon. James R. Garfield
Hamlin Garland
Robert Garrett
William H. Gay
Bishop David H. Greer
Jesse A. Gregg
George B. Grinnell
S. R. Guggenheim
Luther Halsey Gulick, M. D.
Dr. G. Stanley Hall
Dr. Winfield Scott Hall
Lee F. Hanmer
Dr. Hastings H. Hart
Hon. W. M. Hays
Prof. C. R. Henderson
Clark W. Hetherington
George W. Hinckley
Allen Hoben
Hon. R. P. Hobson
Rev. R. W. Hogue
John Sherman Hoyt
C. R. H. Jackson
Prof. Jeremiah W. Jenks
G. E. Johnson
Dr. David Starr Jordan
Mayor William S. Jordan
Otto Herman Kahn
Dr. William J. Kerby
Charles H. Kip
Dr. J. H. Kirkland
Judge Henry E. Klamroth
Rev. Walter Laidlow
Charles R. Lamb
Joseph Lee
Samuel McC. Lindsay
Judge Ben B. Lindsey
Colin H. Livingstone
Col. Frank L. Locke
Hon. Nicholas Longworth
Hon. Frank O. Lowden
Hon. Lee McClung
William McCormick


Hon. Henry B. F. Macfarland
J. Horace McFarland
C. W. McKee
Hon. William B. McKinley
J. S. McLain
Francis H. McLean
Milton A. McRae
Charles G. Maphis
George W. Manton
Edgar S. Martin
Frank S. Mason
Frank Lincoln Masseck
Dr. William H. Maxwell
Lieut.-Gen. Nelson A. Miles
John F. Moore
Arthur C. Moses
William D. Murray
Dr. Cyrus Northrop
Frank W. Ober
Hon. C. S. Page
Dr. C. H. Parkhurst
Hon. Herbert Parsons
Hon. Gifford Pinchot
David R. Porter
George D. Porter
Perry Edwards Powell
Frederic B. Pratt
George D. Pratt
Frank Presbrey
G. Barrett Rich, Jr.
Jacob A. Riis
Clarence C. Robinson
Edgar M. Robinson
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt
Lincoln E. Rowley
Oliver J. Sands
Dr. D. A. Sargent
Henry B. Sawyer
Mortimer L. Schiff
Charles Scribner
George L. Sehon
Rear Admiral Thomas Oliver Selfridge
Jefferson Seligman
Jesse Seligman
Ernest Thompson Seton
Samuel Shuman
Rear Admiral Charles Dwight Sigsbee
William F. Slocum
Fred. B. Smith
Hon. George Otis Smith
Lorillard Spencer
Lorillard Spencer, Jr.
Judge William H. Staake
Hon. Adlai Stevenson
Andrew Stevenson
A. E. Stilwell
C. H. Stoddard
Rev. John Timothy Stone, D.D.
Isidor Straus
Hon. Oscar S. Straus
Josiah Strong
Hon. William H. Taft
Edward K. Taylor
Graham Romeyn Taylor
Judge Harry L. Taylor
William L. Terhune
Seth Sprague Terry
John E. Thayer
Rev. James I. Vance
Dr. Henry Van Dyke
Adj. Gen. William Verbeck
John Wanamaker
Henry L. Ward
Lucien T. Warner
Richard Benedict Watrous
Rear Admiral J. C. Watson
W. D. Weatherford
Dr. Benjamin Ide Wheeler
Eli Whitney
Mornay Williams
Gen. George W. Wingate
A. E. Winship
Henry Rogers Winthrop
Major-Gen. Leonard Wood
Surgeon-Gen. Walter Wyman
Major Andrew C. Zabriskie




There was once a boy who lived in a region of rough farms. He was wild with the love of the green outdoors–the trees, the tree-top singers, the wood-herbs and the live things that left their nightly tracks in the mud by his spring well. He wished so much to know them and learn about them, he would have given almost any price in his gift to know the name of this or that wonderful bird, or brilliant flower; he used to tremble with excitement and intensity of interest when some new bird was seen, or when some strange song came from the trees to thrill him with its power or vex him with its mystery, and he had a sad sense of lost opportunity when it flew away leaving him dark as ever. But he was alone and helpless, he had neither book nor friend to guide him, and he grew up with a kind of knowledge hunger in his heart that gnawed without ceasing. But this also it did: It inspired him with the hope that some day he might be the means of saving others from this sort of torment–he would aim to furnish to them what had been denied to himself.

There were other things in the green and living world that had a binding charm for him. He wanted to learn to camp out, to live again the life of his hunter grandfather who knew all the tricks of winning comfort from the relentless wilderness the foster-mother so rude to those who fear her, so kind to the stout of heart.

And he had yet another hankering–he loved the touch of romance. When he first found Fenimore Cooper’s books, he drank them in as one parched might drink at a spring. He reveled in the tales of courage and heroic deeds, he gloated over records of their trailing and scouting by red man and white; he gloried in their woodcraft, and lived it all in imagination, secretly blaming the writer, a little, for praising without describing it so it could be followed. “Some day,” he said, “I shall put it all down for other boys to learn.”

As years went by he found that there were books about most of the things he wished to know, the stars, the birds, the {xi} quadrupeds, the fish, the insects, the plants, telling their names; their hidden power or curious ways, about the camper’s life the language of signs and even some of the secrets of the trail. But they were very expensive and a whole library would be needed to cover the ground. What he wanted–what every boy wants–is a handbook giving the broad facts as one sees them in the week-end hike, the open-air life. He did not want to know the trees as a botanist, but as a forester; nor the stars as an astronomer, but as a traveler. His interest in the animals was less that of anatomist than of a hunter and camper, and his craving for light on the insects was one to be met by a popular book on bugs, rather than by a learned treatise on entomology.

So knowing the want he made many attempts to gather the simple facts together exactly to meet the need of other boys of like ideas, and finding it a mighty task he gladly enlisted the help of men who had lived and felt as he did.

Young Scouts of America that boy is writing to you now. He thought himself peculiar in those days. He knows now he was simply a normal boy with the interests and desires of all normal boys, some of them a little deeper rooted and more lasting perhaps–and all the things that he loved and wished to learn have now part in the big broad work we call Scouting.

“Scout” used to mean the one on watch for the rest. We have widened the word a little. We have made it fit the town as well as the wilderness and suited it to peace time instead of war. We have made the scout an expert in Life-craft as well as Wood-craft, for he is trained in the things of the heart as well as head and hand. Scouting we have made to cover riding, swimming, tramping, trailing, photography, first aid, camping, handicraft, loyalty, obedience, courtesy, thrift, courage, and kindness.

Do these things appeal to you? Do you love the woods?

Do you wish to learn the trees as the forester knows them? And the stars not as an astronomer, but as a traveler?

Do you wish to have all-round, well-developed muscles, not those of a great athlete, but those of a sound body that will not fail you? Would you like to be an expert camper who can always make himself comfortable out of doors, and a swimmer that fears no waters? Do you desire the knowledge to help the wounded quickly, and to make yourself cool and self-reliant in an emergency?

Do you believe in loyalty, courage, and kindness? Would {xii} you like to form habits that will surely make your success in life?

Then, whether you be farm boy or shoe clerk, newsboy or millionaire’s son, your place is in our ranks, for these are the thoughts in scouting; it will help you to do better work with your pigs, your shoes, your papers, or your dollars; it will give you new pleasures in life; it will teach you so much of the outdoor world that you wish to know; and this Handbook, the work of many men, each a leader in his field, is their best effort to show you the way. This is, indeed, the book that I so longed for, in those far-off days when I wandered, heart hungry in the woods.

Chief Scout.

Headquarters Boy Scouts of America,
200 Fifth Avenue, New York City.
June 1, 1911.




Boy Scout Certificate iii
Preface v
Officers and Members of the National Council vii


Scoutcraft 3
SCOUT VIRTUES John L. Alexander
SCOUT OATH Special Committee
SCOUT LAW Special Committee
Special Committee


Woodcraft 57
WOODLORE Ernest Thompson Seton
BIRDCRAFT National Association Audubon Societies
REPTILES Dr. Leonhard Stejneger
INSECTS AND BUTTERFLIES United States Bureau of Entomology
AQUARIUM Dr. Wm. Leland Stowell
ROCKS AND PEBBLES United States Geological Survey
NATIVE WILD ANIMALS Ernest Thompson Seton


Campcraft 145


Tracks, Trailing, and Signaling Ernest Thompson Seton 187
Health and Endurance George J. Fisher, M.D. 219
Chivalry John L. Alexander 237
First Aid and Life Saving Major Charles Lynch 255
WATER ACCIDENTS Wilbert E. Longfellow
Games and Athletic Standards 291
Patriotism and Citizenship Waldo H. Sherman 323







This chapter is the result of the work of the Committee on Scout Oath, Scout Law, Tenderfoot, Second-class and First-class Requirements; the Committee on Badges, Awards, and Equipment; the Committee on Permanent Organization and Field Supervision, and John L. Alexander and Samuel A. Moffat.

Aim of the Scout Movement
By John L. Alexander, Boy Scouts of America

The aim of the Boy Scouts is to supplement the various existing educational agencies, and to promote the ability in boys to do things for themselves and others. It is not the aim to set up a new organization to parallel in its purposes others already established. The opportunity is afforded these organizations, however, to introduce into their programs unique features appealing to interests which are universal among boys. The method is summed up in the term Scoutcraft, and is a combination of observation, deduction, and handiness, or the ability to do things. Scoutcraft includes instruction in First Aid, Life Saving, Tracking, Signaling, Cycling, Nature Study, Seamanship, Campcraft, Woodcraft, Chivalry, Patriotism, and other subjects. This is accomplished in games and team play, and is pleasure, not work, for the boy. All that is needed is the out-of-doors, a group of boys, and a competent leader.

What Scouting Means

In all ages there have been scouts, the place of the scout being on the danger line of the army or at the outposts, protecting those of his company who confide in his care.

The army scout was the soldier who was chosen out of all the army to go out on the skirmish line.

The pioneer, who was out on the edge of the wilderness, {4} guarding the men, women, and children in the stockade, was also a scout. Should he fall asleep, or lose control of his faculties, or fail on his watch, then the lives of the men, women, and children paid the forfeit, and the scout lost his honor.

But there have been other kinds of scouts besides war scouts and frontier scouts. They have been the men of all ages, who have gone out on new and strange adventures, and through their work have benefited the people of the earth. Thus, Columbus discovered America, the Pilgrim Fathers founded New England, the early English settlers colonized Jamestown, and the Dutch built up New York. In the same way the hardy Scotch-Irish pushed west and made a new home for the American people beyond the Alleghanies and the Rockies.

These peace scouts had to be as well prepared as any war scouts. They had to know scoutcraft. They had to know how to live in the woods, and be able to find their way anywhere, without other chart or compass than the sun and stars, besides being able to interpret the meaning of the slightest signs of the forest and the foot tracks of animals and men.

They had to know how to live so as to keep healthy and strong, to face any danger that came their way, and to help one another. These scouts of old were accustomed to take chances with death and they did not hesitate to give up their lives in helping their comrades or country. In fact, they left everything behind them, comfort and peace, in order to push forward into the wilderness beyond. And much of this they did because they felt it to be their duty.

These little-known scouts could be multiplied indefinitely by going back into the past ages and reading the histories and stories of the knights of King Arthur, of the Crusaders, and of the great explorers and navigators of the world.

Wherever there have been heroes, there have been scouts, and to be a scout means to be prepared to do the right thing at the right moment, no matter what the consequences may be.

The way for achievement in big things is the preparing of one’s self for doing the big things–by going into training and doing the little things well. It was this characteristic of Livingstone, the great explorer, that made him what he was, and that has marked the career of all good scouts.

To be a good scout one should know something about the woods and the animals that inhabit them, and how to care for one’s self when camping.


The habits of animals can be studied by stalking them and watching them in their native haunts.

The scout should never kill an animal or other living creature needlessly. There is more sport in stalking animals to photograph them, and in coming to know their habits than in hunting to kill.

But woodcraft means more than this. It means not only the following of tracks and other signs, but it means to be able to read them. To tell how fast the animal which made the tracks was going; to tell whether he was frightened, suspicious, or otherwise.

Woodcraft also enables the scout to find his way, no matter where he is. It teaches him the various kinds of wild fruit, roots, nuts, etc., which are good for food, or are the favorite food of animals.

Scout Stalking
By woodcraft a scout may learn a great number of things. He may be able to tell whether the tracks were made by an animal or by man, bicycle, automobile or other vehicle.

By having his power of observation trained he can tell by very slight signs, such as the sudden flying of birds, that someone is moving very near him though he may not be able to see the person.

Through woodcraft then, a boy may train his eye, and be able to observe things that otherwise would pass unnoticed. In this way he may be able to save animals from pain, as a horse from an ill-fitting harness. He may also be able to see little things which may give him the clew to great things and so be able to prevent harm and crime.


Torture (Note the check or bearing-rein)

Besides woodcraft one must know something of camp life. One of the chief characteristics of the scout is to be able to live in the open, know how to put up tents, build huts, throw up a lean-to for shelter, or make a dugout in the ground, how to build a fire, how to procure and cook food, how to bind logs together so as to construct bridges and rafts, and how to find his way by night as well as by day in a strange country.

Living in the open in this way, and making friends of the trees, the streams, the mountains, and the stars, gives a scout a great deal of confidence and makes him love the natural life around him.


Camp loom, for making mats and mattresses

To be able to tell the difference between the trees by their bark and leaves is a source of pleasure; to be able to make a {7} bed out of rough timber, or weave a mattress or mat out of grass to sleep on is a joy. And all of these things a good scout should know.

Then too, a good scout must be chivalrous. That is, he should be as manly as the knights or pioneers of old. He should be unselfish. He should show courage. He must do his duty. He should show benevolence and thrift. He should be loyal to his country. He should be obedient to his parents, and show respect to those who are his superiors. He should be very courteous to women. One of his obligations is to do a good turn every day to some one. He should be cheerful and seek self-improvement, and should make a career for himself.

All these things were characteristics of the old-time American scouts and of the King Arthur knights. Their honor was sacred. They were courteous and polite to women and children, especially to the aged, protected the weak, and helped others to live better. They taught themselves to be strong, so as to be able to protect their country against enemies. They kept themselves strong and healthy, so that they might be prepared to do all of these things at a moment’s notice, and do them well.

So the boy scout of to-day must be chivalrous, manly, and gentlemanly.

When he gets up in the morning he may tie a knot in his necktie, and leave the necktie outside his vest until he has done a good turn. Another way to remind himself is to wear his scout badge reversed until he has done his good turn. The good turn may not be a very big thing–help an old lady across the street; remove a banana skin from the pavement so that people may not fall; remove from streets or roads broken glass, dangerous to automobile or bicycle tires; give water to a thirsty horse; or deeds similar to these.

The scout also ought to know how to save life. He ought to be able to make a stretcher; to throw a rope to a drowning person; to drag an unconscious person from a burning building, and to resuscitate a person overcome by gas fumes. He ought also to know the method of stopping runaway horses, and he should have the presence of mind and the skill to calm a panic and deal with street and other accidents.

This means also that a boy scout must always be in the pink of condition. A boy cannot do things like these unless he is healthy and strong. Therefore, he must be systematically taking exercise, playing games, running, and walking. It means that he must sleep enough hours to give him the necessary strength, and if possible to sleep very much in the open, or at least {8} with the windows of his bedroom open both summer and winter.

It means also that he should take a cold bath often, rubbing dry with a rough towel. He should breathe through the nose and not through the mouth. He should at all times train himself to endure hardships.

In addition to these the scout should be a lover of his country. He should know his country. How many states there are in it, what are its natural resources, scope, and boundaries. He ought to know something of its history, its early settlers, and of the great deeds that won his land. How they settled along the banks of the James River. How Philadelphia, New York, and other great cities were founded. How the Pilgrim Fathers established New England and laid the foundation for our national life. How the scouts of the Middle West saved all that great section of the country for the Republic. He ought to know how Texas became part of the United States, and how our national heroes stretched out their hands, north and south, east and west, to make one great united country.

He ought to know the history of the important wars. He ought to know about our army and navy flags and the insignia of rank of our officers. He ought to know the kind of government he lives under, and what it means to live in a republic. He ought to know what is expected of him as a citizen of his state and nation, and what to do to help the people among whom he lives.

In short, to be a good scout is to be a well-developed, well-informed boy.

Scout Virtues

There are other things which a scout ought to know and which should be characteristic of him, if he is going to be the kind of scout for which the Boy Scouts of America stand. One of these is obedience. To be a good scout a boy must learn to obey the orders of his patrol leader, scout master, and scout commissioner. He must learn to obey, before he is able to command. He should so learn to discipline and control himself that he will have no thought but to obey the orders of his officers. He should keep such a strong grip on his own life that he will not allow himself to do anything which is ignoble, or which will harm his life or weaken his powers of endurance.

Another virtue of a scout is that of courtesy. A boy scout {9} ought to have a command of polite language. He ought to show that he is a true gentleman by doing little things for others.

Loyalty is also a scout virtue. A scout ought to be loyal to all to whom he has obligations. He ought to stand up courageously for the truth, for his parents and friends.

Another scout virtue is self-respect. He ought to refuse to accept gratuities from anyone, unless absolutely necessary. He ought to work for the money he gets.

For this same reason he should never look down upon anyone who may be poorer than himself, or envy anyone richer than himself. A scout’s self-respect will cause him to value his own standing and make him sympathetic toward others who may be, on the one hand, worse off, or, on the other hand, better off as far as wealth is concerned. Scouts know neither a lower nor a higher class, for a scout is one who is a comrade to all and who is ready to share that which he has with others.

The most important scout virtue is that of honor. Indeed, this is the basis of all scout virtues and is closely allied to that of self-respect. When a scout promises to do a thing on his honor, he is bound to do it. The honor of a scout will not permit of anything but the highest and the best and the manliest. The honor of a scout is a sacred thing, and cannot be lightly set aside or trampled on.

Faithfulness to duty is another one of the scout virtues. When it is a scout’s duty to do something, he dare not shirk. A scout is faithful to his own interest and the interests of others. He is true to his country and his God.

Another scout virtue is cheerfulness. As the scout law intimates, he must never go about with a sulky air. He must always be bright and smiling, and as the humorist says, “Must always see the doughnut and not the hole.” A bright face and a cheery word spread like sunshine from one to another. It is the scout’s duty to be a sunshine-maker in the world.

Another scout virtue is that of thoughtfulness, especially to animals; not merely the thoughtfulness that eases a horse from the pain of a badly fitting harness or gives food and drink to an animal that is in need, but also that which keeps a boy from throwing a stone at a cat or tying a tin can on a dog’s tail. If a boy scout does not prove his thoughtfulness and friendship for animals, it is quite certain that he never will be really helpful to his comrades or to the men, women, and children who may need his care.

And then the final and chief test of the scout is the doing of a good turn to somebody every day, quietly and without boasting. This is the proof of the scout. It is practical religion, and a boy honors God best when he helps others most. A boy may wear all the scout uniforms made, all the scout badges ever manufactured, know all the woodcraft, campcraft, scoutcraft and other activities of boy scouts, and yet never be a real boy scout. To be a real boy scout means the doing of a good turn every day with the proper motive and if this be done, the boy has a right to be classed with the great scouts that have been of such service to their country. To accomplish this a scout should observe the scout law.

Every boy ought to commit to memory the following abbreviated form of the Scout law.

The Twelve Points of the Scout Law
1. A scout is trustworthy.
2. A scout is loyal.
3. A scout is helpful.
4. A scout is friendly.
5. A scout is courteous.
6. A scout is kind.
7. A scout is obedient.
8. A scout is cheerful.
9. A scout is thrifty.
10. A scout is brave.
11. A scout is clean.
12. A scout is reverent.

The Boy Scout Organization

(Result of work of Committee on Permanent Organization and Field Supervision:–H. S. Braucher, Chairman. Lorillard Spencer. Jr., Colin H. Livingstone. Richard C. Morse. Mortimer Schiff, Dr. George W. Ehler, C. M. Connolly, E. B. DeGroot, Lee F. Hamner.)

To do good scouting a boy must understand the organization of which he is a part. The Boy Scouts of America is promoted and governed by a group of men called the National Council. This National Council is made up of leading men of the country and it is their desire that every American boy shall have the opportunity of becoming a good scout.

The National Council holds one meeting annually at which it elects the officers and the members of the Executive Board. It copyrights badges and other scout designs, arranges for their manufacture and distribution, selects designs for uniforms and scout equipment, issues scout commissioners’ and scout masters’ certificates, and grants charters for local councils.

A local council through its officers–president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and scout commissioner, its executive committee, court of honor, and other committees–deals with all local matters that relate to scouting.

The scout commissioner is the ranking scout master of the local council and presides at all scout masters’ meetings as well as at all scout field meets. It is also the duty of the scout commissioner to report to and advise with the Chief Scout through the Executive Secretary concerning the scouts in his district. The scout commissioner’s certificate is issued from National Headquarters upon the recommendation of a local council after this council has been granted a charter.

The scout master is the adult leader of a troop, and must be at least twenty-one years of age. He should have a deep interest in boys, be genuine in his own life, have the ability to lead, and command the boys’ respect and obedience. He need not be an expert at scoutcraft; a good scout master will discover experts for the various activities. His certificate is granted upon the recommendation of the local council.

An assistant scout master should be eighteen years of age or over. His certificate is granted by the National Council upon the recommendation of the scout master of his troop and the local council.

Chief Scout and Staff

The Chief Scout is elected annually by the National Council and has a staff of deputies each of whom is chairman of a committee of scoutcraft. These deputies are as follows:
Chief Scout Surgeon.
Chief Scout Director of Health.
Chief Scout Woodsman.
Chief Scout Athletic Director.
Chief Scout Stalker.
Chief Scout Citizen.
Chief Scout Master.
Chief Scout Director of Chivalry.
Chief Scout Camp Master.

Scouts are graded as follows:

Chief Scout and Staff.
Scout Commissioner.
Scout Master.
Assistant Scout Master.
Patrol Leader.
Assistant Patrol Leader.

Eagle Scout.
Star Scout.
Life Scout.
First-class Scout.
Second-class Scout.

How to Become a Boy Scout

The easiest way to become a boy scout is to join a patrol that has already been started. This patrol may be in {12} a Sunday School, Boys’ Brigade, Boys’ Club, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Men’s Hebrew Association, Young Men’s Catholic Association, or any other organization to which you may belong. If there is no patrol near you, get some man interested enough to start one by giving him all the information.

A patrol consists of eight boys, one of whom becomes the patrol leader and another the assistant patrol leader.

A troop consists of three or more patrols, and the leader of the troop is called a scout master. There can be no patrols or troops of boy scouts without this scout master.

The Scout Motto

The motto of the boy scouts is Be Prepared, and the badge of the boy scouts is a copyrighted design with this motto, “Be Prepared,” on a scroll at its base.

The motto, “Be Prepared,” means that the scout is always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do his duty. To be prepared in mind, by having disciplined himself to be obedient, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that may occur, so that he may know the right thing to do at the right moment, and be willing to do it. To be prepared in body, by making himself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and then to do it.

The Scout Badge

The scout badge is not intended to represent the fleur-de-lis, or an arrowhead. It is a modified form of the sign of the north on the mariner’s compass, which is as old as the history of navigation. The Chinese claim its use among them as early as 2634 B. C., and we have definite information that it was used at sea by them as early as 300 A. D. Marco Polo brought the compass to Europe on his return from Cathay. The sign of the north on the compass gradually came to represent the north, and pioneers, trappers, woodsmen, and scouts, because of this, adopted it as their emblem. Through centuries of use it has undergone modification until it has now assumed the shape of our badge.

This trefoil badge of the scouts is now used, with slight local variations, in almost every civilized country as the mark of brotherhood, for good citizenship, and friendliness.

Its scroll is turned up at the ends like a scout’s mouth, because he does his duty with a smile and willingly.

The knot is to remind the scout to do a good turn to someone daily.

The arrowhead part is worn by the tenderfoot. The scroll part only is worn by the second-class scout. The badge worn by the first-class scout is the whole badge.

The official badges of the Boy Scouts of America are issued by the National Council and may be secured only from the National Headquarters. These badges are protected by the U. S. Patent Laws (letters of patent numbers 41412 and 41532) and anyone infringing these patents is liable to prosecution at law.

In order to protect the Boy Scout Movement and those who have qualified to receive badges designating the various degrees in scoutcraft, it is desired that all interested cooperate with the National Headquarters in safeguarding the sale and distribution of these badges. This may be done by observing the following rules:

1. Badges should not be ordered until after boys have actually complied with the requirements prescribed by the National Council and are entitled to receive them.

2. All orders for badges should be sent in by the scout master with a certificate from the local council that these requirements have been complied with. Blanks for this purpose may be secured on application to the National Headquarters.

Where no local council has been formed, application for badges should be sent direct to Headquarters, signed by the registered scout master of the troop, giving his official number.

Scout commissioners’, scout masters’, and assistant scout masters’ badges can be issued only to those who are registered as such at National Headquarters.

Tenderfoot Badge–Gilt metal.

Patrol Leader’s Tenderfoot Badge–Oxidized silver finish.

These badges are seven eighths of an inch wide and are made either for the button-hole or with safety-pin clasp. Price 5 cents.

Second-Class Scout Badge–Gilt metal.

Patrol Leader’s Second-Class Scout Badge–Oxidized silver.

These badges–safety-pin style–to be worn upon the sleeve. Price 10 cents.

First-Class Scout Badge–Gilt metal.

Patrol Leader’s First-Class Scout Badge–Oxidized silver.

Both badges safety-pin style–to be worn upon the sleeve. Price 15 cents.

Scout Commissioner’s, Scout Master’s, and Assistant Scout Master’s Arm Badges.

These badges are woven in blue, green, and red silk, and are to be worn on the sleeve of coat or shirt. Price 25 cents.
Buttons–The official buttons worn on the scout uniforms sell for 10 cents per set for shirt and 15 cents per set for coat.

Merit Badges–Price 25 cents each.

Boy Scout Certificates–A handsome certificate in two colors, 6 x 8 inches, has been prepared for boy scouts who wish to have a record of their enrolment. The certificate has the Scout Oath and Law and the official Seal upon it, with place for the signature of the scout master. The price is 5 cents.

Directions For Ordering

Important! When ordering supplies send exact remittance with order, If check is used add New York exchange. Make checks and money orders payable to Boy Scouts of America. All orders received without the proper remittance will be shipped C. O. D., or held until remittance arrives.

The Scout Oath

Before he becomes a scout a boy must promise:

On my honor I will do my best:
1. To do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the scout law;

2. To help other people at all times;

3. To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

When taking this oath the scout will stand, holding up his right hand, palm to the front, thumb resting on the nail of the little finger and the other three fingers upright and together.

The Scout Sign

This is the scout sign. The three fingers held up remind him of his three promises in the scout oath.

The Scout Salute

When the three fingers thus held are raised to the forehead, it is the scout salute. The scout always salutes an officer.

The Scout Law

(Result of work of Committee on Scout Oath, Scout Law, Tenderfoot, Second-class and First-class Scout Requirements:–Prof. Jeremiah W. Jenks, Chairman. Dr. Lee K. Frankel, George D. Porter, E. M. Robinson, G. W. Hinckley, B. E. Johnson, Clark W. Hetherington, Arthur A. Carey.)

There have always been certain written and unwritten laws regulating the conduct and directing the activities of men. {15} We have such unwritten laws coming down from past ages. In Japan, the Japanese have their Bushido or laws of the old Samurai warriors. During the Middle Ages, the chivalry and rules of the Knights of King Arthur, the Knights Templar and the Crusaders were in force. In aboriginal America, the Red Indians had their laws of honor: likewise the Zulus, Hindus, and the later European nations have their ancient codes.

The following laws which relate to the Boy Scouts of America, are the latest and most up to date. These laws a boy promises to obey when he takes his scout oath.

1. A scout is trustworthy.
A scout’s honor is to be trusted. If he were to violate his honor by telling a lie, or by cheating, or by not doing exactly a given task, when trusted on his honor, he may be directed to hand over his scout badge.

2. A scout is loyal.

He is loyal to all to whom loyalty is due: his scout leader, his home, and parents and country.

3. A scout is helpful.

He must be prepared at any time to save life, help injured persons, and share the home duties. He must do at least one good turn to somebody every day.

4. A scout is friendly.

He is a friend to all and a brother to every other scout.

5. A scout is courteous.

He is polite to all, especially to women, children, old people, and the weak and helpless. He must not take pay for being helpful or courteous.

6. A scout is kind.

He is a friend to animals. He will not kill nor hurt any living creature needlessly, but will strive to save and protect all harmless life.

7. A scout is obedient.

He obeys his parents, scout master, patrol leader, and all other duly constituted authorities.

8. A scout is cheerful.

He smiles whenever he can. His obedience to orders is prompt and cheery. He never shirks nor grumbles at hardships.

9. A scout is thrifty.

He does not wantonly destroy property. He works faithfully, wastes nothing, and makes the best use of his {16} opportunities. He saves his money so that he may pay his own way, be generous to those in need, and helpful to worthy objects.

He may work for pay but must not receive tips for courtesies or good turns.

10. A scout is brave.

He has the courage to face danger in spite of fear and has to stand up for the right against the coaxings of friends or the jeers or threats of enemies, and defeat does not down him.

11. A scout is clean.

He keeps clean in body and thought, stands for clean speech, clean sport, clean habits, and travels with a clean crowd.

12. A scout is reverent.

He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.

The Three Classes of Scouts

There are three classes of scouts among the Boy Scouts of America, the tenderfoot, second-class scout, and first-class scout. Before a boy can become a tenderfoot he must qualify for same. A tenderfoot, therefore, is superior to the ordinary boy because of his training. To be a tenderfoot means to occupy the lowest grade in scouting. A tenderfoot on meeting certain requirements may become a second-class scout, and a second-class scout upon meeting another set of requirements may become a first-class scout. The first-class scout may then qualify for the various merit badges which are offered in another part of this chapter for proficiency in scouting. The requirements of the tenderfoot, second-class scout, and first-class scout, are as follows:



To become a scout a boy must be at least twelve years of age and must pass a test in the following:

1. Know the scout law, sign, salute, and significance of the badge.

2. Know the composition and history of the national flag and the customary forms of respect due to it.

3. Tie four out of the following knots: square or reef, sheet-bend, bowline, fisherman’s, sheepshank, halter, clove hitch, timber hitch, or two half hitches.

He then takes the scout oath, is enrolled as a tenderfoot, and is entitled to wear the tenderfoot badge.

Second-class Scout

Second-class Scout

To become a second-class scout, a tenderfoot must pass, to the satisfaction of the recognized local scout authorities, the following tests:

1. At least one month’s service as a tenderfoot.

2. Elementary first aid and bandaging; know the general directions for first aid for injuries; know treatment for fainting, shock, fractures, bruises, sprains, injuries in which the skin is broken, burns, and scalds; demonstrate how to carry injured, and the use of the triangular and roller bandages and tourniquet.

3. Elementary signaling: Know the semaphore, or American Morse, or Myer alphabet.

4. Track half a mile in twenty-five minutes; or, if in town, describe satisfactorily the contents of one store window out of four observed for one minute each.

5. Go a mile in twelve minutes at scout’s pace–about fifty steps running and fifty walking, alternately.

6. Use properly knife or hatchet.

7. Prove ability to build a fire in the open, using not more than two matches.

8. Cook a quarter of a pound of meat and two potatoes in the open without the ordinary kitchen cooking utensils.

9. Earn and deposit at least one dollar in a public bank.

10. Know the sixteen principal points of the compass.

First-class Scout

First-class Scout

To become a first-class scout, the second-class scout must pass the following tests:

1. Swim fifty yards.

2. Earn and deposit at least two dollars in a public bank.

3. Send and receive a message by semaphore, or American Morse, or Myer alphabet, sixteen letters per minute.

4. Make a round trip alone (or with another scout) to a point {18} at least seven miles away, going on foot or rowing boat, and write a satisfactory account of the trip and things observed.

5. Advanced first aid: Know the methods for panic prevention; what to do in case of fire and ice, electric and gas accidents; how to help in case of runaway horse, mad dog, or snake bite; treatment for dislocations, unconsciousness, poisoning, fainting, apoplexy, sunstroke, heat exhaustion, and freezing; know treatment for sunburn, ivy poisoning, bites and stings, nosebleed, earache, toothache, inflammation or grit in eye, cramp or stomach ache and chills; demonstrate artificial respiration.

6. Prepare and cook satisfactorily, in the open, without regular kitchen utensils, two of the following articles as may be directed. Eggs, bacon, hunter’s stew, fish, fowl, game, pancakes, hoe-cake, biscuit, hardtack or a “twist,” baked on a stick; explain to another boy the methods followed.

7. Read a map correctly, and draw, from field notes made on the spot, an intelligible rough sketch map, indicating by their proper marks important buildings, roads, trolley lines, main landmarks, principal elevations, etc. Point out a compass direction without the help of the compass.

8. Use properly an axe for felling or trimming light timber; or produce an article of carpentry or cabinet-making or metal work made by himself. Explain the method followed.

9. Judge distance, size, number, height and weight within 25 per cent.

10. Describe fully from observation ten species of trees or plants, including poison ivy, by their bark, leaves, flowers, fruit, or scent; or six species of wild birds by their plumage, notes, tracks, or habits; or six species of native wild animals by their form, color, call, tracks, or habits; find the North Star, and name and describe at least three constellations of stars.

11. Furnish satisfactory evidence that he has put into practice in his daily life the principles of the scout oath and law.

12. Enlist a boy trained by himself in the requirements of a tenderfoot.

NOTE.–No deviation from above requirements will be permitted unless in extraordinary cases, such as physical inability, and the written consent of the National Headquarters has been obtained by the recognized local scout authority.

Patrol Signs

Each troop of boy scouts is named after the place to which it belongs. For example, it is Troop No. 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., of New York or Chicago. Each patrol of the troop is named after an animal or bird, but may be given another kind of name if there is a valid reason. In this way, the Twenty-seventh New York Troop, for instance, may have several patrols, which may be respectively the Ox, Wolf, Jackal, Raven, Buffalo, Fox, Panther, and Rattlesnake.


Positions of Various Badges

Each scout in a patrol has a number, the patrol leader being No. 1, the assistant patrol leader No. 2, and the other scouts the remaining consecutive numbers. Scouts in this way should {22} work in pairs, Nos. 3 and 4 together; 5 and 6 together; 7 and. 8 together.

{22 continued}
Each scout in a patrol should be able to imitate the call of his patrol animal. That is, the scouts of the Wolf patrol should be able to imitate a wolf. In this way scouts of the same patrol can communicate with each other when in hiding, or in the dark of night. It is not honorable for a scout to use the call of any other patrol except his own.

The patrol leader calls up his patrol at will by sounding his whistle and by giving the call of the patrol.

When the scout makes signs anywhere for others to read he also draws the head of his animal. That is to say, if he were out scouting and wanted to show that a certain road should not be followed by others, he would draw the sign, “not to be followed,” across it and add the name of his patrol animal, in order to show which patrol discovered that the road was bad, and by adding his own number at the left of the head to show which scout had discovered it.


on white ground FLYING EAGLES
Black and white on red BLUE HERONS

Black on red BLACKBEARS


Each patrol leader carries a small flag on the end of his staff {23} or stave with the head of his patrol animal shown on both sides. Thus the Tigers of the Twenty-seventh New York Troop should have the flag shown below.



The Merit Badges

(Result of work of Committee on Badges, Awards and Equipment: Dr. George J. Fisher, Chairman, Gen. George W. Wingate, Dr. C. Ward Crampton, Daniel Carter Beard. C. M. Connolly, A. A. Jameson. Ernest Thompson Seton.)

When a boy has become a first-class scout he may qualify for the merit badges.

The examination for these badges should be given by the Court of Honor of the local council. This examination must not be given any boy who is not qualified as a first-class scout. After the boy has passed the examination, the local council may secure the merit badge for him by presenting the facts to the National Council. These badges are intended to stimulate the boy’s interest in the life about him and are given for general knowledge. The wearing of these badges does not signify that a scout is qualified to make his living by the knowledge gained in securing the award.

Scouts winning any of the following badges are entitled to place after their names the insignia of the badges won. For instance, if he has successfully passed the signaling and seamanship tests, he signs his name in this manner–





To obtain a merit badge for Agriculture a scout must

1. State different tests with grains.

2. Grow at least an acre of corn which produces 25 per cent. better than the general average.

3. Be able to identify and describe common weeds of the community and tell how best to eliminate them.

4. Be able to identify the common insects and tell how best to handle them.

5. Have a practical knowledge of plowing, cultivating, drilling, hedging, and draining.

6. Have a working knowledge of farm machinery, haymaking, reaping, loading, and stacking.

7. Have a general acquaintance of the routine seasonal work on the farm, including the care of cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs.

8. Have a knowledge of Campbell’s Soil Culture principle, and a knowledge of dry farming and of irrigation farming.



To obtain a merit badge for Angling a scout must

1. Catch and name ten different species of fish: salmon or trout to be taken with flies; bass, pickerel, or pike to be caught with rod or reel, muskallonge to be caught by trolling.

2. Make a bait rod of three joints, straight and sound, 14 oz. or less in weight, 10 feet or less in length, to stand a strain of 1-1/2 lbs. at the tip, 13 lbs. at the grip.

3. Make a jointed fly-rod 8-10 feet long, 4-8 ozs. in weight, capable of casting a fly sixty feet.

4. Name and describe twenty-five different species of fish found in North American waters and give a complete list of the fishes ascertained by himself to inhabit a given body of water.

5. Give the history of the young of any species of wild fish from the time of hatching until the adult stage is reached.



To obtain a merit badge for Archery a scout must

1. Make a bow and arrow which will shoot a distance of one hundred feet with fair precision.

2. Make a total score of 350 with 60 shots in one or {25} two meets, using standard four-foot target at forty yards or three-foot target at thirty yards.

3. Make a total score of 300 with 72 arrows, using standard target at a distance of fifty yards.

4. Shoot so far and fast as to have six arrows in the air at once.



To obtain a merit badge for Architecture a scout must

1. Present a satisfactory free-hand drawing.

2. Write an essay on the history of Architecture and describe the five orders.

3. Submit an original design for a two-story house and tell what material is necessary for its construction, giving detailed specifications.



To obtain a merit badge for Art a scout must

1. Draw in outline two simple objects, one composed of straight lines, and one of curved lines, the two subjects to be grouped together a little below the eye.

2. Draw in outline two books a little below the eye, one book to be open; also a table or chair.

3. Make in outline an Egyptian ornament.

4. Make in outline a Greek or Renaissance ornament from a cast or copy.

5. Make an original arrangement or design using some detail of ornament.

6. Make a drawing from a group of two objects placed a little below the eye and show light and shade.

7. Draw a cylindrical object and a rectangular object, grouped together a little below the eye, and show light and shade.

8. Present a camp scene in color.



To obtain a merit badge for Astronomy a scout must

1. Have a general knowledge of the nature and movements of stars.
2. Point out and name six principal constellations; find the North by means of other stars than the Pole-star in case of that star being obscured by clouds, and tell the hour of the night by the stars and moon.

3. Have a general knowledge of the positions and movements of the earth, sun and moon, and of tides, eclipses, meteors, comets, sun-spots, and planets.



To obtain a merit badge for Athletics a scout must

1. Write an acceptable article of not less than five hundred words on how to train for an athletic event.

2. Give the rules for one track and one field event.

3. Make the required athletic standard according to his weight, classifications and conditions as stated in chapter eight.



To obtain a merit badge for Automobiling a scout must

1. Demonstrate how to start a motor, explaining what precautions should be taken.

2. Take off and put on pneumatic tires.

3. Know the functions of the clutch, carburetor, valves, magneto, spark plug, differential cam shaft, and different speed gears, and be able to explain difference between a two and four-cycle motor.

4. Know how to put out burning gasoline or oil.

5. Have satisfactorily passed the requirements to receive a license to operate an automobile in the community in which he lives.



To obtain a merit badge for Aviation a scout must

1. Have a knowledge of the theory of aeroplanes, balloons, and dirigibles.

2. Have made a working model of an {27} aeroplane or dirigible that will fly at least twenty-five yards; and have built a box kite that will fly.

3. Have a knowledge of the engines used for aeroplanes and dirigibles, and be able to describe the various types of aeroplanes and their records.

Bee Farming


To obtain a merit badge for Bee Farming a scout must

1. Have a practical knowledge of swarming, hiving, hives and general apiculture, including a knowledge of the use of artificial combs.

2. Describe different kinds of honey and tell from what sources gathered.



To obtain a merit badge for Blacksmithing a scout must

1. Upset and weld a one-inch iron rod.

2. Make a horseshoe.

3. Know how to tire a wheel, use a sledge-hammer and forge, shoe a horse correctly and roughshoe a horse.

4. Be able to temper iron and steel.



To obtain a merit badge for Bugling a scout must

1. Be able to sound properly on the Bugle the customary United States Army calls.



To obtain a merit badge for Business a scout must

1. Write a satisfactory business, and a personal letter.

2. State fundamental principles of buying and selling.

3. Know simple bookkeeping.

4. Keep a complete and actual account of personal receipts and expenditures for six months.
5. State how much money would need to be invested at 5 per cent. to earn his weekly allowance of spending money for a year.



To obtain a merit badge for Camping a scout must

1. Have slept in the open or under canvas at different times fifty nights.

2. Have put up a tent alone and ditched it.

3. Have made a bed of wild material and a fire without matches.

4. State how to choose a camp site and how to prepare for rain; how to build a latrine (toilet) and how to dispose of the camp garbage and refuse.

5. Know how to construct a raft.



To obtain a merit badge for Carpentry a scout must

1. Know the proper way to drive, set and clinch a nail.

2. Know the different kinds of chisels, planes and saws, and how to sharpen and use them.

3. Know the use of the rule, square, level, plumb-line and mitre.

4. Know how to use compasses for scribing both regular and irregular lines.

5. Make an article of furniture with three different standard joints or splices, with at least one surface of highly polished hard or decorative wood. All work to be done without assistance.



To obtain a merit badge for Chemistry a scout must be able to pass the following test:

1. Define physical and chemical change. Which occurs when salt is dissolved in water, milk sours, iron rusts, water boils, iron is magnetized and mercuric oxide is heated above the boiling point of mercury?

2. Give correct tests for oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, chlorine, and carbon dioxide gases.

3. Could you use the above gases to extinguish fire? How?

4. Why can baking soda be used to put out a small fire?
5. Give tests for a chloride, sulphide, sulphate, nitrate, and carbonate.

6. Give the names of three commercial forms of carbon. Tell how each is made and the purpose for which it is used.

7. What compound is formed when carbon is burned in air?

8. Tell process of making lime and mortar from limestone.

9. Why will fresh plaster harden quicker by burning charcoal in an open vessel near it?



To obtain a merit badge for Civics a scout must

1. State the principal citizenship requirements of an elector in his state.

2. Know the principal features of the naturalization laws of the United States.

3. Know how President, Vice-President, senators, and congressmen of the United States are elected and their terms of office.

4. Know the number of judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, how appointed, and their term of office.

5. Know the various administrative departments of government, as represented in the President’s Cabinet.

6. Know how the governor, lieutenant-governor, senators, representatives, or assemblymen of his state are elected, and their terms of office.

7. Know whether the judges of the principal courts in his state are appointed or elected, and the length of their terms.

8. Know how the principal officers in his town or city are elected and for what terms.

9. Know the duties of the various city departments, such as fire, police, board of health, etc.

10. Draw a map of the town or city in which he lives, giving location of the principal public buildings and points of special interest.

11. Give satisfactory evidence that he is familiar with the {30} provisions and history of the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States.



To obtain a merit badge for Conservation a scout must
1. Be able to recognize in the forest all important commercial trees in his neighborhood; distinguish the lumber from each and tell for what purpose each is best suited; tell the age of old blazes on trees which mark a boundary or trail; recognize the difference in the forest between good and bad logging, giving reasons why one is good and another bad; tell whether a tree is dying from injury by fire, by insects, by disease or by a combination of these causes; know what tools to use, and how to fight fires in hilly or in flat country. Collect the seeds of two commercial trees, clean and store them, and know how and when to plant them.

2. Know the effect upon stream-flow of the destruction of forests at head waters; know what are the four great uses of water in streams; what causes the pollution of streams, and how it can best be stopped; and how, in general, water power is developed.

3. Be able to tell, for a given piece of farm land, whether it is best suited for use as farm or forest, and why; point out examples of erosion, and tell how to stop it; give the reasons why a growing crop pointed out to him is successful or why not; and tell what crops should be grown in his neighborhood and why.

4. Know where the great coal fields are situated and whether the use of coal is increasing, and if so at what rate. Tell what are the great sources of waste of coal, in the mines, and in its use, and how they can be reduced.

5. Know the principal game birds and animals in his neighborhood, the seasons during which they are protected, the methods of protection, and the results. Recognize the track of any two of the following: rabbit, fox, deer, squirrel, wild turkey, ruffed grouse and quail.



To obtain a merit badge for Cooking a scout must
1. Prove his ability to build a fireplace out of stone or sod {31} or logs, light a fire, and cook in the open the following dishes in addition to those required for a first-class scout: Camp stew, two vegetables, omelet, rice pudding; know how to mix dough, and bake bread in an oven; be able to make tea, coffee, and cocoa, carve properly and serve correctly to people at the table.



To obtain a merit badge for Craftsmanship a scout must
1. Build and finish unassisted one of the following articles: a round, square or octagonal tabouret; round or square den or library table; hall or piano bench; rustic arm chair or swing to be hung with chains; or rustic table

2. He must also make plans or intelligent rough sketch drawing of the piece selected.


To obtain a merit badge for Cycling a scout must

1. Be able to ride a bicycle fifty miles in ten hours.

2. Repair a puncture.

3. Take apart and clean bicycle and put together again properly.

4. Know how to make reports if sent out scouting on a road.

5. Be able to read a map and report correctly verbal messages.



To obtain a merit badge for Dairying a scout must
1. Understand the management of dairy cattle.

2. Be able to milk.

3. Understand the sterilization of milk, and care of dairy utensils and appliances.

4. Test at least five cows for ten days each, with the Babcock test, and make proper reports.



To obtain a merit badge for Electricity a scout must
1. Illustrate the experiment by which the laws of electrical attraction and repulsion are shown.

2. Name three uses of the direct current, and tell how it differs from the alternating current.

3. Make a simple electro-magnet.

4. Have an elementary knowledge of the action of simple battery cells and of the working of electric bells and telephones.

5. Be able to remedy fused wire, and to repair broken electric connections.

6. Construct a machine to make static electricity or a wireless apparatus.

7. Have a knowledge of the method of resuscitation and rescue of a person insensible from shock.


To obtain a merit badge for Firemanship, a scout must

1. Know how to turn in an alarm for fire.

2. Know how to enter burning buildings.

3. Know how to prevent panics and the spread of fire.

4. Understand the use of hose; unrolling, joining up, connecting two hydrants, use of nozzle, etc.

5. Understand the use of escapes, ladders, and chutes, and know the location of exits in buildings which he frequents.

6. Know how to improvise ropes and nets.

7. Know what to do in case of panic, understand the fireman’s lift and drag, and how to work in fumes.

8. Understand the use of fire extinguishers; how to rescue animals; how to save property; how to organize a bucket brigade, and how to aid the police in keeping back crowds.

First Aid

To obtain a merit badge for First Aid a scout must

1. Be able to demonstrate the Sylvester and Schaefer methods of resuscitation.

2. Carry a person down a ladder.

3. Bandage head and ankle.

4. Demonstrate treatment of wound of the neck with severe arterial hemorrhage.

5. Treat mangling injury of the leg without severe hemorrhage.

6. Demonstrate treatment for rupture of varicose veins of the leg with severe hemorrhage.

7. Show treatment for bite of finger by mad dog.

8. Demonstrate rescue of person in contact with electric wire.

9. Apply tourniquet to a principal artery.

10. State chief differences between carbolic poisoning and intoxication.

11. Explain what to do for snake bite.

12. Pass first aid test of American Red Cross Society.

First Aid to Animals

To obtain a merit badge for First Aid to Animals a scout must

1. Have a general knowledge of domestic and farm animals.

2. Be able to treat a horse for colic.

3. Describe symptoms and give treatment for the following: wounds, fractures and sprains, exhaustion, choking, lameness.

4. Understand horseshoeing.


To obtain a merit badge for Forestry a scout must

1. Be able to identify twenty-five kinds of trees when in leaf, or fifteen kinds of deciduous (broad leaf) trees in winter, and tell some of the uses of each.

2. Identify twelve kinds of shrubs.

3. Collect and identify samples of ten kinds of wood and be able to tell some of their uses.

4. Determine the height, and estimate the amount of timber, approximately, in five trees of different sizes.

5. State laws for transplanting, grafting, spraying, and protecting trees.


To obtain a merit badge for Gardening, a scout must

1. Dig and care for during the season a piece of ground containing not less than 144 square feet.

2. Know the names of a dozen plants pointed out in an ordinary garden.

3. Understand what is meant by pruning, grafting, and manuring.

4. Plant and grow successfully six kinds of vegetables or flowers from seeds or cuttings.

5. Cut grass with scythe under supervision.


To obtain a merit badge for Handicraft a scout must

1. Be able to paint a door.

2. Whitewash a ceiling.

3. Repair gas fittings, sash lines, window and door fastenings.

4. Replace gas mantles, washers, and electric light bulbs.

5. Solder.

6. Hang pictures and curtains.

7. Repair blinds.

8. Fix curtains, portiere rods, blind fixtures.

9. Lay carpets and mend clothing and upholstery.

10. Repair furniture and china.

11. Sharpen knives.

12. Repair gates.

13. Fix screens on windows and doors.


To obtain a merit badge for Horsemanship a scout must

1. Demonstrate riding at a walk, trot, and gallop.

2. Know how to saddle and bridle a horse correctly.

3. Know how to water and feed and to what amount, and how to groom a horse properly.

4. Know how to harness a horse correctly in single or double harness and to drive.

5. Have a knowledge of the power of endurance of horses at work and know the local regulations concerning driving.

6. Know the management and care of horses.

7. Be able to identify unsoundness and blemishes.

8. Know the evils of bearing or check reins and of ill-fitting harness or saddlery.

9. Know two common causes of, and proper remedies for, lameness, and know to whom he should refer cases of cruelty and abuse.

10. Be able to judge as to the weight, height, and age of horses; know three breeds and their general characteristics.


To obtain a merit badge for Interpreting, a scout must

1. Be able to carry on a simple conversation.

2. Write a simple letter on subject given by examiners.

3. Read and translate a passage from a book or newspaper, in French, German, English, Italian, or any language that is not of his own country.


To obtain a merit badge for Invention a scout must

1. Invent and patent some useful article;

2. Show a working drawing or model of the same.

Leather Working

To obtain a merit badge for Leather Working a scout must

1. Have a knowledge of tanning and curing.

2. Be able to sole and heel a pair of boots, sewed or nailed, and generally repair boots and shoes.

3. Be able to dress a saddle, repair traces, stirrup leathers, etc., and know the various parts of harness.

Life Saving

To obtain a merit badge for Life Saving a scout must

1. Be able to dive into from seven to ten feet of water and bring from bottom to surface a loose bag of sand weighing five pounds.

2. Be able to swim two hundred yards, one hundred yards on back without using the hands, and one hundred yards any other stroke.

3. Swim fifty yards with clothes on (shirt, long trousers, and shoes as minimum).

4. Demonstrate (a) on land–five methods of release; (b) in the water–two methods of release; (c) the Schaefer method of resuscitation (prone pressure).


To obtain a merit badge for Machinery a scout must

1. State the principles underlying the use and construction of the lathe, steam boiler and engine, drill press and planer.

2. Make a small wood or metal model illustrating the principles of either levers, gears, belted pulleys, or block and fall.


To obtain a merit badge for Marksmanship a scout must

1. Qualify as a marksman in accordance with the regulations of the National Rifle Association.


To obtain a merit badge for Masonry a scout must

1. Lay a straight wall with a corner.

2. Make mortar and describe process.

3. Use intelligently a plumb-line, level, and trowel.

4. Build a stone oven.

5. Demonstrate a knowledge of various uses for cement.

6. Build a dry wall.


To obtain a merit badge for Mining a scout must

1. Know and name fifty minerals.

2. Know, name and describe the fourteen great divisions of the earth’s crust (according to Geikie).

3. Define watershed, delta, drift, fault, glacier, terrace, stratum, dip; and identify ten different kinds of rock.

4. Describe methods for mine ventilation and safety devices.


To obtain a merit badge for Music a. scout must

1. Be able to play a standard musical instrument satisfactorily.

2. Read simple music.

3. Write a satisfactory essay of not less than five hundred words on the history of American music.


To obtain a merit badge for Ornithology a scout must

1. Have a list of one hundred different kinds of birds personally observed on exploration in the field.

2. Have identified beyond question, by appearance or by note, forty-five different kinds of birds in one day.

3. Have made a good clear photograph of some wild bird, the bird image to be over one half inch in length on the negative.

4. Have secured at least two tenants in bird boxes erected by himself.

5. Have daily notes on the nesting of a pair of wild birds from the time the first egg is laid until the young have left the nest.

6. Have attracted at least three kinds of birds, exclusive of the English sparrow, to a “lunch counter” which he has supplied.


To obtain a merit badge for Painting a scout must

1. Have knowledge of how to combine pigments in order to produce paints in shades and tints of color.

2. Know how to add positive colors to a base of white lead or of white zinc.

3. Understand the mixing of oils; turpentine, etc., to the proper consistency.

4. Paint a porch floor or other surface evenly and without laps.

5. Know how and when to putty up nail holes and uneven surfaces.

6. Present for inspection a panel covered with three coats of paint, which panel must contain a border of molding, the body of the panel to be painted in one color and the molding in another.


To obtain a merit badge for Pathfinding a scout must

1. Know every lane, by-path, and short cut for a distance of at least two miles in every direction around the local scouts’ headquarters in the country.

2. Have a general knowledge of the district within a five mile radius of his local headquarters, so as to be able to guide people at any time, by day or night.

3. Know the general direction and population of the five principal neighboring towns and be able to give strangers correct directions how to reach them.

4. Know in the country in the two mile radius, approximately, the number of horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs owned on the five neighboring farms: or in a town must know in a half-mile radius what livery stables, garages and blacksmiths there are.

5. Know the location of the nearest meat markets, bakeries, groceries, and drug stores.

6. Know where the nearest police station, hospital, doctor, fire alarm, fire hydrant, telegraph and telephone offices, and railroad stations are.

7. Know something of the history of the place, its principal public buildings, such as town or city hall, post-office, schools, and churches.

8. As much as possible of the above information should be entered on a large scale map.

Personal Health

To obtain a merit badge for Personal Health a scout must

1. Write a statement on the care of the teeth.

2. State a principle to govern in eating, and state in the order of their importance, five rules to govern the care of his health.

3. Be able to tell the difference in effect of a cold and hot bath.

4. Describe the effect of alcohol and tobacco on the growing boy.

5. Tell how to care for the feet on a march.

6. Describe a good healthful game and state its merit.

7. Describe the effects of walking as an exercise.

8. Tell how athletics may be overdone.


To obtain a merit badge for Photography a scout must

1. Have a knowledge of the theory and use of lenses, of the construction of cameras, and the action of developers.

2. Take, develop, and print twelve separate subjects: three interiors, three portraits, three landscapes, and three instantaneous “action photos.”

3. Make a recognizable photograph of any wild bird larger than a robin, while on its nest; or a wild animal in its native haunts; or a fish in the water.


To obtain a merit badge for Pioneering a scout must

1. Fell a nine-inch tree or pole in a prescribed direction neatly and quickly.

2. Tie six knots of knots quickly.

3. Lash spars properly together for scaffolding.

4. Build a modern bridge or derrick.

5. Make a camp kitchen.

6. Build a shack of one kind or another suitable for three occupants.


To obtain a merit badge for Plumbing a scout must

1. Be able to make wiped and brazed joints.

2. Repair a burst pipe.

3. Mend a ball or faucet tap.

4. Understand the ordinary hot and cold water system of a house.

Poultry Farming


To obtain a merit badge for Poultry Farming a scout must
1. Have a knowledge of incubators, foster-mothers, sanitary fowl houses, and coops and runs.

2. Understand rearing, feeding, killing, and dressing birds for market.

3. Be able to pack birds and eggs for market.

4. Raise a brood of not less than ten chickens.

5. Report his observation and study of the hen, turkey, duck, and goose.


To obtain a merit badge for Printing a scout must

1. Know the names of ten different kinds of type and ten sizes of paper.

2. Be able to compose by hand or machines.

3. Understand the use of hand or power printing machines.

4. Print a handbill set up by himself.

5. Be able to read and mark proof correctly.

Public Health

To obtain a merit badge for Public Health a scout must

1. State what the chief causes of each of the following disease are: tuberculosis, typhoid, malaria.

2. Draw a diagram showing how the house-fly carries disease.

3. Tell what should be done to a house which has been occupied by a person who has had a contagious disease.

4. Tell how a scout may cooperate with the board of health in preventing disease.

5. Describe the method used in his community in disposing of garbage.

6. Tell how a city should protect its foods; milk, meat, and exposed foods.

7. Tell how to plan the sanitary care of a camp.

8. State the reason why school children should undergo a medical examination.


NOTE: The requirements for the merit badge for Scholarship had not been decided upon when this book was published. Information about same may be secured upon application to National Headquarters.


To obtain a merit badge for Sculpture a scout must

1. Make a clay model from an antique design.

2. Make a drawing and a model from nature, these models to be faithful to the original and of artistic design.


To obtain a merit badge for Seamanship

1. Be able to tie rapidly six different knots.

2. Splice ropes.

3. Use a palm and needle.

4. Fling a rope coil.

5. Be able to row, pole, scull, and steer a boat; also bring a boat properly alongside and make fast.

6. Know how to box the compass, read a chart, and show use of parallel rules and dividers.

7. Be able to state direction by the stars and sun.

8. Swim fifty yards with shoes and clothes on.

9. Understand the general working of steam and hydraulic winches, and have a knowledge of weather wisdom and of tides.


To obtain a merit badge for Signaling a scout must

1. Send and receive a message in two of the following systems of signaling: Semaphore, Morse, or Myer, not fewer than twenty-four letters per minute.

2. Be able to give and read signals by sound.

3. Make correct smoke and fire signals.


To obtain a merit badge for Stalking a scout must

1. Take a series of twenty photographs of wild animals or birds from life, and develop and print them.

2. Make a group of sixty species of wild flowers, ferns, or grasses, dried and mounted in a book and correctly named.

3. Make colored drawings of twenty flowers, ferns, or grasses, or twelve sketches from life of animals or birds, original sketches as well as the finished pictures to be submitted.


To obtain a merit badge for Surveying a scout must

1. Map correctly from the country itself the main features of half a mile of road, with 440 yards each side to a scale of two feet to the mile, and afterward draw same map from memory.

2. Be able to measure the height of a tree, telegraph pole, and church steeple, describing method adopted.

3. Measure width of a river.

4. Estimate distance apart of two objects a known distance away and unapproachable.

5. Be able to measure a gradient.


To obtain a merit badge for Swimming a scout must

1. Be able to swim one hundred yards.

2. Dive properly from the surface of the water.

3. Demonstrate breast, crawl, and side stroke.

4. Swim on the back fifty feet.


To obtain a merit badge for Taxidermy a scout must

1. Have a knowledge of the game laws of the state in which he lives.

2. Preserve and mount the skin of a game bird, or animal, killed in season.

3. Mount for a rug the pelt of some fur animal.

Life Scout

The life scout badge will be given to all first-class scouts who have qualified for the following five-merit badges: first aid, athletics, life-saving, personal health, and public health.

Star Scout

The star scout badge will be given to the first-class scout who has qualified for ten merit badges. The ten include the list of badges under life scout.

Eagle Scout

Any first-class scout qualifying for twenty-one merit badges will be entitled to wear the highest scout merit badge. This is an eagle’s head in silver, and represents the all-round perfect scout.

Honor Medals

A scout who is awarded any one of the following medals is entitled to wear the same on the left breast:

Bronze medal. Cross in bronze with first-class scout badge superimposed upon it and suspended from a bar by a red ribbon. This is awarded to a scout who has saved life.

Silver Medal. Silver Cross with first-class scout badge superimposed upon it and suspended from bar by blue ribbon. This medal is awarded to a scout who saves life with considerable risk to himself.

Gold Medal. Gold Cross with first-class scout badge superimposed upon it and suspended from bar by white ribbon. This medal is the highest possible award for service and heroism. It may be granted to a scout who has saved life at the greatest possible risk to his own life, and also to anyone who has rendered service of peculiar merit to the Boy Scouts of America.

The Honor Medal is a national honor and is awarded only by the National Council. To make application for one of these badges the facts must first be investigated by the Court of Honor of the Local Council and presented by that body to the Court of Honor of the National Council.

The Local Court of Honor may at any time invite experts to share in their examinations and recommendations.

When the National Court of Honor has passed upon the application, the proper medal will be awarded.

Badges of Rank

The following devices are used to distinguish the various ranks of scouts:

Patrol Leader

Patrol Leader: The patrol leader’s arm badge consists of two bars, 1-1/2-inches long and 3/8-inch wide, of white braid worn on the sleeve below the left shoulder. In addition he may {45} wear all oxidized silver tenderfoot, second-class or first-class scout badge according to his rank. The assistant patrol leader wears one bar.


Service Stripes: For each year of service as a boy scout, he will be entitled to wear a stripe of white braid around the sleeve above the wrist, three stripes being changed for one red one. Five years of scouting would be indicated by one red stripe and two white stripes. The star indicates the position for wearing merit badges.


Scout Master: The badge of the scout commissioner, scout master, and assistant scout master is the first-class scout’s badge reproduced in blue, green, and red, respectively, and are worn on the sleeve below the left shoulder.


Chief Scout: The badge of the Chief Scout is the first-class scout badge with a five-pointed star above it embroidered in silver.


Chief Scout Surgeon: The badge of the Chief Scout Surgeon is the first-class scout badge with a caduceus above it embroidered in green. (The Chief Scout’s staff wear the badge of rank in the same manner as the Chief Scout.)


Chief Scout Woodsman: The badge of the Chief Scout Woodsman is the first-class scout badge with two crossed axes above it embroidered in green.


Chief Scout Stalker: The badge of the Chief Scout Stalker is the first-class scout badge with an oak leaf above it embroidered in blue.


Chief Scout Director of Health: The badge of the Chief Scout Director of Health is the first-class scout badge with {46} tongues of fire above it embroidered in red.


Chief Scout Camp Master: The badge of the Chief Scout Camp Master is the first-class scout badge with a moccasin above it embroidered in green:


Chief Scout of Athletics: The badge of the Chief Scout Director of Athletics is the first-class scout badge with a winged Mercury foot above it embroidered in green.

Chief Scout Director of Chivalry: The badge of the Chief Scout Director of Chivalry is the first-class scout badge with the scout sign above it embroidered in gold.


Chief Scout Citizen: The badge of the Chief Scout Citizen is the first-class scout badge with the United States flag above it in silver.

Appropriate badges for national and local councilmen may be secured from the National Headquarters.


It should be clearly understood by all interested in the Scout Movement that it is not necessary for a boy to have a uniform or any other special equipment to carry out the scout program. There are a great many troops in the country which have made successful progresswithout any equipment whatever.

However, for the convenience of boys who wish to secure a uniform or other equipment, the National Council has made arrangements with certain manufacturers to furnish such parts of the equipment as may be desired by the boys. Such arrangements have been made with these manufacturers only after a great number of representative firms have been given an opportunity to submit samples and prices; the prices quoted to be uniform throughout the country. These manufacturers {47} are given the privilege of using for a limited period an imprint of the official badge as an indication that the Committee on Equipment is willing to recommend the use of that particular article. The official badge is fully protected by the U. S. Patent Laws and anyone using it without expressed authority from National Headquarters is subject to prosecution at law.

Considerable difficulty has been experienced in the selection of the material used in making coats, breeches, and shirts. The material used in the boy scout coat, breeches, and shirt has been submitted to a thirty-day sun test, the acid and strength test and is guaranteed to be a fast color and durable. To show the result of the selection made, the manufacturer of these articles has been given the privilege of using the imprint of the official seal and the right to use the official buttons. We recommend the purchase of the articles having this imprint through any local dealer or through National Headquarters. However, where a local council exists, buttons will be supplied on order of the Executive Committee for use on such uniforms as the Committee may desire to have made locally. In communities where no local council has been formed, they may be supplied on order of a registered scout master. Prices of the buttons per set for coat is 15 cents and per set for shirt 10 cents.

Every effort is made to have all parts of the uniform and equipment available to scouts through local dealers. If such arrangements have not been made in a community, the National Headquarters will be glad to help in making such an arrangement. Many scout masters prefer to order uniforms and other supplies direct from National Headquarters. In order to cover the expense involved in handling these supplies, the manufacturers have agreed to allow National Headquarters the same trade discount allowed to local dealers. Trade through National Headquarters if sufficiently large will help to meet a part of the current expenses of the National Organization. Any combination desired may be made from this list. A fairly complete equipment may be secured at the very nominal sum of $2.15. For instance, the Summer equipment which consists of: Hat, 50 cents; Shirt, 75 cents; Shorts, 50 cents; Belt, 40 cents.

Where it is desired to equip the members of the troop with a standard uniform the following equipment is suggested: Hat, Shirt, Coat, Breeches or Knickerbockers, Belt, Leggings or Stockings, shoes, Haversack.

Other combinations may be made according to the resources of the boys forming the troop.

However, it is recommended that each troop decide upon a definite combination to be worn by its members so that all of the scouts in the troop may dress alike. Each boy should pay for his own supplies and equipment. Soliciting donations for this purpose should be prohibited.

A complete list of all supplies and equipment with full information about places where same can be secured is given in the appendix of this book.

By Samuel A. Moffat, Boy Scouts of America

Every scout knows what rope is. From the earliest moment of his play life he has used it in connection with most of his games. In camp life and on hikes he will be called upon to use it again and again. It is therefore not essential to describe here the formation of rope; its various sizes and strength. The important thing to know is how to use it to the best advantage. To do this an intelligent understanding of the different knots and how to tie them is essential. Every day sailors, explorers, mechanics, and mountain-climbers risk their lives on the knots that they tie. Thousands of lives have been sacrificed to ill-made knots. The scout therefore should be prepared in an emergency, or when necessity demands, to tie the right knot in the right way.

There are three qualities to a good knot:
1. Rapidity with which it can be tied.
2. Its ability to hold fast when pulled tight, and
3. The readiness with which it can be undone.

The following knots, recommended to scouts, are the most serviceable because they meet the above requirements and will be of great help in scoutcraft. If the tenderfoot will follow closely the various steps indicated in the diagrams, he will have little difficulty in reproducing them at pleasure

In practising knot-tying a short piece of hemp rope may be used. To protect the ends from fraying a scout should know how to “whip” them. The commonest method of “whipping” is as follows:


Lay the end of a piece of twine along the end of the rope. {49} Hold it to the rope with the thumb of your left hand while you wind the standing part around it and the rope until the end of the twine has been covered. Then with the other end of the twine lay a loop back on the end of the rope and continue winding the twine upon this second end until all is taken up. The end is then pulled back tight and cut off close to the rope.

For the sake of clearness a scout must constantly keep in mind these three principal parts of the rope:


1. The Standing Part–The long unused portion of the rope on which he works;

2. The Bight–The loop formed whenever the rope is turned back upon itself; and,

3. The End–The part he uses in leading.
Before proceeding with the tenderfoot requirements, a scout should first learn the two primary knots: the overhand and figure-of-eight knots.

The Overhand Knot.

Start with the position shown in the preceding diagram. Back the end around the standing part and up through the bight and draw tight.

The Figure of Eight Knot.

Make a bight as before. Then lead the end around back of the standing part and down through the bight.

After these preliminary steps, the prospective tenderfoot may proceed to learn the required knots.


Square or Reef Knot.

The commonest knot for tying two ropes together. Frequently used in first-aid bandaging. Never slips or jams; easy to untie.

False Reef or Granny.

If the ends are not crossed correctly when making the reef knot, the false reef or granny is the result. This knot is always bad.

Sheet Bend or Weaver’s Knot.

This knot is used in bending the sheet to the clew of a sail and in tying two rope-ends together.

Make a bight with one rope A, B, then pass end C, of other rope up through and around the entire bight and bend it under its own standing part.

The Bowline.

A noose that neither jams nor slips. Used in lowering a person from a burning building, etc.

Form a small loop on the standing part leaving the end long enough for the size of the noose required. Pass the end up through the bight around the standing part and down through the bight again. To tighten, hold noose in position and pull standing part.

Halter, Slip, or Running Knot.

A bight is first formed and an overhand knot made with the end around the standing part.


Used for shortening ropes. Gather up the amount to be shortened, then make a half hitch round each of the bends as shown in the diagram.


Clove Hitch.

Used to fasten one pole to another in fitting up scaffolding; this knot holds snugly; is not liable to slip laterally. Hold the standing part in left hand, then pass the rope around the pole; cross the standing part, making a second turn around the pole, and pass the end under the last turn.

The Fisherman’s Bend.

Used aboard yachts for bending on the gaff topsail halliards. It consists of two turns around a spar or ring, then a half hitch around the standing part and through the turns on the spar, and another half hitch above it around the standing part.

Timber Hitch.

Used in hauling timber. Pass the end of the rope around the timber. Then lead it around its standing part and bring it back to make two or more turns on its own part. The strain will hold it securely.

Two Half Hitches.

Useful because they are easily made and will not slip under any strain. Their formation is sufficiently indicated by the diagram.

Blackwall Hitch.

Used to secure a rope to a hook. The standing part when hauled tight holds the end firmly.

Becket Hitch.

For joining a cord to a rope. May be easily made from diagram.


The Fisherman’s Knot.

Used for tying silk-worm gut for fishing purposes. It never slips; is easily unloosed by pulling the two short ends.

The two ropes are laid alongside one another, then with each end an overhand knot is made around the standing part of the other. Pull the standing parts to tighten.

Carrick Bend.

Used in uniting hawsers for towing. Is easily untied by pushing the loops inwards.

Turn the end of one rope A over its standing part B to form a loop. Pass the end of the other rope across the bight thus formed, back of the standing part B over the end A, then under the bight at C, passing it over its own standing part and under the bight again at D.

The Mariner’s Compass

Boxing the Compass consists in enumerating the points, beginning with north and working around the circle as follows:

North by East
North, North-east
North-east by North
North-east by East
East, North-east
East by North
East by South
East, South-east
South-east by East
South-east by South
South, South-east
South by East
South by West
South, South-west
South-west by South
South-west by West
West, South-west
West by South
West by North
West, North-west
North-west by West
North-west by North
North, North-west
North by West











By Ernest Thompson Seton, Chief Scout

The Watch for a Compass
(From “Boy Scouts of America,” by Ernest Thompson Seton. Copyright, 1910, by Doubleday, Page & Company )

The watch is often used to give the compass point exactly. Thus: Point the hour-hand to the sun; then, in the morning, half-way between the hour-hand and noon is due south. If afternoon, one must reckon half-way backward.

Thus: at 8 A. M., point the hour-hand to the sun and reckon forward half-way to noon; the south is at 10. If at 4 P. M., point the hour-hand at the sun and reckon back half-way. The south is at two o’clock.

The “half-way” is because the sun makes a course of twenty-four hours and the clock of but twelve. If we had a rational timepiece of twenty-four hours, it would fit in much better with all nature, and with the hour-hand pointed to the sun would make 12 o’clock, noon, always south.

If you cannot see the sun, get into a clear, open space, hold your knife point upright on your watch dial, and it will cast a faint shadow, showing where the sun really is, unless the clouds are very heavy.

Finding Your Latitude by the Stars

The use of the stars to the scout is chiefly to guide him by showing the north, but the white man has carried the use a step farther: he makes the Pole-star tell him not only where the north is, but where he himself is. From the Pole-star, he can learn his latitude.

It is reckoned an exploit to take one’s latitude from the North Star with a cart-wheel, or with two sticks and a bucket of water.

The first attempt I made was with two sticks and a bucket of water. I arranged the bucket in the daytime, so that it could be filled from rim to rim; that is, it was level, and that gave me the horizon line; next, I fastened my two sticks together at an adjustable angle. Then, laying one stick across the bucket as a base, I raised the other till the two sight notches on its upper edge were in straight line for the Pole-star. The sticks were now fastened at this angle and put away till the morning. On a smooth board–the board is allowable because it can be found either far on the plains when you have your wagon, or on the ship at sea–I mapped out, first a right angle, by the old plan of measuring off a triangle, whose sides were six, eight, and ten inches, and applied the star angle to this. By a process of equal subdivision I got 45 degrees, 22-1/2 degrees, finally 40 degrees, which seemed to be the latitude of my camp; subsequent looking-up showed it to be 41 degrees 10 minutes.

Of course, it is hard to imagine that the boys will ever be so placed that it is important for them to take their latitude with home-made implements; but it is also hard to imagine circumstances under which it would be necessary to know that the sun is 92,000,000 miles away. It is very sure, however, that a boy who has once done this has a larger idea of the world and its geography, and it is likely to help him in realizing that there is some meaning to the lines and figures on the border of his school maps, and that they are not put there merely to add to his perplexities.

Sundial, or hunter’s clock

To make a scout’s sundial, prepare a smooth board about fifteen inches across, with a circle divided into twenty-four equal parts, and a temporarily hinged pointer, whose upper edge is in the middle of the dial. Place on some dead level, solid post or stump in the open. At night fix the dial so that the twelve o’clock line points exactly to north, as determined by the Polestar. Then, using two temporary sighting sticks of exactly the same height (so as to permit sighting clear above the edge of the board) set the pointer exactly pointing to the Pole-star; that is, the same angle as the latitude of the place, and fix it there immovably. Then remove the two sighting sticks. As a timepiece, this dial will be found roughly correct for that latitude. The angle of the pointer, or style, must be changed for each latitude.

Building a Log Cabin
(From Country Life in America. May, 1905 )

There are as many different kinds of log cabins as of any other architecture. It is best to begin with the simplest. The tools needed are a sharp ax, a crosscut saw, an inch auger, and a spade. It is possible to get along with nothing but an ax (many settlers had no other tool), but the spade, saw, and auger save much work.

For the site select a high, dry place, in or near the woods, and close to the drinking-water. It should be a sunny place, and with a view, preferably one facing south or east. Clear off and level the ground. Then bring your logs. These are more picturesque with the bark left on, but last longer peeled. Eight feet by twelve feet outside makes a good cabin for three or four boys.

Cut and carry about twelve logs, each ten feet long; and twelve more, each fourteen feet long. The logs should be at least six inches through. Soft wood is preferable, as it is easier to handle; the four ground logs or sills, at least, should be of cedar, chestnut, or other wood that does not rot. Lay two of the fourteen-foot logs on the ground, at the places for the long sides, and seven feet apart. Then across them, at the end, lay two short ones, eleven feet apart. This leaves about a foot projecting from each log. Roll the last two into their resting places, and flatten them till they sit firmly. It is of prime importance that each log rest immovably on the one below. Now cut the upper part of each end log, to an edge over each corner. (Fig. 1.)


Next put on two long logs, roll them onto the middle, taking care to change off, so the big end at a given comer may be followed next time by the small end and insure the corner rising evenly. Roll one of these large logs close to where it is to be placed, then cut on its upper surface at each end a notch corresponding with the ridge on the log it is to ride on. When ready, half a roll drops it into place. The log should be one to three inches above the one under it, and should not touch except at {61} the ends. Repeat the process now with the other sides, then the two ends, etc., always keeping the line of the corner plumb. As the walls rise, it will be found necessary to skid the larger logs; that is, roll them up on two long logs, or skids, leaning against the wall. (Fig. 2.)

When the logs are in place to the height of four and a half feet from the ground, it is time to decide where the door and window are to be; and at that place, while the next long log is lying on top, bottom up, cut out a piece four feet long and four inches deep. Roll this log into place. (Fig. 3.) One more log above this, or certainly two, will make your shanty high enough for boys. Put on final end logs, then two others across the shanty. (Fig. 4.) Roll up the biggest, strongest log of all for the ridge (sometimes two are used side by side); it should lie along the middle of the four cross pieces shown in Fig. 4.

The two cross logs, B and C, and the ridge log should be very strong, as the roof is heavy. Now we are ready to cut the doorway and window.

First, drive in blocks of wood between each of the logs, all the way down from A to the ground, and from B down to D, and C to E. (Fig. 5.) Saw down now from A half-way through the ground log F. Then from B down to half-way through the log D; now continue from G, cutting down to half through the ground log. Use the ax to split out the upper half of the ground log, between the saw-cuts and also the upper half of the log D.

Hew a flat piece of soft wood, five or six inches wide, about two inches thick, and as long as the height of this doorway. Set it up against the ends of the logs A to F. Bore an auger hole through it into the end of each log (these holes must not be in line lest they split the jamb), including the top and bottom ones, and drive into each a pin of oak. This holds all safely. Do the same on the other side, H to E, and put a small one down B, D, which is the side of the window.

Now we are ready to finish the roof. Use the ax to bevel off the corners of the four cross-logs, A and B. (Fig. 6.) Then get a lot of strong poles, about five feet long, and lay them close together along the two sides of the roof till it is covered with poles; putting a very heavy one, or small log, on the outer edge of each, and fastening it down with a pin into the ridge log. Cut two long poles and lay one on each of the lower ends of the roof poles, as at A, B, and C (Fig. 7), pinning them to the side logs.

Cover this roof with a foot of hay or straw or grass, and cover {62} that again evenly with about four inches of stiff clay. Pack this down. It will soon squeeze all that foot of straw down to little more than one inch, and will make a warm and water-tight roof. As the clay is very heavy, it is wise, before going inside, to test the roof by jumping on it. If it gives too much, it will be well to add a centre prop.

Now for the door: Hew out planks; two should be enough. Fasten these together with two cross-pieces and one angle-piece, using oak pegs instead of nails, if you wish to be truly primitive. For these the holes should be bored part way with a gimlet, and a peg used larger than the hole. The lower end of the back plank is left projecting in a point. (Fig. 8.) This point fits into a hole pecked with a point or bored with an auger into the door-sill.

Bore another hole near the top of the door (A), and a corresponding one through the door-jamb between two logs. Set the door in place. A strip of rawhide leather, a limber willow branch, or a strip of hickory put through the auger hole of the door and wedged into the hole in the jamb, makes a truly wild-wood hinge. A peg in the front jamb prevents the door going too far out, and a string and peg inside answer for a latch.

The window opening may be closed with a glass sash, with a piece of muslin, or with the rawhide of an animal, scraped clear of hair and stretched on a frame.

It now remains to chink and plaster the place.

Chinking is best done from the inside. Long triangular strips and blocks of wood are driven in between the logs and fastened there with oak pins driven into the lower log till nothing but small crannies remain. Some cabins are finished with moss plugged into all the crannies, but mud worked into plaster does better.

It should be put on the outside first, and afterward finished form the inside. It is best done really with two plasterers working together, one inside and one out.

This completes the shanty, but a bunk and fireplace are usually added.

The fireplace may be in one corner, or in the middle of the end. It is easiest to make in the former.

Across the corner, peg three angle braces, each about three feet long. These are to prevent the chimney falling forward.

Now begin to build with stone, using mud as mortar, a fireplace this shape. (Fig. 9.) Make the opening about eighteen inches across; carry it up two feet high, drawing it in a little, then lay a long stone across the front, after which build up {63} the flue behind the corner braces right up to the roof. The top corner-piece carries the rafter that may be cut off to let the flue out. Build the chimney up outside as high as the highest part of the ridge.

But the ideal fireplace is made with the chimney on the outside of the cabin, at the middle of the end farthest from the door. For this you must cut a hole in the end log, like a big, low window, pegging a jamb on the ends as before.

With stones and mud you now build a fireplace inside the shanty, with the big chimney carried up outside, always taking care that there are several inches of mud or stone between the fire and any of the logs.

In country where stone cannot be found, the fireplace is often built of mud, sustained by an outside cribbing of logs.

If the flue is fair size, that is, say one quarter the size of the fireplace opening, it will be sure to draw.

The bunk should be made before the chinks are plastered, as the hammering is apt to loosen the mud.

Cut eight or ten poles a foot longer than you need the bunk; cut the end of each into a flat board and drive these between the long logs at the right height and place for the bunk, supporting the other end on a crosspiece from a post to the wall. Put a very big pole on the outer side, and all is ready for the bed; most woodsmen make this of small fir boughs.

There are two other well-known ways of cornering the logs–one is simply flattening the logs where they touch. This, as well as the first one, is known in the backwoods of Canada as hog-pen finish. The really skilful woodsmen of the North always dovetail the comers and saw them flush: (Fig. 10)

Sometimes it is desirable to make a higher gable than that which one ridge log can make. Then it is made thus: (Fig. 11.) This is as much slope as a clay roof should have; with any more, the clay would wash off.

This is the simplest way to build a log-cabin, but it illustrates all the main principles of log building. Shingle roofs and gables, broad piazzas outside, and modern fitting inside, are often added nowadays in summer camps, but it must be clear that the more towny you make the cabin, the less woodsy it is, and less likely to be the complete rest and change that is desired.

For fuller instructions, see “Log-Cabins and Cottages.” By. Wm. S. Wicks, 1900. (Pub. Forest and Stream, N. Y.) {64} Also, “The Jack of All Trades.” By Dan C. Beard, Scribner’s; and “Field and Forest Handy Book.”

Measuring Distances
(See “Two Little Savages,” 1903.)

The height of a tree is easily measured when on a level, open place, by measuring the length of its shadow, then comparing that with your own shadow, or that of a ten-foot pole.

Thus, the ten-foot pole is casting a fifteen-foot shadow, and the tree’s shadow is one hundred and fifty feet long, apply the simple rule of three.

15 : 150 :: 10 : x = 100

But it is seldom so easy, and the good old rule of the triangle can be safely counted on: Get a hundred or more feet from your tree, on open ground, as nearly as possible on the level of its base. Set up a ten-foot pole (A B, page 65). Then mark the spot where the exact line from the top of the tree over the top of the pole touches the ground (C). Now measure the distance from that spot (C) to the foot of the ten-foot pole (B); suppose it is twenty feet. Measure also the distance from that spot (C) to the base of the tree (D); suppose it is one hundred and twenty feet, then your problem is:

20 : 10 :: 120 : x = 60

i.e., if at that angle twenty feet from the eye gives ten feet elevation, one hundred and twenty feet must give sixty.

To make a right angle, make a triangle whose sides are exactly six, eight, and ten feet or inches each (or multiples of these). The angle opposite the ten must be a true right angle.


To make a right angle

There are many ways of measuring distance across rivers, etc., without crossing. The simplest, perhaps, is by the equilateral triangle. Cut three poles of exactly equal length; peg them together into a triangle. Lay {65} this on the bank of the river so one side points to some point on the opposite bank. Drive in three pegs to mark the exact points of this triangle (A,B,C). Then move it along the bank until you find a place (F,E,G) where its base is on line with the two pegs, where the base used to be, and one side in line with the point across the river (D). The width of the river is seven eighths of the base of this great triangle.



Another method is by the isosceles triangle. Make a right-angled triangle as above, with sides six, eight, and ten feet (A,B,C); then, after firmly fixing the right angle, cut down the eight-foot side to six feet and saw off the ten-foot side to fit. Place this with the side D B on the river bank in line with the sight object (X) across. Put three pegs to mark the three {66} corner places. Then take the triangle along the bank in the direction of C until C’ D’ are in line with the sight object, while B’ C’ is in line with the pegs B C. Then the length of the long base B C’ will equal the distance from B to X.


Measuring height of tree.


To measure the space between two distant objects, D and E. Line A B on one, then move this right-angled triangle until F G is lined on the other, with B G in line with G H. B G equals the space between D and E then.

If the distance is considerable, it may be measured sometimes by sound. Thus, when a gun is fired, a man is chopping, or a dog barking, count the seconds between the sight and the hearing of the sound, and multiply by eleven hundred feet, which is the distance sound travels in a second.


To climb a tree that is too thick–Place small tree against it.

Occasionally, the distance of an upright bank, cliff, or building can be measured by the echo. Half the seconds between shout and echo, multiplied by eleven hundred gives the distance in feet.

The usual way to estimate long distances is by the time they take to cover. Thus, a good canoe on dead water goes four to five miles an hour. A man afoot walks three and a half miles an hour on good roads. A packtrain goes two and a half miles an hour, or perhaps one and a half on the mountain trails.

A man’s thumb is an inch wide.

Span of thumb and longest finger, nine inches. Brisk walking pace is one yard for men.

What To Do When Lost in the Woods
(Ladies’ Home Journal, October, 1902.)

“Did you ever get lost in the woods?” I once asked a company of twenty campers. Some answered, “Yes; once or twice.” Others said, “Many a time.” Only two said, “No, never.” Then I said, turning to the two, “I know that all the others here have had plenty of experience, and that you two are the tenderfeet, and never lived in the woods.”

It is quite certain to come sooner or later; if you go camping, you will get lost in the woods. Hunters, Indians, yes, birds and beasts, get lost at times. You can avoid it for long by always taking your bearings and noting the landscape before leaving the camp, and this you should always do; but still you will get lost some time, and it is well to be ready for it by carrying matches, knife, and compass.

When you do miss your way, the first thing to remember is, like the Indian, “You are not lost; it is the teepee that is lost.” It isn’t serious. It cannot be so unless you do something foolish.

The first and most natural thing to do is to get on a hill, up a tree, or other high lookout, and seek for some landmark near camp. You may be sure of this much:

You are not nearly so far from camp as you think you are. Your friends will soon find you.

You can help them best by signaling.

The worst thing you can do is to get frightened. The truly dangerous enemy is not the cold or the hunger so much as the fear. It is fear that robs the wanderer of his judgment and of his limb power; it is fear that turns the passing experience into a final tragedy. Only keep cool and all will be well.

If there is snow on the ground, you can follow your back track.

If you see no landmark, look for the smoke of the fire. Shout from time to time, and wait; for though you have been away for hours it is quite possible you are within earshot of your friends. If you happen to have a gun, fire it off twice in quick succession on your high lookout; then wait and listen. Do this several times and wait plenty long enough–perhaps an hour. If this brings no help, send up a distress signal–that is, make two smoke fires by smothering two bright fires with green leaves and rotten wood, and keep them at least fifty feet apart, or the wind will confuse them. Two shots or two smokes are usually understood to mean “I am in trouble.” Those in camp on seeing this should send up one smoke, which means, “Camp is here.”

If you have a dog or a horse with you, you may depend upon it he can bring you out all right; but usually you will have to rely on yourself. The simplest plan, when there is fresh snow and no wind, is to follow your own track back. No matter how far around or how crooked it may be, it will certainly bring you out safely.

If you are sure of the general direction to the camp and determined to keep moving, leave a note pinned on a tree if you have paper; if not, write with charcoal on a piece of wood, and also make a good smoke, so that you can come back to this spot if you choose. But make certain that the fire cannot run, by clearing the ground around it and by banking it around with sods. And mark your course by breaking or cutting a twig every fifty feet. You can keep straight by the sun, the moon, or the stars, but when they are unseen you must be guided by the compass. I do not believe much in guidance by what are called nature’s compass signs. It is usual to say, for example, that the north side of the tree has the most moss or the south side the most limbs, etc. While these are true in general, there are so many exceptions that when alarmed and in doubt as to which is north, one is not in a frame of mind to decide with certainty on such fine points.

If a strong west wind, for example, was blowing when you left camp, and has blown ever since, you can be pretty sure it is still a west wind; but the only safe and certain natural compass guides are the sun, moon, and stars.

The Pole or North Star, and the Great Bear (also called the Dipper and the Pointers), should be known to every boy as they are to every Indian. The Pointers always point out the {69} Pole-star. Of course, they go around it once in twenty-four hours, so this makes a kind of clock.

The stars, then, will enable you to keep straight if you travel. But thick woods, fog, or clouds are apt to come up, and without something to guide you are sure to go around in a circle.

Old woodsmen commonly follow down the streams. These are certain to bring you out somewhere; but the very worst traveling is along the edges of the streams, and they take you a long way around. All things considered, it is usually best to stay right where you are, especially if in a wild country where there is no chance of finding a farm house. Make yourself comfortable for the night by gathering plenty of good wood while it is daylight, and building a wind screen on three sides, with the fire in front, and something to keep you off the ground. Do not worry but keep up a good fire; and when day comes renew your two smokes and wait. A good fire is the best friend of a lost man.

I have been lost a number of times, but always got out without serious trouble, because I kept cool. The worst losing I ever got was after I had been so long in the West that I qualified to act as a professional guide, and was engaged by a lot of Eastern farmers looking for land locations.

This was in the October of 1883 on the Upper Assiniboin. The main body of the farmers had remained behind. I had gone ahead with two of them. I took them over hundreds of miles of wild country. As we went northward the country improved. We were traveling with oxen, and it was our custom to let them graze for two hours at noon. One warm day, while the oxen were feeding, we went in our shirt sleeves to a distant butte that promised a lookout. We forgot about the lateness till the sun got low. Even then I could have got back to camp, but clouds came up and darkness fell quickly. Knowing the general direction I kept on, and after half an hour’s tramp we came to a canyon I had never seen before. I got out my compass and a match and found that I had been circling, as one is sure to do in the dark. I corrected the course and led off again. After another brief turn I struck another match and learned from the compass that I was again circling. This was discouraging, but with corrected course we again tramped. I was leading, and suddenly the dark ground ten feet ahead of me turned gray. I could not make it out, so went cautiously nearer. I lay down, reached forth, and then slowly made sure that we were on the edge of a steep precipice. I backed off, {70} and frankly told the men I did not know where we were. I got out my match box and compass and found I had but one match left.

“Any of you got any matches?” I asked. “No; left ’em all in our coats,” was their answer.

“Well,” said I, “I have one. Shall I use it to get a new course from the compass, or shall we make a fire and stay here till morning?”

All voted to camp for the night. There was now a cold rain.

We groped into a hollow where we got some dead wood, and by using our knives got some dry chips from the inside of a log. When all was ready we gathered close around, and I got out the one match. I was about to strike it when the younger of the men said:

“Say, Seton, you are not a smoker; Jack is. Hadn’t you better give him that match?”

There was sense in this. I have never in my life smoked. Jack was an old stager and an adept with matches. I handed it to him. “Rrrp-fizz”–and in a minute we had a fire.

With the help of the firelight we now found plenty of dead wood; we made three blazing fires side by side, and after an hour we removed the centre one, then raked away all the hot ashes, and all lay down together on the warm ground. When the morning came the rain ceased. We stretched our stiffened limbs and made for camp. Yes, there it was in plain view two miles away across a fearful canyon. Three steps more on that gloomy night and we should have been over the edge of that canyon and dashed to the bottom.

How to Make Fire by Rubbing Sticks

“How do the Indians make a fire without matches?” asked a boy who loved to “play Indian.” Most of us have heard the answer to this. “The Indians use a flint and steel, as our own fathers and mothers did one hundred years ago, and before they had flint and steel they used rubbing-sticks.” We have all read about bringing fire out of two sticks by rubbing them together. I tried it once for an hour, and I know now I never would have got it in a thousand years as I was doing it. Others have had the same experience; consequently, most persons look upon this as a sort of fairy tale, or, if they believe it to be true, they think it so difficult as to be worth no second thought. All scouts, I find, are surprised and greatly interested to learn that not only is it possible, it is easy, to make a friction {71} fire, if you know how; and hopeless, if you don’t. I have taught many boys and men (including some Indians) to do it, and some have grown so expert that they make it nearly as quickly as with an old-fashioned sulphur match. When I first learned from Walter Hough, who learned from the Indians, it took me from five to ten minutes to get a blazing fire–not half an hour, as some books have it. But later I got it down to a minute, then to thirty-one seconds from the time of taking up the rubbing-sticks to having a fine blaze, the time in getting the first spark being about six seconds.

My early efforts were inspired by book accounts of Indian methods, but, unfortunately, I have never yet seen a book account that was accurate enough to guide anyone successfully in the art of fire-making. All omit one or other of the absolute essentials, or dwell on some triviality. The impression they leave on those who know is that the writers did not.

The surest and easiest method of making a friction fire is by use of the bow-drill. Two sticks, two tools, and some tinder are needed.

The two sticks are the drill and the fire-board, or fire-block. The books generally tell us that these must be of different kinds of wood. This is a mistake. I have uniformly gotten the best results with two pieces of the same kind–all the better, indeed, if they are parts of the same stick.

What Kind of Wood

This is a very important question, as woods that are too hard, too soft, too wet, too oily, too gummy, or too resinous will not produce fire. The wood should be soft enough to wear away, else it produces no punk, and hard enough to wear slowly, or the heat is not enough to light the punk, and, of course, it should be highly inflammable. Those that I have had the best luck with are balsam fir, cottonwood roots, tamarack, European larch, red cedar, white cedar, Oregon cedar, basswood, cypress, and sometimes second-growth white pine. It should always be a dry, sound stick, brash, but not in the least punky.

In each part of the country there seems to be a kind of wood well suited for fire-making. The Eastern Indians used cedar; the Northern Indians, cedar or balsam fir; the plains Indians used cottonwood or sage-brush roots.

Perhaps the most reliable of all is dry and seasoned balsam fir; either the species in the North woods or in the Rockies will do. It gives a fine big spark or coal in about seven seconds.

When in the grinding the dust that runs out of the notch is coarse and brown, it means that the wood is too soft; when it is very fine and scanty it means that the wood is too hard.


The rubbing-sticks for fire-making

1. The simplest kind of bow; a bent stick with a stout leather thong fastened at each end. It is about 27 inches long and 5/8 inch thick.

2. A more elaborate bow with a hole at each end for the thong. At the handle end it goes through a disc of wood. This is to tighten the thong by pressure of the hand against the disc while using.

3. Simplest kind of drill-socket; a pine or hemlock knot with a shallow hole or pit in it. 3a is under view of same. It is about 4-1/2 inches long.

4. A more elaborate drill-socket; a pebble cemented with gum in a wooden holder. 4a is under view of same.

5. A very elaborate drill-socket; it is made of tulip wood, carved to represent the Thunderbird. It has eyes of green felspar cemented in with resin. On the under side (5a) is seen, in the middle, a soapstone socket let into the wood and fastened with pine gum, and on the head a hole kept filled with grease, to grease the top of the drill before use.

6. The drill; 12 to 18 inches long and about 3/4 inch thick; it is roughly eight-sided so the thong will not slip, and pointed at each end. The best wood for the drill is old, dry brash, but not punky, balsam fir or cottonwood roots; but basswood, white cedar, red cedar, tamarack, and sometimes even white pine, will do.

7. Fire-board or block; about 3/4 inch thick and any length handy; a is notch with pit just begun, b shows the pit after once using and in good trim for second time, c shows the pit bored through and now useless; the notch is 1/2 inch wide and 3/4 inch deep.

8. Shows the way of using the sticks. The block (a) is held down with one foot, the end of the drill (b) is put in the pit, the drill-socket (c) is held on top in left hand, one end of the bow (d) is held in the right hand, while the bow is drawn back and forth.

9. Is a little wooden fire-pan, not essential but convenient; its thin edge is put under the notch to catch the powder that falls.

I have made many experiments to determine whether there is anything in the idea that it is better to have the block and the drill of different woods.

But no hybrid combination was so successful as “two of a kind.”

The drill and the bow and socket are fully described in the illustration.

The preparing of the fire-board is one of the most important things. At the edge cut a notch half an inch wide and about three fourths of an inch deep; at the top of this notch make a pit or shallow hole, and the board is ready. The importance of this notch is such that it is useless to try fire-making without it.

While these are the essentials, it is well to get ready, also, some tinder. I have tried a great many different kinds of lint and punk, including a number that were artificially prepared, soaked with saltpetre or other combustibles. But these are not really fair play. The true woodcrafter limits himself to the things that he can get in the woods, and in all my recent fire-making I have contented myself with the tinder used for ages by the red men: that is, cedar wood finely shredded between two stones. Some use the fringes that grow on birch, improving it by rubbing in powdered charcoal.

Now that he has the tools and material ready, it will be an easy matter for the matchless castaway to produce a fire.

Pass the leather thong once around the drill–and this should make the thong taut; put the lower point of the drill in the pit at the top of the notch in the fire-board, and hold the socket with the left hand on top of the drill. The notch of the fire-board should be resting on a chip or thin wooden tray. Hold the bow by the handle end in the right hand, steady the board under the left foot, and the left arm against the left knee. Now draw the bow back and forth with steady, even strokes, its full length. This causes the drill to turn in the pit and bore into the wood; ground-up wood runs out of the side of the notch, falling on the chip or tray. At first it is brown; in two or three seconds it turns black, and then smokes; in five or six seconds it is giving off a cloud of smoke. A few more vigorous strokes of the bow, and now it will be found that smoke still comes from the pile of black wood-dust on the chip. Fan this gently with the hand; the smoke increases, and in a few seconds you see a glowing coal in the middle of the dust. (There are never any visible flying sparks.)

Now take a liberal pinch of the cedar tinder–about a teaspoonful; wrap this in some bark fibre or shredded rope to {74} keep it from blowing away. Hold it down on the coal, and, lifting tray and all, blow or fan it until in a few seconds it blazes. Carefully pile over it the shreds of birch bark or splinters of fat pine prepared beforehand, and the fire is made.

If you have the right wood and still cannot get the fire, it is likely because you do not hold the drill steady, or have not cut the side notch quite into the middle point of the little fire pit.

The advantages of learning this method are threefold:

First: Fire-making by friction is an interesting experiment in woodcraft.

Second: A boy is better equipped having learned it. He can never afterward freeze to death for lack of matches if he has wood and an old shoe lace.

Third: For the very reason that it is difficult, compared with matches, it tends to prevent the boys making unnecessary fires, and thus reduces the danger of their setting the woods ablaze or of smoking the forbidden cigarette.

There is such a fascination in making the rubbing-stick fire that one of my Western cooks, becoming an expert, gave up the use of matches for a time and lit his morning fire with the fire-drill, and, indeed, he did not find it much slower than the usual way.

Walter Hough told me a story of an Apache Indian who scoffed at the matches of white men, and claimed that he could light a fire with rubbing-sticks faster than Hough could with matches. So each made ready. They were waiting for the word “go” when the Indian said:

“Wait. I see if him right.” He gave a few strokes with the drill, and called–“Stop–stop him no good.” He rearranged the sticks, and tried a few more strokes. Just as Mr. Hough was going to strike the match, he said: “Stop–stop him no good.” He did this three times before he called “Ready.” Then the word “Go” was given. The white man struck the slow, sizzling match. The Indian gave half a dozen twirls to the drill–the smoke burst forth. He covered it with the tinder, fanned a few seconds, then a bright flame arose, just before the white man got his twigs ablaze. So the Indian won, but it was by an Indian trick; for the three times when he pretended to be trying it, he was really warming up the wood–that is, doing a large part of the work. I am afraid that, deft as he was, he would have lost in a fair race. Yet this incident shows at least that, in point of speed, the old rubbing-sticks are not very far behind the matches, as one might have supposed.

It is, indeed, a wonder that the soldiers at West Point are not taught this simple trick, when it is so easily learned, and might some day be the one thing to save the lives of many of them.


No woodcraft education is complete without a knowledge of archery. It is a pity that this noble sport has fallen into disuse. We shall find it essential to some of our best games.

The modern hunting gun is an irresistible weapon of wholesale murder, and is just as deadly no matter who pulls the trigger. It spreads terror as well as death by its loud discharge, and it leaves little clew as to who is responsible for the shot. Its deadly range is so fearfully great as to put all game at the mercy of the clumsiest tyro. Woodcraft, the oldest of all sciences and one of the best, has steadily declined since the coming of the gun, and it is entirely due to this same unbridled power that America has lost so many of her fine game animals.

The bow is a far less destructive weapon, and to succeed at all in the chase the bowman must be a double-read forester. The bow is silent and it sends the arrow with exactly the same power that the bowman’s arm puts into it–no more, no less–so it is really his own power that speeds the arrow. There is no question as to which hunter has the right to the game or is responsible for the shot when the arrow is there to tell. The gun stands for little skill, irresistible force supplied from an outside source, overwhelming unfair odds, and sure death to the victim. The bow, on the other hand, stands for all that is clever and fine in woodcraft; so, no guns or fire-arms of any kind are allowed in our boy scout camp.

The Indian’s bow was short, because, though less efficient, it was easier to carry than a long one. Yet it did not lack power. It is said that the arrow head sometimes appeared on the far side of the buffalo it was fired into, and there is a tradition that Wah-na-tah, a Sioux chief, once shot his arrow through a cow buffalo and killed her calf that was running at the other side.

But the long bow is more effective than the short one. The old English bowmen, the best the world has ever seen, always shot with the long bow.

The finest bows and arrows are those made by the professional makers, but there is no reason why each boy should not make his own.

According to several authorities the best bow woods are mulberry, osage-orange, sassafras, Southern cedar, black locust, {76} apple, black walnut, slippery elm, ironwood, mountain ash, hickory, California yew, and hemlock.

Take a perfectly sound, straight, well-seasoned stick five or six feet long (your bow should be about as long as yourself); mark off a five-inch space in the middle for the handle; leave this round and a full inch thick; shave down the rest, flat on one side for the front and round on the other for the back, until it is about one inch wide and three fourths of an inch thick next the handle, tapering to about one half that at the ends, which are then “nocked,” nicked, or notched as shown in Cut I. These notches are for the string, which is to be put on early. Draw the bow now, flat side out, not more than the proper distance, and note carefully which end bends the most; then shave down the other side until it bends evenly. The middle scarcely bends at all. The perfect shape, when bent, is shown in Cut II. Trim the bow down to your strength and finish smoothly with sandpaper and glass. It should be straight when unstrung, and unstrung when not in use. Fancy curved bows are weak affairs. The bow for our boy should require a power of fifteen or twenty pounds (shown on a spring balance) to draw the string twenty-three inches from the bow; not more. The best string is of hemp or linen; it should be about five inches from the middle of the bow when strung (Cut II). The notches for the string should be two-thirds the depth of the string. If you have not a bought string make one of strong, unbleached linen thread twisted together. At one end the string, which is heaviest at the ends, should be fast knotted to the bow notch (Cut V); at the other it should have a loop as shown in Cut IV. In the middle it should be lashed with fine silk and wax for five inches, and the exact place marked where the arrow fits it.

The arrow is more important than the bow. Anyone can make a bow; few can make an arrow, for, as a Seminole Indian expressed it to Maurice Thompson, “Any stick do for bow; good arrow much heap work, ugh.” Hiawatha went all the way to Dakota to see the famous arrow maker. In England when the bow was the gun of the country, the bow maker was called a “bowyer,” and the arrow maker a “fletcher” (from the Norman fleche, an arrow). So when men began to use surnames those who excelled in arrow making were proud to be called the “Fletchers “; but to make a good bow was not a notable achievement, hence few took “Bowyer” as their name.

The first thing about an arrow is that it must be perfectly straight. “Straight as an arrow” refers to the arrow itself, not to its flight; that is always curved.


THE ARCHERY OUTFIT (Not all on scale.)

I. The five-foot bow as finished, with sections at the point shown.
II. The bow “braced” or strung.
III. The bow unstrung, showing the loop slipped down.
IV. The loop that is used on the upper end of the bow.
V. The timber hitch always used on the lower end or notch of the bow.
VI. A turkey feather with split midrib, all ready to lash on.
VII. End view of arrow, showing notch and arrangement of three feathers.
VIII. Part of arrow, showing feathering and lashing.
IX. Sanger hunting arrow with wooden point; 25 inches long.
X. Sanger war arrow with nail point and extra long feathers; it also is 25 inches long.
XI. Quiver with Indian design; 20 inches long.
XII. The “bracer” or arm guard of heavy leather for left arm with two laces to tie it on. It is six inches long.

The Indians made arrows of reeds and of straight shoots of viburnum or arrow-wood, and of elder, but we make better arrows out of the solid heartwood of hard pine for target use, and of hickory or ash for hunting. The arrow should be twenty-five inches long, round, and three eighths of an inch thick, and have three feathers set as shown in Cut VI, about an inch from the notch. The feather B, that stands out at right angles to notch A, should always be away from the bow in shooting. This is called the cock-feather, and it is usually marked or colored in some way to be quickly distinguished.

The diagram at bottom is to show the centres of heels in line with target.

Turkey and goose wing feathers are the best that grow in our country for arrow feathers. The Indians mostly use turkey. With a sharp knife cut a strip of the midrib on which is the vane of the feather; make three pieces, each two to three inches long. White men glue these on to the arrow. The Indians leave the midrib projecting at each end and by these lash the {79} feathers without gluing. The lashed feathers stand the weather better than those glued, but do not fly so well. The Indians use sharp flint arrow heads for war and for big game, but for birds and small game they make arrow heads with a knob of hard wood or the knuckle bone of some small animal. The best arrow heads for our purpose are like the ferrule of an umbrella top; they receive the end of the shaft into them and keep it from splitting.

One of the best arrows I ever shot with was twenty-eight inches long, five sixteenths of an inch thick, had a ferrule head and very small feathers.

The finishing touch of an arrow is “painting” it. This is done for several purposes: First, to preserve it from damp which would twist the arrow and soften the glue that holds the feathers; second, each hunter paints all his arrows with his mark so as to know them; third, they are thus made bright-colored to help in finding them when lost.

There are four other things required by our archer: A smooth, hard arm-guard, or bracer, usually of hard leather. The Indians who use one make it of wood, grass, or rawhide. In photographs of famous Indians you may often see this on the left wrist, and will remember that it was there as a protection from the blow of the bow cord. Some archers can shoot with the wrist bent so as to need no guard. The three middle fingers of the right hand also need protection. An old leather glove, with thumb and little finger cut away, will do very well for this, though the ready-made tips at the archery stores are more convenient. Some archers who practise all their lives can shoot without protecting the fingers.

The bow case and quiver are important. Any kind of a cover that will keep them from the rain, and hang on your back, will do, but there are many little things that help to make them handy. When the cover is off the arrows should project three or four inches so that they may be more easily drawn out. The Indians often carried very beautiful quivers of buckskin ornamented with quills and beads.

One day out West I saw an Omaha brave with a bow case and quiver covered with very odd material–a piece of common red and white cotton print. When allowed to examine it, I felt some other material underneath the print. After a little dickering he sold me bow, arrows, quiver, and all for a couple of dollars. I then ripped open the print and found my first suspicions confirmed; for, underneath, the quiver was of buckskin, beautifully embroidered with red feathers and porcupine {80} quills of deep red and turquoise blue. The Indian was as much puzzled by my preference for the quill work as I was by his for the cotton print.

The standard target for men is four feet across with a nine-inch bull’s-eye, and around that four rings, each four and three quarter inches wide. The bull’s-eye counts nine, the other rings seven, five, three, one. The bought targets are made of straw, but a good target may be made of a box filled with sods, or a bank covered with sacking on which are painted the usual rings.

Now comes the most important point of all–how to shoot. There are several ways of holding an arrow, but only one good one. Most boys know the ordinary finger and thumb pinch, or grip. This is all very well for a toy bow, but a hunter’s bow cannot be drawn that way. No one has strength enough in his fingers for it. The true archer’s grip of the arrow is shown in the cut. The thumb and little finger have nothing to do with it.


The archer’s grip

As in golf and all such things, there is a right “form.” You attend to your end of the arrow’s flight and the other will take care of itself:

Stand perfectly straight. Plant your feet with the centres of the two heels in line with the target. (Cut page 78.) Grasp the bow in the middle with the left hand and place the arrow on the string at the left side of the bow. Hold the bow plumb, and draw as above till the notch of the arrow is right under your eye, and the head of the arrow back to the bow. The right elbow must be in the same line with the arrow. Let go the arrow by straightening the fingers a little, turning the hand outward at the bottom and drawing it back one inch. Always do this in exactly the same way and your shooting will be even. Your left hand should not move a hair’s breadth until the arrow strikes the target.

To begin shooting put the target very near, within fifteen or twenty yards; but the proper shooting distance when the archer is in good practice is forty yards for a four-foot target and thirty yards for a three-foot target. A good shot, shooting twelve arrows at this, should score fifty.

The Indians generally used their bows at short range, so that it was easy to hit the mark. Rapid firing was important. In their archery competitions, therefore, the prize was given to the one who could have the most arrows in the air at once. Their record, according to Catlin, was eight.

The Stars

As Seen With the Naked Eye
The chief works referred to in this are C. Flammarion’s “Popular Astronomy” (Gore’s translation), and Garrett P. Serviss’s “Astronomy with an Opera Glass.” (Those who wish to go farther a-sky are referred to these books.)

Whether he expects to use them as guides or not, every boy should learn the principal constellations and the important stars. A non-scientific friend said to me once: “I am always glad that I learned the principal star groups when I was young. I have never forgotten them, and, no matter in what strange country I find myself, I can always look up at night, and see the old familiar stars that shone on me in my home in my own country.”

All American boys know the Dipper or Great Bear. This is, perhaps, the most important star group in our sky, because of its size, peculiar form, and the fact that it never sets in our latitude, and last, that it always points out the Pole-star, and, for this reason, it is sometimes known as the Pointers. It is called the Dipper because it is shaped like a dipper with a long, bent handle. Why it is called the Great Bear is not so easy to explain. The classical legend has it that the nymph Calisto, having violated her vow, was changed by Diana into a bear, which, after death, was immortalized in the sky by Zeus. Another suggestion is that the earliest astronomers, the Chaldeans, called these stars “the shining ones,” and their word happened to be very like the Greek arktos (a bear). Another explanation (I do not know who is authority for either) is that vessels in olden days were named for animals, etc. They bore at the prow the carved effigy of the namesake, and if the Great Bear, for example, made several very happy voyages by setting out when a certain constellation was in the ascendant, that constellation might become known as the Great Bear’s constellation. Certainly, there is nothing in its shape to justify the name. Very few of the constellations, indeed, are like the thing they are {82} called after. Their names were usually given for some fanciful association with the namesake, rather than for resemblance to it.

The Pole-star is really the most important of the stars in our sky; it marks the north at all times; it alone is fixed in the heavens: all the other stars seem to swing around it once in twenty-four hours. It is in the end of the Little Bear’s tail. But the Pole-star, or Polaris, is not a very bright one, and it would be hard to identify but for the help of the Dipper, or Pointers.

The outside (Alpha and Beta) of the Dipper points nearly to Polaris, at a distance equal to three and one half times the space that separates these two stars of the Dipper’s outer side.

Various Indians call the Pole-star the “Home Star,” and “The Star that Never Moves,” and the Dipper they call the “Broken Back.”

The last star but one in the Dipper, away from the pole–that is, the star at the bend of the handle,–is known to astronomers as Mizar, one of the Horses; Just above it, and tucked close in, is a smaller star known to astronomers as Alcor, or the Rider. The Indians call these two the “Old Squaw and the Pappoose on Her Back.” In the old world, from very ancient times, these have been used as tests of eyesight. To be able to see Alcor with the naked eye means that one has excellent eyesight. So also on the plains, the old folks would ask the children at night, “Can you see the pappoose on the old squaw’s back?” And when the youngster saw it, and proved that he did by a right description, they rejoiced that he had the eyesight which is the first requisite of a good hunter.

The Great Bear is also to be remembered as the Pointers for another reason. It is the hour-hand of the woodman’s clock. It goes once around the North Star in about twenty-four hours, the same way as the sun, and for the same reason–that it is the earth that is going and leaving them behind.

The time in going around is not exactly twenty-four hours, so that the position of the Pointers varies with the seasons, but, as a rule, this for woodcraft purposes is near enough. The bowl of the Dipper swings one and one half times the width of the opening (i.e., fifteen degrees) in one hour. If it went a quarter of the circle, that would mean you had slept a quarter of a day, or six hours.

Each fifteen days the stars seem to be an hour earlier; in three months they gain one fourth of the circle, and in a year gain the whole circle.

According to Flammarion, there are about seven thousand stars visible to the naked eye, and of those but nineteen are stars of the first magnitude. Thirteen of them are visible in the latitude of New York, the other six belong to the South Polar Region of the sky. Here is Flammarion’s arrangement of them in order of seeming brightness. Those that can be seen in the Southern Hemisphere only, are in brackets:

1. Sirius, the Dog-star.
2. [Canopus, of Argo.]
3. [Alpha, of the Centaur.]
4. Arcturus, of Bootes.
5. Vega, of the Lyre.
6. Rigel, of Orion’s foot.
7. Capella, of Auriga.
8. Procyon, or the Little Dog-star.
9. Betelguese, of Orion’s right shoulder.
10. [Beta, of the Centaur.]
11. [Achernar, of Eridanus.]
12. Aldebaran, of Taurus, the Bull’s right eye.
13. Antares, of Scorpio.
14. [Alpha, of the Southern Cross.]
15. Altair, of the Eagle.
16. Spica, of Virgo.
17. Fomalhaut, of the Southern Fish.
18. [Beta, of the Southern Cross.]
19. Regulus, of the Lion.

Orion (O-ri-on), with its striking array of brilliant stars, Betelguese, Rigel, the Three Kings, etc., is generally admitted to be the finest constellation in the heavens.

Orion was the hunter giant who went to Heaven when he died, and now marches around the great dome, but is seen only in the winter, because, during the summer, he passes over during daytime. Thus he is still the hunter’s constellation. The three stars of his belt are called the “Three Kings.”

Sirius, the Great Dog-star, is in the head of Orion’s hound, and following farther back is the Little Dog-star, Procyon. In old charts of the stars, Orion is shown with his hound, hunting the bull, Taurus.




Pleiades (Ply-a-des) can be seen in winter as a cluster of small stars between Aldebaran and Algol, or, a line drawn from the back bottom, through the front rim of the Dipper, about two Dipper lengths, touches this little group. They are not far from Aldebaran, being on the shoulder of the Bull, of which Aldebaran is the right eye. They may be considered the seven arrow wounds made by Orion. They are nearer the Pole-star than Aldebaran is, and on the side away from the Dipper; also, they are nearly on a line between Beta of the Dipper (front bottom) and Capella.

Serviss tells us that the Pleiades have a supposed connection with the Great Pyramid, because “about 2170 B. C., when the beginning of spring coincided with the culmination of the Pleiades at midnight; that wonderful group of stars was visible {85} just at midnight, through the mysterious southward-pointing passage of the Pyramid.”

The Moon

The moon is one fifth the diameter of the earth, about one fiftieth of the bulk, and is about a quarter million miles away. Its course, while very irregular, is nearly the same as the apparent course of the sun. But “in winter the full moon is at an altitude in the sky near the limit attained by the sun in summer, . . . and even, at certain times, five degrees higher. It is the contrary in summer, a season when the moon remains very low” (F.).

The moon goes around the earth in 27-1/4 days. It loses nearly three fourths of an hour each night; that is, it rises that much later.

By the National Association of Audubon Societies

Any boy who cares enough for out-doors to be a scout is sure to want a good acquaintance with the birds. Even dull people cannot help taking notice of our “little brothers of the air,” on account of their beauty, their songs, and their wondrous flight. But most folks never take the trouble to try and learn the names of any except a few common birds. Scouts whose eyes are sharp and ears are keen will find the study of birds a fascinating sport, which may prove to be the best fun that the woods provide.

Knowing the Birds

It is no easy matter, this trying to get to know the birds; but scouts are not looking for the easiest jobs, and it is great sport for them to follow some shy songster through the briery thicket until a really good look can be had, to sit stock still for half an hour to watch some unknown bird come home to her nest, or to wriggle on all fours through the grass to have a glimpse over the top of the knoll at the ducks in the pool beyond.

The only equipment necessary for bird study is an opera or field glass, a note-book and a good bird reference book. As soon as you get a good look at a strange bird, notice its colors and markings, and then, if it moves, follow it up until you have seen practically all of its most prominent features. It will be impossible to carry these facts in your head, and unless some definite memorandum is made at the time you will probably {86} be hopelessly perplexed when you go to consult the bird book later. As it is hard to jot down satisfactory notes in the field, while catching fleeting glances of some timid bird, a handy little booklet has been prepared in which observations can be recorded very rapidly. These can be procured for fifteen cents apiece from the National Association of Audubon Societies, 1974 Broadway, New York City.


Location _______________________
Date _______________________
Hour _______________________
Weather ___________________
Wind _______________________


Smaller than wren
Between wren and sparrow
Between sparrow and robin
Between robin and crow
Larger than crow

Near ground or high up
In heavy woods
Bushy places
Open country
Near water

Name ______________________
Order ______________________
Family _______________________
Species ______________________

Each booklet contains outline figures of the five leading types of birds: (1) small perching birds, (2) hawks, (3) snipes, (4) herons, (5) ducks. On the page opposite is a list of numbers corresponding to colors. You can quickly mark on the outline the proper numbers, and note with your pencil any marks on the bird. Then check the other data on the page, add any additional memoranda, and you have your “bird in the hand,” ready to take back and look up at your leisure.

Careful Observation

Notice particularly the “range” of the birds in your reference book, and eliminate all those not stated as occurring in your territory. Notice too, dates of the birds’ coming and going, and do not expect to find species at any other time of year than within the dates mentioned. By thus narrowing down the possibilities the task is much simplified. As a final resort, the National Association of Audubon Societies stands ready to help all scouts who are positively “stumped,” and if the descriptive slips are mailed with return envelopes to the secretary of the association, 1974 Broadway, New York City, an identification will be made, if the information furnished renders it in any way possible.

The next time you see a bird that you have once identified, you will probably remember its name, and in this way you will be surprised to find how rapidly your bird acquaintance will grow. After a time even the flight of a bird or its song will be enough to reveal an old acquaintance, just as you can often recognize a boy friend by his walk or the sound of his voice, without seeing his face. And what a new joy in life there is for anybody that really knows the birds about him. He can pick from the medley of bird songs the notes of the individual singers; he knows when to look for old friends of the year before; no countryside is ever lonely for him, for he finds birds everywhere and knows that any moment he may make some rare discovery or see a bird before unknown to him.

Bird Lists

A scout should make a list of all the birds he has positively identified. This is his “life list” and is added to year by year. In addition he will keep daily lists of the birds seen on special trips in the field. Two or more patrols can enjoy a friendly rivalry by covering different regions and seeing which can observe the largest variety of birds. Hundreds of well-known {88} ornithologists often have the fun of this kind of competition, sending in their lists to a central bureau. As many as one hundred and twenty different kinds of birds have been counted in a single day by one energetic band of bird-lovers. Such a list is, however, attainable only under exceptionally favorable circumstances and by skilled observers who know their country thoroughly. For most scouts, thirty to forty species on a summer day, and fifty to sixty during the spring migration, would be regarded as a good list.


Bob-white at feeding station

Nesting Season

Undoubtedly the most interesting season to study birds is during the nesting period which is at its height in June. It takes a pair of sharp eyes to find most birds’ nests in the first place, and once found, there are dozens of interesting little incidents which it is a delight to watch. Only a foolish scout would rob himself of his chance to observe the secrets of nest life by stealing the contents, or would take any delight in piling up a collection of egg shells whose value at its best is almost nothing, and whose acquisition is necessarily accompanied by {89} genuine heart pangs on the part of the rightful owners. It is more exciting to try to hide yourself near the nest so skilfully that the birds will carry on their domestic duties as though you were not near. A blind made of green cloth and set up near the nest like a little tent will often give opportunity for very close observation. It is surprising how near many birds will allow one to come in this way. Even though the blind looks very strange and out of place, the birds soon seem to get used to it, so long as it is motionless and the inmate cannot be seen. A simple type of blind can be constructed by sewing the edges of long pieces of green cloth together, drawing in the top with a cord, and then draping it over an open umbrella.


Bird blind

How to Photograph

From such a hiding place, photographs can often be secured of timid birds at their nests. In attempting to take photographs it must be remembered that cameras of the pocket variety or fixed box type are almost useless. Most of them cannot be worked without special attachments at closer range than six feet, and, even if the focus is correctly guessed, the image is apt to be very small. In this work it is far better to invest in a cheap camera (second-hand if need be) with which one can obtain a definite image on the ground glass where the plate or film is to be. Focus the camera on some spot where it is expected the bird will come; usually this is on the nest or young, sometimes it is the food, a favorite perch, or some form of decoy. The next requisite is patience. If the coveted opportunity arrives, set off the shutter by hand in the {90} blind, or, where this is not possible, by means of a long thread, after carefully hiding the camera with boughs, leaves, sods, etc.

How to Know

An idea of the details of a bird’s life which a scout may come to know, may be had from the following table:

1. Description. (Size, form, color, and markings.)
2. Haunts. (Upland, lowland, lakes, rivers, woods, fields. etc.)
3. Movements. (Slow or active, hops, walks, creeps, swims, tail wagged, etc.)
4. Appearance. (Alert, listless, crest erect, tail drooped, etc.)
5. Disposition. (Solitary, flocking, wary, unsuspicious, etc.)
6. Flight. (Slow, rapid, direct, undulating, soaring, sailing, flapping, etc.)
7. Song. (Pleasing, unattractive, long, short, loud, faint, sung from the ground, from a perch, in the air, etc. Season of song.)
8. Call notes. (Of surprise, alarm, protest, warning, signaling, etc.)
9. Season. (Spring, fall, summer, winter, with times of arrival and departure and variations in numbers.)
10. Food. (Berries, insects, seeds, etc.; how secured.)
11. Mating. (Habits during courtship.)
12. Nesting. (Choice of site, material, construction, eggs, incubation, etc.)
13. The young. (Food and care of, time in the nest, notes, actions, flight, etc.)
So varied is a bird’s life that there is still plenty to be learned about even our common birds. It is quite possible for a scout to discover some facts that have never yet been published in books.


Red-breasted nuthatch

What One Boy Did

A boy once originated the idea of varying the usual “bird’s nesting” craze into a systematic study of the breeding of our common birds. In one spring he found within the limits of a single village one hundred and seventy robins’ nests. “One hundred were in suitable situations on private places, forty-one were in woods, swamps and orchards, eight were placed under bridges (two being under the iron girders of the railroad bridge), four were {91} in quarries, sixteen were in barns, sheds, under piazzas, etc., and one was on the ground at the foot of a bush.”

In addition to searching out the birds in their natural haunts, there is a great fascination in trying to attract them to our homes. During winter evenings boy scouts can busy themselves making nesting boxes. Even an old cigar box or a tomato can with a hole in it the size of a quarter will satisfy a house wren. Other boxes which are suitable for bluebirds, chickadees, tree swallows, purple martins, and starlings, will, if set up in March, often have tenants the very first season. In many cases it is feasible to have hinged doors or sides on the nesting boxes, so that they may occasionally be opened and the progress of events within observed. It is needless to add, however, that great caution must be exercised to prevent desertion of the nest, or other disturbance of the birds’ home life. Under favorable circumstances, even some of the shyer inhabitants of the woods, such as woodpeckers, owls, and ducks can be induced to patronize artificial cavities, if they are made right and erected right.


Downy woodpecker


Observation box, open

Caring for Birds

Another way of attracting birds in summer is by providing drinking and bathing places. A little artificial pool protected from cats, will be a source of joy to the birds and of delight to the observer from morning to night. Apply to the {92} National Association of Audubon Societies for information as to where ready-made nest boxes and fountains can be procured, also books on this subject, as well as on the subject of making friends of the birds through feeding.


House wren and tomato-can house

Birch-bark house

The Bird Lunch Counter

How best to feed the birds is almost an art in itself. A winter lunch counter spread with suet, nuts, hemp seed, meat, and crumbs will attract nuthatches, chickadees, downy and hairy woodpeckers, creepers, blue jays, etc. Canary seed, buckwheat, oats and hay-chaff scattered on the ground beneath will provide an irresistible banquet for other feathered boarders. A feeding place of this sort can be arranged for convenient observation from a window, and afford no end of diversion and instruction. But whether close to home or far afield, the great secret of success in such work is regularity. Begin to put the food out early in November, and let the birds get to know that they are always sure to find a supply of dainties in a certain spot, and the news will soon spread among them. In wintry weather, especially, it is amazing what can be accomplished by feeding the birds regularly, and at least the following birds have been induced to feed from the human hand: chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, brown creeper, Carolina wren, cardinal, evening grosbeak, tufted titmouse, Canada jay, Florida jay, Oregon jay, and redpoll. Even in spring untiring patience has resulted in the gratification of this supreme ambition of the bird-lover, and bluebird, robin, cat-bird: chipping sparrow, oven-bird, brown thrasher and yellow-throated vireo have been known to feed from the hand of a trusted friend, even with plenty of food all around. What scout can add to this list?

Protecting the Birds

Many a boy thinks that just because a bird is alive and moves it is a proper target for his air rifle or his sling shot. {93} Let us be thankful that there has now arisen a new class of boys, the scouts, who, like the knights of old, are champions of the defenceless, even the birds. Scouts are the birds’ police, and wo betide the lad who is caught with a nest and eggs, or the limp corpse of some feathered songster that he has slaughtered. Scouts know that there is no value in birds that are shot, except a few scientific specimens collected by trained museum experts. Scouts will not commend a farmer for shooting a hawk or an owl as a harmful bird, even though it were seen to capture a young chicken. They will post themselves on the subject and find that most hawks and owls feed chiefly on field mice and large insects injurious to the farmer’s crops, and that thus, in spite of an occasional toll on the poultry, they are as a whole of tremendous value. The way the birds help mankind is little short of a marvel. A band of nuthatches worked all winter in a pear orchard near Rochester and rid the trees of a certain insect that had entirely destroyed the crop of the previous summer. A pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks were seen to feed their nest of youngsters four hundred and twenty-six times in a day, each time with a billful of potato-bugs or other insects. A professor in Washington counted two hundred and fifty tent caterpillars in the stomach of a dead yellow-billed cuckoo, and, what appeals to us even more, five hundred bloodthirsty mosquitoes inside of one night-hawk.


White-breasted nuthatch

Bluebird at entrance of nesting-box

It must not be forgotten that large city parks are among the best places for observing birds. As an example of what can be accomplished, even with limited opportunities, there was a boy who happened to know where some owls roosted. {94} Now all owls swallow their prey whole, and in digesting this food they disgorge the skulls, bones, fur, and feathers in the form of hard dry pellets. This boy used to go out on Saturday or Sunday afternoon and bring home his pockets full of pellets, and then in the evening he would break them apart. In this way he learned exactly what the owls had been eating (without killing them) and he even discovered the skulls of certain field mice that naturalists had never known existed in that region. He let the owl be his collector.

Patrol Work

It is a good idea to keep at patrol headquarters a large sheet on the wall, where a list of the year’s bird observations can be tabulated. Each time a new bird is seen, its name is added, together with the initial of the observer, and after that its various occurrences are noted opposite its name. The keenest eyed scouts are those whose initials appear most frequently in the table. In addition, the tables will show the appearance and relative abundance of birds in a given locality. For patrols of young boys, a plan of tacking up a colored picture of each bird, as soon as it is thoroughly known, has been found very successful, and the result provides a way to decorate the headquarters.

Such pictures can be obtained very cheaply from the Perry Pictures Co., Boston, Mass., or the National Association of Audubon Societies, 1974 Broadway, New York City.

MOLLUSCA–Shells and Shellfish

By Dr. William Healey Dall, of the United States Geological Survey

Fig. 1
White lipped snail (Polygyra albolabris)

Among the shy and retiring animals which inhabit our woods and waters, or the borders of the sea, without making themselves conspicuous to man except when he seeks the larger ones for food, are the mollusca, usually confounded with crabs and crayfish under the popular name of “shellfish,” except the few which have no external shell, which are generally called slugs. Hardly any part of the world (except deserts) is without them, but, shy as they are, it takes pretty sharp eyes to find them. Some come out of their hiding places {95} only at night, and nearly all our American kinds live under cover of some sort.

The mollusks can be conveniently divided into three groups: those which inhabit fresh water, those which breathe air and live on dry land, and lastly those which are confined to the sea. The land shells, or snails, have generally thin shells of spiral form and live upon vegetable matter, many of them laying small eggs which look like minute pearls. Their hiding places are under leaves in shady or moist places, under the bark of dead trees or stumps, or under loose stone. They creep slowly and are most active after rain. Some of our larger kinds are an inch or two in diameter, (see Fig. 1., the white-lipped) but from this size there are others diminishing in size to the smallest, which are hardly larger than the head of a pin, In collecting them the little ones may be allowed to dry up. The big ones must be killed in boiling water, when the animal can be pulled out with a hook made of a crooked pin, leaving the shell clean and perfect. The slugs are not attractive on account of the slime which they throw out and can only be kept in spirits. Some of the species found in California are as large as a small cigar, but those of the states east of the Rocky Mountains are smaller and have mostly been introduced from Europe, where they do a lot of mischief by eating such garden plants as lettuce.

Many of the fresh-water snails are abundant in brooks and ponds, and their relations, the fresh-water mussels, are often very numerous in shallow rivers. They have a shell frequently beautifully pearly, white or purple, and sometimes have the brown outer skin prettily streaked with bright green.

Fig. 2 Whelk (Buccinum umatum)


Fig. 3 Pond snail (Lymnaea palustris)

The principal fresh-water snails are the pond snail (Lymnaea; see Fig. 3); the Physa (see Fig. 6), which is remarkable for having the coil turned to the left instead of the right; and the orb-snail, (Planorbis: see Fig. 4) which has its coil flat. All of {96} these lay minute eggs in a mass of transparent jelly, and are to be found on lily pads and other water plants, or crawling on the bottom, while the mussels bury themselves more or less in the mud or lie on the gravelly bottom of streams. There is also a very numerous tribe of small bivalve shells, varying from half an inch to very minute in size, which are also mud lovers and are known as Sphaerium or Pisidium, having no “common” English names, since only those who hunt for them know of their existence.

On the seashore everybody knows the mussel (Mytilus: see Fig. 5), the soft clam, the round clam, and the oyster, as these are sought for food; but there is a multitude of smaller bivalves which are not so well known. The sea-snails best known on the coast north of Chesapeake Bay are the whelk (Buccinum: see Fig. 2), the sand snail or Natica, which bores the round holes often found in clam shells on the beach, in order to suck the juices of its neighbors, and the various kinds of periwinkles (rock snails or Littorina) found by the millions on the rocks between tides. These, as well as the limpets, small boat-shaped or slipper-shaped conical shells found in similar places, are vegetable feeders. Altogether, there are several hundred kinds found on the seashore and the water near the shore, and a collection of them will not only contain many curious, pretty, and interesting things, but will have the advantage of requiring no preservative to keep them in good condition after the animal has been taken out.

Fig. 4 Orb-Shell (Planorbis trivolvis)


Fig. 5 Black Mussel (Mytilus)


Fig. 6 Bubble snail (Physa heterostropha)

The squids, cuttle-fishes, octopus, and their allies are also mollusks, but not so accessible to the ordinary collector, and can only be kept in spirits.

Books which may help the collector to identify the shells he may find are:

For the land and fresh-water shells:

“Mollusks of the Chicago Area” and “The Lymnaeidae of North America.” By F. C. Baker. Published by the Chicago Academy of Sciences.

For the American Marine Shells: Bulletin No. 37. Published by the United States National Museum, at Washington.

For shells in general: “The Shell Book.” Published by Doubleday, Page & Co., Garden City, N.Y.

On the Pacific Coast the “West Coast Shells,” by Prof. Josiah Keep of Mills College, will be found very useful.


By Dr. Leonhard Stejneger, Curator National Museum

By reptiles we understand properly a certain class of vertebrate or backboned animals, which, on the whole, may be described as possessing scales or horny shields since most of them may be distinguished by this outer covering, as the mammals by their hair and the birds by their feathers. Such animals as thousand-legs, scorpions, tarantulas, etc., though often erroneously referred to as reptiles, do not concern us in this connection. Among the living reptiles we distinguish four separate groups, the crocodiles, the turtles, the lizards, and the snakes.

The crocodiles resemble lizards in shape, but are very much larger and live only in the tropics and the adjacent regions of the temperate zone. To this order belongs our North American alligator, which inhabits the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the coast country along the Atlantic Ocean as far north as North Carolina. They are hunted for their skin, which furnishes an excellent leather for traveling bags, purses, etc., and because of the incessant pursuit are now becoming quite rare in many localities where formerly they were numerous. The American crocodile, very much like the one occurring in the river Nile, is also found at the extreme southern end of Florida.

The turtles are easily recognized by the bony covering which encases their body, and into which most species can withdraw their heads and legs for protection. This bony box is usually covered with horny plates, but in a large group, the so-called soft-shell turtles, the outer covering is a soft skin, thus forming a {98} notable exception to the rule that reptiles are characterized by being covered with scales or plates. While most of the turtles live in fresh water or on land, a few species pass their lives in the open ocean, only coming ashore during the breeding season to deposit their eggs. Some of these marine turtles grow to an enormous size, sometimes reaching a weight of over eight hundred pounds. One of them is much sought for on account of the delicacy of its flesh; another because of the thickness and beauty of its horny plates which furnish the so-called tortoise-shell, an important article of commerce. Turtles appear to reach a very old age, specimens having been known to have lived several hundred years. The box tortoise of our woods, the musk turtles, the snapping turtles are familiar examples of this order, while the terrapin, which lives in brackish ponds and swamps along our sea-coasts, is famous as a table delicacy.

Harlequin snake

The lizards are four-legged reptiles, usually of small size, living on the ground or in the trees, out very rarely voluntarily entering water. The so-called water lizards are not lizards at all, but belong to the salamanders and are distinguished by having a naked body not covered with scales. Most of the true lizards are of very graceful form, exceedingly quick at running; others display the most gorgeous coloration which, in many of them, such as the chameleons, changes according to the light, or the temperature, or the mood of the animal. Not all of them have four legs, however, there being a strong tendency to develop legless species which then externally become so much like snakes that they are told apart with some difficulty. Thus our so-called glass-snake, common in the Southern states, is not a snake at all, but a lizard, as we may easily see by observing the ear openings on each side of the head, as no snake has ears. This beautiful animal is also known as the joint-snake, and both names have reference to the exceeding brittleness of its long tail, which often breaks in many pieces in the hands of the enemy trying to capture the lizard. That these pieces ever join and heal together is of course a silly fable. As a matter of fact, the body in a comparatively short time grows a new tail, which, however, is much shorter and stumpier than the old one. The new piece is often of a different color from the rest of the body and {99} greatly resembles a “horn,” being conical and pointed, and has thus given rise to another equally silly fable, viz., that of the horn snake, or hoop snake, which is said to have a sting in its tail and to be deadly poisonous. The lizards are all perfectly harmless, except the sluggish Gila monster (pronounced Heela, named from the Gila River in Arizona) which lives in the deserts of Arizona and Mexico, and whose bite may be fatal to man. The poison glands are situated at the point of the lower jaw, and the venom is taken up by the wound while the animal hangs on to its victim with the tenacity of a bulldog. All the other lizards are harmless in spite of the dreadful stories told about the deadly quality of some of the species in various parts of the country.


Rattlesnake palate

The snakes form the last group of the reptiles. Universally legless, though some of the boas and pythons have distinct outer rudiments of hind limbs, they are not easily mistaken. And it is perhaps well so, for unless one is an expert at distinguishing between the poisonous and the harmless kind it is just as well to keep at a respectful distance from them. It is safest not to interfere with them, especially as those that are not poisonous are usually very useful in destroying rats and mice and other vermin, except perhaps those living in trees and feeding on eggs and young birds, which certainly do not deserve our protection. Of course the rattlesnake is not to be mistaken. The horny appendix to its tail, with which it sounds the warning of its presence, is enough to distinguish it. It should here be explained that both lizards and snakes at various intervals shed the outer layer of their skin, the so-called epidermis. This transparent layer, after a certain length of time, loosens and is usually stripped off whole by the animal crawling out of it and turning it inside out, as a tight glove is turned. Now, at the end of a rattlesnake’s tail there is a horny cap which is {100} called the button, and being narrowed at the base and more strongly built than the rest of the epidermis it is not shed with the rest of the skin, but remains attached.

Thus for each shedding a new joint or ring is added to the rattle. How often the shedding takes place depends on various circumstances and may occur an uncertain number of times each year. Such a rattle, loose-jointed as it is, is rather brittle and the tip of the sounding instrument is easily broken and lost. It will therefore be easily understood that the common notion that a rattlesnake’s age can be told by the number of the rings in its rattle is absolutely erroneous. Another equally common and equally erroneous notion relates to the tongue of the snake, which the ignorant often term its “sting” and which they believe to be the death-dealing instrument. Of course, the soft, forked tongue which constantly darts out and in of the snake’s mouth is perfectly harmless. It serves rather as a “feeler” than as a taste organ. The wound is inflicted by a pair of large, curved, teeth or fangs, in the upper jaw. These fangs are hollow and connected by a duct with the gland on the side of the head, in which the poison is formed. Pressure on this gland at the time of the strike–for our poisonous snakes strike rather than bite–squirts the poison into the wound like a hypodermic syringe. The fangs when shed or damaged are replaced within a short time with new ones, so that a poisonous snake can only be made harmless for a short period by breaking them off. Only in exceptional cases need snake bites prove fatal. It is estimated that in North America only about two persons in a hundred bitten are killed by the poison, though many more die from carelessness or bad treatment, the worst of which is the filling up with whiskey, which aids the poison rather than counteracts it. The essential things in case of snake bite are: (1) keeping one’s wits; (2) tying a string, or the like, tightly around the wounded limb between the wound and the heart, and loosening it about once in fifteen minutes, so as to admit the poison slowly into the circulation; (3) making the wound bleed freely by enlarging it with a knife or otherwise; (4) if permanganate of potash be handy it should at once be applied to the {101} wound; (5) treat the wound as antiseptically as it is possible with the means at hand and hurry to a doctor.


The danger depends greatly on the amount of the poison injected, hence upon the size of the snake. It is for this reason that the big Florida rattlesnakes which grow to six feet and over are more to be feared than are other poisonous snakes. Of these, we have in our country, besides the rattlesnakes, the water moccasin, or cotton mouth, the copperhead, and the coral snake. The latter is a bright-colored snake of red, yellow, and black rings found in the South, but it is usually small, and not aggressive, so that but few cases of poisoning are known. The other two are common enough, the former from Norfolk, Va., south, the other all over the eastern country from Texas to Massachusetts. They are usually confounded, however, with two perfectly harmless snakes, the cotton mouth with the common water snake, the copperhead with the so-called spreading adder, but as their differences have to be learned from actual inspection and are very hard to express in a description which would help to identify living specimens, it is wisest to keep away from all of them.

See “The Poisonous Snakes of North America.” By Leonard Stejneger, published by Government Printing office, Washington.


Water moccasin



United States Bureau of Entomology
(Illustrations are copies from Comstock’s “How to Know the
Butterflies,” through courtesy of D. Appleton & Company.)

There is an advantage in the study of insects over most other branches of nature, excepting perhaps plants, in that there is plenty of material. You may have to tramp miles to see a certain bird or wild animal, but if you will sit down on the first patch of grass you are sure to see something going on in the insect world.


Nearly all insects go through several different stages. The young bird is very much like its parent, so is the young squirrel or a young snake or a {102} young fish or a young snail; but with most of the insects the young is very different from its parents. All butterflies and moths lay eggs, and these hatch into caterpillars which when full grown transform to what are called pupae or chrysalids–nearly motionless objects with all of the parts soldered together under an enveloping sheath. With some of the moths, the pupae are surrounded by silk cocoons spun by the caterpillars just before finally transforming to pupae. With all butterflies the chrysalids are naked, except with one species which occurs in Central America in which there is a common silk cocoon. With the moths, the larger part spin cocoons, but some of them, like the owlet moths whose larvae are the cutworms, have naked pupre, usually under the surface of the ground. It is not difficult to study the transformations of the butterflies and moths, and it is always very interesting to feed a caterpillar until it transforms, in order to see what kind of a butterfly or moth comes out of the chrysalis.

Take the monarch butterfly, for example: This is a large, reddish-brown butterfly, a strong flier, which is seen often flying about in the spring and again in the late summer and autumn. This is one of the most remarkable butterflies in America. It is found all over the United States. It is one of the strongest fliers that we know. It passes the winter in the Southern states as an adult butterfly, probably hidden away in cracks under the bark of trees or elsewhere. When spring comes the butterflies come out and begin to fly toward the north. Wherever they find the milk-weed plant they stop and lay some eggs on the leaves. The caterpillars issue from the eggs, feed on the milkweed, transform to chrysalids; then the butterflies issue and continue the northward flight, stopping to lay eggs farther north on other milkweeds. By the end of June or July some of these Southern butterflies have found their way north into Canada and begin the return flight southward. Along in early August they will be seen at the summer resorts in the Catskill Mountains, and by the end of October they will have traveled far down into the Southern states where they pass the winter.

Empty chrysalis and butterfly

The caterpillar of the monarch or milkweed butterfly is a very striking creature. It is nearly two inches long when full grown. Its head is yellow striped with black; its body is white with narrow black and yellow cross-stripes on each {103} segment. On the back of the second segment of the thorax there is a pair of black, whiplash-like filaments, and on the eighth joint there is a similar shorter pair. When this caterpillar gets ready to transform to chrysalis, it hangs itself up by its tail end, the skin splits and gradually draws back, and the chrysalis itself is revealed–pale pea-green in color with golden spots. Anyone by hunting over a patch of milkweed anywhere in the United States during the summer is quite apt to find these caterpillars feeding. It will be easy to watch them and to see them transform, and eventually to get the butterfly.

The same thing may be done with anyone of the six hundred and fifty-two different kinds of butterflies in the United States.

Larva getting ready to transform


Full grown larva

When it comes to moths, there is a much greater variety.

Instead of six hundred and fifty-two, there are fifty-nine hundred and seventy in Doctor Dyar’s big catalogue. Perhaps the most interesting of these caterpillars are the big native silk-worms, like those of the cecropia moth, the luna moth, the polyphemus moth, or the promethia moth. These caterpillars are very large and are to be found feeding upon the leaves of different trees, and all spin strong silken cocoons. People have tried to reel these cocoons, thinking that they might be able to use the silk to make silk cloth as with the domestic silk-worm of commerce, but they have been unable to reel them properly. The polyphemus moth, for example, has been experimented with a great deal. It is found over a greater part of the United States, and its caterpillar feeds upon a great variety of trees and shrubs such as oak, Butternut, hickory, basswood, elm, maple, birch, chestnut, sycamore, and many others. The caterpillar is light green and has raised lines of silvery white on the side. It grows to a very large size and spins a dense, hard cocoon, usually attached to leaves. There {104} are two generations in the Southern states, and one in the Northern states. The moth which comes out of the cocoon has a wing spread of fully five inches. It is reddish-gray or somewhat buff in color with darker bands near the edge of the wings, which themselves are pinkish on the outside, and with a large clear spot near the centre of the forewing and a regular eyespot (clear in part and blue in the rest) in the centre of the hind wing.

One wishing to know about butterflies and moths should consult a book entitled, “How to Know the Butterflies,” by Prof. J. H. Comstock of Cornell University and his wife, Mrs. Comstock, published by D. Appleton & Co., of New York, or, “The Butterfly Book,” by Dr. W. J. Holland of Pittsburg, published by Doubleday, Page & Co., of New York, and “The Moth Book,” also by Doctor Holland, and published by the same firm.

Caterpillar to chrysalis

Other Insects

There are many more different kinds of insects than there are of flowering plants, and if we were to add together all of the different kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, fishes, crabs, mollusks, and all of the lower forms of animal life, they would not all together amount to so many different kinds as there are insects. This makes the classification of insects quite complicated. There are eighteen or nineteen main orders, and each one is subdivided almost indefinitely. There is not one of these that is not full of interest. The habits of ants, for example, living in communities by themselves, afford a tremendous opportunity for interesting observation. A good book about them has been recently written by Dr. W. M. Wheeler, of Harvard, entitled “Ants, their Structure, Development, and Behavior,” published by the Columbia University Press, New York.

Many insects live in the water, and to follow their life histories in small home-made aquaria is one of the most interesting occupations one could have, and there is a lot to be learned about these insects. Go to any stagnant pool and you will find it swarming with animal life:
Larvae or “wigglers” of mosquitoes, and a number of other aquatic insects will be found, feeding upon these wigglers. Water bugs of different kinds will be found and the life histories of most of these were until quite recently almost unknown.

Beetles and Wasps

The order Coleoptera, comprising what we know as beetles, has thousands of species, each one with its own distinctive mode of life; some of them feeding upon other insects, others boring into wood, others feeding upon flowers, others upon leaves, and so on in endless variety.

The wasps also will bear study. Here, too, there is a great variety, some of them building the paper nests known to every one, others burrowing into the surface of the ground and storing up in these burrows grasshoppers and other insects for food for their young which are grub-like in form; others still burrowing into the twigs of bushes, and others making mud nests attached to the trunks of trees or to the clapboards of houses or outbuildings.

This is just a hint at the endless variety of habits of insects. The United States National Museum publishes a bulletin, by Mr. Nathan Banks, entitled “Directions for Collecting and Preserving Insects,” which gives a general outline of the classification, and should be possessed by everyone who wishes to take up the study from the beginning.


By Dr. Hugh M. Smith, Deputy Commissioner United States Fisheries

There is no more fascinating and profitable study than the fish life of the lakes, ponds, rivers, brooks, bays, estuaries, and coasts of the United States; and no more important service can be rendered our American boys than to teach them to become familiar with our native food and game fishes, to realize their needs, and by example and precept to {106} endeavor to secure for the fishes fair consideration and treatment.


Esox lucius–Common pike pickerel

Oncorhynchus tschawytscha–Chinook salmon

Coregonus clupeiformis–Common whitefish

Salvelinus fontinalis–Brook trout: speckled trout

Ictalurus punctatus–The speckled catfish

Classes of Fish

Fishes may be roughly classified as (1) fresh water, (2) migratory between fresh and salt water, and (3) marine. Among the families of American fresh-water fishes that are conspicuous on account of their size, abundance, or economic importance, or all of these, there may be mentioned the sturgeons, the catfishes, the suckers, the minnows or carps, the pikes, the killifishes, the trouts, salmons, and whitefishes, the perches, and the basses, and sun fishes.

Migratory Fish

The migratory fishes fall into two groups, the anadromous and the catadtomous. The anadromous fishes pass most of their lives in the sea, run up stream only for the purpose of spawning, and constitute the most valuable of our river fishes. In this group are the shads and the alewives or river herrings, the white perch, the striped bass or rock fish, some {107} of the sturgeons, and the Atlantic salmon, all of which go back to sea after spawning, and the Pacific salmons (five species), all of which die after spawning. Of the catadromous fishes there is a single example in our waters–the common eel. It spends most of its life in the fresh waters and sometimes becomes permanently landlocked there, and runs down to the sea to spawn, laying its eggs off shore in deep water.

Marine Fish

The marine fishes that are found in the coastal waters of the United States number many hundred species, some of them of great value as food. Among the most important are cod, haddock, hake, halibut, Flounder, herring, bluefish, mackeral, weakfish or squeteague, mullet, snapper, drum, and rock fishes.

Perea flavescens–Yellow perch

Pomolobus altivalis–The alewife or river herring

Micropterus salmoides–Large-mouth black bass

Notropis hudsonius–Minnow or shiner

Acipenser oxyrhynchus–The Atlantic sturgeon

Studying Fish

The study of living fishes is most entertaining and is rendered somewhat difficult by the medium in which they live, by their {108}shyness, and by the necessity of approaching closely in order to obtain any accurate view. The spawning, feeding, swimming and other habits of very few of our fishes are so well known that further information thereon is not needed; and the boy scout’s patience, skill, and powers of observation will be reflected in the records that may be and should be kept about the different fishes met with. Fishes may be studied from a bank, wharf, or boat, or by wading; and the view of the bottom and the fishes on or adjacent thereto may be greatly improved by the use of a “water bucket”–an ordinary wooden pail whose bottom is replaced by a piece of window glass. A more elaborate arrangement for observation is to provide at the bow of a row-boat a glass bottom box over which may be thrown a hood so that the student is invisible to the fishes.

Fundulus diaphanus–Killifish: top minnow

Catostomus commersonii–Common sucker: white sucker

Identification of Specimens

While many of the fishes in a given section are easily recognizable, there are in every water fishes which, on account of their small size, rarity, retiring habits, or close similarity to other fishes, are unknown to the average boy. These latter fishes often afford the most interesting subjects for study; and in all parts of the country it is possible for energetic observers and collectors to add to the list of fishes already recorded from particular districts.

When fishes cannot be identified in the field, the larger ones may be sketched and notes taken on their color, while the smaller ones may be preserved with salt, formalin, or any kind of spirits. Specimens and drawings may be forwarded for identification to the zoological department of the local state university, to the state fish commission, to the Bureau of Fisheries, Washington, D. C., or to the United States National Museum in the same city.


This most delightful of outdoor pastimes requires for its enjoyment no elaborate or expensive paraphernalia: a rod cut on the spot, a cork float, an ordinary hook baited with angleworm, grasshopper, grub, may-fly, or any of a dozen other handy lures, will answer for most occasions. At the same time, the joys of fishing will often be increased if one possesses and learns how to use a light, jointed rod, with reel, fine line, and artificial baits. The necessary equipment for scientific angling is so light and compact that it should form a part of the outfit of every one who spends much time in the open air.

It should be the invariable practice of anglers to return to the water all uninjured fish that are not needed for food or study. “It is not all of fishing to fish,” and no thoughtful boy who has the interests of the country at heart, and no lover of nature, will go fishing merely for the purpose of catching the longest possible string of fish, thus placing himself in the class of anglers properly known as “fish hogs.”

Special Service by Boy Scouts

Valuable service may be rendered by boy scouts in all parts of the country by bringing to the attention of the proper state, county, or municipal authorities matters affecting the welfare of the fishes. Among the subjects that should be reported to fish commissioners, fish
wardens, or local legal officers are:

(1) All cases noticed where fish are being killed by dynamite, poisons, or other illegal and improper means.

(2) Threatened destruction of fish by the drying of streams or ponds.

(3) The existence of obstructions to the passage of fish on their way to their spawning grounds. All dams in streams in which are migratory fish should have fish-ways or fish-ladders.

William Leland Stowell, M. D.

Every boy should have an aquarium. The aquarium will give ten times as much pleasure as annoyance, and the longer time you have one undisturbed the greater will be its revelations.

A simple tank can be made from a large water bottle or demijohn. File a line around the top and carefully break it off. For the back yard, cut a paint barrel in two or coat a tub inside with spar varnish. Anything that will hold a few gallons of water, two inches of clean sand, and some water plants will be a suitable home for fish and other creatures. A boy handy with tools can make a frame, and with plate glass and proper cement construct a large tank.

Starting the Aquarium

You can balance your aquarium by plenty of plants. As they grow they give off oxygen which purifies the water and is breathed by the fish. The water need not be changed for years. The swamps and slow streams afford great numbers of plants. If you know the plants get pond weeds, Canadian water weed, ludwigia, willow moss, or tape grass. (Look in the dictionary for official names of the plants or get special books from the library.) Take some tape grass (vallisneria) to your teacher or doctor and ask him to show you under his microscope how the sap flows and the green coloring matter is deposited. The simplest form of vegetation is algae which grows on the sides of the tank. Lest this grow too thick, put in a few snails. Watch the snails’ eggs develop in clusters. Buy if you cannot find banded swamp snails that give birth to their young instead of laying eggs.

Any pond or stream will furnish fish that are beautiful or interesting to watch, e.g., killies, sunfish, cat-fish, carp, shiners, blacknosed dace, minnows–the mud minnow that seems to stand on his tail–darters, etc. If you get your supply from dealers, buy gold fish, of which there are several varieties, fan-tailed, comets, fringe tails and telescope eyed. Mirror carp are lively. Paradise fish are as beautiful as butterflies.

A balanced aquarium

Fish Nests

Every one knows something of birds’ nests. Did you ever watch sticklebacks build their barrel-like nest, or the Paradise fish his floating nest, and the father fish take all the care of the young? Did you ever see the newt roll her eggs in small leaves, or the caddis fly make a case of bits of stick, leaves, and sand? For a real marvel watch a pair of diving spiders weave their balloon-like nest under water and actually carry air down to fill it, so that the young may be dry though submerged.

Put in a few fresh-water clams and insects in variety, water boatmen, diving spiders, and whirligigs. A tank of beetles will be full of interest. Always add two or three tadpoles as scavengers, and watch their legs grow out as the tail grows short and they become frogs. You can find or buy a variety of turtles which will soon be tame and eat from your fingers. Do not keep turtles with fish.

On every hike or tramp carry a wide-mouthed bottle for specimens and a piece of rubber cloth in which to bring home water plants. Fish can be carried wrapped in damp moss for hours and will be found well and lively when put in the aquarium.

Fish Food

Fish require very little food other than the minute creatures that develop in the water.

The dealers supply proper foods for aquaria, or you can prepare your own. Fine vermicelli is good for gold fish, scraped lean beef is just what the sunfish and Paradise fish want. Ant eggs suit many fish, and powdered dog biscuit will fill many mouths. It is evident that an article so brief as this is only suggestive. The libraries contain many books of which two are recommended:

“Home Aquarium and How to Care For It.” By Eugene Smith, 1902.
Published by Dutton, New York.

“Book of Aquaria.” By Bateman and Bennett, 1890. Published by L. Upcott Gill, 170 Strand, W. C., London.

United States Geological Survey

Geologists study the materials of the earth’s crust, the processes continually changing its surface, and the forms and structures thus produced. In a day’s tramp one may see much under each of these heads.

The earth’s crust is made up chiefly of the hard rocks, which outcrop in many places, but are largely covered by thin, loose, surface materials. Rocks may be igneous, which have cooled from a melted condition; or sedimentary, which are made of layers spread one upon another by water currents or waves, or by winds.

Igneous rocks, while still molten, have been forced into other rocks from below, or poured out on the surface from volcanoes. They are chiefly made of crystals of various minerals, such as quartz, felspar, mica, and pyrite. Granite often contains large crystals of felspar or mica. Some igneous rocks, especially lavas, are glassy; others are so fine grained that the crystals cannot be seen.

In places one may find veins filling cracks in the rocks, and {113} made of material deposited from solution in water. Many valuable minerals and ores occur in such veins, and fine specimens can sometimes be obtained from them.


Fold in stratified rock

Wearing the soft and hard beds by rain and wind


Quartz vein in rock

{113 continued}
Sedimentary rock are formed of material usually derived from the breaking up and wearing away of older rocks. When first deposited, the materials are loose, but later, when covered by other beds, they become hardened into solid rock. If the layers were of sand, the rock is sandstone; if of clay, it is shale. Rocks made of layers of pebbles are called conglomerate or pudding-stone; those of limy material, derived perhaps from shells, are limestone. Many sedimentary rocks contain fossils, which are the shells or bones of animals or the stems and leaves of plants living in former times, and buried by successive beds of sand or mud spread over them. Much of the land is covered by a thin surface deposit of clay, sand, or gravel, which is yet loose material and which shows the mode of formation of sedimentary rocks.

Some rocks have undergone, since their formation, great pressure or heat and have been much changed. They are called metamorphic rocks. Some are now made of crystals though at first they were not; in others the minerals have become arranged {114} in layers closely resembling the beds of sedimentary rocks; still others, like slate, tend to split into thin plates.

The earth’s surface is continually being changed; the outcropping hard rock is worn away by wind and rain, and is broken up by frost, by solution of some minerals, etc. The loose material formed is blown away or washed away by rain and deposited elsewhere by streams in gravel bars, sand beds, and mud flats. The streams cut away their beds, aided by the sand and pebbles washed along. Thus the hills are being worn down and the valleys deepened and widened, and the materials of the land are slowly being moved toward the sea, again to be deposited in beds.

Wave-cut cliff with beach and spit built by waves and currents

Along the coast the waves, with the pebbles washed about, are wearing away the land and spreading out its materials in new beds elsewhere. The shore is being cut back in some places and built out in others. Rivers bring down sand and mud and build deltas or bars at their mouths.

Volcanoes pour out melted rock on the surface, and much fine material is blown out in eruptions. Swamps are filled {115} by dead vegetable matter and by sand and mud washed in. These materials form new rocks and build up the surface. Thus the two processes, the wearing down in some places and the building up in others, are tending to bring the surface to a uniform level. Another process, so slow that it can be observed only through long periods of time, tends to deform the earth’s crust and to make the surface more irregular. In times past, layers of rock once horizontal have been bent and folded into great arches and troughs, and large areas of the earth’s surface have been raised high above sea-level.

Rock ledge rounded smooth and scratched by ice


Sand-dune with wind-rippled surface

At almost any rock outcrop the result of {116} the breaking-up process may be seen; the outer portion is softer, more easily broken, and of different color from the fresh rock, as shown by breaking open a large piece. The wearing away of the land surface is well shown in rain gullies, and the carrying along and depositing of sand and gravel may be seen in almost any stream. In the Northern states and Canada, which at one time were covered by a great sheet of ice, moving southward and grinding off the surface over which it passed, most of the rock outcrops are smoothly rounded and many show scratches made by pebbles dragged along by the ice. The hills too have {117} smoother and rounder outlines, as compared with those farther south where the land has been carved only by rain and streams. Along the coast the wearing away of the land by waves is shown at cliffs, found where the coast is high, and by the abundant pebbles on the beaches, which are built of material torn from the land by the waves. Sand bars and tidal flats show the deposition of material brought by streams and spread out by currents. Sand dunes and barrens illustrate the carrying and spreading out of fine material by the wind.

Slab containing fossil shells


Conglomerate or pudding-stone

In many regions the beds of sedimentary rocks, which must have been nearly horizontal when formed, are now found sloping at various angles or standing on edge, the result of slow deforming of these beds at an earlier time. As some beds are more easily worn away than others, the hills and valleys in such regions owe their form and position largely to the different extent to which the harder and softer beds have been worn down by weather and by streams. The irregular line of many coasts is likewise due to the different hardness of the rocks along the shore.

It is by the study of the rocks and of the remains of life found in them, by observing the way in which the surface of the earth is being changed and examining the results of those changes and by concluding that similar results were produced in former times in the same way, that geologists are able to read much of the past history of the earth, uncounted years before there were men upon it.

Plants, Ferns, and Grasses
By Dr. L. C. Corbett, Horticulturist, United States Bureau of Plant Industry

The appearance of the blossoms and fruits of the fields and forests in any locality note the advent and progress of the seasons more accurately than does the calendar. Plants and seeds which have lain asleep during the winter are awakened not by the birth of a month, but by the return of heat and moisture in proper proportions. This may be early one year and late another, but, no matter what the calendar says, the plants respond to the call and give evidence of spring, summer, or autumn as the case may be. The surface of the earth is not flat. We have valleys and we have mountains; we have torrid and we have temperate zones. The plant life of the world has been adjusted to these varied conditions, and as a result we have plants with certain characteristics growing in the tropics at sea-level, but a very different class of plants with {118} different habits and characteristics inhabiting the elevated regions of this same zone. It must be remembered that even under the tropics some of the highest mountains carry a perpetual snow-cap. There is therefore all possible gradations of climate from sea-level to the top of such mountains, even at the equator, and plant life is as a result as varied as is climate. Each zone, whether determined by latitude or by altitude, possesses a distinctive flora.

But altitude and latitude are not the only factors which have been instrumental in determining the plants found in any particular locality. This old earth of ours has not always been as we see her to-day. The nature we know and observe is quite different from that which existed in earlier ages of the earth’s history. The plants, the trees, and the flowers that existed upon the earth during the age when our coal was being deposited were very different from those we now have. There has been a change, but, strange as it may seem, there are in some places upon the earth to-day some of the same species of plants which were abundant during the coal-forming periods. These are among the oldest representatives of the plant world now extant. Then we are told that there was a period when the north temperate zone was covered with a great ice field which crowded down as far as southern Pennsylvania and central Ohio. This naturally brought about a profound change in the location and character of the plants of this region. There are in the Black Hills of Dakota species of plants which have no relatives anywhere in the prairie region, and no means is known by which these representatives of a Rocky Mountain family could find their way into the Black Hills, save that, previous to the ice age, this species was generally scattered over the territory, and that, during the ice age, the species was perpetuated in the hills, but was killed out between there and the Rocky Mountains where it is found in abundance. These are some of the natural reasons for the existence of varied plants in different localities. They are sufficient to explain the reason for the existence of local floras.

But nature has provided untold ways for the perpetuation as well as the dispersal of plants for the purpose of, so far as possible, enabling the plants of the world to take possession of all parts of the earth’s surface. If this adjustment were complete, the plants would be practically alike all over the surface of the earth, but we have already explained why this cannot be and why we have a different flora in each zone, whether it be marked by lines of latitude or height of {120} the mountains. Plants are perpetuated by seeds, by bulbs, and by woody parts. Some seeds are highly perishable and must be sown as soon as ripe; others remain years without losing their power to produce plants. Some grow as soon as they come in contact with the soil; others must fall, be buried and frozen before they will germinate. Some plants are perpetuated by bulbs, tubers, or roots in which a supply of food material is stored away to carry the plant over a period when its above-ground parts cannot thrive owing to frost or drought. Upon the return of favorable conditions, these resting parts throw out shoots and again make the round of growth, usually producing both seeds and underground parts for the preservation of the species. There are both wild and cultivated plants in nearly all sections which illustrate these methods of preservation. Besides plants which have bulbs, tubers, or perennial roots, we have the large, woody plants which live many years and so perpetuate themselves, not only as individuals the same as plants with perennial roots; but they, too, as a rule, produce seed for the multiplication of their kind.


Pinkster Flower–It shows its pink flowers in rocky woods and thickets during spring.


White Pine–Common evergreen tree of the Northeastern states. Needle-like leaves in bundles of five


Butterfly Weed–The bright, orange colored flowers are conspicuous in dry meadows from June to September


Poison Ivy–Can be distinguished from the harmless woodbine by its three-lobed leaves


{120 continued}
The agencies which serve to spread plants about over the earth’s surface are very varied and interesting. Nature has provided seeds with many appendages which assist in their dispersal. Some seeds have wings, and some parachutes to take advantage of the wind. Some seeds are provided with hooks and stickers by which they become attached to the fur of animals and are in this way enabled to steal a free ride. Other seeds are provided with edible coverings which attract birds, but the seeds themselves are hard and not digestible; the fruit is eaten and the seeds rejected and so plants are scattered. Besides these methods of perpetuation and dispersal, some plants are perpetuated as well as dispersed by vegetative reproduction, i. e., by cuttings as in the case of willows; by runners as in the case of the strawberry; and by stolons as with the black raspberry. (For further information on this point see Bailey’s “Lessons with Plants.”)

Some plant characteristics, however, of greatest interest to the scout may be enumerated. Plants not only mark zones, but they indicate soils with certain characteristics, and the crop wise say that the soil on which chestnut abounds is suitable for buckwheat or peaches. Plants also indicate the influence of local conditions such as lakes, ponds, or even variations in contour. A knowledge of the local flora of a region will at once tell one whether he is upon a northern or a southern hillside by the plants of the area. The creek bottom will {121} abound with species not to be found on the hillsides, but species common to both plain and mountain will mark the progress of the season up the slope.

In the north temperate zone the moss if any will be found growing upon the north side of the tree trunk. Each hundred feet of elevation in a given latitude makes from one to two days difference in time of blooming of plants. The character of the vegetation of a region is an index to its climate. Certain plants are adapted to frigid regions, others to temperate, and still others to tropical areas. Some plants are adapted to humid sections, while others are admirably adjusted to desert conditions. A knowledge of these differences in plants will be of the greatest value to the scout, and if this is supplemented by information about the value and uses of the various plant products many hardships can be avoided. Many plants produce valuable juices, gums, and resins, while others yield us valuable timber for building and cabinet uses.

While it is impossible to even suggest the great variety of plants found within the confines of the United States, the following books on botany will be found helpful in each of the different sections for which they are designed.


For the botany of the Northeastern United States use:

“New Manual of Botany,” 7th ed. Asa Gray.

“Illustrated Flora of the United States and Canada.” N. L. Britton and Hon. Addison Brown.

For the botany of the Southern United States use:

“Flora of the Southern United States.” A. W. Chapman.

“Southern Wild Flowers and Trees.” Alice Lounsberry.

For the Botany of the Rocky Mountain region use:

“New Manual of Botany of the Central Rocky Mountains.” John M. Coulter; Revised by Aven Nelson.

“Rocky Mountain Wild Flower Studies.” Burton O. Longyear.

“The Trees of California.” Willis Linn Jepson.

For general information regarding the shrubby plants of the United States use:

“Our Shrubs of the United States.” Austin C. Apgar.

“Our Northern Shrubs.” Harriet Louise Keeler.

For the wild flowers outside of those already mentioned for the Southern United States and the Rocky Mountain region use:

“Our Garden Flowers.” Harriet Louise Keeler.

“How to Know the Wild Flowers.” Frances Theodora Parsons.

“Field Book of American Wild Flowers.” F. Schuyler Mathews.
For the ferns and grasses it will be found worth while to consult:

“How to Know the Ferns.” Frances Theodora Parsons.

“The Fern Collector’s Guide.” Willard Nelson Clute.

“New England Ferns and Their Common Allies.” Helen Eastman.

“The Grasses, Sedges, and Rushes of the North United States.” Edward Knobel.

For the study of the monarchs of our forests the following books will all be found exceedingly useful:

“Manual of the Trees of North America.” Charles Sprague Sargent.

“Trees of the Northern United States.” Austin C. Apgar.

“Handbook of the Trees of the Northern United States and Canada.” Romeyn Beck Hough.

“North American Trees.” N. L. Britton.

“Familiar Trees and Their Leaves.” 1911. F. Schuyler Mathews.
Besides these, several states have issued through their state experiment stations bulletins dealing with the local plant inhabitants. In some instances these publications cover forest trees, grasses, and shrubs, either native or introduced. Several of the educational institutions, as well as the experiment stations, now regularly issue nature study leaflets or bulletins which treat of popular subjects of interest in connection with outdoor things. It would be well to write the state experiment station in your state for literature of this nature.

By Ernest Thompson Seton, Chief Scout
Revised by Dr. C. C. Curtis

There are thousands of different kinds of toadstools or mushrooms in the world; most of them are good to eat, yet all have a bad reputation, because some are deadly poisonous.

False tests. First of all let us dispose of some ancient false tests that have led many into disaster.

Cooking or otherwise trying with silver proves absolutely nothing. It is believed by many that the poisonous mushrooms turn silver black. Some do; some do not; and some eatable ones do. There is nothing in it.

Bright colors on the cap also mean nothing; many gorgeous toadstools are wholesome food. But the color of the pores {123} means a great deal, and this is determined by laying the fungus cap gills down on gray paper for six or eight hours under a glass.


Moose horn clavaria


Spindle clavaria


Club clavaria


Golden clavaria

Poisonous Toadstools

Of all the poisonous kinds the deadliest are the Amanitas. Not only are they widespread and abundant, but they are unhappily much like the ordinary table mushrooms. They have however one or two strong marks: Their stalk always grows out of a “poison cup” which shows either as a cup or as a bulb; they have white or yellow gills, and white spores. The worst of these are:

Deathcup, Destroying Angel, Sure-death, or Deadly Amanita
(Amanita phalloides)

One and one half to five inches across the cup; three to seven inches high; white, green, yellowish olive, or grayish brown; {124} smooth but sticky when moist; gills white; spores white; on the stem is an annulus or ring just below the cap.

Fly Amanita
(Amanita muscaria)

About the same size; mostly yellow, but ranging from orange red to or almost white; usually with raised white spots or scales on the top; gills white or tinged yellow; spores white; flesh white.

Hated Amanita
(Amanita spreta)
Four to six inches high; cap three to five inches across; white, tinged with brown in places especially in the middle of the cap, where it has sometimes a bump.

Deadly amanita — Fly amanita — Hated amanita

There are over a score more of amanitas varying in size and color, but all have the general style of mushrooms, and the label marks of poison, viz., white or yellow gills, a poison cup, and white spores.

Emetic Russula
(Russula emetica)

In a less degree this russula is poisonous. It is a short-stemmed mushroom, two to four inches high, about the size of the Fly Amanita; its cap is rosy red, pinkish when young, dark red when older, fading to straw color in age; its gills and spores white. Its peppery taste when raw is a fair notice of danger.

Symptoms of Poisoning: Vomiting and purging, “the discharge from the bowels being watery with small flakes {125} suspended and sometimes containing blood,” cramps in the extremities. The pulse is very slow and strong at first but later weak and rapid, sometimes sweat and saliva pour out. Dizziness, faintness, and blindness, the skin clammy, cold, and bluish, or livid; temperature low with dreadful tetanic convulsions, and finally stupor.

Remedy: “Take an emetic at once, and send for a physician with instructions to bring hypodermic syringe and atropine sulphate. The dose is 1/180 of a grain, and doses should be continued heroically until 1/20 of a grain is administered, or until, in the physician’s opinion, a proper quantity has been injected. Where the victim is critically ill, the 1/20 of a grain may be administered.” (McIllvaine & Macadam.)


Emetic russula: russula emetica
(after Marshall)




IMPORTANT NOTE.–Experimenting with mushrooms is dangerous; it is
better not to eat them unless gathered under expert direction.

The Common Mushroom
(Agaricus campestris)

Known at once by its general shape and smell, its pink or brown gills, white flesh, brown spores and solid stem.


Also belonging to the gilled or true mushroom family are the ink-caps of the genus.
They grow on dung piles and rich ground. They spring up over night and perish in a day. In the last stage the gills turn as black as ink.

Inky Coprinus
(Coprinus atramentarius)

This is the species illustrated. The example was from the woods; often it is less tall and graceful. The cap is one inch {126} to three inches in diameter, grayish or grayish brown, sometimes tinged lead color. Wash and stew: Stew or bake from twenty to thirty minutes after thorough washing, being the recognized mode.

All the Clavarias or Coral Mushrooms are good except Clavaria dichotoma which is white, and has its branches divided in pairs at each fork. It grows on the ground under beeches and is slightly poisonous; it is rare.

Inky coprinus

The Delicious Morel
(Morchella deliciosa)

One and a half to three inches high; greenish with brown hollows. There are several kindred species of various colors. This is known by the cylindrical shape of its cap. Wash, slice, and stew.



The next important and safe group are the puffballs before they begin to puff. All our puffballs when young and solid white inside are good, wholesome food. Some of them, like the brain puffball or the giant puffball, are occasionally a foot in diameter, and yield flesh enough to feed a dozen persons.


Brain puffball Pear puffball Cup puffball

They are well known to all who live in the country, their smooth rounded exterior, without special features except the {127} roots, and their solid white interior are easily remembered. Peel, slice, and fry.


The following are standard and beautifully illustrated works on mushrooms and toadstools. They have been freely used for guidance and illustrations in the preparation of the above:

“Edible Fungi of New York.” By Charles H. Peck. Published by New York State Museum, Albany, 1900.

“The Mushroom Book.” By Nina L. Marshall. Published 1902 at New York by Doubleday, Page & Co. $3.50.

“One Thousand American Fungi.” By McIllvaine and Macadam. Published by the Bobbs-Merrill Company of Indianapolis, 1902. $3.00. Add 40 cents express.

“Mushrooms.” G. F. Atkinson. Holt & Co.

“The Mushroom.” M. E. Hard. The Ohio Library Co., Columbus, Ohio.


White Pine
(Pinus strobus)

A noble evergreen tree, up to 175 feet high. This is the famous pine of New England, the lumberman’s prize. Its leaves are in bunches of five, and are 3 to 5 inches long; cones 4 to 6 inches long. Wood pale, soft, straight-grained, easily split. Newfoundland to Manitoba and south to Illinois.


White pine Hemlock Red cedar



There are many different kinds of pines. They are best distinguished by their cones.

(Tsuga Canadensis)

Evergreen. Sixty to seventy feet high. Wood pale, soft, coarse, splintery, not durable. Bark full of tannin. Leaves 1/2 to 3/4 inches long; cones about the same. Its knots are so hard that they quickly turn the edge of an axe or gap it as a stone might; these are probably the hardest vegetable growth in our woods. Its topmost twig usually points easterly. Nova Scotia to Minnesota, south to Delaware and Michigan.


Cottonwood Shagbark Walnut

Red Cedar
(Juniperus Virginiana)

Evergreen. Any height up to 100 feet. Wood, heart a beautiful bright red; sap wood nearly white; soft, weak, but extremely durable as posts, etc. Makes a good bow. The tiny scale-like leaves are 3 to 6 to the inch; the berry-like cones are light blue and 1/4 of an inch in diameter. It is found in dry places from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to British Columbia.

(Populus deltoides)

Small and rare in the Northeast, but abundant and large {129} in West; even 150 feet high. Leaves 3 to 6 inches long. Found from Quebec to Florida and west to the mountains.

Shagbark or White Hickory
(Hicoria ovata)

A tall forest tree up to 120 feet high. Known at once by the great angular slabs of bark hanging partly detached from its main trunk, forced off by the growth of wood, but too tough to fall. Its leaves are 8 to 14 inches long, with 5 to 7 broad leaflets.

Black Walnut
(Juglans nigra)

A magnificent forest tree up to 150 feet high. Wood, a dark purplish-brown or gray; hard, close-grained, strong, very durable in weather or ground work, and heavy; fruit round, 1-3/4 inches through. Leaflets 13 to 23, and 3 to 5 inches long. Found from Canada to the Gulf.

White Walnut or Butternut
(Juglans cinerea)

A much smaller tree than the last, rarely 100 feet high, with much smoother bark, leaves similar but larger and coarser, compound of fewer leaflets, but the leaflet stalks and the new twigs are covered with sticky down. Leaves 15 to 30 inches long, leaflets 11 to 19 in number and 3 to 5 inches long; fruit oblong, 2 to 3 inches long. New Brunswick and Dakota and south to Mississippi.

Common Birch or Aspen-leaved Birch
(Betula populifolia)

A small tree on dry and poor soil, rarely 50 feet high. Wood soft, close-grained, not strong, splits in drying, useless for weather or ground work. A cubic foot weighs 36 pounds. Leaves 2 to 3 inches long. It has a black triangular scar at each armpit. The canoe birch is without these black marks. New Brunswick to Ontario to Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Black Birch, Sweet Birch, or Mahogany Birch
(Betula lenta)

The largest of the birches; a great tree, in Northern forests up to 80 feet high. The bark is scarcely birchy, rather like that of {130} cherry, very dark, and aromatic. Leaves 2-1/2 to 6 inches long. Newfoundland to Western Ontario and south to Tennessee.


Ashen-leaved birch Black birch Beech

(Fagus Americana)

In all North America there is but one species of beech. It is a noble forest tree, 70 to 80 and occasionally 120 feet high, readily distinguished by its smooth, ashy-gray bark. Leaves 3 to 4 inches long. It shares with hickory and sugar maple the honor of being a perfect firewood. Nova Scotia to Wisconsin, south to Florida and Texas.

(Castanea dentata)

A noble tree, 60 to 80 or even 100 feet high. The most delicious of nuts. Leaves 6 to 8 inches long. Maine to Michigan and south to Tennessee.

Red Oak
(Quercus rubra)

A fine forest tree, 70 to 80 or even 140 feet high. Hard, strong, coarse-grained, heavy. It checks, warps, and does not stand for weather or ground work. The acorn takes two {131} seasons to ripen. Leaves 4 to 8 inches long. Nova Scotia to Minnesota, south to Texas and Florida.

White Oak
(Quercus alba)

A grand forest tree, over 100 up to 150 feet high. Wood pale, strong, tough, fine-grained, durable and heavy, valuable timber. Called white from pale color of bark and wood. Leaves 5 to 9 inches long. Acorns ripen in one season. Maine to Minnesota, Florida and Texas.


Chestnut Red oak White oak

White Elm or Swamp Elm
(Ulmus Americana)

A tall, splendid forest tree, commonly 100, occasionally 120 feet high. Wood reddish-brown, hard, strong, tough, very hard to split, coarse, heavy. Soon rots near the ground. Leaves 2 to 5 inches long. Flowers in early spring before leafing. Abundant, Newfoundland and Manitoba to Texas.

Sycamore, Plane Tree, Buttonball or Buttonwood
(Platanus occidentalis)

One of the largest of our trees; up to 140 feet high; commonly hollow. Little use for weather work. Famous for shedding {132} its bark as well as its leaves; leaves 4 to 9 inches long. Canada to Gulf.

Black or Yellow Locust, Silver Chain
(Robinia pseudacacia)

A tall forest tree up to 80 feet high; leaves 8 to 14 inches long; leaflets 9 to 19, 1 to 2 inches long, pods 2 to 4 inches long, 4 to 7 seeded. This is the common locust so often seen about old lawns.


White elm Sycamore Black locust

Red, Scarlet, Water, or Swamp Maple
(Acer rubrum)

A fine, tall tree, often over 100 feet high. Noted for its flaming crimson foliage in fall, as well as its red leaf stalks, flowers, and fruit, earlier. Leaves 2 to 6 inches long. Like all the maples it produces sugar, though in this case not much. Western North America.

The sugar maple is a larger, finer tree.

Red maple White Ash
White Ash
(Fraxinus Americana)

A fine tree on moist soil. Seventy to 80 or even 130 feet high. Yellow in autumn; noted for being last to leaf and first {133} to shed in the forest. Called white for the silvery under sides of the leaves; these are 8 to 12 inches long, each leaflet 3 to 6 inches long. Nova Scotia to Texas.

For a full unbotanical account of one hundred and twenty of our finest trees with their uses as wood, their properties, and the curious and interesting things about them see:

“The Forester’s Manual: or Forest Trees That Every Scout Should Know.” By Ernest Thompson Seton.


Every scout ought to know the principal wild animals that are found in North America. He need not know them as a naturalist, but as a hunter, as a camper. Here is a brief account of twenty-four of them, and those who wish to know more will find the fullest possible account in “Life Histories of North America,” by E. T. Seton. (Scribners, 1909.) These two volumes are found in all large libraries.


Elk or Wapiti
(Cervus canadensis)

This is smaller than the moose. It stands four to five feet at the shoulder and weighs four hundred to eight hundred pounds. It is known by its rounded horns and the patch of yellowish-white on the rump and tail. At one time this splendid animal was found throughout temperate America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, north to Massachusetts, the Ottawa River, the Peace River, and British Columbia; and south to Georgia, Texas, and southern California. It is now exterminated except in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta; Vancouver Island, Washington, Wyoming and a few localities in the mountain states and in parks where it has been reintroduced.

The elk of Washington is very dark in color; that of the Southwest is very pale and small.

White-tailed Deer
(Odocoileus virginianus)

This is the best known of the common deer of America. It is distinguished by the forward bend of the horns, with the snags pointing backward, and by its long tail which is brown or blackish above and pure white below. Its face is gray, its throat white. A fair sized buck weighs two hundred pounds, live weight. A few have been taken of over three hundred and fifty pounds weight. In the Southern states they run much smaller. Several varieties have been described. It was found formerly in all of the timber states east of the Rockies; also in Ontario south of Lake Nipissing, in south Quebec and south New Brunswick. At present it is exterminated in the highly cultivated states of the Middle West, but has spread into northern Ontario, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.

White-tailed deer

Mule deer

Mule Deer
(Odocoileus hemionus)

This is the commonest deer of the hill country in the centre of the continent. It is found in the mountains from Mexico to British Columbia and northeasterly Saskatchewan and the Lake of the Woods. It is known by its {135} double-forked horns, its large ears, the dark patch on the forehead, the rest of the face being whitish. Also by its tail which is white with a black bunch on the end. This is a larger deer than the White-tail. There are several varieties of it in the South and West.



(Alces americanus)

This is the largest of the deer tribe. It stands five and a half to six and a half feet at the withers and weighs eight hundred to one thousand pounds. It is readily distinguished by its flat horns and pendulous, hairy muzzle. It is found in all the heavily timbered regions of Canada and Alaska and enters the United States in Maine, Adirondacks, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, and northwestern Wyoming. Those from Alaska are of gigantic stature.

In all our deer the antlers are grown and shed each year, reaching perfection in autumn for the mating season. They are found in the males only, except in the caribou, in which species the females also have small horns.


(Antilocapra americana)

The antelope is famous as the swiftest quadruped native in America. It is a small creature, less than a common deer; a fair-sized buck weighs about one hundred pounds. It is known by its rich buff color with pure white patches, by having only two hoofs on each foot, and by the horns which are of true horn, like those of a goat, but have a snag or branch and are shed each year. In the female the horns are little points about an inch long.

Formerly the antelope abounded on all the high plains from Manitoba to Mexico and west to Oregon and California. It is now reduced to a few straggling bands in the central and wildest parts of the region.

Mountain Goat
(Oreamnos montanus)

The mountain goat is known at once by its pure white coat of wool and hair, its black horns, and peculiar shape. It is {136} above the size of a common deer; that is, a full grown male weighs two hundred and fifty to three hundred pounds; the female a third less. It is famous for its wonderful power as a rock climber and mountaineer. It is found in the higher Rockies, chiefly above timber lines, from central Idaho to Alaska.



(Marmota monax)

The common woodchuck is a grizzly brown on the back, chestnut on the breast, blackish on the crown and paws, and whitish on the cheeks. Its short ears and bushy tail are important characteristics. It measures about twenty-four inches of which the tail is five and a half inches and weighs five to ten pounds.

It is found in all the wooded parts of Canada from the Rockies to the Atlantic and south in the eastern states to about 40 degrees latitude.


(Castor canadensis)

The beaver is known by its great size–weighing from twenty-five to fifty pounds–its chestnut color, darker on the crown, its webbed feet, and its broad, flat, naked, scaly tail. The pelt of this animal is a valuable fur. The creature is famous for building dams and digging canals. It was found wherever there was water and timber in North America north of Mexico, but is now exterminated in most highly settled regions.


(Fiber zibethicus)

The muskrat is about the size of a cat; that is, it is twenty-one inches long, of which the tail is ten inches. In color it somewhat resembles the beaver, but its feet are not conspicuously webbed, its tail is long and flattened vertically, not {137} horizontally. This abundant animal is found throughout North America within the limit of trees wherever there is fresh water. It is the most abundant fur on the market.


Black-tailed jack rabbit

Jack Rabbit
(Lepus Californicus)

The jack-rabbit, famous for its speed and its ears, is known by its size, which about doubles that of a common rabbit and the jet black stripe running from its back into its tail. It is found on the plains from Nebraska to Oregon and south to Mexico. There are several different varieties.


(Sylvilagus floridanus)

The common eastern cottontail is known from the snowshoe by its smaller feet and its much larger, longer tail, which is gray above, and snow-white underneath. Sometimes the common tame rabbit resembles the cottontail in general color, but the latter has the top of its tail black.

The cottontails do not turn white in winter. They are found in most parts of the United States, entering Canada only in the Ontario peninsula and southern Saskatchewan.


Cougar or Panther
(Felis couguar)

The cougar has been called the American lion; it is the largest cat in the western world except the jaguar or American {138} tiger. It is known by its unspotted brown coat, its long, heavy tail, and its size. A male cougar weighs one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds; a few have been taken over that. The females are a third smaller. The young in first coat have black spots.

The cougar never attacks man but preys on deer, horses, calves, etc. There are several different forms; one or other of these is (or was) found from Ottawa, Minnesota, and Vancouver Island to Patagonia.


Wild cat or bob cat

Wild Cat or Bob Cat

Wild Cat or Bob Cat
(Lynx rufus)

This is somewhat like the Canada lynx but is more spotted, has smaller feet, and the tail has several dark bars above and is pure white on the under side of the tip.

There are several species of bob cats; they cover the timbered states and enter Canada in Ontario, going north to Lake Simcoe.

(Vulpes fulvus)

The fox is about four feet from snout to tail tip; of this the tail is sixteen inches or more; it stands about fifteen inches at the shoulder. It rarely weighs over fifteen pounds and sometimes barely ten. The fox is known by its bright, sandy-red coat, black ears and paws, its white throat, and the white tip at the end of the tail. At a distance the fox’s ears and tail look very large. The silver or black fox is a mere color freak with black coat and white tail tip. Red foxes are found throughout the heavily timbered parts of North America north of latitude thirty-five degrees.

Gray Wolf
(Canis occidentalis)

The wolf is simply a big wild dog with exceptionally strong jaws and general gray color, becoming dirty white on the under part. The wolf is found in all parts of North America, except where settlement has driven it out, and varies in color with locality. The Florida wolves are black, Texan wolves are reddish, and Arctic wolves are white. Wolves weigh from {139} seventy-five to one hundred and twenty pounds and are distinguishable from coyotes by the heavy muzzle and jaws, greater size, and comparatively small tail, which is often held aloft. Wolves nowadays rarely molest man.

(Canis latrans)

The common coyote is like a small and delicate edition of the gray wolf. It is much smaller, weighing only twenty to thirty pounds, and is distinguished by its sharp, fox-like muzzle and large bushy tail, which is rarely raised to the level. In color it is much like the ordinary gray wolf but usually more tinged with yellow. It is found in all the interior country from Wisconsin to Oregon and from Mexico to Great Slave Lake. There are several different varieties. It never attacks man.


(Lutra canadensis)

The otter is a large water weasel with close, dense, shiny fur and webbed feet. It is known by its color–dark brown above shaded into dark gray below and white on the cheeks without any markings–and by its size. It is about forty inches long and weighs about twenty pounds. It is found throughout North America within the limit of trees. Its fur is very valuable. It feeds on fish.



(Putorius noveboracensis)

The common weasel of New England is about the size of a big rat; that is, it is sixteen inches long and all brown with the exception of white chin, throat, breast, and paws, and black tip to the tail. In winter it turns white except the tail tip; that does not change.

The whole continent is inhabited by weasels of one kind or another. To the north there is a smaller kind with shorter tail; on the prairies a large kind with a very long tail; but all are of the same general style and habits. A very small one, {140} the least weasel, is only six inches long. It is found chiefly in Canada.



(Putorius vison)

The mink is simply a water weasel. It is known by its size, larger than that of a common weasel, as it is twenty-four inches long of which the tail is seven inches; also by its deep brown color all over except the throat and chin which are pure white. Its fur is brown, harder and glossier than that of the marten, and worth about a quarter as much. It does not turn white in the winter. One form or another of mink is found over all the unarid parts of North America from the north limit of trees to the Gulf of Mexico.



(Mephitis mephitica)

The skunk is known at once by its black coat with white stripes, its immense bushy tail tipped with white, and its size, nearly that of a cat. It weighs three to seven pounds. It ranges from Virginia to Hudson Bay. In the Northwest is a larger kind weighing twice as much and with black tip to tail. Various kinds range over the continent south of latitude 55 degrees. It is harmless and beautiful. The smell gun for which it is famous is a liquid musk; this is never used except in the extreme of self-defence.



(Taxidea taxus)

The common badger is known by its general whitish-gray color, the black and white markings on the head, the black paws, and the strong claws for digging. It weighs from twelve to twenty-two pounds. That is, it is about the size of a ‘coon. {141} It is found in all the prairie and plains country from the Saskatchewan Valley to Mexico and from Wisconsin to the Pacific.



(Procyon lotor)

The ‘coon looks like a small gray bear with a bushy ringed tail and a large black patch on each eye. Its paws look like hands, and it has the full number of five fingers or toes on each extremity. It is found in all wooded regions from Manitoba south to Mexico and from Atlantic to Pacific, except the desert and Rocky Mountain region.



(Didelphis marsupialis)

The opossum is famous for carrying its young in a pouch in front of the body. It may be known by its dirty-white woolly fur, its long, naked, prehensile tail, its hand-like paws, its white face and sharp muzzle, and the naked pink and blue ears. In size it resembles a cat. The ‘possum is found from Connecticut to Florida and westerly to California.

Gray Squirrel

(Sciurus carolinensis)

America is particularly rich in squirrels. Not counting ground-squirrels or chipmunks, we have over seventy-five different forms on this continent. The widest spread is probably the red-squirrel; but the best known in the United States is the common gray-squirrel. Its gray coat white breast, and immense {142} bushy tail are familiar to all eastern children. It is found in most of the hardwood timber east of the Mississippi and south of the Ottawa River and the State of Maine. Most of the nut trees in the woods of this region were planted by the gray-squirrel.


Black Bear
(Ursus americanus)

This is the common bear of America. It is known at once by its jet black color and brown nose. Its claws are short, rarely over an inch long, and curved, serving better as climbers than do the long claws of the grizzly. Two hundred pounds would be a good sized female, three hundred a male; but Florida black bears have been taken weighing five hundred pounds. Sometimes freaks with cinnamon-brown coats are found.

This bear is found throughout North America wherever there is timber.









(In treating of camping there has been an intentional omission of the long-term camp. This is treated extensively in the books of reference given at the close of this chapter.)

Hiking and Over-night Camp
By H. W. Gibson, Boys’ Work Secretary,
Young Men’s Christian Association
Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Several things should be remembered when going on a hike: First, avoid long distances. A foot-weary, muscle-tired and temper-tried, hungry group of boys is surely not desirable. There are a lot of false notions about courage and bravery and grit that read well in print, but fail miserably in practice, and long hikes for boys is one of the most glaring of these notions. Second, have a leader who will set a good easy pace, say two or three miles an hour, prevent the boys from excessive water drinking, and assign the duties of pitching camp, etc. Third, observe these two rules given by an old woodsman: (1) Never walk over anything you can walk around; (2) never step on anything that you can step over. Every time you step on anything you lift the weight of your body. Why lift extra weight when tramping? Fourth, carry with you only the things absolutely needed, rolled in blankets, poncho army style.

Before starting on a hike, study carefully the road maps, and take them with you on the walk for frequent reference. The best maps are those of the United States Geological Survey, costing five cents each. The map is published in atlas sheets, each sheet representing a small, quadrangular district. Send to the superintendent of documents at Washington, D. C., for a list.

For tramping the boy needs the right kind of a shoe, or the trip will be a miserable failure. A light-soled or a light-built shoe is not suited for mountain work or even for an ordinary hike. The feet will blister and become “road weary.” The shoe must be neither too big, too small, nor too heavy, and be amply broad to give the toes plenty of room. The shoe should be water-tight. A medium weight, high-topped lace shoe is about right. Bathing the feet at the springs and streams along the road will be refreshing, if not indulged in too frequently. {146} See Chapter on “Health and Endurance” for care of the feet and proper way of walking.

It is well to carry a spare shirt hanging down the back with the sleeves tied around the neck. Change when the shirt you are wearing becomes too wet with perspiration.

The most practical and inexpensive pack is the one made for the Boy Scouts of America. (Price 60 cents.) It is about 14 x 20 inches square, and 6 inches thick, made of water-proof canvas with shoulder-straps, and will easily hold everything needed for a tramping trip.

A few simple remedies for bruises, cuts, etc., should be taken along by the leader. You may not need them and some may poke fun at them, but, as the old lady said, “You can’t always sometimes tell.” The amount and kind of provisions must be determined by the locality and habitation.

The Lean-to

Fig. 1. Frame of lean-to

Reach the place where you are going to spend the night in plenty of time to build your lean-to, and make your bed for {147} the night. Select your camping spot with reference to water, wood, drainage, and material for your lean-to. Choose a dry, level place, the ground just sloping enough to insure the water running away from your lean-to in case of rain. In building your lean-to look for a couple of good trees standing from eight to ten feet apart with branches from six to eight feet above the ground. By studying the illustration (No. 1) you will be able to build a very serviceable shack, affording protection from the dews and rain. While two or more boys are building the shack, another should be gathering firewood and preparing the meal, while another should be cutting and bringing in as many soft, thick tips of trees as possible, for the roof of the shack and the beds.

How to thatch the lean-to is shown in illustration No. 2. If the camp site is to be used for several days, two lean-tos may be built facing each other, about six feet apart. This will make a very comfortable camp, as a small fire can be built between the two thus giving warmth and light.

Fig. 2. Method of thatching

The Bed

On the floor of your lean-to lay a thick layer of the fans or branches of a balsam or hemlock, with the convex side up, and the butts of the stems toward the foot of the bed. Now thatch this over with more fans by thrusting the butt ends through the first layer at a slight angle toward the head of the bed, so that the soft tips will curve toward the foot of the bed, and be sure to make the head of your bed away from the opening of the lean-to and the foot toward the opening. Over this bed spread your rubber blankets or ponchos with rubber side down, your sleeping blanket on top, and you will be surprised how soft, springy, and fragrant a bed you have, upon which to rest your “weary frame” and sing with the poet:

“Then the pine boughs croon me a lullaby,
And trickle the white moonbeams
To my face on the balsam where I lie
While the owl hoots at my dreams.”
–J. George Frederick.


Hot-Stone Wrinkle

If the night bids fair to be cold, place a number of stones about six or eight inches in diameter near the fire, so that they will get hot. These can then be placed at the feet, back, etc., as needed, and will be found good “bed warmers.” When a stone loses its heat, it is replaced near the fire and a hot one taken. If too hot, wrap the stone in a shirt or sweater or wait for it to cool off.

Boys desire adventure. This desire may be gratified by the establishment of night watchers in relays of two boys each, every two hours. Their imaginations will be stirred by the resistless attraction of the camp-fire and the sound of the creatures that creep at night.

Observation Practice

Many boys have excellent eyes, but see not, and good ears but hear not, all because they have not been trained to observe or to hear quickly. A good method of teaching observation while on a hike or tramp is to have each boy jot down in a small note-book or diary of the trip, the different kinds of trees, birds, animals, tracks, nature of roads, fences, peculiar rock formation, smells of plants, etc., and thus be able to tell what he saw or heard to the boys upon his return to the permanent camp or to his home.

Camera Snap Shots

One of the party should take a small folding camera. Photographs of the trip are always of great pleasure and memory revivers. A practical and convenient method of carrying small folding cameras represents an ordinary belt to which a strap with a buckle has been attached, which is run through the loops at the back of the camera case. The camera may be pushed around the belt to the point where it will be least in the way.

Camp Lamp

A very convenient lamp to use on a hike is the Baldwin Camp Lamp made by John Simmons Co., 13 Franklin Street, New York City. It weighs only five ounces when full; is charged with carbide and is but 4-3/4 inches high. It projects a strong light 150 feet through the woods. A stiff wind will not blow it out. It can be worn comfortably in your hat or belt.

Handy Articles

A boy of ingenuity can make a number of convenient things. A good drinking cup may be made from a piece of bark cut {149} in parallelogram shape twisted into pyramid form and fastened with a split stick. A flat piece of bark may serve as a plate. A pot lifter may be made from a green stick about 18 inches long, allowing a few inches of a stout branch to remain. By reversing the same kind of stick and driving a small nail near the other end or cutting a notch in it, it may be used to suspend a kettle over a fire. A novel candlestick is made by opening the blade of a knife and jabbing it into a tree; upon the other upturned blade put a candle. A green stick having a split which will hold a piece of bread or meat makes an excellent broiler. Don’t pierce the bread or meat. Driving a good-sized stake into the ground at an angle of 45 degrees and cutting a notch on which may be suspended a kettle over a fire will provide a way of boiling water quickly.

Building the Fireplace

Take two or three stones and build a fireplace, a stick first shaved and then whittled for shavings, a lighted match, a little blaze, some bark and dry twigs added, a few small sticks, place the griddle over the fire and you are ready to cook the most appetizing griddle-cakes. After the cakes are cooked, fry slices of bacon upon the griddle; in the surplus fat fry slices of bread, then some thinly sliced raw potatoes done to a delicious brown. Here is a breakfast capable of making the mouth of a camper water.

Another way: Place the green logs side by side, closer together at one end than the other. Build the fire between. On the logs over the fire you can rest a frying-pan, kettle, etc. To start the fire have some light, dry wood split up fine. When sticks begin to blaze, add a few more of larger size and continue until you have a good fire. To prevent the re-kindling of the fire after it is apparently out, pour water over it and soak the earth for the space of two or three feet around it. This is very important, for many forest fires have started through failure to observe this caution.


Cooking for Hikes and Over-night Camps

The following tested receipts are given for those who go on hikes and over-night camps:


Beat one egg, tablespoonful of sugar, one cup diluted condensed milk or new milk. Mix enough self-raising flour to {150} make a thick cream batter. Grease the griddle with rind or slices of bacon for each batch of cakes. Be sure to have the griddle hot.


Slice bacon quite thin; remove the rind, which makes slices curl up. Fry on griddle or put on a sharp end of a stick and hold over the hot coals, or better yet remove the griddle, and put on a clean, flat rock in its place. When hot lay the slices of bacon on the rock and broil. Keep turning so as to brown on both sides.

Canned Salmon on Toast

Dip slices of stale bread into smoking hot lard. They will brown at once. Drain them. Heat a pint of salmon, picked into flakes, season with salt and pepper and turn in a tablespoonful of melted butter. Heat in a pan. Stir in one egg, beaten light, with three tablespoonfuls evaporated milk not thinned. Pour the mixture on the fried bread.

Roast Potatoes

Wash and dry potatoes thoroughly, bury them deep in a good bed of coals, cover them with hot coals until well done. It will take about forty minutes for them to bake. Then pass a sharpened hard-wood sliver through them from end to end, and let the steam escape and use immediately as a roast potato soon becomes soggy and bitter.

Baked Fresh Fish

Clean well. Small fish should be fried whole with the back bone severed to prevent curling up; large fish should be cut into pieces, and ribs loosened from back bone so as to lie flat in pan. Rub the pieces in corn meal or powdered crumbs, thinly and evenly (that browns them), fry in plenty of hot fat to a golden brown, sprinkling lightly with salt just as the color turns. If fish has not been wiped dry it will absorb too much grease. If the frying fat is not very hot when fish are put in, they will be soggy with it.

Frogs’ Legs

First, after skinning, soak them an hour in cold water to which vinegar has been added, or put them for two minutes into scalding water that has vinegar in it. Drain, wipe dry, and cook. {151} To fry: roll in flour, season with salt and pepper, and fry not too rapidly, preferably in butter or oil. Water-cress is a good relish with them. To griddle: Prepare three tablespoonsful melted butter, one half tablespoonful salt, and a pinch or two of pepper, into which dip the frogs’ legs, then roll in fresh bread crumbs and broil for three minutes on each side.


Boiled: Have water to boiling point. Place eggs in carefully. Boil steadily for three minutes if you wish them soft. If wanted hard boiled, put them in cold water, bring to a boil, and keep it up for twenty minutes. The yolk will then be mealy and wholesome.

Fried: Melt some butter or fat in frying-pan; when it hisses drop in eggs carefully. Fry them three minutes.

Scrambled: First stir the eggs up and after putting some butter in the frying-pan, stir the eggs in it after adding a little condensed milk.

Poached: First put in the frying-pan sufficient diluted condensed milk which has been thinned with enough water to float the eggs in, and let them simmer three or four minutes. Serve the eggs on slices of buttered toast, pouring on enough of the milk to moisten the toast.


For every cup of water allow a tablespoonful of ground coffee, then add one extra. Have water come to boiling point first, add coffee, hold it just below boiling point for five minutes, and settle with one fourth of a cup of cold water. Serve. Some prefer to put the coffee in a small muslin bag loosely tied.


Allow a teaspoonful of cocoa for every cup of boiling water. Mix the powdered cocoa with water or boiled milk, with sugar to taste. Boil two or three minutes.

These receipts have been tried out. Biscuit and bread making have been purposely omitted. Take bread and crackers with you from camp. “Amateur” biscuits are not conducive to good digestion or happiness. Pack butter in small jar: cocoa, sugar, and coffee in small cans or heavy paper; also salt and pepper. Wrap bread in a moist cloth to prevent drying up; {152} bacon and dried or chipped beef in wax paper. Pickles can be purchased put up in small bottles. Use the empty bottle as candle-stick.


Sample Menu for an Over-night Camp and a Day Hike or Tramp

Griddle-Cakes, Fried Bacon and Potatoes, Bread, Coffee, Preserves

Creamed Salmon on Toast, Baked Potatoes, Bread, Pickles, Fruit

Fried Eggs, Creamed or Chipped Beef, Cheese, Bread, Cocoa

Ration List for Six Boys, Three Meals

2 pounds bacon (sliced thin)
1 pound butter
1 dozen eggs
1/2 pound cocoa
1/2 pound coffee
1 pound sugar
3 cans salmon
24 potatoes
2 cans condensed milk
1 small package of self-raising flour
Salt and pepper


Small griddle
Small stew pan
Small coffee-pot
Large spoon
Plate and cup
Matches and candle.

Dish Washing

First fill the frying-pan with water, place over the fire, and let it boil. Pour out water and you will find the pan has practically cleaned itself. Clean the griddle with sand and water. Greasy knives and forks may be cleaned by jabbing {153} them into the ground. After all grease is gotten rid of, wash in hot water and dry with cloth. Don’t use the cloth first and get it greasy.


The most important thing about a camping party is that it should always have the best of leadership. No group of boys should go camping by themselves. The first thing a patrol of scouts should do when it has determined to camp is to insist upon the scout master accompanying the members of the patrol. The reason for this is that there is less likely to be accidents of the kind that will break up your camp and drive you home to the town or city. When the scout master is one of the party, all of the boys can go in swimming when the proper time comes for such exercise, and the scout master can stay upon the bank or sit in the boat for the purpose of preventing accidents by drowning. There are also a hundred and one things which will occur in camp when the need of a man’s help will show itself. A scout ought to insist on his scout master going to camp. The scout master and patrol leader should be present, in order to settle the many questions which must of necessity arise, so that there may be no need of differences or quarrels over disputed points, which would be sure to spoil the outing.

Scout Camp Program

In a scout camp there will be a regular daily program, something similar to the following:

6:30 A.M. Turn out, bathe, etc.
7:00 A.M. Breakfast
8:00 A.M. Air bedding in sun, if possible, and clean camp ground
9:00 A.M. Scouting games and practice
11:00 A.M. Swimming
12:00 P.M. Dinner
1:00 P.M. Talk by leader
2:00 P.M. Water games, etc.
6:00 P.M. Supper
7:30 P.M. Evening council around camp fire.

Order of Business

1. Opening Council
2. Roll-call
3. Record of last council
4. Reports of scouts
5. Left over business
6. Complaints
7. Honors
8. New scouts
9. New business
10. Challenges
11. Social doings, songs, dances, stories
12. Closing Council (devotional services when desired) 8:45 lights out

Water Supply

Dr. Charles E. A. Winslow, the noted biologist, is authority for the following statement: “The source of danger in water is always human or animal pollution. Occasionally we find water which is bad to drink on account of passage through the ground or on account of passage through lead pipes, but the danger is never from ordinary decomposing vegetable matter. If you have to choose between a bright clear stream which may be polluted at some point above and a pond full of dead leaves and peaty matter, but which you can inspect all around and find free from contamination, choose the pond. Even in the woods it is not easy to find surface waters that are surely protected and streams particularly are dangerous sources of water supply. We have not got rid of the idea that running water purifies itself. It is standing water which purifies itself, if anything does, for in stagnation there is much more chance for the disease germs to die out. Better than either a pond or stream, unless you can carry out a rather careful exploration of their surroundings, is ground water from a well or spring; though that again is not necessarily safe. If the well is in good, sandy soil, with no cracks or fissures, even water that has been polluted may be well purified and safe to drink. In a clayey or rocky region, on the other hand, contaminating material may travel for a considerable distance under the ground. Even if the well is protected below, a very important point to look after is the pollution from the surface. I believe more cases of typhoid fever from wells are due to surface pollution than to the character of the water itself. There is danger which can, of course, be done away with by protection of the well from surface drainage, by seeing that the surface wash is not allowed to drain toward it, and that it is protected by a tight covering from the entrance of its own waste water. If good water cannot be secured in any of these ways, it must in some way be purified. … Boiling will surely destroy all disease germs.”

The Indians had a way of purifying water from a pond or swamp by digging a hole about one foot across and down about six inches below the water level, a few feet from the pond. After it was filled with water, they bailed it out quickly, repeating the bailing process about three times. After the third bailing the hole would fill with filtered water. Try it.


A most important matter when in camp, and away from modern conveniences is that of sanitation. This includes not only {155} care as to personal cleanliness, but also as to the water supply and the proper disposal of all refuse through burial or burning. Carelessness in these matters has been the cause of serious illness to entire camps and brought about many deaths. In many instances the loss of life in the armies has been greater through disease in the camp than on the battlefields.

Typhoid fever is one of the greatest dangers in camping and is caused by unclean habits, polluted water, and contaminated milk, and food. The armies of the world have given this disease the most careful study with the result that flies have been found to be its greatest spreaders. Not only should all sources of water supply be carefully examined, an analysis obtained if possible before use, but great care should also be taken when in the vicinity of such a supply, not to pollute it in any way. In districts where typhoid is at all prevalent it is advisable for each scout to be immunized before going to camp.

A scout’s honor will not permit him to disobey in the slightest particular the sanitary rules of his camp. He will do his part well. He will do everything in his power to make his camp clean, sanitary, and healthful from every standpoint.

General Hints

Two flannel shirts are better than two overcoats.

Don’t wring out flannels or woolens.

Wash in cold water, very soapy, hang them up dripping wet, and they will not shrink.

If you keep your head from getting hot and your feet dry there will be little danger of sickness.

If your head gets too hot put green leaves inside of your hat.

If your throat is parched, and you cannot get water, put a pebble in your mouth. This will start the saliva and quench the thirst.

Water Hints

If you work your hands like paddles and kick your feet, you can stay above water for some time even with your clothes on. It requires a little courage and enough strength not to lose your head.


Ready for the hike

Many boy swimmers make the mistake of going into the water too soon after eating. The stomach and digestive organs are busy preparing the food for the blood and body. Suddenly they are called upon to care for the work of the swimmer. The change is too quick for the organs, the process of digestion stops, congestion is apt to follow, and then paralyzing cramps.

Indian Bathing Precaution

The Indians have a method of protecting themselves from cramps. Coming to a bathing pool, an Indian swimmer, after stripping off, and before entering the water, vigorously rubs the pit of the stomach with the dry palm of his hands. This rubbing probably takes a minute, then he dashes cold water all over his stomach and continues the rubbing for another minute, and after that he is ready for his plunge. If the water in which you are going to swim is cold, try this method before plunging into the water.

Good Bathing Rule

The rule in most camps regarding entering the water is as follows: “No one of the party shall enter the water for swimming or bathing except at the time and place designated, and in the presence of a leader.” Laxity in the observance of this rule will result disastrously.


Every cloud is a weather sign: Low clouds, swiftly moving, indicate coolness and rain; hard-edged clouds, wind; rolled or jagged clouds, strong wind; “mackerel” sky, twelve hours day.

Look out for rain when

A slack rope tightens.

Smoke beats downward.

Sun is red in the morning.

There is a pale yellow or greenish sunset.


Rain with east wind is lengthy.

A sudden shower is soon over.

A slow rain lasts long.

Rain before seven, clear before eleven.

A circle round the moon means “storm.”

“The evening red, the morning gray
Sets the traveler on his way;
The evening gray, the morning red
Brings down showers upon his head.”

“When the grass is dry at night
Look for rain before the light.”

“When the grass is dry at morning light
Look for rain before the night.”


“When the dew is on the grass
Rain will never come to pass.”

A heavy morning fog generally indicates a clear day.

East wind brings rain.

West wind brings clear, bright, and cool weather.

North wind brings cold.

South wind brings heat.

Direction of the Wind

The way to find which way the wind is blowing is to throw up little bits of dry grass, or to hold up a handful of light dust and let it fall, or to suck your thumb, wet it all around and let the wind blow over it, and the cold side of it will then tell you which way the wind is blowing.

Weather Flags

The United States Weather Bureau publishes a “Classification of Clouds” in colors, which may be had for the asking. If you are near one of the weather signal stations, daily bulletins will be sent to camp upon request; also the weather map.

A set of flag signals run up each day will create interest. The flags are easily made or may be purchased.

Keep a daily record of temperature. A boy in charge of the “weather bureau” will find it to be full of interest as well as offering an opportunity to render the camp a real service. He will make a weather vane, post a daily bulletin, keep a record of temperature, measure velocity of wind, and rainfall.

How to Get Your Bearings

If you have lost your bearings, and it is a cloudy day, put the point of your knife blade on your thumb nail, and turn the blade around until the full shadow of the blade is on the nail. This will tell you where the sun is, and decide in which direction the camp is.

Face the sun in the morning, spread out your arms straight {158} from body. Before you is the east; behind you is the west; to your right is the south; the left hand is the north. Grass turns with the sun. Remember this when finding your way at night.

Building a Camp Fire

There are ways and ways of building a camp fire. An old Indian saying runs, “White man heap fool, make um big fire–can’t git near! Injun make um little fire–git close! Ugh! good!”

Make it a service privilege for a tent of boys to gather wood and build the fire. This should be done during the afternoon. Two things are essential in the building of a fire–kindling and air. A fire must be built systematically. First, get dry, small, dead branches, twigs, fir branches, and other inflammable material. Place these on the ground. Be sure that air can draw under it and upward through it. Next place some heavier sticks and so on until you have built the camp fire the required size. An interesting account of “How to Build a Fire by Rubbing Sticks,” by Ernest Thompson Seton, will be found in Chapter 11. In many camps it is considered an honor to light the fire.

Never build a large camp fire too near the tent or inflammable pine trees. Better build it in the open.

Be sure and use every precaution to prevent the spreading of fire. This may be done by building a circle of stones around the fire, or by digging up the earth, or by wetting a space around the fire. Always have the buckets of water near at hand. To prevent the re-kindling of the fire after it is apparently out, pour water over it and soak the earth for a space of two or three feet around it. This is very important, for many forest fires have started through failure to observe this caution.

Things to remember: First, it is criminal to leave a burning fire; second, always put out the fire with water or earth.

“A fire is never out,” says Chief Forester H. S. Graves, “until the last spark is extinguished. Often a log or snag will smolder unnoticed after the flames have apparently been conquered only to break out afresh with a rising wind.”

Be sure to get a copy of the laws of your state regarding forest fires, and if a permit is necessary to build a fire, secure it, before building the fire.

Kephart, in his book on “Camping and Woodcraft” (p. 28), says: “When there is nothing dry to strike it on, jerk the head {160} of the match forward through the teeth. Or, face the wind. Cup your hands back toward the wind, remove the right hand just long enough to strike the match on something very close by, then instantly resume former position. Flame of match will run up stick instead of blowing away from it.”



The great annual destruction of forests by fire is an injury to all persons and industries. The welfare of every community is dependent upon a cheap and plentiful supply of timber, and a forest cover is the most effective means of preventing floods and maintaining a regular flow of streams used for irrigation and other useful purposes.

To prevent forest fires Congress passed the law approved May 5, 1900, which–

Forbids setting fire to the woods, and

Forbids leaving any fires unextinguished.

This law, for offenses against which officers of the FOREST SERVICE can arrest without warrant, provides as maximum punishment–

A fine of $5000, or imprisonment for two years, or both, if a fire is set maliciously, and

A fine of $1000, or imprisonment for one years, or both, if a fire is set carelessly,

It also provides that the money from such fines shall be paid to the school fund of the county in which the offense is committed.


1. Not to drop matches or burning tobacco where there is inflammable material.

2. Not to build larger camp fires than are necessary.

3. Not to build fires in leaves, rotten wood, or other places where they are likely to spread.

4. In windy weather and in dangerous places, to dig holes or clear the ground to confine camp fires.

5. To extinguish all fires completely before leaving them, even for a short absence.

6. Not to build fires against large or hollow logs, where it is difficult to extinguish them.

7. Not to build fires to clear land without informing the nearest officer of the FOREST SERVICE, so that he may assist in controlling them.

This notice is posted for your benefit and the good of every resident of the region. You are requested to cooperate in preventing the removal or defacement, which acts are punishable by law.

Secretary of Agriculture

The above is a copy of one of a series of notices posted in forests by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, directing attention to U. S. laws on this important subject.

{160 continued}

Around the camp fire

The Camp Fire

“I cannot conceive of a camp that does not have a big fire. Our city houses do not have it, not even a fireplace. The fireplace is one of the greatest schools the imagination has ever had or can ever have. It is moral, and it always has a tremendous stimulus to the imagination, and that is why stories and fire go together. You cannot tell a good story unless you tell it before a fire. You cannot have a complete fire unless you have a good story-teller along!

“There is an impalpable, invisible, softly stepping delight in the camp fire which escapes analysis. Enumerate all its charms and still there is something missing in your catalogue.

“Anyone who has witnessed a real camp fire and participated in its fun as well as seriousness will never forget it. The huge fire shooting up its tongue of flame into the darkness of the night, the perfect shower of golden rain, the company of happy {161} boys, and the great dark background of piny woods, the weird light over all, the singing, the yells, the stories, the fun, and then the serious word at the close, is a happy experience long to be remembered.”

Camp-fire Stunts

The camp fire is a golden opportunity for the telling of stories–good stories told well. Indian legends, war stories, ghost stories, detective stories, stories of heroism, the history of life, a talk about the stars. Don’t draw out the telling of a story. Make the story life-like.

College songs always appeal to boys. Let some leader start up a song in a natural way, and soon you will have a chorus of unexpected melody and harmony. As the fire dies down, let the songs be of a more quiet type like “My Old Kentucky Home,” and ballads of similar nature.

When the embers are glowing is the time for toasting marshmallows. Get a long stick sharpened to a point, fasten a marshmallow on the end, hold it over the embers, not in the blaze, until the marsh-mallow expands. Oh, the deliciousness of it! Ever tasted one? Before roasting corn on the cob, tie the end of the husk firmly with string or cord; soak in water for about an hour; then put into the hot embers. The water prevents the corn from burning and the firmly tied husks enable the corn to be steamed and the real corn flavor is thus retained. In about twenty minutes the corn may be taken from the fire and eaten. Have a bowl of melted butter and salt at hand. Also a pastry brush to spread the melted butter upon the corn. Try it.

Story Telling

For an example of a good story to be told around the camp fire this excellent tale by Prof. F. M. Burr is printed by permission:

How Men Found the Great Spirit

In the olden time, when the woods covered all the earth except the deserts and the river bottoms, and men lived on the fruits and berries they found and the wild animals which they could shoot or snare, when they dressed in skins and lived in caves, there was little time for thought. But as men grew stronger and more cunning and learned how to live together, they had more time to think and more mind to think with.

Men had learned many things. They had learned that cold weather followed hot; and spring, winter; and that the sun got up in the morning and went to bed at night. They said that the great water was kindly when the sun shone, but when the sun hid its face and the wind blew upon it, it grew black and angry and upset their canoes. They found that knocking flints together or rubbing dry sticks would light the dry moss and that the {162} flames which would bring back summer in the midst of winter and day in the midst of night were hungry and must be fed, and when they escaped devoured the woods and only the water could stop them.

These and many other things men learned, but no one knew why it all was or how it came to be. Man began to wonder, and that was the beginning of the path which led to the Great Spirit.

In the ages when men began to wonder there was born a boy whose name was Wo, which meant in the language of his time, “Whence.” As he lay in his mother’s arms she loved him and wondered: “His body is of my body, but from whence comes the life–the spirit which is like mine and yet not like it?” And his father seeing the wonder in the mother’s eyes, said, “Whence came he from?” And there was no one to answer, and so they called him Wo to remind them that they knew not from whence he came.

As Wo grew up, he was stronger and swifter of foot than any of his tribe. He became a mighty hunter. He knew the ways of all the wild things and could read the signs of the seasons. As he grew older they made him a chief and listened while he spoke at the council board, but Wo was not satisfied. His name was a question and questioning filled his mind.

“Whence did he come? Whither was he going? Why did the sun rise and set? Why did life burst into leaf and flower with the coming of spring? Why did the child become a man and the man grow old and die?”

The mystery grew upon him as he pondered. In the morning he stood on a mountain top and stretching out his hands cried, “Whence?” At night he cried to the moon “Whither?” He listened to the soughing of the trees and the song of the brook and tried to learn their language. He peered eagerly into the eyes of little children and tried to read the mystery of life. He listened at the still lips of the dead, waiting for them to tell him whither they had gone.

He went out among his fellows silent and absorbed, always looking for the unseen and listening for the unspoken. He sat so long silent at the council board that the elders questioned him. To their questioning he replied like one awakening from a dream:

“Our fathers since the beginning have trailed the beasts of the woods. There is none so cunning as the fox, but we can trail him to his lair. Though we are weaker than the great bear and buffalo, yet by our wisdom we overcome them. The deer is more swift of foot, but by craft we overtake him. We cannot fly like a bird, but we snare the winged one with a hair. We have made ourselves many cunning inventions by which the beasts, the trees, the wind, the water and the fire become our servants.

“Then we speak great swelling words: ‘How great and wise we are! There is none like us in the air, in the wood, or in the water!’

“But the words are false. Our pride is like that of a partridge drumming on his log in the wood before the fox leaps upon him. Our sight is like that of the mole burrowing under the ground. Our wisdom is like a drop of dew upon the grass. Our ignorance is like the great water which no eye can measure.

“Our life is like a bird coming out of the dark, fluttering for a heart-beat in the tepee and then going forth into the dark again. No one can tell whence it comes or whither it goes. I have asked the wise men and they cannot answer. I have listened to the voice of the trees and wind and water, but I do not know their tongue; I have questioned the sun and the moon and the stars, but they are silent.

“But to-day in the silence before the darkness gives place to light, I seemed to hear a still small voice within my breast, saying to me, ‘Wo, the {163} questioner, rise up like the stag from his lair; away, alone, to the mountain of the sun. There thou shalt find that which thou seekest.’ I go, but if I fail by the trail another will take it up. If I find the answer I will return.”

Waiting for none, Wo left the council of his tribe and went his way toward the mountain of the sun. For six days he made his way through the trackless woods, guided by the sun by day and the stars by night. On the seventh day he came to the great mountain–the mountain of the sun, on whose top, according to the tradition of his tribe, the sun rested each night. All day long he climbed saying to himself, “I will sleep tonight in the teepee of the sun, and he will tell me whence I come and whither I go.”

But as he climbed the sun seemed to climb higher and higher; and, as he neared the top, a cold cloud settled like a night bird on the mountain. Chilled and faint with hunger and fatigue, Wo struggled on. Just at sunset he reached the top of the mountain, but it was not the mountain of the sun, for many days’ journey to the west the sun was sinking in the Great Water.

A bitter cry broke from Wo’s parched lips. His long trail was useless. There was no answer to his questions. The sun journeyed farther and faster than men dreamed, and of wood and waste and water there was no end. Overcome with misery and weakness he fell upon a bed of moss with his back toward the sunset and the unknown.

And Wo slept, although it was unlike any sleep he had ever known before, and as he slept he dreamed. He was alone upon the mountain waiting for the answer. A cloud covered the mountain but all was silent. A mighty wind rent the cloud and rushed roaring through the crags, but there was no voice in the wind. Thunder pealed, lightning flashed, but he whom Wo sought was not there.

In the hush that followed up the storm Wo heard a voice, low and quiet, but in it all the sounds of earth and sky seemed to mingle–the song of the bird, the whispering of the trees, and the murmuring of the brook.

“Wo, I am he whom thou seekest, I am the Great Spirit. I am the All Father. Ever since I made man of the dust of the earth, and so child of the earth and brother to all living, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, thus making him my son, I have waited for a seeker who should find me. In the fullness of time thou hast come, Wo the questioner, to the answerer.

“Thy body is of the earth and to earth returns; thy spirit is mine; it is given thee for a space to make according to thy will; then it returns to me better or worse for thy making.

“Thou hast found me because thy heart was pure, and thy search for me tireless. Go back to thy tribe and be to them the voice of the Great Spirit. From henceforth I will speak to thee, and the seekers that come after thee in a thousand voices and appear in a thousand shapes. I will speak in the voices of the woods and streams and of those you love. I will appear to you in the sun by day and the stars by night. When thy people and mine are in need and wish for the will of the Great Spirit, then shall my spirit brood over thine and the words that thou shalt speak shall be my words.”

And Wo awoke, facing the east and the rising sun. His body was warmed by its rays. A great gladness filled his soul. He had sought and found and prayer came to him like the song to the bird.

“O Great Spirit, father of my spirit, the sun is thy messenger, but thou art brighter than the sun. Drive thou the darkness before me. Be thou the light of my spirit.” As Wo went down the mountain and took the journey back to the home of his people, his face shone, and the light never seemed to leave it, so that men called him “He of the shining face.”

When Wo came back to his tribe, all who saw his face knew that he had found the answer, and they gathered again about the council fire to hear. As Wo stood up and looked into the eager faces in the circle of the fire, he remembered that the Great Spirit had given him no message and for a moment he was dumb. Then the words of the Great Spirit came to him again. “When thy people and mine shall need to know my will, my spirit shall brood over thine and the words that thou shalt speak shall be my words.” Looking into the eager faces of longing and questioning, his Spirit moved within him and he spoke:

“I went, I sought, I found the Great Spirit who dwells in the earth as your spirits dwell in your bodies. It is from Him the spirit comes. We are His children. He cares for us more than a mother for the child on her breast, or the father for the son that is his pride. His love is like the air we breathe: it is about us; it is within us.

“The sun is the sign of His brightness, the sky of His greatness and mother-love and father-love, and the love of man and woman are the signs of His love. We are but His children; we cannot enter into the council of the Great Chief until we have been proved, but this is His will, that we love one another as He loves us; that we bury forever the hatchet of hate, that no man shall take what is not his own and the strong shall help the weak.”

The chiefs did not wholly understand the words of Wo, but they took a hatchet and buried it by the fire saying, “Thus bury we hate between man and his brother,” and they took an acorn and put it in the earth saying, “Thus plant we the love of the strong for the weak.” And it became the custom of the tribe that the great council in the spring should bury the hatchet and plant the acorn. Every morning the tribe gathered to greet the rising sun, and with right hand raised and left upon their hearts prayed: “Great Spirit hear us; guide us to-day; make our wills Thy will, our ways Thy way.”

And the tribe grew stronger and greater and wiser than all the other tribes–but that is another story.

Tent Making Made Easy
By H. J. Holden
(Reprinted from Recreation. Apr. 1, 1911. by permission of the Editor.)

The accompanying sketches show a few of the many different tents which may be made from any available piece of cloth or canvas. The material need not be cut, nor its usefulness for other purposes impaired, except that rings or tapes are attached at various points as indicated. For each tent the sketches show a front elevation, with a ground plan, or a side view; also a view of the material laid flat, with dotted lines to indicate where creases or folds will occur. Models may be made from stiff paper and will prove as interesting to the kindergartner in geometry as to the old campaigner in camping. In most of the tents a ring for suspension is fastened at the centre of one side. This may be supported by a pole or hung by means {165} of a rope from any convenient fastening; both methods are shown in the sketches. Guy ropes are required for a few of the different models, but most of them are pegged down to the ground.

After making paper models, find a stack cover, a tarpaulin, a tent fly, an awning, or buy some wide cotton cloth, say 90-inch. All the shapes may be repeatedly made from the same piece of material, if the rings for changes are left attached. In Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, a portion of the canvas is not used and may be turned under to serve as sod-cloth, or rolled up out of the way. If your material is a large piece, more pegs and guy lines will be required than is indicated in the sketches. The suspension ring, 1-1/2 inches or 2 inches in diameter, should be well fastened, with sufficient reinforcement to prevent tearing out; 1-inch rings fastened with liberal lengths of tape are large enough for the pegs and guy lines. Also reinforce along the lines of the strain from peg to pole.

Fig. 1.–A square of material hung by one corner, from any convenient support, in a manner to make a comfortable shelter; it will shed rain and reflect heat. This square makes a good fly or a good ground cloth for any of the tents.

Fig. 1. Tent from a square of canvas.
7 x 7 sheet is ample for a one-man shelter; 9 x 9 will house two.

Fig. 2.–A rectangle equal to two squares. A shelter roomy and warm, with part of one side open toward the fire.

Fig. 2. Rectangle tent


Fig. 3.–Here the rectangle is folded to make a “lean-to” shelter, with the roof front suspended from a rope or from a horizontal pole by means of cords. The two corners not in use are folded under, making a partial ground cloth. A square open front is presented toward the camp fire.


Fig. 3. Baker, or lean-to

Fig. 4.–Same in plan as No.3, but has a triangular front and only one point of suspension.

Fig. 4. Same plan as No.3

Fig 5.–Uses all the cloth, has a triangular ground plan, a square front opening, plenty of head room at the back and requires two or more guy lines. This shelter resembles a “toque.”

Fig. 5. The toque tent

Fig. 6.–Square or “miner’s” tent. Two corners are turned under. This tent is enclosed on all sides, with a door in front.

Fig. 6. Miner’s tent


Fig. 7.–Conical tent or “wigwam,” entirely enclosed, with door in front. Two corners of the canvas are turned under.

Fig. 7. Conical tent, or wigwam

Fig. 8.–Has a wall on one side and is called a “canoe tent” in some catalogues. It requires two or more guy lines and is shown with a pole support. The front has a triangular opening.

Fig. 8. So-called canoe tent. Requires three guy lines,
and can be supported by a rope instead of a pole

Fig. 9.–A combination of No. 8, with No. 1 in use as an awning or fly. This sketch shows both tent and fly suspended by means of a rope. The “awning” may be swung around to any angle.

Fig. 9. Canoe tent with fly

Fig. 10.–Combination of Nos. 1 and 2; they may be fastened together by a coarse seam or tied with tapes. The ground plan is an equal-sided triangle, with a door opening on one side, as shown. There is no waste cloth.

Fig. 10. Combination of Nos. 1 and 2

Fig. 11.–No. 10 changed to a conical shape and suspended as a canopy. The circular shape is secured by the use of small-size gas pipe or limber poles bent into a large hoop. Of course guy lines may be used, but would probably be in the way. Notice that a little more material for making a wall would transform the canopy into a “Sibley” tent.

Fig. 11. Sibley awning

There are other shapes and combinations, but perhaps these sketches are enough in the line of suggestion.

The diagram Fig. 12 shows a method for laying out, on your cloth, the location of all the rings to make the tents and shelters. No dimensions are given and none is required. The diagram is good for any size. Most of the fastenings are found on radial lines, which are spaced to divide a semi-circle into eight equal {169} angles, 22-1/2 degrees each; these intersect other construction lines and locate the necessary loops and rings. Figures are given at each ring which refer back to the sketch numbers.


Fig. 12. Showing how ten different tents can be made with but one piece of canvas

Suppose the material at hand is the widest unbleached cotton cloth, 90 inches wide, 5 yards long, or 7-1/2 feet by 15 feet. The accompanying table will give the dimensions for the various shapes from Fig. 1 to Fig. 11.

If in doubt about the location of rings on your canvas, suspend the tent by the centre ring and fasten the loops temporarily by means of safety pins, draw the tent into shape and shift the fastenings as required. The guy lines should have hooks or snaps at one end for ready attachment and removal; the other end should be provided with the usual slides for “take up.” The edge of the cloth where the large ring for suspension is fastened should be bound with tape or have a double hem, for it is the edge of the door in most of the tents shown.



Area, Sq. Ft.
Height, Ft. Remarks
1 7-1/2 ft. triangle 25 6-1/4 One side open
2 6-1/2 X 15 ft. 65 6-1/4 One side open
3 6 x 7-1/2 ft. 45 4-1/2 One side open
4 7-1/2 x 8 ft. 60 5-1/2 One side open
5 7-1/2 ft. triangle 25 7-1/2 One side open
6 6-1/4 x 6-1/4 ft. 39 7 Enclosed
7 7-1/2 ft. diam. 44 6-1/2 Enclosed
8 5 x 7-1/2 ft. 37-1/2 6-1/2 2-1/2 ft. wall
9 7-1/2 x 8 ft. 60 6-1/2 No.8, with fly
10 15 ft. triangle 97 6-1/4 Enclosed
11 11-1/4 ft. circle 108 5 Canopy, no sides

Waterproofing a Tent

Dissolve half a pound of alum in two quarts of boiling water; then add two gallons of pure cold water. In this solution place the material and let it remain for a day. Dissolve a quarter of a pound of sugar of lead in two quarts boiling water, then add two gallons of cold water. Take the material from the alum solution, wring it lightly, place in the second solution and leave for five or six hours; then wring out again lightly and allow it to dry.

[Transcriber’s note: Sugar of Lead (Lead Acetate) is toxic.]
If you want to avoid trouble with a leaky tent, the following solution is a “sure cure;” Take a gallon or two gallons of turpentine and one or two cakes of paraffin, drug store size. Chip the paraffin fairly fine; dump it into the turpentine. Place the turpentine in a pail and set same in a larger pail or a tub of hot water. The hot water will heat the turpentine, and the turpentine will melt the paraffin. Stir thoroughly, and renew your supply of hot water if necessary. Then pile your tent into a tub and pour in the turpentine and paraffin mixture. Work the tent all over thoroughly with your hands, so that every fiber gets well saturated. You must work fast, however, as the paraffin begins to thicken as it cools; and work out of doors, in a breeze if possible, as the fumes of the turpentine will surely make you sick if you try it indoors. When you have the tent thoroughly saturated, hang it up to dry. It is not necessary to wring the tent out when you hang it up. Just let it drip. If you use too much paraffin the tent may look a little dirty after it dries, but it will be all right after you have used it once or twice.

An Open Outing Tent
By Warren H. Miller, Editor “Field and Stream.”

To make an open outing tent, get thirteen yards of 8 oz. duck canvas, which can be bought at any department store or dry goods store for seventeen or eighteen cents a yard. This makes your total expense $2.21 for your tent. Layout the strip of canvas on the floor and cut one end square; measure up 8 inches along the edge and draw a line to the other corner. {171} From this corner layoff 7 ft. 8 in. along the edge and on the opposite side, layoff 5 ft. 9 in. beginning at the end of your 8-in. measurement. Now take a ruler and draw another diagonal across the canvas at the ends of these measurements and you have the first gore of your tent. Cut it across, turn the gore over, lay it down on the strip so as to measure off another one exactly like it. This is the corresponding gore for the other side of the tent. To make the second pair of gores, layoff 5 ft. 9 in. along one side of the remaining strip of canvas beginning at the pointed end, and 3 ft. 10 in. on the other side. Join these points with a diagonal and you have a second gore, a duplicate of which is then cut by using it as a pattern, reversing and laying it down on the strip of canvas. To make the third gore, layoff 3 ft. 10 in, on one edge of your strip beginning at the point, and 1 ft. 11 in. on the other side. Draw a diagonal across and you have the third gore.

How to cut up your strip of canvas

Forester tent pattern


Forester tent with hood

You have now used up all but two yards of your canvas, plus a little left-over piece of about two feet long. Out of this little left-over piece make a triangle 1 ft. 11 in. on the side, which will form the back triangle of your tent. Now pin your three gores together to make the side of your tent, just as in the illustrations, and pin the two sides together along the ridge. Then sew this tent up. Sew in the little back triangle and hem all around the edges. Leave a hole at the peak of the little triangle through which the ridge pole must go.

To set it up, cut three small saplings, one of which should be twelve feet long and the other two, ten feet long. Tie these two together at the ends making what the sailors call a “shears.” Take the twelve-foot pole and run it down the ridge inside the tent, and out through the hole in the back. Now raise the ridge pole with one end stuck in the ground and the front end resting on the two shear poles and tie all three of them together. At the end of each seam along the hem you must work in a little eyelet hole for a short piece of twine to tie to the tent pegs. Stretch out the back triangle, pegging it down at the two corners on the ground, and then peg out each hole along the foot until the entire tent stretches out taut as in our illustrations. Three feet from the peak along the front edge you must have another eyelet hole with a little piece of twine and you tie this out to the shear pole on each side which gives the tent the peculiar gambrel roof which it has, and which has the advantage of giving you lots more room inside than the straight tent would. You now have what is known as the “open” forester tent.

Forester tent with hood

If a thunder storm comes up with a driving rain it will surely rain in at the front unless you turn the tent around by moving the poles one at a time. If you don’t want to do this you can make a hood for the front out of the two yards of canvas you have left. Simply draw a diagonal from one corner to the other of this {173} two-yard piece of duck and cut it down the diagonal, making two thin triangles which are sewed to the front edges of the open forester tent, making a hood of the shape shown in our picture. This prevents the rain beating in the opening of your tent but still lets the heat of your fire strike in and at the same time it keeps the heat in the tent as it will not flow out along the ridge pole as it does in the open type.

This tent weighs six pounds and packs into a little package fourteen inches long by seven inches wide by six: inches thick, and can be carried as a shoulder strap or put in a back pack or any way you wish to take it. It will sleep three boys, or two men and a boy, very comfortably indeed. While it really does not need to be water-proofed, as it immediately shrinks tight after the first rain, you can water-proof it if you wish by making a solution of ten ounces of quick lime with four ounces of alum in ten quarts of water. Stir occasionally until the lime has slackened. Put the tent in another pail and pour the solution over it, letting it stand twelve hours. Take out and hang it on the clothes-line to dry. It will then be entirely waterproof.

To make a good night fire in front of the tent, drive two stout stakes three feet long in the ground about three feet from the mouth of the tent; pile four logs one on top of the other against these stakes or take a large flat stone and rest it against it. Make two log andirons for each side of the fire and build your fire in the space between them. It will give you a fine cheerful fire and all the heat will be reflected by the back logs into the tent, making it warm and cheerful. Inside you can put your browse bags stuffed with balsam browse; or pile up a mountain of dry leaves over which you can stretch your blankets. Pile all the duffle way back in the peak against the little back triangle where it will surely keep dry and will form a sort of back for your pillows. You will find the forester tent lighter and warmer than the ordinary lean-to, as it reflects the heat better. After a couple of weeks in it you will come home with your lungs so full of ozone that it will be impossible to sleep in an ordinary room without feeling smothered.

Canoeing, Rowing and Sailing

(Prepared with the cooperation of Mr. Arthur A. Carey, Scout Master, Boy Scout ship Pioneer; Mr. Carleton E. Sholl, Captain Lakanoo Boat Club Crew; Mr. Frederick K. Vreeland, Camp-Fire Club of America. and Mr. R. F. Tims, Vice-Commodore, American Canoe Association.)

The birch-bark canoe is the boat of the North American Indians, and our modern canvas canoes are made, with some {174} variations, on the Indian model. With the possible exception of the Venetian gondola, the motion of a canoe is more graceful than that of any other boat propelled by hand; it should be continuous and gliding, and so silent that it may be brought up in the night to an animal or enemy, Indian fashion, without making any sound, and so take them by surprise.

Canoeing stroke (a)

Many accidents happen in canoes–not because they are unsafe when properly handled, but because they are unsafe when improperly handled–and many people do not take the trouble even to find out the proper way of managing a canoe. Many canoes have seats almost on a level with the gunwale, whereas, properly speaking, the only place to sit in a canoe is on the bottom; for a seat raises the body too high above the centre of gravity and makes the canoe unsteady and likely to upset. It is, however, difficult to paddle while sitting in the bottom of a canoe, and the best position for paddling is that of kneeling and at the same time resting back against one of the thwarts. The size of the single-blade paddle should be in proportion to the size of the boy who uses it–long enough to reach from the ground to the tip of his nose. The bow paddle may be a little shorter. The canoeman should learn to paddle equally well on either side of a canoe. When paddling on the {175} left side the top of the paddle should be held by the right hand, and the left hand should be placed a few inches above the beginning of the blade. The old Indian stroke, which is the most approved modern method for all-round canoeing, whether racing or cruising, is made with the arms almost straight–but not stiff–the arm at the top of the paddle bending only slightly at the elbow. This stroke is really a swing from the shoulder, in which there is little or no push or pull with the arm. When paddling on the left side of the canoe the right shoulder swings forward and the whole force of the body is used to push the blade of the paddle through the water, the left hand acting as a fulcrum. While the right shoulder is swung forward, the right hand is at the same time twisted at the wrist so that the thumb goes down; this motion of the wrist has the effect of turning the paddle around in the left hand–the left wrist being allowed to bend freely–so that, at the end of the stroke, the blade slides out of the water almost horizontally. If you should twist the paddle in the opposite direction it would force the head of the canoe around so that it would travel in a circle. At the recovery of the stroke the right shoulder swings back and the paddle is brought forward in a horizontal position, with the blade almost parallel to the water. It is swung forward until the paddle is at right angles across the canoe, then the blade is dipped edgewise with a slicing motion and a new stroke begins. In paddling on the right side of the canoe the position of the two hands and the motion of the two shoulders are reversed.

Canoeing stroke (b)

Something should also be said about double paddles–that is, paddles with two blades–one at each end–as their use is becoming more general every year. With the double paddle a novice can handle a canoe, head on to a stiff wind, a feat which {176} requires skill and experience with a single blade. The doubles give greater safety and more speed and they develop chest, arm and shoulder muscles not brought into play with a single blade. The double paddle is not to be recommended to the exclusion of the single blade, but there are many times when there is an advantage in its use.

Canoeing stroke (c)

In getting in or out of a canoe it is especially necessary to step in the very centre of the boat; and be careful never to lean on any object–such as the edge of a wharf–outside of the boat, for this disturbs your balance and may capsize the canoe. Especially in getting out, put down your paddle first, and then, grasping the gunwale firmly in each hand, rise by putting your weight equally on both sides of the canoe. If your canoe should drift away sideways from the landing-place, when you are trying to land, place the blade of your paddle flat upon the water in the direction of the wharf and gently draw the canoe up to the landing-place with a slight sculling motion.

When it is necessary to cross the waves in rough water, always try to cross them “quartering,” i. e. at an oblique angle, but not at right angles. Crossing big waves at right angles {177} is difficult and apt to strain a canoe, and getting lengthwise between the waves is dangerous. Always have more weight aft than in the bow; but, when there is only one person in the canoe, it may be convenient to place a weight forward as a balance; but it should always be lighter than the weight aft. A skillful canoeman will paddle a light canoe even in a strong wind by kneeling at a point about one third of the length from the stern.

For the purpose of sailing in a canoe the Lateen rig is the safest, most easily handled, and the best all-round sailing outfit. For a seventeen-foot canoe a sail having forty square feet of surface is to be recommended, and, in all except very high winds, this can be handled by one man.

Canoe with sail

The Lateen sail is made in the form of an equilateral triangle, and two sides are fastened to spars which are connected at one end by a hinge or jaw. The mast–which should be set well forward–should be so long that, when the sail is spread and the slanting upper spar is swung from the top of the mast, the lower spar will swing level about six to eight inches above the gunwale and hang clear above all parts of the boat in going about. The sail is hoisted by a halyard attached at, or a little above, the centre of the upper spar, then drawn through a block attached to the brace which holds the mast in position, {178} and thus to the cleats–within easy reach of the sailor. The sheet line is fastened to the lower spar, about two feet from the outer end; and, when not held in the hand, may be fastened to another cleat. Both halyard and sheet should at all times be kept clear, so as to run easily, and with knots about the cleats that can be instantly slipped.

The leeboard is a necessary attachment to the sailing outfit. It is made with two blades–about three feet long and ten inches wide would furnish a good-sized surface in the water–one dropping on each side of the canoe and firmly supported by a bar fastened to the gunwale. The blades should be so rigged that, when striking an object in the water, they will quickly release, causing no strain on the canoe. The leeboard, like a centre board, is of course intended to keep the canoe from sliding off when trying to beat up into the wind. When running free before the wind the board should be raised. The general rules for sailing larger craft apply to the canoe.

The paddle is used as a rudder and may be held by the sailor, but a better plan is to have two paddles, one over each side, made fast to the gunwale or the brace. The sailor can then grasp either one as he goes about and there is no danger of losing the paddles overboard. In sailing, the sailor sits on the bottom, on the opposite side from the sail, except in a high wind, when he sits on the gunwale where he can the better balance the sail with his weight. The combination of sail, leeboards, and the balancing weight of the sailor, will render the canoe stiff and safe, with proper care, in any wind less than a gale. A crew may consist of two or three in a seventeen foot canoe.

The spars and mast of a sailing outfit should be of spruce or some other light but strong wood, while cedar or some non-splitting wood is best for the leeboards. Young canoeists will enjoy making their own sailing outfits; or a complete Lateen rig as made by various canoe manufacturers can be purchased either directly from them or through almost any dealer.

In case of an upset the greatest mistake is to leave the boat. A capsized canoe will support at least four persons as long as they have strength to cling to it. A single man or boy, in case of upsetting beyond swimming distance to land, should stretch himself flat upon the bottom of the canoe, with arms and legs spread down over the tumblehome toward the submerged gunwales. He can thus lie in safety for hours till help arrives. When two persons are upset, they should range themselves one {179} on each side of the overturned boat; and, with one hand grasping each other’s wrists across the boat, use the other hand to cling to the keel or the gunwale. If the canoe should swamp, {180} fill with water, and begin to sink, it should be turned over in the water. It is the air remaining under the inverted hull that gives the craft sufficient buoyancy to support weight.

Never overload a canoe. In one of the ordinary size–about seventeen feet in length–three persons should be the maximum number at anytime, and remember never to change seats in a canoe when out of your depth.

This diagram illustrates some of the angles formed by the boom and the keel line of the boat in different positions:

Running free, or before the wind
Wind abeam Port tack
Wind abeam Starboard tack
Pointing into the wind Port tack
Pointing into the wind Starboard tack.



{180 continued}

There is a certain caution in the use of boats which you will always find among sailors and fishermen and all persons who are using them constantly. Such a person instinctively steps into the middle of the boat when getting in, and always sits in the middle of the thwart or seat. This is a matter of instinct with seafaring people, and so is the habit of never fooling in a boat. Only landlubbers will try to stand up in a small boat while in motion; and, as for the man who rocks a boat “for fun,” he is like the man “who didn’t know the gun was loaded.”


Row-boats are propelled either by rowing or by sculling; and rowing is either “pulling” or “backing water.” The usual way of rowing is to “pull” and to do so, you sit with your back to the bow and propel the boat by pulling the handles toward your body and so pressing the blades of the oars against the water toward the stern, while pushing with your feet against a brace. In backing water you reverse the action of the oars, pushing the handles away from your body and pressing the blades of the oars against the water toward the bow.


To turn your boat to the right, when pulling, you row only with the left oar; or, if you wish to make a sharp turn “pull” with the left oar and “back water” with the right. To turn your boat to the left the action of the oars is reversed.


To prevent the momentum of the boat from being checked by the wind blowing on the blades of the oars, the blades must be turned into a horizontal position as they leave the water. In “pulling” this is done by turning the hands backward at {181} the wrist, and in backing water it is done by turning the hands forward at the wrist.


To scull is to propel a boat by a single oar at the stern. The boat must be provided with rowlock or a semicircular scoop in the stern, and the boat is propelled by working the oar at the stem, obliquely from side to side. This is a convenient way of doing when you are working among boats in the water, and have to go short distances without the necessity of speed.


When rowing a boat without the use of a rudder, instead of constantly turning the head around to see where you are going, it is convenient to fix upon some object in the landscape on an imaginary line with the middle of the stern and the middle of the bow; you can then keep your boat approximately in the right position, without the trouble of turning your head, by keeping the object selected on a line with the middle of the stern board.

Coming Alongside

When coming alongside of a boat or wharf always approach on the leeward side or that opposite from which the wind is blowing, and come up so that the boat will be headed into the wind and waves. Stop rowing at a convenient distance from the landing-place and come up with gentle headway; then take in the oar nearest the landing, and, if necessary, back water with the other oar.

Keeping Stroke

When two or more are rowing together the length and speed of the stroke are set by the man sitting nearest the stern.

Rough Weather

Always try to row as nearly as possible into the waves at right angles. In this way you are likely to ship less water and to avoid capsizing.

Going Ashore

When going ashore always leave your oars lying flat on the thwarts on either side of your boat.

The Salute

To salute a passing vessel or boat, hold the oars up at right angles with the water.

Every row-boat should be provided with a rough sponge and a tin dipper to be used in bailing out the water. Always bail out the water after a rain and keep your boat clean and tidy.

Sailing in Small Boats

The most convenient kind of a boat to learn to sail in is a cat-boat, which is a boat with a single fore and aft sail held in place by a boom at the bottom and a gaff at the top.

To understand the principle of sailing we must realize that a sail-boat, without the use of a rudder, acts in the water and wind very much the way a weather vane acts in the air. The bow of the boat naturally turns toward the wind, thus relieving the sail of all pressure and keeping it shaking. But if by keeping the main sheet in your hand you hold the sail in a fixed position, and, at the same time, draw the tiller away from the sail, it will gradually fill with air beginning at the hoist or mast end of the sail and impel the boat in the direction in which you are steering. Given a certain direction in which you want to travel, the problem is, by letting out or hauling in your main-sheet, to keep the sail as nearly as possible at right angles with the direction of the wind. We must remember, also, that, while the sail must be kept full, it should not be kept more than full; that is, its position must be such that, by the least push of the tiller toward the sail, the sail will begin to shake at the hoist. It is even desirable in a strong wind, and especially for beginners, to always let the sail, close to the mast, shake a little without losing too much pressure. When you are sailing with the wind coming over the boat from its port side you are sailing on the port tack, and when you are sailing with the wind coming across the boat on its starboard side you are sailing on the starboard tack. The port side of the boat is the left hand side as you face the bow while standing on board, and the starboard side is the right hand side. An easy way of remembering this is by recalling the sentence, “Jack left port.”

Direction of Wind

Of course, you will see that, if you should forget which way the wind is blowing, you could not possibly know the right position for your sail; and this is one of the first requirements for a beginner. It is quite easy to become confused with regard to the direction of the wind, and therefore every boat should be provided with a small flag or fly at its mast-head and you should keep watching it at every turn of the boat until the habit {183} has become instinctive. It is convenient to remember that the fly should always point as nearly as possible to the end of the gaff, except when you are sailing free or before the wind.

Close to Wind

Sailing with the boat pointing as nearly as possible against the wind is called sailing close to the wind; when you have turned your bow to the right or left so that the wind strikes both boat and sail at right angles you are sailing with the wind abeam; as you let out your sheet so that the boom makes a larger angle with an imaginary line running from the mast to the middle of the stern you are sailing off the wind; and, when your sail stands at right angles to this same line, you are sailing free or before the wind.

Before the Wind

Sailing free, or before the wind, is the extreme opposite of sailing close hauled or on the wind, and the wind is blowing behind your back instead of approaching the sail from the direction of the mast. If you are sailing free on the port tack, with the boom at right angles to the mast on the starboard side, and you should steer your boat sufficiently to starboard, the wind would strike the sail at its outer edge or leech and throw the sail and boom violently over to the port side of the mast. This is called jibing and is a very dangerous thing; it should be carefully guarded against whenever sailing before the wind.


If you find that the wind is too strong for your boat, and that you are carrying too much sail, you can let her come up into the wind and take in one or two reefs. This is done by letting out both the throat and peak halliards enough to give sufficient slack of sail, then by hauling the sail out toward the end of the boom, and afterward by rolling the sail up and tying the points under and around it, but not around the boom. Always use a square or reef knot in tying your reef points. In case of a squall or a strong puff of wind, remember that you can always ease the pressure on your sail by turning the bow into the wind, and if for any reason you wish to shorten suddenly you can drop your peak by loosening the peak halliards.

Ready About

Before “going about,” or turning your bow so that the wind will strike the other side of the sail at its mast end, the man {184} at the helm should always give warning by singing out the words, “ready about.” “Going about” is just the opposite of jibbing.

Right of Way

When two boats approach each other in opposite directions, close hauled, the boat on the starboard tack has the right of way and should continue her course. The responsibility of avoiding a collision rests with the boat sailing on the port tack. But a boat running before the wind must always give way to a boat close hauled.

When sailing through high waves, always try as far as possible to head into them directly at right angles. Always steer as steadily as possible. If you are careful to keep the boat on her course and do not let your mind wander, only a slight motion of the tiller from side to side will be necessary.

Flying the Flag

While the “fly” or “pennant” is carried at the top of the mast, the flag is carried at the peak or upper corner of the sail at the end of the gaff. The salute consists of tipping or slightly lowering the flag and raising it again into position.







By Ernest Thompson Seton, Chief Scout

“I wish I could go West and join the Indians so that I should have no lessons to learn,” said an unhappy small boy who could discover no atom of sense or purpose in any one of the three R’s.

“You never made a greater mistake,” said the scribe. “For the young Indians have many hard lessons from their earliest day–hard lessons and hard punishments. With them the dread penalty of failure is ‘go hungry till you win,’ and no harder task have they than their reading lesson. Not twenty-six characters are to be learned in this exercise, but one thousand; not clear straight print are they, but dim, washed-out, crooked traces; not in-doors on comfortable chairs, with a patient teacher always near, but out in the forest, often alone and in every kind of weather, they slowly decipher their letters and read sentences of the oldest writing on earth–a style so old that the hieroglyphs of Egypt, the cylinders of Nippur, and the drawings of the cave men are as things of to-day in comparison–the one universal script–the tracks in the dust, mud, or snow.

“These are the inscriptions that every hunter must learn to read infallibly, and be they strong or faint, straight or crooked, simple or overwritten with many a puzzling, diverse phrase, he must decipher and follow them swiftly, unerringly if there is to be a successful ending to the hunt which provides his daily food.

“This is the reading lesson of the young Indians, and it is a style that will never become out of date. The naturalist also must acquire some measure of proficiency in the ancient art. Its usefulness is unending to the student of wild life; without it he would know little of the people of the wood.”

There Are Still Many Wild Animals

It is a remarkable fact that there are always more wild animals about than any but the expert has an idea of. For {188} example, there are, within twenty miles of New York City, fully fifty different kinds–not counting birds, reptiles, or fishes–one quarter of which at least are abundant. Or more particularly within the limits of Greater New York there are at least a dozen species of wild beasts, half of which are quite common.

“Then how is it that we never see any?” is the first question of the incredulous. The answer is: Long ago the beasts learned the dire lesson–man is our worst enemy; shun him at any price. And the simplest way to do this is to come out only at night. Man is a daytime creature; he is blind in the soft half-light that most beasts prefer.

While many animals have always limited their activity to the hours of twilight and gloom, there are not a few that moved about in daytime, but have given up that portion of their working day in order to avoid the arch enemy.

Thus they can flourish under our noses and eat at our tables, without our knowledge or consent. They come and go at will, and the world knows nothing of them; their presence might long go unsuspected but for one thing, well known to the hunter, the trapper, and the naturalist: wherever the wild four-foot goes, it leaves behind a record of its visit, its name, the direction whence it came, the time, the thing it did or tried to do, with the time and direction of departure. These it puts down in the ancient script. Each of these dotted lines, called the trail, is a wonderful, unfinished record of the creature’s life during the time it made the same, and it needs only the patient work of the naturalist to decipher that record and from it learn much about the animal that made it, without that animal ever having been seen.

Savages are more skilful at it than civilized folk, because tracking is their serious life-long pursuit and they do not injure their eyes with books. Intelligence is important here as elsewhere, yet it is a remarkable fact that the lowest race of mankind, the Australian blacks, are reputed to be by far the best trackers; not only are their eyes and attention developed and disciplined, but they have retained much of the scent power that civilized man has lost, and can follow a fresh track, partly at least by smell.

It is hard to over-value the powers of the clever tracker. To him the trail of each animal is not a mere series of similar footprints; it is an accurate account of the creature’s life, habit, changing whims, and emotions during the portion of life whose record is in view. These are indeed autobiographical chapters, {190} and differ from other autobiographies in this–they cannot tell a lie. We may get wrong information from them, but it is our fault if we do; we misread the document that cannot falsify.



Deer, Sheep, Mink, Cottontail, Hawk, Owl, Meadow Mouse


{190 continued}
When to Learn Tracking

The ideal time for tracking, and almost the only time for most folk, is when the ground is white. After the first snow the student walks forth and begins at once to realize the wonders of the trail. A score of creatures of whose existence, maybe, he did not know, are now revealed about him, and the reading of their autographs becomes easy.

It is when the snow is on the ground, indeed, that we take our four-foot census of the woods. How often we learn with surprise from the telltale white that a fox was around our hen house last night, a mink is living even now under the wood pile, and a deer–yes! there is no mistaking its sharp-pointed un-sheep-like footprint–has wandered into our woods from the farther wilds.

Never lose the chance of the first snow if you wish to become a trailer. Nevertheless, remember that the first morning after a night’s snow fall is not so good as the second. Most creatures “lie up” during the storm; the snow hides the tracks of those that do go forth; and some actually go into a “cold sleep” for a day or two after a heavy downfall. But a calm, mild night following a storm is sure to offer abundant and ideal opportunity for beginning the study of the trail.

How to Learn

Here are some of the important facts to keep in view, when you set forth to master the rudiments:

First.–No two animals leave the same trail; not only each kind but each individual, and each individual at each stage of its life, leaves a trail as distinctive as the creature’s appearance, and it is obvious that in that they differ among themselves just as we do, because the young know their mothers, the mothers know their young, and the old ones know their mates, when scent is clearly out of the question.

Another simple evidence of this is the well known fact that no two human beings have the same thumb mark; all living creatures have corresponding peculiarities, and all use these parts in making the trail

Second.–The trail was begun at the birthplace of that creature and ends only at its death place; it may be recorded in visible track or perceptible odor. It may last but a few {191} hours, and may be too faint even for an expert with present equipment to follow, but evidently the trail is made, wherever the creature journeys afoot.

Third.–It varies with every important change of impulse, action, or emotion.

Fourth–When we find a trail we may rest assured that, if living, the creature that made it is at the other end. And if one can follow, it is only a question of time before coming up with that animal. And be sure of its direction before setting out; many a novice has lost much time by going backward on the trail.

Fifth.–In studying trails one must always keep probabilities in mind. Sometimes one kind of track looks much like another; then the question is, “Which is the likeliest in this place.”

If I saw a jaguar track in India, I should know it was made by a leopard. If I found a leopard in Colorado, I should be sure I had found the mark of a cougar or mountain lion. A wolf track on Broadway would doubtless be the doing of a very large dog, and a St. Bernard’s footmark in the Rockies, twenty miles from anywhere, would most likely turn out to be the happen-so imprint of a gray wolf’s foot. To be sure of the marks, then, one should know all the animals that belong to the neighborhood.

These facts are well known to every hunter. Most savages are hunters, and one of the early lessons of the Indian boy is to know the tracks of the different beasts about him. These are the letters of the old, old writing.

A First Try

Let us go forth into the woods in one of the North-eastern states when there is a good tracking snow, and learn a few of these letters of the wood alphabet.

Two at least are sure to be seen–the track of the blarina and of the deer mouse. They are shown on the same scale in Figs. 1 and 2, page 198.

In Fig. 3 is the track of the meadow mouse. This is not unlike that of the blarina, because it walks, being a ground animal, while the deer mouse more often bounds. The delicate lace traceries of the masked shrew, shown in Fig. 4, are almost invisible unless the sun be low; they are difficult to draw, and impossible to photograph or cast satisfactorily but the sketch gives enough to recognize them by.

The meadow mouse belongs to the rank grass in the lowland {192} near the brook, and passing it toward the open, running, water we may see the curious track of the muskrat; its five-toed hind foot, its four-toed front foot, and its long keeled tail, are plainly on record. When he goes slowly the tail mark is nearly straight; when he goes fast it is wavy in proportion to his pace. Page 193.

The muskrat is a valiant beast; he never dies without fighting to the last, but he is in dread of another brookland creature whose trail is here–the mink. Individual tracks of this animal are shown in No. 1, page 161. Here he was bounding; the forefeet are together, the hindfeet track ahead, and tail mark shows, and but four toes in each track, though the creature has five on each foot. He is a dreaded enemy of poor Molly Cottontail, and more than once I have seen the records of his relentless pursuit. One of these fits in admirably as an illustration of our present study.

A Story of the Trail

It was in the winter of 1900, I was standing with my brother, a business man, on Goat Island, Niagara, when he remarked, “How is it? You and I have been in the same parts of America for twenty years, yet I never see any of the curious sides of animal life that you are continually coming across.”

“Largely because you do not study tracks,” was the reply. “Look at your feet now. There is a whole history to be read.”

“I see some marks,” he replied, “that might have been made by some animal.” “That is the track of a cottontail,” was the answer. “Now, let us read the chapter of his life. See, he went in a general straight course as though making some well-known haunt, his easy pace, with eight or ten inches between each set of tracks, shows unalarm. But see here, joining on, is something else.”

“So there is. Another cottontail.”

“Not at all, this new track is smaller, the forefeet are more or less paired, showing that the creature can climb a tree; there is a suggestion of toe pads and there is a mark telling evidently of a long tail; these things combined with the size and the place identify it clearly. This is the trail of a mink. See! he has also found the rabbit track, and finding it fresh, he followed it. His bounds are lengthened now, but the rabbit’s are not, showing that the latter was unconscious of the pursuit.”

After one hundred yards the double trail led us to a great pile of wood, and into this both went. Having followed his {193} game into dense cover, the trailer’s first business was to make sure that it did not go out the other side. We went carefully around the pile; there were no tracks leading out.

“Now,” I said, “if you will take the trouble to move that wood pile you will find in it the remains of the rabbit half devoured and the mink himself. At this moment he is no doubt curled up asleep.”

As the pile was large and the conclusion more or less self-evident, my brother was content to accept my reading of the episode.

What About Winter Sleepers

Although so much is to be read in the wintry white, we cannot now make a full account of all the woodland four-foots, for there are some kinds that do not come out on the snow; they sleep more or less all winter.

Dog tracks, front and back (1/2 life-size)

Cat tracks, front and bad (1/2 life-size)

Uppermost, well-developed human foot

Middle, a foot always cramped by boots

Bottom, a bare foot, never in boots

Muskrat tracks, (1/3 life-size)

Thus, one rarely sees the track of a chipmunk or woodchuck in truly wintry weather; and never, so far as I know, have the trails of jumping mouse or mud turtle been seen in the snow. These we can track only in the mud or dust. Such trails cannot be followed as far as those in the snow, simply because the mud and dust do not cover the whole country, but they are usually as clear and in some respects more easy of record.

How to Make Pictures of Tracks

It is a most fascinating amusement to learn some creature’s way of life by following its fresh track for hours in good snow. I never miss such a chance. If I cannot find a fresh track, I take a stale one, knowing that, theoretically, it is fresher at every step, and from practical experience that it always brings one to some track that is fresh.

How often I have wished for a perfect means of transferring these wild life tales to paper or otherwise making a permanent collection. My earliest attempts were in free-hand drawing, which answers, but has this great disadvantage–it is a translation, a record discolored by an intervening personality, and the value of the result is likely to be limited by one’s own knowledge at the time.

Casting in plaster was another means attempted; but not one track in ten thousand is fit to cast. Nearly all are blemished and imperfect in some way, and the most abundant–those in snow–cannot be cast at all.

Then I tried spreading plastic wax where the beasts would walk on it, in pathways or before dens. How they did scoff! The simplest ground squirrel knew too much to venture on my waxen snare; around ‘it, or if hemmed in, over it, with a mighty bound they went; but never a track did I so secure.

Photography naturally suggested itself, but the difficulties proved as great as unexpected, almost as great as in casting. Not one track in one thousand is fit to photograph; the essential details are almost always left out. You must have open sunlight, and even when the weather is perfect there are practically but two times each day when it is possible–in mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when the sun is high enough for clear photographs and low enough to cast a shadow in the faint track.

The Coon that Showed Me How

Then a new method was suggested in an unexpected way. A friend of mine had a pet coon which he kept in a cage in his bachelor quarters up town. One day, during my friend’s {195} absence the coon got loose and set about a series of long-deferred exploring expeditions, beginning with the bachelor’s bedroom. The first promising object was a writing desk. Mounting by a chair the coon examined several uninteresting books and papers, and then noticed higher up a large stone bottle. He had several times found pleasurable stuff in bottles, so he went for it. The cork was lightly in and easily disposed of, but the smell was far from inviting, for it was merely a quart of ink. Determined to leave no stone unturned, however, the coon upset the ink to taste and try. Alas! it tasted even worse than it smelt; it was an utter failure as a beverage.

And the coon, pushing it contemptuously away, turned to a pile of fine hand-made, deckle-edge, heraldry note-paper–the pride of my friend’s heart–and when he raised his inky little paws there were left on the paper some beautiful black prints. This was a new idea: the coon tried it again and again. But the ink held out longer than the paper, so that the fur-clad painter worked over sundry books, and the adjoining walls, while the ink, dribbling over everything, formed a great pool below the desk. Something attracted the artist’s attention, causing him to jump down. He landed in the pool of ink, making it splash in all directions; some of the black splotches reached the white counterpane of the bachelor’s bed. Another happy idea: the coon now leaped on the bed, racing around as long as the ink on his feet gave results. As he paused to rest, or perhaps to see if any places had been neglected, the door opened, and in came the landlady. The scene which followed was too painful for description; no one present enjoyed it. My friend was sent for to come and take his coon out of there forever. He came and took him away, I suppose “forever.” He had only one other place for him–his office and there it was I made the animal’s acquaintance and heard of his exploit–an ink and paper, if not a literary affair.

This gave me the hint at the Zoo I needed, a plan to make an authentic record of animal tracks. Armed with printer’s ink and paper rolls I set about gathering a dictionary collection of imprints.

After many failures and much experiment, better methods were devised. A number of improvements were made by my wife; one was the substitution of black paint for printer’s ink, as the latter dries too quickly; another was the padding of the paper, which should be light and soft for very light animals, and stronger and harder for the heavy. Printing from a mouse, for example, is much like printing a delicate {196} etching; ink, paper, dampness, etc., must be exactly right, and furthermore, you have this handicap–you cannot regulate the pressure. This is, of course, strictly a Zoo method. All attempts to secure black prints from wild animals have been total failures. The paper, the smell of paint, etc., are enough to keep the wild things away.

In the Zoo we spread the black pad and the white paper in a narrow, temporary lane, and one by one drove, or tried to drive, the captives over them, securing a series of tracks that are life-size, properly spaced, absolutely authentic, and capable of yielding more facts as the observer learns more about the subject.

As related here, all this sounds quite easy. But no one has any idea how cross, crooked, and contrary a creature can be, until he wishes it to repeat for him some ordinary things that it has hitherto done hourly. Some of them balked at the paint, some at the paper, some made a leap to clear all, and thereby wrecked the entire apparatus. Some would begin very well, but rush back when half-way over, so as to destroy the print already made, and in most cases the calmest, steadiest, tamest of beasts became utterly wild, erratic, and unmanageable when approached with tracklogical intent.

Trying It on the Cat

Even domestic animals are difficult. A tame cat that was highly trained to do anything a cat could do, was selected as promising for a black track study, and her owner’s two boys volunteered to get all the cat tracks I needed. They put down a long roll of paper in a hall, painted pussy’s feet black, and proceeded to chase her up and down. Her docility banished under the strain. She raced madly about, leaving long, useless splashes of black; then, leaping to a fanlight, she escaped up stairs to take refuge among the snowy draperies. After which the boys’ troubles began.

Drawing is Mostly Used

These, however, are mere by-accidents and illustrate the many practical difficulties. After these had been conquered with patience and ingenuity, there could be no doubt of the value of the prints. They are the best of records for size, spacing, and detail, but fail in giving incidents of wild life, or the landscape surroundings. The drawings, as already seen, are best for a long series and for faint features; in fact, the {197} drawings alone can give everything you can perceive; but they fail in authentic size and detail.

Photography has this great advantage–it gives the surroundings, the essential landscape and setting, and, therefore, the local reason for any changes of action on the part of the animal; also the aesthetic beauties of its records are unique, and will help to keep the method in a high place.

Thus each of the three means may be successful in a different way, and the best, most nearly perfect alphabet of the woods, would include all three, and consist of a drawing, a pedoscript and a photograph of each track, and a trail; i.e., a single footprint, and the long series of each animal.

My practice has been to use all whenever I could, but still I find free-hand drawing is the one of the most practical application. When I get a photograph I treasure it as an adjunct to the sketch.

A Story of the Trail

To illustrate the relative value as records, of sketch and photograph, I give a track that I drew from nature, but which could not at any place have been photographed. This was made in February 15, 1885, near Toronto. It is really a condensation of the facts, as the trail is shortened where uninteresting. Page 189, No. 2.

At A, I found a round place about 5 x 8 inches, where a cottontail had crouched during the light snowfall. At B he had leaped out and sat looking around; the small prints in front were made by his forefeet, the two long ones by his hind feet, and farther back is a little dimple made by the tail, showing that he was sitting on it. Something alarmed him, causing him to dart out at full speed toward C and D, and now a remarkable change is to be seen: the marks made by the front feet are behind the large marks made by the hind feet, because the rabbit overreaches each time; the hind feet track ahead of the front feet; the faster he goes, the farther ahead those hind feet get; and what would happen if he multiplied his speed by ten I really cannot imagine. This overreach of the hind feet takes place in most bounding animals.

Now the cottontail began a series of the most extraordinary leaps and dodgings (D,E,F.) as though trying to escape from some enemy. But what enemy? There were no other tracks. I began to think the rabbit was crazy–was flying from an imaginary foe–that possibly I was on the trail of a March hare. But at G I found for the first time some spots of blood. {198} This told me that the rabbit was in real danger but gave no due to its source. I wondered if a weasel were clinging to its neck. A few yards farther, at H, I found more blood. Twenty yards more, at I, for the first time on each side of the rabbit trail, were the obvious marks of a pair of broad, strong wings. Oho! now I knew the mystery of the cottontail running from a foe that left no track. He was pursued by an eagle, a hawk, or an owl. A few yards farther and I found the remains (J) of the cottontail partly devoured. This put the eagle out of the question; an eagle would have carried the rabbit off boldly. A hawk or an owl then was the assassin. I looked for something to decide which, and close by the remains found the peculiar two-paired track of an owl. A hawk’s track would have been as K, while the owl nearly always sets its feet in the ground {199} with two toes forward and two toes back. But which owl? There were at least three in the valley that might be blamed. I looked for more proof and got it on the near-by sapling–one small feather, downy, as are all owl feathers, and bearing three broad bars, telling me plainly that a barred owl had been there lately, and that, therefore, he was almost certainly the slayer of the cottontail. As I busied myself making notes, what should come flying up the valley but the owl himself–back to the very place of the crime, intent on completing his meal no doubt. He alighted on a branch ten feet above my head and just over the rabbit remains, and sat there muttering in his throat.

The proof in this case was purely circumstantial, but I think that we can come to only one conclusion; that the evidence of the track in the snow was complete and convincing.


1. Blarina in snow
2. Deermouse
3. Meadow mouse
4. Masked shrew


{199 continued}
Meadow Mouse

The meadow mouse autograph (page 189) illustrates the black-track method. At first these dots look inconsequent and fortuitous, but a careful examination shows that the creature had four toes with claws on the forefeet, and five on the hind, which is evidence, though not conclusive, that it was a rodent; the absence of tail marks shows that the tail was short or wanting; the tubercules on each palm show to what group of mice the creature belongs. The alternation of the track shows that it was a ground-animal, not a tree-climber; the spacing shows the shortness of the legs; their size determines the size of the creature. Thus we come near to reconstructing the animal from its tracks, and see how by the help of these studies, we can get much light on the by-gone animals whose only monuments are tracks in the sedimentary rocks about us–rocks that, when they received these imprints, were the muddy margin of these long-gone creatures’ haunts.

What the Trail Gives–The Secrets of the Woods

There is yet another feature of trail study that gives it exceptional value–it is an account of the creature pursuing its ordinary life. If you succeeded in getting a glimpse of a fox or a hare in the woods, the chances are a hundred to one that it was aware of your presence first. They are much cleverer than we are at this sort of thing, and if they do not actually sight or sense you, they observe, and are warned by the action of some other creature that did sense us, and so cease their occupations to steal away or hide. But the snow story will {201} tell of the life that the animal ordinarily leads–its method of searching for food, its kind of food, the help it gets from its friends, or sometimes from its rivals–and thus offers an insight into its home ways that is scarcely to be attained in any other way. The trailer has the key to a new storehouse of Nature’s secrets, another of the Sybilline books is opened to his view; his fairy godmother has, indeed, conferred on him a wonderful {202} gift in opening his eyes to the foot-writing of the trail. It is like giving sight to the blind man, like the rolling away of fogs from a mountain view, and the trailer comes closer than others to the heart of the woods.

Dowered with a precious power is he,
He drinks where others sipped,
And wild things write their lives for him
In endless manuscript.