edited by Robert Kelley
My favorite story was "Don- the Story of a Lion Dog" by Zane Grey. This one was set in wild, dry scrub country that was Arizona at the time- the author accompanied a group of men that set out with hounds to catch mountain lions. Although the story centered on a certain aloof dog and how the author tried to win its affections, I was struck by two points. Firstly, the lion-hunter just gathered up a motley bunch of unwanted dogs, and when they got out in the desert let them run loose alongside the horses. He taught them to hunt lion in a simple, brutally effective manner- if the dogs took off after any scent or animal sign that was not from a lion, he yelled at them and shot them (birdshot). When they finally struck a lion's trail, they were encouraged instead. The author adamantly opposed this method, but nobody would listen to him. I was also left wondering why they were tracking and roping up cougars. It surprised me how many, how easily they came upon the big cats. The descriptions of their grace and wildness stunning. It was obvious the hunter wanted to take them alive, but I didn't know their intended fate. I've read somewhere else that they roped lions to use for training other dogs or to sell to zoos, but this story itself was never clear on that.
But I actually only read half the book. I skipped many chapters- either because I know nothing about the sport and couldn't follow well, didn't care for the writing style, or just didn't find the story itself interesting. I found this one in an antique store, in a pile of books on horsemanship.
Rating: 2/5 396 pages, 1944