George Catlin, ‘Antelope Shooting’, ca. 1845, Kiechel Fine Art

Plate #20 of Catlin's "North American Indian Portfolio: Hunting Scenes and Amusements of the Rocky Mountains and Prairies of America" 1844.

"The Antelope (Furcifer) of the Prairies and Rock Mountains of America, which I believe to be different from all other known varieties, forms one of the most pleasing living ornaments of the Western World. Their flesh, which is excellent food, contributes essentially to the Indian’s larder; and the modes of hunting them, much to his amusement. They are met in some parts in almost incredible numbers, sporting and playing about the hills and dales; and often, in flocks of fifty or a hundred, will follow the boat of the descending voyageur on the Missouri, or the travelling caravan, for hours together, keeping off at a safe distance on the right or left, galloping up and down the hills, blowing through their noses, and stamping with their feet, as if they were endeavoring to remind the traveler through those realms of the wicked trespass he was making on their own hallowed ground.

These beautiful and delicate little animals seem to be endowed, like many other “gentle and sweet-breathing creatures,” with an undue share of curiosity, often leading them to a sort of voluntary destruction; and the hunter who wishes to entrap them easily does so without taking the trouble of travelling after them. For this purpose, when he has been discovered by then, he has only to elevate above the tops of the grass, on the point of an arrow or his ramrod stuck in the ground, a little red or yellow flag, the lightness of which will keep it trembling in the wind, to which they are sure to advance, though with great coyness and caution; whilst the hunter lies close, at a little distance to the right or the left, with his rifle or bow in his hand, when it is quite easy to bring down two or three at a shot, which he has ranged under his eye, and pierced with one arrow or bullet.

In the landscape view in this plate, (which as in all the preceding ones, is a picture from Nature,) a striking resemblance is seen to the noble Park scenery in England; and the resemblance is forcibly heightened by the group that is dancing over it."

About George Catlin