Dicke, Robert J. (ed.) / Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume XLIV (1955)
McCabe, Robert A.
The prehistoric engineer-farmers of Chihuahua, pp. 75-90 PDF (6.1 MB)
88 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters [Vol. 44 during a hunting trip by Aldo Leopold in 1938 was generally the same as we found it in 1948. Carl Lumholtz'° who traveled extensively in all parts of Mexico, has this to say of the Gavilan watershed in 1891: "Never have I been at any place where deer were so plentiful." It seems highly unlikely that deer were absent in preconquest times, although Obregon's History of 16th Century Explorations in Western Americal7 records how the expedition of Francisco de Iberra passed through this region in 1565—66 and almost starved to death, subsisting on bitter acorns,, horse flesh and in desperation on shoes, hides and dirty leather straps. However, a noisy, marching army of men untrained in mountain hunting would likely not see a deer where deer might be relatively abundant. In this same narrative of Iberra's suffering, Obregon mentions Indians who live on "all sorts of game and wild reptiles"; deer per Se, are not mentioned. Supporting the thesis that deer were present is the account by Cabeza de Vaca,18 who with several white men and a large group of Indians passed through this same region'° about 1533. He writes that on one occasion a small group of Indians armed with bows and arrows went into the hills and returned at nightfall with over 20 deer. Another method of taking deer mentioned by Beals2° was to poison water holes used by deer. Cabeza de Vaca, was an educated white man who traveled and lived like an Indian. His narrative indicates that he was deer conscious principally because of the food value. Frequent mention is made of deer in the late stages of his journey when he crossed Sonora (and Chihuahua?). A final word on the occurrence of deer in this area during the Sixteenth Century comes from Bandelier's translation of Cabeza de Vaca's narrative: 16Ibid., p. 53. 17 George Peter Hammond and Agapito Rey (translation). Obregon's History of 26th Century Explorations in Western America. Wetzel Publishing ' Co., Los Angeles, California, 1928. 18Ibid., p. 143. 19Hubei~t H. Bancroft's History of Arizona and New Mexico (San Francisco, 1889) and Bandelier, 1905, op. cit., indicate that Cabeza de Vaca passed in a westerly direction very c'ose to the Gavilan River. Cleve Hallenbeck's Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Va~a: The Journey~and Route of the First European to cross the Continent of North America 1534-1536 (The Arthur H. Clark Co., Glendale, Calif., 1940, pp. 326) reviews the various routes that historians say Nufiez was supposed to have taken. I conclude from his route map opposite page 3013 that the route proposed by Sauer (Ibid., 1932) and Hallenbeck collectively best fitted the early accounts as presented. This however does not effect the text hypothesis since the route of Sauer and Hallenbeck passes northwest of the hairpin turn in the Bavispe River at a point about 80 air-line miles from the Gavilan watershed. The country topographically, botanically and game wise is generally comparable. ~Ibid., p. 103.
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