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Eager for Deer: 1901

Eager for Deer: 1901

"Eager for deer. Deer-hunting beagles." Circa 1901-1906 photograph by William Henry Jackson. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.


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Some of the dogs look more like Walker hounds. Wonder if they got anything. Some of the old brass-shell shotguns had ramrods to help remove any shells that might get stuck after firing. Wish we could hear the dogs run.

The Hunt

I love this picture. It feels dark, they're ready for kill.


Man, that's a hard face. You can tell his life hasn't been all popcorn and butter. He looks like an extra from Deadwood.

Beagle eyes

Those beagles all share the same squinty eyes. A bit of inbreeding I think.


Some of those dogs look like beagle-terrier mixes, possibly fox terrier from the pointiness of snout. Hunters in those days often bred their best dogs to each other with no attempt to keep them purebred. Even now, coon hunters keep mixes of coon hound with a bit of Airedale, bloodhound or pit bull in their pedigrees, as well as mixing up the different coon hound breeds.

My dog was a stray and looks like a bluetick, but who knows what else might be.

Right from Faulkner

This could be one of William Faulkner's characters at Frenchman's Bend.

The gun again

That is a muzzle loader. You can see the inlay for the barrel wedge. What looks like modern shotgun shells is probably measured shot used to speed up reloading. When loading these guns the powder and shot are the same volume so one could be shot and another the powder.

Muzzleloader? Could be...

There is also a barrel wedge on the forestock, typical of muzzleloaders, which enabled easy removal of the barrel for cleaning with hot, soapy water. (Black powder is extremely corrosive and hot soapy water was, and still is, the preferred way of thoroughly cleaning a muzzleloader.)

The shotgun might be a conversion to a breechloader, but I'm not sure if shotguns or rifle were converted to modern ammunition as revolvers were.

I think the "shells" in the bandolier are containers holding pre-measured loads of shot and powder. Modern muzzleloader shooters do this, and pre-measured cartridges were known in the 19th century.


I love this picture.

Wish I could see the receiver of the weapon he's holding, though. The shotgun looks to have a ramrod, which would indicate a muzzleloader. However, there looks to be "modern" shotgun shells in the bandolier at his waist, which would indicate a more modern breachloader.

Somebody call that beagle out of the foreground so I can see it.

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