November 27, 1841

John Bidwell and his two companions had spent a week slogging through rain and mud on their way to Sutter’s. They were out of provisions, hungry and tired. On the day before they arrived at Sutter’s the weather finally cleared.

“The storm abated. The sun came out through masses of clouds, vast herds of antelopes seen and I went in advance to kill some game, there being no gulch or depression in the surface which was not filled with water, whereby I could possibly approach. I failed to do more than frighten the antelope, and cause them to gather in a larger band by roaming around as all who saw antelope can readily understand. Having crawled upon the ground until my gun was wet and unfit to rely upon . . . I resolved to discharge it, wipe it out and reload. Holding it at an angle of 45 degrees slowly went off. Going on in the direction we were traveling, at a distance of more than half a mile I think, I saw an antelope, and supposed he had ended his days there—on examination I found my ball had struck in his eye.”

Antelope for dinner, no doubt!

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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