Chapter 24 Summary
The poisoning killed thirty wolves in one week; only a dozen or two remain, and Baxter will help kill them. The pack is marauding in different places each night; the Forresters kill six of them and then set out more poison. When two of their dogs die of poisoning, however, their desire to kill so quickly diminishes.
The Forresters, Baxter, and Jody go hunting. At a watering hole they see a buck and a dozen spring bears. Finally the wolves appear and the men kill a dozen of them. Nearly all the bears have treed, and Baxter suggests they try to catch some, as there is a market for live animals.
Three of the young bears sit “crying like babies.” Others only climbed saplings and are easily caught. They catch ten bears and kill several which are too mean to be caged. Two Forresters will keep watch over the restrained bears while the rest go for a wagon. The Baxters leave the trading to the Forresters.
On the way home, the Baxters shoot and dress an eight-foot alligator; they will smoke the tail-meat for the dogs. As they continue home, Old Julia scents a buck; however, the deer mating season is late because of the rain and this buck is “courting and ready for a fight.” Men and dogs are accustomed to animals fleeing during a hunt, but Baxter shoots the large, well fed buck.
Ora is thrilled with their hunt. Jody collapses into bed early, while his parents make their trade list. The Forresters stop for the list on their way to Jacksonville; the wagon full of bears is bedlam. Lem is belligerent and Buck reminds Baxter that Lem is still sore about losing his girl. Jody decides he hates Lem but can continue liking the others. He finds both sentiments satisfying.