Mountain lions also wander over all parts of the reserve, but are common only in the rough country along the Blue. Wildcats are rather common and widely distributed, but are far more numerous on the Black and the Blue rivers. Timber wolves were once rather common, but are now nearly extinct, owing to their persecution by owners of sheep and cattle. Coyotes occur in this district occasionally in summer. Wild turkeys are found more or less generally throughout this section of the reserve, retreating in winter to the warmer country along the breaks of the Blue and the canyon of Black River, where they sometimes gather in very large flocks.
The greater part of this section of the Black Mesa Reserve is unsettled, but the northeastern corner, along Nutrioso Creek and the head of San Francisco River, is traversed by a wagon road leading to Springerville. Within the limits of the reservation on this road are two small farming villages of Nutriose and Alpine. The owners of the small farms along the valleys of these streams also raise a limited number of cattle and horses on the surrounding hills. A few claims are also held at scattered points along the extreme northern edge of the reserve between Springerville and Nutrioso. Between 1883 and 1895 several herds of cattle were grazed on the head of Black River, and ranged in winter down on the breaks of the Blue and the canyons of Black River; but I understand that these ranges have since been abandoned by the cattle men. For some years the sheep men have grazed their flocks in summer over the Big Mesa country and through the surrounding open forest. In addition to the damage done by the grazing of the sheep, the carelessness of the herders in starting forest fires has resulted in some destruction to the timber. Fortunately, the permanent settlers on this section of the reserve are located in the northeastern corner, which is the least suitable portion of the tract for game. In addition to the wagon road from Springerville to Nutrioso another road has been made from Springerville south across the Big Mesa to the head of Black River. Trails run from Nutrioso and Springerville to the head of Blue River and down it to the copper mining town of Clifton, but are little used. At various times scattered settlers have located along the Blue, and cultivated small garden patches. The first of these settlers were killed by the Apaches, and I am unable to say whether these farms are now occupied or not. In any case, the conditions along the tipper Blue are entirely unsuited for successful farming.
Perhaps the most serious menace to the successful preservation of game on this tract is its proximity to the White Mountain Indian Reservation. This reservation not only takes in some of the finest game country immediately bordering the timber reserve, including Ord and Thomas peaks, but is often visited by hunting parties of Indians.