Ways of the Wolves, Daily Racing Form, 1919-09-09


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WAYS OF THE WOLVES Wolves arc about as wise as any animal that runs the wilderness and each year that civilization encroaches on them sees them wiser, for they must learn better ways of self-protection or perish. Nowadays timber wolves are scarce except in the far North, where they still thrive and hunt in packs during cold weather just as they always have. In the wilder regions of the Rocky Mountain country they are still fairly numerous and in the interior of the Olympic Mountains in Washington they are a menace to the herds of Roosevelt elk that live in this region and nowhere else in the world. In the old buffalo days a large gray wolf ranged all over the plains, following the buffalo herds in their migrations. This wolf was even larger and more powerful than the timber wolf. I saw one of these that had been killed in Wyoming many years ago early in the- fall when he--was in prime condition. This specimen measured six feet six inches from tip to tip and was about average size for a large male. A more powerfully muscled beast I never saw and one glance at the skinned body showed plainly why these wolves had no difficulty in pulling down old or wounded buffalo, to say nothing of stray calves that they killed occas-sionally as easily as they would kill a rabbit. These wolves were called "lobo" by the early Spanish explorers and this name soon became "loafer wolf" in the patois of the plainsman and by that name he has been known ever since, for a few of .them still exist in the Bad Lands. The coyote pronounced coy-o-tee is the little brother of these big wolves and is still fairly plentiful over a wide area west of the Mississippi River. He is more fox-like than wolf-like and is perfectly harmless so far as man is concerned, though he is a great thief and as sharpwitted as any fox when it comes to robbing an unprotected hen roost. They do a lot of material damage, killing poultry and occasionally a young pig or sheep for the farmers, so they are hunted and trapped all the time everywhere, the net result being to make them keener witted. Every coyote has voice enough for ten, and half a dozen of them can make night hideous witli their continuous serenading and they do it! All the wolf tribe are keen hunters and great travelers, ranging for miles over the country in a single night. They travel at a swinging trot usually, but can run like an automobile for miles if necessary. A wolfs nose is his best friend, for it catches the faintest scents in the moving air and thus tells him exactly what is upwind for miles. This makes it easy for him to keep far away from anything suspicious and it leads him straight to anything good to eat, thus he lives rather a better life than most of the wilderness folk and perpetuates his race even in the face of civilization because he usually has time to get away from man and so is rarely seen except by the hunter who knows his every habit and also his range. He is always suspicious of the man-smell and takes no chances, for he has learned to associate the scent of,inankind with danger to himself. This makes him hard to trap and even hard to kill with poison placed in small lumps of meat that he can swallow at a gulp, and mostly does not swallow at all because his fear of the man-smell is even greater than pressing hunger nowadays. Wolves, if undisturbed and following their natural instincts, usually hunt in pairs and they do some line team-work in their hunting, for each, helps the other and backs his play every time, a trait that enables two of them to catch and pull down a full grown buck deer without difficulty and usually witli only a short run. The deer may try to "double" or do any of the tricks of the wild to get away but, because of the wolf team-work, he will usually find a pair of keen-fanged jaws read to turn him back, no matter which way he swings from a straight line, so he usually heads for the nearest lake or river and is safe if he gets into swimming water ahead of the wolves. Winter time when the frost makes the trees crack like pistol shots and the deep snow provides shelter for the rabbits :ind other small fry is famine time for the timber wolf. Then he hunts in packs. Each pack has its leader, who rules the pack with iron jaw. The pack ranges far and wide, traveling all night and pulling down anything that is meat for them. At such times they will attack anything even man with a rush as they come in sight of the kill. The only things that will stop them are quick and continuous shooting or lire; If a man is caught out alone by a large pack his only salvation is to ; stand tiiem off with some mighty good riile shoofc- ing until he can build a good big fire, which he can stay close to with safety so long as it blazes big enough. Even Tlien the beasts will come as close as tliey dare and stay until driven, off . by shooting or by daylight, at which time they usually disappear. El Coniaclio hi "Our Dumb Anliaais. ; : "s i- . . . . ,

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1910s/drf1919090901/drf1919090901_5_1
Local Identifier: drf1919090901_5_1
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800