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The Wolf


The United States are blessed with several species of this animal.

The Grey Wolf, which is the largest, and the smaller, Prairie Wolf

or Coyote, being the most commonly known. There are also the White

Wolf, Black Wolf and the Texan or Red Wolf. In outward form they

all bear a considerable resemblance to each other, and their habits

are generally similar in the different varieties.

Wolves are fierce and da
gerous animals, and are very powerful of

limb and fleet of foot. They are extremely cowardly in character,

and will seldom attack man or animal except when by their greater

numbers they would be sure of victory. Wolves are found in almost

every quarter of the globe. Mountain and plain, field, jungle and

prairie are alike infested with them, and they hunt in united bands,

feeding upon almost any animal which by their combined attacks

they can overpower.

Their inroads upon herds and sheep folds are sometimes horrifying,

and a single wolf has been known to kill as many as forty sheep

in a single night, seemingly from mere blood-thirsty desire.

In the early colonization of America, wolves ran wild over the

country in immense numbers, and were a source of great danger;

but now, owing to wide-spread civilization, they have disappeared

from the more settled localities and are chiefly found in Western

wilds and prairie lands.

The Grey Wolf is the largest and most formidable representative of

the Dog tribe on this continent. Its general appearance is truthfully

given in our drawing. Its length, exclusive of the tail, is about

four feet, the length of the tail being about a foot and a half.

Its color varies from yellowish grey to almost

white in the northern countries, in which latitude the animal is

sometimes found of an enormous size, measuring nearly seven feet in

length. The fur is coarse and shaggy about the neck and haunches,

and the tail is bushy. They abound in the region east of the Rocky

Mountains and northward, and travel in packs of hundreds in search

of prey. Bisons, wild horses, deer and even bears fall victims

to their united fierceness, and human beings, too, often fall a

prey to their ferocious attacks.

The Coyote, or Common Prairie Wolf, also known as the Burrowing

Wolf, as its name implies inhabits the Western plains and prairies.

They are much smaller than the Grey Wolf, and not so dangerous. They

travel in bands and unitedly attack whatever animal they desire

to kill. Their homes are made in burrows which they excavate in the

ground. The Texan Wolf inhabits the latitude of Texas and southward.

It is of a tawny red color and nearly as large as the grey species,

possessing the same savage nature.

In April or May the female wolf retires to her burrow or den, and

her young, from six to ten in number, are brought forth.

The wolf is almost as sly and cunning as the fox, and the same

caution is required in trapping the animal. They are extremely keen

scented, and the mere touch of a human hand on the trap is often

enough to preclude the possibility of capture. A mere footprint,

or the scent of tobacco juice, they look upon with great suspicion,

and the presence of either will often prevent success.

The same directions given in regard to trapping the fox are equally

adapted for the wolf. The trap (size No, 4, page 141) should be

smoked or smeared with beeswax or blood, and set in a bed of ashes

or other material as therein described, covering with moss, chaff,

leaves or some other light substance. The clog should be fully

twice as heavy as that used for the fox. Some trappers rub the

traps with brake leaves, sweet fern, or even skunk's cabbage.

Gloves should always be worn in handling the traps, and all tracks

should be obliterated as much as if a fox were the object sought

to be secured.

A common way of securing the wolf consists in setting the trap

in a spring or puddle of water, throwing the dead body of some

large animal in the water beyond the trap in such a position that

the wolf will be obliged to tread upon the trap, in order to reach

the bait. This method is described both under the head of the Fox

and the Bear.

Another plan is to fasten the bait between two trees which are

very close together, setting a trap on each side and carefully

concealing them as already directed, and securing each to a clog

of about twenty pounds in weight. The enclosure described on page

144 is also successful.

There are various scent or trail baits used in trapping the wolf.

Oil of Assafoetida is by many trappers considered the best, but

Oil of Rhodium, powdered fennel, fenugreek and Cummin Oil are also

much used. It is well to smear a little of the first mentioned oil

near the traps, using any one of the other substances, or indeed a

mixture of them all, for the trail. This may be made by smearing the

preparation on the sole of the boots and walking in the direction

of the traps, or by dragging from one trap to another a piece of

meat scented with the substance, as described under the head of


The wolf is an adept at feigning death, playing 'possum with a

skill which would do credit to that veritable animal itself.

A large dead-fall, constructed of logs, page 17, when skilfully

scented and baited, will often allure a wolf into its clutches,

and a very strong twitch-up, with a noose formed of heavy wire, or

a strip of stout calf hide, will successfully capture the crafty


In skinning the wolf the hide may be removed either by, first ripping

up the belly, or in a circular piece, as described connection with

the fox, both methods being much used. The board and hoop stretchers

used in preparing the skin are described on pages 273 and 275.