Wolf and Coyote Trapping: An Up-to-Date Wolf Hunter’s Guide

Wolf and Coyote Trapping: An Up-to-Date Wolf Hunter’s Guide

by A. R. Harding

An Up-to-Date Wolf Hunter’s Guide, Giving the Most Successful Methods of Experienced “Wolfers” for Hunting and Trapping These Animals, Also Gives Their Habits in Detail.

There are certain wild animals which when hard pressed by severe cold and hunger, will raid the farmers and ranchmen’s yards, killing fowls and stock. There however, are no animals that destroy so much stock as wolves and coyotes as they largely live upon the property of farmers, settlers and ranchmen to which they add game as they can get it.

While these animals are trapped, shot, poisoned, hunted with dogs, etc., their numbers, in some states, seem to be on the increase rather than the decrease in face of the fact that heavy bounties are offered.

The fact that wolf and coyote scalps command a bounty, in many states, and in addition their pelts are valuable, makes the hunting and trapping of these animals of no little importance.

THE TIMBER WOLF.

Wolves of all species belong to that class of animals known as the dog family, the members of which are considered to be the most intelligent of brute animals. They are found, in one species or another, in almost every part of the world. They are strictly carnivorous and are beyond all doubt the most destructive of all wild animals.

In general appearance the wolf resembles a large dog having erect ears, elongated muzzle, long heavy fur and bushy tail. The size and color vary considerably as there are many varieties.

The wolves of North America may be divided into two distinct groups, namely, the large timber wolves, and the prairie wolves or coyotes (ki’-yote). Of the timber wolves there are a number of varieties, perhaps species, for there is considerable difference in size and color.

For instance, there is the small black wolf which is still found in Florida, and the large Arctic wolf, which is found in far Northern Canada and Alaska, the color of which is a pure white with a black tip to the tail.

Then there is that intermediate variety known as the Grey Wolf, also called “Timber Wolf,” “Lobo” and “Wolf,” the latter indefinite name being used throughout the West to distinguish the animal from the prairie species. It is the most common of the American wolves, the numbers of this variety being in excess of all of the others combined.

In addition to those mentioned, there are others such as the Red Wolf of Texas and the Brindled Wolf of Mexico. All of these, however, belong to the group known to naturalists as the Timber Wolves. Just how many species and how many distinct varieties there are is not known.

The average full grown wolf will measure about five feet in length, from the end of the nose to the tip of the tail, and will weigh from eighty to one hundred pounds, but specimens have been killed which far exceeded these figures.

The prevailing color is gray, being darkest on the back and dusky on the shoulders and hips. The tail is very bushy, and the fur of the body is long and shaggy. The ears are erect and pointed, the muzzle long and heavy, the eyes brown and considering the fierce, bloodthirsty nature of the animal, have a very gentle expression.

In early days wolves were found in all parts of the country but they have been exterminated or driven out of the thickly settled portions and their present distribution in the United States is shown by the accompanying map.

As will be noted they are found in only a small portion of Nevada and none are found in California, but they are to be met with in all other states west of the Missouri and the lower Mississippi, also all of the most southern tier of states, as well as those parts bordering on Lake Superior.

A few are yet found in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. They are probably most abundant in Northern Michigan and Northern Minnesota, Western Wyoming, Montana and New Mexico.

Wyoming is the center of the wolf infested country and they are found  in greatest numbers in that state, on the headwaters of the Green River. As to the numbers still found the report of the Biological Survey for the years 1895 to 1906, inclusive, but not including the year 1898, shows that bounties were paid on 20,819 wolves in that state.

In Northern Michigan they are also abundant. In the year 1907, thirty-four wolves were killed in Ontonagon County; in Luce County fifty-four were killed up to November 10th, ’07, and in Schoolcraft Co., thirty were killed from October 1st, ’07 to April 29th, ’08.

This gives a total of one hundred and eighteen wolves killed in three out of the sixteen counties of the Upper Peninsula. These statistics are from a pamphlet issued by the Department of Agriculture.

The breeding season of the timber wolves is not as definite as that of many of the furbearing animals, for the young make their appearance from early in March until in May, and an occasional litter will be born during the summer, even as late as August. The mating season of course varies, but is mainly in January and February, the period of gestation being nine weeks. The number in a litter varies.

As a rule, the largest wolves are found in the North; the Gray Wolves of the western plains being slightly smaller than the white and Dusky Wolves of Northern Canada and Alaska, specimens of which, it is said, sometimes weigh as much as one hundred and fifty pounds. Again, the wolves of the southern part of the United States and of Mexico are smaller than the gray variety.

Wolves of all species belong to that class of animals known as the dog family, the members of which are considered to be the most intelligent of brute animals. They are found, in one species or another, in almost every part of the world. They are strictly carnivorous and are beyond all doubt the most destructive of all wild animals. Ica may be divided into two distinct groups, namely, the large timber wolves, and the prairie wolves or coyotes (ki’-yote).

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