George Ostrom of the Hungry Horse News just finished up a fascinating history of wolves in America. Recommended reading.
Here’s the lead-in for part 1 . . .
When wolves first made a comeback into Glacier National Park from a pack coming down from Canada, I did a lot of research on their past history in the U.S. Few people have much past knowledge on what has now become the “new” game animal, so let me share some surprising facts:
Before the white man came, there were wolves in every state of the union, and the first bounty on them was placed by the Plymouth Colony in 1630. Lewis and Clark’s journals of 1804 mentioned the “great numbers” of wolves, with especially large populations in what is now the Billings area.
And for part 2 . . .
The cattlemen weren’t sitting idly by waiting for the legislature. Many of them started or stepped up their own efforts of poisoning carcasses, hiring professionals and, of course, every cowboy on the range had orders to kill any coyote, wolf or bear on sight.
In 1895, a new $3 bounty law was passed, and the Miles City newspaper reported 3,300 wolves killed by April, but this was later proven slightly high. A total of 5,866 hides were turned in for bounty in 1896, but the wolves were getting smarter and doing such things as not returning to a kill, avoiding traps and taking off at the sight of men on horses.