There are two kinds of wolves found in the United States. One is the little coyote or prairie-wolf, or barking-wolf, which never was found in the Eastern
States, being an animal of the open country; the other is the big wolf, sometimes called the buffalo-wolf, and sometimes the timber-wolf, or gray wolf, which was formerly found everywhere from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In some districts it runs to color varieties of different kinds–red,black, or white.
The coyote is not at all a formidable beast and holds its own quite well until civilization is well advanced in a country. Coyotes are not dangerous to either man or the larger domestic animals. Lambs, young pigs, hens, and cats often become their prey, and if very hungry several of them will combine to attack a young calf. In consequence, farmers and ranchers kill them whenever the chance offers; but they do not do damage which is even appreciable when compared with the ravages of their grim big brother, the gray wolf, which in many sections of the West is now a veritable scourge of the stock-men.
The big wolves shrink back before the growth of the thickly settled districts, and in the Eastern States they often tend to disappear even from districts that are uninhabited, save by a few wilderness hunters. They have thus disappeared almost entirely from Maine, the Adirondacks, and the Alleghenies, although here and there they are said to be returning to their old haunts. Their disappearance is rather mysterious in some instances, for they are certainly not killed off. The black bear is much easier killed yet the black bear holds its own in many parts of the land from which the wolf has banished. No animal is quite so difficult to kill as is the wolf, whether by poison or rifle or hound. Yet, after a comparatively few have been slain, the
entire species will perhaps vanish from certain
With all wild animals it is a noticeable fact that a course of contact with man continuing over many generations of animal life causes a species so to adapt itself to its new surroundings that it ceases to diminish in numbers. When white men take up a new country, the game, and especially the big game, being entirely unused to contending with the new foe, succumbs easily, and is almost completely killed out.
By The Hon. Theodore Roosevelt
If any individuals survive
at all, however, the
are far more difficult to
exterminate than were their ancestors, and they cling
much more tenaciously to their old homes. The game to be found in old and long-settled countries is much more wary and able to take care of itself than the game of an untrodden wilderness. It is a very difficult matter to kill a Swiss chamois; but it is a very easy matter to kill a white goat after a hunter has once penetrated among the almost unknown peaks of the mountains of British Columbia. When the ranchmen first drove their cattle to the Little Missouri they found the deer tame and easy to kill, but the deer of Maine and the Adirondacks test to the full the highest skill of the hunter.
In consequence, after a time, game may even increase in certain districts where settlements are thin. This has been true of the wolves throughout the northern cattle country in Montana, Wyoming, and the western ends of the Dakotas. In the old days wolves were very plentiful throughout this region, closely following the huge herds of buffaloes. The white men who followed these herds as professional buffalo hunters were often accompanied by other men, known as wolfers, who poisoned these wolves for the sake of their furs.