Posted By admin on October 23, 2009
Maybe it was frenzy-whipping propaganda, planted by Montana stockmen to gain the sympathies of the public, which they no doubt did. But the horror stories perpetrated by wolves got plenty of ink in the late 1800s.
From the New York Times in October 1894:
“BUTTE, Mon., Oct. 6 — Reports of ravages by great packs of gray wolves come from Eastern Montana. Stockmen report wolves more numerous and bold than at any time in the history of Montana stock raising. Hundreds of head of grown stock have been killed, and the number of calves slaughtered is unknown.
“Cattlemen have grave fears for the Winter, when the beasts become desperate. The increase in the number of wolves in the last two years is said to be startling. Many men have been reported killed by them. In bands the gray wolves have been known to attack almost anything. ”
The Helena Herald in December 1894 reported that gray wolves were on the rampage in northern Gallatin County. They’re not only killing hundreds of calves, the story claimed, but are attacking larger steers and cows that become separated from the herd.
“The gray wolf is the fiercest of his species, and many a man in the great woods of the East and North have been killed by them. A few days ago a farmer in the northern part of the county shut two large-sized colts in a corral while he took his team to a field. When he came back after the colts a few hours later he found that both had been killed by wolves.
“Another stockman, while riding over the hills, came across two large steers that had been carrying on an unequal fight with wolves. The steers were surrounded by a number of the big gray creatures and several coyotes, which had been running the cattle about. The steers were badly bitten, and they were about exhausted with the unequal struggle. At the appearance of the stockman the wolves and coyotes slunk away.”
The Herald too warned that the wolves will become desperate “when the Winter finally sets in and it becomes a difficult matter for them to get a calf or sheep … They will then go in bands, and will undoubtedly attack almost anything that might furnish them a meal.”