Oklahoma Wolf Hunters - A living legend!, The Oklahoma State Game Warden


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Oklahoma Wolf Hunters - A living legend!
A perspective by State Game Warden Brady May - Cherokee County

When someone mentions the word "wolf" in Oklahoma it would be safe to stand
back, especially if you are among mixed company. That is because the legacy
of wolves and the mixed emotions of their impact are buried deep in the
history of North America. Generations of stakeholders have passed on the
stories of burdens more so than the blessings of their past presence. Even
today, unproven sightings still run rampant in Oklahoma where they are
geographically extinct. Whether settlement day sentiments originated from a
dust bowl destitute rancher, hunter, houndsman, or bounty hunter, the
mention of the word "wolf" will surely dig up old bones from tales that
were buried decades ago.

The stories of old that continue to stimulate discussion among many are not
without merit. You see, Oklahoma once was home to one of two known species
of wolves in North America. Unlike their more adaptable northern
counterpart the timber wolf, the red wolf once roamed the prairies and
hills of Oklahoma. Somewhat smaller in size and usually darker in color,
they were thought to originate as a cross between a timber wolf and a
coyote. The last documented hold outs of their fragile existence were found
in the gulf coast states of Texas and Louisiana back in the sixties. In
1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trapped the last know specimens in
the wild in a futile effort to save them from extinction. Through a
rigorous breeding program, pairs of red wolves were released seven years
later in 1987 in North Carolina. The USFWS now estimates

Source: www.okgamewarden.com/PastIssues/2011_Issue_1/OKWolfHunters.html

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