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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rudolph Friederich Kurz was a Swiss artist who came to America in 1846 to paint American Indians.........To put cash in his pocket, he signed on to the American Fur Company and kept a detailed diary of his time as a clerk at Ft. Berthold and Ft. Union in what would become the state of North Dakota............50 years after the Louis & Clark Expedition and at the end point of the Mountain Man era, Kurz wrote the following on his observations on Wolves, Bison and Bears 8 years prior to the outbreak of the Civil War............

* " He saids that Beaver pelts will not bring $6 per pound this year now that the Beaver hats are no longer in vogue"

* "As there were few Indians about, I made sketches of their dogs, of which there are an endless number here"..............."Most of them look like Wolves"............Moreover, they do not bark, they howl dolefully".........."If one dog begin a chorus, a 100 strong immediately join him"

* "This morning the sight of 7 Buffalo Bulls on the road leading Ft. Clark"..........." They were Cayaks, thrust out by the other Bulls and never allowed to approach the Cows"..."Later in the day, great droves of Buffalos appeared coming down to the river"

* "We rode onto grazing lands that extended farther than the eye could see and over the wide extant were scattered the dusky forms of Bison, ranging in herds"..........."This will give an idea of the great numbers of those animals that in an earlier period roamed the plains of Indiana and Illinois"

* If on a hunt a person comes into close contact with a Buffalo, the animal butts up against his pursuer; Buffaloes never attack: a bull defends himself valiently agaisnt bears, but a cow has less courage"

* "During the Winter season, the Assinboin and other tribes construct parks or enclosuresinto which they entice Buffalo and kill them in droves in order to provision their people with meat for a long period"

*The Blackfeet on this side(East) of the Rocky Mountains have 4000 warriors,,,,,,,,,,,,Crows, 1200 Braves, Assinboin, in this vicinity,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Arikara 600 warriors,,,,,,Cree 800,,,,,,,Chippewa 3000 and Sioux 4000"

* " Caught a Wolf,,,,,,,,,,,There are Wolves here of great size and also Prairie Wolves(Coyotes) which are much smaller"..............."There are many different colors of the larger species, according to age and the season of the year".........."They are black, brown, yellow, mixed gray and snow white"

* "Passing through a little valley, we saw a great many Antelopes(Pronghorn) and Wolves"

* "We rode by a young Grizzly Bear inhis den and frightened him out"

The above from: ON THE UPPER MISSOURI; THE JOURNAL OF RUDOLPH FRIEDERICH KURZ; 1851-52; edited by Carla Kelly; U. of Oklahoma Press

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