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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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Sunday, May 1, 2016

John James Audubon took a trip up the Missouri River into the Dakotas and ultimately eastern Montana for 8 months spanning March-November 1843 for the purpose of documenting the Quadrupeds(mammals with four feet) of North America..................Some 38 years after Lewis & Clark made their way West, Audubon found that the growing human population and it's resulting Agricultural way of making a living had all but extirpated Deer and Moose in Missouri and the states east of the Mississippi, signaling the free fall of those that preyed on those hoofed browsers-----Wolves,Black Bears and Pumas.................Audubon's party had to traverse into Nebraska, the Dakota's and Montana to find some remnant of the wildlife Serengeti that the Lewis and Clark Corps had long ago witnessed

"160-170 miles north of St. Louis up the Missouri River, Game is very scarce, especially Black Bears"........"Wolves begin to be troublesome to the settlers who have sheep; they are obliged to drive the latter home, and herd them each night"

Coming upon Council Bluff(just east of present day Omaha, Nebraska), we saw one Wolf on a sand bar seeking for food, perhaps dead fish"

"We passed the river called the Sioux Pictout(eastern South Dakota), formerly abundant with Beavers, Otters Muskrats, etc, but now quite destitute of any of these creatures"..............."We saw 4 Black Tailed Deer.............On the opposite shore, we saw many tracks of Deer, Elk, Wolves and Turkeys"

"In talking with our Captain(on their boat in the Missouri River), he tells us that the Black Bear is rarely seen swimming the river"........however, I have seen them swimming in great numbers on the lower parts of the Ohio River and on the Mississippi River"

Along the banks of these rivers(Missouri River and it's tributaries), when the Buffaloes fall or cannot ascend and then die, the Wolves are seen in considerable numbers feeding upon them"

John, James Audubon

"At the L'Eau qui court river in Nebraska, saw two Wild Cats of the common kind(bobcats/pumas????)..........."We also saw several large Wolves, noticing particularly one pur white, sthat stood and looked at us for some time"........."their movements are precisely thos of the common cur dog"."We have seen 5 or 6 this day".........."We began seeing Buffaloes again in small
gangs, but this afternoon and evening we have seen a goodly number, probably more than a hundred"...."We also saw fiteen or twenty antelopes(Pronghorn)"....It was beautiful to see them running"

"We saw two Wolves crossing the river before getting to Ft. Pierre(South Dakota)"

"Passing the Cheyenne River(South Dakota), we saw more Wolves today than on any other previous occasions"

Historians, biographers, and scholars of John James Audubon and natural history have long been mystified by Audubon’s 1843 Missouri River expedition, for his journals of the trip were thought to have been destroyed by his granddaughter Maria Rebecca Audubon. Daniel Patterson is the first scholar to locate and assemble three important fragments of the 1843 Missouri River journals, and here he offers a stunning transcription and critical edition of Audubon’s last journey through the American West.

Wolves squaring off with Bison

Patterson’s new edition of the journals—unknown to Audubon scholars and fans—offers a significantly different understanding of the very core of Audubon’s life and work. Readers will be introduced to a more authentic Audubon, one who was concerned about the disappearance of America’s wild animal species and yet also loved to hunt and display his prowess in the wilderness. This edition reveals that Audubon’s famous late conversion to conservationism on this expedition was, in fact, a literary fiction. Maria Rebecca Audubon created this myth when she rewrote her grandfather’s journals for publication to make him into a visionary conservationist. In reality the journals detail almost gratuitous hunting predations throughout the course of Audubon’s last expedition.

The Missouri River Journals of John James Audubon is the definitive presentation of America’s most famous naturalist on his last expedition and assesses Audubon’s actual environmental ethic amid his conflicted relationship with the natural world he so admired and depicted in his iconic works.

 John James Audubon (1785–1851) is one of America’s premiere wildlife artists. His book The Birds of America is considered one of the greatest picture books ever produced, and his monumental The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America has been hailed as an American classic. Daniel Patterson is a professor of English at Central Michigan University. He is the author and editor of several books, including John James Audubon’s Journal of 1826: The Voyage to “The Birds of America” (Nebraska, 2011) and Early American Nature Writers: A Biographical Encyclopedia.
"The Missouri River Journals of John James Audubon is the definitive presentation of America's most famous naturalist on his last expedition."—Bob Edmonds, McCormick Messenger

“By far the liveliest and most extensive account of Audubon’s late-life trip on the Upper Missouri River.”—John Knott, professor emeritus of English at the University of Michigan and author of Imagining Wild America

“With his discovery of a John James Audubon journal long believed to have been intentionally destroyed, Patterson provides new insight into the life of America’s iconic artist and naturalist. An exceptional book.”—William Benemann, author of Men in Eden: William Drummond Stewart and Same-Sex Desire in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade

Publication of this volume was assisted by the Virginia Faulkner Fund, established in memory of Virginia Faulkner, editor in chief of the University of Nebraska Press.

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