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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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Friday, November 25, 2016

"A decade before the celebrated mountain men entered the Northern Plains and Rockies, some dozen little-known trading forays were launched into the plains of the Southwest".................."In 1808–1809, with a party of twelve hunter-traders, Mississippi planter and hardware store owner Anthony Glass acted as a semi-official emissary of President Thomas Jefferson in probing the uncharted Texas lands of the Taovaya-Wichita and Comanche Indians"....... "Alone among the early southwestern traders, Glass kept a lively journal detailing his route and experiences with the Indians, with the landforms and wildlife of the region...............A.B. Hammond Professor of Western History at the U. of Montana and author of best selling books on the ecological history of the western USA , below is Dan's Flores reveal on the wildlife described by Glass during his trek into Texas

Journal of an 

Indian Trader

Anthony Glass and the 
Texas Trading Frontier, 

Edited by Dan L. Flores

"The Wild Horses of the early West
 were descendants of Andalusian stock,
 a line of animals
whose ancestry can be traced to the 
Barbary and Arabian hourses of 
northern Africa and the
Middle East".Small fleet and beautifully
 proportioned, these animals were
 ideally shaped by 
their desert evolution to compete as 
grazers with bison and pronghorn 
antelope on the
 prairies and plains of the southwest".....
"By 1800, they had reached a peak 
population of
 perhaps 2 million, most between the 
Rio Grande and Arkansas rivers, the
 center of their
range, apparently, west-central Texas"

Wolves and Pumas, the only predators of Wild Horses

"The Frenchmen who traversed East 
Texas in the 1680's saw no wild 
horses, but the
 de Leon and Teran expeditions of 
1689-91 brought more than a 
1000 horses and mules
 to the region, at least 200 of which 
were lost"

The Texas Cross Timbers

"Lewis & clark saw no wild
horses on the Northern Plains during their 1804-1806 
expedition".........""Pike however
frequently sighted bands along the ARkansas River in 
1806 and saw "immense herds"
 in South Texas in 1807".........."Freeman and Custis,
 whose 1806 expedition was
stopped about a week short of the Blackland Prairies, 
do not mention wild horses at
all in the woods and bottoms of Arkansas and Texas"

In green, historical distribution of Black Bears(note East
Texas gradient on left side of map)

"The Alabama-Coushattas(Indians) had been hunting 
wildlife for the market since
their arrival on the Red River; Sibley remarked in 1805
 that one family of them had taken
 118 black bears, while a single hunter had killed 400
 deer in 1804 and sold the hides for
50 cents each"

"Glass has his first encounter with a true prairie species; 
prairie chickens, a 
plump grouse of the humid, tall-grass prairies".........
.As late as 1850, there still were
500,000 of these birdes in the North Texas prairies".....
"Market hunting and habitat 
alteration by agriculture extirpated them completely"....
..."No attempt was made to
save them; the last flocks were seen near Marshall in

Based largely on Vernon Bailey's zoological survey of 
1905, the eastward range of
 this species in Texas has long been fixed at about 98
 degrees west"....There has 
been some archaeological work, however, indicating
 that the prairie dog did once
range farther east"....Blackland clays would have been
 good habitat"........."Glass
therefore may provide us with a rare documentation 
for the existence of relict 
prairie dog colonies on the Blackland Prairie of the
 early 19th century"

"The crossings of Bois d' Arc Creek, a favorite beaver
 stream of the old French 
hunters, seems to be effected near Bonham"..."This
 first mention of great
numbers of bison and mustangs seems to refer to 
the country between Bonham 
and the Grayson County Line".......In his "Prehistoric
 Bison Populations of North
Central Texas, Mark Lynott uses archaeological 
evidence to argue that bison
populations were never large in the Prairie-Cross 
Timbers country, primarily
because the nutritional value of bluestem was less
 suited to bison needs
than the shorter grasses farther west, and that 
whitetail deer were always
the more important subsistence animal in the area"

"A surround of a bison herd began when two lines
 of (native) horsemen, about
a mile  distant from each other, advanced on 
either side of the herd and slowly
brought their ends together to encircle the 
animals"....."Whilst the poor affrighted
animals eddying about in a crowded and confused
 mass, hooking and climbing
upon each other"....."In this grand turmoil, a 
cloud of dust was soon raised, which 
in parts obscured the throng where the hunters 
were galloping their horses
around and driving the whizzing arrows or their
 long lances to the hearts of
 these noble animals"..."In this way, the grand
 hunt soon resolved itself into
a desperte battle; andin the space of fifteen
 minutes, resulted in the total
destruction of the whole herd"

Dan Flores is A. B. Hammond Professor
of Western History at the University of
Montana and the general editor of the
 Environmental History series at Texas A&M
University Press. He is the author or co-author
of seven books, including Journal of an Indian
 Trader: Anthony Glass and the Texas Trading 
Frontier, 1790-1810,published by Texas A&M
Press in 1985. Flores received his Ph.D. from
Texas A&;M and currently divides his time
 between Missoula, Montana, and Santa Fe.

"The journal is a fascinating running

 account of wilderness travel,

 negotiations with Indians, robberies by

 the Comanches and hunting adventures.

 It includes information on plants and

animals, Indian culture and attitudes,

 geographical features and political 

relations of the natives with Spaniards

 and Americans. . . . fascinating reading

 and at the same time an important

historical reference. It is superbly

 annotated, and the editor demonstrates 

a very perceptive understanding of the

 importance of Indian traders in

 promoting good Anglo-Indian relations.

 He also documents effectively the whole 

problem of Spanish-American relations

 on the vague borders of the provinces of

 New Mexico and Texas. This book

 deserves a place in every library 

concerned with the Indian trade and

 frontier History." --The Museum of

 the Fur Trade Quarterly

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