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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, January 5, 2019

A longtime reader of this blog, Dave Messineo, provides us with some archival accounts of the Puma and Wolf populations that occupied present day Pennsylvania from the 17th century up until the late 19th century........ Accounts below from Henry W. Shoemaker's 1917 book entitled: EXTINCT PENNSYLVANIA ANIMALS; THE PANTHER AND THE WOLF..............."Many of the old hunters believed in some mysterious way the Pennsylvania lion, like the wolf, was an integral part of the original forest"..........."When the old forests were cut, the panthers and the wolves of the Keystone State(Pennsylvania) diminished, until the destruction of practically all of the first growth timber, they vanished altogether"................."This may also account for the passing of the panthers and the wolves from the Adirondack Mountains in New York, which occurred so completely after the Lumbermen's devastation"


by: Henry W. Shoemaker-1917

 *The Erie Tribe who were blotted out by the Iroquois in 1656 were called the Yenresh, or the Long Tailed, whch was gallicised into ERi, hernce Erie, the place of the Panther. The French called the Erie, Nation du Chat, or Cat Nation...........Nation du Chat means Panther Nation, which is the real name of the Erie(tribe)"

*By 1750, it was rarely found east of the the Blue Mountains............By 1840, it was driven to the astern border of Fulton County, through Perry County, thence along the north branch to Wilkes Barre, and from thence across to Honesdale"

*"By 1870, the range of the Puma was confined to Clearfield, Centre, Mifflin, Clinto, Potter, Lycoming and Susquehanna counties"...........By 1880, Clearfield, Centre and Mifflin contained the only native panthers"

*"By 1895, the range of the puma was limited to two valleys only; Havice and Treaster in Mifflin County, where the last native race of panthers disappeared"

*"Luzerne County bounties on Pumasamounted to $1822.00 between 1808-1820.......More than 50 of these animals were killed in one year"

*"J.J. Audubon relates that among the mountians of the headwaters of the Juniata river, the cougar is so abundant that one man has killed sor some years from two to five, and one very hard Winter, seven(1850)"

*"Samuel Askey of Centre County killed 64 panthers between 1820-45..........During these 25 years, it is estimated that 600 panthers were killed in Centre County............11 were killed on Medix Run, which runs through Clearfield and Elk counties during the winter of 1853"

*"Panthers were never as abundant at the headwaters of the Allehany River as they were on the Susquehana, the Clarion or the Junita rivers...............I believe that the panthers were afraid of the gey timber wolves which abounded there"

"One of the greatest(animal) drives ever known took place about 1760 in the vicinity of Pmfret Castle, a fort for defense agaisnt the Indians.................Black Jack Schwartz was the leader of this drive, which resulted in the death of more than 40 panthers....Panthers and Wolves had been troubling the more timid of settlers and a grand drive towards the centre of a circle thirty miles in diameter was planned..........A plot of ground was cleared into whcih the animals were drieven.....In the outer edge of the circle, fires were started, guns fired, bells rung and all manner of noise made.... 200 Men and boys closed in on the cenntre and when they reached the point to where the killing was to be bade, they found it crowed with yelping, growling animals............Then the slaughter began with 41 panthers, 109 wolves, 112 foxes, 114 bobcats, 17 black bears, 2 elk, 198 deer, 111 buffalo, 3 fishers,1 otter, 3 beavers and upwards of 500 smaller animals wiped from the location"

*"At the time when the Indians ranged the Continent, the wolf and the panther played an important role.......Together, they preyed upon the weak and sickly wild animals and birds, preventing the perpetuation of imperfect types and the spread of pestilences".......Haveing no animals to prey on them, they killed the sick and weakly specimens of their own races, thereby keeiping up the standard of strength and virility"

*"Among famous Pennsylvania wolfers, Bill Long, born near Reading in 1790 is preeminent..........During his career in Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, he kille 2000 wolves"

*"Wolves were still plentiful on Cornplanter's Indian Reservation and on Knzua Creek as late as 1870"

*"By 1835, the packs of Wolves in central Pennsylvania showed signs of diminishing........Hunting parties, trappers and poisoners wiped out a dozen packs in the Juniata, Seven Mountains, Snow Shoe and Black Forest regions between 1835 and 1860"

*"At the time of the first settlers, packs of 500 were common; during the first half of the 19th century, a pack containing 50 was considered a rarity; ater 1850, a pack of 20 was considered unusual"

*It is impossible to believe that the Coyote ever had a permanent habitat in Pennsylvania, or even in Ohio"

*"C.W. Dickinson, of Smethport, the greatest living Pennsylvania wolf hunter states that the wolf is one of the most cunning and shrewd animals that we know anything about"...........A lone wolf will kill any deer or drive away most any black bear, and two wolves will any bear to flight in a hurry...........But they are awfully afraid of man in daytime, but at night will come within ten or twelve rods of a small campfire and howl for an hour or more....We never knew of them to attck a man, not even around their dens where they had their young"

*"One of the first enactments made by William Penn during his second visit to Pennsylvania in 1699 was to have a bounty placed upon the scalps of wolves....................There was a bounty on wolves in the state even earlier, in 1695...............10 Shillings was the bounty around the Philadelphia area for male,wolf heads,,,,,15 shillings for females in 1705"

*"At the time of Penn's death in 1718, wolves were practically eliminated east of Lancaster,,,,,,,,,,,,,They were still plentiful in the Blue Mountains and in the Lehigh and Pocono regions until a century later......................At the time of the French and Indian war(1756), wolves were present in large companies along the Blue Mountains.........Wolves and Panthers pillaged the farms of the region, carrying off much stock............They were still plentiful in the Blue Mountains at the time of the Revolutio......until the middle of the the 19th century, they were still prevalent in Franklin, Adams, Cumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Luzerne and adjoing counties in the north,,,,,and numerous in the Wyoming, Tomhicken, Seven Mountians, Potter, McKean and Clearfield Counties"

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