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Great Gray Wolf

by Isaac McLellan

Canis Latrans

Wolves range innumerous the great Northwest,
And chief of all those prowlers is the Gray;
This monster finds in various realms a home.
Now scouring in vast herds the level plains,
Finding no shelter in that grassy space;
Anon again they haunt the forest depths.
Secure in mazes of the wilderness;
Anon they haunt the soaring mountain crags,
Or o'er the treeless plateaus range at will,
Where bushy shelter is infrequent found,
And there make burrows 'neath the clayey banks,
Or choose a lair among the open cliffs.
The White wolf seeks a Northern habitat,
While further south the gray wolves find a haunt,
While the Black wolf seeks southern Oregon,
And all areas south of Rocky Mounts.

Large, gaunt and fierce, it seems a dangerous foe.
Yet 'tis a coward, ever prompt to flee.
When strong in numbers the collected pack
Will dread encounter with an Indian cur.
And when o'ertaken they wi11 pause and snar1
And seek escape from such inferior foe.
When wolves, in droves, large animals pursue,
Such as the bison or the bulky elk,
They scatter in small flocks around the route
The quarry takes, and so pull down their game.
When a strong pack pursues a fleeing prey,
The victims yield before such strength and speed.
They constant follow herds of antelope,
Or buffaloes, browsing the vast grassy plains,
Prowling around them in their devious route.

E'en in the wintry regions of the North,
They prey insatiate on a lesser game,
Badger and fox, the prairie dog and hare,
And when with hunger stung, in wintry times
They prowl around the farmers' homes for spoil.

Great is the sport to hunt those wolfish herds,
With blast of horn and howling cries of hounds,
And when the mounted Indian tribes pursue,
They form a circle round the fleeing pack
And to a centre drive them to their death.

So vast the numbers of these savage wolves,
So vast the hunting grounds o'er treeless plains
That in the future years the grand wolf-hunt,
Must prove the noblest pastime of the chase.