Wolf Coursing by Roger D. Williams

1895

While wolf-coursing is one of the most thrilling and exciting sports to be enjoyed in this country, it is less indulged in than any other sport; this, too, in the face of the fact that no country offers such excellent opportunities for its practice. This is, no doubt, due to the fact that it is a sport requiring special preparation, a thorough knowledge of both the game and country, and is very trying on horse, rider and hound. Russia seems to be the only country in which it has a foothold and a permanent place in the hearts of its sportsmen. In fact, with the Russians it might be called a national pastime. However, did it require in this country the same outlay of money, time and preparation that it does in Russia, I doubt very much its advancement as a sport.

There are really but two species of wolf in this country—the timber wolf, generally called the gray, and the prairie wolf or coyote. In different sections one hears of other varieties; but these, I believe, are merely variations in color and size, and are not specific differences. While the habits of the coyote or prairie wolf are well known to a majority of sportsmen, it is not so with the timber or gray wolf, and a few words in regard to the latter will not be amiss.

THE WOLF THROWING ZLOOEM.

My experience is that the wolves of Montana and Wyoming are larger, stronger and fiercer than those further south, though it is a fact that the largest single wolf that I ever saw killed was in Arizona. However, he was an exception to the general run of them there. If we may judge of the Russian or European wolf from specimens to be seen in menageries and zo÷logical gardens, the American wolf, while not so tall or leggy, is more compact, with heavier head, coarser muzzle, smaller ears, and perhaps a little heavier in weight—the American wolf standing from 29 to 36 inches at shoulder, and weighing from 85 to 125 pounds. I am also inclined to think that the American wolf is, when run down to a death-finish, a much more formidable foe for dogs than his European relative. I reached this conclusion only after hunting them with high-priced hounds, that had won medals in Russia for wolf-killing, but which demonstrated their utter inability even to hold American wolves.

Alive, the wolf is the enemy of man and beast, and when dead he is almost useless. His skin has but little commercial value, and even dogs refuse to eat his flesh. I have never known dogs to tear and mutilate a wolf's carcass, and verily believe they would starve to death before eating its flesh. And yet I have read accounts of hunters feeding their dogs upon wolf meat. I recall an effort I made to cultivate in my dogs a taste for wolf meat. I cut up a quantity of bear meat into small strips and tossed them to the dogs, which would gulp them down before they could fall upon the ground. Substituting a piece of wolf meat was of no avail; they detected it instantly, and those which were fooled into swallowing it immediately lost interest in the proceedings and walked away.

The wolf is by nature cowardly, being deficient in courage comparative to his strength and great size, but he often becomes courageous from necessity. When reduced to extremity by hunger, he braves danger, and has been known in numbers to attack man, though no such incident ever came under my personal observation. I have had them dog my footsteps throughout a long day's hunt, always managing to remain just beyond gunshot distance; and upon one occasion, when I had shot a pheasant, one actually carried it off in full view before I could reach it, and, notwithstanding I fired several shots that must have come uncomfortably close, he made off with his dangerously earned meal.

As a general thing, however, the wolf manifests a desire to run, rather than fight, for life, and when alone will frequently tuck his tail between his legs, and run like a stricken cur from a dog that he could easily crush out of existence. They are great believers in the maxim, "In union there is strength." The female, while apparently more timid than the male, seems to lose all sense of danger when hemmed in and forced to a fight, and attacks with intrepidity. I once shot a female at long range, the bullet from my Winchester passing through her hind quarters and breaking both legs. When I got up to her, she was surrounded by the ranch dogs—an odd assortment of "mongrel puppy, whelp and hound, and cur of low degree"—furiously attacking first one, then another of them as they circled around her; and, though she was partially paralyzed, dragging her hind quarters, she successfully stood off the entire pack until another bullet ended the struggle. When in whelp they fight with great obstinacy, and defend themselves with intrepidity, being seemingly insensible to punishment. When captured young they are susceptible of taming and domestication, though they are never free from treachery. Though I have heard it denied, I know it to be a fact that the dog has been successfully crossed upon the wolf. I saw any number of the produce around the old Spotted Tail agency. They closely resembled wolves, and were hardly distinguishable from them in appearance, though generally lacking the good qualities of faithfulness and attachment possessed by the dog.

The amount of damage a wolf can do in a horse or cattle country is almost beyond belief. He slaughters indiscriminately, carrying waste and destruction to any section he honors with his presence. When a pack of these nocturnal marauders come across an unprotected flock of sheep, a sanguinary massacre occurs, and not until they have killed, torn or mangled the entire flock will they return to the mountains. Thus the wolves become a scourge, and their depredations upon herds of sheep and cattle cause no inconsiderable loss to the rancher. They frequently plunder for days and nights together. I am not prepared to state whether it is owing to daintiness of appetite or pure love of killing, but as it is a fact that a single wolf has been known to kill a hundred sheep in a night, it would seem that this indiscriminate slaughter was more to satisfy his malignity than his hunger. It is a prevalent idea that the wolf will eat putrid meat. This I have not found to be true. He seldom if ever devours carcasses after they begin to putrify, choosing to hunt for fresh spoils rather than to return to that which he had half devoured, before leaving it to the tender mercies of the coyotes, who have an appetite less nice.

The coyote is a good scavenger, following in the footsteps of the wolf, and will pick bones until they glisten like ivory. His fondness for domestic fowl and his thieving propensity often embolden him to enter farmyards and even residences during the daytime; yet he often seems contented to dine upon corrupt flesh, bones, hair, old boots and saddles, and many remarkable gastronomic performances are credited to him. I had occasion to "sleep out" one night in the Powder River country, and, after picketing my horse, I threw my saddle upon the ground near the picket pin, and, placing my cartridge belt beneath the saddle—which I used as a pillow—I was soon sound asleep. Imagine my surprise at daybreak—knowing there was not a human being within fifty miles of me—to find that my cartridge belt was missing. After a short search I found the cartridges some few hundred yards away, and a few remnants of the belt. The coyotes had actually stolen this from under my head without disturbing me, devoured it and licked all the grease from the cartridges. I felt thankful that they had not devoured my rawhide riata.

Of all animals that I have hunted, I consider the wolf the hardest to capture or kill. There is only one way in which he can be successfully coped with, and that is with a pack of dogs trained to the purpose and thoroughly understanding their business. Dogs, as a rule, have sufficient combativeness to assail any animal, and, as a general thing, two or three of them can easily kill another animal of same size and weight; but the wolf, with his wonderful vitality and tenacity of life, combined with his thickness of skin, matted hair and resistant muscles, is anything but an easy victim for even six or eight times his number.

I spent the winter of 1874-75 in a portion of the Rocky Mountains uninhabited except by our own party. Wolves were very plentiful, and we determined to secure as many pelts as possible. Owing to the rough nature of the country and our inability to keep up with the dogs on horseback, we tried poisoning, but with only moderate success. While others claim it is an easy matter to poison wolves, we did not find it so. In a country where game is plentiful, it is almost impossible to poison them. We tried trapping them, with like results. Always mistrustful and intensely suspicious, they imagine everything unusual they see is a trap laid to betray or capture them, and with extreme sagacity avoid everything strange and new. When caught, they frequently gnaw off a foot or leg rather than be taken. Our cabin was surrounded by a stockade wall, over which we could throw such portions of deer carcasses as we did not use, and at nightfall the wolves, attracted by the smell of the meat, would assemble on the outside, and we shot them from the portholes. It required a death shot; for, if only wounded, no matter how badly, they would manage to get far enough away from the stockade to be torn into shreds by the survivors before we could drive them off. I have always found the wolf a most difficult animal to shoot. Endowed with wonderful powers of scent and extremely cunning, it is almost impossible to stalk them. Frequently, after a long stalk after one, have I raised my head to find him gone, his nose having warned him of my approach.

The successful chase of the wolf requires a species of knowledge that can be acquired only by experience. It also requires men, horses and dogs trained and disciplined for the purpose; and woe to the man, horse or dog that undertakes it without such preparation. The true sportsman is not a blood-thirsty animal. The actual killing of an animal, its mere death, is not sport. Therefore, upon several occasions, I have declined to join a general wolf round-up, where men form a cordon, and, by beating the country, drive them to a common center and kill them indiscriminately. I have always preferred hunting them with hounds to any other method of extermination. The enjoyment of sport increases in proportion to the amount of danger to man and beast engaged in it, and for this reason coursing wolves has always held a peculiar fascination for me. A number of years spent in the far West afforded me ample opportunity to indulge my tastes in this line of sport, so my knowledge of wolf-hunting and the habits of the wolf has been derived from personal experience and from association with famous hunters.

The principal drawback to the pleasure of wolf-coursing is the danger to a good horse from bad footing, and the possible mutilation and death of a favorite dog—death and destruction of hounds being often attendant upon the capture and death of a full-grown wolf. I do not know that I can give a better idea of the sport than by describing a day's wolf-hunting I enjoyed in the early seventies near Raw Hide Butte, in Wyoming.

We had notified the cook, an odd character who went by the name of Steamboat, to call us by daybreak. As we sat up late talking about the anticipated pleasures of the morrow, it seemed to me that I had hardly closed my eyes when Steamboat's heavy cavalry boots were heard beating a tattoo on the shack door. I rolled out of my bunk, to find Maje and Zach, my companions in the hunt, dressed and pulling on their shaps. Hastily dressing, I followed them out to the corral just as the gray tints of earliest morning were gathering in the sky. The horses had been corralled the night before, and, with Steamboat standing in the door, using anything but choice language at our delay in coming to breakfast, we saddled up. Having ridden my own horse, a sturdy half-breed from Salt Lake, very hard the day before in running down a wounded antelope, I decided on a fresh mount; and, as luck would have it, I selected one of the best lookers in the band, only to find out later, to my sorrow, that I had fallen upon the only bucking horse in the lot. While we breakfasted upon antelope steak, flapjacks and strong coffee, Steamboat was harnessing a couple of wiry cayuses to a buckboard, and, as we came out, we found him with the strike dogs chained to the seat behind him, impatient to be off. The party consisted of Maje, a long-legged, slab-sided, six-foot Kentuckian, mounted on a "States" horse; Zach, an out-and-out typical cowboy, who had come up from Texas on the trail, mounted on a pinto that did not look as though he had been fed since his arrival in the territory, but, as Zach knowingly remarked, "No route was too long or pace too hot for him"; Steamboat in the buckboard, holding with a pair of slips Dan, an English greyhound, and Scotty, a Scotch deerhound; while the other dogs, consisting of a pair of young greyhounds, a pair of cross-bred grey and deerhounds, and Lead, an old-time Southern foxhound, were making the horses miserable by jumping first at their heads, then at their heels, in their eagerness to facilitate the start; and myself on the bucking broncho.

While crossing the creek a few hundred yards above the ranch, I heard old Lead give mouth, a short distance ahead, in a chaparral rendered impenetrable by tangled undergrowth, and which formed secure covert for countless varmints. Knowing that he never threw his tongue without cause, I dug my spurs into my horse, with the intention of joining him. But I reckoned without my host, and for the next few minutes all my energies were devoted to sticking to my horse, who then and there in the creek bed proceeded to give an illustration of bucking that would have put the wild West buckers to shame. Lead had jumped a coyote that put off with all the speed that deadly terror could impart—all the dogs after him full tilt. It required quite a display of energy upon the part of Zach and his pinto to whip the dogs off; and, had it not been for the fact that Dan and Scotty—who had jerked Steamboat literally out of the buckboard and raced off together with the slips dangling about their heels—ran into a bush, and the slips catching held them fast, we would have been called upon to participate in a coyote and not a wolf-hunt—as, when once slipped, no human power could have stopped these dogs until they had tested the metal of Brer Coyote. By the time Zach and the dogs returned, I had convinced my broncho that I was not a tenderfoot, having "been there before," and he was contented to keep at least two feet upon the ground at the same time.

We rode probably five or six miles, carefully scanning the trackless plains, without sighting a wolf, when Maje, who had ridden off a mile to our right, was seen upon a butte wildly waving his hat. We instinctively knew that game was afoot, and, as he disappeared, we commenced a wild stampede for the butte. Steamboat, with slips and reins in one hand and blacksnake whip in the other, came thundering after us, lashing his team into a wild, mad run—and how he managed to hold himself and dogs on the bounding buckboard was a mystery to me. Reaching the butte, we espied Maje a mile away, riding for dear life. It did not take long to decide, from the general direction taken, that the wolf would shortly return to us. Keeping well back out of sight, we impatiently awaited his return, and, had it not been for the pure malignity of my broncho, the wolf would have doubled back within a few hundred yards of us, and a close race have resulted.

I had taken the dogs from Steamboat, and, with the release cord of the slips around my wrist, sat in the saddle ready to sight and slip the dogs. Becoming impatient under the restraint, the dogs ran behind my horse, and, as the strap of the slips got under his tail, he again commenced bucking, and before I could control him we were in full view of the wolf, which, upon sighting us, veered off to the left. Although not over a half mile away, the dogs failed to sight him. With a cheer to the loose dogs, we pushed forward at top speed, the cracking of the quirts upon our horses' flanks being echoed in the rear by the incessant popping of Steamboat's whip as he lashed the panting cayuses to the top of their speed in a vain effort to keep up with us.

We joined Maje at the point where we had last seen the wolf, which by this time had disappeared. Going over a rise, we dropped down into an arroyo, where the foxhound again gave tongue, and started back on the trail almost in the same direction in which we had come. Thinking that for once he was at fault, and back-tracking, I took the two dogs in slips up the arroyo, while Maje, Zach and the pack of dogs followed the foxhound, and were soon out of sight and hearing. Circling around for some distance and seeing no sign of the wolf, I rode upon a high point, and, searching the country carefully through my glasses, I could see the party probably a mile and a half away; and, from the manner in which they were getting over the ground, I knew they had again sighted. A hard ride of two miles, in which the dogs almost dragged me from my horse in their eagerness, brought me within sighting distance of the dogs—the voice of the foxhound, which was in the rear, floating back to me in strong and melodious tones across the plains. Slipping Dan and Scotty, they went from the slips like a pair of bullets and soon left me far behind. Upon rounding a point of rocks, I saw one of the young dogs lying upon the ground. A hasty glance showed me, from the violent manner in which he strained to catch his breath, that he had tackled the wolf and his windpipe was injured. It afterward developed that he had become separated from the pack, and, in cutting across country, had imprudently taken hold of the wolf, which, with one snap of his powerful jaws, had utterly disabled him, and then continued his flight. Like most wolves, he seemed to be able to keep up the pace he had set over all kinds of ground. It seemed to him a matter of indifference whether the way was up or down hill, and he evidently sought the roughest and stoniest ground, following ravines and coulees—this giving him a great advantage over horses and hounds. My horse beginning to show signs of distress, I realized that, if the chase was to be a straightaway, I would see but little of it and probably not be in at the death anyway; so I again sought a high point that gave a commanding view over a large area of country, and determined to await developments. Every once in a while, with the aid of my glasses, I could see the pack, fairly well bunched, straining every muscle, running as though for life. I could catch occasional glimpses of the wolf far in advance, as he scurried through the sagebrush, showing little power of strategy, but a determined obstinacy to outfoot his relentless foes.

Fortune again favored me. By degrees the superior speed and stamina of the hounds began to tell, though both seemed to be running with undiminished speed. The wolf, finding that, with all his speed and cunning, they were slowly but surely overtaking him, circled in my direction, and I was soon again an important factor in the hunt, urging the dogs with shouts of encouragement. I was now near enough to note that one of the young greyhounds, which had evidently been running cunning by lying back and cutting across, was far in advance of the pack—not over 100 yards behind the wolf, and gaining rapidly. Striking a rise in the ground, he overtook the wolf and seized him by the shoulder. The wolf seemed to drag him several yards before he reached around, and with his powerful, punishing jaws gave him a slash that laid his skull bare and rolled him over on the prairie.

Slight as this interruption was, it encouraged Dan to greater effort, and the next minute he had distanced the pack, nailed the wolf by the jowl, and over they went, wolf on top. Scotty was but a few paces behind, and, taking a hind hold, tried to stretch him. With a mighty effort the wolf tore himself loose from both and started to run again. He had not gone thirty paces before Scotty bowled him over again. Rising, he sullenly faced his foes, who, with wholesome respect for his glistening ivories, seemed to hesitate while recovering their wind, as they were sadly blown after their long run, the day being an intensely hot one. At this point I rode up. The wolf lay closely hugging the ground, his swollen tongue protruding from foam-flecked chops, and with keen and wary eye he watched the maddened pack circling about looking for a vulnerable point. Varied experience in the art of self-defense had taught him skill and quickness, and as each dog essayed to assail him he found a threatening array of teeth. Throwing myself from the saddle, I cheered them on. Dan and Scotty hesitated no longer, but rushed savagely at him, one on either side, and the whole pack, including the one recently scalped, regardless of his gaping wound, followed them.

For a few minutes the pile resembled a struggling mass of dogs, and the air seemed filled with flying hair, fur and foam, and the snapping of teeth was like castanets. At first the wolf seemed only intent upon shaking off his foes and escaping, but the punishment he was receiving could not long be borne; and from then on to the last gasp, with eyes flaming with rage, every power seemingly put forth, he fought like a demon possessed. As he tossed the dogs about, seemingly breaking their hold at will, I was singularly impressed with his enormous size and strength, his shaggy appearance and his generally savage look, and suggested to Maje and Zach, who had come up in the meantime, that we take a hand in the fray, as I doubted the ability of the dogs to finish him without serious loss. However, we decided to give them the opportunity, and ere long they had him hors de combat, stretched upon the ground, his body crimson with his own life's blood, in the last throes of death. He was one of the largest specimens I had ever seen, weighing not less than 120 pounds, the green pelt weighing twenty-four. His carcass, when stood up alongside of Scotty, seemed several inches taller, and I afterward measured the latter and found him to be thirty-one inches.

All of the dogs received more or less punishment; none escaped scathless, but really much less damage was done than I expected. This was owing to the fact that Dan and Scotty, two of the staunchest seizers I ever saw, engaged him constantly in front, while the other dogs literally disemboweled him. Scotty had a bad cut on the side of the neck, requiring several stitches to close, and the muscles of his shoulder were laid bare; while Dan's most serious hurt was a cut from dome of skull to corner of eye, from which he never entirely recovered, as he ever afterward had a weeping eye. One of the cross-breeds, whose pads were not well indurated, suffered from lacerated feet, and one of his stoppers was torn almost off, necessitating removal. A wolf's bite is both cruel and dangerous, and wounds on dogs are obstinate and very hard to heal—more so than those of any other animal. While skinning the wolf, our horses were standing with lowered heads, heaving flanks, shaking and trembling limbs; my horse, much to my satisfaction, evidently without a good buck left in him.

After a full hour's rest for man and beast, we started back to the ranch. Taking Steamboat with the buckboard, I went back to the point of rocks with the intention of taking up the injured dog. Upon arrival there no trace of him could be found; he had mysteriously disappeared. Thinking that he had recovered sufficiently to make his way back to the ranch, we increased our speed and soon joined the others, who had been heading directly for home. The ride home was devoid of incident, the monotony being occasionally broken by our frantic efforts to restrain the dogs from chasing innumerable jack rabbits that bounded away on three legs, in their most tantalizing way, inviting us to a chase. We also got within rifle shot of a band of antelope, seeming quite at ease, feeding and gamboling sportively with each other, until a pistol shot at long range sent them skimming gracefully over the plains, finally vanishing like a flying shadow in the distance. While crossing the creek below, and within sight of the ranch, we again heard Lead give tongue in the chaparral above the ranch, and in a few minutes he had a coyote busy, doubtless the same one we had disturbed in taking a constitutional in the morning. The dogs, now a sorry looking set, had been jogging lazily along behind us, but in a moment were all life and action. Their spirits were contagious, and, though we had positively agreed under no circumstances to run a coyote, we very soon found ourselves flying after the vanishing pack in full pursuit. A pretty race ensued. When first dislodged the coyote appeared lame to such an extent that I thought his leg broken; but after warming up this affection entirely disappeared, and the pace was a hot one for the first mile. The dogs ran well together, and were gradually lessening the gap between them and their wily foe, who, realizing this, displayed tact in selecting the very worst possible ground for footing, and soon regained his lost vantage. It began to look as though the coyote would again give us the slip, when one of the young dogs, that Zach in his excitement had ridden over several minutes before and presumably killed, was seen to dash out from a draw and bowl over the coyote. His hold was not a good one, but he succeeded in turning the coyote, who then made a straight line for a bunch of cattle grazing near, becoming temporarily unsighted among the cattle. The dogs again fell behind, and when again sighted the coyote was making a bee line for the ranch. By the time the creek was reached, he was in evident distress and sorely pressed. With a final effort he dashed through the creek up the opposite bank, and, as he dodged into the open corral gate, one of the greyhounds flicked the hair from his hind quarters. It was his last effort. By the time we reached the corral, he was being literally pulled to pieces. We could not see that he made additional wounds upon any of the dogs. In the excitement of the finish of the chase I had lost Maje, and it was only after the death in the corral that I missed him. Going to the adobe wall, I peered over and saw him some distance away standing beside his horse. Upon going back to him, we found that his horse had stepped into a prairie dog hole, throwing him violently, and, turning a somersault, had landed upon him. The only damage to Maje was, he had been converted for the time being into a cactus pincushion; but his "States" horse had broken his fore leg at the pastern joint and had to be shot.

After the long run of the morning, this race afforded us ample scope for testing both the speed and staying qualities of the dogs as well as of our horses.

We were disappointed in not finding the injured dog at the ranch. In fact, he was never afterward heard of, and doubtless crawled away among the rocks and died alone. After sewing up Scotty's wounds, dressing the minor cuts of the other dogs and removing the cactus and prickly pear points from their feet (the latter not a small job by any means), we were soon doing full justice to Steamboat's satisfying if not appetizing meal.

In contrast to our simple preparations and equipment for this, an average wolf-hunt in that country, wolf-hunts in Russia, as described to me by my friend, St. Allen, of St. Petersburg, are certainly grand affairs; but when the two methods of hunting are compared, I cannot but believe that the balance of sport is in our favor.

I have frequently been asked what breed of dogs I consider best for wolf-hunting. Having tried nearly all kinds, experience and observation justify me in asserting that the greyhound is undoubtedly the best. In the first place, there is no question of their ability to catch wolves, and, when properly bred and reared, their courage is undoubted. It is a general supposition that the greyhound is devoid of the power of scent. This is a mistake, as can be attested by anyone who has ever hunted them generally in the West upon large game, especially wolves, which give a stronger scent than any other animal. Of course, this power is not as well developed in the greyhound as in other breeds, because the uses to which he is put do not require scent, and, under the law of evolution, it has deteriorated as a natural consequence. Unrivaled in speed and endurance, these qualities have been developed and bred for, while the olfactory organs have been necessarily neglected by restricting the work of the dogs to sight hunting. Experience has taught me that they are the only breed of dogs that, without special training or preparation, will take hold and stay in the fight with the first wolf they encounter until they have killed him. I have heard it said that this was because they did not have sense enough to avoid a wolf. At all events, it is a fact that they will unhesitatingly take hold of a wolf when dogs older, stronger and better adapted to fighting will refuse to do so. I have found that, while all dogs will hunt or run a fox spontaneously, with seeming pleasure, they have a natural repugnance and great aversion to the proverbially offensive odor peculiar to the wolf. I once hunted a pack of high-bred foxhounds, noted for their courage. They had not only caught and killed scores of red foxes, but had also been used in running down and killing sheep-killing dogs. Though they had never seen a wolf, I did not doubt for an instant that they would kill one. While they trailed and ran him true, pulling him down in a few miles, they utterly refused to break him up when caught. The following extract, from an article I wrote some years ago on the "Greyhound," for the "American Book of the Dog," expresses my views of the courage and adaptability of the greyhound for wolf-hunting:

"A general impression prevails that the greyhound is a timid animal, lacking heart and courage. This may be true of some few strains of the breed, but, could the reader have ridden several courses with me at meetings of the American Coursing Club which I have judged, and have seen greyhounds, as I have seen them, run until their hind legs refused to propel them further, and then crawl on their breasts after a thoroughly used up jack rabbit but a few feet in advance, the singing and whistling in their throats plainly heard at fifty yards, literally in the last gasp of death, trying to catch their prey, he or she would agree with me in crediting them with both the qualities mentioned."

In hunting the antelope, it is not an uncommon thing to see a greyhound, especially in hot weather, continue the chase until he dies before his master reaches him. An uninjured antelope is capable of giving any greyhound all the work he can stand, and unless the latter is in prime condition his chances are poor indeed to throttle. A peculiar feature of the greyhound is that he always attacks large game in the throat, head or fore part of the body. I have even seen them leave the line of the jack rabbit to get at his throat. Old "California Joe," at one time chief of scouts with Gen. Custer, in 1875 owned a grand specimen of the greyhound called Kentuck, presented to him by Gen. Custer. I saw this dog, in the Big Horn country, seize and throw a yearling bull buffalo, which then dragged the dog on his back over rough stones, trampled and pawed him until his ears were split, two ribs broken, and neck and fore shoulders frightfully cut and lacerated, yet he never released his hold until a Sharps rifle bullet through the heart of the buffalo ended the unequal struggle. Talk about a lack of courage! I have seen many a greyhound single-handed and alone overhaul and tackle a coyote, and in a pack have seen them close in and take hold of a big gray timber wolf or a mountain lion and stay throughout the fight, coming out bleeding and quivering, with hardly a whole skin among them. In point of speed, courage, fortitude, endurance and fine, almost human judgment, no grander animal lives than the greyhound. He knows no fear; he turns from no game animal on which he is sighted, no matter how large or how ferocious. He pursues with the speed of the wind, seizes the instant he comes up with the game, and stays in the fight until either he or the quarry is dead. Of all dogs these are the highest in ambition and courage, and, when sufficiently understood, they are capable of great attachment.

In selecting dogs for wolf-killing, the most essential qualities to be desired are courage, strength and stamina to sustain continued exertion, with plenty of force and dash. Training is a matter requiring unlimited patience, coupled with firmness and judgment, and a large amount of love for a dog. It also requires constant watchfulness of a dog's every movement and mood to make a successful wolf-courser of him. Many a good dog has been ruined at the outset by not being fully understood.

They should receive their first practical work when about one year old, provided they are sufficiently developed to stand the hard work necessary. They generally have mind enough at this age to know what is expected of them. It is, of course, better to hunt a young dog first with older and experienced dogs, which will take hold of any kind of game. The larger and stronger the dog, the better; for it requires immense powers of endurance, hardihood and strength to hold, much less kill, a wolf. The latter are particularly strong in the fore quarters and muscles of the neck and jaw. As an evidence of their great strength, I saw a wolf, while running at full speed, seize the Siberian wolfhound Zlooem by the shoulder and throw him bodily into the air, landing him on his back several feet away, and yet this wolf did not weigh as much as the dog.

Particular care should be taken to see that a young dog gets started right in his practical training. Encourage him with your presence; do all you can to see that he is sighted promptly; spare no expense or pains in getting a good mount, and keep as close as possible during the fighting; enliven him with your voice, and encourage him to renewed effort; for his ardor increases in proportion to the encouragement and praise received. Ride hard, to be in early at the death. His confidence once gained, he will place implicit reliance in your assistance; but, let him be beaten off once or twice through lack of encouragement, and he will soon lose his relish for the sport and show a disposition to hang back; while he may seem to be doing his best, a practiced eye will soon detect a want of ardor and dash. A pack of hounds, with a good strike dog and confidence in their owner, will carry everything before them; by keeping them in good heart they always expect success to crown their efforts.

If from any cause in the final struggle the dogs are getting the worst of it, or the other dogs refuse to assist the seizers, one must not hesitate an instant about assisting them; this requires perfect coolness, self-control and presence of mind, so as not to injure the dog. To attempt the use of the pistol or gun is too dangerous. A well-directed blow with a good strong hunting knife, delivered between the shoulders, will generally break the spine, leaving the wolf entirely at the mercy of the hounds.

I would advise no one to attempt the Russian method of taping the jaws while the wolf is held by the seizers. I had an experience of this kind once. After a long chase, the wolf, in his efforts to escape, leaped a wall, and, in alighting upon the farther side, thrust his head and neck through a natural loop formed by a grapevine growing around a tree. Reaching him as soon as the hounds, I fought them off; but, although he was virtually as fast as if in a vise, it required the united efforts of five of us to bind his legs and tape his jaws, and this was only accomplished after a severe struggle of some minutes. I am sure I would not have trusted any dog or dogs I ever hunted to have held him during this operation.

One should always be provided with a spool of surgeon's silk and a needle, for these will assuredly be called into use. Old Major, a greyhound owned by Dr. Van Hummel and myself, full of years and honors, is still alive. He was a typical seizer and afraid of nothing that wore hair. His entire body is seamed with innumerable scars, and has been sewed up so often that he resembles a veritable piece of needlework. As an evidence of his speed, strength and early training, I recollect that, shortly after I had hunted him in the West, I had him at my home in Kentucky. The Doctor was on a visit to me, and we had taken Major to the country with us while inspecting stock farms. At Wyndom Place, where we were admiring a handsome two-year-old Longfellow colt, running loose in the field, the owner, before we were aware of his intention, set Major after the colt "to show his speed and style." We both instantly saw his error, but it was too late—we could not call the dog off. He soon overhauled the colt, and, springing at his throat, down they went in a heap—the colt, worth a thousand dollars, ruined for life.

One of the most glaring instances of improper training and handling of wolfhounds that ever came under my observation was the Colorado wolf-hunt that attracted so much attention in the sporting press of this country, England and Russia. Mr. Paul Hacke, an enthusiastic fancier, of Pittsburg, Pa., while in Russia attended a wolf-killing contest in which the barzois contested with captive wolves. He became so much enamored of the sport that he purchased a number of trained barzois and brought them to this country. They were a handsome lot and attracted much attention while being exhibited at the bench shows. I was one of the official judges at the Chicago Bench Show in 1892, and wolfhound classes were assigned me. While I admired them very much for their handsome, showy appearance, I expressed grave doubts as to their ability to catch and kill timber wolves, notwithstanding I had read graphic accounts of their killing coyotes in thirty-five seconds. This doubt was shared and expressed by others present who had had practical experience in wolf-hunting. This coming to the ears of Mr. Hacke, who is always willing to back his opinion with his money, he issued a sweeping challenge offering to match a pair of barzois against any pair of dogs in the United States for a wolf-killing contest, for $500 a side. His challenge was promptly accepted by Mr. Geo. McDougall, of Butte City, Montana.

I was selected to judge the match, and in the spring of 1892 we made up a congenial carload and journeyed to Hardin, in the wilds of Colorado, where our sleeper was sidetracked. Arrangements were made at an adjoining horse ranch, and every morning a band of horses was promptly on hand at daylight. On the night of our arrival at Hardin, a fine saddle horse had been hamstrung in his owner's stable by wolves. It was a pitiful sight, and added zest to our determination to exterminate as many as possible.

We were awakened from our sound sleep the first morning by the familiar sounds of saddling, accompanied by the pawing and bucking of horses, swearing of men, and snarling and growling of dogs. After a hasty breakfast, eaten by lamplight, we were soon mounted and in motion for the rendezvous. We had hardly crossed the Platte River, near which our camp was located, before the advance guard announced a wolf in full flight. A glance through my field-glasses convinced me that it was an impudent coyote, and we continued our search. We had probably ridden an hour through sand and cactus before one of the hunters had a wolf up and going.

McDougall had selected Black Sam, a cross between a deerhound and a greyhound, as his first representative, and he was accordingly in the slips with a magnificent-looking barzoi representing Mr. Hacke. Porter, from Salt Lake, the slipper and an old-time hunter, had all he could do to hold them until the word to slip was given. They went away from the slips in great style, the barzoi getting a few feet the best of it; but in the lead up to the wolf the cross-breed made a go-by, and, overtaking the flying wolf, unhesitatingly seized and turned it. Before it could straighten out for another run, the barzoi was upon it, and unfortunately took a hind hold, which it easily broke. The cross-breed, without having received a cut or even a pinch, lost all interest in the proceedings, and stood around looking on as unconcerned as though there was not a wolf within a hundred miles; and, though the wolf assumed a combative attitude, at bay, ready to do battle, and made no effort to avoid her canine foes, neither dog could be induced to tackle her again. The barzoi acted as though he was willing if any assistance was afforded by the half-breed. Neither of these dogs showed any evidence of cowardice, in my opinion, though credited with it by representatives of the press present. The evidences of this feeling are unmistakable, and I have seen fear and terror too often expressed by dogs, when attacked or run by wolves, not to recognize it when present. They did not turn a hair, and walked about within twenty feet of the wolf with their tails carried as gayly as though they were on exhibition at a bench show. Very different was the action of a rancher's dog, evidently a cross between a St. Bernard and a mastiff, that came up at this stage of the game. As soon as he caught sight of the wolf, every hair on his back reversed, his tail drooped between his legs, and the efforts of three strong men could hardly have held him. This I call fear and cowardice; the actions of the others, a lack of proper training and knowledge of how to fight. As the wolf was a female and apparently heavy with whelp, I at the time thought this was the cause of their queer actions; but later, when skinning the wolf for the pelt, I found no evidence of whelp, but a stomach full of calf's flesh. In the second course, Allan Breck, a big, powerful Scotch deerhound, and Nipsic, a lighter female of the same breed, were put in the slips and a male wolf put up. They readily overhauled him. Allan, leading several lengths in the run up, promptly took a shoulder hold and bowled over the wolf; then, as though he considered his whole duty performed, quietly looked on, while Nipsic kept up a running fight with the wolf, attacking him a score of times, but was unable alone to disable or kill him. It was only after the wolf and Nipsic were lassoed and dragged apart by horsemen that she desisted in her crude efforts to kill the wolf. She displayed no lack of courage, but a total lack of training and knowledge of how to fight. In the final course two grand specimens of the barzoi were placed in the slips; one of them, Zlooem, a magnificent animal, all power and life, who had won the Czar's gold medal in St. Petersburg in a wolf contest, impressed me forcibly with the idea that, if he once obtained a throat hold, it would be all over with the wolf. On this occasion I had a most excellent mount, a thoroughbred Kentucky race mare, and, as one of the conditions of the match was that I alone was to be allowed to follow the hounds, I determined to stay with them throughout the run at all hazards, and to be in at the death. The wolf was put up in the bottom land of the Platte River. The footing was excellent, and, as he had but a few hundred yards' start, I was enabled to be within fifty yards of them throughout the run and fighting. The wolf at first started off as though he had decided to depend upon speed to save his pelt, disdaining to employ his usual stratagem, and the hounds gained but little upon him. Finding that but one horseman and two strange-looking animals were following him, he slackened his pace, and in an incredibly short time Zlooem was upon even terms with him, and, seizing by the throat, over and over they went in a cloud of sand, from which the wolf emerged first, again on the retreat, with both hounds after him full tilt. Within a hundred yards they again downed him, only to be shaken off. This was repeated probably a half dozen times, and, though both the barzois had throat and flank holds, they were unable to "stretch him." After five minutes of fast and furious fighting, they dashed into a bunch of frightened cattle and became separated. Though I immediately cut the wolf out of the bunch of cattle and he limped off in full view, the dogs were too exhausted to follow, and their condition was truly pitiable. Zlooem staggered about and fell headlong upon his side, unable to rise. Both were so thoroughly exhausted from their tremendous efforts that they could not stand upon their feet; their tongues were swollen and protruding full length, their breath came in short and labored gasps, the whistle and rattle in their throats was audible at some distance, while their legs trembled and were really unable to sustain the weight of their bodies. At the expiration of ten minutes, I signaled the slippers to come and take the dogs up; and thus ended the bid of the Russian wolfhound for popularity in this country.

Upon our return to Denver we were waited upon by a ranchman who had heard of the failure of a pair of these dogs to catch and kill wolves. He stated that he had a leash of greyhounds that could catch and kill gray timber wolves, and deposited $500 to bind a match to that effect. He was very much in earnest, and I regretted that we could not raise a purse of $500, as I should like to have seen the feat performed—my experience being that it required from four to six to accomplish this, and that even then they have to understand their business thoroughly.