IOWA STORIES
Volume 1

By
CLARENCE RAY AURNER

Fourth Edition Printed by the Clio Press Iowa City, Iowa 1920
Copyright 1917 by Clarence Ray Aurner

Transcribed by Sharon Elijah, submitted April, 2013

LIVING ON GAME pgs 112-115

When the hunting grounds of the Indians were given up to the white settler there were many kinds of game which would help to furnish his family with food. Skill in hunting might be necessary to capture some kinds of game; but almost any one could get meat enough for his household. Wild turkeys and prairie chickens were found in large numbers and deer meat was quite common. During the winter the thrifty family prepared a part of the game to keep over the summer. Venison, or other meat, could be dried just as beef is dried; and often about the log cabins the summer meat would be seen hung up to rafters or on supports fastened in the log wall, near the fireplace.


pg 112

In 1838 deer meat could be bought for two or three cents a pound and prairie chickens were so plentiful that they were given away. Although some kinds of game were preferred for food, there were other kinds which hunters sought for their valuable furs. Then again, some animals were such pests that they were shot just to get them out of the way.

The wolves were very annoying, for they would boldly carry off young sheep and pigs and chickens. The farmer had great difficulty in keeping small stock of any kind unless he had good tight fences. In order to clear the country of these hungry creatures, great wolf hunts were planned among a large group of men and boys. By forming a circle several miles across and slowly closing it up on all sides they drove the wolves toward the centre and killed many of them.

The black timber wolf was not so common as the gray wolf of the prairies, but he was just as destructive. When very hungry in the cold days of winter these animals would come so close to the settler´┐Żs cabin that they could be shot. The prairie wolf and his dismal howling during the night is well known to many now living in Iowa. Occasionally a black wolf is caught and the gray ones are quite frequently captured. But they do not go in packs any longer, nor come so close to houses as in that early day when they were dangerous enemies.

In recent years a reward has been paid to any one who killed an old wolf or captured a young one. Sometimes baby wolves are dug out of their dens in the ground and they have often been kept as pets. But their wolfish nature is sure to show and they do not make pleasant playfellows. The hound, it is said, is the only dog that would capture a wolf, for the common cur would follow the animal only so long as he kept running. When the wolf stopped the dog would stop and refuse to fight. Indeed, such cowardly dogs have often joined in play with the wolf as two puppies would play. But the faithful hound never failed to bring the wolf to bay; nor did he stop to play with his enemy.

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