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Title: Wild Animals
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One traveling over the well tilled townships of present Warren county would scarcely believe that there once roamed at will, over this fair and fertile domain, such wild beasts as the bear, the wolf and the nimble-footed deer, but such was the case. But few bears, however, were ever captured or killed by the white settlers, and none later than the thirties. Wolves were very common for many years, and at times when the deep snows mantled the earth, so that the animals could not secure proper food, they became very troublesome and desperate. They entered doors and stable yards and attacked domestic animals, and once in a while attacked men, but only in extreme cases of hunger did this occur. Cattle in the woods were sometimes mired in the mud of a sqamp, when these wolves would devour them before they could be extricated. These wolves went in packs or droves and worked like a banded army of men, each seeming to know, by instinct, just where and when to take hold that success might come from the united attack. The county commissioners offered a heavy bounty, and this had the effect of reducing the number of wolver in the county to a great extent. However, long after the country had been fairly well settled, these animals did much damage to stock, especially calves and sheep. It was about the first years in the forties, possibly 1824, that a grand circular hunt was organized to exterminate as many of these savage pests as possible. The time came, and the night before a large pole was erected on the big mound at Walnut Grove, from the top of which four wagon covers were sewed together and spread to the breeze. Eighty acres of this place were staked off, the flag pole being in the center, where the game was to be driven, and upon which none of the hunters were to advance without orders from the captains of the organization. Bright and early the next morning the settlers started from Benton county, Vermilion county, Illinois, and Tippecanoe county on the east and the Wabash river on the south, and as they moved along they were joined by hundreds of men, until the great circular line was almost solid. They made loud and constant noise to scare up all game. The big flag could easily be seen for ten miles, and steadily the lines drew toward the center. Animals could be seen running ahead of the pursuing army of wolf hunters. Fun now commenced in dead earnest. Herds of deer, led by some proud defiant old stag, would dash madly round and round the circle, and were instantly met by volleys from the well aimed rifles. Sometimes, when made desperate by the terrible noise of the pursuers, they would dash at the line, and, jumping over the heads of the hunters, or breaking through the line, would go rapidly and wildly off and escape. Notwithstanding the care that had been used, nearly all the game except deer managed to escape through the foxes were seen and killed. Several herds of deer also had managed to escape during the advance, but there were about three hundred in the circle when the lines reached the limit of the march. Many of these escaped by breaking through the lines, or leaping over the heads of the hunters. Many men were so excited that they scarcely knew what they did, and the line was sometimes irregular and broken, thus permitting the escape of the animals. About one hundred and sixty deer were killed; also six or eight wolves. It had been expected that not less than twenty-five wolves would be heemed in and killed, so that the hunt, as a whole, did not come up to expectations. Fortunately, no man was injured by a stray bullet. This was by all odds the most extensive hunting expedition ever had in Warren county. The above facts were furnished by David Moffit, one of the most successful hunters of this county, and who related this in the seventies, and hence it is a correct statement, for he was incapable of telling a falsehood.

[Page 215-216.]

Date: 1/1/1913
Origin: Past and Present of Fountain and Warren Counties Indiana
Author: Thomas A. Clifton, Editor
Record ID: 00001503
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Entered By: Leslie J. Rice

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