Jump to content

Wolf Corner


Croberts

Recommended Posts

Does anyone have stories or pictures of Wolf Corner?

This was the intersection of highway 6 and fm 1093 or 1094. In the 1950s and 60s there was a bounty on the now expurged red wolf, and to collect, you had to cut there ears off. Carcasses or skins were hung on the bobwire fence on the nw side of this intersection.

The red wolf exists in captivity and in a few natural areas outside of texas, but the last wild population was this one, I think. The red wolf could breed with coyotes, and it is unclear when the last pure red wolf dissapeared. They were saved by wildlife officials in southeastern minnesota, and some populations were started in the carolinas I believe.

The red wolf was the wolf of the south. It was thought to have dissapeared from the wild in the early 1980s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone have stories or pictures of Wolf Corner?

The Houston Chronicle did a story on this subject some time ago. You should try searching the archives. I remember a photo in the print edition showing the skins hanging, just as you mention. The article also said that the carcasses in the photo were almost certainly coyotes since wolfs were extinct in Texas long before the photo was taken (1950s??). I also seem to remember that the skin collection site was in northwest Harris county, not at FM 1093 (Westheimer), but I could be wrong on that recollection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Houston Chronicle did a story on this subject some time ago. You should try searching the archives. I remember a photo in the print edition showing the skins hanging, just as you mention. The article also said that the carcasses in the photo were almost certainly coyotes since wolfs were extinct in Texas long before the photo was taken (1950s??). I also seem to remember that the skin collection site was in northwest Harris county, not at FM 1093 (Westheimer), but I could be wrong on that recollection.

You're right. Wolf Corner was at Hwy 6 and FM 529. I remember that article and the photo of the wolf skins hanging there on a sign for all to see. The picture was taken around the year 1960, and at that time, that corner was way out in the country. Nothing but wilderness, and 6 and 529 were one lane blacktop roads.

Whoever said wolves were extinct in this part of Texas didn't know what he was talking about. The North American Red Wolf was native to the Gulf Coast, and at one time its habitat extended from Mexico all the way to Florida. Because of human encroachment, the habitat shrank fast, and by 1970 Harris County had the biggest population of red wolves in the country. They had finally disappeared by 1980.

They could be making a comeback though. There are reports of wolf sightings, but this time it is probable that people are seeing coyotes. I saw one myself two years ago. Early one morning on FM 529 near Barker Cypress, what had to be a red wolf or a coyote ran across the road about a hundred yards ahead of me. It was still dark, and all I saw was the profile, but it had the unmistakeable skinny as a rail appearance, bushy tail and large pointed ears wolves and coyotes are noted for. They're still out there folks.

Edited by FilioScotia
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the article (excerpts, actually, to comply with the stupid policy of not posting Chronicle articles.) My statement about the wolves was wrong. Gray wolves were extinct in Texas, not Red Wolves.

Paper: Houston Chronicle

Date: TUE 12/29/1998

Section: A

Page: 13MetFront

Edition: 3 STAR

BIG BAD WOLVES NO MORE/A Houston suburban corner was once a hunting ground

By BOB SABLATURA

Staff

Texas 6 was still a country road when Charles Hans Grisbee chose a section of fence along its route to display his kill.

The quiet corner that adjoined Spencer Road in northwest Harris County soon became a well-known local landmark, a monument to both the dairyman-turned-bounty-hunter and the wolves of the Katy prairie who were his prey.

He called it Wolf Corner, and intended it to be his legacy.

......

The year was 1958 and Grisbee - then a 64-year-old dairyman and sometimes sheep rancher - had been hunting wolves for almost half a century. His favorite hunting ground was the sparsely populated prairie that stretched between Katy and Hockley, some 30 miles northwest of downtown Houston.

Grisbee first began hunting wolves because of the problems they posed for local ranchers, but his hunting skills also helped feed his family during lean years.

When she was growing up during the Depression, Bogs said, her father would skin out the wolves he killed and sell the carcasses for food. He also hunted and sold rabbit, raccoons, possums and other animals.

"There were a lot of poor folks back then, and they were hungry for meat," she said.

Later in life, he continued to hunt predators as a hobby, using cyanide guns, steel traps and a .30-30 Remington rifle. He supplemented his regular income by collecting a $5 bounty for every pair of ears he turned over to county officials.

After collecting his bounty, he hung the dead wolves at Wolf Corner, often displaying more than a dozen at a time.

Elva Weiman, who operated a local dairy farm for more than 50 years, said wolves often attacked and killed sheep and sometimes fed upon newborn calves.

"Wolves and coyotes were getting pretty thick around here and people were glad that he was hunting them," Weiman said. "And that corner became pretty popular, a lot of people knew about it."

For more than a decade it attracted a stream of sightseers.

A Chronicle story published in 1966 described Wolf Corner as a landmark "which draws scores of city gawkers out on weekend joy rides."

Grisbee told the Chronicle that he was concerned at the rate the big city was growing and moving west, but was still not worried about running out of wolves.

"They wander in from the open prairie because the calves, sheep, geese and chickens in this area are easy pickings," Grisbee said. "I'm still surprised that the wolves will come around all these houses and lights, but they do."

........

Bill Schouten, now the chief deputy county clerk for Harris County, remembers all too well the bounty system run by the county.

When he became a county employee in 1967, his first job was to pay out bounties for wolves, coyotes and skunks. Although he does not specifically recall Grisbee, he remembers having to examine the evidence of a kill before doling out money to the bounty hunters.

"You could often smell them before they got in the building," Schouten said. "I always dreaded having to open up those bags to see what kind of ears were inside of them."

Although Grisbee's kills were normally referred to as gray wolves in newspaper stories of the day, wolf experts today say that was highly unlikely.

Will Roach, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says most experts believe gray wolves disappeared in Texas shortly after the turn of the century.

Red wolves, however, may have still been in this area in the 1950s and 1960s, Roach said, although they too were getting pretty scarce.

"The animals hanging at Wolf Corner were probably coyotes or a mix of coyote and red wolf," he said.

While a coyote is normally smaller in build, Roach said, in many cases it may have been difficult to distinguish from a wolf.

"A well-fed coyote can look more wolflike than an undernourished red wolf," Roach said.

Both gray and red wolves are now endangered species, although coyotes - sometimes called prairie wolves - are still plentiful in Texas, including Harris and the surrounding counties.

Leonard Coursey, a resident of the Wolf Corner area for almost 40 years, said he and his daughter spotted a large coyote just last week, and he often hears the animals baying at night.

"They will go to howling sometimes, and it will sound like a hundred dogs out there carrying on," Coursey said.

Bogs said her father always tried to keep a sign posted to identify the corner. He fashioned a sign in the outline of a wolf with "Wolf Corner" painted on it, but sightseers kept stealing the sign as a souvenir.

"He even put the sign on a metal pipe and greased the pipe so you couldn't climb it," Bogs said. "But somebody still managed to steal it."

Grisbee continued to hunt and display his wolves at Wolf Corner until the early 1970s when he became ill with cancer. He died in 1975.

......

Shortly after Grisbee's death, the property on which Wolf Corner sat was sold for development.

Today, the corner bears little resemblance to the land Grisbee hunted for so many years. The fence posts are long gone and that stretch of prairie is covered with concrete. A service station sits on the corner and a strip shopping center occupies the property behind it.

The land beyond Wolf Corner was developed into several residential neighborhoods, including the 2,000-acre Copperfield subdivision.

Bogs said her father would probably not be pleased with the changes.

"It was just prairie out there then, and we always felt like the city was far away," Bogs said. "He didn't want things to change.

"He liked them just the way they were."

Edited by MaxConcrete
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whoever said wolves were extinct in this part of Texas didn't know what he was talking about. The North American Red Wolf was native to the Gulf Coast, and at one time its habitat extended from Mexico all the way to Florida. Because of human encroachment, the habitat shrank fast, and by 1970 Harris County had the biggest population of red wolves in the country. They had finally disappeared by 1980.

They could be making a comeback though. There are reports of wolf sightings, but this time it is probable that people are seeing coyotes. I saw one myself two years ago. Early one morning on FM 529 near Barker Cypress, what had to be a red wolf or a coyote ran across the road about a hundred yards ahead of me. It was still dark, and all I saw was the profile, but it had the unmistakeable skinny as a rail appearance, bushy tail and large pointed ears wolves and coyotes are noted for. They're still out there folks.

The Fish and Wildlife service has maintained for years that the red wolf went extinct in the wild around 1980, and that the last wild populations were around houston. In the 1970s they captured some individuals and started a captive breeding population .They cite three factors in the extinction:

loss of habitat, hunting, and breeding with coyotes

As far as they are concerned, the animals that are out there now are coyotes. The existing re wolf populations are in tennessee and one of the carolinas. Here is a Fish and Wildlife web page;

http://www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/redwolf.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whoever said wolves were extinct in this part of Texas didn't know what he was talking about. The North American Red Wolf was native to the Gulf Coast, and at one time its habitat extended from Mexico all the way to Florida. Because of human encroachment, the habitat shrank fast, and by 1970 Harris County had the biggest population of red wolves in the country. They had finally disappeared by 1980.

They could be making a comeback though. There are reports of wolf sightings, but this time it is probable that people are seeing coyotes. I saw one myself two years ago. Early one morning on FM 529 near Barker Cypress, what had to be a red wolf or a coyote ran across the road about a hundred yards ahead of me. It was still dark, and all I saw was the profile, but it had the unmistakeable skinny as a rail appearance, bushy tail and large pointed ears wolves and coyotes are noted for. They're still out there folks.

The Fish and Wildlife service has maintained for years that the red wolf went extinct in the wild around 1980, and that the last wild populations were around houston. In the 1970s they captured some individuals and started a captive breeding population .They cite three factors in the extinction:

loss of habitat, hunting, and breeding with coyotes

As far as they are concerned, the animals that are out there now are coyotes. The existing re wolf populations are in tennessee and one of the carolinas. Here is a Fish and Wildlife web page;

http://www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/redwolf.html

That's fascinating to know. Thanks for the link to the FWS. It's just one of many things I love about this website.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try this link, and click the rufus range map for an interactive map of the contracting range of the red wolf. This was a student award winning cartography project. Click the forward button on the paw, and the range map will change, the decade will change and the status and history of preservation efforts will be described on the right side.

http://gis.nitle.org/cgi-bin/links.pl?

Try this link, and click the rufus range map for an interactive map of the contracting range of the red wolf. This was a student award winning cartography project. Click the forward button on the paw, and the range map will change, the decade will change and the status and history of preservation efforts will be described on the right side.

http://gis.nitle.org/cgi-bin/links.pl?

In the category box, choose web based mapping and click. Then the rufus map appears on the list

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try this link, and click the rufus range map for an interactive map of the contracting range of the red wolf. This was a student award winning cartography project. Click the forward button on the paw, and the range map will change, the decade will change and the status and history of preservation efforts will be described on the right side.

http://gis.nitle.org/cgi-bin/links.pl?

In the category box, choose web based mapping and click. Then the rufus map appears on the list

That's an even more fascinating link. Thanks very much. I'm now sharing it with my friends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to thank everyone for correcting me on the location, and especially thank maxconcrete for the research, quotes and reference.

Previously I posted some of the links to important red wolf web sites. Here are the remainder of the best sites that I have found:

http://www.npca.org/wildlife_protection/wi...ts/redwolf.html

http://www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/redwolf.html

http://www.defenders.org/wildlife/wolf/redwolf.html

http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/canirufu.htm

http://www.fieldtripearth.org/div_index.xml?id=2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

It's hard to imagine that there were still many wolves in Harris County in the 1970s in Cypress. Now they would be eating out of the dumpster of an Outback Steakhouse.

Yep, too true. Intersting article; and sad. Thanks for posting that. This man had the privelage to see who knows how many wolves in the wild. Pretty amazing. I've only seen them in the zoo... :(

Cypress still has some coyotes around and maybe some deer - but that's changing fast.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...