Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020 - 54

Although it is believed
mountain lions and wolves
were extirpated in Pennsylvania in the late 1800s,
Game Commission Executive Secretary Joseph Kalbfus
reported in his 1915 agency annual report of
wolves and a panther in the state's northern
tier.
"In my boyhood I heard wolves howl
among the mountains near Ralston, Lycoming County, and until recently believed these
animals, with the panther, had long since been
exterminated. A short time ago a hunter called
at the office in Harrisburg and told of seeing
a number of gray foxes in pursuit of deer
in Clinton County; he said he and a Game
Protector had heard the animals tonguing,
and through their glasses had seen both the
deer and the foxes in pursuit on a mountain
opposite from where they, the hunters, were
located. I thought I knew something about
foxes; I had never known them to run in packs
during daylight, or to give tongue in pursuit
of game, so set the story down as a fabrication pure and simple, but a few days, later we
received a letter from our Game Protector said
to have seen the chase, and the Protector told
the same story, and a few days later received
a letter from a man in Clinton County who
claimed he had killed a wolf. This story we
were also inclined to doubt and wrote asking
that the skin of the animal be sent to this office
and this was done. The skin was undoubtedly
the skin of a wolf; the hair is wooly
and somewhat softer than the

hair of the timber wolf of the West, otherwise
it greatly resembles the timber wolf. This
animal was killed but a few miles from where
the foxes were reported to be running deer,
and I am disposed to believe that what were
supposed to be foxes were in reality wolves.
The skin of this wolf is now in the hands of
the State Taxidermist to be mounted for the
Public Museum at Harrisburg.
"From Pike County comes the report of
a panther, the animal having been plainly
seen by several different people. One gentleman and his wife while trout fishing saw
the animal crouched on a limb, as they said,
"lashing its long tail;" another party saw
this panther at night crossing the road ahead
of their automobile; still a third party has
reported the animal yellow and long with a
tail almost as long as the body, so that there
appears to be but little doubt about the presence of both panther and wolves in a wild
state in Pennsylvania, and I have directed
our officers in charge of the territory where
these animals are presumed to be, to use their
utmost endeavor when the snows come to
locate and kill every one that can be found.
The question in my mind is, where did these
animals come from?"
A check with Walter Meshaka Jr., senior
curator of the State Museum of Pennsylvania's Zoology and Botany revealed that if
the museum had the wolf pelt, it no longer
does now. "Wonder what happened
to it?" Meshaka said. "An intriguing
mystery."

BY

JOE

KO S AC K

WOLVES & PANTHERS

54

1 9 1 5



Pennsylvania Game News - May 2020

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