Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation, edited by L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 2003).


U.S. government work.


"WOLFERS" IN NORTHEASTERN North Carolina were busy on February 5, 1768. Records from the Tyrrell County courthouse read:

Giles Long and Thomas Wilkinson awarded one pound for a certified wolf scalp; Jeremiah Norman awarded two pounds for certified wolf and wild-cat scalps; Davenport Smithwick awarded one pound for a certified wolf-scalp.

Such was the nature of the war on the wolf: people killed them for money. The belief of the time held that the war was necessary because it was humankind's manifest destiny to tame the wilderness. And for the wilderness to be tame, the wolf had to be exterminated. The wolf was resourceful and hardy, but the wolfers persisted with increasingly sophisticated methods of killing. The war lasted 200 years, and the wolflost.