Biography of an American Renegade
by Roger Caras
The Custer Wolf, also called Lobo, became legendary for how much livestock he supposedly killed and for his ability to escape all attempts by man to kill him. The first part of this book describes the wolf's early life, patterned after wolf behavior the author observed first-hand when he spent time with a captive pack and also viewed films made of young wolves being born and raised by their parents. This part was enjoyable reading and reminded me a lot of how White Fang commences, with the unfolding of the young wolf's awareness, its learning through instinct guided by the parents, its experiences encountering other wildlife and exploring the world. The white wolf soon meets with mankind and witnesses the death of both its littermates and parents until it remains a solitary animal and eventually becomes known as a killer of livestock and hunted down.
The firsthand accounts of people actually witnessing this wolf destroying livestock were nil, a few people glimpsed the animal briefly, and stories of its size and ferocity were greatly exaggerated. It mostly gained fame from being able to avoid traps that took hundreds of wolves and other wild animals in the vicinity. When the Custer Wolf was at last shot, men were surprised at its relatively small size. The author was careful in his account to point out which stories were probably fabricated and which had shreds of the truth. He also includes a lot of native american folklore that praises the wolf, as well as recounting ancient cultural fear and loathing of wolves that people brought with them from Europe when they came to America.
It was interesting reading for me, and reminded me of why I enjoy reading these kinds of books.
Rating: 3/5 ......... 175 pages, 1966
John Vernon's Reviews
Society and Natural Resources