“The mournful, eerie howl, heard at dusk and dawn, contributed greatly to the fears man had of wolves. It was believed his howls at dusk were signaling the coming of the hours of famine, witchery, or, as they were called, ‘the hours of the wolf.’
“In reality, the howl is one of the wolves’ many forms of communication. The howl itself has a variety of meanings: to assemble the pack, to pass on an alarm, to locate one another in a storm or unfamiliar territory, and communicating over a large area (six miles in open terrain). When a group of wolves howls, they harmonize with one another, each one choosing a different pitch. By singing in this way, a group of three or four wolves may sound like a group of fifteen or twenty.
“Other vocal communications include a quiet bark, usually by the female when surprised near her den. Growling is used between wolves during food challenges. Puppies also growl when playing amongst themselves. Intimate sounds between wolves, such as whines and high pitched squeals, are associated with greeting, play and feeding the pups.
“As modern man from Europe immigrated to North America, he brought with him the distorted views of the wolf. North America had a stable wolf population from coast to coast, and in all types of terrain, at this time. Bounties were placed on wolves beginning in 1630, when the Massachusetts Bay Company offered to pay a penny per wolf killed. Shortly thereafter, the other colonies followed suit, each trying to exterminate the wolf from their territory. As colonization spread, it wasn’t long before the wolf was wiped from the eastern seaboard and Appalachian Mountains.”
to be continued…