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Weird Wednesday: The Giant Wolf of Flint

linda-godfrey The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan, when Linda Godfrey brings you 100% of the USRDA of Michigan weirdness. You can listen to Linda’s latest podcasts and read her blog at uncannyworld.com and also check out her books including Weird Michigan & Strange Michigan.

flint-timber-wolfOne consistently described feature of the Dog Man, an upright-walking canine many witnesses claim stalks the woods and roadsides of Michigan, is its size… usually six to seven feet tall on its hind legs. It stands to reason, then, that massive, wolfen creatures should be glimpsed or even bagged by hunters now and then. That is exactly what happened to a deer hunter named Eastman around noon on November 18, 1935, on the third day of deer hunting season. Eastman was hunting near Flint around Rhody Creek Trail, and despite good weather and a great layer of tracking snow, there were absolutely no deer to be seen.

Eastman soon found out why. He suddenly heard what sounded like “horses running,” and turned to see a massive timber wolf at a dead run. Eastman ended up shooting a wolf rather than a deer that day. He gutted it and dragged it into town to have it weighed and measured; it was 182 pounds even after gutting, and measured seven feet, 11 inches tall when measured hanging vertically. great-lakes-pilot-wolfThe creature stood 39 inches at the shoulder! It was considered such a magnificent specimen that the carcass was sent to the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh where it was mounted and displayed. The entire story of the great Flint Wolf was told in the Great Lakes Pilot, Vol. 3, No. 6, 2005. And Strange Michigan found a copy of it displayed in the North Star Tavern in Luther, the town known for Dog Man sightings and incidents. Click the image to the left to see the pic from the Pilot!

Excerpted by permission from Strange Michigan: More Michigan Weirdness, by Linda S. Godfrey and Lisa Shiel, 2008, Trails Books

The Timber Wolf in Michigan

gray-wolf-timber-wolfThe timber wolf (also known as the gray wolf or simply wolf) is the largest member of the Canidae family. Michigan DNR page on the Gray Wolf (canis lupus) says:

It is believed that wolves were once present in all 83 counties in the state of Michigan. A combination of European werewolf mythology, fairy tales, views that wolves were incompatible with civilization, and active predator control programs throughout the 20th century virtually eliminated the gray wolf from Michigan: by 1840, they could no longer be found in the southern portion of the Lower Peninsula; by around 1910 they had completely disappeared from the Lower Peninsula; and by 1960, when the state-paid bounty on wolves was repealed, they had nearly vanished from the Upper Peninsula.

…The comeback of the gray wolf in Michigan is a remarkable wildlife success story. Estimated at 20 animals in 1992, Michigan’s gray wolf population has grown to 361 animals in 2004, and the 2004-2005 winter count is expected to be even higher. While state and federal endangered species laws have helped make this comeback a reality, the most important factor has been the willingness of Michigan’s citizens to accept the gray wolf as part of our natural heritage. This continued public support for wolf recovery is critical as our wolf population continues to grow.

You can see some pictures & sounds of the gray wolf from Wikimedia including this pic of a wolf print and the uncropped version of the photo above.