Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Wolfing Definition:

The killing of wildlife by the use of poison, especially wolves.

"The United States agrees to suppress," held Article IV of an 1873 treaty between the Crow Indians of Montana and the Government of the United States, "so far as possible, by the imposition of pains and penalties, the practice of wolfing, or killing game by means of poison."

In her 2000 article for the Harvard Law School Environmental Law Review, Jennifer Li wrote of wolfing upon the plains of the United States of America in the 1800s, to which the term is native:

"During the first half of the nineteenth century, economic incentives for hunting wolves arose. Wolf pelts became popular and valuable. In the 1830s, a wolf pelt was valued at one dollar. Two decades later, the value had doubled.

wolfing"Hunters soon discovered a connection between buffalo and wolves. Once a buffalo had been skinned, wolves converged to feed on the carcasses. Because hunters could easily acquire strychnine, it was an effortless and inexpensive task to apply the poison to the buffalo carcasses and return later to collect the wolf pelts.

"This practice, called wolfing, continued until the end of commercial buffalo hunting around the early 1880s and decimated the gray wolf population in the West.

  • Executive Document No. 89, House of Representatives, 43rd Congress, 1st Session, page 17.
  • Li, Jennifer, Wolves May Have Won the Battle, but Not the War: How the West Was Won under the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan, 30 Envtl. L. 677 (2000), at page 682.

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