1948: Gallatin’s First Wolf Hunt

In January of 1948, Gallatin’s first wolf hunt was held. The hunt had a two-fold purpose. One purpose was to rid the community of the wolves which preyed on game, sheep and cattle. The other purpose was to donate the bounty money to the March of Dimes campaign.

In January of 1948, Gallatin’s first wolf hunt was held. The hunt had a two-fold purpose. One purpose was to rid the community of the wolves which preyed on game, sheep and cattle. The other purpose was to donate the bounty money to the March of Dimes campaign.

It was hoped that 400 men would participate. The hunt would cover a four-square mile area south and west of Gallatin. The hunters were to meet on the east side of the square on Sunday morning. Trucks would be waiting to transport the men to their destination and to bring them home.

The hunters would line up on four sides of the area of the hunt and converge on a point near the cottonwood schoolhouse, southwest of Gallatin. A big balloon would be elevated in the vicinity of the school and all the hunters would work toward it.

The hunters were asked to wear something red for identification purposes, either a red hunting cap or jacket, or they could tie a red bandana around their neck or cap. There’d be a captain for each line and they were to be in charge of the men on the hunt.

No hunting license was required. Minors were not encouraged to participate. If they did, they were to be accompanied by their father or another adult. There was to be strict law enforcement and no drinking was to be allowed. Only shotguns were to be used and they had to be broken, or if automatic, the breach open when they gathered in Gallatin. During the hunt, all guns were to be carried with the safety on. No animals except coyotes and wolves were to be killed.

On the day of the hunt only 150 men, including men from St. Joseph and Kansas City participated. Only one predator was killed and the $5 bounty was given to the March of Dimes.

Plans were soon underway to form a Daviess County Wolf Association. Membership was $2.50 per member. A fund was to be set up by member contributions to pay a bounty in addition to the one the county was paying. It was to be organized in each township and two members of the individual township board were to serve on a county-wide association board. The township boards were to organize their districts for raising the bounty money.

— researched by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin