Friday, January 06, 2006

The Full Wolf Moon

by: BonnieBlueFlag

As noted in November's The Full Beaver Moon, the Algonquin Indians gave names to each full moon, to help them mark the seasons of the year.

The December moon was known as the "Full Cold Moon." This full moon was the month of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, with less sunlight to warm the earth, and longer colder nights.

Now we are approaching the "Full Wolf Moon" on January 14th.

As the long dark days of winter wore on, with food becoming more and more scare, the hunger of the wolves would cause them to take more chances in nearing people, to become less fearful of man. The wolves would then be in direct competition with the Indians for whatever elk, moose, deer, or buffalo that could still be hunted.

By January it would have been many weeks since the smaller game animals, chipmunks, squirrels, beaver, fish, and even mice, would have been readily available to feed the wolves. And, since the smaller game was not sufficient nourishment for the pack for very long, they would need to find much larger quarry.

The wolf pack's prey of choice is large hoofed animals, which would have also made the Indian ponies an enticing potential meal as well. Thus occasionally the wolves would move in closer to the Indian winter encampments at night, in the hopes of separating one from the herd.

The early American settlers were able to live in harmony with the wolves, as long as the pioneers were living on the game they hunted. But, when they began to raise herds of cattle or sheep, man's conflict with the wolves began and continues to this day.

The North American gray wolf, or timber wolf, has a weight range of about 60 to 160 pounds, with coat colors from white, to gray, to brown and black. They mate for life, and live in packs that usually consist of family members. The pack is made up of approximately 7 or 8 wolves who are led by the strongest male.

Normally it is only the alpha male and female of the pack who will breed; and that can be anywhere from January to April, depending on the amount of daylight, and other weather conditions in the region in which they live.

Once the wolf pups are born, all of the members of the pack take part in their care and feeding.

The pack will not travel any great distance until late summer or early fall when the pups are able to keep up. Then they will once again be on the move through the winter months, and past the time of the next "Full Wolf Moon."

Original artwork by Randy Russell


  • Oh my goodness! Those wolf pups were adorable. Or was that not what I was supposed to get out of that? ;)

    By Blogger Esther, at January 06, 2006 11:51 PM  

  • Esther, you are so funny. Not only are the pups adorable, the adults are beautiful as well.

    It's a shame that there is so much conflict between the wolves and the ranchers; both are just trying to survive.

    By Blogger BonnieBlueFlag, at January 07, 2006 7:53 AM  

  • Great story. I love the opening picture of the wolf howling at the moon. Such vibrant colors.


    By Blogger Connie and Rob, at January 07, 2006 9:16 AM  

  • Once when I was a boy, I saw a wolf at night on a very rural road; it is the only time I`ve ever seen or heard one. It really is a pity; the wild places are disappearing, and with them such magnificent creatures.

    I keep hoping that one will come to visit me at my cabin.

    Great story, and I loved the artwork!

    By Blogger Timothy Birdnow, at January 07, 2006 6:08 PM  

  • i've always thought wolves were very beautiful. that picture of the pup with the fawn is the best one.
    thanks for the history lesson!

    By Anonymous nikki, at January 08, 2006 1:14 PM  

  • Thanks, BonnieBlueFlag, for another installment in your Indian calendar series...I'm looking forward to reading more of your great research. And I also enjoyed those photos you found.

    By Anonymous Pindar, at January 11, 2006 5:28 PM  

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