Wolves are some of the most complex predators that walk the earth. These highly intelligent animals can be playful, they develop close bonds with their family, and they love their pack just like we humans love ours. There is just something about these apex predators that is cool.

We read about and see wolves all of the time in books and TV shows. There's something about their strength and loyalty to their family that we as humans are drawn to. Wolves are the largest living wild canine species and wolf packs will normally hunt in a territory that ranges 50 square miles.

At one point, wolves were spread across most of North America. According to National Wildlife, wolves were "hunted ruthlessly and extirpated over most of its range." Supposedly wolves are making a bit of a comeback with the help of strong conservation efforts.

Have Wolves Ever Called Iowa Home?

Unsplash - Andrew Ly
Unsplash - Andrew Ly

According to Iowa DNR, two large wolf-like mammals were once frequently encountered by settlers here in Iowa. In the early 1800s, Iowa was a part of the Louisiana Territory and one of the very first pieces of wildlife legislation was the encouragement of killing wolves.

Two different subspecies of gray wolves once called Iowa home. The "Great Plains wolf" used to roam around the western portion of Iowa. These wolves would follow bison herds and feed on the stragglers that fell behind. The second subspecies of wolf was the more commonly known, gray (timber) wolf.

These wolves were more commonly found in the northeastern side of Iowa in the more wooded areas. It is believed by the Iowa DNR, that gray wolves were extirpated from the state of Iowa by the late 1800s. The last valid wolf recording was in Butler County, during the winter of 1884-1885. There was also a timber wolf found in Shelby County in 1925, but it is believed this wolf escaped captivity before being shot.

Wolves would often feed on domestic animals that early Iowa settlers brought to the state, and there were numerous reports of them killing/eating chickens, pigs, calves, and sheep.

Gray wolves were fully protected in 48 states, in August of 1973, under the Endangered Species Act.

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