The Custer Wolf

During the late 1800’s and into the mid 1900’s, mankind was engaged in a war on wolves. 

At first sought after for its pelt, and later targeted as a threat to farmers and ranchers, this creature has at times been nearly extinct from the North American landmass. 

During these purges over the course of nearly 100 years, hundreds of thousands of wolves were trapped, shot and poisoned. The number of wolves killed in the latter half of the 19th century is not known, but some experts have speculated that the figure could be in the millions.

By the time the federal government joined the war in 1919 to its official “cessation” in 1942, over 25,000 more wolves had been killed by the government alone.

The reason the wolf became an official enemy of the state was due largely in part to the fact that man had hunted out much of the game that wolves relied upon for their survival, and the creature turned to easier and more plentiful prey- livestock. Ranchers complained, and the government stepped in on behalf of its loyal tax payers.

As with any war, popular opinion needed to be won and maintained, so while this war was active, the US government would release actual “anti-wolf propaganda”- press releases that used colorful language and descriptions of the wolf as a bloodthirsty, nearly supernatural monster to be hated and feared, paired, of course, with stories of government funded trappers and hunters triumphing over “evil,” and scoring victories for the common man by expunging this grey devil.

One of the most common ways the wolf was killed was through the technique of poisoning a big game carcass like an elk or buffalo and leaving it as a deadly “free meal” for any scavenger passing by, be it wolf or otherwise. 

This poison killed slowly and painfully, and did not discriminate between those wolves who had killed livestock or simply happened upon it- there was no choosing of sides. There was simply the wolf, and those who had declared war against it, and its way of life. 

In some circumstances, the cleverest of wolves would become legendary outlaws, like the so-called “Custer Wolf,” who terrorized South Dakota for nearly a decade in the early 1900’s.  His uncanny ability to evade traps, poison and the hunter’s rifle created a mythology around him, until he was seen as some kind of spirit, a ghost haunting the prairie, forest, or desert.

These “outlaw” wolves would use techniques that baffled and amazed even seasoned hunters, backtracking after a kill to stalk their hunters, or even occasionally enlisting the aid of coyotes to warn them against hunters and allowing the lesser canine access to their leavings in payment. 

In the end, the government simply placed high bounties on these outlaws, or sent in hunters on the federal payroll to stay on the job until the beast was dead, and all the coyotes in its service and association were killed as well. 

From all this, we can take away a few things.

First, that we should “despise the free lunch.” What is offered to us for free often bears the taint of poison. This poison can take many forms, but manifests itself sometimes as debt, obligation or deceit- what is worth having is worth paying the price for. 

The free lunch can also represent the “easy kill,” getting sidetracked on the way to glory by what comes easily to us, instead of going after the trophy game. All too often, we see people looking for shortcuts in their training or study, but experience cannot be rushed. It must be explored, given time to internalize, and in some cases, endured. Often those things which bear an awful price are the ones most worth having. 

Secondly, that as “wolves,” we will be reviled and hated by many. 

Our existence will be seen as a threat to the common order- a dissonant signal that disrupts the usual programming. Our search for strength, authenticity and “the struggle to retain one’s humanity in an increasingly artificial world” will set us apart and our feet will tread an often lonesome path.

Take responsibility for the life you have chosen and ownership of the hardships that come along with it.

Do not complain or play the victim. 

Thirdly, that in this world, the interplay between wolves, peasants, and hunters can still be seen, albeit in a slightly more complex way. We must be like the outlaw wolves, but exercising more caution than they were capable of. 

We still feed ourselves from the spoils of what can be taken from the citizens of Empire, just as they did, but we must do so without needlessly or foolishly attracting the deadly attention of the hunter’s precise rifle. 

Our mission to remain wolves in a world that hates us is a sacred one, but a mission that the elite will accomplish with skill and cunning, manipulation and trickery- baffling the servants of the established order with strategies they are ill-equipped to defy, or have never seen us use before.

In many cases, we will use their own strategies against them, leveraging propaganda, financial power, and business strategies to strengthen our position.

We fortify ourselves by creating and maintaining networks of trustworthy individuals, and combining efforts when and where possible in order to further our interests and spread our ideologies far and wide.

By walking a line between man and wolf, utilizing the mysteries of the werewolf archetype, we are mistaken for men- and this is perhaps the greatest trick we can use.


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