Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Roosevelt's Wolf Hunt

ROOSEVELT'S WOLF HUNT.

Theodore Roosevelt, who favored single statehood for Oklahoma, was president when the Twin Territories joined to form the state in 1907. He visited the area during the Territorial Era and after statehood. His most eventful trip occurred in 1905 when he accompanied John R. Abernathy and others on a wolf hunt in southern Oklahoma Territory. Roosevelt first became interested in Abernathy in January 1903 when Sloan Simpson, a friend from Fort Worth, Texas, described Abernathy's ability to catch wolves with his bare hands. Roosevelt thought that Simpson was exaggerating, but several months later the story was corroborated by another of the president's friends from Texas, Cecil A. Lyon. Roosevelt accepted his friends' invitation to participate in one of Abernathy's wolf hunts.

On April 5, 1905, Roosevelt traveled through Indian Territory on his way to a Rough Riders reunion in San Antonio, Texas, making short speeches at several towns along the railroad between Vinita and Durant. After attending the reunion, Roosevelt returned to Oklahoma Territory, arriving in Frederick on Saturday, April 8. While giving a speech to the thousands gathered to greet him, he noticed Comanche Chief Quanah Parker and called him to the speaker's stand to shake his hand. Immediately after the speech, the hunting party left for the Big Pasture, an area of 480,000 acres of open range in present Tillman, Comanche, and Cotton counties. Members of the party included the president's personal physician, Dr. Alexander Lambert, several former Rough Riders, a number of cattle ranchers, and Quanah Parker.

Although no hunts were planned for Sunday, they took place on each of the next four days. Roosevelt impressed the other participants with his riding ability during the wolf chases, as he was the only one who could keep pace with Abernathy. At least one other member of the party attempted to catch a wolf, but only Abernathy succeeded. He caught several wolves using a technique of waiting until the wolf leapt at his outstretched arm and then grasping its lower back teeth or tongue before it could bite down, thus keeping the animal's canines from doing any major damage. Roosevelt was impressed with Abernathy's ability and greatly enjoyed the hunts as well as other camp activities. On Thursday evening, April 13, 1905, the president left Frederick to continue his adventures on a bear hunt in Colorado.

Matthew Rex Cox

See also: HUNTING, MAMMALS, OKLAHOMA TERRITORY, ROUGH RIDERS, STATEHOOD MOVEMENT

Bibliography

John R. Abernathy, In Camp with Theodore Roosevelt, or the Life of John R. (Jack) Abernathy (Oklahoma City: Times-Journal Publishing Co., 1933).

Frederick S. Barde, "Story of John Abernathy and His Famous Wolf Hunts," Frederick S. Barde Collection, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Foster Harris, "T. R. and the Great Wolf Hunt," Oklahoma Today 8 (Fall 1958).

Theodore Roosevelt, "A Wolf Hunt in Oklahoma," Scribner's Magazine 38 (November 1905).

Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children, ed. Joseph Bucklin Bishop (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1919).

"Theodore Roosevelt," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Brian Lee Smith, "Theodore Roosevelt Visits Oklahoma," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 51 (Fall 1973).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Matthew Rex Cox, "Roosevelt's Wolf Hunt," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 17, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia