Wildlife and rabies

Jadon Gibson

Early hunters found an abundance of wildlife in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

The wild buffalo and elk were over hunted and practically disappeared although elk are being replenished in certain areas. Bears are also being seen more frequently in recent years. Conservation efforts have resulted in a good number of deer. The fearsome panther and wildcat are seldom seen as they are very private, staying away from settled areas.

There were large numbers of grey and bald eagles, buzzards and vultures were seen with hundreds circling, watching over the carcasses of dead animals. Their numbers waned largely due to pesticides. With the control of pesticides over the last twenty to thirty years the population of eagles and buzzards has greatly increased in numbers.

Wild turkeys were plentiful in the 1700’s when longhunters and pioneers explored this area. The number of turkeys diminished greatly in the 1900’s when they were overhunted but conservation efforts have led to a good comeback for turkeys over the last twenty years or so.

The grey, red and black squirrels were so numerous in the 1700’s they, at times, began mass migrations toward the east and were seen swimming across rivers in great numbers. The squirrels were very fat when beginning their migration but became very thin and sickly. Their numbers would replenish during the years that followed but then began another mysterious migration.

Rats were not common to North America in the colonial period but it was written that many arrived during one winter season aboard ships docking on the east coast. Soon they became widespread throughout the new world.

Some wild animals were hunted to near extinction because they were such a detriment to ranchers and farmers. Others were part of the diet of early Americans. Perhaps saddest was the penchant for hunting for sport rather than for need. Thousands of buffalo were shot by individuals from passing trains, giving little thought to the animals or individuals who hunted them for food.

The wild howling of wolves was common to our ancestors but are now seldom heard except in isolated settings.

Many wolves were slain by individuals who hunted them for a bounty. Many were shot while others were caught in steel traps. The greatest factor leading to the death of many wolves was rabies.

A wolf overtaken by the madness of rabies will bite anything within reach and other wolves are the victims of many of their attacks. In many instances a single wolf caused the death of its own colony.

Even worse an infected wolf loses its natural wildness and leaves the woods, entering man’s habitat. These infected wolves attacked flocks and herds. They also attacked early pioneering settlers working about their farms.

One such farmer arose from sleep after hearing noises coming from his livestock. When he opened the top half of his double door a rabid wolf sprang through. The farmer fended the wolf off with his arms. Another resident jumped to his feet and cut the wolf’s throat but not without being bitten. He died an agonizing death a few weeks later.

Another farmer died in a similar fashion. The farmer went to his livestock after hearing a clamor. As he approached his herd of cattle a wolf sprang at him. He instinctively pushed it away but it bit him in the chest area. A young man nearby heard his yells and ran toward him with an ax. The wolf was aggressively biting the downed man. The second man feared he may strike his friend with the ax so he ran to the cabin and secured a butcher knife with which he killed the wolf.  The farmer was badly mauled and several weeks later the farmer began showing symptoms of rabies. Copyright 2018 Jadon Gibson

Editor’s note: Jadon writes of a horrible death by rabies in his next posting . Gibson is a freelance writer from Harrogate, TN.


A voice for God – a voice for good

My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me. Some of our voices from God have concerned how some youngsters get distracted from their norm and start down a wrong path. Unprotected premarital sex has often led to a baby and for many it made it more difficult to stay on track and work toward their goals.

A century or more ago some children quit school because they were needed to help around the house or farm.

In the early 1900’s moonshine got many youngsters off on a wrong road and to do less than their best in school or drop out altogether. Prior to my graduation many youngsters were able to buy beer, home brew or moonshine from bootleggers. It seems that marijuana and others drugs became more prominent in the 1960’s and thereafter.

Probably the worst of all… meth has risen to the forefront in recent years. Even some of our best youngsters get hooked on it quickly even the best of our youngsters forget about their future by using meth. After getting hooked they have to have it just to get back, temporarily, to where they were when they started. Once they are hooked on meth it’s hard for them to continue their life and aspirations as before.

It’s like running a race with a huge weight on their back. To quote Sheriff David Ray of Claiborne County, upon receiving the John L. Martin Award. “It’s hard for them to get away from meth.

“The best thing youngsters can do is to find Jesus. He can help you through it. It isn’t easy but He will help you turn your life around. He will help you associate with others who will help you steer toward positive goals instead of negative.

My wife was one of the youngsters who dropped out of school early. She had a baby. She decided all at once to further her education some 14 years later and immediately began studying for her GED. Upon successful completion of it… within a week she talked to the folks at Lincoln Memorial University and enrolled.

Her grades were all A except for one B in getting her associates degree in Veterinary Medicine. Chris went on and earned her Bachelors degree at Tusculum before returning to LMU and earning a Masters degree in Business Administration. She had good grades all the way through.

Many of the youngsters who dropped out of school are just as smart as the ones who remained. If given the chance many can still get their life goals back on track and do well.

Incidentally Chris has been continuously employed and done well since completing her education.

My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me and Chris. He will to you too if you turn to Him and hold Him in your heart and thank Him for His many blessings. Thank you Lord for all you do for me!

One thought on “Wildlife and rabies”

  1. 1. Wolves retain a very limited sociality, and the those who study and know them recognize that since they are so alert to behavioral changes in their small accepted family of peers, rabies can’t hold in a wolf population. Matter of fact, wolf presence tends to reduce rabies incidence in an area, compared with its recurring flare-ups where apex predators have been extinguished.
    It’s difficult to adequately treat the subject within the confines of an internet comment, but the research , although scattered, is there.
    2. Marijauna use in the US actually multiplied due to prohibition back in the 1920s. There was a history of use among the African-born slaves, which remained prevalent. Understand that this cruel practice of slavery induces any escape method for those trapped by any hierarchical society, including your own, which obviously still exists. Urban areas exacerbate social problems. Once, as in Medieval Europe, cities were populations sinks – the young flocked there to outbreed, to find mates. We humans are often more pressed to avoid oversight, perhaps due to less loving attention than was the norm, inducing the young to leave before life lessons are well-learned.

    This, and the associated incidence of “crowd” diseases – communicable disease dependent on dense populations (the issue is not at all unrelated to rabies transmission, but, again, the work and reader inattention enjoin comment length) – meant that the mean or average age or lifespan of London residents in the middle ages, for example, was 32, even as many rural people lived, as now, into their 80s.
    Thus, the imagined short lifespans of early humans was inaccurately imagined due to the all-around illnesses that arose in city life. Think of how flu is now spread through children herded into large and connected schools.

    As you can infer, the issues of rabies, social, spiritual/mental illness, and self-immolating illness like alcoholism and other drugs, are spread by our own unrelieved populations, just as rabies is a mesopredator phenomenon, rather than one of limited tribes with substantial distances of healthy habitat between them.

    Wolves have only one short period when they wander, looking for the mate to whom they are more deeply loyal and loving than are our kind. It is those adolescent (sexually mature, but not yet cognitively wise) wolves who are subject to inquisitve and desperate sociality, who do not yet responnd to strange behaviors, who become bitten, and although more rarely than other animals, seemed to be able to spread it to humans. Raccoons, foxes, skunks and other mustelids, are the reservoirs you vaguely seek when speaking of the disease. But they are far less mobile than wolves, and much less able to bite or scratch a human, unless one who fails to read the unnatural signs of individuals.

    Having come through (Watching. I experimented finding after only once, that no artificial substance could compare to real life and love) the adolescent drug-experimenting culture, I can attest that failure to understand the abnormality and emotionally desperate time of youth, makes many highly susceptible to mistakenly accepting maladaptive behavior as normal.
    We have to maintain the reservation of the wise wolf toward such socially alluring behaviors. The nature of all healthy animals is good in that it is fitting their part in the great community of life.

    The author, Mr. Gibson, understands the connections. Having come from a family broken by two generations of fathers’ submission to alcohol, only nature , including observation of the innocent animals who teach by their lives, I was spared the desperation of unmoored adolescence.
    But most importantly, his article becomes whole because he has learned in a similar way , yet far different, that as WE are enjoined to love, we can help to heal through never abdicating our greatest commandment, given by that Jesus.

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