The Chronicles of Grant County

This column will feature items that relate somehow to Grant County - the name of a street in the case of the first one, and maybe other streets, or the name of a building or whatever catches the fancy of the contributor, Richard Donough. Readers are encouraged to send him topics of interest to them, so he can do the research and write an article.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Mexican Wolves
Part Four
Wolves In Nature

translocation of mexican wolf m1049 to the wild in january 2011 u.s. fish and wildlife service 65Translocation of Mexican wolf M1049 to the wild in Catron County, New Mexico. (Photograph was provided courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011.)

Local folks may reasonably wonder why would you purposely place predatory wild animals in an area inhabited by human beings.

Views on this issue differ based on philosophy. Those philosophies have been enshrined in laws and regulations. As years have gone by, those standards have changed.

There was a time where local folks – with the support and active participation by governmental authorities – hunted Mexican wolves with the intent to eliminate that species from the landscape. In large measure, that was achieved in Grant County and nearby jurisdictions in both New Mexico and Arizona. The goal to remove the Mexican wolves from the region was rooted in the view that the frontier was to be made hospitable to humans and our ways of life.

In the early days of settlers from outside the region coming into what is now Grant County, those new folks wanted to create an environment that they considered safe for themselves. The rights of those who were here before – whether they be fellow humans like the Apache or wild animals like the Mexican wolves – were immaterial to large portions of the new population.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Mexican Wolves
Part Three
Statistics Of Livestock Depredations In Catron County

wolf catron county jess carey three 65 copyMexican wolves in Catron County, New Mexico. (Photograph was provided courtesy of Jess Carey, Catron County Wildlife Investigator.)

This news column is part of a series of reports to the people of Grant County and beyond on the re-introduction of wolves to New Mexico and Arizona. The news columns will include details on many aspects of this program – from those who support the re-introduction of the wolves to those affected by the program. Views will be included from wildlife organizations, ranchers, governmental officials, among others. Individual news columns will focus on specific aspects of these efforts.

Part Three details the statistics of depredation of livestock in Catron County.

"Catron County is home to more than 95% of the wolves in the state," stated Jess Carey, Catron County Wildlife Investigator. The activities in Catron County, located just north of Grant County, directly impact people in Grant County as wolves do not recognize county boundaries.

Wolves are not the only animals that kill livestock. According to Mr. Carey, among other animals involved in depredation of livestock in Catron County are bears, lions, and wild dogs. In addition, depredations can be caused by humans as well as occur in nature.

The statistics and the details about the depredations in Catron County included in this news column are from reports issued by Mr. Carey.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Memorial Day - 2021

fort bayard national cemetery two u s department of veterans affairs 65Fort Bayard National Cemetery (This photograph was provided courtesy of the U S Department of Veterans Affairs.)

Grant County is the final site of rest for thousands of people at the Fort Bayard National Cemetery. There will be no public ceremonies for Memorial Day at this cemetery this year. That doesn't mean the day will go without notice.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs Santa Fe/Bayard National Cemetery will host a solemn Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony," according to a statement issued by the Federal Government. The wreath laying will be "accompanied by brief remarks, a moment of silence, the playing of Taps, and a rifle volley… This will not be a public ceremony."

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Mexican Wolves
Part Two
Depredations Of Livestock – Catron County

wolf catron county jess carey oneA Mexican wolf is seen west of Luna in northwestern Catron County, New Mexico. "The wolf was carrying a beef calf's head in its mouth," stated Jess Carey, Catron County Wildlife Investigator. "If you look to the right of the wolf's left front foot there is the calf's head it dropped to pose for photo." (Photograph was provided courtesy of Jess Carey, Catron County Wildlife Investigator, April 24, 2107.)

Nature can be wonderful to experience.

Nature can also be quite cruel in practice.

It's important to understand the distinctions of how wild animals survive. Some only eat grass, while some only eat certain types of plants. Some animals eat other animals. Still others eat just about anything – plant or animal. A few are scavengers – only eating animals that have already died. These dead animals can include ones left by other animals that killed their prey for food, animals that have been hit by motor vehicles, and animals that have died due to natural causes.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

usfws mexican wolf pups huddle in a denMexican wolf pups huddle in a den. (Photograph was provided courtesy of United States Fish and Wildlife Service.)

Mexican wolf pups may look so sweet as they nuzzle each other in the photograph above. Yet, it would be unwise – extremely unwise – to consider these wild animals to be pets. Resist any urge you might have to pick one up and hold.

This is especially true since a momma Mexican wolf will likely be somewhere nearby. She is unlikely to welcome your attention to her little ones.

For more than twenty years, since 1998, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been re-introducing Mexican wolves to areas of Arizona and New Mexico. The lands of Grant County are included in two zones utilized by the USFWS to manage the Mexican Wolves in the region: Wolf Management Zone 1 and Wolf Management Zone 2. Note in the map displayed below that Management Zone 1 is in two separate pieces within Grant County. In between the two sections are houses and other privately-owned properties.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

hachita post office tom mclaughlin january 15 2013 65Hachita is served by its own post office at 26 B Street in Hachita. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Tom McLaughlin, January 15, 2013.)

Among the road names in Grant County, the sources of the names of the streets of Hachita are likely the most simple to understand. This rural community is located at the intersection of today's New Mexico State Road 9 (Railroad Avenue) and New Mexico State Road 81. South of Railroad Avenue is, in descending order, Avenue A, Avenue B, and Avenue C. These streets were named after the letters of the alphabet. Five blocks west of New Mexico State Road 81 is 1st Street. From that first roadway to that state route are the numbered roadways of 2nd Street, 3rd Street, 4th Street, and 5th Street. These streets were named after the numbers we use in everyday life.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Railroad In Southern Grant Countyrailway el paso and southwestern system american society of civil engineers instituted 1852 transactions paper no. 1170 the water supply of the el paso and southwestern railway from carrizozo to santa rosa n. mex. 50rcThe red circle highlights the route of the El Paso And Southwestern Railway in what was southern Grant County in 1910. The lands that compose Hidalgo County today had not yet been separated from Grant County. (The image was published in Transactions Paper No. 1170 – The Water Supply of the El Paso and Southwestern Railway from Carrizozo to Santa Rosa, N. Mex. and was provided courtesy of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 1910.)

When Hidalgo County was created from the territory of Grant County in 1920, leaders of Grant County negotiated the borders of the new county so that Grant County retained a portion of its existing southern territory. It was deemed critical by local leaders that Hachita remain within Grant County. That small community included the links between the main railroad serving Silver City and the railroad connecting Tucson and El Paso.

The Chronicles Of Grant County

Lost Portion Of Grant County

pyramid mountains eastern foothills flickr patrick alexander january 9 2013 35A view of the Eastern Foothills of the Pyramid Mountains in Hidalgo County. (The photograph was provided by Patrick Alexander through Flickr, January 9, 2013.)

Grant County used to have a border Mexico. That is before this county lost the southwest portion of its territory.

Have you ever heard of Pyramid County?

How about Steeple Rock County?

How about Leahy County?

That's not a surprise. These names were among the names considered for the county that is now known as "Hidalgo County." According to the government of Hidalgo County, this county "…was named in honor of Miguel Dolores Hidalgo, who led the revolution in Mexico in 1810, which eventually led to its independence from Spain."

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