Large Mammal Hunting in Texas During the Early Decades of American Settlement, 1820-1880




Creech, Cole

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The hunting of large mammals was a key aspect of the lives of Anglo-American settlers to Texas during the first sixty years of settlement. This thesis identifies the three reasons why settlers primarily hunted, namely for subsistence, sport, and eradication. Subsistence hunting was practiced by the earliest settlers and the economic poor who hunted as a means of survival due to the difficulty they experienced in obtaining necessary goods by other means. Sport hunting, in comparison, was typically the pastime of wealthier settlers and was the byproduct of the cultural influences of the southern United States. Eradication hunting was not relegated to an economic class, and it involved settlers seeking to destroy certain animal populations due to the belief that the animals’ existence was incompatible with Anglo-American civilization. This thesis, therefore, stresses the importance of hunting to the lives of early Anglo-American settlers by building on the writings of modern historians such as Daniel Herman, past historians such as Theodore Roosevelt, and primary sources such as newspapers and autobiographies from the Texas settlers.