Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 2, July, 2000 Page: 74
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
data, one can only suspect that the scarcity of weasels may hinge on land use practices not
conducive to its well-being. Thus it is possible that in pre-settlement times it might have been
more abundant in the county's mixed prairie and forest edge habitats. In unpublished field
notes, the late state game warden, Thomas T. Waddell, reports that in the early 1940s indi-
viduals were found crushed by colliding with automobiles on roadways five miles south of
Garwood on May 29, 1940, and five miles west of Eagle Lake on June 29, 1941. Hugo
Kveton's trail dogs dispatched one weasel in May 20, 1940 and another on May 22, 1940.
Both allegedly had been harassing his flock of turkeys. In recent years biologists at the
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge report weasels as extremely rare. The
past and present status of this highly interesting creature in Colorado County remains an
Mountain Lion: While the smaller bobcat remains a persistent member of the county's
community of native meat-eating mammals, the jaguar, and the mountain lion, have gone
from the scene. Although wide-ranging, the latter cat was probably a regular member of the
local fauna in early settlement days. However, like attitudes toward the red wolf, ranchers
and farmers from the very first declared open season on the big cats, who were demon-
strated killers of their precious livestock. One of the last recorded county occurrences of this
outlawed cat, locally called a panther, was in 1905, when J. V. Ellis killed a "9 foot 3 1/3 inch"
individual at Walker's Bend on the Colorado River. Since those early days, reports of these
heavy-bodied cats as "passers-through" have been periodically reported, but their presence
was never actually authenticated until February 26, 1948. On that date, Emil Balusek of
Rock Island killed an adult male panther. It had been treed by dogs in what was then called
the Phoenix Dairy Pasture about fifteen miles south of Rock Island. Its healthy condition led
one to suspect that it had been a "well-fed" captive and on the loose. However, it could also
have been a stray from brush lands of South Texas.5
Feral Hog: Colorado County's wooded habitats are now infested by a "wild" stock of hogs
derived from imported domestic swine that either escaped or were liberated from confine-
ment. Although it might be possible to trace part of this feral strain back to imports brought
in by the Spanish as early as the sixteenth century escapees from Alonso Alvarez de
Pineda's camp on the Rio Grande in 1519 or, closer to home, from the shipwreck in 1528
from which Alvar Nifiez Cabeza de Vaca was a survivor. Nevertheless, for generations,
feral hogs have been rather inconspicuous in most parts of Texas. However, in the past 25
years this prolific intruder from the Old World has undergone a local population explosion
5 Rollin H. Baker, "Mountain Lion in Southeastern Texas," Journal ofMammalogy, vol. 30, no. 2,
1949, p. 199.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 2, July, 2000, periodical, July 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151409/m1/10/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.