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Random Shots

I’m Stan Dolega aka Mr. Wolf, founder and sole proprietor of Wolf Ears Equipment, Laramie, Wyoming. I have made the holsters, cartridge belts, and specialized hunting cartridge belts seen in this catalog here in Laramie for over 40 years. Many of you history lovers, reenactors, hunters, collectors, and cowboy shooters may know of me. If you don’t, you should, because I would very much like to make your next Old West historic holster and/or cartridge belt.

 My leather and cotton web products are guaranteed to be historically accurate replicas of real antique existing collection pieces and not restyled modern knockoffs. I make some Civil War military holsters, Indian War period military holsters, and military cartridge belts. These include the Pre-1876 ‘Prairie’ Belt, U.S. Model 1876 ‘Prairie’ Belt, and the 1881 ‘Mills’ Cavalry Belt. I also make an 1867-69 era non-regulation folded tent canvas, and leather military/civilian style cartridge belt. These military pieces are part of a collection of many different styles of civilian belt holsters and cartridge belts made of leather, webbing, canvas, or combinations of these materials. I have put this Old West collection together in a visually striking new format for this web site, and offer it to you; my customers engaged in reenacting, collecting, cowboy shooting, and hunting.

However, a person doesn’t need to be a reenactor, collector, cowboy shooter or a hunter to appreciate the look and feel of 19th century holsters and cartridge belts. Many of the gun sheaths I make can be made to fit many 20th and 21st century handguns. Even though cartridge belts haven’t changed much over time, the old styles will perform very well for modern hunting, days at the ‘range’, or even just to hang on the wall. I like the look and richness of historic ammunition belts made of leather and cotton webbing, and combinations of both materials have been used for 150 years. I utilize these very same materials today to make cartridge belts replicating history and in modified format to create a series of specialized ammunition belts for hunting birds, dangerous game, or any type of active hunting. I’ve modified the 1881 ‘Mills’ Cavalry belt to become a semi-universal ammunition belt for either shotgun or rifle calibers, and make an even more specialized and modified version for dangerous game hunting called a Culling Belt. When modern hunting requires running, crawling or hiding in the brush, cactus, grass or mud waiting for the perfect shot at game these special belts work very well. Choices for hunting include a web wrist cartridge belt with 6 loops or a 20 or 40 round web waist belt with closed bottom cartridge loops. The closed bottom loops offer a semi-universal solution to the problem of owning several calibers or gauges. One cartridge belt will work for most of the different calibers you shoot, and will hold them all in place at exactly the same height for a quick re-load.

Wolf Ears Equipment as a business idea came together gradually through the mid to late 1970’s. I was an avid antique firearm shooter-collector and aspiring history reenactor, and I wanted to dress in 1870’s period correct Western costume. In the 1970’s there was very little high quality, historically correct, and accurately made costuming and leather gear of any kind available. A reenactor had to investigate museum collections, old books, magazines, photographs, antique gun shows, and antique shows in general to discover what was used, what it looked like, and how it was put together. I was obsessed with making the historically correct costuming for myself. I wanted to play with the old guns and I also wanted to look the part.  Asking other reenactors for information sometimes payed off, but reenactors of the post-civil war Wild West were few-and-far-between. I asked the best reenactors I met a lot of questions. In museums I used my eyes and a magnifying glass a lot. I gradually became familiar with Wild West material culture and started to make and wear self-made outfits to shooting ranges and reenactments. Soon other reenactors began asking me to make stuff for them.  They liked the quality and accuracy of my gear. At first I was a Buffalo hunter/ Indian scout reenactor preoccupied with single shot big bore black powder cartridge rifles and all associated accoutrements. Then I got involved in the mountain man era, muzzle loaders, fur trade tools and equipment, and Native American material culture. Finally I came back to the Old West post-civil war era, which is the historic time frame for most of the replica holsters and cartridge belts I make, show, and sell in this catalog. My fellow aficionados, men and women, I was encouraged by many of you to make and sell my leather gear, and it was because of you that I started a business that continues to this day. Wolf Ears Equipment finally came to be as an actual business in 1981 in Laramie, Wyoming. I moved to Laramie from Detroit in 1979.

Over the years many of you have asked where the name Wolf Ears and the logo derive from. It’s the name of a style of hat used in winter by many early mountain men. The Wolf Ears hat was made much like a hood as found on a blanket Capote or modern-day sweat shirt except without the peak. This hood-hat was made out of blanketing with wolf ear shapes sewn in as part of the pattern and then sometimes decorated on top with feathers and beads. This Chapeau can be seen in Alfred Jacob Miller paintings done during the Fur Trade Era of the 1830’s on both Trappers and Native Americans. The Wolf Ears logo is a front profile of any person wearing a wolf ears hat.

I am a nitpicker for details and I strive to make my product for you perfect in every way. That means high quality and historic accuracy to the nth degree. Perhaps I developed this perfectionist attitude from watching my mother (who was a professional artist) make her own art when I was a child. She would also make costumes for my brother and me for Halloween and for playing Cowboys and Indians. I became a professional artist myself, and gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture. So beyond what I do for you as Mr. Wolf of Wolf Ears Equipment I have a fifty year career as a sculptor building large-scale outdoor sculpture. I also live the out-door life in Wyoming. I love to hunt, ski, and sail. When I am in my shop making things for you I am Stan Dolega/Mr. Wolf, sole proprietor of Wolf Ears Equipment and I can be reached at:


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