Thursday, November 16, 2017

#33 - Encounters with Wolves

As we watch the unfolding of this grand mascot reintroduction of wolves into America let's consider the facts - here are just some details of the wolf reintroduction phenomenon - and it's effect on ungulate populations and hunters.

Here are JUST two of the many examples where those that say game is still there .... hunt harder, its hogwash :
Idaho Elk.
Idaho, the Lolo elk herd went from 19000 before wolves to 1000 after wolves. During that huge decline calf to cow ratios were well below what responsible elk biologist call healthy. The science is clear. Responsible wolf biologists tell us that unmanaged wolves will keep suppressed ungulate herds suppressed. Acting like those that have hunted the lolo range "need to hunt harder" is disingenuous.... but, still the wolf pimp party line.
Northern Wisconsin deer herd,
The Northern WI deer herd is at its lowest level in decades. The standard wolf pimp party line is to look at the deer population as a whole verses just the units with saturated wolves. The units of Forest Co tell the story of places with saturated wolves. In Forest Co the 1995 deer harvest was 4658 vs the 2015 harvest of 1146. The standard wolf pimp party lines is that wolves will control CWD & car deer accidents...... which is a complete laugher! They then brag that the 2016 harvest was an increase of "30%". A thinking person knows that you need LOT OF 30% increases to get from 1146 to above 4658. Matter of FACT it would take SIX YEARS of 30 back to back to back increases to do so! Sure, the bad winters took a toll on the deer BUT SO DID WOLVES. It is absolutely absurd to act as if the 1995 harvest in heavily hunted Forest Co of 4658 was "unhealthy" before wolves.

People just don't want to believe that A) Wolves are here (that is that they migrate) and B) That the represent a danger.  Homeless people will be the first to suffer - who will miss them????  Second, outdoor people will have to stop going into the woods alone.

Two examples - both on the East Coast in North Carolina where I'm from.  One was a day hike into the back woods.  I sat alone on a log overlooking a dry river bed.  The time was getting toward dusk. A little voice inside me said it was time to leave but I ignored that voice and ten minutes later I heard them.  Two wolf cries that sounded like sonar beacons triangulating my position.  I'm no coward so when I say these sent chills up my spin it was a real different feeling.  I got up and began to walk away from the area - as I did all my learning on wolves came to mind.  Don't run was the sum of it.  But as I continued I recollected that the wolves were not in sight so I began to jog.  I ran until I came to a fence for cattle and climbed over it.  There on the other side I stopped in the full sunlight of evening.  Looking around me I saw a deer skull which had been chewed on from every angle - it was clear to me that wolves had killed it and that those same wolves were on my track.  I walked back to the opening where the track led back to home.  As I did the woods feel deftly silent..  Even the birds and the small things of the woods were silent.  Taking a few more steps and listening I noted that this was the pregnant pause the is so well known to predicate an attack.  Just then a small chickadee started up and I knew I was safe.  A few more steps and I heard a fight break out between two canines - It was like one canine was mad at the other for starting after me and then calling it quits.  I safely made my way out of the woods and vowed never to return without a weapon.  That was my first encounter with wolves.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

#32 Education on Dealing with Wolves Video

This video was spurned on by the death of Candice Berner of Slippery Rock Alaska on the Northern Peninsula - who was killed, eaten and partially buried by wolves.   The first two clips are slightly gruff, Tom has done his research though and his books offered in the second clip.  The third clip is on tracking wolves and identifying them from the signs.  Key: 4" x 5" prints!  Larger than most any dog and all coyotes. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

#31 An Encounter with Wolves - Breaking the Spell

Wolves & the Reality Check

Most people think that wolves are cute, cuddly and powerful symbols of mother nature.  Most peoples experience of wolves is summed up by movies like Dances with Wolves and Never Cry Wolf.  Perhaps they’ve been to a howling park and communed with wolves from the safety of a trail head with a pack of curious humans surrounding them.

My first encounter with Red Wolves (Canis rufus) was sometime between 2011 and December 2012.  I had taken a long walk, perhaps between 3-4 miles back into the uninhabited woodlands on the outskirts of North Raleigh, North Carolina.  The Red Wolves were being reintroduced into the wild by a gang of government funded politically correct mean wells, whose chief’s license plate read SEAWOLF.  Fortunately the reintroduction project has been disbanded (thank you TEAM). 

The funniest thing about the reintroduction project was that while it kept the public updated and used the media to keep the surrounding farmers running for cover – it always published the same information “about 100 Red wolves have been released.”  It said this in 2009, 2010, 2011….  Right through closing…  They never disclosed the actual numbers – it was as though they released 100 and then nothing for 5 years. 

A Red Wolf (probably much like it’s fellow Grey Wolf) has a hundred mile range that it will travel to place distance between itself and another pair of wolves.  Red wolves work in pairs with their nearest neighbors being ear shot away incase additional “support” is necessary.

Any hows…  There I was some two miles back in a woods that is otherwise safe but for a few snakes.  I had seated myself on a fallen log overlooking an all but dry river bed with dramatic 8-12 cliff like edges.  As I sat there sipping a glass of a respectable vintage and pondering the completion of a book I’ve no small interest in publishing – a sharp but slight sound emerged across the gulch and slightly to my right.  In recollection it was made from the same vocal cords that emit that howl which is respectively earmarked for a wolf.  A sound which means so many things of butterflies and bliss until you hear it alone in the woods and you know it’s about a menu selection….  No one can tell you these things – it’s something you know. 

Moments later the sound which was at once a high pitch and yet a sly sound – so unlike another sound that you’d guess you hadn’t  heard it – but for another matching sound in response to the first.  Minutes before these two ‘calls of the wild’ were heard I’d had that little warning voice in my head…  ‘You should go now…  It’s time to head back, why you could work on your book right now…’  But I’d decided to dilly dally and ignore the voice of concerned warning.  It seemed like un-necessary pressure and anyway what could happen out here??

Within second of the second call my hair was up on the back of my neck and I’d already judged that it was a trianglization call out.  Basically, that means one wolf was saying to the other ‘do you see what I see???’  A human alone in the woods is fair game if they ‘never come here’ – heck who would miss’m? 

I got to my feet, internal calculator whirring – “Don’t run!” ran the internal log on what to do when in the presence of a predator such as a wolf or bear.   I walked with reasonable swiftness some 20 yards.  I didn’t look back but glanced from side to side.  Images of wolves flanking me sprang to mind as a lurched for a decent stick with which to “walk” (defend).  Seconds felt like minutes as I recalculated the situation.  I wanted as much distance between myself and that pair as possible – but to run?  I decided a jog was only reasonable, anything less was giving them time to consider a stalking…  I jogged and up a ridge and down a valley I went.  Finally some time later I found the bob-wire fence that edged the forest, still some miles from civilization but “human” territory never the less (it’s about confidence and it comes in small things like a pasture sometimes). 

As I stepped over the fence I got that silly feeling like ‘what a foolish thing to have thought, it might have only been the shadows of the forest…  Perhaps an owl?’  Then, there on the ground not six feet away was the head of an adult deer.  Antlers gone skull massively decayed.  Not by sun or age but you gnawing…  Nearly every square inch of that skull had deep canine bite marks in it.  I picked it up, I photographed it and I looked in wonder at the woods from which I’d emerged. 

I felt safe, the “game” was over – whatever those wolves thought it was, it was over – I’d escaped.  I headed back over the fields and reached another boundary marker.  This one lead out of the farmer’s field and onto the 2 mile loop trail that went back to my Audubon sanctioned community (a new concept in North Carolina).  I crossed the gate and onto the main track, a silence fell.  A quiet unlike any other quiet you will (ever) hear in the woods.  Deep thick dead silence – the kind that you notice because you’ve never heard it before.  I noticed it and held my walking stick with the awareness of a weapon.  I paused to consider this meaning – the meaning of no sound.  A moment passed and then a tiny chickadee sounded in the brush – a spiritual tension had broken and I knew it meant I was safe.  I stepped out toward freedom and had not gone but a few paces when I heard the sound of fierce fighting between the pair.  In my mind a simple explanation played out without request or explanation.  ‘You fool said the male wolf’s emotion – you’ve exposed us to a human!  Coward said the female, you could have had him!’ 

I walked on, thankful for the little things like the black capped chickadee (the soldiers bird) and emerged with a totally renewed sense of the dangers of the woods alone.  It would not be my last encounter with these two…

Sample Encounter


Saturday, November 12, 2016

#30 Guaging the Modern Wolf's Intellegence - From A Trappers Point of View

Since many people have either never encountered wolves or are just now beginning to sense a new presence in the woods, while out hunting or even on your back forty...  This article (copied verbatim) will bring you up to speed on just how clever the modern wolf is and give you a few facts (such as 20% larger brains) brandish.  People love facts, they my be still spell bound but they love facts.

Featured in the Predator Xtreme WOLF Issue, a FREE Digital Magazine

PXWolf 2015
In the past five years there has been an explosion of opportunity for hunting and trapping wolves across the U.S. First in the West, then in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, the chance to take a wolf appeared for the first time in nearly a century.
This has led to a hunger among outdoorsmen for information about how to hunt and trap these amazing but wary canines. In this first of two parts, I will examine strategies and techniques for trapping and snaring wolves; in part two, I will cover hunting over bait and predator calling.
The best way to learn how to catch a wolf is to look to those who have been doing it. In Canada and Alaska, wolves have not had the protection they’ve known in the Lower 48, and many hunters and trappers have developed and refined techniques that have served them well. Alberta’s Gordy Klassen is recognized as Canada’s premier wolf trapper. He travels around Canada giving wolf-trapping seminars both privately and for government animal control agencies. He offers what he calls a college course in wolf trapping and hunting each year, and the week-long event is booked well in advance.
I spoke with Gordy at length, and he offered some advice to first time trappers. “Wolves are not hard to trap,” he says, “but you have to do it by their rules.” A fox or coyote trapper might catch an animal and soon have another in the same trap. Not so with wolves. “Their brain is 20 percent larger than a comparable-sized dog, and they learn very quickly,” he says. “You have to realize that each time you catch one, you are educating an entire pack.”
They figure things out very quickly, so you can’t make mistakes. You rarely get more than one chance at a wolf. One of the keys to the equation is scent control.

Clean Freak

Whether using traps or snares, Klassen is a self-confessed scent-reduction fanatic. “You can’t fool a wolf’s nose,” he says, “so you have to come as close to eliminating scent as possible and make your set so appealing that it overcomes the fear of the remaining scent.”
He uses Scent Killer spray when he sets traps and never touches any equipment with his bare hands. He is careful to never breathe on the snare or trap and even chews spearmint gum to avoid the smell of his breath in the area while constructing a set. “One drop of sweat will ruin the whole deal,” he says, so he even uses sweat bands on his head and arms when trapping in warm weather.
His equipment is clean and free from human scent or foreign odors. He uses a product called Insta-Boil to boil the scent away from the equipment and adds some pine, balsam or spruce to the mix to give the equipment a natural smell.
When making a snare or trap set, Klassen uses a clean ground cloth to stand or kneel on. Then when a catch is made, he uses a tarp to roll the animal up and carries it out of the area. He says if there is any blood in the area, other wolves may avoid it, so he shoots the wolf behind the ear and then quickly rolls it onto the tarp to avoid blood on the ground. Dragging the wolf out might offer the animals a clue as to where it went, so that’s a no-no. Even in the winter when there is a great deal of snow cover, the caught wolves are carried out of the area, not dragged.


The wolf’s amazing ability to smell is also his undoing. Wolves are very attracted to the scent of any canine that is not a regular visitor to their hunting area. Urine and feces from wolves outside their home range is the best attractor possible if you can get it. Klassen says many serious wolf trappers have set up exchanges where each collects feces in sealed bags which they can trade to trappers from other areas. These are then used for bait at wolf sets. The typical sets that trappers use to catch the smaller canines also catch wolves. Fox and coyote sets like dirtholes, flat sets and urine post sets all work.
Bait stations are one of the most effective ways to snare wolves. When the going is tough, wolves will come to fresh bait and are vulnerable to properly set snares around bait stations. But Klassen doesn’t do things in the order that you might think. Rather than put out a bait and surround it with snares as the trails develop, he chooses an area for the bait and sets the snares first. He tries to anticipate the wolves’ approach to the bait site and sets 20 to 30 snares around the area in any possible trail. After a few days, any human scent that might be on or immediately in the area of each snare has dissipated. He then brings in the bait.
Snaring wolves in winter is made easier by deep snow. Wolves will follow the path of least resistance, even if it is a snowmobile trail. Setting snares in these trails and in places where he has shuffled his feet to create a trail can be very effective. The same is true of game trails, but snares must be used with great caution where other animals are using the same trails.
A simple set that has accounted for a lot of wolves in the winter involves nothing more than a paper cup with a couple of tiny holes in it filled with urine and suspended so it slowly drips onto the ground. Snares are set in foot-trails around the scent. You can add stool from outside the area for extra appeal.

Location, Location, Location

Wolves spend the majority of their time on the fringes of their home range. A wolf pack’s home range is well defined, but they do not regularly cover every square inch of it. In fact, just the opposite is true. Often people are confused by the issue of home ranges when it comes to canines, since home ranges are usually defined by a certain number of acres. The animals do not aimlessly wander all around in their “home range.”
“Wolves spend 95 percent of their time on the fringes of their territory,” Klassen says. “They like trails and roads and will follow these. Power line cuts and rivers are also followed.” The edges of the territory will be defined by such a feature, and the wolves make regular trips along these boundaries. Lakeshores, cliffs, swamps and other barriers that are difficult to cross often make up the edge of the territory. Or it might be something like a logging road.
Once you find one of these areas, the sign will be abundant. Wolves will leave droppings and urinate every couple hundred feet along the boundaries of their territory. Tracks from regular use will be visible. Of course, it stands to reason that these are the high-percentage places to set your traps, and the time it takes to find these boundaries is well worth the effort.

The Tools Of The Trade

Snares are made of either 1⁄8-inch or 3⁄32-inch galvanized aircraft cable. Klassen primarily uses 3⁄32, 7×7 strand cable in 60-inch lengths. He then adds a swivel and another 60 inches of cable that leads to the anchor point. He is very specific about the particulars of his sets. He makes the snare loop 19 inches in diameter and sets it 18 inches above the ground. A plastic collar is used directly above the lock so the snare is held firmly in place. A support wire is held firmly in this collar.
He “loads” his snares by bending it with his fingers so it drops quickly upon first contact. He claims most of his snares hit the wolf right behind the ears and it’s lights out very shortly, because the arteries that lead to the brain are affected. No blood to the brain means the wolf basically goes to sleep within seconds.If the snare misses slightly, the wolf might be alive for some time, collared like a pet. But wolves have very sharp teeth and their jaws can exert 1,100 pounds of pressure on a snare cable. It might take some time, but it’s possible the wolf could chew the cable in two. Klassen prevents that by anchoring the snare high or to the ground, so the lock settles either on the back of the wolf’s neck or the throat area, and he cannot get his teeth onto the cable in either case.
The RAM Power Snare in the Wolfmaster model is used where no anchoring is available. Klassen uses this setup exclusively where sign shows that the wolves are crossing beaver dams, one of his favorite places to snare them. This snare has a large spring that triggers when a wolf enters the snare, quickly closing it.
Foothold traps used include the Bridger Broad, the Alaska #9 and the 76 LAY, which is his favorite because it is center swiveled and tough, and it has offset jaws and strong springs. These big traps do not need pan covers; they are big and strong and you can sift dirt or snow right over the trap.
All traps are anchored solid; in no case is a drag or grapple used. Wolves can be dangerous and you want to know exactly where it is. Klassen uses long stakes, 3 feet long, made of 5⁄8-inch rebar. Long chains with effective swiveling are important to holding these tough predators.

Best Baits

Wolves love fresh, warm meat, of course, but they will not hesitate to return to a kill or accept a free meal when it is available. This can be their downfall. Any wild game or beef will work well for bait, but wolves love beaver meat. It’s like crack cocaine to a wolf. “Wolves would live on beaver meat 100 percent of the time if they could,” Klassen states.
When you’re establishing bait stations, a local trapper who can supply you with beaver carcasses can be an important part of your wolf-trapping success. Beaver meat is dark red and rich with a strong smell. Wolves are attracted to the smell of the meat and the associated beaver castor, which calls in all canines with its powerful scent.
Wolf trapping has become accessible to many people for the first time. It’s no secret that wolf hunting and trapping is controversial and inflammatory in many circles. It pays to learn the specifics and do it right each time. Each time a trapper makes a mistake it has the potential to flame up into a very tough situation for trappers, hunters and game departments to deal with. I trust this article will put you on your way to trapping your first wolf effectively and humanely.

Klassen’s Wolf-Trapping School

Gordy Klassen does about 25 workshops per year travelling around Canada to help trappers catch wolves more effectively and humanely. He also does a 35-hour course over four days at his camp near DeBolt, Alberta. A third option is a wilderness trapline experience, where you spend time with Gordy on what he calls his Wilderness College. For more information about these options, call (780) 957-3731 or email You can visit his website at


#29 Wolves Move Into Washington State - Protected - So Prepare for Guilty Until Proven Otherwise

Here we have the current outlook by USA Fish & Game Officials on encounters with wolves....  Naturally it leaves something to be desired.  For one thing we say in the case of the Alaska encounter where the teacher/jogger was eatten that those with pepper spray found it all but in-effective.  If they didn't have dogs that were drawing the packs attention....  As for naturally inquisitive - if they let themselves be seen your on the menu.

Northeastern Washington's Smackout Pack is known for having a high-percentage of black-furred wolves. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)
UPDATED 1 p.m. with quotes from WDFW enforcement chief.
A hunter who took a shot at a gray wolf after being virtually surrounded by a pack in northeastern Washington on Oct. 30 has been cleared of any wrongdoing by Washington Fish and Wildlife police who investigated the incident.
Wolves are protected under state endangered species rules, but exceptions are allowed for force when people or domestic animals are directly threatened.
The incident took place in the territory of the Smackout Pack in Stevens County northeast of Colville off the Aladdin Road, department officials say.
The hunter called officers and reported his chilling story, which is summarized in the agency's Dangerous Wildlife Incident Reports. The story was confirmed by Steve Crown, department enforcement chief. The name of the hunter is being withheld, he said.
The man was hunting with several people when he saw a wolf skirting along the brush headed in the same direction he was going.
According to the police report, he yelled and shot into the air and the wolf left.
The hunter said he saw three additional wolves about 25 yards ahead of him, and they ran in the same direction as the first wolf.
The man then heard a noise in the brush, yelled to see if it was his hunting partner and got no response. A black wolf appeared within 15-20 yards of and approached him.  The man shot at the wolf. He told officers he believed he hit it, but the wolf ran off.
Investigating officers said they found hair held by a small patch of hide indicating a flesh would likely be more educational than lethal to the wolf.
Updates on other wolf incidents:
The Teanaway Pack collared female wolf that was found dead last month is under investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since the wolf was from the western portion of Washington where gray wolves are still protected under federal endangered species rules. KING 5 TV reported Wednesday from unconfirmed sources that the Teanaway wolf was shot.
The case of the wolf shot by a farmer in Whitman County last month is still pending as Washington wildlife officials wait for DNA results to make sure the wolf is not a hybrid before making a decision on whether to turn the case over to the county prosecutor.
Crown acknowledged that as wolves repopulate their former territory people who venture into the northeastern Washington woods have to be more prepared for wildlife encounters than in the past.
But Crown said he’s cautious of promoting hysteria, pointing out that wolfs are naturally inquisitive.
“I think there’s probably more likelihood of being injured by a moose than a pack of wolves,” he said.
However, being armed with bear spray may be a wise precaution when being out in the woods where bears, cougars, wolves and coyotes roam, he said.
“Carrying bear spray is a good precaution,” he said. “If you’re just out checking fences, you can jump back into your pickup if something threatening occurs. But when your venturing out to more remote areas, your options are limited.  You have to be able to take care of yourself.”
  • A more detailed report has been filed by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.

Friday, October 14, 2016

#28 Wolves in Action - Wolves on Video in Hunt Formation

If you've never had the experience of being in the presence of wolves (and I'm not counting viewing them from the bus in Denali or a group howling at a controlled park) then this video from our France team will bring you up to speed.  Watch the systematic movement of these three wolves.  Notice how they constantly check-in in an almost military grade fashion...  Notice the bristle & tension.

Basic advice - if you must go into or through the woods alone walk with purpose and intention - do not wander.  Deciding to run will be discussed in one of my two personal encounters sometime later.  As Sting said, a gentleman will walk but never run.  A sharp pointed stick down the open throat is the best single defense outside a decent gun.  December & January are the worst months to be out in the woods as the starvation principle becomes do or die for the wolves.  It's a very intense thing to discover your being stalked.  Be Calm - Steel Pulse It.  Spend as much of your energy on your confidence as you can spare.  Jah Bless

#27 Wolf Attacks on Dogs Politically Correct?

Interestingly and unhappily one of the primary vectors for "wolf deprecation" is our dogs....  So ?  Are we attached to our pets?  Are they really not unlike unto our children in the bond and joy that they bring to many of our lives?  Why then do we so easily allow wolves into our States as though hypnotically memorized?  Why do we allow the "Politically Correct" tell us that what was once must now be again?  Hitler was once - should Germany reintroduce his ilk?  Let wolves be kept in Alaska where there is room and hardship to keep their population in check.  Hunting hounds are among the most commonly reported but if you watch these videos you'll gain a certain knowledge of the way of the 'modern wolf.'  They move in a hit and run style - where our dogs are essentially - Take Out.  Is it difficult to take this step - speak out - write your congress men and women.  Yes, bug them - they like it.

Interesting...  North Carolina.  This is most likely a Coyote attack.  A wolf has a bit 3 times greater than a German Sheppard...

Wolf's set their sights on Elk Hunters