by J. Scott Olmsted - Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Feb. 23—I'm in Gibbonsville, Idaho, hunting wolves with outfitter/guide Caleb Davis of Continental Divide Outfitters. I set up this hunt by chance with NRA Outdoors; Caleb is hooking up with our booking service.
It's tough out here. Just take a look at the scenery. This morning it was 6 degrees when we set out from the house, which sits at 4,200 feet. We unloaded a Polaris and a Yamaha snowmobile and climbed 2,800 feet up a switchback. Caleb says it's actually a logging road. I can't believe truckers drive 18-wheelers loaded with timber down that road. Some places, I didn't want to look down.
Then we saddled up and hiked down a finger to glass and listen. It was quiet as a church out there. The lack of wind was nice not only for listening—though we heard no howls—but also for us. It was easy to keep warm even though I sweated up pretty good during the hike. My clothing system consisted of a super-thin, second skin-like layer of polypro beneath a layer of Cabela's Instinct merino wool long johns topped with an outer layer of King of the Mountain wool. Of course I also had a pair of snow gloves, some lighter gloves and a watch cap. While riding I kept the breeze at bay with a layer of Cabela's Dry-Plus. The whole system worked wonderfully.
The hike out was tough. It took us 1.5 hours to go 3 miles. Somehow it felt like the route was uphill both ways. This is big country. Think West Virginia on steroids. The landscape images enclosed here were taken at 6,828 feet. Caleb is 6-6. Keeping up with him felt like walking behind Dad as a kid. No way was I keeping up with him.
Anyway, no wolves today. Not even a sighting or a howling. This despite seeing some fresh tracks above a week-old kill.
Tomorrow we'll wake at 2:30 to snowmobile up another mountain to check out another drainage. Caleb wants to get up there in the dark to look for tracks made during the night, and to listen for howls before dawn. That's our best chance, he says, to get on 'em if we want to make a plan that ends with a wolf in my scope. Luckily, it's supposed to stay warm overnight and stay calm tomorrow. Still, I know the sight of these peaks awaits me at sunrise.Stay tuned.
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