Chasing Wolves: Day Two

posted on February 25, 2015
gunclub2015_fs.jpg (8)

undefinedFeb. 24—We saw a wolf today. Actually, Caleb Davis saw it. The wolf was cruising a ridgeline high above a hardtop road late this afternoon. We were glassing the hillside checking out elk, deer and sheep in the mountains above a hardtop road near Gibbonsville, Idaho, when the moment arrived.

As we did yesterday, we were trying to determine by the animals' behavior whether wolves were "shopping for groceries." If the ungulates suddenly bolted downhill, for instance, we'd know an interloper—or several—was likely in the area. That would give us a plan for morning, because we could be reasonably assured the wolves would stay near the scene.

The sighting didn't really matter much this afternoon, though. No ungulates did anything differently, and the wolf was not seen again. Didn't matter much for me, either. I couldn't have climbed that hill before nightfall—not after this morning.

Snowmobiling is tough on my arms and knees. The snow is hard as a rock in many places, and it plays tricks with the front skis. I'm not used to it and so I go slow. Still, it wears out my arms. Then the hiking wears out my legs.

After a 7.5-mile ride uphill, we dismounted and took our time working a Forest Service road, hiking 2.5 miles till eventually we found a vantage we liked. From there we watched a gaggle of elk fanned out on an opposite ridge. There were many groups of cows and calves, and a bachelor group of five bulls—including a dandy 7x7 and a 6x7. If wolves were hungry, surely all this live bait would be an attractant—but no dice. So we reversed course. That took another couple hours of hiking and snowmobiling.

Besides the one sighting, I did see much evidence of wolves today, though. We went uphill because we were following tracks of a pair that had likely killed the three elk Caleb pointed out down the mountain—a 5x5, cow and calf, spread across a couple hundred yards near our jumping-off point. We saw those tracks occasionally across the top of the mountain but not the makers of them. Then on the way down the mountain, adjacent to the calf carcass, we noticed a fresh fox kill. Wolves are efficient, I'll say that for them. As you can see there isn't an edible part left of the fox or the calf.

And they know how to work this terrain. They stay high, cruising ridges until they're ready to move on a kill. We must do the same. Only problem is this riding and hiking and hiking and riding is taking a toll on me. I wonder what I'll have left if Caleb, me and my Kimber see an opportunity to move downhill for a kill of our own.


Review Wilson Combat NULA Model 20 Lead
Review Wilson Combat NULA Model 20 Lead

Review: Wilson Combat NULA Model 20

Accuracy doesn’t have to be heavy.

Head to Head: .270 Winchester vs. .308 Winchester

Both the .308 Winchester and .270 Winchester are popular chamberings, and ammo is readily available from nearly every manufacturer. Which comes out on top? We take a closer look at the pros and cons of each.

#SundayGunday: Browning A5 20-Gauge

Get a closer look at the Browning A5 20-Gauge, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

How to Turkey Hunt Safely

FACT: Coming home is more important than coming home with a gobbler.

Turkey Calling by Subspecies

Ever wonder whether the difference between turkey subspecies extends to calling as well? We take a look at the different strategies used to hunt different birds.

Brownells 350 Legend BRN-180 Hunting Rifle Build

B. Gil Horman builds himself a new hunting rig right from the studs, exploring the ways in which an AR-pattern rifle can meet the various needs of most any American hunter.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.