Wolf Hunting: How to Call Canis Lupus

posted on December 28, 2012


It always happens when you can’t do anything else. No divided attention. You finished the book. The batteries in the radio died. There’s just coffee and more coffee, and the night. The cold, dark night.

It’s a deep diesel undercurrent at first, but then it climbs slowly up the register until the ghosts of night come out and your pulse pounds and the dead bring their wailing up to the surface to help their earthly counterpart: the wolf.

He’s there, out there in the night. We know from living in this place that winter drives him down from the tundra where the parka squirrels live, drives him down where the snow is deep and the moose can’t move as quickly, drives him down here … here in the thick forest where we live.

Oh, we can all read. The Big Bad Wolf … it’s a myth. Wolves attacking humans … almost myth. It happened once, a long time ago in Canada, and the wolf was rabid. Thinning the herds of moose and caribou, taking their rightful place in the scheme of things. We’re safe. We’re here behind canvas in hunting camp, or behind log walls at home. And here by the cabin we have a dozen sled dogs that no wolf in his right mind would approach.

Tell that to the dogs. Several generations of this dog team were born right here. None of them, not a one, has ever seen a wolf. Every one of them would attack a bear in a heartbeat. But wolves?

With the first quavering howl of the wolf you can hear the thump, whump, whop as a dozen 80-pound dogs hit the back walls of their dog houses. Tell the dogs this living ancestor won’t come in and eat them. They know better. They know in their corpuscles that they’re hearing death itself in the quiet frozen night.

Along the Susitna River, it was the legendary wolf we called Bigfoot. He left a track the size of a coffee saucer. His voice filled the canyons and permeated our nervous systems. He was smart. One night we heard the lesser chasing howls of two females, running up the river, 200 yards away. And when the river is winter-solid we can hear everything, even the things tied to horror in the dark.

The two females were in full chase and then from what we knew was an island in the river, we heard Bigfoot coming diagonally at them. Then there was some yipping and then the quiet took over again. At first light I found what was left of the cow moose. The two females ran her up the river into a Bigfoot ambush. He was smart.

As we ready for the wolf hunt there is that slight undercurrent of … anxiety? It’s as good a word as any. When the huge, powerful wraiths of the night sing, no matter how thick the walls, we’re glad we’re inside and we look to see that the rifle still waits above the door.

They’re no danger to us. We know that. We can read.

Calling Canis
Calling a wolf (Canis lupus) is similar to calling a coyote as predators are inquisitive by nature: They’re always seeking their next meal. Sounds of hurt prey are extremely effective—whether it be a squeaker that imitates a field mouse or a rabbit- or a fawn-in-distress call. Unlike coyotes, wolves prey on elk and can be called in with the same cow elk call you use to call bull elk.

-Set up and call from high ground to increase your visibility and keep the wind in your face.

-Try a combination of a distressed-animal call and wolf howl to appeal to their sense of opportunism for an easy meal and to pose as another wolf challenging their territory.

-Consider using a blind as wolves (like all dogs) have exceptional eyesight.


Mountain Lion In Snow
Mountain Lion In Snow

Colorado Cat-Hunting Ban Could be on Ballot in November

A recent report from the NRA Hunters Leadership Forum sheds light on a potential cat problem in Colorado; that is, it’s a problem if you’re a hunter who enjoys and wishes to continue chasing mountain lions and bobcats, or you simply agree that wildlife management should continue to be based on science.

What You Need for Road-Trip Hunts

Planning a long-distance drive to your next hunt? Before you depart, it’s best to think not only about what you may need to help you hunt on unfamiliar ground, but what you’ll need to get you there and back.

First Look: Moultrie Edge 2 and Edge 2 Pro Cell Cams

Moultrie has expanded its Edge series of cellular cameras with two new introductions: the Edge 2 and Edge 2 Pro. 

First Case of Staggering Disease Observed in Colorado Mountain Lion

A brand new study out this week in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal has unveiled that the rustrela virus—most commonly known for the "staggering disease" it causes—has been found for the first time in a North American mountain lion.

New for 2024: Kent Cartridge Fasteel+ Bayou Blend

Kent Cartridge has announced the launch of Fasteel+ Bayou Blend. This new shotshell is specifically designed for duck hunters as a "Do-It-All Duck Load," combining high-velocity, precision-plated steel shot with advanced corrosion-resistant materials, for lethal patterns and unmatched reliability no matter the conditions.

Third Circuit Affirms Denial of Preliminary Injunction in Challenge to Delaware’s "Assault Weapons" Ban

On July 15, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction in Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association v. Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security, NRA-ILA’s lawsuit challenging Delaware’s ban on “assault weapons” and magazines that hold more than 17 rounds.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.