Having not hunted wolves previously, I set out to learn as much as I could about this crafty, mysterious creature before I ever left Missouri on my trip to northwest Ontario. There is little information on the actual hunting of the Timber Wolf (or Gray Wolf) other than guide services and trappers throughout North America. I began by reading about its feeding and breeding habits and its general behavioral patterns.
With that being said, reality really hit when I arrived at my wolf camp at Bluffy Lake Lodge, with my guide Keith Ammerman. My hunting partner, Colin Anthony, and myself, were here to hunt and document the northern Timber Wolf. What we were about to learn was not found in any of my research in preparation for the actual hunt. I found it to hold true once again to listen to the guide! After all, you might learn something from a guy who knows his territory and profession when it is his livelihood!
I have known my guide for eight years now, so I really focus on what he tells me. I respect the fact that he has researched the wolves a great deal and also talks to his peers who trap and hunt this wary animal. One thing that I have learned is that Keith always has a plan B and something up his sleeve when the hunting gets tough. I just don’t stress or try to second guess him, although he does respect my opinions when we discuss our strategy. He always gives his client the opportunity to make the final decision or choice on where to hunt.
On this particular wolf hunt, he laid the ground work for several weeks prior to our arrival.
He has narrowed his baiting down to three locations. All three are close to wilderness roads where the trail is within sight. Tracks are easy to spot in the sandy soil and road beds. Wolves like to travel these old roads and usually cross close to intersections and hubs. Our first day in camp we set out to see the locations and set up some ground blinds. For weeks, the only scent at the location is Keith’s when he takes the bait in. In this case, the bait is beaver and deer meat. On the first day, Keith had us go in to the bait location to introduce our scent as well as set up the blind. The wolves seem to know there is something different in the baiting area so they may shy away from the bait for several days, only circling and coming to the bait without actually taking it, just to make sure they are safe and not threatened by something new in the woods. They react very different than bears do to bait. We have game cameras showing wolves looking at the camera but not taking the bait. Even a new camera on a tree can make a difference.
The bait is heavily covered with logs and rocks so the ravens and eagles cannot get at it but on the other hand, the ravens are good to have around.
When the wolves hear the ravens making a lot of noise at the bait, that is a signal that there is something worth checking out for the wolf, perhaps a road kill or carrion of some kind. It is wise to watch the behavior of the ravens. If they are suddenly spooked then you need to be all eyes because a wolf may be very nearby.
As darkness starts to fall, the window of opportunity narrows and eventually you can’t see the cross hairs in your scope.
As I sit in the blind, I reflect on how long it will take for a wolf to be comfortable with something new in the bait area like the blind or game cameras. It has been three days and no action at my particular bait location.
It has been said that a wolf may not take bait for three or four days, or more, until he is totally comfortable with new scent and objects.
Tomorrow will be the fifth day for the bait. I will use a Commando predator call and introduce some gland scent along with some new bait.
It will be a moose head and hide given to us by some local hunters. My site has had a lot of activity before we put up the infrared camera so we know there are wolves in the area. That moose head and gland scent should push things along. The weather is changing again and rain has set in but the wind has died down. Another cold day in the blind is at hand. The wait is on in a high stakes game!
Check out Ed’s article about preparing for this wolf hunt here. Keep following Outdoor Hub for more updates from Ed and Colin as their hunt continues.