Monday, May 5, 2008

Close encounters of the K9 kind

My buddy and I were up in the Fort a la corne forest doing some hiking. I'm not sure what caught my attention but I turned in time to see out of the corner of my eye a white blur followed by 3 dark blurs coming through the forest towards Reg and I. At fist I thought it was a pack of coyotes making their way through to woods but it dawned on my that these animals were much too large to be coyotes. It was a pack of wolves coming in on us. The lead wolf was a magnificent looking animal with a thick white coat. If it weren't for his white coat I wouldn't have seen them coming because the darker ones simply looked like shadows moving through the forest. As they neared, they split up and started to surround us. I don't know which thought entered my head first, grab my knife or grab my camera. It was at that point that Reg and I started to shout at them. We shouted and took a few steps forward as a show of assertiveness. When the pack finally stopped, turned and retreated, they were only 4 yards from where were stood! 12 feet! But they didn't retreat far. Aside from the the four that came in on use there were 2 or 3 more in a small ravine maybe 100 yards from us. We could hear the two groups howling and yipping to one another. Reg happened to have his coyote call so we set up near a tree and tried to call them back in. We waited for a while but the light was fading and I didn't like the idea of making my way out in the dark with these very large animals in the area. It was an amazing encounter! I have never felt more privileged in the woods as I did on that day.

At no point did I feel afraid or threatened. There was no wind so they couldn't smell us. I think what happened was they heard us walking and thought we were deer. When they finally realized that we were not deer they retreated. It just occurred to me that there may have been some pups near buy and they were testing us / protecting the pups. Though I don't know when wolves give birth.

We also saw a small heard of elk, a bunch of ruffed grouse and some really big bear tracks in the mud. All in all it was a great day.

1 comment:

Pawistik said...

A great story and what an exciting experience. Glad that you were able to not feel threatened and enjoy the closeness to a rarely seen animal in the wild (spotting wolves from a car doesn't count).

That photo of the evening sky is stunning.