I was working in our small cabin in our field the other day, cleaning up and making it somewhat inhabitable, at least OK for use as a comfortable blind for taking photos. Lil and the dogs came by for a visit, took a mouse I’d trapped, and left to go back to the house. I heard some yelling and barking, but didn’t think much about it – they are dogs, and they can bark a lot.
But I heard my name being called so I went outside. Lil was a bit upset and told me that when she had left the cabin and started down the road to the house, she saw a deer and then there was a wolf right there, on the road, maybe 40 m away. Dory, our somewhat handicapped dog (both her front legs are compromised), took off after it, but luckily not for long and the wolf, thankfully, disappeared. Lil thought it was a young wolf, as it didn’t look overly large, and appeared somewhat ‘lanky’. It was dark brown in colour.
That was Sunday, Sept. 14. On Monday, the grouse season opened, so Lil and I, plus our dogs Neva and Dory, went for a late morning, early afternoon hunt. We did a couple of walks on old logging trails where I shot three ruffed grouse while Lil handled Neva (still on the leash). Both dogs retrieved and flushed birds and a great time was had by all.
On the drive home, we saw another wolf, about 10 km from home. This one was large and also appeared to be dark brown in colour.
Today (Sept. 20) I went with my friend Murray to pick-up three critter cams that are part of our attempt to monitor our re-introduced elk herd. We didn’t see any elk or moose, but we saw one buck white-tail and – another wolf. This one was medium-sized and sported the timber wolf’s typical grey coat.
A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed on CBC Radio as to the status of deer in northwestern Ontario, and during that interview I mentioned that deer numbers seem to have tanked due to the severity of the the previous two winters, but wolf numbers were still high. They had plenty to eat last winter, I said, but pickings are now slim, and it’s likely the wolves will continue to chow down on the remaining deer until they literally run out of them (deer). It’s the classic predator/prey lag effect, and although I was speculating for the most part, seeing those wolves over the past week (and not many deer) certainly would seem to back up what I said on the radio.
One more thing. A neighbor helping me re-do my driveway over the last couple of days told me he saw three wolves in a pack last week crossing the road about 5 km east of the house.
There’s certainly no shortage of wolves in this neck of the woods, at least for now.