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March 9: Brittany Kichton

My husband and I took the skidoo out in the morning to try and call for wolves. After spending the better part of the morning fighting blowing snow and difficult weather conditions, we were able to find some halfway decent tracks. It was tough to tell how fresh the tracks were with how much it had snowed that morning, but we figured we’d take a chance and set up to call. We howled in a few different areas but didn’t get any response.  Then we came upon a fresh kill the wolves had made either late the night before or early that morning. We soon realized that the remnants lying on the ground belonged to one of the fawns of a doe that comes to our campsite quite often. She had twins that year and they faithfully came and visited us every morning, so we thought something was off when we saw her come in with only one baby that day. This was why.... The pack of 5-7 wolves had picked the carcass clean in a matter of hours. All that was left was scattered legs, a couple bones, and a little bit of the hide. After seeing their tracks leaving the kill site, we had an idea of where they might have went, so we hopped on the sled again to make our way to the muskeg. 

As we were heading to our next set, we found some fresher tracks and hopped off the sled to take a look. We literally took ten steps from the sled and let out a couple howls for fun when all the sudden a big, black wolf stepped out on the cut line. Neither Richard nor I was expecting that to happen right there, so we didn’t have anything ready to go. The wolf slipped back into the woods, but we patiently waited and kept calling. A couple minutes later, I saw him step out on a different cut line through some trees. I waited to see if the rest of the pack would follow him out there, but the wind switched and I saw him turn to run back into the woods as he caught our scent. I squeezed the trigger on my .243 Winchester Short Mag and shot him on the run at 300 yards! It was a perfectly placed shot and he dropped in his tracks. 

After going to see the wolf I had just shot, we went back out to try and call the rest of the pack in, but had no luck; however, we did manage to find ANOTHER kill this pack of wolves had made the night before - this one a moose. So while it may be controversial for some, this is why predator control is absolutely crucial where we live. In less than 24 hours, that pack had made 2 kills, and unfortunately that isn’t even one of the bigger packs in the area. On average, they will make at least one kill every 2 days, and this time of year with the deep snow, the deer, moose and elk don’t stand much of a chance. So with a little predator management, we’ve seen an increase in the numbers and quality of our ungulate population. While they’re still struggling, at least they have a fighting chance now!