So I floated Birch Creek from 29Aug-4September and had planned on bagging a moose back there. Things happened and had to get outta there. On our way out my partner and I bagged a caribou each on Sept 2nd. Separate write up completely with that one but kind of glad it did because it lead me to this evening. (we were still suppose to be out there)
Because of that not panning out for moose, I got stuck hunting locally and in some desperate days of scouting I thought I had it all panned out. But this is how it ended up going down:
Last nightís hunt was one to remember for sure. Itíll all started a couple days ago when I found a Ďmooseyí looking area. Decided yesterday to take a tree stand in and have it ready for the evening hunt. Set that sucker up start calling for moose around 4:00PM, with no luck I might add. Around 6:30 the wolves start a howling, and close. At first, I was pretty bummed with all this bc obviously no moose are coming out to play with wolves in the area. Then I remember, hey! I want to shoot a wolf, and Iíve brought my callers. So I start in on some moose cow distress and moose calf distress. Swapping back and forth between that off and on for a good half hour or so. Then they light it up again and even closer.
This time during their serenade, I throw in a territorial coyote howl back at em. Basically saying (in coyote tongue), hey mofos, this is my area get the heck out. (PG version). They didnít like that very much because they lit it up even more. I switched back to moose cow distress & calf distress. Basically,I was trying to imitate a scenario like there was a lost moose calf and the cow was looking for it, with a coyote in there. Wolves hate coyotes.
So itís all quiet again for another half hour or so before they howl it up again. This time I throw a coyote kill threat howl/bark at em. Basically, itís an angry coyote over a kill fighting for some food. Thatís when the wolves kicked it into hunt mode. This MASSIVE pack broke off into three hunting groups. Iíve got wolves howling behind me, to my right & in front of me, all within about 3-500 yards. The group to my right sounded like they were 50 yards in the trees. Itís not about 8-8:30 and starting to get dark. Iíve got three separate groups pretty much surrounding me, only 4 rounds, with 10+ wolves hunting, well ME! So I decide this is getting into a pretty sketchy situation and decide I should use the light Iíve got left to get out. AlsoÖ my headlamp had been turned on in my pack and I had no light except that from my phone, which only had 12% left. So, itís time to go. I get out of my tree stand and start the 1/2mile hike outta there. I get about 20 yards away and they start howling again.
I turn around and see 8 wolves in the meadow out in front of my stand. I haul ass back to my stand, climb upÖpivotal moment here, and left my pack down on the ground. I think those wolves saw me bc by the time I got back up into the stand, they were to the treeline and leaving. Then I see two stragglers. Two blackies. Theyíre about 350-400 yards out there and never felt comfortable with the shot. I didnít have shooting sticks or a steady rest so I let them walk thinking I could try to call em back. I left my caller in my pack so I start in on a mouth squeak. Thatís when two more black wolves poked their head out at 177 yards. Set up on em as theyíre moving away from me. They get another 50 yards before I could finally control my breathing, excitement and get a good bead on it. I squeaked one more time, stopped her and boom! She starts spinning, so I know Iíve got a hit on her. I switch over to the other and unload three more shots, all misses. Hitting a running target at 200+ yards, not an easy task. So I bale out of the tree, grab some more ammo and get my ass back up there. Load it up and unload three more times, all misses again. Loaded back up to see the lone black wolf was gone.
SoÖ between the time I got my ammo and back up into the tree there was only one wolf in the meadow. Meaning, either the one I hit was down or it was the last to leave the field. Not completely sure, I eagerly wanted to get out there and check it out. But with 11+ wolves out there, only 4 round capacity in my rifle, limited visibility, no way was I going into that field to recover that sucker. I call up a buddy that night and schedule an early morning recovery. After a sleepless night, we get up and get out there find this gal not 30 yards from where I shot her. I donít remember putting a second round through her, but apparently at some point, I hit her again for a second time. Oh and while we were getting her outta there this morning, the whole pack lit it up again right where they started last night. Game plans are in being worked out for a new approach on these guys in the days to come.
I'll tell you, I've never felt that kind of adrenaline. Having that many wolves around me with dark coming was crazy exciting. Between the cold, adrenaline, & my nerves I was shaking like a little girl in that tree stand. Definitely one of my best nights in the field.