Wow. I'm sick tonite. Took a quick ride out to do some coyote calling this aftrnn. Came across a pack of fresh wolf tracks instead on the way out where I been seeing coyote tracks. Looks like all the coyotes were splitville with the wolves in town. The back was moving into the wind and had entered a open swampy area. I left the wheeler and walked to the edge of the swamp and called the lone wolf call for about 10 howls every 5-10 min or so. Kept it up for about and hr. -no luck. So hopped on the wheeler and headed up my normal trail which was sorta the direction that they had headed. Moved to another calling position about 3 miles ahead. After analyzing the position I had I felt really quite confident. Wind just right. New one inch of snow from nite b4. Great line of sight around me. Nice place to sit complete with a nice stump just at the right height for a rifle rest. So I start my calling sequences again. About an hour into it I hear the pack back in the swamp area answering in earnest. I give two more sets of long howls then shut up. They know where I (the caller) am. I know where they are. It is now about 4pm. Plenty of daylight left. They were howling from behind a rise between us, I figure maybe one mile away. If they do come from the right of the hill between us they will come right down the snowgo trail to me. If they come out from the left of the hill open swamp with only a completely logged out area between us.
About 6 pm here they come. Left side of hill and fanning out across the swamp. 1,2,3,4,5, I'm loosing count as they fan out. Two veer off my way a bit, and I change the ecaller to a snowshoe hare distress at half volume. One sits on the swamp edge maybe 300 yards out in the clear. I try the ecaller again but for some reason it wont go. So I pull my hand caller out and blow 5- 10 seconds of rabbit distress. One peels off and enters the logged area coming up a small ravine almost directly at me. I estimate 100 yrds and I have just a few small pine trees between us as he stops broadside to me. I could shoot but I know he is gonna come further up the ravine with my wheeler sitting right on the trail about 150 ft ahead of him. He comes some more. Hesitating, he stops in the wide open broadside again to me. My scope is set at 9x and he takes up nearly three quarters(?) of my viewfinder. Bang! He trots leisurely quartering away. He doesnt know what/where/anything. 30 ft further away and pauses. Bang! Trotting away again. Bang! Why has he not fallen? One more bang? I dont know. Maybe. .......What??? Over a small knob he goes. He seems to tip awkwardly every now and then b4 disappearing. I HAD to have hit him. No WAY I could have missed a 70 yard shot, right? Broadside? At least twice? No way! Plenty of daylite left. I watch some of the pack scatter directly across the swamp in front of me and 10 minutes pass as I ponder things. The 223 had to do more damage than that, dont they, I ask myself. Surely there has to be a blood trail and he's laying right on the other side of the knob. A wolf calls from the left end of the swamp. The pack answers from straight across the swamp. I join the howling for a few minutes by mouth until we all calm down.
I make the long walk to his tracks. Yep, no mirage, he was a standing right thar...... and NO blood. Wow, there has to be a blood trail.........nope. I follow his trail the couple hundred yrds to the edge of the swamp where he made a hard left and stayed in the treeline. Not a drop. Wow! Unbelievable!
I hang out at the edge of the swamp and throw a few more howls in the air. No answers. With light dimming I retrace my steps and analylize what happened. No explanation is found. I'm just dumbfounded.
I hop back on the wheeler and head home. Cussing myself outload about every mile. I pull into my garage still pondering HOW can one miss when practically your WHOLE reticle has hair in it??
I turn on the lights and undress after hanging the gun on its peg. I cant stand it. I take the gun, wondering if something is obvious. Yep! There it is. Both adjusting knobs have been turned. The up/down, sits on the #5. The windage....2.5(?). Not good! A quick review of the book shows an eighteen inch difference at 100 yrds. Wow. I cant believe this!
In retrospect with the 3 or so hrs I had sitting comfortably sitting and calling I NEVER did check my knobs after a horribly rough ride out on the wheeler with the rifle on my back. Son of a &%(^*$#! Got stuck several times trying to break a new trail on the way out and now I learned a lesson the hard way. One I soon wont forget, too.
First time I actually used the wolf howl call on my wildfire. First time I ever actually shot at a wolf. Bummer! Might just be the best opportunity I'll have in my life. 70 yards broadside with zero brush between us.
On the good side, was awesome to have the plan come out like I thought it could. Cool to watch the pack for a few minutes. I was surprised that the shot(s) didnt make him instantly hit high gear! I'm guessing there were about 7-9 in the pack. Back to the drawing (shooting) board, I guess.