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Thread: Wolves kill caribou on the Denali Highway!

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Default Wolves kill caribou on the Denali Highway!

    I haven't got the pic's yet, but will post when I get them. We spotted a black wolf about mile 108. About mile 110 on the Denali Highway, just West of Brushkana, the wolves took down a caribou. We came upon the kill with the birds around. Temp was about 20 degrees, and the caribou was still slightly warm. Not much left already. Ribs were showing, and most of the meat and guts were gone. Looked to be large pack of wolves that took the bou down. It was laying almost directly in the center of the highway. I'm sure the caribou was sick, as that's the only type that the wolves like to catch and eat.

    So wolf hunters, where ya at? You have until April 30th. I wish I had more time to get after them! You can ride anywhere in that area with your snow machine right now. Could be to the spot in 40 minutes from Cantwell. We did several loops trying see if we could get on them, but time was not on our side and I had to get moving down the highway.

    Hope to get the pic's tonight! Kinda gory, but neat to see nature at work like that. It just needs to be less often.

    Claude
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    as long as they didn't take the horns and leave the meat i'm cool with it...
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    Member lab man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denalihunter View Post
    I'm sure the caribou was sick, as that's the only type that the wolves like to catch and eat.
    I always like coming across wolf kills. Just cool. But i couldn't tell if you were serious about this statement or not...

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    cool it is......but yea i dont believe wolves only take the sick young and the weak...wolves will take down anything and everything they can, they have no prejudices. I watched a female wolf kill 9 sheep in an hour or so on the same mountain top, and she didnt eat any them. You think that all 9 sheep (ewes and lambs) were sick? doubtful....if you havent read it already, you should pick up "Alaska Wolf Man, The Wilderness Adventures of Frank Glaser" by Jim Rearden. Very insightful book on how wolves hunt and kill for fun as well as food.



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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    dam*ed road hunters.
    next thing you know they will be putting tooth holes in signs.
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  6. #6

    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    I watched a female wolf kill 9 sheep in an hour or so on the same mountain top, and she didnt eat any them.
    Are we to assume that you killed the b*t*h to accurately assess the gender?
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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    Im "assuming" it was a female as it didnt look very big from where i was....maybe a male then? either way...i wish i hadnt left the rifle at home. For some reason, Ive always thought of it as a she-wolf..... I really dont know why.



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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK
    I watched a female wolf kill 9 sheep in an hour or so on the same mountain top, and she didnt eat any them. You think that all 9 sheep (ewes and lambs) were sick? doubtful....if you havent read it already, you should pick up "Alaska Wolf Man, The Wilderness Adventures of Frank Glaser" by Jim Rearden. Very insightful book on how wolves hunt and kill for fun as well as food.
    Boy, that whole Frank Glaser stuff been goin' round. I learned a lot about sheep populations from this quote:
    "In 1917, a Fairbanks warden estimated that during the previous four years 2,800 sheep had been killed for the market within 200 miles of Fairbanks. Sheep were far more abundant then than they ever have been since." (page 33, Alaska's Wolf Man by Jim Reardon)

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    Yep saw that kill on the highway a couple times yesterday. Once when I drove by and once I had to come back because my buddy ran out of gas just 50 yrds from the kill so had to drive back and gas him up. Pretty cool to see them when I come across them. Usually I see them back in the mountains and not on the highway obviously. Maybe BRWNBR can help out with the wolf pop. out that way. Saw his truck yesterday as I drove in to Cantwell.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Default or this quote on page 41...

    "... in the years i market hunted, 1915 through 1923, i killed 280 sheep"

    or page 182,

    " ... killing and selling more than 60 moose..."

    and you know he was just one market hunter of many. he may have killed a lot of wolves, but he killed a lot of everything. as far as his predator control resulting in greater numbers of prey animals i would say it wasn't a huge bonus considering how many sheep, moose and caribou he killed himself.


    it is interesting to read books like "Alaska's wolf man", but the lessons to be learned from them strike me as "how not to" not "how to".
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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  11. #11

    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    "... in the years i market hunted, 1915 through 1923, i killed 280 sheep"

    or page 182,

    " ... killing and selling more than 60 moose..."

    and you know he was just one market hunter of many. he may have killed a lot of wolves, but he killed a lot of everything. as far as his predator control resulting in greater numbers of prey animals i would say it wasn't a huge bonus considering how many sheep, moose and caribou he killed himself.


    it is interesting to read books like "Alaska's wolf man", but the lessons to be learned from them strike me as "how not to" not "how to".
    Market hunting and Work Camp hunting like for the Railroads and road construction all took heavy tolls on the resources. Just like today's Commercial Charter Boats/Operator's working on our oceans and rivers. If there is money to be had, someone is going to work the system to it's fullest. Nothing has changed.
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    Default left out

    homerdave you left out the part where he talks of in the early years never seeing wolves, and of all the caribou and game in general there was back then. Its a no brainer that any card carrying member of ABHA wont agree with the book but if you look at the number of sheep killed now vs then his numbers were pretty small.
    I seen 2 wolves kill 6 sheep a few years ago, kinda neat they worked as a team... out of rifle range though.

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Default Still trying to get pic's..

    Waiting on my brother to send me the pic's.... A couple of comments.... still laughing at the 'Road Hunter' comment! Now that's some funny stuff. Another good point was that yes, they left the horns at the kill site, but they did not cut the skull plate in half. I called fish and game right away and let them know of the violation.

    I enjoyed the book Alaska's Wolf Man. It's a part of history, and I have a diffcult time making a judgement, since I wasn't there. It was a different time, and there was what, less then 10% of the people in the state as there is now, and fewer roads and access. He didn't have a wheeler or machine to haul them out. I have a great deal of respect for how hard that must have been!

    Yep, Jake is out there staying with us and poking around. We are hopeful for a successful hunt for him and his client!

    Hoping to post the pic's soon!

    Claude
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    Member Jeff Shannon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    cool it is......but yea i dont believe wolves only take the sick young and the weak...wolves will take down anything and everything they can, they have no prejudices. I watched a female wolf kill 9 sheep in an hour or so on the same mountain top, and she didnt eat any them. You think that all 9 sheep (ewes and lambs) were sick? doubtful....if you havent read it already, you should pick up "Alaska Wolf Man, The Wilderness Adventures of Frank Glaser" by Jim Rearden. Very insightful book on how wolves hunt and kill for fun as well as food.
    9 sheep...that's nothing. Read this:

    http://www.missoulian.com/news/local...cc4c03286.html

    Albeit, these were domestic sheep, but Rambouillet Merino bucks are about the same size as Dall sheep. It just goes to show that wolves will gladly kill more than they can consume, and they certainly don't just kill sick/weak animals. The pack that killed the 120 sheep in the article above consisted of 3 adults and 5 pups. They're opportunistic. If opportunity knocks they'll answer.

    Let's see those pictures denalihunter.

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    Default huntington

    I had a friend who was lucky enough to call Sydney Huntington a good friend, I guess sydney had seen as many as 12 moose killed within a few miles of river, none eaten.
    I know I have found 3 elk in as many miles of frozen river, all were only partially eaten, good place for marten/wolverine traps though.

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    see the wolves are friendly folks sometimes. helpin' out their fellow predators, puttin' up steaks and leavin them for their friends. heck, they might have been trying to share with sydney too.

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    Default On the other hand

    Always possible they were cleaning up a road kill too. I've seen way more vehicle killed animals on roads than wolf kills. Seen a couple wolves cleaning up road kill too and coyotes.
    But even if they killed it, it's no surprise. And no surprise they didn't eat it all in one sitting. Big animals. Just think what human hunters would look like if they were judged by the same standard as some of you judge wolves. "Hey, Those hunters killed 12 Caribou and didn't eat anything but a couple hearts and livers." Of course, they get eaten over the course of a winter, just like wolf kills do. I think besides the laws of biology, (only so much gets digested in a day) bears and wolves like to tenderize their kills just like I do by letting them sit a day or two or more, unless they are really hungry. They'll go for the innards and a lot of times the noses first, take a rest and come back for more. And on a road, They aren't stupid enough to stay around and eat if there's traffic traveling by. That would be suicide. They may have been waiting for dark. Just like a baby animal with no mother apparent in the area isn't "abandoned", neither is a kill you happen to come upon.
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    Member AlpineEarl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    They'll go for the innards and a lot of times the noses first, take a rest and come back for more. And on a road, They aren't stupid enough to stay around and eat if there's traffic traveling by. That would be suicide. They may have been waiting for dark. Just like a baby animal with no mother apparent in the area isn't "abandoned", neither is a kill you happen to come upon.
    I thought the same thing dude. Why is it that everyone who finds a kill with nothing currently feeding on it always seems to say something about them not eating the whole thing, abandoning it, or wasting it. Seems fairly obvious nothing is going to feed on the carcass with a bunch of cars speeding by.

    Yukon, comparing the effects of predation with the effects of the kind of market hunting that went on in the US at the turn of the century is....well....incomparable. The same is true of our current hunting system vs. market hunting of the early 1900's. I can't say any more than that because it's so ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlpineEarl View Post
    I thought the same thing dude. Why is it that everyone who finds a kill with nothing currently feeding on it always seems to say something about them not eating the whole thing, abandoning it, or wasting it. Seems fairly obvious nothing is going to feed on the carcass with a bunch of cars speeding by.

    Yukon, comparing the effects of predation with the effects of the kind of market hunting that went on in the US at the turn of the century is....well....incomparable. The same is true of our current hunting system vs. market hunting of the early 1900's. I can't say any more than that because it's so ridiculous.
    AlpineEarl and Twodux,
    Not trying to be a smartass, but you guys must not be too familiar with the Denali Highway. It's a remote 134 mile long road that is only accessible by snowmachine or dog team during the winter, thus the caribou was not killed by a car. Denalihunter operates one of only two year round lodges on the 134 mile stretch and I'd bet he knows a little bit about what goes on in his neck of the woods.

  20. #20
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Roadkill et al

    For those who've never been on the Denali Highway in winter...it doesn't get winter maintenance. Beyond the parking area at MP 131, the first 10-12 miles can be driven some years...depends on snowfall and traffic, but Brushkana River? Doubtful. That's well beyond where a highway vehicle can get this time of year, generally, so roadkill is highly unlikely.

    If you want to travel the Denali Highway in the winter bring a snowmachine, or a dog team.

    Lot's of caribou overwinter in the uplands between Brushkana(MP 105) and Canyon Creek(MP 95). Naturally, the wolves follow.

    I saw 3 big grey ones 12 miles outside of Cantwell this October while the road was still passable. And I saw a wolf killed caribou carcass near Susitna Lodge (just east of the Big Su bridge) in January. That leads me to believe there are multiple packs ranging along the road.

    Winter wolf hunting off the Denali is, apparently, an under utilized opportunity.

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