34 forum posts
My wife and I just got out of the Sun River Basin in the Bob Marshall wilderness: 4days, 40 miles, sunny & 80's, & only saw one group of hikers 3 miles from the end of our hike.....doesn't get much better than that! We jumped a wolf stalking two whitetail at no more than 25 yards away from us. We were crossing a heavily wooded creek bottom on the moose creek trail (131) heading towards the N. Fork of the Sun River, in endless meadows. As we crested the ridge out of the creek bottom and into the meadows he popped up broadside and stared at us. I grabbed my grizzly spray, my wife grabbed the camera, and off he went. By the time the camera fired up he was already a good 100 yards off.....typical predator encounter right? We sat for a couple minutes taking it in, and two whitetail came trotting by no more than 50 yards away. We walked a quarter mile down the trail and a very loud and close howl grabbed our attention...... just up the hillside was the wolf sitting under a tree howling at us! The next day we spotted a whitetail bedded down under a tree in a swamy marshy area about 75 yards below the meadows, maybe 4 miles south of our first sighting. It stood up, and then two heads popped up in the brush 25 yards behind it. It was two wolves just waiting the deer out....I assume waiting for the deer to make a mistake so they could make their move. The deer actually ran at the wolves and they began playing a game of cat & mouse chasing each other around. The deer took off with the two wolves close behind. It was rad.....our first wolf sightings on foot in nearly five seasons and thousands of miles of wilderness trail in Montana. It was amazing watching this all unfold....wolves are indeed incredible hunters.
Speaking of hunters......there's ALOT of anti-wolf sentiment in MT. Hunters are typically anti-wolf and many will actually shoot them every chance they get. I understand that their numbers should be managed, but the vibe here is to totally eradicate them. I think the real outdoorsmen and lovers of nature and wild places respect the wolves and there place in the ecosystem. I am a hunter myself, but the vibe I get from other hunters in MT is pretty negative. I live in Missoula, MT, and the anti-wolf sentiment seems to increase as you branch out into more rural areas. Hunters typically go into the woods one month out of the year, take as much as they can, and then profess to be lovers of the mountains and nature. Then the elk and deer numbers go down and hunters don't go into the mountains anymore, "because there's nothing left"! They get angry because the wolves are taking all of "THEIR"elk! Last time I checked, elk don't BELONG to anyone. Half of these guys don't walk more than a block from their vehicle, and would rather shoot them from the road. Backpackers & hikers are in the mountains 12 months out of the year and take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but bootprints. Sorry if I offend any hunters out there, I'm just calling it like I see it. The reason I'm writing this is because the first person I told about our wolf encounter (in Augusta, MT) response was "Did you get a shot at it?"