Hunting Distractions
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Big Fin 16-Nov-19
Jaquomo 16-Nov-19
Bou'bound 16-Nov-19
W8N4RUT 16-Nov-19
Z Barebow 16-Nov-19
JohnMC 16-Nov-19
BOHNTR 16-Nov-19
cnelk 16-Nov-19
hdaman 16-Nov-19
SaltyB 16-Nov-19
Whip 16-Nov-19
elkmtngear 16-Nov-19
Mnhunter1980 16-Nov-19
Bloodtrail 16-Nov-19
LUNG$HOT 16-Nov-19
Ironbow-cell 16-Nov-19
BIG BEAR 16-Nov-19
PoudreCanyon 16-Nov-19
jingalls 16-Nov-19
drycreek 16-Nov-19
Huntcell 16-Nov-19
lv2bohunt 16-Nov-19
Glunt@work 16-Nov-19
Ucsdryder 16-Nov-19
Pat Lefemine 16-Nov-19
Big Fin 16-Nov-19
IdyllwildArcher 16-Nov-19
WHOCARES 17-Nov-19
Hawkeye 17-Nov-19
itshot 17-Nov-19
HUNT MAN 17-Nov-19
Grubby 17-Nov-19
dakotaduner 17-Nov-19
WV Mountaineer 17-Nov-19
ryanrc 17-Nov-19
varmint101 17-Nov-19
Dirty D 17-Nov-19
Two Feathers 17-Nov-19
ki-ke 18-Nov-19
TrapperKayak 18-Nov-19
Scar Finga 18-Nov-19
njbuck 18-Nov-19
Wayniac 18-Nov-19
Brotsky 18-Nov-19
APauls 18-Nov-19
BigOzzie 18-Nov-19
smarba 18-Nov-19
From: Big Fin

Big Fin's embedded Photo
Text from wife, "That's not a deer."
Big Fin's embedded Photo
Text from wife, "That's not a deer."
My wife suggested that for my birthday, about a week back, I give myself one day of hunting without cameras. Having been twelve years since I hunted without cameras, it was a rather appealing idea. So, earlier in the week I went down and bought a whitetail doe tag to go with my buck tag, with the plan to go on Wednesday and just enjoy the November days of whitetails acting stupid. Got up at 4:00 am on Wednesday to the patter of rain; heck with it, if I'm going to spend a leisurely day hunting without cameras, it won't be in the rain. I turned off the alarm and snatched a couple more hours of sleep and spent the day at the office.

Friday weather looked very mild, so Thursday night I cleared my calendar for hunting the following day. Made a call to a landowner who owns a small inholding in this area and asked if I still had permission to fill a doe tag, bear tag, wolf tag, or anything his outfitter might not be chasing on that small quarter section piece that is one of the few private parcels in this big area of public land. He laughed at my idea of hunting whitetail does, then told me I could shoot anything given his outfitter was no longer hunting there, and reminded me that permission is perpetual until further notice.

Up early on Friday, thinking I would find a whitetail with ease. On the trail before sunrise. First thing I see is a small 4x4 buck on top of a doe, doing what deer do in November. This buck is not anything I'm interested in and I'm not shooting a doe this far from the truck, so neither are in danger. A smaller 3x3 comes along and acts like I'm some sort of deer attractant. Nope, not him either.

I continued, crossing a corner of this 160 acre private piece, on my way to a drainage on public where I've seen some really nice whitetails cruising. I would shoot a buck in there, but not a doe. As I reached the boundary that would put my back on public, I glassed up to the far corner of this small section where this drainage starts. A coyote was traveling the snowed-in two-track. I glassed, thinking that is a darker colored coyote than the normal silver phase I see up here. As it walked past the boundary fence corner to the neighboring 80 acres, the only other private land here and where I don't have permission, I realized this was too tall to be a coyote. Either that, or the fence post was stunted. Nope, this was a wolf, no doubt.

Now what to do? The wolf had made it to the other property. I dropped down behind a small roll in the ridgeline, then set up in a small rock pile that would give very slight cover and kept any grass from growing, something that might allow an unobstructed prone shooting nest.

The wolf had now entered the timber, which would probably have him back on public. I had lost sight of him in the time it took to hustle over to this shooting perch. I cussed myself for being half asleep and not able to make the most of this situation.

I stayed prone as the sun cleared the horizon behind me. I glassed the timber beyond the fence lines. Nothing. I glassed some more. Nothing.

Having grown up in Northern Minnesota, I would go down to the river in the winter and howl at night, seeing if I could get a reply from the wolf packs across the frozen current. Sometimes it worked, most times it didn't. I was always surprised how any derivative of a howl could get a reply from wolves that might be present.

With that experience from days past, I knew of nothing else to do. Lone wolves are usually the most likely to respond to howling, so I cupped my hands and gave a poor version of a lonely wolf. I scanned the timber edge. Nothing. No big surprise.

I cupped my hands again, took a deeper breath, and tried to hold a long, steady howl, that eventually sank to a tone that in my human mind mimics what a lonely wolf would sound like. I turned again to scan the timberline. Bolting from the timber was a wolf, making a straight line toward me. It crossed under the property fence, then disappeared in a small cut that forms the head of this drainage.

I snapped a quick range of the trees and rocks of where I thought it might appear. All were 275-295 yards. I spun the dial on the CDS to 300, laid the rifle across my pack that I'd pushed out in front of me, and waited. As if the script had been read, the wolf appeared straight west of me, immediately upslope from the scattered group of trees I had ranged at 290.

I held the crosshairs on its chest as it faced directly toward me, I suspect scanning into the rising sun to locate this wolf that was suffering from a sore throat. At the bottom of my breath the reticle was not moving. The trigger released the firing pin. CLICK. WTH? In my excitement, I had failed to put a round in the chamber.

Simultaneously, I mumbled some adult words while racking a live round into the chamber. I came back to the scope. No wolf. More adult words. I looked left. The wolf had only moved a few steps and was now sitting on his haunch, looking for this other lone wolf that had been howling aches of loneliness.

Again, the pack provided a bench-steady rest. The crosshairs were steady on the chest. Not a wide target for a frontal shot at this range, but a shot I remember feeling very comfortable with before the instincts took over. The last image I recall was the reticle tight on the white spot that met the dark chevron collar this wolf sported. Recoil moved me from the scope, allowing me to cycle another round while grabbing a quick glance of where the wolf was located. No wolf moving across this snow field. I came back to the scope and the scubby tree the wolf had been next to. I could see fur among the grass tips poking through this snow that had been melting each day and freezing each night. I kept the crosshairs on this patch of fur. No movement.

I stood and viewed with the binos. Yup, just across this small cut, at the patch of small trees, laid a big pile of fur. I looked around for a camera, having been trained to give my immediate expressions following moments of frantic excitement. Oops, no camera guy to record what I was saying/thinking. I had set up my cell phone to my right when I first had setup, thinking it would be fun to capture my expressions of this chance encounter, though I doubt that will be useable.

I gathered my trekking poles, other gear, and started postholing down the drainage where west winds accumulated snow at this elevation. I crossed some fresh wolf tracks that were headed the direction I had first seen this wolf. It eased my temporary doubt that this could have just been a big coyote. Those tracks, coupled with my knowledge that a coyote runs from, not to, a wolf howl, put me at ease that when I got up the other side of this small slope I would find a wolf.

When I got there, that is exactly what I found. A big old gray wolf. A female. Front teeth well worn, hide completely furred out, and evidence that she never wiggled upon impact. The 300 Win Mag entered just right of the sternum, traversed the length of the body, exiting just above the left hip joint. Thank goodness for prone shooting rests when such small targets are presented.

No deer were harmed in this hunt. I am still amazed that my rusty howling skill brought this wolf out of the timber, under the property fence, and within 300 yards of my position. I spent the morning skinning and quartering the salvageable meat, thanks to the benefit of a big fir limb that served as the perfect skinning gambrel. Within a few hours, the hide, the head, and the meat was in game bags and loaded in my Mystery Ranch Metcalf. As I hiked down to the trailhead, I shook my head at how many days/miles I've spent in pursuit of wolves, only to have this situation present itself as the ancillary benefit of a deer hunt. A lot of luck, but I'll take it, given how much investment I've made in chasing wolves.

Checked it in yesterday afternoon at FWP. They are not sure how old it is, but given the teeth, was expected to be an older wolf. I will take the skull to Mattson Labs here in the Gallatin Valley and get a tooth aged. Not sure what meat prep techniques we will use, but I intend to see how it tastes. Last time we shot a wolf, we were cautioned by the biologist to not consume wolf meat due to the large array of diseases present in wolf populations. I have since researched and feel comfortable with eating this. Anyone want an invite to the BBQ?

I have two more wolf tags, but given the rest of my season has me helping family and friends, mostly out of state, the odds of me finding another wolf this year are very slim. As much as some hate wolves, I find them to be remarkable animals that have earned my respect over the last six years of hunting them. I can't imagine having to hunt elk and deer with just my teeth and somehow find a way to survive the places and conditions wolves live. Happy to help manage them via hunting and trapping, yet still very impressed with everything about them.

From: Jaquomo
What a great story, Randy! But eating it? Yikes! :-O

From: Bou'bound
You have the very best show on tv. Totally enjoy it.

From: W8N4RUT
Great story. Thanks for being an ambassador for us in all things hunting and congratulations!


From: Z Barebow
Woof! BBQ away. I am content with my supper plans. The harder you hunt, the luckier you get. Congratulations Randy!

From: JohnMC
Maybe you can eat it along side a glass of deer milk??

Way to go, Randy!

From: cnelk
My cousin is hunting deer where you grew up in MN. Last Sunday morning they saw 18 wolves and no deer.

Hard pass on the wuff bbq.

From: hdaman
What a great day "off"! Thanks for sharing it with us!.

From: SaltyB
Awesome accomplishment Randy!

From: Whip
I surely do appreciate the invitation to dinner Randy. I'm afraid I have to pass this time. How about a rain check sometime when you've got a nice elk backstrap? Congratulations on the wolf though - that is cool!

From: elkmtngear

What a great Day...thanks for Sharing!

From: Mnhunter1980
Congrats Raaaaaandy! Keep us posted on how the meat is. Job well done

From: Bloodtrail
Sound like a feast. Wolf meat and dead doe milk! Nice job removing another elk killer Randy!!

Nice job Randy! I’m sure that was an awesome experience. Call Steve Rinella. That guy eats anything! Would make for a good short episode with him as a guest taste tester. Lol

From: Ironbow-cell
Excellent write up. And I would take you up on that BBQ if I could!

Good job Randy !!! Feed a little to your dog.... as a payback for all the hunting hounds those SOB’s have killed....

From: PoudreCanyon
Great write up Randy - congrats on a fine trophy! I’d try a bite or two if I was closer:)

From: jingalls
Excellent as always, thanks for sharing!!! Can’t wait to watch the video!-)

From: drycreek
Congrats on the wolf !

From: Huntcell
Oh ! MY ! What big teeth you have.....great smile there Randy in hero photo. congratulations!!!

From: lv2bohunt
I’m always amazed at the size of a wolf.

From: Glunt@work
Very cool. A day hunting is like a box of chocolates.

From: Ucsdryder
Good work! Not only did you not kill a deer, you saved the lives of a bunch! As far as the eating goes...yeah I’ll pass too.

From: Pat Lefemine
That is just awesome! Bet you wished you had a camera guy!

From: Big Fin
For sure, Pat, if ever I wanted the imposition of a camera guy, that was the day. Never does an animal come in like that one did and pose as if he wants to show off. And, the unique nature of it being a beautiful heavy-furred wolf would have made for some very compelling footage. I have spent days hiking the mountains with camera guys in tow and only one previous time have we taken a wolf on film. Still ecstatic for this outcome.

Very well-written hunt story. We didn’t need the cameras to be there right along side you for the hunt. Good job on the hunt. That had to be rewarding.

Good luck on the BBQ.

Way to go Randy! Nice story. End of first week deer season here at the shack(near Deadmans). Very few deer but a lot more wolves than normal this year. Will hang out here one more week. Don't think I'd eat wolf but have had to eat crow more than once! Oh, and any of you lurkers we're not talking Gophers around here today! Like t-roy....

From: Hawkeye
Great write-up and story! Really enjoyed it and thanks for sharing. Congrats!

From: itshot
sometimes the story is just fine, no film required

this seems like one of those, well done and congrats!

Thank you !!

From: Grubby
This warms my heart

From: dakotaduner
Wow just wow. Great write up. Glad you had fun day without a camera man in tow. Your show and Steve's are hands down my favorites. Happy belated Birthday

I've watched and admired your shows and, you personally for quite a few years now. And, I believe what you do for the advancement of hunting and fishing is much more then words can explain, other then to say thank you for the commitment to protect our way of life.

With all that said, I'm glad you killed it. I'm glad you did it on a day that you set aside for yourself. And I would love to someday mimic it. But, you are nuts! I wouldn't eat that thing unless I was starving. And, you kill to much to be starving.

From: ryanrc
I prefer the story accompanied by the great picture over a video any day. The story makes me have to visualize everything. You're a great story teller, and did your adventure more justice than a video ever could. However, I am at a loss for you wanting to eat it...........also, Steve Rinella does eat anything and now he has trichinosis!

From: varmint101
Great story/hunt! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the wolf. While different I’m sure if cooked right it’d be just fine. My buddy and I have bbq’d coon before and it tasted great.

From: Dirty D
Badass!! Gotta say Randy is by far my favorite hunting personality. Seems to be the most positive, good natured good out there. I always feel better after watching his content, that good nature is contagious. Congrats!!

From: Two Feathers
Well how cool was that! Great story, great picture, great hunt. Congratulations!

From: ki-ke
Very cool Randy!

Looking forward to the report from the feast. Judging by the negative RSVP's you've received, you will dine as you hunted. Solo! LOL.


Thanks for sharing

From: TrapperKayak

TrapperKayak's embedded Photo
TrapperKayak's embedded Photo
Great story Randy, congrats on the wolf. But I'd no sooner eat that than an armadillo. I shot this one yesterday, would you like me to send you the meat?... :) I know where its laying, most likely frozen!

From: Scar Finga

Your stories are an inspiration and always great to read! Thank you for taking the time to post and congratulations on a beautiful wolf! If I was closer I would definitely try it!! I have eaten many things that other people would never dream of trying, and most of it has been good!

Thanks for being a great outdoorsman, ambassador and inspiration!!

God Bless!

From: njbuck
Very cool, congrats.

From: Wayniac
Great story and outcome!~ Congrats


From: Brotsky
Awesome Randy, Congrats! Beautiful wolf and now the best kind of wolf!

From: APauls
Heck ya Randy!!! Awesome!

From: BigOzzie
Good on you. I have had a great 4 year run hunting Montana wolves and I have had some neat experiences, but no hide to show for it yet!! I will not fail though, hehe.


From: smarba
Congrats on the fun day Randy and thanks for sharing with us.

Have you eaten wolf before? I know the Indians preferred dog to bison/elk (Lewis & Clark journals). I tried coyote once but I suspect I wasn't careful butchering it; I'll try it again someday. Curious about wolf. Please let us know.

Thx again

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