Alberta Canada wolf hunting with Alberta Wilderness Adventures add wolf hunts to any of our trophy hunts including moose hunts, mule deer hunts and black bear hunts in northwestern Alberta, Canada
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Around the Campfire with Alberta Wilderness Adventures
Read this exciting hunting story about harvesting a black wolf!

''Never Give Up! - The Black Wolf''

Once again the sun was setting and the chilling air made us zipper up tighter. Another log was thrown on the heap in the center of the flames. Soon the chill was pulled from our bodies and one by one my hunters slid their lawn chairs further from the flames. In the calmness of the late evening the smoke coiled upwards from the crackling red embers then slowly drifted toward the cookhouse with the slight breeze.

The conversation had centered on wolves. "Ya'll ever get lucky enough to git any back wolves?" one of the new clients asked.

"What about that wolf I got last year", my friend from Oregon mentioned with a smile. "Tell these guys about him." As an eight-year return client I knew he wasn't the bragging type and I looked at him in surprise. "You remember? The one I got while you were having a crap in the bush". A chuckle rose from the cranberry farmer's throat then he continued, "Well, these new guys want to know if you ever get lucky enough to get any black wolves. I would say this one was lucky. "Well, wasn't it"? He added with a laugh. "It was black and as big as any." Seemingly satisfied that he had accomplished his task of embarrassing me he leaned back in his chair waiting his story.

It was cold and miserable and the rain had continued for three days turning roads and cut lines into muck. This was not at all the normal hunting condition we wanted but hunting is hunting and we pushed on taking the bad with the good. "We got enough meat," Robert added, as he thought of trudging through the gumbo that is so prevalent on rainy days. "We have four deer and three moose and those other two guys have their moose, that's enough". Robert paused a moment then added, "Hell, we don't want to shoot'em all, we'll need some for next year."

"This is your last day of hunting so if you don't want another moose then let's try for a wolf," I suggested to my two hunting companions. "We don't stand much of a chance to get a wolf your last day but let's give it a try anyway. Floyd, you have a wolf tag, let's take a spin up the Running Lake road for a wolf. No mud on that road and we just might get lucky." A one-day wolf hunt gives extremely poor chances of tagging but this at least gave us something to do rather than sit in camp, which seemed the only other option.

"Might as well," Floyd answered. "The moose aren't moving in this weather anyway."

Only a few miles up the Running Lake road Mother Nature began calling, making me stop the truck near a thick patch of bush. A forestry helicopter site seemed a good location so I backed the pickup onto the approach opposite the clearing. Under these weather conditions this location seemed a perfect area for my hunters to watch for game. However feeble I thought our chances were of actually seeing an animal I knew it was the perfect spot for me to grab the white roll of paper from the glove box and make a quick exit into the deep woods behind the truck.

The paper work had just finished when the boom of a rifle startled me. In a rush I scrambled from my hiding spot to see what the brothers were shooting at. "Floyd shot a wolf!" Robert shouted as soon as I approached the vehicle. With his sleeve he wiped the snuff from his chin then added, "Hell, I thought it was a bear". Reliving the moment, Robert quoted his own words. "I whispered to Floyd - there's a bear! Shoot it!"

"I just told him, that ain't no bear!" Floyd cut in. "That's a wolf, so I shot it." In Floyd's casual way he set his rifle back in the truck then got in as if to say, "Well, what's next?"

"It was as black as a bear," Robert burst out with an excited giggle. "I thought it was a bear but Floyd said, what's a bear doing with a tail that long?" Through his toothless grin Robert continued, "He sure is a big one?"

Not seeing the wolf lying on the open slope I curiously asked where it was, hoping to get a few specifics that would assist me in finding such a rare trophy. "He just walked out of the trees over there then came down the hill toward us. It ran across the bottom of the hill then went up into the will'rs over there". Robert gestured in the general direction with his hand as he gave me the finer details as to where to start tracking. In their excitement information was sketchy at best and "Over there" with a finger pointing was at best a general direction and all I could hope for, anything more specific was out of the question. Tracking seemed inevitable.

Through the bush to the west about two hundred yards above this clearing a wide pipeline paralleled the Running Lake road that we were parked on. Another couple of hundred yards further north an oil well road left the Running Lake road and crossed this pipeline forming a perfect U with the helicopter clearing in the center. Floyd's trophy was somewhere across this clearing and into the heavy timber. This arrangement for tracking was next to perfect. We seldom had advantages of roads and pipelines for tracking so I wanted to make full use of this set up. I would put my two hunters on the pipeline to stand guard watching for the wounded wolf while I tracked the huge black wolf into the forest. If the animal tried to make an escape then the brothers might have another chance at getting him.

I dropped my hunters off where the oil well road crossed the pipeline leaving them with instructions to walk to the top of the hill and wait. If I honked the horn that would mean that I found the wolf or that I had given up. Either way, the sound of the horn meant that they should start walking back down the pipeline toward this road. The plans seemed satisfactory with all so I returned to the clearing and began my search.

Since the brothers had told me where the wolf left the clearing I did not waste any time checking the area where it had been when Floyd made the shot. Anxious to find this rare trophy I headed straight to where they said the animal had ran into the woods. My search came up with nothing, I couldn't find a trail, and not even a shred of evidence to indicate a wolf had ever been in the area.

Confused at the situation and frustrated that I hadn't followed the blood trail from the beginning I prepared myself for a hard job of tracking. Slowly I worked my way back along the slope to the original site where the wolf had been when the shot was fired and again I began my search for hidden details. Bent clover, a broken lady slipper or even a scratch mark in the clay from the toenail of the escaping wolf would get me started in the right direction.

In the distance somewhere to my right the call of a Bull Moose echoed to me. The bull was close, somewhere near the bottom of the hill. "Perhaps he is even on the same line that Robert and Floyd were standing on. A chance for the last moose of this hunt, what luck," I whispered under my breath. Excitement of tagging our last moose made the search for the wolf secondary, I would find him later. I ran back to the truck and beeped its horn indicating to my hunters that they should start walking out, then slowly I drove the pickup down the cross road that led to the pipeline and where my hunters should be waiting.

A cow and a calf moose stood in the center of the pipeline not more than one hundred feet from the road. Thirty feet beyond the cow and calf the head and shoulders of the bull showed on the pipeline. Partially hidden the bull was caught in a dilemma of romance or safety. Instantly I slammed on the brakes and turned the engine off. Robert and Floyd were already half way to my truck. A few moments later we had filled the last of our six moose tags with a 54-inch moose rack.

In the midst of our one-day wolf hunt our priorities had changed. A Bull Moose was taken and the hard work of dressing the animal began. This was the last day of the hunt and by the time the bull was properly dressed, skinned and hung to cool night had closed in. The next morning the hunters left for home and the wolf still lay somewhere on the hill.

Upset over the wounded animal and not tracking the wolf to my best abilities I returned to the helicopter site as soon as my hunters had gone. As with these two brothers, I was not giving up until I had to. I planned to start tracking from the sign I had found the day before but the extra elevation of the hills had gotten a half-inch of wet snow during the night. All sign was covered. The best I could do was to circle the area hoping to luck onto the rare trophy. Within fifty feet, buried amid the thickest of willows lay Floyd's black wolf.

He was a large male of record book class. The fully mature body was thick in width and his chest was deeper than any other wolf I have ever seen. His wiry hair was as black as coal and glistened from the wetness of the snow. Huge muscles bulged under an age-old coat and I knew he had been the leader of a pack in his earlier years. To my surprise I discovered that the wolf wore a radio, address showing that it came from the next province. From the border the wolf had traveled more than sixty miles, the way the crow flies to where the he lay now.

I just couldn't take this animal home without a few photos so I tied a rope around his thick neck and drug him uphill over the snow until I found an uprooted tree that lay about eight feet from the ground. I flung the other end of my rope over the downed tree and winched him up. By the time I had this monster suspended off the ground I was wet from sweat, but I had the photos I wanted.

The sun had dropped well below the horizon and it was getting hard to see the faces of the group of hunters around the fire. My story was over so I stepped to the lantern, struck a match and lit the mantle. The sudden bright light illuminated the campsite and I squinted while my eyes adjusted to the yellow glow.

"Sounds like ya'll got lucky", the southern client said as he stoked his pipe full with tobacco. After he deposited his pouch back into his pocket he concluded, "Don't suppose ya'll get many back wolves".

Robert wiped his chin with his sleeve then kicked another log onto the fire to build up its heat. "As you can tell", I answered, "I can't claim any bragging rights for finding Floyd a wolf but you never give up until the end of your last day. I sipped my warm coffee for a moment and thought of the circumstances that led us to our successful wolf and moose hunt. "Just lucky to be in the right place at the right time".

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Alberta Canada wolf hunting with Alberta Wilderness Adventures add wolf hunts to any of our trophy hunts including moose hunts, mule deer hunts and black bear hunts in northwestern Alberta, Canada