Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Just when you think you are out of the woods,you're not!
I have had a few encounters with the wonderful wolves of Alaska most of them friendly.
My first one was when I was new to Alaska. It was early December the first time I was alone here at Calico for a week and feeling a little nervous. First two nights went great then on the third night it changed. Just settling into bed the dogs went wild! I sprang to the window but could see nothing the night was dark, no moon, I grabbed the large flashlight and shown it on the dog lot they were looking at the cabin. I got brave, went downstairs, pulled my coat over my nightgown and picked up the gun, flashlight still in hand.
The flashlight proved to be a mistake.
I timidly stepped outside onto the deck, pointed the light to the left, my heart stopped as a pair of green eyes peered at me, a black wolf stood right in front of me. Gun in one hand flashlight in the other made me wish I had worn a headlamp. I yelled at him, no response. I shone light in his eyes,still he showed no fear of me or the dogs. This is strange. We had a female in heat and one old dog at the time. I heard stories of wolves taking dogs of chains, pulling them right out of their collars. He had to go away! I pulled the gun up under my arm,eyes still locked on the wolf,kneeled down on the deck and slowly laid the light by my feet still shining on the black intruder,aimed over his head and shot. That made him move. I quickly got Tia who was in heat for the first time and dear old Spock into the cabin for the night and went to bed,sleep was not easy.
Next day I went out to track the wolf in the snow and felt better when it was only one,possibly a scout or a lone wolf. Only one to worry about.
Next night, same time, same event only I was ready, dogs in the cabin my gun and headlamp ready. Scared him off again. In the morning I called our friend David in Eagle on the VHF radio and asked him what I should do if I had to kill it, I had no Idea how to deal with a dead animal at that time. He gave me advice and I felt better but still did not want to shoot it, so for the next three nights I shot over his head.
At last Andy came home and wouldn't you know it, that night he did not show. I think Andy doubted me.
Next morning we were sitting in bed and having our morning tea and coffee watching the light of day appear when who should come strolling up the path to the cabin, my black wolf. Andy said, "Well that's enough Kate, he is surely stalking us" and had to go get him. I felt bad even knowing he was a threat to us and our dogs. We hate to have to kill a wolf.
Now back to the present.
Tuesday Jan. 18, 2:30 pm I went to bring in wood and saw what I thought was our dog Chisel behind the fish rack... the fish rack is full with 3000 chum salmon we hang in the fall to feed the dogs. Chum are the fall salmon,natives call them Dog salmon.
I whistled for him to come but what looked back at me was a female white wolf with a sore paw, she then limped down our trail to the river. I grabbed my coat to go see which way she went. I was running down the trail to the river, my eyes focused out over the ice when she popped out in front of me from my vegetable garden. I got a start to say the least. We just looked at each other for a moment. I yelled at her and off she went. She moved slowly up river on the dog mushing trail, stopping and looking back at me every now and then.
This lovely white wolf had her trail made around our property and like clockwork day and night she made her rounds. Her leg was hurt and hunting must have been hard for her so this was easy food. She seemed not to be afraid of me, I could walk up fairly close to her before she would move away. I wondered if she was thinking, 'just another bit closer my dear' like the witch in Hansel and Gretel.
We are used to packs of wolves going by on the river and once on the trail to Ford Lake about a half mile from our cabin I had a pack of wolves cross my path. No big deal, we do sort of live together and wolves normally stay as far away from people as possible. When one stays to long it can be a deadly problem, if we did not have dogs and puppies we might have tried to befriend and feed her but that is not the case. Wild is Wild.