I was blessed to have another incredible wildlife encounter this fall too; with wolves. Actually, blessed might not be the most appropriate word to use, you see Misty, Cricket and I found ourselves surrounded by wolves and worse, what appeared to be lured by them into a perfect ambush site and then even worse, we separated our herd, falling prey to their forty thousand year old hunting technique.
Misty decided to walk the stream and finish our job so we didn’t have to come back the next day. I somehow agreed to our separation in a poor judgment call based on our determination not to return to Hellacious Lagoon, as we called it. Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
When Cricket and I were standing alone on the bank of the estuary with one wolf howling and whimpering beside us, and the 3 others surrounding us in the woods I called out, “Hey Misty, maybe you should come back now, the wolves have surrounded us and I can see them now.”
When I made eye contact with the howler, it suddenly started barking at me. It wasn’t a good feeling and it certainly didn’t sound friendly. It was the first time I felt the eerie feeling I’ve often heard people describe when they hear wolves. I decided to take off my clodhopper rubber boots that came up to my waist, (good when wading a creek, bad when fighting off wolves) my backpack, and rain-jacket to get movable. I wasn’t about to go down without a fight so I made a spear. No wolf was taking my little pup that day.
We figured the wolves, who we tracked and saw on the estuary upon arriving had seen Cricket and decided to try and lure her away so they could attack her. She luckily wanted no part of their pack and wasn’t about to be fooled by anyone, only her human companions had fallen into the “oh no there’s a hurt wolf in the forest” setup.
The one wolf continued to howl for over three hours as we waited for our boat ride to come back. No attack ever happened though. Later we learned that occasionally a wolf will be kicked out of their pack at this time of the year, but it will continue following the others for some time, howling, whimpering, and crying continually as it tries to beg and convince the pack to let it return. If the wolves ever feel threatened or are in danger they will often stay with the lone wolf to protect it and ensure its safety. It seemed likely that this scenario was what was really going on in the life of wolves that day.
To see them trotting along the beach, stopping and looking at us, as we sat and watched them was somehow worth the worry of the next 3 hours. I love how wild I feel when I watch wolves.